Last year Hibike! Euphonium was one of my favourite shows so seeing another anime based off a novel (not a light novel) following a school’s brass band club so me immediately excited. Did I enjoy it as much as Hibike? Let’s find out!
Just within the first episode you can tell this show won’t be just a quick knockoff of Hibike. Our main heroine, Chika is just starting with the flute in high school instead of continuing from middle school. Together with the other titular character, a boy named Haruta as well as other members of the club they solve episodic mysteries generally with the goal of gaining a new member or keeping a current one. Some of these mysteries were pretty well thought out dropping just the right amount of information as to assist in the viewer figuring it out but not making the answer super obvious. Others weren’t as good, often being flat out dumb (the dog from episode 10) or going by too quickly for anyone to be able to reasonably figure out.
The cast is pretty big but many of them get their time to shine for an episode (some don’t even get that) before they join and get relegated as “maybe you’ll cameo this episode”. Haruta is an intelligent arrogant character who *minor episode 1 spoilers* is a well written gay character, not being overly-flamboyant, just acting the same as any other guy there. *spoiler ends* Chika is energetic and a little air headed. The club advisor, Kusakabe Sensei often seems against their mystery solving, often for reasons I don’t really understand. While there are a lot of other characters it doesn’t seem right giving any others spotlight when a lot had about the same amount of screen time. I did really like Kaiyuu the drummer as well.
Visually, while nothing compared to Hibike, the anime looks great. I really like how the eyes have multiple colours(see above image). While I’m no expert at musical instruments the playing didn’t look as realistic as Hibike’s. This is a P.A. Works show so as usual visuals are above average but certainly not top tier.
As this is a music show (although we don’t actually hear them play all that much) music should be a priority and it appears to have been so as the soundtrack is great. My biggest complaint in this regard is like Hibike Euphonium, the finale uses an orchestrated version of the ending song (as if the band we follow is playing it) but here it just sounds off. I think if might be due to the song just not working in the orchestrated version but when it played I was wanting it to just hurry up and end.
One complaint I had with the story was the overarching narrative was quite weak and often took a backseat to the episode’s issue. Haruchika also starts off in a way I hate showing a moment from later on in the series at the start and going back to show how we got there but this time it doesn’t even redo the start scene so it’s hard to know exactly which of the two performances that scene was from (though I’m sure if I didn’t watch episode 1 3 months ago I would remember something that makes it obvious). That scene felt really unnecessary and we could have just started with Chika entering high school.