Another episodic post! This time I am going to attempt to do my first timestamp breakdown of everything I found noteworthy, what better show to do one for than Euphonium? I found episode five absolutely brilliant and I hope to share with you why I thought so.
01:48 — After the recap and OP, we are immediately confronted with the Nurse’s Office. Physical examinations, of course.
01:58 — To establish that time has passed. The results of Hazuki’s training have obviously paid off.
02:32 — The other girls not only remark on her results being like that of a guy, but it allows a small explanation about the necessary lung capacity required to play a tuba for the benefit of the audience. Seems like Concert Band is finally being taken seriously at this school.
04:30 — A quick explanation of SunFes in addition to establishing that part of the reason the concert band was so attached to going in the first place came down to the fun and the costumes. Seems Midori can’t take George along, though.
04:55 — This show is packed dense with the small details. The breast joke earlier wasn’t some lazy throwaway. This girl looks up to this girl, who in turn looks up to Asuka, someone to take cues from, and ofcourse there seems to be some breast hierarchy going on.
05:07 — This camera angle was no accident. Kumiko’s still preoccupied with that. She sees it as a sign of maturity, so she finds herself looking over to Reina, whom she seeks approval from, to see how she is doing relative to herself. Quite appropriate that both her other new friends, whom she sees more like peers, are just as flat as her.
05:28 — And from the opposite side, Aoi isn’t used to being the one that’s looked up to. We saw earlier how she was one of the few that put their hand up against the band being taken seriously. She hasn’t yet become confident enough to take that responsibility. Offering sunscreen is senpai enough, you can do it, girl!
07:32 — The face of the band.
07:44 — Haruka’s (the current president of the band) too meek to act as the conductor. I wonder if she couldn’t deny being elected by her lax peers in the first place? She’s been characterised as quite nervous up to this point, everyone wanted the confident and beautiful Asuka as their leader. Easy to look up to, easy to place responsibility upon.
07:57 — But she didn’t want to. This ties back to how Kumiko didn’t necessarily want to continue being a Euphonium player just because she was good at it before. Sometimes you want an excuse, a reason to shirk responsibility. To hide your natural talents.
08:39 — Taki’s regime clearly paying dividends. Giving them not only more time to practice, but clearly demonstrating to the students that their hard effort does result in tangible improvements in skill and stamina.
09:39 — and a quick reminder that Concert Band isn’t everything. These characters have a lot of responsibilities to juggle beyond extracurricular activities. Three years pass by in a flash. Even a small line like this bears more importance than the relative time the show takes to say it. Everything is purposeful.
The walk at night — 10:00-12:20
Breaking timestamp format to discuss this section in more detail. I’m also holding back on indiscriminately posting pictures of every beautiful shot. It’s all very pretty indeed, watch it again yourself! But there’s much more here than the shots themselves, it’s in how they flow together. It all begins when Kumiko’s tired yawns are rudely interrupted by the sudden realisation of Reina watching her.
Quite simple shot framing really, beginning here to convince us she’s alone before quickly cutting to Reina framed in the centre, which accentuates her presence. In between those shots, we get Kumiko’s head reflected on the window, she is focusing inwardly on herself, intimate shots of her tired arms and sore feet as she yawns further drive in that state of lowered inhibitions and vulnerability before she finds herself in the embarrassing position. The moment is left to hang for a second, then quickly moved on from without a word. This is simply KyoAni doing what they do best, a small scene told solely through detailed character animation and cinematography, this is what makes the characters feel such like closely relatable people and the world feel so lived-in.
The next phase of this sequence continues, as a quietly building piece of background music starts up. While the two walk through the station and up the escalator, we get an extremely quick series of cuts, all shots showing Kumiko looking at Reina’s back. This makes the viewer feel slightly off-kilter as it bring us into Kumiko’s mind, struggling to get the words out, hastily spoken inner monologue running.
Resolve found. We get a tracking shot as Kumiko walks over-casually and talks in a strained voice, each muted response she receives is met with a cut of the camera. First to Kumiko’s “eh..” and secondly to her with head hung low, camera pulled back: presumably time has skipped a little, they aren’t in the same location anymore. Reina then stops at a crossing, this moment stresses that now she evidently has something of substance to say. The ongoing music reaches a suspenseful bridge as Kumiko still keeps on responding with frivolities. Finally a noticeable reaction from Reina is emphasized as Kumiko mentions “Taki-sensei is cool”, green walk light on now, Kumiko walks ahead of Reina for the first time, making sure she can only see her back…
The climax of the scene, music finally reaches its height as Kumiko says something she didn’t mean to. Instead, Reina holds in a laugh and defuses the flustered apologies, music calm again. “That seems like something you would say” — small words, but ones that hold great meaning to the receiver. We know that everything since episode one has lead up to this, Kumiko had been searching for this kind of approval all along, even if it comes in the form of a small piece of companionship like this. The direction also acknowledges the importance of this moment, beautifully highlighting Reina with the lights of the city and cars behind her, a perfect scene.
This entire sequence spanned only 2 minutes and 20 seconds in length, however it was jam-packed with beauty and characterisation, giving me much to write about and describe. Definitely my favourite scene of the episode… but we haven’t even got to the concert yet, moving hastily onwards, timestamp format resumes!
14:03 — A short explanation of the various roles in the band before they set out. Personally can’t say what’s up with this bit. Maybe she wanted to sit next to Reina?
16:11 — I must say that Kumiko certainly doesn’t look the most comfortable in that outfit. Maybe she finds it garish compared to all the other schools.
16:39 — Oh man this bit, look at the little blink this girl makes after she asks Kumiko why she is at Kitauji. Even before it implicitly comes out in their ensuing conversation, we already know that their school isn’t considered that great.
18:34 — ;_;
19:07 — They already know they have a lot to overcome here. The pressure of the other groups is daunting.
20:07 — Reina’s got swag. But really, her interruption was a necessary rallying call to get the band focused again. That shot placed her alone in a vibrant background before transposing it ontop of where she was standing, it makes her feel otherworldly.
22:00 — The concert march was fantastic. Beautifully animated, jovial fanfare playing, lovely dancing from Hazuki and Midori. Quick cuts made sure to show the concentration on various band members faces as they played their instruments, a distinct focus on the controlled steps of the band marching in unison served as a visual callback to their intense training. Everything we had seen up til now in the episode — no the entire show itself, lead up to this moment, and what a display it was.
Phew, that was a long one, I hope you enjoyed reading it, this is the first time I have done a post of this type, so I was experimenting a lot while writing it. It was a tough balance to strike on just how much I wanted to comment on and to what detail I would spell out various things I found the show doing so well. I would greatly appreciate feedback on this post, what worked and what didn’t, would you like to see more posts of this type in future?
Or perhaps you would like to share your own opinion and thoughts on the episode itself, I’d welcome it! To preface some things, yes, I did see the distance shots of the band marching using CG (but it looked fine to me) and there was ofcourse that boob joke, but I think it was well-justified in its use as I covered above.