Sound! Euphonium at a Glance

euphonium 1

Oh, look, another pretty-looking show about teenage musicians. Pissah.

I’m having trouble writing about Sound! Euphonium at all as I don’t feel very strongly about it one way or the other. As a whole show, it strikes me as a bit bland, although I do like the lead – she manages to seem to lack enthusiasm without being boring because of it, and it works well with her generally skeptical manner. Emphatic shouting is more or less a hallmark of skeptical characters in anime, but Kumiko is closer to how it manifests in real life.

Unfortunately, Kumiko is in a show that simply doesn’t strike me as interesting. While it appears that there will be a competitive angle to the show (maybe a sign of just how successful sports’ anime has been of late?), and while the issue presented in episode one has potential (girl loves music and concert band, but girl goes to school with a bad concert band; bad concert band is populated by energetic and pleasant people – join the band? tell them they suck? find a new hobby?), the proceedings aren’t of much note. Flashbacks to middle school involving disappointment, girl starts new high school and admits she picked the school partly due to the uniforms (is this really as common as anime suggests?), girl meets other girls, girl looks at club, girl realizes other girl she didn’t get along with (?) is at her new school as well… the only item that broke that mold was Kumiko’s pronouncement that the concert band was awful. Yes, sure, she was deliberating over joining a particular high school club because she thought the one most in line with her interests was terrible, but it’s still the same basic story – what club to join? High school antics.

I probably sound pretty negative. There isn’t anything to actively dislike, honestly, but there isn’t anything much to latch onto, either. The show looks pretty, but the last time we had a show about teenagers and music that looked pretty, it was Your Lie in April, a steaming pile of cliché, bad characterization, and hollow melodrama. Maybe I should just be happy that no one in Euphonium has thrown a shit fit about how she’s ruined for marriage because a boy may’ve seen her underpants (but must the bar really be that low?).

By the way, that ED – I’m sure the folks at KyoAni are snickering into their slush fund right now about how brilliantly they will once again manage to capture the money of the homoshippers without actually ever bothering to provide a gay character who gets to be, you know, gay (we all knew from the word go that Tamako Market’s Midori had no chance at all – we hardly needed an entire movie to confirm it*). This isn’t even a complaint on my part, exactly, although I did roll my eyes pretty hard at that red string of fate.

Again, it isn’t bad. But it isn’t good, either – it’s just sort of… there. I have developed no expectations as a result of watching this episode. I’m mildly curious to see how it ends up doing in terms of popularity, but that’s pretty much the limit of my interest. I’ll keep watching, but this smells pretty strongly right now like one of those shows I drop without even really meaning to after a few weeks.


* I know that someone is going to whine about this. I’ve pointed out before that the entire episode revolving around Midori’s interest in Tamako felt like total After School Special territory. There’s also something pretty aseptic about including a character who has a same-sex crush but defanging it entirely by never allowing the girl to speak up. (And this isn’t even touching on the fact that by never allowing Midori to voice anything, there remains an allowance for plausible deniability – kids sometimes get crushes on people of the same-sex, but it doesn’t mean they’re gay! It’s probably just a phase!) I get it, Mochizuki also doesn’t get to do anything within the show about his crush due to his gutlessness, but who gets the girl in the movie? Yeah. And don’t tell me that having a girl with a same-sex crush is some great leap forward, because I’m pretty sure Haruka and Michiru are calling from a magical girl show circa 1995 and they have some stuff to tell you.

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