Hibike Euphonium Review: K-ON Reincarnated

hibike euphonium reviewThe reincarnation of K-ON! goes louder and more emotional this time around.

K-ON! really resonated within the community. I’ve come across many hateful and angry commentaries against K-ON, labeling the series as another moe-blob or some harbinger of the anime industry’s end. Nonetheless did I really enjoy the series and was curious to see how Hibike Euphonium would play out.

hibike euphoniumKumiko joins the schools’ music club and discovers the hard way how it is to win and lose to become the best band in the nation. Along with Reina and many others they are competing with others schools and themselves.

The character interactions are sincere and have a chemistry that feels more mature than it did in
K-ON! The setting is completely different and tries to focus more on the struggle that comes with music making and not only the fun parts. Everybody is working hard and doesn’t want let down the team. In some sense it felt like Hibike Euphonium was a metaphor for the notorious Japanese school system, where even after school pastime activities are highly regulated.

hibike euphoniumKyoto Animation has a way of subtlety displaying its romance. There isn’t real exposure like a show that would come from a studio such as MadHouse or the somewhat edgy shows of FEEL. Nonetheless, KyoAni made an attempt to bring girl on girl romance to the screen.

The first real attempt of KyoAni to display girl on girl romantic relationships was quite decent. I liked how the bond between Kumiko and Reina was growing and I was actually hoping it would go a bit further, since the mood was set. The chemistry between Kumiko and Reina was really strong. Their interactions may consisted solely on the performance of the band and their wish to win the nationals. Nonetheless did Reina come to life when it was about music, more and more so as the show progressed.

I really liked this character trait, that Reina became truly herself when it came down to her passion and she was able to share it with Kumiko. I believe it reflects a lot of people that need that ice breaker to come out of their shell and Reina was the perfect embodiment of this.

hibike euphoniumKyoAni had a nice visual design with a lot of out of focus elements that gave the animation some depth of field. It’s not uncommon, but it was particularly present in Hibike Euphonium. KyoAni plays around with new techniques, but it remains the familiar visual language which I can highly appreciate.

hibike euphoniumHibike Euphonium was a great reincarnation of the more light hearted K-ON! The characters had a natural chemistry and the more serious vibe suited the more light hearted KyoAni line-up of the last few seasons.

KyoAni played around with girl on girl romantic interactions, nonetheless did it feel incomplete. There was more to be desired, especially the bond between Kumiko and Reina was very strong, but left unexplored. I rate Hibike Euphonium an 8 out of 10.

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9 thoughts on “Hibike Euphonium Review: K-ON Reincarnated

  1. Overlord-G says:

    Euphonium’s more like “If K-ON were actually about music and the hardships of going pro rather than enjoying high school life, making the best of it and cherishing the friends made there” even though the latter does play a part but really the drama and KumiRei are the show’s main draws…and obviously the great Asuka.

  2. infinitezenith says:

    I would argue that K-On! and Hibike! Euphonium only share the superficial similarities of having music and being animated by Kyoto Animation.

    Thematically, K-On! and Hibike! Euphonium are completely different, and music plays different roles within both anime to reinforce their respective messages. Quite similarly, the characters in their respective anime would not fit well within the themes of their opposite number (e.g. Yui would almost certainly be kicked out of Kitauji’s band, and Reina would not likely have joined Houkago Tea Time). Because the of differences in the anime, I don’t consider Hibike! Euphonium as a reincarnation of K-On!: it’s a completely different beast.

    • ninetybeats says:

      I think Hibike is the serious approach to K-ON, therefore I labelled it as a reincarnation. They may be different, but I feel it can be traced back to one another. They both have their good and bads. In all honesty I did enjoy K-ON better for its more lighthearted approach.

      • infinitezenith says:

        I wonder, though: what if Hibike! Euphonium had been adapted and released before K-On!? Their similarities and corresponding comparisons within the community arose because the latter, predating the former by some six years, was well-known. I think this is the source of all the comparisons, so I’m curious to hear your thoughts as to whether or not people would draw the comparison if Hibike! Euphonium had inded come out before K-On!.

      • ninetybeats says:

        I don’t think Hibike! would even air in that time frame. I believe Hibike is in a natural transition with other music related anime, set in motion by light heartedness as for example K-ON!

        Music was a very vital part in Angel Beats and was well praised. The idolmaster series took flight and the vocaloid franchise keeps expanding. Hibike is therefore, just like Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, a natural occurence. K-ON was overlapping multiple genres while Hibike focussed on a more narrow audience, yet through a accessible dialogue and design.

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