(Spoilers ahead, you have been warned)
(Keep in mind, I have not yet finished the second season, so my discussion will primarily center around the first)
There are a lot of things I could say about Hibike! Euphonium and why I love this series. As I stated previously in our discussion of Shigatsu, I really love music anime and this one really nailed it on a close-to-home level, having spent several years of my schooling in my school district’s orchestra and dealing with many of the same issues as in Hibike. I’m a sucker for Kyoto Animation and they’ve put out some of my all-time favorite series and franchises. On a audio-visual level, the show is absolutely gorgeous and the soundtrack is one of the most well-composed and masterfully executed in anime in my opinion. The characters are each unique and interesting, with their own motivations and reasons for wanting to succeed within the band and the different routes each of them take in their growth. But, it’s really all of this and more that make the series so special, so I’ll take a moment to talk about my personal connection with the series as it is really prominent in my adoration for the series.
As I mentioned, I was in the orchestra from the day I first went into fourth grade until my graduation from high school. It was a long and bumpy road filled with many highs and lows and a lot of experiences I had over the years rang similar to those presented in Hibike. I had experienced the feeling of essentially competing with the other members of your section for the position of first chair or who will lead your section for performances and the like. I’ve experienced the feeling of attempting to compete on a district or even state-wide level, the exhilaration of the performances and the disappointment of underwhelming performances. In particular, Taki-sensei rang particularly close in his attitude and the students’ opinions of him to my orchestra instructor. She was always strict with us and a lot of my colleagues disliked her for it, but it was because she held us to a high standard and wanted to see the orchestra perform to its full potential. It was a truly amazing experience to experience all these parallels between my own experiences and the situations in Hibike and it is definitely no small part of why I hold the series so close to my heart.
Favorite Episode: Episode 9, “Please, Audition”
This…was definitely a tough decision for me. I really wanted to select Episode 8 for the amazing development and growth of the relationship between Kumiko and Reina and the chemistry between the two characters. However, the entire audition arc rang very close to home for me, seeing similar experiences happen in my own life. Kaori’s arc came to a head as she prepared for the auditions, ultimately losing out to Reina for the trumpet solo. On my second watch in particular, I gained a lot of respect for Kaori as I watched her grow as a character and saw all these little instances of her own growth throughout the series. While her arc wouldn’t come to a conclusion here, this episode was a pivotal moment for the rest of the seasons and it was certainly done right. Having my own experiences in the orchestra and feeling the pain of losing out to someone else, I was able to relate to Kaori in this episode and it took my enjoyment of the episode to a higher level than before.
Hibike! Euphonium is a special series for me. It was one of the first shows I had ever watched as it was airing in Japan and it struck a chord with me on a personal level that not many other shows are able to achieve. It sang to the part of me who had been through the same experiences as the characters, feeling the same joys and defeats the characters I was watching were going through. To this day, it’s one of the anime I hold closest to my heart on a personal, relatable level and there is just so much about this anime that I absolutely love that I can’t sum it up with words.
(Hibike! Euphonium is available for streaming on Crunchyroll with both seasons, as well as the “Ready, Set, Monaka” OVA available for free)