Hibike Euphonium 8.1 – Or How Hard is Shuichi in the Friendzone?

This is really a beautiful episode. Probably the best one from all that I’ve watched this season.  In a sense, its also a perspective shaking one as Kumiko finally interacted with Reina Kousaka.

And it was glorious. So glorious that I can’t concentrate on any other thing. So I might as well gush about it for catharsis.

And while it is billed as HazukixShuichixKumiko, it  won’t be what I will be talking about. Truthfully, if there is a triangle  in this episode its more likely to be on the ReinaxKumikoxShuichi angle.

Not that its much of a triangle. <snort> This one is looking so lopsided until further notice.

The first half basically destroyed my belief in KumikoxShuichi. (Not that I’m much of a believer in that)  Poor Shuichi but he is really out of his league. Not to mention that Kumiko appears to not consider him a competitor.

He’s so deep into the friendzone that the episode hammered it not once,twice but THRICE.

 

First is this  exchange:

Hazuki: I said, “Are you going out with Tsukamoto?” 

Kumiko: Going out? With Tsukamoto? 

<Moment of silence while Kumiko wonder who the hell Tsukamoto is> 

Kumiko: Ahhh! (Shocked Realization) You meant Shuichi? 

Sapphire <intent> : Are you?

Kumiko: No, I’m not.  <flat denial> 

While the above dialogue shows the familiarity between Shuichi and Kumiko, a testament to their long friendship that Kumiko never thought of Shuichi by his family name. It also showed how Kumiko has automatically excluded Shuichi from her mental dating pool that it took her a long while to connect said family name to the person.

No tsundere antics here folks or even frantic denial to cover up hidden feelings. Kumiko is simply dumbfounded that anyone would think that she and Shuichi can be dating.   She also displayed similar surprise in finding out Hazuki has a crush on Shuichi. As if Shuichi and being “attractive” and “crush-able” does not compute on Kumiko’s dictionary.

On the other hand, Hazuki’s excitable frantic denial and widespread blushing on the topic reveals her feelings on the subject. There is even extensive feet shot to contrast them more. Hazuki is clearly infatuated; her feet cannot sit still and moves with nervous energy while a shot shows that Kumiko’s feet is calmly standing on the ground….  wherein Kumiko then proceed to inwardly narrate the detail of the Agata festival over the background of Hazuki and Sapphire’s planning.

As if those background planning detail details aren’t important in her mind.  lol

The scene also revealed something that might have been happening in the background. That is Sapphire and Hazuki might have gotten closer to each other than to Kumiko.

Sapphire’s dialogue says it all.  ”

“Thank goodness” and “I’m relieved. Hazuki-chan, go for it!” 

Sapphire already knows about Hazuki’s crush on Shuichi. They have already talked about this when Kumiko isn’t around.  And while perhaps, these talks are just to lessen the awkwardness. Hazuki and Sapphire didn’t know for sure if Kumiko and Shuichi are dating or anything.

It could also be a symptom of Kumiko’s distant personality.

I’ve tackled it a bit on episode 1, but Kumiko is usually apathetic at the best of times (though she’s improving a bit). And due to this particular trait;  Kumiko being  hardly invested in anything, there would always be some sort of distance between her and others.

Like in this  scene, wherein Sapphire and Hazuki are excited about planning a date with Shuichi. Kumiko who really should care about this more than anyone, could probably care less.

Thus, the distance.

While Kumiko don’t project a cold and aloof demeanor and give the opposite impression actually. She’s still  a person that is hard to get close to once you passed a certain point.

And its natural even for  a good group of friends to have some preference to who they want to hang out the most. We just fit well with certain people. And to be honest, Hazuki and Sapphire with their positive personalities fit and will probably enjoy each other company more.

So I won’t be surprised if they hang with each other  more.

Btw, Have I mentioned I am really liking how Natsuki is being shown?

Her antics with the ribbon-sempai in the trumpet section is quite fun.  More fun, because they ended up going into the festival together along with their year-mates. It adds a lot of depth to their characters considering I still have bad feeling regarding ribbon-senpai and their outwardly antagonistic relationship.

Not to mention those teasing of Goto and Riko. Heh. I live for those banter,

Speaking of that, I gave the opinion on my last blog post that Goto doesn’t think well of  Natsuki and I’m not retracting that. But, it appears that Riko has the opposite opinion and may even be close friends with our recovering slacker.  Riko did defend Natsuki from Goto after all.

