In my opinion, 響け! ユーフォニアム (Sound! Euphonium) was a triumph. This was a wonderful coming of age story with many beautiful themes that intersected around this band’s journey from a disorganized, low-achieving band in the beginning of the series, to a well-organized, high-achieving, motivated group in the final episode.
While the series illustrated the behavior of the group as a whole in great fashion, it was at the same time a very focused coming of age story centered around the main character, Kumiko, who entered her new high school as a somewhat detached first-year student. Throughout the course of the show, Kumiko makes new, strong friendships, sets her own goals, and realizes (seemingly for the first time) that she wants to do well playing her instrument – rather than just going along with the flow.
With humor in all the right places, and just enough teasing of possible romantic sparks for characters of high school age, this show hit a lot of strong notes with me as I watched it. The portrayal of high school music participation strongly evoked my memories in choir and band. Watching certain scenes, I felt like I was back in our stuffy high school choir room getting ready for rehearsal. And I strongly identified with Hazuki as she started learning an instrument many of her peers already knew well – because back in college I was encouraged to join percussion in the band (because they needed more bodies, and I could read rhythms from choir).
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this series. I really, truly enjoyed it. If you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out.