Sound! Euphonium 2 did something very bold this episode, but before I get to that I have a couple of concerns. Firstly, the new coaches are apparently gone now, making me wonder why they were there in the first place. I was really hoping on at least Hashimoto staying, as he seems to be the one that knows the most about Taki-sensei. Other than that, I do not really see the point in adding these characters in the season at all, as they weren’t really given much enough screen time for the audience to get attached and they didn’t seem to do anything in terms of music instructing that couldn’t have easily been said by Taki-sensei himself. Oh well. Aside from that, Nozomi and Mizore and apparently best friends again, which I didn’t think was the conclusion they had come to last episode. I thought Mizore had gotten over Nozomi after that final confrontation, and it didn’t seem like Nozomi even cared that much for her either. And what about Yuuko and Mizore? Now that Nozomi’s back in the picture, everything they went through doesn’t matter? Pssh, whatever. Onto the main part of the episode.
As I said earlier, Sound! Euphonium 2 made a very bold decision this episode, the decision being to have a tremendous focus on the performance and nothing else. At this point, they been through so much practice and drama, now all that’s left is the moment of truth. There’s some pep talk before they take the stage, but certainly nothing memorable or remarkably inspiring coming from anyone. And that’s wonderful, because none of that really matters for them now that they’ve made it there.
The episode is half build up, half climax. Stress, doubt, and overwhelming anticipation are shown building up in the characters, and those feelings are transferred over to the audience as well. Then they reach the point where they’re waiting back stage and you can faintly hear the music coming from other bands. We’re never given a shot of any other band however, nor any clear sounds other than the muffled echoes through the building. Not only was this episode a focus on performance, it was a focus on Kitauji’s performance, and no one else’s.
After the lead up, all that’s left is the climax. With no real plot other than tension building in this episode, this was a risky maneuver. The show itself is banking off of the confidence it has in its performance, believing that the performance itself is so good that the rest of the show (the drama, the comedy, and everything else besides the music) can be put on hold. And it works, as I was positively enthralled. The camera shifts from one instrument to the next, capturing the sweat and determination on the faces and in the souls of every member of the band. Taki-sensei’s gestures are graceful and swift, those cheering them on from the side are frozen in awe, and the musicians are pouring their hearts into their performance, the emotion and warmth emitting from them like a furnace. And then it’s over.
And they win. There wasn’t really much to this episode beside that, it was more of a joy to behold more than anything else. Perhaps I’d be able to speak more about it if I knew more about music, but nonetheless I believe this was a performance that could be enjoyed by anyone. Because really, I think the performance was meant to speak for itself. And if you haven’t seen it but for some reason are reading this, go do that! If you need a Crunchyroll guest past, just tweet at me I’ll be happy to give you one, so long as you tell me it’s for Sound! Euphonium.
Miraculous Harmony indeed. And the next piece begins.
See what I did there?