Category: Movie Reviews

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1 Review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1 Review

The Shadow Galactica Arc

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Cosmos Movie / 劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンCosmos) covers the final arc of the series. As with Eternal, the Cosmos movie is split into two parts. So, this review will cover Part 1 and the review of Part 2 will likely come next week.

Alright, so now that we’re onto the fifth and final arc, let’s look at all the arcs. The five main story arcs of Sailor Moon are:

  1. The Dark Kingdom Arc
  2. The Black Moon Arc
  3. The Death Busters Arc
  4. The Dead Moon Arc
  5. The Shadow Galactica Arc

In the Shadow Galactica Arc, we meet a new villain, Sailor Galaxia. She’s more powerful than any other villain in the series up to this point. And, to illustrate that, I believe she’s the only villain with a kill count in the literal billions.

Sailor Galaxia from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1
Sailor Galaxia

So, who is Sailor Galaxia? Her name implies that she’s a sailor guardian, like our heroes. But, that’s not quite right. It’s more accurate to say that she’s an aspiring sailor guardian. However, she doesn’t want to be just any sailor guardian. She wants to be the most powerful of them all.

In her quest to be the most powerful, Sailor Galaxia went from star system to star system across the galaxy in search of a star (planet) worthy of her. Every time she found one that wasn’t worthy, she destroyed it. Like, she literally blows up planets inhabited by sentient beings.

Now, she appears to have some mysterious, new master in the center of the galaxy. And, this master told her to gather the Sailor Crystals to take their power for herself. To help in this mission, Sailor Galactica also recruited other aspiring sailor guardians from planets she’s destroyed. This group is Shadow Galactica.

Three Lights and Princess Kakyuu

For the first time in the series, the “universe” of Sailor Moon has extended beyond the Solar System. What does this mean, though? Didn’t previous villains come from beyond the Solar System? Not that I can remember.

Some of the villains used interdimensional travel. But, as far as I know, they all originated in the Solar System. And, the same is true for every sailor guardian we knew of. However, that’s no longer the case in the Shadow Galactica Arc. Now, the entire Milky Way Galaxy is fair game.

This arc introduces three new (real) sailor guardians alongside all the (fake) sailor guardians. These real ones are Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Maker, and Sailor Star Healer — also called the Starlights. They’re three brothers who also form the idol group Three Lights. And, as you may have guessed from my leadup to this, they’re not from the Solar System.

Taiki, Seiya, and Yaten Kou of Three Lights from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1
Taiki, Seiya, and Yaten Kou of Three Lights

We actually don’t know what star system these three are from and probably never will. It’s not important. What is important is that they’re proof that there are more sailor guardians spread throughout the galaxy. But, does this make Sailor Moon and her friends less special?

Yes and no — or, rather, no and yes. Sailor Moon is still special. She’s considered the most important sailor guardian in the entire galaxy. And, we know this because every sailor guardian in the galaxy felt when her Silver Crystal and Mamoru’s Gold Crystal resonated.

Sailor Moon’s friends appear to be on par with the rest of the sailor guardians, though. Princess Kakyuu, the princess of the Starlights, didn’t mention anything about them. All she said was that Sailor Moon is the one who needs to fight against Sailor Galaxia to save the galaxy.

Even More Sailor Guardians

Okay, so, the Starlights and Sailor Galaxia aren’t the only new sailor guardians in Cosmos. In addition to those four, Part 1 also features four other villain sailor guardians and one good sailor guardian. And, we also get the names of a few other good sailor guardians.

Let’s start with the villains. These are the Sailor Animamates, who all have something to do with a metal and an animal. They’re “false” sailor guardians created by Sailor Galaxia. I believe she did this by giving them the Sailor Crystals of the sailor guardians she defeated.

These four are Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Aluminum Siren, Sailor Lead Crow, and Sailor Tin Nyanko. Interestingly, these sailor guardians reveal that other characters are aliens, too. Phobos and Deimos come from the same planet as Lead Crow. And, Luna, Artemis, and Diana come from the same planet as Tin Nyanko.

Chibi Chibi's sailor guardian transformation from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1
Chibi Chibi’s sailor guardian transformation

The new good sailor guardian is Sailor Chibi Chibi — I don’t know if that’s her official name. Chibiusa is called that because she’s a smaller “version” of Usagi. Chibi Chibi is a smaller “version” of Chibiusa.

