Kaori vs. Reina in the ultimate battle to see who will play the trumpet solo.
Here’s my review.
So the time has come. Reina and Kaori will go head to head to see who will get the solo part in the coming performance. But the lead up to that part is most of the ep and while it was starting to feel like they might not actually have the auditions, they were still able to slip them in before the ep ended. As for who won… well I’ll tell you at the end.
Summer is a hot time for everyone, but thankfully Hazuki is on my side when she declares that she indeed likes summer. Yes! Finally someone who agrees with me! Plus, summertime means swimsuits and I enjoy anime girls wearing swimsuits. Alright moving on then to the matter at hand. It’s not only Reina and Kaori who are stressing over the second round of auditions, but Yuko (aka that one bitch with the ribbon) is also stressing about Kaori getting the solo or not. I understand where she’s coming from in this regard as she only wants to see her friend succeed and do well, but time and again it’s made known that the auditions are to decide who plays each part the best.
I liked the part where Kumiko runs into Yuko on her way to see if Reina will have lunch with them. I think this is among the very first time’s these two have actually talked one on one. While it wasn’t the longest of discussions, the topic is quite obvious. Who is better, Reina or Kaori? Kumiko of course speaks her mind, letting Yuko know what she thinks. Even Yuko notes that Reina sounds very good. Yuko probably knows deep down that Reina is probably better than Kaori, but that’s something she’ll never admit.
Once again Asuka shows her neutrality during her conversation with Kaori. When Kaori asks her, much like Kumiko did, about who she personally feels is better, Asuka would probably have told her the same thing she told Kumiko last week, but Kaori at the last minute decides she’s better off not knowing. Also much like last week, I’m still left with so many questions regarding Asuka and exactly what kind of a girl she is. I really like her but I can’t fully love her as she’s lacking the depth needed to be a truly amazing character. Asuka is always hinted at and talked about by others in the band, Haruka and Kaori mostly, but we never learn much about her personal life, nor does Asuka drop any hints about that. I’m wondering if there is a reason as to why she’s always so neutral when it comes to decision making; yeah sure it could be passed off that her personality is just like that, but I feel there is something lacking if that’s the reason.
Another point I’ve noticed about Asuka is when she’s asked for her opinion on something, she picks her words extremely carefully to make sure she doesn’t trap herself at all. I don’t feel that Asuka is lacking loyalty to the band by not committing, rather her neutrality is probably for the best as there should be at least someone who can look at things objectively and not through a filtered lens if she was rooting for one side. Will she be liked for this? For the most part probably not because everyone wants her to pick a side, but as it’s made clear she’s there for the music and nothing else. Personalities and emotions aren’t worth bringing into the conversation because she literally does not give a shit about them. What matters the most to her is and will always be the music.
The rest of the middle part is a mixture of conversations, notably one between Yuko and Reina that holds the most importance. Not to overlook the scene between Natsuki and Yuko, while it was only a short conversation it was nice to see Natsuki once again having some quality screen time and getting in some words of advice. But anyways Yuko and Reina, this is a point worth talking about. After realizing that Kaori will probably end up losing to Reina, Yuko decides to ask Reina let Kaori win. Kumiko is also listening in on this conversation, not intentionally but just by accident, so she’s just as shocked to hear this as Reina was. But Reina doesn’t back down, even after Yuko explains how much this solo part means to Kaori. Honestly I had a feeling Yuko might pull a stunt like this, trying to get Reina to lose on purpose, but as expected from Reina she held her ground and refused to back down from this solo part.
The day of the second audition arrives and it’s just as suspenseful as the first day. It’s time to put it all on the line once again and decide who will play the trumpet solo part. Haruka knows how much of a big deal this is for Kaori, but instead of going to talk with her she wants to send Asuka in her place. Of course Asuka refuses to do that, seeing as this emotional stuff isn’t something worth her time, plus it’s the president’s job to do that, no the vice president. Haruka does go to wish Kaori good luck and also to ask why she’s always looking up to Asuka. Her answer is simple: she wants to impress her because she feels Asuka can always see through her every move. It’s true, Asuka does seem to have that ability to zero in on a certain point in a person. But aside from the actual audition part of this ep, there is once scene that’s got everyone in a buzz right now.
