I’m going to miss this band and this show a whole lot ;_;
– Dang, already out with the old? They move quick with clubs.
– THIS IS MY PRESIDENT YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Yuko is such a good choice for band president. She’s just got the makings of such a good leader, and watching her personality get fleshed out this season was an absolute treat. She definitely ended up becoming one of my favorites, and to see her get here is such an awesome place for her to end up. Now wait till she gets an adorable kouhai that worships her, haha.
– NATSUKI AS VP! YEESSSSS! This is the best pairing. Not only do they work well together, but I just love their dichotomy SO MUCH. Her acceptance and deadpan towards Yuko being a hothead about is is too cute. I’ll take a season 3 of just those two running the band for a year, please.
– Look at Yuko go conducting the warm-ups. Already got the weight of her role on her mind.
– This Taki/Matsumoto conversation is so good. The way they reflect on their roles as a teacher, and how you start anew every year definitely reminds me of my time doing that, student teaching in particular. You can tell they’re super excited for the future.
– Look at Kumiko getting sentimental over the third-years leaving.
– Oh man, Shuichi with impeccable timing. I like how since they helped him pick it, they knew about it so they could continue playing matchmaker, Midori more so.
– Kumiko is worried about him telling people about the hairpin? Haha. I love how shy she is about this. Asuka’s misinterpretation of the situation is great. Aoi dropping the truth though! Asuka is right, too. Kumiko getting emotionally attached to her, and sad about not seeing her is too cute.
– A note from Mamiko.
– Oh man, she’s playing the solo! She’s tearing up. I’m tearing up and getting all emotional over it too! Even Mizore and Nozomi thought it was Asuka. I hope that piece becomes something all the euphos pass down from lead player to lead player over the years. In high school I had a school-loaned instrument that I was the first to play, which I named and left a pair of gloves and a short 10 bar mellophone solo in the case. I came back for an alumni thing about 9 years later, and they still had it and played it as a pre-marching performance ritual ;_;
– Ah, a letter from Kumiko to Mamiko. I like that they’re writing to each other. I love how Kumiko is really taking the lessons she learned from other to heart, and really wants to go for gold the next year. Watching her grow from having no conviction and direction to the person she is now is really quite a satisfying character arc.
– Graduation party time! Yuko’s already crying over Kaori’s appearance, haha.
– A gift for Haruka, home videos of their trip, and just a general jist of of fun things they did together. We did the same thing for my band program in high school too! I still have the DVD.
– A PERFORMANCE BY THE THIRD YEARS? YESSSSSS! IT’S THIS SONG TOO? AHHHH I CAN’T STOP SMILING! LET’S DO THIS.
[09:36] – Knuckle’s first hit was on-point with the low toms being hit first.
[09:37] – Kaori is playing an A (12)(concert G). Correct fingering.
[09:41] – I’m not a bassoon player, but the timing looks accurate enough, so i’d assume the fingerings are probably good too. That’s a lot of specific hand and finger movement to be animated for the walking bass part in the low reeds, even with such a short cut. All of it looks great too!
[09:44] – Kaori’s notes (transposed pitches) are A G# A D C B-natural B-flat A (12 23 12 1 0 2 1). The little flick from B-flat to B-natural (1 to 2)in the animation actually isn’t reflected in the audio. It’s a grace note that they animated but didn’t record in the audio! The full version would be like this: 12 23 12 1 0 (1)2 1
[09:46] – Trombone notes are D E-flat F G (4 3 1 4). All correctly animated.
[09:48] – I love the congas cut. The top-down cut is so cool.
[09:49] – The flute animation looks to be properly timed, though I need to see her right hand to be sure on the accuracy.
[09:52] – Euphonium notes are G B-flat C F E-flat F E-flat C. Fingerings are correct 12 0 1 0 1 0 1 4/(0). Why 4 you ask? Well, Asuka has a euphonium with a 4th valve, and that is indeed a fingering for C. We just can’t see it.
[09:55] – Next euphonium cut is G B-flat C F E-flat F E-flat G all correct with 12 0 1 0 1 0 1 12 fingerings.
[09:59] – Next flute cut makes me wish I remembered more about them!
