Episode 10 – “Straight Trumpet”
Full disclosure: I often peruse the Tumblr tags for certain anime that I’m watching, and I’ll usually come across people’s opinions about the shows, which I use as springboards for my impressions. What I always remind myself of is that Tumblr, or any other community for that matter, is NOT fully indicative of an entire fanbase. Like-minded people will gather in the places, and that’s a rule that governs not only the internet but real life as well. This isn’t really relevant to what I want to talk about today, but I feel like this is something that people often forget. The vocal minority does not and never fully will represent the majority.
Now, the reason I bring this all up is because the community is incensed over the latest episode of Hibike! Euphonium, specifically Reina’s declaration of love for Taki-sensei and how this reduces the entire series to a bout of “yuri-baiting.” Even if the anime is following the light novels, that doesn’t mean I’m not upset by it too. However, I’m disappointed for a completely different reason than most people on Tumblr, who seem entitled, by some divine right, to the representation of certain groups (due to their race, sexual orientation, body type, and so on).
KyoAni, and even the light novel writer, doesn’t have to cater to social justice correctness or whatever if they don’t want to. Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino did when they finished The Legend of Korra, and that’s great for them. What upsets me the most is that KyoAni showed how well Reina and Kumiko worked together, even beyond the LGBT aspect and just simply as two characters, and now they seem ready to throw all of the setup away. Do Reina and Kumiko need to canonically end up together for the show to succeed? Absolutely not. I’ve always been a huge proponent of the idea that romance does not make the anime, but when you add things like Reina’s apparent crush on Taki-sensei and the looming hook-up between Kumiko and Shuichi, I can’t help but wonder how much stronger the series could be if it wasn’t held down by these extraneous, distracting affects.
I guess I should end this by saying I don’t want this to feel like I’m standing on a soapbox shouting about things I think I deserve from anime. I’m just a guy who likes to watch and write about anime for fun. Like anyone else, there are things I like and dislike, but I will never feel like I am so entitled that all anime needs to be made to align with my desires. All of this drama almost overshadows the interesting development with the rivalry between Reina and Kaori, to be settled live in front of the band. This type of audition would probably never work for most high school bands because I’m sure everyone would just be too biased.
“Music is nice. You can’t lie. You can only admit when something is good.” ~ Michie Matsumoto