Impression – Hibike! Euphonium, Episode 09

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Episode 09 – “Please, Audition”

Off the subject of love and shipping, this episode captures the gripping anxiety that comes with any musical audition. As a person who has never been great with verbal communication, music has provided an alternative aural outlet of expression and to be judged based on something as subjective as an expression of one’s self, like music, is absolutely terrifying. Even though it’s never the intent, failing an audition feels like a part of yourself is being rejected.

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This series went from being simply enjoyable to slightly stressful, and I think I know how shippers can get so emotional and defensive with other shows. I say that Hibike! Euphonium is getting stressful, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For me, when I stress over a fictional show, that means that the shows has done a great job of capturing my attention. I, like most everyone else watching this series, am invested in the Reina and Kumiko ship, and I, like most everyone else, am disappointed that this does not seem to be a realistic end situation.

First of all, the light novel is apparently much lighter on the yuri overtones, and Kumiko and Shuichi end up hooking up, which honestly frustrates me to no end. The light novels are still ongoing, so anything can happen I suppose, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve so repulsed by something romance related. One thing that stands out vividly in my mind was this book trilogy about talking mice I read when I was a kid. In the first book, a guy mouse saves a female mouse and they fall in love, but the guy dies in the second book, and the female mouse hooks up with his brother with very little thought about the first guy.

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While not totally analogous, those same sentiments are bubbling up when I think about Kumiko being shoehorned into a relationship with Shuichi. I’m sure that the light novel portrays this development differently, but in this sphere known as the anime adaptation, the dynamic between Reina and Kumiko has been THE focal point for the entire series, and how the anime decides to proceed in these next three episodes will be crucial for creating any sort of contiguous character progression. Will the anime end before the point where Kumiko and Shuichi supposedly get together in the light novel? If the anime diverges from the novel, which adaptation will hold more authority? In that case, will fans simply hold what they prefer as canon? These are questions that I unfortunately cannot answer.

“Everyone wants to be in the competition. It took me this long to figure out something so obvious.” ~ Kumiko Oumae

B.W.

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