Sound! Euphonium ep4: they did it good!
The joy of playing as a group. The pain of dealing with people of different interests. You think it would be easy to coral a group of people into a unified goal if they’re already given to being in a group that naturally does that sort of thing. If you enjoyed geology, then I find it hard to fathom there being an argument over going on a field trip to survey some rocks. If a bunch of people enjoyed barbeque, you’d have a hard time finding someone in that group that didn’t want to go outside char grill a piece of meat. But when you’re dealing with youth, and the fact that not everyone there has the shame passion, or even is participating willingly, the circumstances can flux greatly. After all, some student may just need an elective to fill out their schedule as we do here in the States. Or there’s a possibility that some student are just doing what they do out of tradition or pressure from their family. And it’s those people that are most important to bring into the fold. As they say, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So if you can’t get the most base members of your group to join, then you’ve already limited what you can do. It’s impressive to see that chain strengthen ever so slightly.
Things start off kinda rough, as the first thing taking place is a sectional practice. I was grateful to see Professor Taki step in unexpectedly and coral this nonsense. As he appropriately said, they shouldn’t be holding a meeting during practice time, and promptly straightened out the entire ensemble. Before anyone knew what to do, he was having them doing laps, intensive breathing drills and sectional tuning and practice! It actually looked like a well-run, cohesive unit! Of course I sound like an old man, reveling in this order and discipline, but I feel it’s truth. Even though I’ve done all this stuff before, and mostly hated it, it’s all effective and essential stuff. This is especially true if they’re going to be playing in a parade or something similar. They run not just for endurance, but so they can learn to play after being short of breath. It impresses me greatly how realistic this show is in its portrayal of practices and teenage group dynamics.
One of the key moments for this show was small misunderstanding after practice, as Kumiko and her old middle school friend Shuichi talked about Professor Taki. Shuichi having a bit of a negative opinion of him and his techniques. Kumiko seemed to be going along with him just because, which ended up being a problem because the girl she feared happened to be passing by. Somehow overhearing their conversation from her moving bike, she promptly dismounts and scolds both of them for bad-mouthing a teacher that she’s learned very much to like. This leads to a pretty nice scene the next day where Reina actually apologizes to Kumiko for b*tching her and her friend out. In a surprise moment of guts, Kumiko actually opens her mouth and apologizes to Reina, even complimenting her on her inspiring play – before fleeing back towards her sectional practice!
Things come full circle towards the last episode as a week passes by and Professor Taki shows up to a nervous and ready ensemble. And though they don’t knock it out of the park, they pass in a satisfying fashion. And that is actually an impressive accomplishment considering all the new – even beginner musicians, accompanying the complete lack of teamwork that plagued the band a mere week before. As I said before, a strong leader and teamwork shaped things up enough for them to punch their ticket to SunFes!
I was surprised at how smoothly things went this episode. Sure, there was plenty of anger and frustration, but they pulled together quite well in a week. Maybe I’m just so used to rebellious and disrespectful American kids that I can’t fathom such an outcome in such a short amount of time.
There’s still plenty of adversity to deal with, they only usurped a small hurdle. They’re still full of beginners and lazy students who don’t take their roles seriously. They don’t appear to be very talented overall. There isn’t much time for them to nail their parts before this very public debut. And on a personal note: Kumiko is only taking baby steps towards understanding Reina and her blazing passion. Until she grasps that, she may always find talking to her former comrade awkward and scary. Still, this is a great start. The music, the impressive and surprising realism , the beautiful animation and music; I could see myself really falling in love with this production.