I only smile for you, Hibike! Euphonium’s Reina & Kumiko
“Hibike! Euphonium” has amazed with splendid animation, powerful dialogues, believable character interaction, as well as a real flair for conveying emotion and meaning through superbly animated body language.
Once in a while there may be a scene, episode or series that leaves you truly moved, the latest episode of “Hibike! Euphonium” had such an impact on me. What a stunning episode this was, leaving me aching for more and praying that Kyoto Animation will be able to deliver more such amazing anime.
The second half of the eight episode which focused on Kumiko and Reina’s evening out together was simply perfect in every way, the animation, pacing, the dialogue, it was all executed flawlessly, creating a true work of art.
Having ditched an invitation from her childhood friend Shuichi to go to a summer festival together in a rather crude manner, Kumiko inadvertently got herself a date to that festival with Reina, the girl she has trouble to deal with. Unsurprisingly, their so called date to the festival becomes something else entirely when the two hike up the nearby mountain with their instruments to share a breathtaking nighttime view over the city and play music together.
The real magic however was the exquisite dialogue, body language and interaction between Reina and Kumiko. One could really feel that these two, regardless of their past troubles and abrasive personalities, are increasingly drawn to one another, like two celestial bodies unable to escape each others gravitational pull. But whether they will clash or form an everlasting bond, that isn’t entirely clear yet, a realistic touch I much appreciated.
Granted, as a yuri aficionado I have often enough imagined far too much hidden depth into the interaction or dialogue of two characters, seeing hints of yuri that are simply not there. However, the interaction between Kumiko and Reina in this particular episode of “Hibike! Euphonium” is not something yuri fans would really need to read too much into.
While there is undeniably a strong attraction between Kumiko and Reina, the dynamic of their interaction and dialogue is so powerful, I felt no need to label them as a yuri romantic pairing in vain hope of seeing that become a reality. This only because it was so delightful to see and feel these two characters interact and grow closer, both of them discovering that although they might not be all that likable or good persons, their differences have a common ground that draws them to each other.
Understanding that Kumiko is putting up a facade to hide her indifference to it all, Reina seems to see and accept Kumiko for who she is, keen on peeling away the mask she wears. Likewise, the distant, businesslike Reina who flat out says she has no interest in casual, shallow relationships with other people, only genuinely smiles when she’s with Kumiko.
Am really curious to see how they will develop the bond between Reina and Kumiko these coming episodes. If they keep this up, Reina and Kumiko could be one of the best developed character pairings in anime, regardless of whether they become friends, lovers or even enemies.