Anime Review: Sound! Euphonium

Details: Also known as Hibike! YūfoniamuOriginally aired in 2015. There are fourteen episodes in season one and thirteen episodes in season two. Most episodes are generally around twenty-four minutes.

Sound! Euphonium is a musically themed high school drama with a heavy emphasis on the drama and less emphasis on the music.  There are very few performances of music and while music gives the story context, it does not do as good a job presenting music as animes like Beck or Nodame Cantibile. With that said, Sound! Euphonium is a solid high school drama that successfully dances the line between drama and melodrama and succeeds at telling a compelling, believable story.

The story centers on Kumiko, a high school freshman, and the school’s concert band club she joins. As time progresses, we learn more about Kumiko and the other members of the band. Primarily, we learn about a big conflict that occurred with the prior year’s band members and the effects that conflict is having on the band now.

Music plays a limited role in this show except as a starting point. The best parts of this show revolve around the members of the band and their relationship to one another. If you like dramas, then you’ll like this. What I like about this drama specifically is that it doesn’t go too far. This isn’t a soap opera. No one loses their memory at any point nor is there a battle between love interests. In fact, romance takes a back seat as friendships and familial relationships are the focus of the series.

It should be said that there is some fan service in here, but it’s limited. There is also some Yuri (or lesbian stuff) going on, but that is also limited and though hinted at, is later swatted down and almost confirmed to be symptoms of a weird friendship rather than a lesbian relationship. Though there is some light romance, it is very light and I liked that. Most high school dramas obsess about romance and that this show didn’t makes it unique.

And though I said there is little focus on music, there are some performances and they are done well. Unfortunately, there are only a few full band performances mixed with a few solo performances as well. Otherwise, they just repeat the music over and over again.

Visually, this is one of the best drawn animes I’ve seen this year. The animation quality never dips and it seems like stuck with hand drawn animation instead of computer generated images, which definitely adds to the show. The use of landscapes is especially beautiful and worth mentioning.

Overall, this was a great drama. If you’re expecting a show about music in the way Beck or Nodame Cantibile was, then you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re expecting a quality high school drama about friendship and family, then you’ll be pleased. If you like dramas, then this show is an easy recommendation.

Score: 7/10

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