Hibike Euphonium 02 – The Main Cast and Choices

Rewatching this is seriously triggering my yuri glasses. Kumiko is such a hopeless dolt when it comes to Reina.  I’m wondering if she developed some sort of serious “crush” on her in their encounter on middle school.

You know like when someone saved you when you tripped,  allowing you to see that person in a new light. (like noticing that person’s reliability, strength, kindness, etc.)

Only this time substitute “tripping” with Kumiko’s “careless remark” and the new light that Kumiko showed is how invested and passionate Reina is.  Considering how directionless and apathetic Kumiko is especially in the beginning, I think those are traits that she would admire above all.

More evidence fueling my headcanon is the fact that Kumiko doesn’t believe that she’s wrong still.  She doesn’t believe she should apologize.  Even in the dream sequence, Kumiko didn’t apologize.

….  Seriously, if you don’t think you’ve made some mistake. And  considering evidence point that Kumiko and Reina are acquaintance at best, thus, there is no relationship to salvage. Why are you that invested ?

I don’t think this is Kumiko’s normal behavior either. After all, there is another relationship from middle school that appeared to have ended badly (Shuichi, anyone?) which Kumiko appear to not be obsessing for like half the show.

Kumiko has gotten a crush  or at least some sort of deep admiration of Reina causing Kumiko to want value her opinion above all.

Its the only thing that would make her behavior have any sort of sense.

Speaking of Reina we get a bit of her in this episode as well.

In episode 1 with Reina crying and saying that she’s upset, we get the image of a typical flute player. You know loud and hotblooded.  This is probably  a once in a blue moon thing.

Because with this episode, we see more of how Reina Kousaka interact and its not that. While Reina has some flair and self-confidence  – (blasting the trumpet full volume that the whole room stops and stare at you?), she’s also  reserved, quiet and a bit standoffish.  One would even think, Reina is a bit cold and detached.

See her “polite gratefulness” pictured above.

I also find it interesting that despite Kumiko vision magnifying Reina’s action. Sapphire is the one that actually excited the club. Because she came from “THE SEIJO“.  (Bet this is going to be one of the big rival school) which means that she’s probably skilled.

… And of course, she’s also the only one that knows how to play her instrument – the contrabass – helps too.

Frankly, I’m a bit surprised how eager and confident Sapphire is regarding music considering she’s imitating a wallflower while in the classroom last episode.

Still, I stand by my speculations. Something is fishy. Considering her background she shouldn’t be at this school without some backstory reason.

 

We now move from our main characters and into the older members of the band.  Since most of them would probably not get as much attention as the main characters, this introduction is critical to establishing their personality and important bits about them.

First, is Kaori, the trumpet section leader. Right out of the gate, the studio established that she has a fanclub which seems to consist mostly of her section. Furthermore her introduction says, “We have five players right now and we’re all good friends.” 

Normally, that wouldn’t ring warning bells to me, if someone like Hazuki is going to join the trumpet section like she planned to. But, considering the one in the section is Reina….

…. I don’t think Reina is the type of person that will be able to fit in  a group of tight friends easily. Or join in idolization of Kaori. More than likely, she’s going to act as a rival.

Ugh.

If there is no trumpet drama that explodes in the future I will eat my hat.

And this is the bass section leader – Asuka Tanaka!  She’s very enthusiastic and have a very nice sense of humor.  At times I feel that she carries the necessary “boring” parts with her presence making it more lively.

Asuka uses a silver euphonium, (which is truthfully the first thing that I first noticed thanks to the opening song). It gives her a unique and cool vibe.  And since, silver euphonium need more careful maintenance and care, not to mention expensive, you get the vibe that Asuka is a dedicated musician as well. I do wonder if she is using is a school owned euphonium. Because last time I checked the silver euphonium are a sign of a higher model and are expensive as hell.

She’s also pretty good at being the Vice-President and supporting Haruka (President).

Overall, she is the best section leader introduced. Which is good because since Kumiko is in her section, we will see a lot of her.

Finally, we meet the adviser/teacher for the band – Taki-sensei.

…. I have very mixed feelings regarding him.

For example this:

“My philosophy is to value a student sense of initiative.

Therefore,  I would like you to set a goal for the year. “

So far that sounds good.

Unfortunately, he also did this while writing “COMPETE IN THE NATIONALS” in very large letters since that is apparently last year goal.

Note that every single club in Japan probably writes that even if they have no ambition to. Its probably tradition by now. And hey it does sound like a nice slogan.  And since I believe this teacher is a pretty smart guy, he should be aware of that.

I believe if the President hasn’t clarified that it wasn’t their goal, Taki-sensei would have assumed fait acompli. The students are hardly going to object. Because they do “try”. (Btw, I would like to give bonus points for correcting their teacher about that to the President and not letting the assumption stand)

Beside that, this scene is goldmine for subtle details. I liked the little detail of Kumiko looking over at Reina when the goal was announced and the small dejected frown Kumiko made when the teacher crossed out the goal.

The looking over to Reina due to the goal, I get. Considering Kumiko’s estimation of the band level (no chance at all) and then the announcement of the goal is to go to the Nationals, she must wonder how Reina is taking it. The small frown when the goal is crossed, I don’t get.

