Sound! Euphonium (TV Series 2015– ) Poster

(2015– )

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9/10
Great story & character development, great animation, Lot of fun!
ShortBtwnHdset24 March 2016
What to say about this series…It was a real treat and easily the best anime of 2015 season for me and a top 5 all time favorite. Can't wait for the second season! Simple story told with great craftsmanship and loving care, slow build and development of both the story and characters, and some jaw dropping beautiful animated scenes. There are some real magical moments here!!!

The story is told thru the narration of Kumiko, the main character and a first year, apathetic high school student. She's passive and disinterested, generally nice but often a bit blunt. She played the euphonium, but her previous band experience in Jr. High left her conflicted; In particular, her encounter with her fellow band-mate Reina's extreme upset over the results of their national's qualification competition. She decides on a new start, new friends, and therefore a new High school where most of her previous classmates aren't attending. She loves music, but she's hiding from her own internal conflicts about band. Her lack of passion/commitment/investment in playing and in life is the beginning place for her growth arc in the story.

The new High School wind band is a mess, has had large conflicts the previous year (between those motivated and not), to the point of members choosing to drop. Kumiko's new band-mates also have motivational & technical issues, and aren't anywhere near competition level. This is one thing I find fulfilling about this series; it takes a large cast of characters and develops many thru the story arc. I got to know them and identify, they felt fleshed out, complex and believable.

Of course, several of her Jr. High band-mates also end up at the same school, including Reina, and Kumiko must face her internal conflict and press thru. A new inspiring music teacher is the catalyst for the bands growth both collectively and individually; he holds them to a higher standard. Disagreements arise as they try to find their way and come together as a whole. They're aiming for Nationals, we're along for the ride, and it is a truly inspiring journey! Thru blood, sweat, and tears, we see these characters struggle and grow.

Depending on the scene and episode, here are my individual category ratings.

Animation 6-10. Consistently good to great, but there are some stunningly beautiful scenes here and there. High attention paid to details. Musical instruments look real, and they even paid attention to the musicians fingering of notes. Kyoto Animation, nuff said.

Story progression, solid 8. Be patient with this one, it does take some time to develop, but all scenes move the story forward.

Pacing 6-10. Overall good, often excellent, and certain episodes flew by, I was so engrossed.

Framing of shots & animation direction 8-10. Hollywood directors & cinematographers could take cues from this. Also, scenes are drawn as if looking thru a camera lens, with direct/reflective lighting, depth of field and moving camera effects giving this a very cinematic feel.

Main character development 6-10. Kumiko's growth as a character is wonderfully handled. I went from mildly interested to emotionally invested.

Supporting character development 5-9. Reina and a score of core characters handled from good to excellent.

Minor character development 2-6. In a band of approx 65 people, many side characters get some screen time. In 13 episodes!

Soundtrack 8-10. The music performances are awesome, appropriate, and set the mood wonderfully. Background music & effects very good, with good OP and ED.They really made this a main focus, and it shows!

Drama 7. This is a slice-of-life anime, so no huge earth shaking conflicts here, but natural feeling conflicts in competitive environment do occur, with allies aligning on both sides of the issue.

Humor 4-7. OK to very good, although there are some really cute and funny moments.

Caveats: 90% of the characters are moe cute girls, often acting in moe cute girlish ways. Kinda like new Disney, with shorter skirts. This is anime, after all. Thankfully, no fan service (cleavage or panty shots).

If you want an action anime, look elsewhere. Slow but even pacing.

Somewhat mature themes (girl-girl infatuation/professions of love) in a few scenes. Handled tastefully,though.

Can at times be overly sweet, overly cute, but never distractingly so for me.

Japanese dialog with English subtitles. If you can't put up with that, look elsewhere.

Overall a 9+ in my book. Special visual/musical beautiful scenes to watch out for are in episodes 1, 5, 8, 11, 12, and 13 finale. Finale is stunning and tense, best anime finale I've seen!
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9/10
Just listen to it, goddammit
AltizGremlin26 January 2019
I'm not here to talk about the weirdly relatable characters, about their song choices being perfect for a real fanrare and research behind uncommon instruments. I'm here to talk about SOUND. If you pay close attention to the sounds of this anime, you'll quickly realize it's masterful - and by that I mean an opening door, footsteps, a page being turned. After many years working as a translator, I reached a point where I was tired of listening to shows being extremely sloppy with their sounds, having to listen hundreds of times the same part of the episode to come with a good subtitle. Sometimes my work involved big blockbusters, and even they had some really awful sounds thrown in the mix. On Hibike! Euphonium, that was never a concern. After I watched it for the first time, I decided to re-watch some scenes where the girls played instruments, and every sound matched their movement (not on the right chords, of course, but the motion was very close), and it was possible to listen a key press on a clarinet, or even the slight delay the air took to fill the instrument before making notes. The care of that department was mind blowing. Want to watch Hibike? If you like or don't mind a slow pace, teenage drama, and listening to a variety of instruments out of the mainstream, you'll love it.
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9/10
Sound! Euphonium
Tweekums9 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This anime series is, like many others, set in a Japanese high school; this time it follows the members of the school's concert band. The school had once had a successful band which won competitions but as the series starts we see that now it is more casual; playing for their own enjoyment. When they get a new instructor he asks them if they want to carry on the way they have been or try to reach competition standard again; they vote for the latter and the hard work begins. It won't be easy to reach the required standard and not all of them will come up to the required standard. The series is centred of first year girl Kumiko Oumae who plays the euphonium however there are plenty of others in the band.

One could be forgiven for expecting this to be yet another series about girls in a club at school with a largely comic tone; in fact it is handled in a much more serious manner. There is a fairly large cast but the characters are still fairly distinctive and interesting; especially trumpet player Reina Kousaka. One can't help feeling for the band's members as their strict instructor tells them they aren't up to standard; he isn't portrayed as unpleasant though; we know he is acting this way because they asked to compete despite his warnings of hard work. The animation is of a high quality; especially the brass instruments which look amazing. The ending was such that we got a satisfying conclusion without removing the possibility of further seasons. If you are looking for something different this series is definitely worth checking out.

These comments are based on watching the series in Japanese with English subtitles.
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