Also realized in this sequence that Kumiko *might*  be totally oblivious to romance unless you hit her hard with it on the face.  Its subtle but you can see Kumiko’s surprised face when it was announced that Riko and Goto are dating. Kumiko’s totally surprised.

Last note regarding  Natsuki and Kumiko, I have a sneaking feeling that Natsuki is one of the people trying to be friends to Kumiko. From the moment in episode 4 that Kumiko invited Natsuki to join the section practice. Natsuki has been more than willing to chat with Kumiko a lot of times.

Her face when Kumiko cynically listed why she doesn’t like festivals is quite funny and probably a plot point. Because it establishes firmly that Kumiko could care less about this festival unlike most of her bandmates who are one way or another attending.

Which is why, Shuichi asking Kumiko out on the festival is probably a bad idea. And another way to show their incompatabiliy maybe?

You only have to listen to this exchange to see how Kumiko could care less. She doesn’t even register the date.

Also, Ouch for Shuichi. You were trying so hard. Trying to get Kumiko to practice with you by the park and then basically asking for a date on the festival.

Shuichi: What are you doing on the fifth? 

Kumiko: The fifth? Band as usual. 

Shuichi: After that! The Agata Festival… Do you want to go with me?

Kumiko: Huh? Why?  <Surprised> 

Shuichi: Just give it some thought.

Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Way to hammer the point Kumiko that you have never considered him on your dating prospect again. 

Not to mention the little by-play on the train wherein Kumiko saw Shuichi but ignored him.  Sometimes I think Kumiko thinks of Shuichi as furniture an annoying brother.  One that she wanted to go away and don’t bother her for a while but can’t because of sentimental value.

Its basically hopeless honestly. Kumiko’s response to knowing that Shuichi has feelings for her is “This is a pain.” in a I don’t want to be caught in a love triangle way.

….  No butterflies or confusion about being confessed on. Just a wish for the problem to go away and not bother her ever.  lol

Its really too bad because the episode also showed Shuichi sincerity. He has this dope contented grin while watching Kumiko’s eye shine with focus which is sweet.

Also bonus point for the neat moment which underscores Kumiko’s character development. Yeah. Kumiko still thinks that the club’s chance is low.

But,  “I hope that we get even better”. 

Kumiko is at least invested in music and the euphonium now.  Progress!

And we are on strike three.

Remember, Kumiko spotted Shuichi talking to a girl while contemplating Hazuki’s crush on him.  If this is a traditional rom-com situation with an oblivious lead, this is the perfect time for Kumiko to realize that Shuichi is well… a boy.

But, well, you could see the screenshot above what Kumiko’s reaction is. lol

This is further compounded by the fact that Shuichi misinterpreted Kumiko’s wish to get away from him into a signal for some “private talk“. Boy, you are reading signals that aren’t there.

Seriously, while I pity Shuichi, I find the whole sequence hilariously refreshing.

Its even further compounded by Kumiko’s escape plan. The old “someone already asked me out before you sorry” that we tell everyone when we don’t want to go with them. And guess who she grabbed?

KOUSAKA REINA

Loved Kumiko’s expression; Reina is probably at the bottom of the list considering that Kumiko is just getting comfortable with her.

The ED doesn’t lie, that lucky timing –  Kumiko and Reina are tied by fate.

…. Or Reina is also curious about the situation and decided to check it out. We have been getting some subtle glances from Reina for a while now. There is even a shot wherein Shuichi and Reina had been staring at Kumiko and have caught one another doing the same thing. Considering Reina’s incoming “confession” her coming out from the room might be more than luck.

Also loved the byplay when Hazuki came to the picture. How Kumiko literally stepped back for Hazuki. How Shuichi for the first time looked angry.

“You’re okay with that?” and the “Fine”  with narrowed eyes conveyed that Shuichi knew what Kumiko is doing and he is not appreciative of it.

Still, Shuichi, perhaps you should seriously get a clue. When a girl shoves you to another girl, it might be best to think about other prospects. lol

Still, despite the beating of the pairing. There is a small hope for ShuichixKumiko.

Kumiko didn’t look too happy about the outcome. But, then again, considering how negative and uninterested Kumiko is for the most of it. It might just be the unrest of between Hazuki and Shuichi’s date. Kumiko did just set up Hazuki knowing that Shuichi like someone else- namely herself. That can cause some unease.

And well…. I know how this should go normally. But, I don’t think Kumiko could bring herself to regret this decision post-festival.

