Straight Trumpet

Synopsis

Kumiko remembers back to highschool when she made it into the concert band which resulted in resentment from seniors who couldn’t.

Taki is training the band aiming for music tempo as you have a limited amount of time in the competition.

Natsuki asks for a chat with Kumiko who fears it could be a repeat of highschool. But seems Natsuki knew of her anxiety and came to chat about it to calm her fears.

Taki asks everyone to bring in blankets as they will soak the sound so everyone will be forced to play louder and more accurately. The hall they’ll play at will be many times larger than their classroom so this is practice for that.

Kaori’s ‘fan club’ is still unhappy with Kousaka being selected for the solo parts and Yuko is so angered that he complains directly to Taki that he played favourites because he knew Kousaka before this. Kousaka loses her temper and makes it quite clear that they should only complain if they’re better.

Kousaka explains to Kumiko that Taki is a famous concert band conductor and her dad was a professional trumpet player. This was why Kousaka came here, to follow Taki, because she ‘likes’ him.

But after that argument and the truth coming out, rumours spread that everything was set up to get Kousaka the solo part and the mood in the band turns sour. Even Sapphire thinks that giving up Kousaka’s solo part is the only way to resolve this.

As the mood continues to be tense, everyone’s back to practicing in their own sections. The other members of the bass section ‘elect’ Kumiko to talk to Asuka to try and get everyone together. But it seems that Asuka doesn’t really care that much.

Later Taki decides to resolve it by offering second auditions to anyone who wants it, and they’ll play in front of the whole band with a vote to decide if they get in or not. Kaori volunteers to audition again.

Thoughts

Drama galore as mutiny breaks out once again in the wake of revelations that Taki knew Kousaka before this and may have played favourites to have Kousaka play the solo.

We also get a short snippet of Kumiko’s past where she was blamed for a prior senior not being able to get into the last band to play, and that plays on her mind having ‘snatched’ away Natsuki’s place in the band. A realistic worry to have and perhaps guilt of having taken away a senior’s chance to play also played a vital role in that. Of course though, Natsuki’s not so bothered realising her lack of skill compared to a veteran euphonium player.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Kaori who at the end wants a redo of the audition obviously unsatisfied. Or perhaps she wants to see just how good Kousaka is for herself, see what she’s up against and actually if there’s any point in trying to compete. After all, there will always be someone better than you, that’s just fact and you need to accept it. It also reminds me of the story from Romance of the Three Kingdoms of when Zhuge Liang had to capture Meng Huo 7 times before he gave in and surrendered. I guess it’s more difficult for some to give up.

It even got to a stage where Kousaka had a tough decision to make of potentially giving up her spot as the soloist for the good of the band. Quite rightly refused, sometimes this would be the only way, but here it clearly isn’t. Here it would appear that jealousy and not having seen Kousaka play herself, is what pushed Kaori to ask for a second auditions. Which Taki quite rightly decides to hold in front of the whole band so that hopefully everyone can see the difference in skill. It’s one thing to give up the solo place to keep the unity of the band, but it’s another to give up and risk having a detrimental effect on the band’s hopes of achieving gold. Surely Kaori will see this eventually. And also, as selfish as Kousaka is, I think she has every right to be.

The only worry I have is that if Taki plays by the numbers i.e. number of votes, then Kaori might win purely on popularity with her massive fan club. But like I said before, I think she’ll see the forest through the trees and come to the conclusion that yes she wants the solo part but if Kousaka plays it they’ll more likely win. Also, isn’t it much better to lose with grace than win through popularity?

Now that we know Taki’s a renowned comductor, I can see why he was so reluctant to take the helm of this group of lackadaisical people, some of whom couldn’t even play, at the start. After all, why would he waste time and skills on a group of kids who don’t really care that much.

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