Anime Review: Hibike! Euphonium

Year: 2015
Length: 13 Episodes
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Music, School Setting

Story: 9/10 and Characters: 9.5/10
Hibike! Euphonium is an anime about a school concert band club, their numerous members, and their journey to the national championship.

The story focuses on Kumiko Oumae, a freshman who has already been a member of the concert band club in her previous school. She’s still trying to come to terms with the happenings of the last big tournament that she participated in with her former club members, and when she meets Reina Kousaka—one of the said members—things get troublesome for her.

I haven’t read the original novel that this anime is based on, but what I can say is that I really love the way they present the characters to us in the anime. Kyoto Animation is one of the few studios that I can always be sure to show us a very lovable set of characters, and they didn’t disappoint this time either.

Reina and Asuka are definitely my favorite characters, but I also liked Kumiko and Hazuki. I feel like they are all really unique characters that I just can’t help but love.

Story-wise Hibike! definitely scores high as well. I would have never thought that a show about a concert band club could be that intriguing and interesting to watch. I also never thought that this might even come close to what Kyoto Animation managed to do with K-On!, but surprisingly, it actually does come very close to how much I enjoyed the former masterpiece.

The pacing is great, the presented obstacles are believable and not over the top like in many other shows, and best of all, the characters and their way of interacting is really great to watch. You can see them grow as a group, while I especially liked how Kumiko and Reina developed as… well, something close to partners, lovers even – but we’ll come to that later.

All in all, I’m highly satisfied with what this show showed us so far, and I sure hope that there will be more in the future.

Animation: 9/10
And again, I just can’t stop praising Kyoto Animation. I simply like their animation style. It’s so light, fluffy and cute, yet the characters don’t look like little kids, but actually their age.

It’s really pretty and nice to watch. The same goes for the flow of the animation. You can see that they put a lot of work into this one, and it’s so great to see that they also payed attention to little details like background characters, as well as simple things like specific changes in facial expressions. It’s just something that Kyoto Animation is really good at, in my eyes.

Yuri: 6/10 – Strong Subtext
Let me just take a big breath before I start with all I have to say when it comes to this anime and its yuri content.

First of all, I shouldn’t even complain. Kyoto Animation is one of those animation studios that is pretty much known for what is called “queer baiting”. For those that are not familiar with this term, it simply means that they are trying to gain more viewers by baiting us with potential yuri.

I have to say, they did a great job in my case, since I only started watching Hibike! because of the possible yuri content that people kept promising me.

And scenes like this where we’re are screaming the word gaaaaaaaay.

In the end, they of course didn’t go “full yuri”, and instead hinted at Reina and Kumiko’s possible male partners. Now, that usually wouldn’t be that big of a problem for me, however, this show made it so unbelievably obvious that there is something going on between the two girls. They have such a great chemistry—one that I’m even missing when it comes to some canon pairings—that I just cannot accept the way they forced the heterosexual romance into the story.

It simply doesn’t sit right with me. And that’s not just because I’m a yuri fangirl, it’s because a possible relationship (especially between Shuichi and Kumiko) just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Total Enjoyment: 8/10
If it wasn’t for the queer baiting, this show would have been almost perfect, a certain 9/10. Though, since this bothered me, as well as many other people as much as it did, I simply can’t give this show any more points.

If there’s going to be a second season, then I sure hope that they are going to do something about this. But I have a feeling as if a possible sequel might end up being 100% het…. Ah damn….

hibike euphonium yuri
All we wanted was more of this….


41 thoughts on “Anime Review: Hibike! Euphonium

  1. As expected of KyoAni, sometimes i even replay the scene again and again, just to look at the background. Remember the scene where Reina stroke her own hair? I watched it countless of time. So far, KyoAni is my favorite anime studio, just like you said, they really care about all the details.

    I went crazy because of all Kumiko and Reina scene. Well, WHO DOESNT???!!!! Funny thing is, eventhough i know that the guys will sink the ship, i can't hate both of them, Taki-sensei and Tsukamoto, i can't hate them.

    Except for KumiRei ship, i found 2 person that is quite cute to be paired. The annoying girl Yuuko and Natsuki. I love how they interact to each other (remind me of Dekomori and Nibutani from Chuunibyou)

    I don't even mind to be baited, that was a really sweet bait.


  2. im glad i dint watched this, it seems too much of a good show, and the characters seem good too.
    If only they stopped pulling these bullshit baits, im furious, so much potential.