At this point, we barely know anything about Chibi Chibi. The working theory for the characters is that she’s Chibiusa’s younger sister. That would make her the second child of Usagi and Mamoru. But, I’m not sure I agree with that. My prediction is that she’s actually Chibiusa’s and Helios’s daughter.

Finally, there are some other, former sailor guardians mentioned. These include Sailor Mau and Sailor Coronis. Sailor Mau was the guardian of the planet Mau before she was killed and the planet was destroyed. Mau is where Luna, Artemis, and Diana are from. The same is the case for Sailor Coronis. Coronis is where Phobos and Deimos are from.

Final Thoughts

The big issue with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos the Movie Part 1 is that it’s really fast. A lot of stuff happens in this movie with little to no setup. Things are just happening without any real explanation. When you’re watching the movie, it feels like it’s skipping a lot of content.

With that in mind, I had to give the movie a 5/10. I like that it expands upon the sailor guardians. And, I think Sailor Galaxia seems like a good villain. But, this movie might have needed to be a trilogy instead of only being split into two parts.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

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Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2 Review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2 Review

The Outer Planet Guardians Return

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2 (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal Movie 2 / 劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンEternal) wraps up the Dark Moon Parade arc. As I mentioned in my review of Part 1, this is the fourth story arc. There’s only one more to go after this.

Okay, so, when watching Eternal Part 1, I didn’t remember why the outer planet guardians weren’t around. I remembered that in Crystal Season 3, Sailor Saturn tried to end the world. But, I didn’t remember that she got turned into a baby and the other three were raising her.

According to this movie, that’s what happened. Fine. I have no problems with that. And, I liked seeing that content at the start of the movie. I love the outer planet guardians — they’re better than the inner planet guardians. So, I’ll always take content revolving around them.

Setsuna, Michiru, and Haruka from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2
Setsuna, Michiru, and Haruka

There are some things I want to point out in regard to this opening part of the movie, though. First of all, Setsuna Meiou is hot. I already thought Sailor Pluto was cool because she has the power to control time and space. But, the outfit she wears at the start of this movie has me even more interested.

As far as Michiru and Haruka go, I don’t have too much to say. They’re still gay/trans icons. However, I don’t know if we knew that Haruka is an F1 driver before now. That took me by surprise. But, it does tell us when this arc takes place. If Haruka raced in (South) Africa, it has to be in 1992 or 1993.

Finally, there’s Hotaru Tomoe. Why does nobody think it’s weird that she’s growing at an alarming rate? Have they just accepted that it’s magic? It seems concerning.

Super Sailor Moon? No, That’s Eternal Sailor Moon!

In my review of Part 1, I discussed the Sailor Guardians’ new transformations. Specifically, I discussed how there wasn’t much of a point to them. The solar eclipse made it so they couldn’t transform anymore. So, they simply transformed in a different way to get around that.

These new transformations didn’t give them any new powers or anything. And, it’s not like they had to undergo some training or meaningful self-reflection to awaken them. Sure, there was some level of self-reflection required. But, it was only surface-level.

With the outer planet guardians, we’ve stopped pretending there’s a point to these transformations. They go through literally no self-reflection before unlocking them. Saturn awakens on her own and then gives the new transformations to the other three. That’s all there is to it. And, again, these “new” transformations don’t do anything new.

Eternal Sailor Moon from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2
Eternal Sailor Moon

There’s only one truly new transformation in all of Sailor Moon Eternal. Sailor Moon unlocks a new, even more powerful (I assume) form called Eternal Sailor Moon. First, she was Sailor Moon. Then, she was Super Sailor Moon. And now, she’s Eternal Sailor Moon. Will this be her final form? I doubt it.

But, something I thought was pretty funny was how Eternal Sailor Moon came to be. There have been multiple holy grails present throughout these movies. However, the last holy grail we see is different. It’s silver instead of gold and it’s what the powers of the Sailor Guardians go into to turn Sailor Moon into Eternal Sailor Moon.

What was funny about this is what Venus says when this holy grail shows up. She says that it’s the holy grail they’ve been searching for. What? Since when? When have they ever said they were searching for a holy grail? That’s news to me.