Is Kumiko a tad dejected that this band isn’t going to at least try?

Heh. Kumiko you do care if only a little bit.

Moving on to Taki-sensei speech.

I’m really getting the feeling that he’s playing the students’ like a harp.

“So please decide for yourself. I’ll do whatever you choose.” 

“If you want to go to the Nationals your practice will be much harder” 

“On the other hand, if you just want to make good memories, we don’t need to practice hard.”

“Personally, I believe either is fine. Please decide for yourself.”

See the formulation of the speech.

For someone, who is keen to give the student choices. He already limited the choice to two. And one of the two is something undesirable or really something that you wont choose in front of a teacher. The option B is basically branding yourself as a slacker; someone who won’t put the required effort.

And unless, there is a large amount of animosity for the teacher present in the class already, they are not going to rebel and pick option B.

Thus, its not really surprising that almost everyone picked option A – Go to the Nationals! It is after all the politically correct answer.

Considering that this is a late blog post, looking back a few episodes ahead, I feel that Taki-sensei is looking for a casus belli – something that he can use to justify and provoke the band into improving itself. And there is nothing more useful for getting over self-improvement hardship than “It was your own choice.

You can’t argue with that without sounding stupid and a tad ungrateful.

Beside, there is also the saying, “Others can’t force an improvement. You have to choose it.  (Even if its a choice that isn’t a choice at all. )”

It is a very good play by Sensei if a tad distasteful.

But, not everyone played into his hand.

First, is Kumiko. She declined from choosing which is a choice in itself. One could read this as Kumiko showing how directionless she is – Kumiko won’t make a stand about going to the Nationals but she also won’t pick that its okay to just have fun.

And there is some truth in that but I believe that isn’t the whole truth. If this is Kumiko from middle school, she wouldn’t have thought about choice and have gone with the majority.  After all, if she didn’t care about it either way,  picking the option that would make the most happy is a good compromise.

So, you would be asking yourself, is this Kumiko making a stand? Like she said to Sapphire, she didn’t like those situations. Being made to choose about going to the Nationals or having fun. Those are two mutual goals and shouldn’t be compromised.

Is that it?

And while that statement sounds nice.  This is also a pretty lie.

The truth is Kumiko also experienced the power of peer pressure. This time instead of caring about the opinion of the silent majority, she cared about the opinion of Kousaka Reina.

Kumiko is really obvious about it. With the flashback and glancing and all. Ask yourself, what choice did Kumiko have that won’t be a catch 20-20 regarding her situation with Reina?

Can Kumiko pick going to the Nationals? With her last conversation with Kousaka Reina still fresh to her mind? And considering that Kumiko thinks that this band sucks and have no chance to go to the nationals?

Can Kumiko also pick that its okay just to have fun? Considering that she basically went into this school for a desire for a new beginning, she also doesn’t think that this is the correct answer. Also, there is the problem of Reina, is Kumiko really going to admit that she isn’t going to try at all?

Second is Aoi, Kumiko’s childhood friend. And probably the most shrouded of the ones introduced. And for whom sensei’s choice is actually a choice.

My plot radar keep pinging when she and Kumiko converse.

Kumiko: Then, you were at Kita High School, huh? I never knew. 

Aoi: I really wanted to go to Horiyama High School. But, I failed. 

This one might just be innocent background information. But, considering that Aoi goes to cram school and a third year, she might need to focus on her grades so this won’t happen in the college of her choice.

Also this.

Kumiko: You’re in tenor sax, even in high school, Aoi-chan?

Aoi: Yeah, but its not that I’m insistent on it.  

Aoi: I have cram school. Bye. <hurrying>

Suspicious change of subject suspicious. Aoi made a weird expression before she changed the subject. Kinda wistful or longing?

…. probably.

Considering her monologue shows a deep insight at the end of the episode, I don’t think Aoi is being contrary on the vote.  Either Aoi’s objection is philosophical, she thinks that an instrument must be played for the fun of playing  it or she doesn’t have any time to dedicate to the nationals. (You know cram school and third year?)

And thus, making a conscious decision to pick her studies above her the music.  Or if its the first, picking fun before accolades? Though, the second one is a bit cross purpose with Aoi’s final advice.

That three years pass in a flash. 

Is that a warning to make the most of her time to Kumiko?

To make a choice before she finds herself three years flash forward still standing at the same spot?

Perhaps.

For Hibike Euphonium special mousepads click the pictures below!

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4 Responses to Hibike Euphonium 02 – The Main Cast and Choices

  1. ChemRK says:

    "If there is no trumpet drama that explodes in the future I will eat my hat."

    Lol, no need to eat any. You described pretty accurate – "trumpet drama"

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Wrote this before Episode 10 lol… I'm glad that I wouldn't have to eat my hat. Btw, is it just me or the author like pairing euphonium x trumpet every single time?

      • ChemRK says:

        Kind of noticed it too.
        Kaori – Asuka
        Yuuko – Natsuki
        Reina – Kumiko

        Poor other trumpeters, there's not enough Eupho-players for them (╯︵╰,)

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Heh. It can't be helped, the euphonium is one of the least popular instrument out there. Before this anime, I didn't even know it existed… lol

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