After taking the winter season off, KyoAni is back once again with their latest creation, Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium). I’m sure you know I’m a big KyoAni fan, so I was eager to watch this one. How was the premier ep?
Here’s my review!
KyoAni hasn’t done a full on music anime since K-On! (2009-2011, movie included) so seeing them back in the music game is nice to see. K-On! was among the first anime I watched actually, dubbed too, and I really enjoyed it a lot. Between that and Haruhi that’s probably how my love for KyoAni grew this strong. So while it’s great to see another music anime again, I’m sure lots of people will be comparing it to the amazing KimiUso just because it’s very similar in terms of instruments used and such. While I can understand that to a degree, it’s pretty clear that Hibike! won’t be some soul crushing of an anime where you’ll be crying your eyes out by the end. On the contrary Hibike! looks very lighthearted, upbeat, cute and like a coming of age story more than soul crushing. Did I mention cute, because nearly all KyoAni’s anime are super cute.
So what is Hibike! all about? Well we have the stage (no pun intended) set right off the bat as Kumiko Oumae and her concert band are on the brink of winning in a competition that will send them to the nationals, but sadly they fall short and get a dud gold instead. A dud gold means that they’re pretty much an honorable mention in the competition; if they wanted to advance they’d need a proper gold, not a dud. While Kumiko is still happy they got a gold, her friend Reina Kousaka, is moved to tears that they won’t be going to the Nationals like she hoped they would be. A slip of the tongue on Kumiko’s part sends the wrong words across to Reina, who storms off upset with her friend. This was a tipping point for Kumiko as not only did they fall short of winning, but she also lost her friendship with Reina too.
Jump to a few years later, Kumiko is a first year in high school (I can feel better about liking these cute girls now) and is drawn to the concert band club after hearing them preforming (or at least trying to). This weighs on her mind for most of the day, being that she’s from a musically inclined background and notices all the flaws of this group. We meet the rest of the cast, well two other girls at least, a little while later. Hazuki Katou, former tennis player but looking for something new to do in high school such as join the band, and Sapphire “Midori” Kawashima, who is also a former musician like Kumiko and plays the contrabass. It’s brought out that Kumiko plays the euphonium as well.
After visiting the concert band club’s room, meeting the lively and very pretty Asuka Tanaka (voiced by Minako Kotobuki, whom you might know as Tsumugi Kotobuki from K-On!), and listening to them begin practice, Hazuki is ready to join the club right then again there on the spot. As for Kumiko, aside from that fact she can tell they’re not the best, she’s far more concerned about the fact that her old classmate Reina Kousaka just walked into the clubroom asking to join. Ah yes I think I can see where this might be leading to.
We meet another character a bit later on, Shuuichi Tsukamoto, who seems to be a childhood friend of Kumiko, but their relationship is, kinda… hmm, I’m not sure the word to use here. They don’t talk much, but I’m getting the feeling they both were in the same concert band back in middle school. Whatever the case is, there is a male character here but I’m not sure how much they’ll be leaning on the romance side of things in this anime. A quick peek into Kumiko’s home life shows us her mother as well as older sister, who isn’t named as of yet.
Lastly we have one more character who actually looks pretty cool. While he’s named in this ep, Noboru Taki is his name and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be the new conductor for the school’s concert band. I’m saying this based off what I saw in the PVs. He looks like one of the few male characters I could come to like, but we’ll have to see how things progress in the following eps.
So thinking it over that night, Kumiko arrives at the decision that she’ll join the concert band after all. It’s something she knows she’s good at and enjoys doing, even if it has some negative memories from her middle school days. Maybe Kumiko, Hazuki, and Sapphire will finally be the three saviors to join the club and make it better. But before we get to that point, Kumiko has some unfinished business with Reina that needs to be cleared up before they can proceed any further.
As far as opening eps go, I liked Hibike! a lot. It’s got a good plot, likable characters, the animation is top notch as always, the music of course will be stellar, and it’s got that charming KyoAni vibe that promises to be something great. I actually got a slight Hyouka vibe as I watched this, maybe it’s just because the setting reminds me of it, but whatever it is that makes me think of Hyouka that’s a very good sign considering how much I liked that one. KyoAni won me back with last fall’s Amaburi and if they keep up that same level of quality then I think that Hibike! will be a strong contender for the coveted Anime of the Season award. But as always, time will tell.
That’ll bring my ep 1 review of Hibike! Euphonium to a close. I’m very impressed with this and I’ve got confidence that KyoAni can make something great again. If this one is part of your spring watching list, what are your thoughts of the first ep? Like it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments below!
Up next, and with a little luck, we’ll be returning to space with Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine. As of yet I’m not sure if Underwater will be subbing this and no one else has made any move on it, so I can’t say when the ep 1 review will be out. I’m sure someone will pick it up, but the anticipation is killing me. Something I can say with certainty is that the ep 2 review of Plastic Memories will be out this weekend. I’m going to try for a same day release with that one, but it might just come later in the evening.
Alright so that’s it for this post, enjoy the bonus pic and I’ll cya later!
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