I am not even surprised! There goes people once again ditching Hibike after this episode. I am so totally rolling my eyes right now! Are there like, two different episodes that get aired every week because it seems to me that I might be watching something different from what others watch! I have watched this episode three times and I yet have to see something that is so wrong about it! But really, this happens every damn episode. Last week it was ‘Shoo1 is being saved for the next episode I just know it’ and this week it’s ”Shoo1 is being saved for the last episode guys, I just know it. This is foreshadowing’ and I am like…Seriously? I swear every damn time! I have no idea why that Shoo1 scene got so many jimmies rustled and neither did that Mattaku-sensei thing warrant such reactions. Speaking of the Mattaku/Kumiko scene, I don’t mean to brag but I saw that coming from a mile away. As soon as I saw Kumiko in school with him alone I knew something was going to happen to cause the world to go into flames. The thing is that I don’t see what the big deal is. There has to be a reason why I saw this coming so let me explain.
This anime, at its core, is about Reina and Kumiko’s relationship, right? What have we had from them so far? Just good things since the very first episode (Not counting the opening flashback), hell, Reina reacted way differently at seeing Kumiko again unlike how both we and Kumiko herself thought she would react. They have been progressing so well that they have almost reached the peak of that development. This peak might explain the way others see this episode as being freindshipy than previous episodes. No relationship has only good things. Be it God and his Angels or with his best creation in man, there is always going to be conflict or a falling out at some point. How this falling out is handled is the test to the integrity of said relationship. Where I am going with this is that Reina and Kumiko haven’t had a single moment of friction ever since they took off. With only one episode to go, there had to be something! And that something came in the form of Mattaku-sensei and him and Kumiko being ‘alone together’. You could just feel the way it was forced and rushed. I found it so out of character for Kumiko to stop halfway because she suddenly had the Sapphire passion for stuffed Euphos! Kumiko acting like that was just so not her but we need to have our KumiRei tested so that their relationship can be proved to be real.
And so I wasn’t that disturbed by Reina’s reaction, in fact I would have been more disturbed if she did not react at all. But even as small this scene as it was, apparently it was enough to make others forget about what else happened in the episode. And so here I am, writing about this so I can point out the good stuff that actually happened and need to be appreciated instead of being over-shadowed by the ridiculously less important scenes of Shoo1 and Mattaku-sensei. I swear some viewers freak out just from Shoo1 being on the screen! It’s complete madness! I can’t even believe I am starting to defend him!
Before anything else I just want to remind you all (and so does KyoAni it seems) that next week, during the show’s finally, Venus and Jupiter will be kissing in the night sky! Let’s not forget the ED, neither the promo art that makes sure we understand that the anime is about Reina and Kumiko’s distance. Let’s not forget that it is actually what has been going on since the very first episode. Let’s also remember that this episode and the next is the test to their new relationship. What does this all mean? Well, let your minds run wild dear Readers.
Now then, with that out of the way, let’s get to the happenings of this episode. First of all it is Reina’s turn to worry about Kumiko. The Euphos get asked to play a part that originally wasn’t part of the plan. This part proves to be a complete pain for Kumiko to pull off. Despite it being a team part, Used-to-be-fav Asuka does little to nothing to help Kumiko. Kumiko really pours her all into practicing that part for what seems like days but she just can’t seem to produce the sound that she wants. Kumiko even took a tip from Natsuki-senpai and (and Reina really) and found herself that special place to practice during every break and mornings. Things don’t go according to plan. But during practice Reina was keeping an ear out for Kumiko and after Lord knows how many days, Reina finally comes over to Kumiko.
I am just going to point out that you should pay some extra attention to Kumiko when she first sees Reina.
Reina tells Kumiko that she is improving but she also says that it is not enough to take them to the nationals. This right here I loved. I loved the fact that they didn’t just make Kumiko good again just by her practicing with Reina because that would be doing the same thing that they did in episode 7/8 when Reina helped Kumiko get over her slump at that hard note by practicing with he up in the mountains during their date. Kumiko is in a situation where she is working so hard that she even bleeds (nose bleed due to high heat and not enough hydration) in other words, not a situation where fooling around would be appropriate. These two take music seriously, Reina more so (though she has an ulterior motive) so of course she will be taking this situation with Kumiko seriously too.
What I am trying to say is that there was no need for wet HAGU (all that sweating) or face touching this time around. Thus the best option was the toning down of the gay and actually show that these two can be serious around each other sometimes and not always fooling around. To me this puts more depth to their relationship! The fact that Reina is worried so much for Kumiko, Reina who probably never had friends and thus did not know how to handle situations like this I think she did pretty great!
