Sound! Euphonium Review

Hello everyone!! I hope you have been having a good October!! I bring to you today to a show that for a moment reminded me of my childhood. You see back when I was in junior high and high school (which actually was not all that long ago) instead of leaning towards the athletics department, I was more of a fan of the music side of school. For all seven years I was in band, choir, and marching band. I played the piano, flute, and oboe, and sang alto in choir. I loved it. As an anime fan, I always keep for an anime that has something to do with a band (or maybe some kind of singing group). Anything that really takes me back to the musical side of things. Which is exactly the kind of story that the anime I am reviewing today surrounds.

Here is my 22nd Anime Review for an anime that took me back to my days full of scales, tuning, and spit valves: Sound! Euphonium

Sound! Euphonium premiered back in April of 2015 as a part of the Spring 2015 Anime Season. It concluded in June of 2015 after airing 13 episodes. There are also four short episodes (all of which are not very long) that premiered around the same times as the series that just centered on little things surrounding being in a concert band. I looked back at the shows that I watched this spring that made me choose to not watch this show. After looking at them I realized it was the 3rd Season of Kuroko’s Basketball as well as Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love Revolutions that were taking up a lot of my time. This was also when I was in the middle of the most intense summer job ever, so that may have had something to do with it. Moving on!!

Our story centers on Kumiko Oumae, a young girl about to start her first year of high school. She is attending Kitauji High School, a school that was once famous for its concert band that had at one time participated on the national level. However, ever since their music instructor left they have not been able to return to the national stage. The year Kumiko begins school, there is a rumor that  new music instructor who is very skilled will be attending the school. After the persuasion of her new friends, Kumiko decides to join the concert band. The story then goes to revolved around the members of the band as they go through practice, school drama, and of course wanting to compete at the national level. 

Our main character is Kumiko who has played the Euphonium ever since she was in fourth grade. Towards the beginning she had wanted to switch to a different instrument but ends up continuing to play the Euphonium. Kumiko’s character can get a little annoying sometimes. She often does not think very highly of herself and it takes a great deal of motivation to get her to do something sometimes, and can be very indecisive. At times she can also be a little oblivious as to what is going on around her, especially the people around her. I do relate to her on a personal level a bit because she an indoor person who does not like thing around her to be too fancy. As a main character, Kumiko is nothing exceptional but she does go through quite a bit of growth as the story goes on.

Next is Hazuki Katou, a young girl who was on the tennis team in junior high but was attracted to the trumpet so she decided to join the concert band. Despite wanting to play the trumpet, she get assigned to the tuba instead. Ah…tuba humor. Sorry got off track. Anyway. Hazuki is a beginner to music but does get gradually better in the course of the story. She is a very energetic girl to enjoys helping those around her but dreams of being able to stand out from everyone else. Her character did get a little annoying at time, but she did always lighten the mood when she was on-screen. Although, I do have to say that she does something towards the middle of the series that kind of made me change my opinion of her. I do not want to go into what it was, that would ruin a part of the story, but she does acknowledge what she did and kind of apologizes for it.

Sapphire Kawashima, or Midori as she is usually called, is a timid young girl who is very quiet and unsure of herself. She plays the contrabass, or bass as I often hear it called, which is almost bigger than she is. When in junior high, she attended a very well-known school that has a very good concert band. Because of this, Midori is often praised for her playing because she is from a famous school. Midori was an okay character as well, she was just kind of sitting in a supporting role. One thing I do not understand is her name Sapphire. She urges people to call her Midori anyway, so why would they name her something if the character just wants to be called something else. But I guess that is not too bad of an idea since some people do not like the name that they are given by their parents. I do not know.

The final character that I am going to discuss is Reina Kousaka. She attended middle school with Kumiko. Reina is very good at playing the trumpet, like really good, and is greatly devoted to her music. She is a very polite person but some people do not like her because of the constant serious expression that she always has on her face. Her relationship with Kumiko starts off kind of strange, and after a random event it starts to develop into a true friendship. Although a friendship that I do not quite understand. She was a good character though and added the motivation that was needed for the plot at times.

I do have to go out there and say that the four main characters were not some of my favorite characters of the show. While you have to somewhat like them to make the show enjoyable, I often found that I enjoyed it more when some other characters were on-screen. I always liked when they went into sectionals because I enjoyed watching all of the bass section interacting with one another. Three of the main characters are present in this scene, and they just seemed a lot better when they were playing off of other characters. I liked a lot of the upperclassman characters, especially the tuba playing Gotou and Nagase. However, my two favorite characters, in my honest opinion, were Taki-sensei (the concert band adviser) and Shuichi (Kumiko’s childhood friend). Taki-sensei was just……beautiful and Shuichi was a fun character who I was really rooting for. The cast of characters in this show was huge. I mean look at all of them.

And I think that some of them were cut out of this photo. I wish I would have been able to learn some of their names, but the only ones I could remember were the ones who actually had major places in the story. The characters caused a lot of drama but that is not unusual for a concert band. There were arguments over solos and not practicing hard enough which are problem that I dealt with back when I was in band. The drama struggles are real. They are not all given depth which is kind of sad because it just means that a lot of them are just there for the sake of having a band, but that is kind of understandable in its own way. 

On to the animation!! It was done by Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) so I think that may speak for itself. KyoAni is a studio known for its beautiful animation and Sound! Euphonium was no exception. The animation was beautiful and even the animation on the instruments were very well done and accurate. Yes I was looking for any strange-looking instruments. I am a music nerd like that. The soundtrack for the show was…..okay. They were a little catchy but not really anything that I would like to listen to over and over again. In all honestly, I skipped them most of the time. One part of the soundtrack that I did like was when the band was playing. Which was….well…a lot of the time I guess. I liked it though because it sounded so real. Not like they were just digitally putting the sounds together. It was preformed by a real wind ensemble from a college of music which I though was really cool. I really liked the pieces that they played and you could kind of tell when someone would point out something was off that it had actually sounded a little off. A lot of thought was put into it. 

In the end I award Sound! Euphonium with a C. While it had good animation and some characters that I enjoyed, this show for me was lacking in a lot of places. It took me back to my band days and even though I loved it for that it was still lacking in an anime sense. The leads were good but nothing extraordinary. It also made me a little frustrated at time because the story would kind of hint at something and then never bring it up again, or they would take something so far and then stop it right there. Never to be finished. There were also times when they would discuss some event that occurred the year prior, which I think would be interesting to divulge in, but they go no deeper than that one mention. The show is a good time killer and focuses on an interesting topic so I would recommend it for anyone who wants to watch a music centered anime, but that may not be for everyone. I was really looking forward to this show but I have to be honest and say that I was left a little disappointed.

And that is all that I have for this time!! What do you guys think? Any shows that you have watched that center on something you did in junior high and high school? Did it live up to your expectations? Did you play an instrument? Let me known down in the comments below!! As always, if there is something that you think I should review go ahead and leave that down in the comments as well!!

See you next time!!

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