Because KOUSAKA REINA …. just KOUSAKA REINA. (I’ll tackle Reina-Kumiko in another post because it deserves it)

FINAL NOTES: 

Someone once asked me what is  my take on the ShuichixKumiko ship against the ReinaxKumiko. I’m actually baffled that this is a question. On the other hand, I’m assiduously avoiding spoilers so who knows.  Still this is what I believe.

THERE IS NO CONTEST. 

Because in any contest between Shuichi and Reina wherein Kumiko is the judge. Its clear that  Reina will win hands down. The anime is quite clear enough here.

Not that there is any participant/contest at the moment. lol

Shuichi is so far in the friendzone that its hilarious. While Reina’s feeling is ambiguous enough that I don’t know if she’s entering said contest.  So for my answer, for the ShuichixKumiko is….its frankly looking impossible and it rest on two hard conditions.

1. Shuichi managed to dig himself out of the friendzone.

2. Reina is not going to be the competition.

As I’ve said it will be an automatic lose if Reina shows even a slightest inkling. And even then, there will be a really good chance that any relationship will take a backseat toward whatever Kumiko will have with Reina. Kyoani really outdid themselves with that one.

Once again, Sorry Shuichi. Your suit is looking hopeless.

But, who knows ? Stranger things have happened  in an anime. Maybe Shuichi will save Kumiko from a car accident or something which will cause her to fall in love with.

Nah. ^^

For some reason I don’t think its that kind of show.

Jigsaw 300Piece Sound! Euphonium 300-1100 Mezase! Zenkoku / Sound! Euphonium Ballpoint Pen Reina Kosaka /

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14 Responses to Hibike Euphonium 8.1 – Or How Hard is Shuichi in the Friendzone?

  1. andmeuths says:

    If we look at how Kyo-ani does their romances and pairings (Chuunibyou, Hyouka, Tamako Love Story), then yes, Shuichi's chances look abysmal. There's a particular signature to how Kyoani runs their romances which is absent between Shuichi and Kumiko, that normally begins at the start of their adaptations.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      Could you elaborate a bit, haven't watched those yet and I'm a bit curious. ^^

      As for Shuichi's chances…. Honestly before this episode, I have an inkling that Shuichi likes Kumiko in a romantic light. He consistently seeks her out even with her very negative attitude towards him. And before this episode, I would think that he has a normal chance.

      But, they really established here that Kumiko doesn't really see Shuichi as anything more than a friend. He's kinda like the annoying little brother to her if anything else. So his chances in my mental gear has backslided to negative. lol

  2. MarkS00N says:

    I re-watch the episode several times (who don't?) and most of the episode is really build up on Kumiko x Reina (from the club scene before the opening to the duet under clear sky)…

    Couple that with several small but significant change I gather from people who've read the novel and manga screenshot, I am pretty confidence on which pair the anime would go with regardless of original material…

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      This episode is the best. I think I'm in fifth rewatch lol and I still find something new to discover.
      The slow and awkward burn of Reina and Kumiko's relationship is finally rewarded.
      I feel so happy!

      • MarkS00N says:

        Oh, one thing I just realize people seems to miss is the scene before the opening where the focus is people and who they are going with in Agata Festival (Yoshikawa wants to be with Kaori, but Kaori already with Asuka and Haruka, Midori goes with her sister)…

        At the end of that scene but before the opening, we can see Hazuki sees Shuichi (because she wants to ask Shuichi) and Shuichi sees Kumiko (because he wants to ask Kumiko). After that, we go to other person who also sees Kumiko, Reina. That's right, I think Reina actually want to ask Kumiko but not sure how (her eyebrow change by just 1-2 frame before she sits down). That's why she so readily goes along Kumiko plan for a date…

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Yeah. That shot is particularly suspicious. Along with another shot in the episode, its the reason why I added that Reina going out of the room might not entirely be coincidence.

          For the past episodes, there has been a lot of mutual staring going on between Reina and Kumiko. And in the club sequence, Kumiko escaped the room —> Shuichi followed her because he thought that it was a silent "signal"—>; Hazuki noticed Shuichi going out and followed him.

          I think its considering that if Reina have been observing Kumiko like Kumiko observed her; then it is highly possible Reina noticed Kumiko and Shuichi going out then got curious and followed them out.

          And right in time for Kumiko to make her excuse too.

