Sound! Euphonium ep6: real music
I haven’t remembered love this hard in awhile. And while I dreaded such things when I played, I’m happy to see the individual competition aspect of musicianship come into play now. The cliques and bickering of the lazy and entitled seem to be fading away as they see their potential as a band, and as they see a genuine challenge put forth. This cute little show is so realistic and learned that I’m almost shocked at times.
With SunFes out of the way, Professor Taki wastes no time prepping for Nationals. A final roster and a backup roster are being set-up by way of auditions for position or chairs. Your chair is your position in your section, determining what parts you get and the alignment of responsibilities outside of playing music as well. The higher chairs are leadership roles that also get harder parts, more solos and more limelight. And the poorer you perform, the lower your inevitable chair. Getting you simpler parts, and at times leaving you off the roster of musicians that will actually perform in competition. It’s just like in sports. If you’re good you get to suit up and play. If you’re not good, you go home or watch from the sidelines.
This is a very new thing for some of the freshman, including the brand new tuba player Hazuki. She quickly becomes the focal point of the episode as the more seasoned members of her section attempt to not only get her better at basic musicianship, but they also seek to inspire. It’s not just a technique to get more out of her, they’re thinking of her long-term future as a musician.
Hazuki’s story and perspective were central to this episode. And I believe it made an excellent attempt to get the audience who may not be familiar with this world to understand the hardships, and perspectives of those who are and have been. For awhile, Hazuki just sees this practice and drilling as tough task that her peers have already mastered and left behind. She’s seeing herself as ineffective, despite genuine hard work at learning this skill. What her fellow classmates do to finally break through is amazing. They actually take the super basic piece that she’s practicing with, and play their parts with her. For the first time, she actually plays in an ensemble and makes music with others as a group. She hears “real music”, and is inspired! It felt completely organic and reasonable to me.
It’s not as though no one else really is involved or that no other storylines are moving though. Everyone is still hard at work practicing for their auditions. And you see classmates coming together and rooting for each other even with intense competition on the horizon. We also see that Kumiko and Reina are started to talk more, holding more natural conversations now. And of course the comedy was good, too. The tuba-kun prank was pretty good. Asuka is a gorgeous devil, taking advantage of her senior position to get in a great prank. There is the little loose thread of Aoi, and while she seems to cheer on Kumiko in an almost melancholy fashion. It feels very much like she believes she’s wasted time somehow. But we know far too little about her to guess at what’s actually going on. For now, we’ll just have to hope that KyoAni gives us a proper explanation later.
Overall, a really good episode that manages to tell it’s own standalone story in the middle of a larger plot line. I am impressed at how well this series understands this world. It’s entertaining while being so incredibly true to life. And I’m not just talking about music aspect either. Human behavior is surprisingly well tapped in this narrative as well. Though I find it strange how real life has not interfered with the student lives of the band so far. You’d think there’d be more drama and bickering in this situation. We’ve already been told that this band has had a massive disagreement before. I can’t tell what’s actually holding this band together at the moment except for good luck in having the right new students, and having people like Asuka run around guiding their juniors. Then again, perhaps that’s to illustrate the golden opportunity presented to the students right now. We’ll just have to wait and see.