First she just came over to keep Kumiko company. She probably also thought to get the same results that we got the last time the two played together but this time it proved to be too much for Kumiko. Let’s not forget that Kumiko probably wasn’t that into her Eupho especially with that past of hers with her sister and that secret friend of hers. Meaning that she is not at the level that she should be due to not playing for some time, or playing so little due to the bad experiences so far. To Mattaku-sensei she might have come off as a protégé but she is still lacking and so would be at a much lower level than Asuka-senpai. This is not something that can be taken care of in an instant, let alone a week.I think Reina understood this at some level and so she settled for just doing what she could for Kumiko. She visited her from time to time during her practice. She called her occasionally to make sure she was okay. We saw this when there was line of missed calls from Reina because Kumiko had forgotten her phone at school.
Actually speaking of which, as I said previously, every episode we get to see the progress of KumiRei’s relationship. This week the calls was one of those points that show this progress. We haven’t yet heard these two talk on the phone before this episode, have we? Actually when did they even exchange numbers? I don’t remember that. But now apparently they call each other regularly as we saw with those missed calls from Reina on Kumiko’s cell. This shows that yet again, these two are at a higher level in the relationship than we previously assumed.In addition to that we can also see Reina’s development firstly in the way that she worries about someone else in Kumiko! Her telling Kumiko that she was improving, add in that scene another morning before the talk with Kaori-senpai when Reina paused to listen to Kumiko’s Eupho, we can see that Kumiko means a lot to Reina and that she thought about her throughout Kumiko’s hard time just like Kumiko was worried about Reina just an episode ago.
Then after Kumiko bled due to dehydration, the next time Reina visited her at her practicing spot she brought water. How did Reina know to bring Kumiko water that time? That implies that she knew Kumiko had gone to the nurse’s office and figured out what had been wrong with her but how? Reina is not close to either Sapphire or Hazuki so there is very little chance those two told Reina about Kumiko. And unless Reina knew that Kumiko had been taken to the nurse’s office, she wouldn’t know to go to the nurse and ask what had been wrong with Kumiko in the first place so how?
If we just think of this as a coincidence and that Reina brought the water because she thought of it herself that Kumiko would be needing it (what with the heat and that much hot air being passed through Kumiko’s throat) then that would further strengthen the level of their relationship showing how deep their connection really is and showing us a different side of Reina that actually cares for others (well, only Reina and maybe Mattaku-sensei). And as if we would be forgetting about it any time soon, later when Kumiko calls Reina out to meet her at night (for some reason because she just couldn’t wait the next day to tell Reina of her new found appreciation for her music instrument) Reina brings with her another bottle of water. She is completely determined to make sure Kumiko is in top condition to perform her best. No more being held back because she forgot to rehydrate herself. Too bad someone up there had to decide to induce some forced drama by making Kumiko half-sentence something she should have known was important to Reina!
Let’s talk about Kumiko too. The best Kumiko moment this episode had to be hands down that last scene on the bridge when she understood the reason behind Reina’s tears from their Junior High days. This moment here was the high light of the episode. It was also the most intense of the signs of development in Reina and Kumiko’s relationship this time around. Kumiko knew the reason why Reina was crying that day. She knew it was because Reina was frustrated that they did not get to progress higher. Kumiko knew the reason but she never understood it.
That pure happiness upon the revelation was beyond words! I don’t need to say it but I will anyway – Only Reina has managed to produce those kinds of emotions (reaction faces) from Kumiko. I mean those faces that look like she is staring into the face of God or something! You can’t sit there and tell me that all these revelations Kumiko has had over Reina won’t affect her deeply, emotionally! I won’t take it! It is safe to say that by the end of this episode Kumiko must have developed a new level of feelings for Reina. The moment where she realises that she has gotten closer to Reina but understanding what Reina felt that time should have created some new feelings for Reina in Kumiko’s heart.
This is what is going to make next episode so interesting. If KyoAni makes a big deal out of Reina’s reaction to Kumiko mentioning her and Mattaku-sensei being alone together to create some drama, it will be interesting to see Reina having some negative feelings towards Kumiko whereas Kumiko’s feelings for Reina have gotten even stronger. The two trying to convey these feelings, which won’t go without some FEELs, is going to be really interesting and really as far as I am concerned, will make the resolution that much sweeter.
And if Venus and Jupiter are going to be utilised next episode, if they are a hidden thread to this series’ plot, then next episode, the last episode will have KumiRei connecting on a level that we have never seen before. I find it hard to believe that they would just leave that thread to fade into none existence especially after how the progress between KumiRei has been reflecting those two planets getting together with how closer Reina and Kumiko have grown since episode 1. This is why I am not at all worried about Shoo1. That guy is getting so pitiable that I actually won’t even mind if he gets a record-breaking 2min scene with Kumiko next episode. At this point this show is all about Reina and Kumiko and nothing else can derail it.
That shitty of a story doesn’t exist!
He had a lot of chances to shine this episode and yet nothing happened! Seriously such a pitiable character. First of all during the performance when the Euphos were the subject of attention, they could have panned to him to show his worry for Kumiko. Sure he has his own problems but if he really loved Kumiko and they knew it then they should have showed us something but apparently it was more important to show Sapphire’s worried face than Shoo1’s! Hell they even showed the couple but not Shoo1! Por Shoo1!
They did show Reina’s by the way.
