I’m sure there will be significant backlash (or would, if I ever got any) over placing Euphonium over Unlimited Budget Works II: The Hype Is Real (actual title: Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works) for this anime season, but never before has there been a series that has surprised me like Euphonium has.
While it has led to one hell of an anime backlog, my rule of thumb is that if a title looks like it could be interesting for the current anime season, it gets added to my queue. It then must survive the Three Episode Rule, meaning if it fails to grab me within three episodes, it’s ejected from the queue. Very rarely does a series get a fourth episode chance.
Euphonium passed, although that should be obvious by my posting about it. However, I was not expecting it to do so. The pre-air trailers Anime News Network and Crunchyroll had shown (they were the same by the way) made Euphonium look like it would be a massive flop. Massive to the point there was some good debate in the Anime News Network forums as to if Euphonium or Tamako Market could be considered Kyoto Animation’s first major flop. Now, keep in mind this was a debate that was already going on before Euphonium even began airing. (Personally, I thought Tamako Market was fine.) K-On!, on the other hand, was shit. Absolute shit. Naturally, there was much debate as to if Euphonium would be the next K-On! as well.
I was a part of that debate. My initial thoughts with regards to comparing Euphonium to K-On! could be summed up into two statements: 1) Euphonium looked better; 2) Euphonium looked like it might actually have a compelling story. However, I still was on the wrong side overall about Euphonium, expecting it to be a failure, but the most beautiful AD ever produced for Yamaha. The latter part I think I’m right about; Euphonium is a beautiful series, and it would make for a beautiful AD for Yamaha given Yamaha’s prominent placement all over the place in the series.
Now, while Euphonium is still airing, I don’t think it would be fair to make a final call as to if it failed or succeeded just yet. The end of a series is just as important as it’s beginning: the beginning of a series has to grab watcher’s attention, the middle must keep it, and the end must not disappoint it. That said, I cannot say yet if Euphonium will blow it at the end. I certainly hope not. What looked like it would be a better looking K-On! with equal amounts of failure though, has turned out to be a painstaking detailed series that has not had a single frame of lazy animation (that I’ve noticed so far at least.) Its story pulls at one’s emotions, and I think it’s a very relatable one if you were one of the “band kids” while going through the compulsory education years. Personally, I dropped out before getting to middle school, and I still regret that. Six months of piano classes as electives at Drexel cannot replace the experience I could have had, but I let a horrible band teacher ruin it for me.
But that’s another story. If you wrote off Euphonium as a “Pass” after watching the previews before it started airing, give it another chance. With the exception of one B+, it has not slipped out of the A’s range for episode reviews on Anime News Network and appears to be equally well-received on Crunchyroll. I don’t think Euphonium is ultimately for everyone, but I think it is one everyone should give a chance. It has been a very pleasant surprise thus far.