  3. I'll comment only on the yuri part, because that what I scratch my head on the most, both for KyoAni and the fans…

    I'll give the yuri part 7/10, not because Shuichi (I just can't put my head why people believe Kumiko going to be with Shuichi) but because of Reina's feeling for Taki…
    The series has changed a lot of Kumiko-Shuichi scenes in to friendship and makes Kumiko-Reina scene to be more romantic, so again I am dumbfounded by people insistence they are going to be a thing (especially this season, if they make more of it)…
    Episode 8 'kills' the pair because no matter what happen to Kumiko-Shuichi, nothing going to be as romantic as episode 8, and as we can see, nothing happen at all (beside they become friend again)…

    Reina to Taki however is 'a thing' because the way Reina shows her feeling for Taki is the same with the novel (at least from spoiler I get) and to be honest the reason I dislike episode 10 is because, if Reina likes Taki, why did she blush toward Kumiko from episode 4 onward? That few minutes of episode 10 (less than 5 minutes even) damage the character development in 9 episodes before it and the most frustrating part, it doesn't change anything in future episode and the character development of Reina-Kumiko moves forward (how they become closer and closer, in to very very close) as if Reina never like Taki, so why should Reina said she likes Taki again?

    If anything bring down the score for me it will be Reina's feeling for Taki, where the hell it comes from and why is it important to have it this season (unless they plan to do another season regardless of this season performance)?

    I'll say watch this, skip the middle part of episode 10, and the series continues to be yuri, because let's be honest people begin to seriously doubt the yuri part after episode 10 (with the height of yuri at episode 8, along with the increase on BD sell)…

    Beside that, people tend to forget other pairing (NatsuYuuko is a big one many people miss), so even if you can't believe Kumiko going to be with Reina, there are 'beta' couple you can fall in to (and their development also pretty enjoyable)…


  4. Good music club going pro drama, good character developing drama (the ones we got anyway) and good music. KumiRei was worth the hype and it ended (for now) as I expected they would in a best case scenario. Down with that as it could have been much worse no thanks to those trolling moments.
    Asuka's my boo.
    Season 2 or a non-Tamako Love Story movie would be nice when they announce a continuation.


  5. Oh that's true, we also got Yuuko x Natsuki, though I think we only got like 2 little scenes between them.
    They were cute, but didn't even come close to the greatness of Kumiko x Reina.


  6. Of course we could skip whole episodes or not pay attention to little details like Reina blushing when she sees Taki sensei, but if you watch the whole thing, you already know where it's going.

    No matter how strong this yuri ship is, and also no matter how much they boosted the yuri from the actual novels, Kyoto Animation put in some warning signs for us.

    Reina x teacher probably won't happen, because Kyoani is probably as afraid of putting in yuri as it is of putting in a serious relationship between a teacher and his student, but Shuichi x Kumiko is something that is more or less inevitable in my eyes.
    Not only did they pull the “childhood friends card”, they also showed Hazuki failing to get Shuichi and she now even supports them as a couple.

    The signs are there, and I'm willing to make bets that if there is going to be a second season, she will get together with him in one way or another.


  7. I think the anime probably did really well. Also, their journey is far from over, so in my eyes, there is nothing standing in the way of a second season.




  9. i love this anime so much, its one of my favorites of the spring season, i really do want more kumirei moments hopefully if theres a season 2 (kyoani please make it happen) then we will get more


  10. ya that is true, i honestly dont want to see much of the het if a season 2 does happen, im mean its fine if its a little but if its a lot then im not gonna be happy, the reason being is because i ship kumirei so much


  11. This series reminds me so much of my club back in high school (though it's not a band)… I can totally relate to it and the drama's so realistic! <3 (Y) Hope there will be a season 2! ^_^ Episode 8 is one of the best (the other being the last episode), i rewatched the 2nd half of that episode like 3 or 4 times lol... But yeah, if Shuichi x Kumiko is going to be official... I (KumiRei shipper) doubt I would watch season 2 T_T (unless they make Yuuko x Natsuki official or some other yuri pairings :P)

    Thanks Lena for your recommendation! I only watch the animes that you mention lol


  12. Haha, really? As much as I'm flattered, there are so many more great shows 😛

    *goes back to watch episode 8 again*
    Thanks for giving me that idea, now I won't be able to do anything else anymore… great 😛


  13. I just finished watching this as per Lena's recommendation and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Lena, called this one pretty much on the nose. I really love the animation style of KyoAni. There were moments that i kept rewinding to see changes of expression because it was done so well!

    As far as yuri goes, it will probably go along the same lines as other KyoAni titles, but i can't help but squeal a little bit when Kumiko and Reina are acting really cute together. Here's to hoping that we see more yuri next season! I'm also pretty confident in a second season because of the pacing of each episode. I'm sure it was a tough lesson learned from K-On!, where they squandered 2 of 3 high school years in the first season.

