Before I go to the meat of the episode, I would like to touch on the reconciliation of Reina and Kumiko. A terribly understated event given the hurricane that is Taki-sensei’s entrance on episode 2.
But, perhaps reconciled isn’t the right word. Because its apparent that all of Reina’s perceived “animosity” is just Kumiko blowing things up out of proportion. On the previous episodes, you have to wonder if Reina actually remembered Kumiko at all.
Still, at the end of the last episode, we get this scene which I believe is important for Kumiko (if only for herself).
Reina: You’re still playing Euph in high school?
Reina: I see.
Narration(Kumiko) : That was all we said to each other. But, somehow, I was relieved.
As I’ve said understated but I believe that this is Kumiko’s answer to – Taki-sensei’s question – to Reina’s tears of frustration at the beginning.
Kumiko might not know on which side she is leaning on the “fun” or “nationals” side. But, Kumiko is playing the euphonium still.
And perhaps that answer is enough.
I also think that its important that Reina is the one who asked this of Kumiko. Not only because sort of acknowledgement that Reina noticed Kumiko at all. But, because Reina’s opinion matters a lot to Kumiko. Heck most of Kumiko’s major decisions are being influenced by Reina one way or another.
A bit too much if you ask me.
And then there is this.
…. That dope look just for being asked to move a chair…..
How exactly am I supposed to read this any other way except: KUMIKO DEVELOPING A HUMONGOUS CRUSH ON REINA
I knew that its a bad idea to make this post when I just watched episode seven. My shipping glasses are on overdrive. Because I just realized that Kumiko and Shuichi shouldn’t be there at beginner practice.
Kumiko, I sort of understand, she might want to accompany Hazuki. But, Shuichi doesn’t have any reason to be there. Except perhaps to accompany Kumiko…. lol
Also, for some extraneous note, its really fun to watch this show with someone who’s knowledgeable about band music for the meta enjoyment if nothing else. For example. From the explanation being given that’s not really circular breathing but abdominal breathing.
[su_spoiler title=”Click the plus sign for Useful Band Trivia”]From the wiki, “Circular breathing is a technique used by players of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption. This is accomplished by breathing in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth using air stored in the cheeks .” This is a very advanced technique. Japanese band is more hard core than I ever imagined if that is that’s their beginner requirement. Its a bit difficult to put into words but its kinda like asking someone to solve modern physics when they are just stating algebra. So, here have a video (worth a thousand paragraphs) to show how awesome circular breathing is. [su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cphfp5otDjs” width=”300″ height=”220″] [/su_spoiler]
In any case, now that Kumiko’s solved her dilemma, the bands’ reality rears its ugly head. We were shown from the start that this school band isn’t really good. And now that we are on the inside, we could see why?
Namely, a major proportion of their members don’t care about this music or band thing. And just seemed to want to have a good time. Its so bad that some sections have not been practicing at all.
This obviously result in a great deal of tension because some people wants to take this thing seriously. And seeing others lazing around is not only discouraging in the “why the hell am I trying?” feeling. Prime fodder for resentment and frustration to the serious members.
And behind all of this, there is still the specter of the infighting last year between the 2nd years and the already graduated seniors that are shadowing the group.
Even our beloved bass section, probably the least problematic section, isn’t spared. I’ve noticed while rewatching that Goto is a tiny bit resentful of Natsuki.
See this exchange from the scene above:
Riko: Natsuki isn’t here…
Goto: She probably went home. Its five. She didn’t even go to the instrument room. She never planned to stay.
Riko: You can’t know that.
Goto : I do.
Then, you get another scene like this further in the episode.
Goto: Are the euphs, okay?
Asuka: We’re just fine. Especially with Kumiko-chan.
Kumiko: (flustered) I, well…
Goto: No, I mean… <looks meaningfully at Natsuki who is staring at the window>
I have a feeling that Goto doesn’t really respect Natsuki at all. Probably mentally grouping her with into the “baggage” category with the other unmotivated second years.
Beside that, its also interesting how alert Asuka is on diffusing the subject. And how, she doesn’t really do anything about Natsuki’s attitude saying
“She’ll play when she has to.”
That’s basically just putting a band-aid on the situation and hoping it would improve. I hope that the other section leaders were more effective. But, that is probably wistful thinking.
All in all, this band is heading straight into imploding already at this point.
And then, Taki-sensei happened….
Ouch. For all of Taki-sensei’s gentle looks, he doesn’t mince any words.
The band sucks.
Its more grating because the piece that Taki-sensei gave for them to perform, “Marine Hymn” is so easy that it could be taken as an stealth insult. You could feel it in the atmosphere and the conversation. The phrase “Are we really going to perform the Marine Hymn at the Sunfest?” is spoken with the same tone as someone who would ask if they would sing twinkle twinkle little stars in a singing contest.
And I think Taki-sensei expected that. I really believe that Taki-sensei knew the situation that he is walking into when he came into the band. Perhaps, not the exact situation but he has some idea that most of the band are unmotivated slackers. Remember, the first time we saw Taki-sensei, he is listening to Kumiko’s and Reina’s former band. If he could listen/research to middle school band music, he could also listen to the past performance of the school that he was teaching.
Thus, Marine Hymn could be nothing but a wake-up call to the band. A song that everyone thought that they can’t fail but they failed anyway. A dash of cold water to show how horrible the band is right now. Instead of putting a placebo on the wound, Taki-sensei is ripping it open, bringing the problem of the band in the forefront.
…. Even though I knew how it turned out, I can’t help but think that this is very dangerous. It risked discouraging the serious students causing them to quit due to hopelessness. And it also court antagonism from the relaxed faction causing them to boycott the club.
And it had been a touch and go there.
Most of the students refused to practice until the sectional leader meeting is over so that they can air their grievance.
Even Kumiko and friends were discouraged. As Hazuki put it, “Concert band isn’t an individual activity. We all face the same direction and we all work hard. Otherwise, there is no point.”
Heck, concert band is even more into “team” than any other team sports, simply because there is no way a single person or even part of the group no matter how talented can carry the whole melody. Everybody must be on the same page at the very least. If they can’t do that, why bother?
I’m immensely curious how Kumiko would have answered Sapphire question before they got interrupted. After all, this is once again her dilemma re-opened in a different way. And before all of this, Kumiko was actually becoming more “happy” or “excited”. Kumiko even bought her euphonium home for cleaning.
To have the band start to self-destruct when Kumiko is actually beginning to be invested is kinda…
Still, despite the lost opportunity.
I fangirl a little at this line, “Kousaka-san dayo.” The words were delivered with such a calm certainty that it cannot be anyone else. lol (Seriously, this pair.) Shipping glasses or no, Kumiko really thinks a lot of Reina. And this would be like the third major decision that Reina unknowingly impacted for Kumiko, isn’t it? lol
“Its from the New World. I heard Dvorak wrote it while he was in the U.S., thinking of his homeland Bohemia. In a barren new world. ”
I think that Reina is just venting a bit at this scene. Feeling a bit lonely and alienated from everything as evidenced by the scream of frustration she let out at the end.
But, Kumiko clearly took it as something inspirational. The way that her eyes shined at the end there and the way her narration ended. I can’t help but think that Kumiko is reminded of Reina’s presence in the band. That someone shares her feeling of frustration. That someone out there will at least take this thing seriously even if no one will.