Four New Sailor Guardians

At the end of Eternal Part 2, there was a twist I didn’t see coming. The Amazoness Quartet are actually Sailor Guardians. Now, I know there are a lot of Sailor Guardians in the extended Sailor Moon universe. But, I wasn’t expecting more to show up here.

These four new Sailor Guardians are the protectors of the four asteroids. There’s Sailor Ceres, Sailor Pallas, Sailor Juno, and Sailor Vesta. But, how do they fit into the Sailor Guardians at large? Don’t their powers overlap with those of the original Sailor Guardians?

Ceres has the power of love, like Venus. Pallas has the power of water, like Mercury. Juno has the power of plants (and maybe lightning), like Jupiter. And Vesta has the power of fire, like Mars. So, what’s the point of these new Sailor Guardians? The point is that they’re the next generation’s Sailor Guardians.

Sailors Vesta, Juno, Pallas, and Ceres from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2
Sailors Vesta, Juno, Pallas, and Ceres

Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are Sailor Moon’s guardians. Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vest are Sailor Chibi Moon’s guardians. After Crystal, I kind of thought that’s what the outer planet guardians were supposed to be. But, I guess not. Chibi Moon has her own, separate guardians.

So, will we be seeing these asteroid guardians again? There’s only one arc of the series left, at this point. So, if they’re going to reappear, it’s going to be then. But, if you ask me, I’d prefer that they didn’t show up.

I think it was fine to introduce the Sailor Guardians associated with Chibi Moon. However, Chibi Moon’s story feels like something that we shouldn’t be covering. Sailor Moon’s story isn’t even done yet. So, leave whatever Chibi Moon and the asteroid guardians get up to for the future — even if we don’t get to see that future.

Final Thoughts

In the end, I gave Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 2 a 6/10. It was better than Part 1, which I also gave a 6. But, I don’t think it was good enough for me to give a 7. The plot wasn’t that good and I would have liked to see more character development.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Sailor Moon Cosmos Part 1 is available now.

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Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1 Review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1 Review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1 anime movie cover art
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1

The True Solar Eclipse Conspiracy

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1 (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Eternal Movie 1 / 劇場版 美少女戦士セーラームーンEternal) is the sequel to Sailor Moon Crystal. There are three seasons of Crystal, then two movies of Eternal, and then two more movies of Cosmos.

I’ll get through all the movies eventually. But, let’s focus on Eternal (Part 1) in this review. Eternal covers the fourth story arc, the Dead Moon Circus arc. And, as you might expect, Eternal Part 1 focuses on the first half. It sets everything up for Eternal Part 2, which I expect to be better.

Here’s the setup, a solar eclipse happens and some villains show up from another dimension. These villains are members of the Dead Moon Circus, who are trying to revive their evil queen. You know, standard Sailor Moon villainry.

Rei, Ami, Minako, and Makoto looking at a solar eclipse from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1
Rei, Ami, Minako, and Makoto looking at a solar eclipse

Coincidentally, there are four main members of the Dead Moon Circus, whom I’ll get to later. Why is this a coincidence? Because there are four main Sailor Guardians aside from Sailor Moon. There’s Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. And, wouldn’t you know? The four main members of the Dead Moon Circus control the same “elements” as those Sailor Guardians.

Wow! It’s almost like we’re going to see each member of each group paired up against each other.

If you haven’t guessed by now, that’s exactly what happens in this movie. It’s weird to say, but this movie feels very episodic.

Sure, there’s still an overarching plot. Usagi and Chibiusa have stuff going on. But, a significant portion of this movie is dedicated to the Sailor Guardians vs. the members of Dead Moon Circus. And, each of these battles follows the same formula. We pretty much see the same thing happen four times.

Dead Moon Circus

Alright, let’s talk about Dead Moon Circus. Who are they and what are they all about? As I mentioned, their goal is to revive their queen, Nehellenia. If that sounds familiar, it’s basically the same plot as the Dark Kingdom arc from Crystal Season 1.

The main difference is that the Dark Kingdom had Queen Beryl trying to revive Queen Metalia. In this arc, we have Zirconia trying to revive Nehellenia.

Okay, so who’s Zirconia? We don’t know that much about her. But, she’s the interim leader of Dead Moon Circus while Nehellenia isn’t around. She’s an old woman who looks like an alien.

