Sound Euphonium! 2: Episode 6 — Break Time!

I wonder how many people have the energy to read my stuff at the moment?

Well this week’s Sound Euphonium was kinda boring. Not unexpectedly boring since of course after the big concert episode last week (as well as the end of a major arc in general), it’d want to take a break from the plot in order to have our characters live a little. The first season did the same thing with its sixth episode as well and to be fair, this week wasn’t as dull as that. But while I’m sure the KyoAni fans, as well as the people looking forward to that Little Witch Academia show and those who just want some cheering up after we elected a white supremacist as our president will eat this thing up, you know I don’t care about little girl antics, nor do I care about light-hearted stuff in general. And given how the very first episode of this season was mostly setup of what was to come, yet also functioning as one of the strongest premieres I’ve seen to an anime series in a long time (with the succeeding episodes generating a similar level of quality throughout), there was no reason for this obligatory break from the heavy drama to be as meh as it ended up being.

But I guess I should describe what happened this week. It’s school festival time (it wouldn’t be a KyoAni show without one I guess) and after playing for a small audience with Asuka doing the conducting, you’re pretty much just watching Kumiko go around the festival, participating in maid cafes, getting trapped with Shuuichi in a haunted house, enduring teasing by Asuka, and basically just doing character porn with every semi-relevant cast member. It kind of reminds me of the first two episodes of Danganronpa 3: Despair Arc, except without the absurd humor (and even with the humor, they were a mixed bag at best). Yes I do like the characters fine for the most part, but you could replace them with the cast from Great Teacher Onizuka, and it still wouldn’t have made this episode entertaining if all they do is just crack light jokes at each other whilst participating in what I can only describe as an OVA-quality plot. Of course, Onizuka would rather cause an explosion than do that, but the point is that I don’t like light-hearted anime, and I only watch Euphonium because the very premise of its story is about how there’s little room light-hearted antics if you want to succeed in band, as well as your own future. If the show was more in the vein of something like Flip Flappers or Girls Und Panzer in regards to its subject matter, I wouldn’t be watching it.

I honestly can’t imagine dropping out of school. Too risky, plus it wastes my parents’ money.

To be fair, what I’m describing only makes up the first half of the episode, and it does get into a more dramatic mode during its second half. Unfortunately, that advantage is botched with the drama never going beyond hinting at what’s to come. And as I’ve said before in regards to March Comes Like a Lion and Occultic;Nine, hints aren’t enough to get me interested, even if what you’re hinting looks potentially interesting. You have deliver on the current situation at the same time, and there’s just too many “cute girl antics and light-hearted reflections that don’t further anyone’s characterization nor the story” making up the majority of Episode 6’s substance for my taste. We see Kumiko’s sister declaring to her family that she’s going to drop out of college, but the only thing we get out of that is Kumiko asking why she’s doing that after all the previous conversations they had regarding how you can’t give up no matter what before said plot point gets put off for future episodes.

After that, we see Taki-sensei reminiscing about his dead wife (who died from an illness. Harharhar), who we learn was a Kitauji High School band member in the past whilst Taki wasn’t, and it’s because of her that he’s helping Kitauji try to make it to the Nationals. Nice bit of trivia, but that doesn’t really add anything substantial to the narrative, and all it amounts to by the episode’s end is our Cillian Murphy-lookalike putting out flowers for his former lover with no certainty of said plot point will be continuing in the future. Then Sapphire does some cute girl shit, Kumiko says that the drama is going to continue starting from now, and we get a scene of some strange woman (who’s probably Asuka’s mother or older sister or some other relative) going to the school to meet up with her, signifying that the next arc will definitely be about her. Oh, and Reina’s crush on Taki-sensei gets brought up again. It’s used for a quick gag face, some exposition, and then it’s never brought up again.

I’m a hex girl. And I’m gonna put a spell on you.

Like I said, very obviously a transitory episode. And if you thought this episode was good, that’s fine. As a once-off relaxation bit meant to fanservice the fans before we get back into the story, I guess it did its job, and I’m not going to criticize it too hard as long as this is the only one in the show. But most people wouldn’t defend Eureka Seven’s soccer episode with that excuse, and most people regardless of their overall opinion on the show love that Kill la Kill episode that consists of nothing but Ryuko and Mako trying to get to school on time. Yeah, I’m biased against cute girl stuff in general, but you also have to remember a few other things. I hated Kekkai Sensen because it wasted all its elements on a bunch of throwaway adventures that weren’t funny and had no character/story development. I turned against Jojo because in addition to the fact that its humor is no longer funny to me, it threw away any sense of momentum when it came to adapting the sequels for standalone monster-of-the-week installments that only exist to be crazy. And do I need to restate my opinion on every other Fall show this season? If I don’t like it when action shows that appeal to my male instincts or series with more diverse casts do this light-hearted character porn shit, what makes you think I’ll like it when little girls and Cillian Murphy do it?

Taking a break from the main plot is something I have no problem with, but it matters how you take that break. As such, I’m still allowed to criticize a show when it decides to contrast the darker moments with some warm touches, especially when said warm touches could have been executed so much better. I’ll never understand why anime fans think light-hearted moments are automatically good just because they provide contrast to hard-hitting moments that obviously prove they don’t watch American dramas if that sort of stuff is too heavy for them. Sure constant bleakness isn’t something I really support, but can you honestly tell me Knights of Sidonia would have been any worse if it didn’t have all those harem antics in it? Seriously, how can so many people support that show (and presumably the original manga) after it threw so much shit at us that not only didn’t mix with the sci-fi setting, but it ended up padding the story to all hell?

I mean imagine if the Social Link system in those Persona games were replaced with a stamp-licking job that the protagonists would have to do every break period that would originally be spent on raising one of your friends’ ranks. And yet for some bizarre reason, said stamp-licking would give you the same benefits that romancing five girls at the same time would also give? Do you think said games would have been as critically acclaimed and popular as they are right now if said gameplay mechanic was actually implemented? Of course not. Because that would have been really fucking boring! Not only did the Social Link system improve the player’s stats, but it provided characterization that ranged from okay to strong, whilst tying said characterization to the games’ core themes to the point that most people didn’t care the only gameplay going on was simple dating sim-like choices. It’s not a necessary thing to partake in in regards to either the interactive or the non-interactive portions of either or 4, but it made sure that said “extra” activities were fun in all of the important ways that makes the actually plot-important portions of the story also fun. Said ways may differ in magnitude of importance depending on the plot points involved, but the core description of what said importance is remains consistent. And like I said before, Euphonium understood that in the past, especially lately. So why couldn’t it understand that now?

Hello. I’m the plot. Sorry to keep you waiting.

Well whatever the reason, it happened, I understand how and why it happened, and I’m 98.72% sure it won’t happen again. Besides, with all that’s going on in the world at the moment, I’m sure most people who still watch this show will soak up the relaxing mood all the more (and in the future, people can just burn through this episode easily when marathoning). So I’ll just end the post here and go catch up on The Loud House or something.

Minor Quips

  • My friend who watches Diamond Is Unbreakable has informed me that the show has had no momentum as of late. Yeah, that’s a good thing to hear about a show.
  • You know guys, boycotting Twitter and promoting volatile hashtags isn’t going to prevent Trump from becoming our president in a few months.

One response to “Sound Euphonium! 2: Episode 6 — Break Time!

  1. I found this episode to be alright but to be honest, I didn’t think too hard on how breather episodes are done so seeing your views on it was interesting. Also, you have a point about the harem stuff in Sidonia.

    As for Trump…I don’t think they get it. Doing those things make about as much sense as rioting in areas that voted Clinton.

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