Sound! Euphonium – anime first thoughts

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Every season of anime comes with a few rare and original shows. However they can be difficult to find amongst the overwhelming amount of same-same genre’s and retold storylines. Some may disagree with this. I believe there is a greyish area between these two kinds of shows. I like to call it the same-old guilty pleasures. Within this category are idol anime, sparkling shoujo romances and music-based shows. Unfortunately, this season lacks any stories involving 4-12 girls getting dressed up in lolita outfits and becoming the town’s biggest idols. Disappointing. However, Sound! Euphonium is my saviour this season. With a cast of characters predominantly female and cutesy; I have found solace.

Sound! Euphonium is a music anime. It follows the story of one school’s dream to take their concert band to the Japanese concert band nationals. Although the protagonist appears to be Kumiko, purely based on the fact we start the anime with her and follow her thoughts and actions, the show is very open when it comes to characters. The rest of the class don’t feel like average side characters as each one has a vivid and individual personality. This makes the show a lot more lively and allows room for an array of interweaving character stories, which is something that I feel will be a constant throughout the series. We already have two ex classmates attending the same school and the same club, as well as the reunion of a few childhood friends. It’ll be entertaining to see how new and old personalities change and how the wide variety of characters interact with each other. There’s definitely the possibility of fall-outs, romance, drama and great friendships. The perfect slice-of-life ingredients. The only risk is that the characters may not cause much drama at all, of course… Then we’d have a pretty bland series on our hands.

screen-shot-2015-04-14-at-10-35-51-amThe most impressive element of Sound! Euphonium so far is the appearance. I mean, there’s clearly a decent budget going towards the art and animation. The detail that goes into the characters movements and facial expressions is almost mesmerising. They aren’t stiff 2D animations, they move with a genuine flow and every ounce of mood is shown perfectly on their faces. It makes all the difference when it comes to characterisation and depth to see both major and minor reactions expressed. It also shows how these seemingly tiny efforts of detail can make a massive difference to anime aesthetic overall. I found myself noticing the most mundane things from how the lighting on the scenery and characters changed drastically between the sunset outside and the classroom indoors. It may sound pretty irrelevant but you have to give this kind of thing a lot of credit. It made it difficult to look away. Even the cut scenes of birds in the park and random rooftops had my eyes scanning over all the details.

I believe that the characters are really going to make this anime. Whichever direction the story goes, it’ll still be a very simple plot to follow. It’s the characters choices and personalities that will enable the story to progress in certain ways. It’s a series that resonates with previous music-based shows such as LoveLive! School Idol Project and the recently popular Your Lie in April. We’re yet to see any real big music pieces, but with a large concert band consisting of more instruments than I’ve seen in any previous anime, it’ll be something to look forward to. With the way everything else in going, I can only imagine how impressive the music will be. High hopes for this one!

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