Hibike Euphonium 4 – Turning Point

The fourth episode is really the turning point of change for the series.  (And since, I’ve watched episode 8 before making this due to laziness, I’ll be including some observations from the future episodes)

Anyway, on this episode  by the power of hate of Taki-sensei, the  band of unmotivated slackers are slowly transformed into hard working ones.  But, on a personal and more important level, this episode is one of the turning points of Kumiko’s character.  The time when Kumiko grabbed the courage and called out and reached beyond herself.

One to Kousaka Reina and two to Natsuki Nakagawa.

A gesture that I believe will ripple toward the rest of the series.

The episode began with the section leader meeting which is interesting if only for the small blurb of personality of the less seen members of the club.

First, the clarinet and the horn section appears to be the most problematic being the ones most offended by Taki-sensei’s threat.  Considering that the horn section is said to not been seen practicing even once…. How does that proverb go again? The dogs that bark the loudest is the one most afraid?  These two section is very likely to have the largest slacker ratio….

Countering the two section leader is Kaori (trumpet section leader) and the percussion section   with some nice logic saying that if they rebel now and not practice, its more likely they won’t go to the SunFes.

And then there is the lazy trombone player who appear to not give a damn and then the other leaders who seemed to have no opinion and are just quietly staying in the sideline.

Ah. I feel right at home already. This is student organizations in a nutshell. ^^

Also, a small WTH? to Asuka. Didn’t Asuka say that she’ll back Haruka last episode in the section meeting? Why then when Asuka was asked for her opinion did she basically gave a “no comment” one. At least, Kaori seems to be helping herd the group leaders into avoiding a boycott.

…. I suppose that it is really true that Asuka will never take any sides.  In fairness to her though, if the meeting got any worse or rowdy I’m sure she’ll right at the thick of it, helping to calm it back down. But, I guess that is the most she would do. Asuka won’t state her opinions or decide what others would do. (Kinda disappointing since Asuka’s opinion would matter a lot if the headturns are any indication )

I’m also privately mystified at how LARGE Kaori’s fanclub is. I thought it was just her section, so maybe five people. But, that is an entire classroom of people that want to know Kaori’s opinion.

Also again, this just brings me more question about Asuka. While I liked Kaori and all, I would think Asuka should have a fanclub as well. And no, while later episodes espouses that this maybe because of Asuka’s “hidden dark side TM”, I’m not seeing it. Xaid dark side, if it even exists. wouldn’t even be visible to the rest of the band.

Hmmmm… might be her focus on the euphonium? Maybe Asuka is unapproachable to those not in the brass section? Or something about her class clown persona? Something like that?

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“As if to say she didn’t give a damn about any of  that nonsense, Kousaka-san’s trumpet blared across the sky.”

I kinda began to have greater appreciations for this type of Kumiko narration. Especially when it concerns Reina and how its so spot on as Episode 8 will undoubtedly prove. Its moments like this and the last episode, wherein Kumiko identified the one who is playing the trumpet so passionately as “Kousaka-san dayo” when there is literally no evidence one way another just goes to show how Kumiko gets Reina on a deeper level.

The first scene wherein the announcement of the middle school band results is really a watershed moment for both of them in a life changing sort of way and the way they see each other.

Also, yeah. This is another scene that shows Reina really doesn’t give a flying fig about other’s opinion and how increasingly alienated she is from the rest.  While the others were discussing the possible future of the band and waiting for the verdict to drop.

Reina is basically practicing outside as if whatever results that came out of the deliberation doesn’t matter to her.

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Also loved this small snapshot of bass section practice.

As the episode demonstrated, they are the least problematic section. Taki-sensei is even “nice” to them i.e. he doesn’t have anything to criticize. But, this small snapshot shows not everything is hunky-dory.

Especially regarding Natsuki and Asuka.

Natsuki is more  prominent of the two. She’s looking like a typical loner slacker that would only bring the band down. You could see from Kumiko’s gaze that she wants Natsuki to practice with them longer.  And then,  after looking at Natsuki just lazing around and looking at the window,  Kumiko looked at Asuka, who is practicing alone in a corner of the room – lost in her own world.

I think Kumiko is wondering if Asuka would do something about Natsuki. After all, its Asuka’s responsibility to get Natsuki to practice as a team since she’s the section leader.

But, as the future episodes unfolds, we really get that Asuka doesn’t do the “responsibility thing” and “prodding other people” thing . If Kumiko would like to wait for Asuka to prod Natsuki to practice she’s going to wait damn long time, most likely.

Also, I kinda like the shot wherein they highlighted that for someone who is the section leader and gregarious as Asuka, she spends a lot of time practicing alone separate from her section.

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I find it cute that the one thing to consistently get Kumiko’s attention is “Kousaka-san”. Even Shuichi seems to get it using Reina and sometimes band gossip to get Kumiko to talk to him.  Also love the detail of Kumiko moving closer to Shuichi the moment he mentioned Kousaka, and then moving away a bit.

As for Reina, the hot gossip is the trouble brewing in the trumpet section.

Even though, he was trying to prove a point, I do agree with Shuichi a bit. I find it  a bit unfair of Taki-sensei to put Reina on the spot. That sort of thing can easily lead to Reina getting labelled as a teacher’s pet especially since most of the band is hostile to Taki-sensei.

….. But yeah, I repeat, we also know that Reina gives no flying fig about the opinion of anyone in the band (except for Taki apparently due to her defense of him)  so I don’t think she minded the opportunity to speak. Also, one can argue due to recent revelations that even without Taki-sensei putting her on the spot, Reina is never going to be buddy buddy with her section, anyway. lol

And since, this is written after episode 8, I would like to make an emphasis, I’m including Kumiko on the everyone part of whom Reina does not give a flying fig right now.

