Thoughts – Sound! Euphonium Episode 6

HE6

[Not spoiler-free]

So far: Taki-sensei drops the ball when he announces (much to everyone’s horror) that selection for this year’s nationals will take place via auditions! Newcomer Hazuki is terrified stiff of the prospect, and Kumiko and Sapphire attempt a variety of ways to help her improve on her playing. Their tactics include dressing Kumiko up as Tubacabra-kun (credits go to Asuka), interviewing the seniors on their motivations for playing, and finally, appreciating the wonders of bass by playing a simply harmony.

Not sold on everything that happened this week, but it’s still Euphonium…and it’s still pretty incredible.

The first part itself was a cruise down memory lane – back when I started choir as a junior, a new conductor had just taken over, and he was the first conductor to scrap the seniority-priority system for nationals. “I’m selecting the competition team based on meritocracy,” he said to us. It wasn’t an entirely popular move for a real-life conductor, and similarly, it’s not a popular move for Taki-sensei either. But it drives home the message to the entire band – he’s taking the nationals seriously. It’s even reflected in the pieces that he’s chosen. You know, just five minutes of Taki-sensei alone can make an episode great. That’s exactly what his appearance achieves for this episode, because what happens after that is where things start to flounder.

When I say flounder – yes, I mean the jokes. Like Kumiko dressing up as a tuba, or Asuka talking about an arsenal of Sapphire-doppelgangers becoming juniors for the next year. I guess it’s a matter of personal taste that made me go “eh”, but don’t worry, all is forgiven when I think about what the whole episode was really about.

So Hazuki is desperate to prove herself at the auditions. She’s conscious that she’s a rookie, and immediately starts comparing herself with veterans like Sapphire and Kumiko; and the more she worries about her inability to match up, the more frustrated she gets. After all, she quit table tennis just to join band, and it’s not worth it if she’s not good at it. Believe me, I get that. I totally do. Nobody takes something seriously, only to end up being mediocre at it. I love the fact that Hazuki’s character is consistently impressionable throughout the series. There was a time when the apathy of the seniors seemed to get to her, but now that the band is upping their game, she’s taking her own development as a musician seriously, as well. She’s the perfect representation of anyone who joins the music environment as a complete rookie. We often get newbie main characters turning out to be absolute prodigies at their art, displacing the veteran snobs (yes, High School Musical?) and endearing themselves to the audience because of their natural talents. But nah, Hazuki is here to remind us that it’s usually hard work that pushes a person forward. How’s that for a healthy dose of reality?

And finally, I was enthralled by the final performance that the trio gave us. It was so simple, so amateurish, but oh-so beautiful. Beautiful because it represents the beginning of Hazuki’s real relationship with her craft, and for that, I have to give it to Euphonium for scoring once again. This show doesn’t seem to let up, ever.

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