For this post, I want to talk about the first year trio of Kumiko, Hazuki and Midori’s friendship. To be honest, even if it only amounts to just background detail on most episode, I really like the trio’s camaraderie.
And I really like how its demonstrated in this episode, with all its up and down.
Midori is concerned about Hazuki’s broken heart that her music is suffering. Hazuki, on the other hand, is concerned back with Midori’s deteriorating performance. And of course, Kumiko is Kumiko.
I’ve made a comment on past episodes about how Midori and Hazuki are probably closer to each other than Kumiko and this episode hasn’t exactly disproved that theory. After all, Kumiko despite being more involved in the incident (being the direct recipient of Shuichi’s affection isn’t exactly suffering. She actually improved,even!).
I don’t meant to say with that comment that Midori and Hazuki aren’t friends with Kumiko. That Kumiko doesn’t care for them and vice-versa. Ultimately, Kumiko went after practice with Hazuki to comfort Midori.Unlike Asuka which I talked last post, Kumiko’s distance to other people is still not that great (and may actually be shrinking thanks to Reina). Its obvious that Kumiko cares for things other than music still.
Though, in this case, I think that distance is a bonus (and why Kumiko would make a great friend even if she’s a tad “cold”).
I meant in this situation everyone could see that Hazuki is just putting a strong front and she’s not really over Shuichi, Midori, though, is perhaps too close to Hazuki that she’s worsening the situation because she’s so damn concerned that Hazuki is secretly hurting.
Kumiko though gave this surprisingly good advice.
“Hazuki-chan wants to be happy. She wants to be her usual self. So I think we should both act like nothing has happened.” [Kumiko’s advice]
If you’ve noticed though, Kumiko’s solution of just letting Hazuki act as if nothing is wrong is something that would not occur to someone as emotionally close as Midori. When we see someone close to us hurt, we want to fix it immediately. But, sometimes, there is nothing we can do and any intervention in our part may just worsen things.
I believe it takes a certain amount of distance (or non-involvement) to let things be the way they are. Something that I think is an automatic reaction to Kumiko in the past. Because of said distance Kumiko never feels the need to involve herself.
But, as this episode has shown with Kumiko and with many other episodes with Asuka, distance gives a great objective view.
Still, distance is just one component.
Because, one of the profound thing about this episode is how that distance Kumiko have became noticeably shorter. Something that was slowly thawing in Kumiko before the Agata Festival have finally melted.
That moment with Reina beside being serving as something that finally connected Kumiko and Reina together is also a great moment of silent character development by Kumiko.
I think that moment should not be underestimated. That scene, helped restore a bit of Kumiko’s optimism. Made Kumiko believe that its possible to be “special”. Melted some of Kumiko’s cynicism and allowed herself to believe in herself and perhaps others.
Which is a good thing!
While Kumiko’s relative leaning toward being distant certainly helped, I also think that the solution would have also not occurred to Kumiko without her talk with Reina on the mountaintop. The episode itself will go on and say, how Kumiko is inspired by Reina on that mountain that evening. How something moved in Kumiko’s heart seeing Reina still moving forward despite her obstacles.
Because as our walking exhibit #1 (Asuka) shows us. While distance allows us to make great decision. The greater your distance to the problem/incident the less inclined you are to actually do something about it.
I think without that talk with Reina and Kumiko’s slow character development throughout the series. Kumiko being the pessimistic person that she is might have not believed in Hazuki’s perseverance. She might have allowed herself to silently worry along with Midori or perhaps worse distanced herself because such situation cannot be helped.
After all, to someone as cynical as Kumiko had been, a friend becoming no longer friendly because she got turned down by a boy who liked Kumiko is probably the most probably situation.
In some ways, I feel that without having Reina in her life, I think Kumiko left unattended might have developed to someone that is very much Asuka (which is my not-so secret theory on why the two euphonium appear to get along so freaking much).
But, with Reina in her life, Kumiko is slowly changing. Kumiko started to become a bit passionate and care more about people.
Which is probably why I like this little segment. I feel that we are seeing a window in time to a possible future Kumiko. A Kumiko that is in the middle between Reina’s red hot passion and Asuka’s cold calculations.
And I like the possibility that I’m seeing.