  3. kiangs12 says:

    After KyoAni gave us a great KumikoxReina scene and the way they focus on Kumiko pinning on Reina since episode 1, I will be very disappointed if Kumiko suddenly takes an interest with Shuichi. Anti-yuri keeps on saying the outcome on the novel but this is anime and I read that KyoAni is not really faithful on the original source materials that they've adapted. I also read that In the novel, Kumiko and Hazuki bith have crushes on Shuichi. But in the anime, he's more like a an annoying friend that keeps on bithering Kumiko. Yes, I will ignore the novel. Lol.

    Shuichi is such a very boring character with no personality at all. He's your typical childhood friend in the anime. I actually find Goto a much more interesting character.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      …. Sigh…. I guess as much from the conversation with my friend (who is spoiler friendly) and who insisted that there is *something* going on between Kumiko and Shuichi.

      I looked at her as if she is crazy because I'm not seeing it.

      Right now, While Kumiko and Shuichi has a close and comfortable relationship wherein they can talk to one another but it isn't boyfriend/girlfriend type of thing but sibling like. It would take a lot of development for that to change.

      As for Kumiko and Reina, I believe this is the MOST PIVOTAL relationship of the show. Kyoani isn't exactly subtle in this regard. Episode 1 literally starts with Kumiko and Reina and the relationship is emphasized several times this past episode. Heck, a lot of Kumiko's decision and character development can be traced back to Reina.

      There is just something about the two of them.. Heh.

      • kiangs12 says:

        i have been reading on the other website the about Kumiko/Shuichi and Reina/Taki. I just Hope that KyoAni have the guts to end it differently than the novel.

        It will take amount of effort for Shuichi to top what Reina did to Kumiko on their date. I actually think that eventhough Shuichi ans Kumiko have been friends for a long time she doesn't know her. She invited her to festival on which Kumiko commented that she doesn't like crowds. While Reina is only her acquaintance brought her to Mt. Daichi with only the two them. The chemistry between Kumiko/Reina is amazing that I can't see it between Kumiko/Shuichi.

        And why does it always in anime that childhood friends should end up together. It just annoys me. Lol. Can't Shuichi stays to be childhood friend just this once.

        I hope this is not a bait from KyoAni.

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          If they really want a Kumiko/Shuichi pairing; the development really needs lots and lots of help because the story seems to be giving the opposite signal.

          …. On the other hand, Reina/Taki is actually possible considering there are hints that Reina knew Taki from before. Reina did uncharacteristically defend Taki. On the other hand, this is basically student-teacher relationship and defending a good teacher doesn't automatically mean to be in love with them. Its what you do for someone you respect. So who knows?

          As for Shuichi, its basically going to be hard to top Reina simply because its REINA and Shuichi seems to be an average nice guy. Shuichi narratively represent the norm while Reina to use her own words is the special. If Kumiko's story is for recognizing what she have and being content and going with the flow. Sure, fine set her up with Shuichi.

          But, its not. From the get go. Kumiko wants something different. and her character development is heading to that direction.

          So yeah… I'm more in favor of Reina right now.

    • MarkS00N says:

      From what I read, a lot of nuance from interaction between Kumiko-Shuichi-Kumiko has been changed…

      One example I get from 4chan is a manga scan when Kumiko grab Reina:
      – In manga (and novel or so I heard) Reina brings her trumpet case, shown she goes out of the club room because the club activity is over, in anime she is empty handed, makes her reason to go out of the club room 'mysterious'
      – In manga, when Kumiko grab her, she is visibly annoyed (even say 'Hah!?'), while in anime she looks indifferent as usual

      Another example is from tumblr, someone said (s)he has read up-till mid book 2 (and do converse with other people about the novel) and I take 2 differences from how the mountain scene rolls out:
      – In novel, Reina and Kumiko already call by each other real name, so Reina doesn't urge Kumiko to call her 'Reina'
      – In novel, Reina and Kumiko doesn't bring their instrument, let alone do duet

      Well, the change arguably small, but it does make me hope KyoAni goes on their own way…

      • MarkS00N says:

        >Kumiko-Shuichi-Kumiko
        Gah, I mean Kumiko/Shuichi/Reina, sorry…

      • nightsentinel09 says:

        Hmm…. that is interesting. But, to be honest, if there is really some divergence, its better to just not care about the source material. (doubly because I can't read it anyway)

        Unless this is Saki manga -> Saki anime divergence in which the anime original scenes are a complement to the source. And would probably be there if Ritz-sensei wrote faster. lol (That and the manga have so little page count ^^)

  4. Pingback: Hibike Euphonium Episode 8.2 – Reina (The silent fourth point to the visible triangle) - RandomWallofText

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