Rhapsody in Flu


Mamiko wants to drop out of college to become a beautician, something she’s always wanted to do. She’s always done what her parents wanted so far because she’s the older sibling and never wanted any of it. So her dad says if she wants to do that then she’ll have to leave the house and make it herself.

At school, Asuka returns for practice now and then, but is absent most days. However on one day she returns, she invites Kumiko over to help her with studying.

Kumiko catches a cold and has to head home early and skips practice the next day to rest. Reina goes to visit but comes at a bad time as Kumiko has an outburst at her sister.

Shuichi also visits and cross paths with Mamiko on her way out and tells her how Kumiko always tells everyone that her sister was the reason she started playing the euphonium and wanted to play with her. Not realising this before and wanting to make up a little, she asks for a CD of Kumiko’s band.

After recovering from her cold, Kumiko is back at practice and Taki makes an announcement that if Asuka isn’t confirmed to be back by the end of the week, Natsuki will fill in instead.


I think I probably won’t be the only one to say that this episode struck a chord with me. I think quite a lot of Asian children are under similar parenting. It’s fair to say Mamiko’s opened a can of worms for me on a personal level this episode. Perhaps it was lucky that whilst I was in a similar situation to her when I was younger I didn’t really have huge career aspirations and didn’t particularly lean towards any job I wanted to study for. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was often swaying from one random thing to another. It was only when my parents ‘suggested’ accountancy that I looked further into it and thought that sounds like a good plan. Or rather, that’s better than any plan I had and dove head dirst.

But thinking back, I did have a few qualms when I had the moments of leaning towards certain jobs, such as wanting to be a novelist and hence why I’m still writing. Although I realised my writing ability was nowhere near good enough very quickly. Now that I’m much older, I don’t have regrets following this particular path my parents paved the way for. It was still my decision in the end and I chose it willingly.

Given that, I obviously can empathize with Mamiko’s feelings and actually I dare say I understand how Kumiko is also feeling, I’ve been through both to some degree, just not as ferocious in my emotions. Still though, from a calm and objective perspective, Mamiko is definitely too emotional and not thinking straight. You’re overwhelmed with emotion and think the world is against you. You don’t fully understand how the world works and what is acceptable or not, you just want something and only think about those annoying idiots in your way that you’d rather be without.

Unfortunately for Kumiko, it’s her who’s probably hurting the worst. The inspiration from your childhood, the role model you look up to, and probably one of your closest friends. That’s what an elder sibling should be, and if they are all of that yet betrays your belief in them, it hurts. I don’t know if anyone knows this ‘song’ I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, I think it’s been given many names and actually comes from an essay, but it’s called Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen), and part of the lyrics are ‘Be nice to your siblings, they are your best link to your past. And the people most likely to stick with you in the future’. Although that isn’t an excuse to not think about what words you’re saying back. Pain tends to, sadly, cause more pain.

I thought the drama in this episode was well played out, otherwise I wouldn’t have felt such a close tie to it. The only complaint I have is on the storytelling aspect and how broken each bit of the episode felt, but I’m willing to forgive that.