Sound! Euphonium 3 Review

Sound! Euphonium 3 Review

Sound! Euphonium 3 anime series logo
Sound! Euphonium 3

The New Eupho in Town

Sound! Euphonium 3 (Hibike! Euphonium 3 / 響け!ユーフォニアム3) is the final entry in the series. I guess it’s technically possible that there could be some additional spin-offs, like Liz and the Blue Bird, but the main story is over.

Also, in case you want to watch this season, be aware that it doesn’t directly follow Season 2. Sound! Euphonium is one of those annoying series that has canon movies. So, the watch order is actually:

  1. Sound! Euphonium
  2. Sound! Euphonium 2
  3. Sound! Euphonium: Our Promise: A Brand New Day
  4. Sound! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest Arc
  5. Sound! Euphonium 3

The first two seasons cover Kumiko’s first year at Kitauji. The two movies after those cover her second year at Kitauji. And, this third season covers her final year, when she’s the president of the school’s band. Though, she was also technically the president in the Ensemble Contest Arc.

Mayu Kuroe winking at Kumiko Oumae from the anime series Sound! Euphonium 3
Mayu Kuroe winking at Kumiko Oumae

This season might be the best season of the series. It’s either this or the first season. And that’s because it actually introduces a different major plot point. Most of the seasons/movies were pretty repetitive in that it was all about the younger vs. older students regarding how the band functioned.

That’s not the case this time around. At least, not primarily. Instead, the main plot point is that a new third-year Euphonium player, Mayu Kuroe, transfers in. Before this point, Kumiko’s only direct competitor was Kanade. But now, Kumiko has to compete for her spot against an equally skilled student in her same year.

Starting this year, the band also implements a new auditioning system. There’s going to be an audition for every single concert. So, because Kitauji is a meritocracy, there’s no guarantee that its president, Kumiko, will be playing. How will that affect the band’s morale?

I’m Embarrassed for Kumiko

Let’s get into how this season plays out. Right from the start, Mayu causes problems. She knows she’s at least as good at playing the Euphonium as Kumiko. So, she’s immediately a threat to Kumiko. However, Mayu’s someone who doesn’t really want to cause conflict.

She’d rather step aside and not participate in the auditions than usurp Kumiko’s spot and throw the club into disarray. That’s somewhat similar to the main conflict in the previous seasons/movies. However, it’s also sort of the opposite. It’s the new student wanting to step aside, not the new student wanting a fighting chance.

Anyway, Kumiko ends up losing out on the Euphonium solo in the national competition to Mayu. You know, the competition she’s been trying to win gold at for the last three years. And now that Kitauji finally won it (spoilers), Kumiko didn’t even have the leading role.

Reina Kousaka crying from the anime series Sound! Euphonium 3
Reina Kousaka crying

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that development. On one hand, it was good for Kumiko’s character arc. All this time, she’s been preaching about how Kitauji is a meritocracy. But now, she finally had to stand by her words. This was the first time this meritocracy affected her personally.

So, yeah, in that regard, Mayu defeating Kumiko was good. It showed us that Kumiko’s someone who can stand by what she believes is right. However, there’s also the other side of things. As a viewer, I would have much rather seen Kumiko play the solo alongside Reina.

How could the biggest competition of the series not have Kumiko and Reina in the spotlight together? It’s whatever the opposite of fan service is. Fan disservice. This competition should have been the highlight of the series. But in the end, I don’t think it was.

(Almost) The Worst Timeline

Okay, it’s time to move on to the epilogue of the series. Throughout this season, there was a debate about what Kumiko wanted to do post-graduation. Obviously, Reina wanted her to go to a music school. But most people, including Kumiko, couldn’t see her doing that.

Well, we now know what Kumiko ended up doing: teaching. As the saying goes, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I guess Kumiko took her loss to Mayu to heart and decided she’s not good enough at music to pursue it as a career. So, she became a music teacher instead.

Specifically, she became a music teacher at Kitauji. But don’t worry, she didn’t take Taki-sensei’s job. Kumiko is only the assistant advisor. I assume Taki-sensei is still teaching at Kitauji at this point. We don’t see him, but there’s no indication that he isn’t.

Kumiko Oumae as a music teacher from the anime series Sound! Euphonium 3
Kumiko Oumae as a music teacher

So, why is this (almost) the worst timeline? First, what’s the true worst timeline? The true worst timeline would be if we got confirmation that Kumiko and Shuuichi ended up together. We didn’t get that, so I can still hold out hope that she’s actually in love with Reina.

Okay, but why is this ending almost as bad as that? Isn’t it nice that Kumiko became a teacher at Kitauji? Yes. I think that’s a job that suits her and that she’ll find enjoyable. But the reason this ending is bad is because of Reina. Reina isn’t here.

In fact, Reina isn’t even in Japan. She left Japan to attend a music school in the United States. Other than the Shuuichi ending, it’s hard to imagine a worse ending than one in which Kumiko and Reina aren’t even on the same continent. Why couldn’t we have been told they’re now “roommates?”

Final Thoughts

Sound! Euphonium 3 is a 7/10. Mayu’s introduction was a much-needed addition to the series. Finally, some of the drama personally affects Kumiko. It gave Kumiko a great opportunity to grow. However, I also think that there were some missed opportunities, such as the whole solo thing.

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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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