[10:01] – Trumpet cut (transposed pitches) is D C D F A-flat F F C D F (concert C B-flat C E-flat G-flat F E-flat B-flat C E-flat). Fingerings should be 1 0 1 1 23 0 1 0 1 1. Animated they are 1 0 11 23 0 1 0 12 1. So the second to last note is off as it should be a D. I can’t think of an alternate fingering for that which would include 12 either. However, in the lower trumpet part they do play an A for the second to last note (A to C-sharp), so I would guess there was a slight mix up.
[10:05] – The next fingerings we can see are the trumpet player with the silver lacquer instrument. Kaori is playing the high-C while this girl is playing an A-flat (23) which is correctly drawn.
[10:07] – Ahhhhh, the way the set fill is drawn is so cool! All the timings are there. Even going through this in slow motion, they actually animated him hitting the correct drums and cymbals that coincide with the music. Snare, hi-tom, low-tom, hi-hat (including the pedal being up, leaving the hi-hat open, THEN even showing it react to being hit!), and the crash cymbals are all hit at the correct timings. Heck, they even went as far as to animate each hit like 1:1 with the music, even closer than any of the other timings in this already tightly animated performance. Going through it frame-by-frame, the accuracy is absolutely insane with how well they managed to sync it up. Even body posture and the places each of the percussion implements are hit are all just so right on the money. The smears add another layer of motion that look cool too!
[10:11] – Piccolo is something I don’t know how to play sadly so I can’t comment on much. The timings look weird as far as it being synced with the audio.
[10:13-10:19] – I love how they show the faces of all the third-years here. Intentional or not, it also hides all their hands and with most finger positions too, muwahahah.
[10:20] – This horn cut is slightly disorienting because of the camera view, but the notes are (transposed) D B-flat C E-flat B-natural with correct fingerings T12 T1 T0 T1 2. THE REALLY COOL THING about this brief cut is that they actually show her thumb lift the trigger at the end of the cut when they go from the E-flat to the B-natural. Such amazing attention to detail!
[10:22] – Trumpet note shown/sounding are (transposed) F-sharp F-natural F-sharp (2 1 2).
[10:23] – Horn notes are (transposed) E C G F D-flat. Fingers seem to be on the mark except for the lack of showing the last note being played (they cut to the trumpet). While realistically they’d play that passage all with the trigger, the whole thing is indeed playable with all open-fingerings. T0 T0 0 T0 T23/2 for the D-flat last note.
[10:24] – Trumpet notes shown are A-flat G A-flat (23 0 23). Sounds like there’s a couple more notes in there with how fast it goes though.
[10:27] More flawless set playing animation. The fill goes from the hi-tom to the snare and that’s shown in the animation too.
[10:27] Trumpet notes are shown are 23 12 1 2 0 12, while the ones heard in the audio are (transposed) A B-flat B-natural C-sharp (the next note would be a D if shown). So what’s weird is that we have two extra notes animated when there should only be four in the cut (as is timed with the audio), and the notes should be 23 12 2 0 1.
[10:36] This very fast trumpet cut is completely correct! The notes (transposed) are D C A-flat G F D C D F. Fingerings are correct 1 0 23 0 1 13 0 13 1 (last two notes are cut off from cut).
[10:37] It’s hard to make out what notes Asuka is playing since most of the parts are all playing here, and they’re mostly on the same notes, and her fingerings are hard to tell because the third finger is cut off. It looks like it could be 1 0 2 12 though. Impossible to say unless I can see that third finger!
– Man, the third years are SO COOL! Such an awesome piece and performance!!!
– Good Yuko speech. Cute messup too, haha.
– Ah cool, they’re performing Crescent Moon Dance now! Please see my episode 5 writeup as all the fingerings should be the same! I love how the audio sounds less filled in than the performance from episode 5. You can really feel the absence of the third years from the audio alone. Funny enough, even though they do different cuts for the same music, they still mostly are choosing the same exact instruments to feature in each cut, in the same sequence as episode 5. The main difference being that it’s the new people in their new positions that are shown instead of the performers from episode 5. Really cool to compare this and episode 5 to see the differences.
– Don’t cry Matsumoto-sensei ;_;
– Look at Kaori when Reina plays the solo. Look at Yuko smiling. Totally different from where we were at the end of season 1, and even episode 5. The dispassionate look is gone, finally replaced with a smile. The whole background animosity over that part, and how they felt each time it was played just still hits me so hard. It’s always one of my favorite moments of the piece because of what it stands for. And Reina’s playing sounds even better! As with the fingerings, you can check out the episode 5 writeup for that. Nothing has changed, I assure you!
