Did you really think we could make Nationals? First Impressions of Sound: Euphonium

Sound Hibike Euphonium

Two anime posts in two weeks? What can I say? Seems like there’s some good anime on at the moment.

Sound: Euphonium is the story of Kumiko Omae, a euphonium player who’s thinking of joining the band club at a new high school. Two of her new friends convince her to join, but things get awkward when she discovers one of her old school mates, Kosaka Reina, who she accidentally upset back in middle school, has joined the club.

First Impressions

Sound: Euphonium, created by Kyoto Animation, caught my interest in the first episode. The most obvious thing you notice about the show is the quality of the animation. In particular, a great amount of attention is paid to the depth of field and lighting in a lot of shots, which is not normally something you see in a slice-of-life anime.

Sound: Euphonium
A great example of the use of depth of field in this show.

While the character animation is very detailed, the animators also choose to focus on little things that normally wouldn’t be used in anime to portray emotion, like in the scenes below.

Sound: Euphonium
One of the characters is upset about not getting as far as she wanted in the band competition.
Sound Euphonium Animation GIF
It’s little gestures like these that can really help define a character.

The second thing that appealed to me is the good balance the show strikes between drama, comedy, and educational music content. The drama mostly comes through the clashes between the characters, whether it’s between the students, or between the students and their new band teacher. The comedy mostly appears as a result of the quirkiness and eccentricities of some of the students, while the educational content is shown as one of the characters learns about band club and music.

Unfortunately there are these awkward moments where there is a focus on Kumiko and her insecurity with her body, which is either used to highlight her insecurity as a young girl growing up, or for comedic effect, but I’m not sure if this is needed in this kind of show. So far there have only been two of these scenes, and the first scene was definitely kind of jarring.

Overall, the great animation, subtle comedic moments between the characters, and drama around the band and it’s members has been highly engaging. If they can tie in the moments that deal with a young woman being uncomfortable in her body more closely into the overall narrative, or even remove them all together, this could be one of the be one of the best shows of this season. Check it out if you like shows like Glee, or anime like Kids on a Slope.

The Good

  • Excellent drama
  • Charming and quirky humour
  • Interesting and eccentric characters
  • Educational (at least if you know very little about music and band life)
  • The animation and art style is extremely high quality (except for very minor 3D issues)

The OK

  • Deals with some of the issues of being a girl and growing up, but so far these scenes feel clumsy

The Bad

  • Nothing (yet)


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