Maybe I’m used to likeable characters from days of K-ON! or any other club-centric anime, which explains why watching Hibike! Euphorium can be a little hard. From the first episode until now, I couldn’t find myself invest in any of the characters. My definition of invest as in like, support, cheer, etc. For example, I thought it was fun to watch Hirasawa Yui explore music and learning to have fun playing guitar. Or how I would cheer for Kuroko and his team in all of their basketball games.
In Hibike! Euphorium, I don’t find such characters. I don’t find this feeling. Watching the series at this point is only to find out how far the club will go and grow out from their very messed up state. As the matter of fact, I hated Kumiko at the start of the series.
I don’t hate Kumiko now. But at first, I find her unbearable. Her behavior, her selfish thoughts, her super indecisiveness makes it hard to watch. After all, she’s the main character! If a main character is so unlikeable, I’m pretty sure it makes it that much harder to continue watching the series.
Kumiko is the kind of character easily gets dragged into the flow of things largely due to her indecisiveness. She wanted to fresh start in high school but end up doing the very things she didn’t want to do. When that happens, she likes to whine and complain.
Thankfully that’s changed since. I’m still trying to figure Kumiko out and hopefully will see even more positive traits coming out of her.
While Reina is quite an interesting character, her individualism makes it harder to relate. Her reactions to subpar achievements or performances may come off as a little distant due to her pursuit of perfection and something grander. She has higher hopes than her peers. And therefore, she also worked harder than most peers. A perfectionist is not the kind of character everyone can relate to, unfortunately.
It’s not to say Reina is a bad character, it’s just that she’s marches to the beat of her own drum. And personally, that makes her quite a difficult character to follow. She leaves a lot of question marks in my head…
When the first years join the club, I thought Asuka is this highly energetic senior that can be annoying in some cases. Turns out, I don’t find her annoying because she likes to tease her juniors in a playful manner. I find her annoying because of her I-don’t-care-and-I-don’t-know attitude in critical times. Her blank expressions or skillfully maintaining neutrality whenever asked for opinions is something I wish she would at least reconsider.
Some may find that okay, but given her role as a respected senior, I’d thought she’d be more proactive in sorting out the internal politics of the club. Instead, she chose to ignore every other chaotic situations there is in the poor club and either waited other members to sort things out or let the situation work out itself.
This girl really gets on my nerve. Perhaps what I don’t understand is what’s it gotta to do with her whether or not her beloved senpai, Kaori, gets to play the trumpet solo part? Why does she have to poke her nose into problems that are not hers? And while doing so, she’s disturbing the newly founded trust among the teacher and students in the already fragile club.
Her dramatic attitude over Reina’s solo part made me think she’s a little too obsessed with Kaori. Plus, she’s a brat. The funniest thing I find is how she confronted Reina about the second audition. Perhaps if she’s a little bit bitchier, I wouldn’t question what’s her deal.
Now, what about the rest, you may ask. I don’t know. I thought given the premise, the series would focus around Kumiko, Reina, Hazuki and Midori. Turns out, Hazuki and Midori are not that important. Yet. Eleven episodes in, they’re more like supporting characters alongside Kumiko and Reina rather than the main characters they’re painted to be. Furthermore, a concert band club has quite a lot of members so the minor characters may not get as much “screen time” as the ones I already mentioned above.
At the moment, if I have to choose, I’d say the most likeable character is Nakagawa Natsuki. Despite her initial nonchalant attitude towards the club, she’s actually a hardworking, calm, easygoing, understanding person. But I have a sneaking suspicion that she’s a forgettable character.
I understand that at the point of writing this post there are officially only eleven episodes aired so it can be a very premature piece. Things may change after passing the half way point. In fact, they should change. However, given the fact that Hibike! Euphorium has already come this far, not having a single memorable character is a little worrying.
Let me be clear though: I don’t hate Hibike! Euphorium. The series isn’t bad and the story is picking up. We are seeing changes week after week. A proper competitive concert band is slowly formed. Just that at this point in time, in my opinion, the characters are pretty screwed up. Correct me if I’m wrong!