After episode 8, I’ve rewatched the previous episodes to see stuff that I might have missed.  And while Reina might have taken notice of Kumiko due to her innocently insensitive comment on episode 1. And while that comment might have even changed Reina’s worldview a bit. And while it might have also risen Kumiko’s estimation on Reina’s eyes from the common rabble.

The thing that have given birth to Reina’s fascination with Kumiko is not that.

Its the thing that Kumiko said in their first major interaction AFTER Middle school. 

That’s right the apology scene.

Reina is just going through the motions and while she’s doing this properly she’s a bit disinterested in Kumiko’s reply  See here:

Reina: Oumae-san

Kumiko: <Surprised and Nervous>  Yes? 

Reina: About yesterday. 

Kumiko: <calming down> Yes? 

Reina: I think I said too much. 

Kumiko: <Surprised, once again> No, that isn’t true.  I think we were kind of rude, too…. 

Reina: <cuts abruptly> That’s all. See you. <leaves> 

Compared to the interest and passion that Reina will display for Kumiko in episode 8. This is quite a drastic change. Something has happened along the way.

Kumiko, though, is dissatisfied with this sort of resolution again.

“I might regret it again.” 

Kumiko has been wanting to talk to Reina for a while now. As early as the first episode to be exact. But, she has never been able to get the courage to do it.

This time though she managed to stop running away and just do it.


Um… I’m sorry about yesterday, too. I should stop talking behind people’s backs and shut up and practice, right?

When Kumiko isn’t having her massive crush on Reina derail her rational thinking, she really gives the most remarkable insight about her. Because Reina is probably thinking exactly what Kumiko said. A LOT.  Considering the massive dissatisfaction regarding Taki-sensei.

As I’ve said, Kumiko just gets Reina’s character at times. And then this.

That day we didn’t have practice, that was you playing Dvorak wasn’t it, Kousaka-san?

It was really inspiring! 

It made me feel like I needed to work hard, too.

So, thanks. 

<runs away>

Ah. Kumiko seriously. Reina going to think that is creepy? Even with no knowledge of her character the answer is

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Kumiko probably raised a thousand flags with that speech alone. If you watch carefully, you could literally see that Reina is taken aback by Kumiko’s words.  And it wasn’t until episode 8, that I finally figured it out.

Reina wanted to be special.

And what Kumiko said is an affirmation  in speech form that she did it.  Kumiko basically credited Reina for being able to reach out and kindle a passion in her to keep playing.

Also, note the implied  praise in the dialogue as well. Kumiko recognized Reina’s trumpet playing when it literally could be anyone else. That meant Kumiko thinks and proved that Reina’s music is unique enough to be recognized which is a very high accolade for any musician indeed. Doubly  so for Reina who’s life goal is to stand out from the crowd.

Lastly, we should also think of the circumstances. Reina is very frustrated with the band. She must have regretted enrolling in it in the first place considering the  progress at this time appear to be non-existent.

Like a stranger in a strange land, Reina is feeling very much alone and frustration in her quest for self-improvement.

That is why she was playing that song last episode in the first place.

And then here comes Kumiko who in just a few words summarized Reina’s feelings showing someone *understood* and in the same breath confirmed that Reina did achieve something significant. 

Its really no wonder that Reina began to watch Kumiko after that. (Considering that this is what, probably the second time that Kumiko shook Reina’s worldview? lol)

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On Kumiko’s side though. That little encounter has a profound effect as well. Now, that Kumiko stopped running away from Reina, it translated into a little courage in other aspects of her life.

After that encounter, Kumiko immediately reached out to Natsuki and said what she wanted to say for some time. “Let’s  all try playing together.” 

Which to Kumiko’s surprise got a positive answer.

(I kinda like the small art style change KyoAni did for this scene. Before Natsuki is portrayed in somewhat aloof and untouchable manner. But, this time, she’s portrayed in a comical one showing sleepy eyes.

It neatly underscores Kumiko’s change of perception. )

And with the change of personal dynamics, a change in the overall band is also taking place. The Kitauji Band is finally moving forward, if only a little bit.

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2 Responses to Hibike Euphonium 4 – Turning Point

  1. MarkS00N says:

    One thing I always thought strange (and reading another blogger also find it strange) is, why bring Kumiko to the backyard?
    As has been noted by Shuichi, Reina doesn't care about anyone else opinion, so if she want to just apologize, she would just ask Kumiko right and there…

    The idea or theory I've been brewing is that, in light of Reina's episode 8 comment on how she has been trying to get close to Kumiko, she has been trying to open conversation since episode 3 (where she asks Kumiko to 'move the desk for me' despite Kumiko already going to take the desk) and this episode decision by Reina to bring Kumiko to the back of the school is also Reina attempts to establish a conversation with a more honest opinion from Kumiko's part, and it is a success, Kumiko is being open and honest, it is just "unfortunately" for Reina, she doesn't know it will make her unable to not get close to Kumiko…

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      That is certainly possible. And I kinda wanted to know if Shuichi got the same apology as well. On one hand, I believe Reina would do the proper thing and apologize to both of them On the other hand, I believe if Shuichi got apologized on, he would tell Kumiko.

      If Kumiko is the only one who got an apology then that shows Reina has a lot of regard of her compared to others even early on.

      But, I still believe that while the conversation on episode 1 might have sown an interest or a flag. It didn't become a full blown fascination until this episode. Because its only after that scene did Kumiko's one sided staring became very very MUTUAL.

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