Hibike! Euphonium or Sound! Euphonium is a 13 episode anime produced in the spring 2015 season by Kyoto Animation, who have made a similar and more popular show that is notorious for kicking off the “moe era” of anime called K-On. Kyoto Animation is a prominent studio in the anime industry, as they have made many great and loved shows such as Haruhi, Full Metal Panic, Clannad and Nichijou. But they have also been criticised as only making moe otaku pandering shows that just result in “cute girls doing cute things” without and real substance, and with this show being so similar to one of their more disliked shows K-On; does this show live up to the criticisms against Kyoto Animation or does it try to succeed at being something more?
Hibike! Euphonium follows lead protagonist Oumae Rumiko, as after losing in her regional music competition in middle school swears off music forever and tries to follow a different path as she starts high school. She then realises that she is now surrounded with people who are highly interested in starting music in their school’s band club. She reluctantly joins the club and continues playing the Euphonium as she did in middle school. The story is more serious than K-On; as that was more a slice-of-life with some music elements, Hibike is more of a musical show with slice-of-life elements. The story follows the cast of band mates as they improve under their new band teacher who aims at taking the team to nationals this year. Hibike shows the harsh life of being in a club especially band, as each member of the band fights for their place on their team whilst also wanting to have more fun at their practices rather than it being hyper serious. The show does try to add some romantic elements in it, by introducing Tsukamoto, Rumiko’s childhood friend and band mate, but the real romantic twist in the show is alluding to a possible lesbian relationship between Rumiko and her middle school and now high school band mate Kousaka Reina.
This show features a massive cast, having around 50 something band member each split into different divisions and instruments, the show does not try to develop them all but rather only focuses on the most important ones. This works to the shows credit as having to give each character developed would be impossible due to the size of the cast. The other important member besides Rumiko, Reina and Tsukamoto are Hazuki and Sapphire who are first years along with Rumiko also trying out for band. The main set of characters in this show are rather likeable, and the show is great at highlighting their different relationships to each other as well as how band influences then and how they add to the overall team. Most of the other supporting characters are one-off’s, as they only fill the role of being there to either offer advice to the main cast of present some challenge to them. The show is great at developing the main bunch without making it seem like they are the most important characters in the show. Yes they do get the most screen time as the narrative is focused on them, but the show makes it clear that the band as a whole is truly the main character and we rather just follow a few members that make up the whole.
Being that this is done by Kyoto Animation, the show looks amazing. This show is probably one of the best if not the best looking show to air in 2015, and that is speaking volumes as shows like OPM, Fate Stay Night and Your Lie in April all aired that year as well. This show like a lot of Kyoto Ani shows has the same art style, the art style is not that unique but that isn’t what Kyoto Animation is known for. Their animation looks amazing and the shots they produce are simply gorgeous. I could rave on about how every shot of this anime looks amazing, but I think you get the point.
Hibike being a music driven show, has great sound design. The scenes that make up the bands practice and performances are great, and you can hear the band improving over time as the style and caliber of their music increases. The scenes without the band that instead have background music are still fantastic, and executed well. It shows that a lot of Hibike being a music driven show, has great sound design. The scenes that make up the bands practice and performances are great, and you can hear the band improving over time as the style and caliber of their music increases. The scenes without the band that instead have background music are still fantastic, and executed well. It shows that a lot of detail and care has gone into carefully picking out each sound that encompasses each scene. The music does not only fit the scene well, but manages to elevate it. The opening song is a bit disappointing compared to the music overall used in the show, the OP isn’t bad by any means just not quite as great as expect it to be considering how great the score of the anime is. and care has gone into carefully picking out each sound that encompasses each scene. The music does not only fit the scene well, but manages to elevate it. The opening song is a bit disappointing compared to the music overall used in the show, the OP isn’t bad by any means just not quite as great as expect it to be considering how great the score of the anime is.
Hibike Euphonium is an amazing anime that is more competitively driven than most slice-of-life anime. The show manages to juggle it’s huge cast well but focusing on select individuals and developing them, rather than trying to develop each individual character. It looks amazing and may be on of the best looking shows Kyoto Animation has ever produced, and the score of it is equally amazing. This show is definitely worth your time, especially if you’re a big fan of slice-of-life. The story and characters are fantastic as it shows the competitive nature of being in a team, as well as the ups and downs of harsh practices and finding the right balance of fun and seriousness.
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Another anime that might be worth your time checking out would be Haikyuu, as it has similar elements to Hibike as it also deals with the challenges of being in a competitive team and trying your best to not only live up to everyone else, but to also stand out.
If you’re not satisfied by that then you could also check out would be Nagi no Asukara, another beautifully animated show that also goes through the problems that are discussed in Hibike such as growing up and dealing with external pressures in your decision making. It is more slice-of-life at the beginning before switching gears to challenge subjects such as racism and prejudice.
[story+characters+animation+sound] + [enjoyment]