A bit later when Kumiko practiced on her way, Shoo1 was only a few walks away from her place and yet instead of going to him, now that they both face the same problem and thus should be enough to spike something to talk about, Kumiko doesn’t go to him and neither he to her!! Shocking still is the fact that they did not walk home together, to the station at the very least. Come on KyoAni give the guy something! Seriously even seconds before that scene we had just gotten another Reina is better than Shoo1 scene! In the Nurse’s Office, Hazuki and Sapphire notice that Kumiko has really changed. They notice that she has gone from a detached and disinterested girl to someone who is reaching for the moon! Later as she sits alone there practicing under the trees, Kumiko lets us know the reasons behind her recent development! She says that she felt a strong desire to be better after she saw Reina’ performance during the battle with Kaori-senpai!
I have to say that surprised me! I thought she would say (or think seeing as these were her thoughts) that she was moved seeing Shoo1 working so hard to improve but instead just like always (in the case of the anime anyway) Reina was all that was on Kumiko’s mind!
And finally the best chance ever for him to shine on the bridge! Kumiko is crying out her frustrations! Bitch you better cross that road to show how strong your feelings are and support the girl you apparently love! But did he do something about it? Yes, he just shouted across to Kumiko just to let her know that he was present. He did nothing for her! But who needs him really? Not Kumiko that’s for sure! Guess who did something for Kumiko in this very moment as she wailed out her frustrations?
She wasn’t even present and yet she managed to beat Shoo1, and terribly too, when Kumiko realised she was feeling what Reina had felt that fated day they first got acquainted! That face upon her realisation, God, I don’t think I am going to be able to take it out of my head any time soon. I can’t help but wonder what Kumiko is going to do with this new found knowledge of hers. Will she simply work that much harder to improve or will we get a confession (real one this time) from her?
The way things look now, I can actually see it happening. If they choose to go that route, I can see Reina distancing herself from Kumiko because she thinks she is crushing on Mattaku-sensei and then Kumiko will have to show Reina that the only person she has deep feelings for is in fact Reina, all this with Kumiko in tears, under the night sky with a full moon and yes, you guessed it, Jupiter and Venus all but about to touch in the clear skies.
Seriously, if these two make up and kiss just as those two planets close the distance in the sky, I will flip! So much so that I wll label this the greatest yuri anime ever produced! If KyoAni pulls a BEST END with Hibike! Euphonium, nothing else matters, this is going to the top of my list! It will also be the first anime series I buy on BluRay in a long time! I just can’t see Shoo-1 posing a problem at this moment in time. It is too late for him! We already know he has a crush on Kumiko and even Kumiko herself knows it so him confessing wouldn’t change anything, just in case anyone out there was wondering. The only way it can be a problem is if Kumiko returns those feelings which is impossible either way you look at it if we are to believe that these characters are human!
While the bridge revelation scene was the best scene this episode, the best line happened earlier in the episode when Reina visited Kumiko as she practiced. The line I am talking about is the one said by Kumiko when she said that she wants to be special just like Reina! Even though Reina seems to have missed the meaning behind Kumiko’s words as she replied that in that case she would be even more special. To me it came off as Kumiko letting Reina know that she wanted to be like Reina, that she wanted them two to be special together and she was working hard to be at the same level as Reina so she can tread that journey to perfection alongside Reina.
I really loved that! Even 12 episodes in and Reina is still such a strong catalyst in the paving of Kumiko’s future! As far as the anime goes no one, absolutely no one but Reina deserves Kumiko’s love! That girl has changed so much, has done so much for Kumiko’s growth both intentionally and unintentionally. Seriously, there would be no surprises were these two to go that extra step and become a couple. Their story works perfectly as a romance story, much better than any actual romantic plots and I am sure that all viewers who know nothing of the novels would be all over this series! Nay, even those who read the novels would be hard pressed to resist the KumiRei.
With that said, I am sitting here still wondering why Kumiko had to call Reina all the way out at night just to tell her she loves her Eupho! Like what even…If we remember, Kumiko has actually done a couple of things Reina has done in return so maybe this was supposed to reflect that time Reina called her out to the back of the buildings just to apologise? In other words unnecessary relocation. Do they just love being alone together in their own world or something?
Speaking of that time Reina called Kumiko to talk alone, I remember Kumiko thinking that Reina was taking her to a secluded place to kill her! That was like, their first real time they faced each other and talked and Kumiko already had this twisted view on their relationship. Queue a couple of episodes later and we find out Reina is into some S & M and that Kumiko is turned on by this twisted Reina! And then just last episode Kumiko actually voiced these dark fantasies of hers thus letting Reina know that they were on the same wavelength!
These two I tell ya, a match made in heaven!
Such a lovely series, such awesome direction and yet all this lovely work has to be debased so much by certain viewers! You know what, I have a feeling that even if we actually get a yuri end some will still find ways to debase it because…LOL…novels!
I ain’t even laughing!
Can you like, believe some were freaking out over the butterflies?! They had absolutely nothing to do with anything!!!!