October 18, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E02


This week, the second season of Hibike! Euphonium presents us with a staple of "group" shows: a training camp!  The entire band will secrete themselves away for multiple days and do nothing but practice, practice, practice!  Of course, it never works out that way: there's always downtime for hijinks to occur.  But before that, there's a mandatory three-day break enforced by the school.  Whatever will our main characters do during a short summer vacation?  Why, go to the pool, of course!  I have to admit, I didn't expect a swimsuit episode in this series, but hey, I'm not complaining.

No, not complaining in the least.  Kumiko is, though... she has no idea who this strange girl that's molesting her is! 

Oh.  Now she knows.  It's the Goofy Cute, in full effect!  A nice lighthearted moment in an otherwise pretty serious episode.  It's also practically the last time we see Asuka until very late in the episode.  Which is amazing, because the episode from this point on spends its time describing the events of last year that saw most of the second-year club members quit, and Asuka's role therein.

In other words, it's yet another episode where she's the main character mostly without showing up.  Yet, despite all of this, we still don't really know why she's so opposed to letting that one second-now-third-year student rejoin the club.  The good news is that it seems we'll be getting that info in the next episode.

While this is all well and good, I'm still looking forward to THE Asuka Episode.  It's gotta be coming.  KyoAni can't be setting all this up just to ignore the payoff, right?

Ridiculously pretty shot of the episode:

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October 11, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E01

Wonder of wonders, Hibike! Euphonium is back for a very welcome second season.  Not only is it back, but Kyoto Animation has blessed us with an hour-long first episode to boot.  Pleasantly, the raison d'ĂȘtre of this feature, Asuka Tanaka, aka The Goofy Cute, is... well, not featured exactly, but she's quite involved with the first half of the episode.

What we get from her is like "Asuka's Greatest Hits", ranging from the Goofy to the master deflector, able to pass the buck on anything she doesn't want to deal with, to something of a new aspect: the cold-blooded assassin.

She actually does the cat-smile thing at one point, which was a little freaky I gotta admit.  She's also not above some cheek-pulling.  I don't remember either occurring during the first season, so there's that going on.

But its when one of the 2nd year students that quit the club last year asks for her blessing to rejoin that Dark Asuka pops up.  Not without a fight, however: she does everything she can to avoid the issue.  It's only the persistence of the other student that brings out Dark Asuka.  Her blessing?  Nope.  "I don't approve.  You wouldn't benefit the club."  All the while with a dead, dead look on her face.

It is telling, I believe, that the 2nd year student came right to Asuka first, rather than the club president.  I mean, we already know she's the power behind the throne and all, but still.  It's clear this is going to be the the season's first arc, which means plenty of Asuka.  This is nothing but a good thing in my mind, because we need to know more about her.

"We"... "I"... whichever. 

A word about this episode in general.  KyoAni pulled out all the stops with this one, particularly during the festival scene.  Holy crepe, did they go all out.

The festival is a riot of colors and hundreds of people, most of them animated, and all of it lighted by lanterns and fireworks.  It's very nearly movie quality at times.

We even get an Asuka sighting.  Alone and away from the festival. 

If you were wondering if Season 2 was going to measure up to Season 1, wonder no longer.  If it's anything like this episode, or even in the same area code, it's gonna be a fantastic three months.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:43 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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