Reviews: Sound Euphonium

The story beneath all the high school brass band antics.

This show is, ostensibly, about the happenings at a high school brass band, aiming for Nationals, with all the hi-jinks, friendships, hardships, hopes and disillusions that come with a story like that.

To me, this is just the outer layer, readily visible to casual viewers. There is another story being told here, trying to burst out of the confines of a mere high school club show (and almost succeeding at times). This story is about a 15-year-old girl, who gradually realizes she has feelings for other girls.


It all starts when our girl joining the brass band club, picking up the instrument she had been playing throughout middle school: the eponymous euphonium. She is thrilled to find that another girl from her middle school joined as well. That girl plays the trumpet, and is strikingly pretty, with long dark hair and a mysterious aura. Eupho Girl can't help but feel very nervous around Trumpet Girl, and at first she blames it on a previous misunderstanding between them. But even after they resolve their misunderstanding, Eupho Girl's nervousness around Trumpet Girl doesn't really subside.

The girls hit it off, and they go on trips that could easily be seen as dates. Did our Eupho Girl finally find her first true love in that raven-haired beauty who plays the trumpet so well? Not really. You see, Trumpet Girl actually has a crush on the (male) director of the school's brass band, and only seems to hit on Eupho Girl without realizing it.

Over time, Eupho Girl's feelings for Trumpet Girl start to cool, as she realizes more and more that her feelings will not be reciprocated. But what's that? There's another girl at brass club, a bespectacled beauty who also has long dark hair, and who is a euphonium player to boot! Sure, Glasses Girl is a bit rough around the edges, and our Eupho Girl doesn't like her that much at first, but after spending more and more time with her Eupho Girl's feelings shift away from the Trumpet Girl toward the girl with the glasses, helped by the fact that they both play the same instrument, which Glasses Girl plays with warmth and passion.

There's another snag though. Glasses Girl is two years older, and is about to graduate. By the time Eupho Girl finally manages to tell Glasses Girl how she feels for her it is already graduation day. Glasses Girl thanks her, and runs our of her life, leaving behind our saddened Eupho Girl who now has to deal with two unrequited loves in a row.

To me, this is the true story of the show, and it's not a particularly uplifting one. That said, this is still is a wonderful series, with great animation, music and top notch voice acting. If you don't mind seeing yet another anime in which a lesbian character gets the shaft, then I highly recommend this one.