Sound! Euphonium ep2: it shouldn’t be a choice
I hate groups. I hate group dynamics. Mobs are some of the worst things ever. I don’t really care for people in general, actually. But I love music, so I guess I have to give people credit for that. The stuff nature makes on its own is crap compared to what we humans can do. I’m brash and proud enough to believe that aliens showed up, we’d impress them with music, and music alone. Screw you science, math and politics, culture is where it’s at!
That said, music doesn’t exist on its own. Music as we know it just doesn’t spontaneously float through space waiting to bang into some creature’s ear drums (or whatever they use for hearing) and give us that unique euphoria. The reality is that people have to make it work. They have to think, come together and decide on how to make that magic. And this is where our characters in episode two of Sound! Euphonium have to make a decision. In reality, if they want to make music – if that special magic is what they really want to create. He’s not exactly asking if they want to have fun, but how they wish to use their time. Do they wish to work solely for their own entertainment, or with a solid measurable goal in mind? It’s not a matter of if they’ll have fun or not. It’s truly a matter of how you want to dedicate your time and energy. I’m just not sure how much of this group of young musicians understand that.
I absolutely love Asuka! Though she’s not one of the main characters, her passion and personality are impossible to ignore. At the moment, I don’t really care how good she is at the instrument. I just love that she loves her subgroup so much. It’s not a popular choice, but I’d like to believe she gets some of her enjoyment from that. It’s like she feels that she really makes a difference to their tiny and unpopular group. Though it looks like the Kumiko and Sapphire (I’ll never call her Midori) will be the talent that turns the tide here.
One of the most basic parts of a band; concert, marching, pop or otherwise, is the group composition. The pieces make all the differnence in what you’re going to make. If you’re going to make popular music, can you really do it if an organ or oboe is in the group? In a concert band, is there room for anything electronic? When in marching band, how are you going to compensate for inferior amount of decibels woodwinds put out in comparison to the brass and sax ensembles? Going even deeper, how many damn trumpets, trombones and saxophones do you really need in a concert band. It’s a common problem, and one I’m not surprised to see pop up early in this series. After all, we’re following a set of freshman girls in high school. They have to prove themselves all over again. The situation can work in a myriad of ways. For Sapphire, she has the unique and fortuitous opportunity to join a band as a seasoned, talented player with a passion for an instrument that is in desperate need. For Kumiko, she’s in the awkward position of wanting to transition to a far more popular instrument, while hiding her talent for one in desperate need. And then there’s poor Hazuki, who is completely out of her depth, and easy prey for Asuka. A shrewd and simple recruiting technique is all that’s required for Asuka to hook her in to the bass brass section. And as for the final of our supposed main characters; Reina is already talented at a popular instrument and has no issues competing for a desired spot if asks. Nothing changes for her no matter the situation. It’s a good mix of diversity.
Tasked with honing all this raw talent and diversity is their advisor, Professor Noboru Taki. A laid back guy, we can see he’s not flighty or a pushover either. He wastes no time putting the group in focus. And this moment is the key point of the episode. What will this group of musicians do this year? What is their ultimate accomplishment for the near future? He even narrows their focus a bit as well. He asks if they want to play casually, or focus on the goal of playing in the national competition. In short, do you want to play music well, or do you want to attempt to play to the highest standard in the land?
The class has a realistic and predictable reaction. They take a vote, and those who are serious about their playing raise it for aiming for national competiton. Those who are not or are wishy~washy, don’t raise their hand, aside for one of Kumiko’s old friends, Aoi. And the goal of national competition is set.
To help explain things a bit, Aoi and Kumiko walk home together at the end of the day. Aoi reveals that she basically raised her hand for casual play as a mere counterpoint, possibly to embolden those afraid to raise their hand and butt heads with the more serious musicians. She stresses to Kumiko to attempt to clearly find a goal, and not waste the three years she has in school. Stressing that they’ll go buy in the blink of an eye. It’s a surpringly adult speech, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if it’s coming from a focused sophmore high schooler like Aoi. Though she appears to almost chastise Kumiko for not raising her hand for any choice.
With all this pressure on pressing on a stubborn, but also wishy~washy Kumiko, I wonder how she’ll adapt as time passes. Things move forward regardless of a decision. And a line I like to live by is: “to not decide, is to make a decision”. She’s already made her decision. It seems to me that she’d be best served going with it with the passion of her compatriots. Souls like Reina, Asuka and Sapphire aren’t waiting for life to sweep them up. They’ve already hopped on for their choice of ride.
Note: it really drives me nuts how Kumiko is attempting to tip-toe around Reina as if she’s bringing an offering to a fire breathing dragon. It’s her wishy~washy nature in action again. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing Reina’s more the type of personality to move on and focus on a goal. It would be an interesting development to see if Reina actually blames people like Kumiko for her failed attempt at national competition.
- Check-in Station: Sound! Euphonium ep1 (the band sucks!)
- Avvesione’s Anime Blog Spring 2015 – Week 3 Anime Review