Aside from Nehellenia and Zirconia, there are four other, previously mentioned, members of the group. I don’t believe we got their names in this first movie. But, we know they call themselves the Amazoness Quartet. They’re the descendants of the legendary Amazoness warriors.

The Amazoness Quartet from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1
The Amazoness Quartet

The Amazoness Quartet controls “Lemures” in battle. Lemures are like little shadow spirit things that remind me of the soot creatures from Ghibli films. These Lemures get inside the bodies of their victims and turn their dreams into nightmares. This somehow creates dark energy, which the Dead Moon Circus collects to revive their queen.

What does it mean to turn a dream into a nightmare, though? Let’s look at Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury) as an example. Her dream is to become a doctor, so she’s studied hard all her life.

The Lemures twisted her dedication into a bad thing. They tried to convince her that this is why she’s not very close to her parents. Rather than spending time with them, she spent all her time studying.

There are also three male(?) sub-members of Dead Moon Circus, who were transformed from animals into humans. They work under the Amazoness Quartet.

Mamoru Gets Lung Cancer

So, there are some other weird things that happen in this movie. For starters, none of the Sailor Guardians can transform after the solar eclipse. That should make things interesting, right? Well, it doesn’t because they all awaken new ways to transform.

Okay, but these new ways to transform are different and more powerful than the old ways, right? Again, no. At least, not that I could tell. They use different objects to transform now, but the transformations are the same. It doesn’t appear that they received any new abilities or got any stronger.

Next, Chibiusa gets into a romantic relationship with a horse. To be precise, it’s actually a pegasus. I’m not sure if that makes it any less strange. But, when the pegasus kisses her, it transforms into a boy. So, that’s good. At least he has a human form.

Helios in human form from the anime movie Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1
Helios in human form

This pegasus boy is Helios and he’s one of Mamoru’s knights from the future. In case you forgot, Chibiusa is the future daughter of Usagi and Mamoru. I don’t believe Usagi and Mamoru know this, but Chibiusa does. So, Helios is Chibiusa’s future boyfriend, I guess.

Finally, Mamoru gets lung cancer. Okay, so not really. But, he kind of does. He’s coughing a lot and even coughing up blood. Then, when he goes to a doctor to get checked out, he’s told that he has a dark spot in his lungs. A spot on your lungs sounds a lot like cancer, to me. But, this doctor doesn’t seem all that concerned.

Of course, it’s not cancer. This dark spot is one of the Lemures that got inside Mamoru’s body. In this movie, this just means Mamoru is out of commission. But, I assume it will be more relevant in the second movie.

Final Thoughts

I really liked Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3. That was peak Sailor Moon, for me. Unfortunately, since that was the peak, it means Sailor Moon Eternal Part 1 isn’t. In the end, I gave this movie a 6/10, which is the same I gave the first two seasons of Crystal.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on my review of Eternal Part 2 — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Sailor Moon Eternal Part 2 is available now.

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The Secret World of Arrietty Review

The Secret World of Arrietty Review

The Secret World of Arrietty anime movie cover art
The Secret World of Arrietty

The Life of a Borrower

The Secret World of Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arrietty / 借りぐらしのアリエッティ) is a fantasy movie by Studio Ghibli. You know, the kind of anime movie Ghibli is generally known for. But, this is one you might not be familiar with.

Everyone’s heard of Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. Those are the “big four” when it comes to Ghibli movies. And, that makes sense considering they’re not only good but quite a bit older than Arrietty.

The Secret World of Arrietty only came out in 2010. You probably know those other movies from your childhood. This one is too new for that. Well, actually maybe not. At this point, there are a lot of kids who grew up watching 2010s movies. However, I’m a bit too old for that — as are the majority of my readers.

Arrietty and Pod exploring from the anime movie The Secret World of Arrietty
Arrietty and Pod exploring

Alright, enough about that. What’s Arrietty about? It’s about tiny people who live in your walls and steal your stuff. Though, if you asked them, they’d say they were “borrowing” things you wouldn’t miss — like a single cube of sugar. Since they aren’t ever returning these things they take, I wouldn’t call that borrowing.

But, you’d normally never get the opportunity to ask them anything. They make sure to stay out of sight. If one is seen by a human, they pack up their things and move. Why? Because some people view them as pests and oddities. They don’t want to get exterminated or put in a zoo.

