Suddenly we’ve arrived at the Nationals and it’s time to put all that practice to the test.
Here’s my review.
Not gonna lie, this ep wasn’t the home run I was expecting. Euphonium hasn’t disappointed me this season but for the first time I’m gonna say I was really disappointed with an ep.
For starters I was expecting the Nationals to be an epic conclusion to this show, with the performance spanning the 2 eps, the tension to be cranked up to the max and everything to just be grand and amazing. Honestly ep 5 was more grand than this, and those were just the regionals. Nothing about this ep gave all the grand feeling that this was what everything was building to, in fact it was just a really lackluster ep that spent more time trying to tie up loose ends than actually having any music being played.
The scene with Kumiko and Shuuichi, what was the point of that? I’ve been saying this for a while now, but honestly Shuuichi isn’t a character in this show anymore. After Kumiko declined his offer to attend the firework show he kinda just dropped off the face of the Earth and only showed up for a sentence or two and that was it. At this point every scene with him feels really forced and it’s like they’re trying to always remind us he’s actually part of this show and not just some background character, if that. There never really was any chemistry between Kumiko and Shuuichi, they never had a moment where I felt these two finally connected and might start dating or something. Kumiko always looked at him and reacted to his presence like he was the plague or something. This season especially there was nothing between them happening, I mean this was probably the most they ever talked at all. So all in all I’m just wondering why they even bothered to included this moment, as it didn’t really add to the ep or anything.
From there it’s the “performance” part of the ep which is where things started to slide and just go nowhere. From the usual pump up speech from Taki, Haruka and Asuka, to the band taking stage and playing their tune, nothing about it felt grand. The whole vibe this ep was giving off, or maybe I should say wasn’t giving off, was just a far too casual one for the occasion. These are THE NATIONALS we’re talking about here, you’re playing in a competition with the best of the best FROM THE WHOLE DAMN COUNTRY, that’s kind of a big fucking deal. But no, this ep fails to capture that feeling at all and it just makes the whole journey to this point all for nothing. Would it be repetitive to have another chunk of solid music and no dialogue? Yeah maybe, but for the occasion it would work and honestly I’m pretty sure it’s what we all expected from this ep.
So when all is said and done and the winners are being announced, there isn’t any heart racing moment like there usually is. Did they win or not? I loved being on the edge of my seat, my heart racing as I watched the scene unfold, but this time I didn’t get that happening at all. Even when Reina saved the band after they had failed to prepare a cheer for when Taki got his award, it wasn’t an exhilarating moment either. Although I will say it was commendable to see her stand up and express herself like that. Points for that but it’s nowhere near enough to save the ep.
And as for the results, bronze. That’s probably one of the few things I’m not disappointed about as much as I am with the lack of occasion this ep had. Sure it sucks they couldn’t win and achieve their dreams; Taki couldn’t win gold for his wife, Asuka couldn’t win gold for her father, and Reina couldn’t win gold for Taki. But even for a moral victory, Asuka playing for her father and Kumiko playing for her sister, this ep didn’t feel special and that’s really saying something. Even when Taki mentions to Asuka that he ran into her father and passed along his words to her, that wasn’t really an emotional moment either.
Usually when you win the battle but lose the war you at least feel happy about something and like something was accomplished, but this has to be the first moral victory I’ve seen in a long while where it makes you feel nothing. When Asuka and Haruka are giving their final speeches and talking about how it’s on the rest of the band to win gold, you still don’t feel like it’s a big deal. She’s crying and all but I just felt too detached to get emotionally invested in the situation. With many of the eps before I was really into what was happening and there was that connection, but this time around I got nothing from this ep.
So we end with Kumiko and her sister as that was just one of the loose ends that were tied up, and even that wasn’t too special. Sure Kumiko finally got a chance to play for her sister and they finally came to an understanding, but nothing about this scene makes your heart swell and your eyes water. It’s just too plain and it fails to convey any real emotions.
So looking back at it all I’m just really disappointed with how the ep went. It lacked the sense of occasion in pretty much all regards and just didn’t deliver what I was expecting the Nationals would offer. Now that all is said and done, what’s the final ep gonna be? I’m guessing an epilogue ep or something, just bringing everything to a close but at this point I can’t imagine it to be anything that amazing. It’s sad really because right from the get go S2 has been amazing, expanding on the story and characters but when it mattered most it failed to deliver and now it makes the whole journey to this point seem like it wasn’t worth it, especially if they can’t even pull out a good moral victory. But what’s done is done and it’s time to bring this show to a close with one final ep.
And the next piece begins.
Well damn, that didn’t go as expected. KyoAni I praise you so much but come on! What was that? So that’s gonna bring this review to a close now. As always let me know your thoughts on the ep either in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter too.
That’s it for me now, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time for the finale.
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