On the morning of the competition, the members that didn’t get in distributes handmade good luck charms for everyone and with full of confidence the other members head out.
At the practice hall, the instruments get tuned and Taki makes a short speech to get everyone ready.
The long awaited stage awaits and with an amazing performance from Kitauji, they make it gold and advance further on.
As you can see from the short synopsis, not much happened this episode. It was one long wait for the big finale performance that I’m sure everyone was looking forward to. It was a pleasant and well planned out build up from the silent morning all the way through to a boisterous performance. A performance that had me, what I would actually call ‘entranced’, and of course the animation to match a spectacle.
As the final performance went on we got a short monologue from Kumiko, evidencing her entire character development in a couple of seconds. From someone who didn’t care, to someone who is confident that they can make it with scribbles on the sheet music further emphasising that. Plus the high five from Hazuki and Natsuki to remind us when Kumiko’s hard work paid off and she nails the difficult part.
Kousaka’s solo was also beautifully done. The focus was mainly on Kaori however, but I do feel that it was necessary as it shows someone who is content with her failure at being the ‘best’, which this show has emphasised so much. Yes you should strive for the best and practice your hardest, but there is someone better, and that’s fine, it’s okay to fail. Unsurprisingly, we round off the episode having gone full circle, but this time, the gold is real.
One thing I will say is that I’m unsure why they cut off the music completely when they switched over to Kumiko’s friend from a competitor school. Abrupt interruptions that I felt was unnecessary.
Also with this end and making it to nationals, I felt that this anime can continue. However, their original goal was to reach nationals and the hardships to overcome was all to do with if they can come together. Now that they have, I quite agree that we don’t need to see what happens at nationals. That may be for another day, maybe not, but I’m very happy with this finish.
This series has been really nice. Not just because it’s been spectacularly done where the storyline and animation has been near faultless. But also because this is exactly the kind of show I wanted to watch during revision time. Something with drama, not over the top death drama but enough to make it tense and keep my attention. This did it with ease, easily one of the best anime I’ve ever seen. Definitely a top 20, and maybe a top 10 for me.
I’ve said it before during the series but I’ll say it once more here to make it clear and also I feel there’s no better way to sum up this series. KyoAni has proved that with the right storytelling coupled with amazing animation and on point ‘camera’ focus, any story can be spectacular. I definitely didn’t think a story about a teenage girl’s first year at high school and her personal problems at joining the concert band would be that interesting. I just thought it was going to be a fairly relaxed comedy type show. But I was pleasantly proved wrong.