Mid Summer Fanfare
After placing first at the Kyoto Concert Band Competition, Kitauji will now represent Kyoto at the Kansai competition and need to work even harder. Over summer there will be a three day training camp.
With that in mind, Reina and Kumiko attend school early as normal to get more practice in. They have a run in with Mizore Yoroizuka, an oboist, during one particular practice to find her extremely unapproachable.
Back at practice with the band, a girl Kumiko can’t remember tries to get to Asuka without consent and is pulled away by Natsuki. Unfortunately as Kumiko can’t remember her, she’s really bothered by it.
Taki brings in a professional percussionist to help them practice in Masashiro Hashimoto who went to college together with him. But Kumiko’s so distracted by the person she can’t remember that she doesn’t even realise Hashitomo being in front of her.
That’s eventually resolved as the girl, Nozomi, comes by Asuka’s group practice to ask to join the band again and is after Asuka’s approval. Kasumi with the other first years is forced to leave as the rest discuss the matter.
As Nozomi comes by repeatedly, Kasumi and group eventually eavesdrop in and learns that Asuka does not approve of Nozomi’s rejoining and tells her to stop coming by. This turns out to be to do with Minami highschool where Nozomi and Natsuki were from and also the incident that forced a lot of second years to quit last year.
But not worrying about that, Kumiko and Reina visit the fireworks festival together.
This was very slow, I got so bored halfway in I started watching something else at the same time, and the thing was, I didn’t actually miss much. Nothing big happened, they developed into the story of the second years but nothing got moving and I didn’t feel there was enough there to excite me for this new season, not yet anyway.
I did however come in with high expectations, so maybe I’m being harsh. But still, it’s hard not to have high expectations after last season. It’s off to a very mellow start, but hey it’s only one episode, an extended one at that. Though my issue was with that I’m not sure I’m happy or unhappy about the extended episode. On one hand I didn’t feel the extra time added anything that couldn’t have been done in a standard length episode, i.e. the ‘drawn outness’ of it, but on the other hand who isn’t happy getting a double length episode right?
The animation quality stays strong, the plot was definitely not as strong in this case. I don’t think it’s quite a show where the animation alone can carry it as nowadays a lot of anime have really upped their game when it comes to animation.
The drama is where this show is strongest, I mean otherwise there isn’t really that much that’s interesting about a slice of life unless it’s just meant to be relaxing chilled humour. But I can get that from every other anime out there I’m watching this season. Relife I felt from last season handled its drama well, and I expect this to exceed that.
Also, they’re really shoving the Kumiko x Reina into our face, except it won’t really be anything as both like other guys… unless they’re actually trying to swing the relationship that way at the end in which case fine, but I don’t think they’re trying to do that. That would be some interesting development though, but given that I don’t think they’ll go that way and we know how close the two are as friends, it begs the question why are they still emphasising their relationship so much? The only answer I can think of is that they’ve ran out of other things to do on a first episode that’s extended, which then I would say there wasn’t a need to go for an extended episode.
It’s fine to raise questions and tension in the first episode, and it did that, but the episode was so long I felt the tension and mystery faded by shifting its focus onto KumikoxReina which as I said above I don’t think will happen.
After typing out my thoughts in full, I think in the end I’m leaning more towards I don’t like the extended episode. I can’t fault it for its atmosphere and the way it directs a character’s movements to convey feelings rather than through speech. I do fault it on what feels like a dragged out episode without much to show for.