    Also! I think this is the first anime I've seen with an actual nosebleed (not in the harem sense)! A landmark achievement, i think. =P


  14. I'm glad we share the same opinion 😉

    But let me ask just to make sure, you got a nosebleed from witnessing the great yuri that is Reina x Kumiko, right? 😛


  15. great review! Lena Recommended indeed.
    Thank you for this i dont think i never loved an anime this much this year this one deserved a second season it really does and i have no doubt it its interesting too it was so good i want to watch it again i like how its about music and musicians its a rarity for an anime i think that just because theres yuri doesnt mean its great or youll be expecting a lot of this and that like “yeah lets make this two almost making out just because” but it didnt have a great story behind it the thing about hibike is when i wanted to watch some yuri i dont really expect highly of it the difference with this one is because kumiko and reina scenes were genuine you can feel theres something there a chemistry a connection
    as someone who loves music and a musician this made the anime more appealing to me the struggles with your instrument skills the feelings the love for your instrument all those things especially the OST i loved it all so i guess that all i wanted to say 🙂 good job on this one so thank you for reviewing this anime it makes me want to watch it again some other time


  16. I freaking lost it when KyoAni went with the teacher crush route, then again it was in the novels…

    I'd rather have KyoAni stop with the baiting.
    Then again, is the bliss of subtext worth the angst of impending het? It's a “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” kind of circumstance.

    despite sinking ships, impressive visuals have become KyoAni's trademark.


  17. Thank you 🙂
    Now this reminds me of the fact I forgot to mention my rating for the music.

    Since you liked it so much, here's my rating for that as well: 9/10
    Great in general 😉


  18. We all hated it, but what can we do….
    Well, we can wait for a possible second season and then loose it all over again when they implement more hetero romance 😛


  19. I've read in somewhere that kumiko, with limited romantic build up, agrees to date shuichi even thouh she “doesn't have feelings for him” in later volumes.
    I too would like to remain faithful that such is a “het pitstop” for the KumiRei train, but then the anime did crop out shuichi and kumi's scenes from the novel and instead focused on KumiRei's relationship

    such scenes would have made kumiko going out with shuichi all the more logical and that she did not “just agree to go out with him”.

    then again, I am coming from secondary sources, which would make my post unreliable. I can't exactly post sources because this shit is everywhere maybe except MarkS00N's comment on yuri-goggles:

    ” …
    – Reina was holding her trumpet case in novel when her hand was grabbed by Kumiko, so she was leaving the club there (also she act annoyed when Kumiko did so, at least in the manga), but in anime she doesn’t bring her trumpet case, so where did she goes?
    – Reina and Kumiko already call each other by real name instead of their family name in the novel, so the finger scene stress more on the Reina’s ego than Reina and Kumiko’s relationship getting closer
    – Reina touch Kumiko’s cheek in the novel, not Kumiko’s lip
    – In the novel Reina and Kumiko don’t bring their instrument, let alone duet on the mountain”

    and madlax232's on dynasty-reader:

    “… In the anime Shuichi tells Kumiko to practice together everyday and Kumiko says “Nah, my euphonium is too big”. then asks Kumiko to spend the Agata festival with him, Kumiko says “why?” and then he runs off being a bit embarrased. In the novel is totally the opposite. When Shuichi tells Kumiko to practice together Kumiko agrees but runs away embarrased. Kumiko is a bit tsundere with Shuichi in the novel.”

    you've probably read those quoted but I've felt here is a safe place to rant (if anybody calls everything above ranting *snort*)

    but, I did manage to get and translate (a line from) a page

    “I like you too, Shuichi”


  20. I've read about some of these, but definitely not all, so thanks for showing this to us 🙂

    Well, they really made some big changes in the Anime, huh?
    It really makes me hope that a possible second season might go even further.


  21. Hey, Lena! Have you seen the first episode of Hibike Euphonium season 2? I’m dying to know what you think, especially the last scene… Think KyoAni will pull more of their bait and switch routine? Geez, i hope not! This show needs more yuri!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Started with the first episode yesterday, then my internet died on me, so I still have to watch the rest. Though, what we got to see, was already pretty yurirific if you ask me.

      I just can’t help but notice even the smallest touches between the two of them and Reina’s little “snuggle” on the train was quite precious~

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just finished it and I’m actually lost for words.
        Like omg, how can we even call this gay-baiting, when the yuri was thrown right into our faces like this?!

        This. Was. The. BEST!

        Okay, just let me calm down for a bit, I’m just overwhelmed because of the sheer amount of that not-so-subtle yuri that mostly Reina surprised us with. Kiss her already!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hehehe! I thought as much. My feelings exactly! How can they ignore this any further?!? Snuggling up to Kumiko like that really took me aback (needless to say i went back to watch it a couple of times before continuing), and I thought that was all the yuri we were going to get… thankfully i was wrong!

        Still trying not to get my hopes up though, but even saying that, I was grinning like some gormless idiot when the credits rolled. Don’t you love those subtle animation cues that speak volumes? Like the “snuggle”, or when Reina fixes Kumiko’s hair on the train, or Kumiko compliments Reina when they meet up for the fireworks? *sigh*

        You need to publish your “first thoughts autumn anime 2016” article already! =P

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha be patient 😀
        Though, I don’t know if I can actually compile all my thoughts on the first episode alone in a few sentences.

        The impact was just too damn big, seems to be the same for you actually, I’m not surprised 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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