– Legitimately getting me crying now, you can tell those hands are Kaori’s hands, because she’s doing the correct fingerings for the solo on her hand as Reina is playing. She still knows it by heart, and is playing along, in a personal way only she’s aware of. I can only imagine the sheer depth of the emotions she’s going through in this instant as she reminisces on that situation, and how it ultimately all turned out. I know it’s such a little thing, but like, some legit tears came down my face seeing that. I can’t even begin to describe what she must’ve felt in that moment. The look on her face at the end has me so torn up inside! Such a fantastic moment for the flashback.
– Oh Mizore, your playing sounds so much better too. Nozomi conducting is good too. You can follow her somewhat rounded ictus, that reflects the more legato nature of this passage in the music. Cue to Kumiko!
[13:51] – Euphonium notes are F B-flat C D-flat E-flat C D-natural, with correct fingerings (skipping back-to-back repeated notes, fyi) 0 0 1 2 1 1 0. I didn’t write abouot Asuka’s fingers at this part in episode 5, so it’s only natural I do so here!
– LOOK AT THE SADNESS ON KUMIKO’S FACE AS ASUKA SMILES AT HER AND HER EYES AND SHE’S PROBABLY READY TO CRY NOW AHHHHHHHH THIS IS GETTING ME SO GOOD RIGHT NOW HELP ME PLEASE ;______;
– Ah, the flashbacks to the parade! Their rehearsals! Their training! Just look at how hard they all worked over this year! DON’T CRY YET, ME.
– Ah man, Asuka took her euphonium with her. Kumiko looks sad as it’s finally starting to sink in.
– Valedictorian? Very nice. She really went all out.
– Flutes with Taki.
– Ahhhhhh the horn girls are saying goodbye ;_;
– Matsumoto giving a friendly lecture to Knuckle, haha.
– Now the trombones!
– The clarinets!
– Haruka with the saxophones.
– Kaori saying goodbye to Yuko!
– But where is Kumiko’s band family? Her precious comrade! Not even Kaori knows. Kumiko is checking everywhere, but she’s nowhere to be found… But then she remembered the time when she first saw Asuka while at that very place. There she is.
– Asuka looks so comfy right now. Absolutely phenomenal voice acting in this upcoming scene. Holy cow. The words Kumiko says in this scene, and how she came around is just so perfect. These two are so great. I love their relationship so much, and I love how Kumiko just lets it all out here. She even gets the notebook and is going to take up that tradition ;_________; When I think of the traditions I took part in, and even started, and the way you treasure them and share them with people you treat like your brothers and sisters… well, the feeling of being in something like this, with people like that and having to finally let them go is almost indescribable. Such an emotional scene that my nostalgia for those times is certainly elevating its impact a TON.
This scene totally broke me. I tried re-watching it a few times too, and I felt equally sad every single time.
– THERE’S THE TITLE!
– Ah, here’s the beginning of season 2 from episode 1! We’ve finally come full circle.
– It’s only farewell for now. I love the relationship built up between these two after all this time. ;_;
“I’ll never forget how warm it sounds.”
Well, what can I say? This last episode turned me into an emotional wreck, no doubt partially fueled by my own past experiences in this same setting. They really nailed the feel of something like this, and how everyone would experience it in their own way. The senior party and the farewells at the end were so touching, and I absolutely love how it all totally wrecked me.
This season was a little was great for delving into band drama, and just how dysfunctional group dynamics can really get in a microcosm like this. I very much liked Mizore and Nozomi as new additions, and overall there was significant character growth for pretty much everyone that was featured in some way. Asuka reconciled the two major conflicts in her life by will power and emotional help from Kumiko. Haruka finally grew tough enough to be able to put herself out there and not rely on someone to get the job done. Mizore and Nozomi reconciled and Mizore lost the robotic tinge to her playing. Reina finally got out her feelings for Taki, despite learning some truths that hurt her somewhat and overcame them. Mamiko decided to stand on her own two feet and become independent from her parents in order to follow her dreams. Yuko protected and furthered her bond with Mizore, and became band president. Natsuki stepped up her game by practicing more, and became vice president. Kaori finally got past the solo thing with Reina, and still tried to meddle in Asuka’s affairs because she cares about her friend. The neat part about all these individual character arcs is that they were all connected in some way, whether directly or indirectly. It was fun to see just how they all were interwoven, and produced a very fun season and an engaging band dynamic.
