I am really going to ignore all the suggestions and intimations that this is a yuri show. Yes, it is very heavily tilted towards the troubles and tribulations of the female portions of this high school orchestra. Yes, the tales are about friendship and betrayal and wants and needs and desires. Yes, the ladies do wear a caliber of flirty outfits that tends to emphasize things, but since I feel it lacks a key ingredient to have it go over to the yuri side, “Hibiki Euphonium 2” is just showing us more of the problems that we saw in the first season, now made manifest in the second season.
Now, as you recall from the dramatic closing sequence from last season, Kitauji High have successfully advanced to the Kansai regional competition. However, they could do better, so now the intensity of the practices are more focused, more intense, more pressured and some of the folks are starting to bend and crack under the iron will of teacher/conductor/taskmaster Noboru Taki. Also, decisions have to be made as to whether to hit the sheet music or hit the books, so there are a degree of defections within the band. Then, with a line drawn in the sand and a stance taken, a lot of the harmony of the orchestra comes under fire.
Fish or cut bait? Which team do you support? How can you practice all this time and still not be appreciably better? Don’t the GUYS have any problems? If this wasn’t enough, some of the third years are graduating before the Kansai, so their experience, their stabilizing hands, their maturity will be absent at a time when it is needed the most. How can anyone be expected to soldier on? There is so much on the line and we are adrift as we fight the music and fight ourselves.
Look, this is a show with a good idea, but it became the soap opera “As The Horn Blows”, with loyalties strained and focus diffused and intensity waning. It was almost as if the music portion of it was just along for the ride; a kind of second fiddle to the growth and maturation of these youths in understanding the vagaries that life has to offer. It really felt like it was running in place, as though we needed the story to catch up with us and we could proceed. Some of these stories could have been resolved if people would sit down over a hot tea and a piece of cake at the local Danny’s and talk it all out.
And since I could partially guess how it would end, I also knew that there had to be a third season to completely close out this run. I just wish it wasn’t knee-deep in tears and detergent, as these problems that beset them are almost insoluble. I am not certain if this was a surprise second season or this is how it actually unfolds in the manga, but it just seemed drawn out when it didn’t need to be so.
And, again, since I am a tyro to classical music, unless someone misses a cue or blow a wrong note, I couldn’t even begin to tell you how good they are. Yes, they can play the instruments with precision; yes, they have a passion and understanding for the music they are performing; yes, they showcase the desire to do the very best they can with their talents and abilities, but is it the absolute zenith of what is possible?
This is the key factor that prevents me from fully enjoying and appreciating the show, so I have to fall back on the interpersonal relationship and that seems, at best, catty.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (A lot of work on design and it shows)
Plot 7 (Becoming strained)
Pacing 7 (Surge and retreat)
Effectiveness 7 (It works for what it wants to achieve)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (No one seems to be maturing)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I want to perform with you all.