The story follows Oumae Kumiko who wants a new life in her new highschool. During middle school, her concert band got a ‘dud gold’ for the prefecture competition so she wants to forget about it and get away from it. However, her new friends in highschool insisted her on joining the school’s ‘helpless’ concert band and she joined the very thing she wanted to get away with full of hesitation.
This is NOT another version of K-on… because let’s be real, after seeing the cover photo everyone thinks it’s just another KyoAni’s cutesy girl show. So did I. Until I actually watch the anime that is. Well to be honest, even if this anime is just another Moe show, I’d watch it anyway because of the beautiful animation. But I have to say that this anime rocks hard as the primary focus is not on the Moe side.
Oumae Kumiko is actually running away from her previous failure that is losing in the concert band competition the year before. Only getting ‘fake gold’, she thought it was good enough for her band. But deep inside, she was actually depressed with the result. She wants to get rid of her euphonium and try doing something else, other than joining an cooncert band. However, she eventually joins the band almost against her will as her new friends are really attracted to the band and insisted her to join it.
The series is more focused towards the characters and the drama and less towards the comedy. That’s not to say that there is no comedy at all though. To me, all the dramas are really intriguing and they can sometimes be really intense and emotional. The ‘I want to be better and improve fast so I can beat that guy’ drama is there but with a little bit of twist because it’s more than just that. All the events that happen to the characters usually happen to us as a teenager too so this anime can be very relatable even if we were never part of a musical band. Well, if you were part of a sport club or any kind of club for that matter, this anime can still be very relatable to you.
There are three standout characters here. The first is Oumae Kumiko. In the first few episodes, she is shown as a hesitant euphonium player, only plays in the band because her new friends tell her to. It’s not entirely her fault as the band itself is in a very bad shape due to some troubles it had the year before. However, after joining the band, playing with her friends more and having a good advisor to lead, she grows fond towards playing euphonium and playing with the band. She also has the utmost desire to improve which is something she lack while playing for her middle school band.
Next is Kousaka Reina, a talented trumpet player who is probably the only player who really really wants to win in competitions. She wants to be extraordinary by being the best player in the band. This, however results in a negative way as she is disliked by most of the seniors for being better than them. Despite being disliked, she still pursuits her goal and practices as many times as she can to be special. She even influences Kumiko to become special like her. She manages to make Kumiko strive for the better and improve. Also, shipping these two is kind of a must in the fandom… I totally get where they’re coming from though. I mean, the Yuri undertone between them is just too overwhelming.
Another stand out character is to me Asuka. Asuka is a great member of the band. She can be very fun to be with and she is very energetic. She is the one who most of the time cheer up all the members when things get ugly. However, there’s just one part of her that’s really difficult to deal with. It’s her ‘play it neutral’ part. When a fight or a conflict happens, she always watches from a safe distance and never take a side not because she is actually neutral with it but because she’s scared to pick a side. She is afraid that if she pick a side and her side loses, she’ll be partly blamed. She doesn’t want to be blamed by picking the ‘wrong’ side. Whenever she has to pick a side, she always runs away with her energetic façade.
Other characters such as Hazuki and Sapphire which are Kumiko’s best friends have a decent amount of character development and characterization. I think the best character development aside from Kumiko is Nakagawa. She turns from a lazy person who plays for the band just because to a cool person who plays for the band passionately despite being less talented.
The general atmosphere of the concert band club is really realistic. We get to see some very common real drama like members quitting the club because the club is not good enough for them, or they just have to focus on something else. We feel the tension between members of the band and the intensity of the characters just before going for the audition to join a competition or before performing an actual concert. It’s like you feel what the characters feel. ‘Will I make it past the audition? Will we make it to the nationals?’ All those questions the characters question, you question them too.
And the best part of the club is when we can actually hear the errors made by the characters. Well even if we didn’t hear the errors, we will eventually notice them after listening to their better performances. The comparison between their practiced performance and their just for fun performance is vastly different. Of course sometimes I didn’t notice the mistake until one of the characters points it out and after I listen to it again by rewinding but like I said, you’ll eventually notice it. Though sometimes, the mistakes are just too obvious it makes you cringe… which is a good thing. The anime captures the possible mistakes made by the highschool students precisely.
While the music is pretty good to me, the opening and the ending song is nothing special. I kind of heard some parts of the music in other songs and that is a really bad thing. For example the ending song which is Tutti. The first and the last part of the song is too cliché, I think I’ve heard that kind of melody plenty of times before. However, the animation is God darn amazing! I watched the opening and ending only because of the animation. Not only do the animation of the opening and ending is amazing, the overall animation too is just stunning. It captures your eyes right of the bat.
I love this series because the Moe cutesy girls aren’t too Moe and the drama isn’t too melodramatic. There are also sprinkles of romance which I find very cute and sweet. It doesn’t actually go anywhere but still, it’s a nice extra touch. The story too is nicely paced managing to cover many of the intended characters to grow smoothly. If you watch K-on and was disappointed about the amount of music, watch Sound! Euphonium. It’s not entirely about music as it actually focuses more on the characters but at least there are more music and the animation is Godlike. I’d certainly give this a perfect score because thinking back, there’s nothing I don’t like about this show.
~ 10 out of 10 ~
~ Masterpiece ~