Let’s also not forget the absolutely incredible performance in episode 5. I seriously believe that nobody will top that absolutely insanely detailed episode with instrument animation, ever. That episode contained some deeply detailed work, the likes of which I may never see anything come close to that in my lifetime. Having gone through it with only the finest of fine-tooth combs, I can glady tell you that I have every part for every instrument at all times totally memorized and internalized. Really made me love Crescent Moon Dance.
Episode 5 aside, generally all the instrument animation and detailing was just flawless. A ridiculous amount of attention was given to not only the instruments and their detailing, but the performers that were holding them too. An insane amount of detailing went into animating and drawing body postures, finger and hand positions, breathing, body movement while playing (except for that one goofy clarinet cut, of which I’ve only seen one person in real life play like that!), where the eyes were looking, and Taki’s conducting too. The conducting was particularly impressive because it’s a lot of information to communicate with only hands, arms, and eyes, but it was pulled off flawlessly. Couple that in with the crazy amount of character designs they had to work with for each of these, and actually maintained them properly throughout the whole series… Well, it’s mind-boggling in terms of logistics that a work like this was even pulled off with the quality that it maintained.
The audio implementation was also very good. The recordings were accurate representations for the performances that were to be given, and coupled with the phenomenal animation, the recordings really helped elevate the material. The voice acting was really great too. The more realistic depiction of her character’s voice in season 2 was really great, and Tomoyo Kurosawa in particular gave an amazing performance that really gave a lot of life to Kumiko. From all the cute noises, to her deadpan delivery at times, to her eventual emotional outbursts… They all felt really satisfying and I love what she brought to Kumiko.
Last but not least, Kumiko. What an awesome main character. Although she was more an observer to some of the stuff in season 2, I love how Asuka actually called her out on that. Her involvement being fluffed up wasn’t an oversight, but more a group consensus that spread misinformation the way they only could in a band, which is to say like a really complicated game of telephone. It was really refreshing to see that all get covered. From season 1 Kumiko was such a passive person, disinterested in almost everything. Through joining band she made new friends, rekindled old relationships, and really grew as a person. Watching her grow up and go through the pains of adolescence in this setting was just really enjoyable. Having come from a lenghty band background living through this stuff during a similar period in my life, this series entirely relatable with lots of nostalgia for me. It all greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the show because I could bring a part of myself with to relate to the show and the characters in a way that felt like someone knew who I was at a point in my life.
Slowly Kumiko found herself getting more involved with people, trying harder to improve herself, trying harder to improve her playing skills, trying harder to be more proactive in all aspects of her life. Eventually she left her passive role and became more active in confronting people directly, ultimately speaking her mind and sharing her emotions instead of just letting those things be her inner voice. The way she grew as a person, was able to start discovering who she was, and was able to accept all of that while acting on these personal discoveries was just really satisfying. Of course her relationship with Asuka was a long-fought, but well-earned one by the end. All the stuff they went through, they genuinely didn’t have anything to hide from each other by the end, and ended up sharing a special bond that felt well-earned.
I feel like I could gush for hours about how much I loved the whole series, but i’ll spare you that! I definitely want to go back and revisit some of my other episode reviews from season 1 if I can find the time, and rewrite those to have a lot more information. I didn’t get really into doing these till almost halfway through season 1, and I honestly feel like the material deserves a better write-up. Couple that with where things ended up, and a re-watch sounds like a fantastic idea too.
Last but not least, thank you to everyone who encouraged me to do these write-ups! When you showed me that I helped you see things you would’ve otherwise missed, coupled with my love for the show, I realized I wanted to help as many people come to love and appreciate the series like I do. Coming home from work every Wednesday night to write these up, then edit through the week was a comforting ritual in my life, and something I always looked forward to. I also really enjoyed the writeups and translations pertaining to Euphonium every week from kViN and ultimatemegax over at Sakuga Blog. There’s a ton of good stuff to read there, so you should check it out!
I wholeheartedly love all of Sound! Euphonium. Kyoani did an absolutely fantastic job, and I love that I was given the opportunity to get to know this work through their herculean, meticulous efforts to bring it to life in such an incredible way that only really they could do. It’s definitely a series that’s very special to me, and I will always cherish it in that special place I have reserved for it in my heart.