Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episode 9

Hoo boy was this a stunner. I was feeling a little down on this show after last week’s fairly mundane episode, but then Ishidate had to show up and just blow the doors off Asuka’s story. This was one of the best episodes in either season of Euphonium, a stunning tribute to one of the show’s most enigmatic and compelling characters. Asuka is a terrific character, and sometimes it feels like this is the only studio equipped to handle her. Euphonium continues to be full of wonderful surprises.

You can check out my megasized review over at ANN, or my notes below!

Sound! Euphonium

“Would you worry about me playing? I would.” Jeez, killer opening by Natsuki

The framing is excellent once again. Kumiko’s hand, the girls’ bodies in this mid-distance shot. You can tell who everyone is through body language alone

“I’m frustrated.” “About what?” “I don’t know”

More great incidental shots

They want Kumiko to convince Asuka’s mom to let her back in. This is a far greater mission than Kumiko has ever undergone before, and actually serves as a perfectly reasonable capstone of her investment in the band

Shots through windows, interesting angles. This one’s lovely

Natsuki assumes Asuka invited Kumiko over for exactly this purpose

Kumiko doubting Natsuki’s charity is very Kumiko of her, and Natsuki calling her out is very Natsuki of her

Reina flirting as hard as she’s ever flirted, telling Kumiko there’s something special about her

Jeez, the animation in this episode is gorgeous. This sequence of Reina starting at him grabbing the keys out of her hand is something else. I also like the momentum of the camera, as it basically follows the charged energy of his touch from her hands up to her face, and then down to show she’s arching her feet in panic

Reina sees the photo of his wife

This is a pretty Reina-focused episode

More comedy in this episode, too. Some nice goofy Kumiko moments

Lots of more distant shots in this episode, too

This episode is just ostentatiously gorgeous all around. Beautiful color work, great animation, lovely compositions

Kaori is not subtle. It’s pretty great

Definitely a pronounced leg focus in this episode

There’s a real anger in these shots of Asuka towards Kaori. She realizes Kaori’s meddling, and is quietly furious

As before, Asuka is an extremely KyoAni character

Ishidate sure seems to love his thighs

Kaori’s plan fails immediately

Asuka’s father was a very famous euphonium player. He and her mother divorced when she was two

She says “used to” be her dad. And her mom wants to keep her away from him

Asuka sees her mother purely as someone she’s indebted to. She hates her, but feels she owes her greatly

Asuka’s anger is reflected even in the anger she uses to refer to her parents. “That woman,” “used to be my dad,” etc

And at last we understand why she doesn’t care about band drama. She sees it as trivial in comparison to her own fight

Her dad would be judging nationals. “It was all for my own sake. And this is my punishment”

It’s remarkable how this show can even convey how stiff Asuka becomes when other people get emotional around her. You’d think that’d be impossible in a medium where stillness is the norm, but her stillness always looks tense and uncomfortable

This ending is so, so beautiful. I’m so happy they pulled away to these pastoral scenes, and let the music speak for itself