November 22, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E07

So we come to Asuka's most revealing episode yet.  We finally discover exactly why she's so wistful about "wanting the summer to go on forever", why she's so adamant about getting the band to Nationals, and maybe... just a bit... about why she's so secretive all the time.  However, sometimes the answers you get aren't the answers you want...

This look comes immediately after an announcement that the Club will be playing a concert at the local train station in about a week or so.  Our Goofy Cute is definitely not reacting the way she should.  A short time later, we find out why.

In the Teacher's Office, Asuka's mother is trying to get The Powers That Be to accept Asuka's resignation from the Club, so she can concentrate on college prep exams.  Body language would seem to suggest that there's some disagreement on this matter.  When Conductor-sempai says "nope, because it's not what Asuka wants, and you really should support her y'know..." it looks like the matter is over and done with.  Until Mom says, quite calmly, "Asuka, tell the nice man you're leaving the club."  It's with some surprise in her voice that Our Funny Obsession says that she doesn't want to quit.

And then her mother whups her upside de haid.  It was at this point that I suddenly had an icy knot in my gut.  Look, I know she isn't real.  I know Asuka's just a secondary character in a cartoon.  Not even ink on paper anymore, y'know?  I know all this.  But this show has done a helluva job making the watcher care about the cast of Hibike! Euphonium.  Hats off to KyoAni for a job well done.  It was also at this point that much of Asuka began to be explained.  Why the desire for the endless summer (so she wouldn't have to quit).  Why she was so desperate to get the band to Nationals (so she had a reason not to quit).  And why she's so secretive about her real feelings (learned behavior, keeping her interest in band under cover from mom). 

When a suddenly contrite mother attempts to apologize, Asuka simply turns to Conductor-sempai and says "I'm afraid I'm going to miss club today," takes her mother's hand, and walks away like nothing had happened.  She's then missing from the Club for the next week (note: the original translation out there said it was a month.  Within twelve hours of release, the length of time had changed to a week).  Well, mostly missing.

She does make an appearance shortly after the slap, tells everybody not to worry, and then mostly disappears again... except for one conversation she has with the president of the club.  Again, she says it's no big deal, but this time someone calls her on it.  It's a lot more serious than she's letting on.  She doesn't deny it, but also says she won't be causing problems.  And then she's gone again until the day of the concert at the train station.

She's back and she's ready to play.  But there's no explanation about how that happened, how things got worked out with her mother, nothing like that at all.  This isn't over, and we're going to learn a lot more about Asuka pretty darn soon I'm thinking.  Though after this episode, I'm no longer quite as enthused about seeing behind the curtain. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:20 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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November 18, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E03 - E06

Yes, yes, the feature took a few weeks off.  Between the Cubs and overtime at work, it's been hard enough to watch Hibike! Euphonium 2, let alone write about it.  But this week was special, because we've finally gotten to see behind the curtain and find out what makes Our Goofy Cute tick... at least partially.  More than we have before, and that's a good thing.  Except... well, you'll see.  But first, let's get caught up.

Episode 3 saw the band go to a training camp for a few days.  Meanwhile, the controversy about the third-year who quit the band wanting to get back in swirls apace... and all of it swirls around Asuka.  She's the one preventing it from happening for reasons she refuses to tell, other than it'd hurt the club.  Just like in Season 1, she's the focal point of everything... without being the center of the show.

Ep04 brought around the resolution of the previous episode's drama, and Asuka's true reasons for her actions become apparent.  One telling line from Our Silly Obsession was "I think people are fairly calculating in terms of their behavior."  When the show's nominal lead comes right out and says Asuka's too cynical, we get another one of these shots:

...and her saying "Let's get to Nationals."  In doing so, the lead begins to wonder (again) what the REAL Asuka thinks, as do we all.  The look on The Goofy Cute's face as the scene comes to an end is not goofy at all, but... resigned, maybe.

Ep05 includes a rather emotionally charged speech from the Vice-President of the Band Club, where she comes out and says just how badly she wants to win this competition.  She actually gets angry during it, which is new.  Even as it's going on, it's clear that this isn't just another rah-rah-win-one-for-the-gipper speech for her, there's something more brewing behind it.  And then KyoAni goes out and blows every production studio in Japan out of the water with the last eight minutes of the show.  We finally get to hear the band's competition piece in its entirety... and KyoAni animates the entire thing, giving every member of the band some face time... and not a single word is said during that time.  If you want to see the whole thing, you can watch it here... I'd recommend watching the whole episode though, simply because yootoob's compression does bad things to the video quality.

Ep06.  It's festival time at school, so of course Asuka's in full Goofy mode as a fortune teller.  After this, she disappears for the rest of the episode... or at least until the very end, where we find her alone in a classroom, practicing silently... while a woman with similar colored hair knocks on the door to the teacher's office.

Which brings us inexorably to Ep07... soon.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:44 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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