The first episode is actually double length and will easily get the audience back into the mood from season 1. Or perhaps a bit too much? If you’re a fan of Kumiko and Reina’s relationship then it will definitely bring you some popcorn entertainment. In the meantime, the series continuously adds more drama to the story. From the start, we have the conflict revolving about Nozomi, Asuka, and Natsuki. The ideal clashes erupts and it’s evident that it was a sneak peek for more emotional drama to happen. We also find out more about the new characters in this season such as Mizore (who had a very minor role before).
I have to admit, getting back into this show for me felt pretty natural. The series has a decent pacing in term of storytelling that feels familiar to the first season. However, one of the focuses in this season is the Nationals. Kumiko realizes the pressure of the competition while the rest of Kitauji High also recognize the mountain they must overcome. The storytelling maintains a balanced mood that bounces between dramatic and humorous while still expressing the personalities of the characters. In the meantime, emotions hits a high note when we learn more about the past of some of the characters.
It’s pretty evident that some of the episodes sparks emotional drama from the start. It just takes some buildup to lead to it. The series establishes a firm way of showing those emotions through segments and clever usage of dialogue and narratives. Whether you’re a fan of drama or not, the show know how to structure these emotions to appeal for an audience. In addition, the sequel also handles background storytelling quite well. Asuka, one of the most noticeable band members, reveals her past while we can also clearly see how Nozomi and Mizore’s relationship developed. Of course, the series also focuses on the present as Reina struggles about her personal feelings towards Taki. If you can recall, she has feelings towards Taki and this season made it even more evident with the way she reacted when another female teacher enters the story, who seems to have a past connection with him.
This season isn’t just about melancholic drama as the competition evolves. And as the competition evolves, so does the band. In one particular episode, Kitauji shows their talent and how much they’ve improved themselves with a powerful performance. It’s obvious that they aren’t pushovers and that the band members possesses some real talent. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be impressed by the competition as a whole the word “anticlimatic” can easily be summed up regarding the conclusion. I guess in a way, the show already demonstrated that Kitauji doesn’t necessarily need to win trophies and awards to establish themselves as a talented group of individuals.
Despite the pressure of the competition angles and emotional drama, the second season also offers a bunch of humor. We have an iconic beach theme episode and a festival one to celebrate Hibike Euphonium’s second coming. Furthermore, character expressions still remain pretty expressive in humorous ways. I mean, who can forget about Reina’s “dead fish” eyes? I can safely say that the sequel definitely got more than enough laughs out of me as the show’s comedy never feels forced. It is what it is and just feels so natural and down to earth. In addition, character chemistry is still pretty charming even as it highlights relationships we are all familiar with, such as the case with Reina and Kumiko. Speaking of relationships, we do see a different side of Asuka this season. While she always remained so strong in the group who showed little weakness, Asuka revealed a more vulnerable side of her. This is evident during the second half of the sequel and Kumiko confronts her about it. In perhaps one of the most memorable segments of the series, Kumiko is able to express her own honest feelings on why she wants Asuka to stay in the band. Family issues becomes evident as it even erupts on Kumiko’s side of the story between herself and her sister.
Once again, Kyoto Animation demonstrates their sheer talent into animating a show such as this. The quality production values remains high with great visuals crafted by the talented staff. Every episode showcases high quality in character designs, background setting, or expressions. The directing of the quality also involves character expressions that feels real during the more dramatic moments. Kumiko, Reina, and Mizore are noticeable examples. The only parts that I do find occasionally irritating are a few stiff camera angles although none of that are too distracting. Kyoto Animation still has the “it factor”.
As a main element of the show, music shines a lot when it comes to band performances. The second season showcases that as we see characters’ abilities at their best. I’m not a big expert on music but it’s pretty clear that the show explores the true potential of the cast. The way instruments are played show their precise movement with their hands and timing. In addition, the choreography and coordination of the band shows their unison as a whole collectively. The theme songs are naturally performed with its band theme and school setting.