Now, I can understand feeling that way if your home is overrun by these “Borrowers.” What if there are only a few, though? Because they’re so small, you wouldn’t have to drain your finances to support them. And, other than their size, they’re normal people like you and I.

Arrietty’s Big Adventure

You know the trope. When the main character is small, they have to go on a “relatively” big adventure. Think of the Hobbits traveling across Middle Earth to Mordor. Arrietty’s adventure isn’t as big as that. But, she goes out of the comfort zone of most Borrowers in a big way.

Arrietty isn’t as afraid of humans as her parents are — specifically her mother. In fact, Arrietty takes more risks than you’d expect, in general. She’s not afraid to go outside and forage in the garden despite the wildlife. And, she couldn’t wait to be allowed to go exploring the house with her father.

If her family needs or wants something that’s risky to get, Arriety doesn’t think twice about searching for it. That’s the kind of person she is. She likes the thrill of adventure. However, that doesn’t mean she wants to leave home.

Arrietty outside in the garden from the anime movie The Secret World of Arrietty
Arrietty outside in the garden

Think of it this way, Arrietty likes exploring, but she never attempts to leave the property. Why? Shouldn’t someone like her want to go out and explore the wider world? Well, she has her parents to think about. She’s not going to go on a grand adventure that would leave her parents behind.

In that sense, I guess Arrietty is similar to me. I like hiking on trails I haven’t been on before and exploring. But, I also like my explorations to come to a conclusion within a day. Going for a day hike up a mountain? Great. Camping out overnight? No, thank you.

Anyway, the adventure aspect of this movie is something I really liked. In the first half, we get to explore the world with Arrietty. We see how she and her father navigate the house and how their size changes everything. That’s the best part.

Shou and the Little People

If the best part of Arrietty is the world exploration, what’s the worst part? That’s pretty easy. It’s Shou. Shou is the male lead of the movie. But, unlike Arrietty, he’s not a Borrower; he’s a human.

Shou was sent to live with his great aunt Sadako in the countryside due to an unnamed illness. We know he has a heart condition, but I’m not sure how being in the country is supposed to help with that. Usually, in stories like this, the child has asthma or something that clean, country air can help.

Why is Shou bad, though? Is he the villain of the story? No, that’s Haru, Sadako’s maid. Shou’s bad for two main reasons. The first is how he spoke to Arrietty the first time they talked to each other. And the second is that there’s an uncomfortable romantic thing between him and her.

Arrietty talking to Shou from the anime movie The Secret World of Arrietty
Arrietty talking to Shou

How does Shou speak to Arrietty when they first meet? He tells her that she’s part of a dying species and that soon the Borrowers will be extinct. That’s pretty mean. But, what makes this bad is that he then apologizes and says he’s lashing out at her because of his illness.

What?

His reasoning is that because of his heart condition, he doesn’t think he has long to live. So, that fear of dying is what made him say mean things to Arrietty. But, that’s terrible writing. His explanation made no sense and it came out of nowhere.

Then, of course, there are some weird romantic feelings between Shou and Arrietty. In most other movies, this would be fine. But, Arrietty is literally the size of one of Shou’s fingers. There’s not any explicit romance. However, their relationship still felt very uncomfortable — closer than friends.

Final Thoughts

I gave The Secret World of Arrietty a 7/10. It’s a good movie, and much better than I expected it to be. I hadn’t heard of it before it was suggested for this month’s Discord movie night event. And, none of us in the server had seen it before. So, I thought it would be a Ghibli flop.

That turned out not to be the case. So, if you’re a Ghibli fan and you haven’t seen Arrietty, I’d recommend giving it a try. It might surprise you.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. And, I’d like to thank Rob and Pepe for supporting at the Kouhair tier. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

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Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc Review

Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc Review

Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc anime movie cover art
Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc

Transitioning From Second to Third Year

Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc (Hibike! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest-hen / 『響け!ユーフォニアム』アンサンブルコンテスト編) is the fourth Sound! Euphonium movie. But, it’s a bit different from the previous three movies. The first three movies are a trilogy, with the first two being recap and the third being a sequel to Season 2.

So, how is the Ensemble Contest Arc different? Well, for starters, it came out four years after the other movies. It’s also not numbered like the first three; this isn’t “Movie 4.” And, it’s shorter than the first three, only being an hour long.

