Hibike! Euphonium (Kyoto Animation) – Genre: Comedy, Music, School
Hibike! Euphonium premiered today, causing all of the band nerds to come crawling out of their little practice caves. Of course, I say this affectionately because I am also one of these so-called band nerds, having been involved with music for over 13 years (7 of which I was in marching band). So like any other musically-inclined anime fan, I was incredibly excited when KyoAni announced back in December that they were producing an anime about a wind band. But did Hibike! Euphonium blow the wind out of my sails? Hibike! Euphonium is beautifully animated, perhaps more than any other KyoAni work to date. The quality is spectacular, from the ubiquitous sakura petals blowing in the spring breeze to the plethora of detailed characters. In typical KyoAni fashion, even the mob characters have interesting designs, and they’re so proud of their work that they’re showing off every member of the band in the episode eyecatches, section by section. The choice of brown for the school uniform is a smart one, as it gives off a very warm feeling much in the same way that music can feel warm depending on what harmonies are used. The heroine of our story is Kumiko Oumae, a former baritone/euphonium player looking to start a new life for herself in high school following a loss at a Middle School concert band competition. Anyone who has watched Girls und Panzer will notice some similarities between the two scenarios. Like said tank anime, Kumiko is ultimately dragged back into the music scene by Hazuki Katou, an energetic former tennis player who knows nothing about band, and Sappire “Midori” Kawashima, who used to play the contrabass which is a really cool instrument. To complicate matters further, Kumiko discovers that her old bandmate Reina Kousaka is also attending the same school and is looking to join the slightly untalented school concert band. While we can expect the story to be fairly light, I’m already loving the atmosphere of this series, and I think a lot of it has to do with the great facial expressions. KyoAni does a great job of showing emotion through the characters’ body language, adding a layer of expression to what is being said. For me, it adds a lot of realism to the series, that these could be real high schoolers somewhere in a world where a mascot character named Tuba-kun can exist and be popular among high school girls. If you’re looking for beautifully animated instruments, a quirky male music instructor, and enjoyable characters, I highly recommend checking out Hibike! Euphonium.
“Not ‘UFO’. It’s ‘euph’. It’s called a ‘euphonium’.” ~ Kumiko Oumae