Kumiko and Reina. Yes we’re back with these two love birds as they’re once again teasing at something far more passionate than being “just friends”. Now before I go off on a rant that’s needed as I didn’t cover it last week, I’ll quickly run through this scene. After having ample amount of time to think over the current situation, Reina poses a question to Kumiko: would she be upset if she lost? Of course Kumiko answers yes as she knows how important this moment is for Reina. Kumiko doesn’t want Reina to lose because she knows she’s better than Kaori and getting this solo part is what Reina needs in her quest to be that special girl. Nothing should stand in her way, be it even the feelings of others.
But in answering her question, Reina brings up one more point, that being: if she completely wipes the floor with Kaori and has a blow out win, she’ll be crowned the villain. What’s surprising is how emotional Kumiko gets over this, saying that even if it does make her the villain, she’ll stay by her side and let everyone know that Reina is better than Kaori. Before they part ways though, Reina steps deep into Kumiko’s personal space, their noses (or lips) almost touching, as Reina asks Kumiko once again if she’ll really stay by her side if she becomes a villain. Confirming her answer, Kumiko vows that Reina can even kill her if she backs out, something Reina accepts quite readily. But why is Kumiko so dead set on staying by Reina’s side? Why is her resolve this strong? Plainly stated by Kumiko:
“This is a confession of love, after all.”
She said it right there to her very face. How is this not a thing yet? So looking back now at ep 10 there is a point I didn’t talk about too much but I wish I had after seeing some reaction a few days later. Pretty much what the issue was is that Reina came out and said she likes Taki, meaning she’s not as yuri driven as we all once thought. Personally I didn’t have a problem with this as I expected Kumiko and Reina to have another personal moment at some point again, so I didn’t flip my shit about Reina liking a guy instead of a girl. Everyone seems to be salty because KyoAni baited us all into thinking Reina x Kumiko was a thing, then they killed it with her coming out about feelings towards Taki, hence why that episode title was ‘Straight Trumpet‘. Was this honestly that big a deal? Either I’m not reading as deep into this as some are or I’m just missing the point altogether, but I wasn’t crushed when Reina uttered those words. Sure this probably won’t end with Reina and Kumiko actually becoming a couple as I’m guessing they’ll just stay in the close relationship that will always have us guessing; but either way both Kumiko and Reina have confessed their love for each other, that part is undeniable. As for where things go from here, well I’m just as eager to find out as everyone else is.
Rant aside though, Kumiko’s confession of love is exactly what Reina wanted to hear, stating that she never was going to lose in the first place. And as the audition runs it’s course, Reina ends up being victorious. Not exactly by default though as Taki leaves the final decision with Kaori, who declines to give the better trumpet player the solo part. While it leaves Yuko in tears it confirmed the point that Reina is indeed a better player and that Taki wasn’t picking favorites. Kaori was given the choice and she chose the right person for the job. Whether or not some will now view Reina as the villain is yet to be seen in the coming eps, but moving forward now it’s time to make that push for the Nationals.
Let the next piece begin.
Plot, characters, and yuri subtexts aside for a moment, what truly shined in this ep were the visuals. Once again KyoAni amazed with a stunning visual masterpiece, reminding me why they’re in my top 3 favorite studio list. Probably what part stands out for me the most was all the interior shots of the concert hall. Just rewatching the second half of this ep and looking at the interior shots, man they look so incredible!
So yeah, Kumiko and Reina and that whole ordeal. I think what it comes down to is people reading way, way too deep into it. I saw a good point brought up by someone saying that people always have crushes on someone during high school, but not all of those feelings ever develop because they could meet someone they like more. This is pretty much how I feel about the Reina and Taki relationship. While Reina may like Taki, her heart seems to be set on Kumiko. Maybe more so now that Kumiko has returned those feelings as well. But like I said, this probably won’t end in a full on yuri ending, although I’m sure it would certainly please a lot of people of it did.
Seems like all my Euphonium reviews are 2k+ words these days. Well then if you’re watching this as well I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Please light up the comments section with something interesting.
Up next we’ll head back to the thrilling fight in Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine. As for Plastic Memories I think I’ll bundle up the final 2 reviews into 1 post as I’ll have too hard a time writing about it other wise.
That’s all for me! Enjoy the bonus pic and I’ll cya next time!
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