Alright, but, is the Ensemble Contest Arc worth watching? This is the same question I asked in my review of Movie 3. And, my answer is still the same. Yes, you should (probably) watch the Ensemble Contest arc before watching Season 3. Why? For the same reason as why you should watch Movie 3.

Kumiko hugging Reina from the anime movie Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
Kumiko hugging Reina

The first two seasons of the series covered Kumiko’s first year at Kitauji High School. Movie 3 covers the majority of her second year. And, the Ensemble Contest Arc covers the end of her second year. That’s important because Season 3 takes place during Kumiko’s third year.

Now, before watching this movie, I thought the Ensemble Contest Arc took place during the third year. Kumiko’s the club president, so she must be a third-year student, right? Not quite. Yes, she’s the president, but the grade above her hasn’t graduated yet. This movie takes place in a transitional period.

The Ensemble Contest Arc takes place at the end of the year as the older students are stepping back from the band. The students in Kumiko’s grade are taking on bigger roles within the band. And, we’re getting to know more of the first — soon-to-be second — year students.

The Ensemble Contest

Okay, but what is the Ensemble Contest, anyway? It’s not the same as the other competitions we’ve seen the band compete in. In the Ensemble Contest, the full band doesn’t play. Instead, groups of 2-8 compete, with only one group from each school allowed.

But, how do you decide who gets to play in the contest? You have another, mini-contest. The band members are going to split themselves up into small groups and perform. Then, there’s going to be a public vote involving both current and outgoing students to determine which group gets to compete.

This system is supposed to be a bit more transparent. However, it has its own set of problems. This didn’t end up happening, but the public vote could have turned into a popularity contest. What did end up happening, though, is that some students were left out.

Sari Takahashi and Juri Sawada fighting over a first-year student from the anime movie Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
Sari Takahashi and Juri Sawada fighting over a first-year student

Since the students weren’t assigned groups, they had to form their own. And, if a student isn’t particularly close to other students in the band, they’re not going to be a first choice. We saw this happen with quite a few students who ended up forming a hodgepodge group.

What I liked about this movie is that it didn’t have the same drama as the previous two seasons and movie. It had its own drama — like seeing Kumiko struggle with how to get every member of the band involved as the club president.

I was actually far more interested in seeing that side of things than seeing the petty drama. Hopefully, Season 3 continues with more of this kind of content. I know the first episode of Season 3 is already out. But, I haven’t watched it yet because I wanted to wait until after this review.

Prequel to Season 3

Let’s make some predictions about Season 3 based on this movie (and Movie 3). Then, after Season 3 finishes, I’ll revisit my predictions in that review and see how well I did. Or, what’s also possible is that I forget I made these predictions and never bring them up again.

It seems very clear that a few of the first-year students were positioned to be important in their second year. In particular, there are Kanade, Mirei, and Satsuki from Movie 3, who were also in this movie. And, there’s Tsubame Kamaya, the featured first-year student of the Ensemble Contest Arc.

These four are going to be taking the place of the upperclassmen who are now gone. Mirei and Satsuki have a similar relationship to Yuuko and Natsuki. Kanade is like Asuka. And, Tsubame reminds me a lot of Mizore. I see these four characters continuing the roles of their predecessors.

Tsubame Kamaya from the anime movie Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
Tsubame Kamaya

Characters aside, I’m also expecting the Ensemble Contest to be a sort of B-plot in Season 3. We didn’t actually get to see the competition happen in this movie. The Ensemble Contest Arc was all about forming groups and deciding who was going to compete.

Since the competition didn’t happen in the movie, I’m guessing it’ll happen in Season 3. And, that could be a source of drama in the season. Did splitting into these smaller groups fracture the unity of the band? Will the incoming first-years feel left out because they didn’t get a chance at the Ensemble Contest?

I know the key visuals for Season 3 highlight one first-year girl, in particular. So, I’m interested in seeing where she fits in. How is she going to disrupt things? I’m guessing Kanade, the resident pot-stirrer, is going to cause problems for this new girl.

Final Thoughts

I gave Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc a 6/10. As with the previous movie, It’s pretty good. If you like Sound! Euphonium, you’ll like it. But, it is only an hour long, so there’s not that much time to explore the new drama. And, it also features a literal slide show, which was an interesting choice.

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