Hibike! Euphonium – Shipping Kumiko x Reina

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Note: There are spoilers in this post.

Hibike! Euphonium is a great anime. It sparks nostalgia for a lot of anime viewers, and also detailed realistic concert band issues. Some members felt ostracized, some members became unmotivated; eventually setting ambitious goals to participate in the following competitions to come-this led to even more internal strife-from Taki leading everyone like a strict merciless military commander, to certain band members who felt they had their spotlight taken away by having their solo part played by others. I personally had never joined a concert band before, but I feel these are all very realistic issues which could very well happen, as with most large-group management circumstances.

By the end however, it felt gratifying, especially how their performance was just so perfect. They practiced hard and even some of the more inexperienced band members had to stepped down just so they could have the optimum performance, something which they ultimately came to terms with in the end, and even provided outside support. With the band coming together; right after the last performance, I felt a sense of conclusion, an end of an exhilarating journey, a journey where the characters grew not just as musicians but as people-to truly try to accomplish something; but also a start of another journey, as Kumiko always says, “The next piece begins.”

And of course, there’s the yuri.

The yuri is off the charts.

OHHHHH SHIIIIIEEEEEEETTTT

The anime is great, but it also provides a bonus, which in itself, is also a very hefty bonus at that. This bonus involves yuri subtext-mostly between Kumiko and Reina.

When episode 10 aired, I noticed the yuri fandom lost it with Reina’s “confession”. Personally, I was disappointed as well, although I don’t see myself screaming in CAP LOCKS in twitter (I think part of the reason was because I was already spoiled by these “yelling-in-cap-locks-tweets”, but I digress). I can really see where they are coming from. While I don’t mind a good pairing, whether or not they are a straight or yuri, Taki x Reina is far from a good pair. We had never seen any hints any one of the pair are romantically-attracted, aside from just one little scene where Reina was trying to convince Kumiko and Shuuichi that Taki is a great teacher, praising him wholeheartedly-and even that scene felt more like an expression of mutual respect and admiration, not out of love. Furthermore, that confession scene in episode 10 also emerged in a rather poor timing, what with this wondrous scene just two episodes prior:

DAT SUBTEXT

DAT SUBTEXT

Kumiko x Reina however, it’s magic. Despite just being yuri subtext, this is perhaps one of the very rare occasions, maybe even the first time where I see a yuri couple matched together so naturally, despite a great deal of other yuri pairings from other yuri/slice of life shows. It’s soft marshmallow like usual, but extremely heavy teasing, and stopped just a few small several notches of contending with the likes of Sakura Trick’s yuri atmospheres. From episode 1, the pair was also developed nicely, from Kumiko trying to apologize to Reina for her careless remarks during middle school, to the point where Kumiko was captivated with Reina’s earnest desire to be “special”, to where Kumiko finally understood the pain and frustration of her own careless remarks. It was slight, since there was an overarching storyline to focus on-but there had been development on this romance subplot all along-which makes Kumiko x Reina such a good couple, out of any other ships from the anime.

Furthermore, the two characters had a good, stoic chemistry with each other. This is a testament to their organic developments, but also in how they carry themselves, how their characterizations progressed along with the development, and also the voice acting too. Interestingly, in episode 8, Kumiko was enchanted by her and in episode 11, it was Reina who needed mental support from Kumiko. They gave off the vibe that they could understand each other more better than any friends or lovers-there’s just something special about this ship, which could very well transcend over the boundary of the friends/lovers spectrum.

The yuri is off the charts.

The yuri is off the charts.

So yeah, I ship Kumiko x Reina. Like the master manipulator KyoAni is, I had my worries at certain points of the anime. While I did mentioned I wasn’t really as butthurt during that “confession” scene by Reina-now that when I worded everything out and organized my thoughts, that route wouldn’t had gone down that well, especially because Taki x Reina doesn’t give off a vibe of being a couple at all-their characters just don’t mesh together that way, and there is a severe lack of development which makes this couple even unconvincing.

As OG would had put it, the state of Kumiko x Reina ended in a “business as usual” manner, but that’s probably the best they could do especially with the overarching storyline closing to an end, and it’s great. It’s nice if they become a legit couple (which I’m sure it won’t happen), but I’m totally fine with the way the anime ended too. Their relationship remained ambiguous in the end (though I’m sure the yuri fandom would suggests otherwise), but doesn’t that apply to most yuri ships as well? In fact, Kumiko x Reina is such a dynamic pair; they are love, they are “special”, and no matter what the anime tells me, I will weather the storm and sail this special yuri ship to the death.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

21 thoughts on “Hibike! Euphonium – Shipping Kumiko x Reina

  1. That’s the appeal of KumiRei. Even though they’re not confirmed lovers their chemistry together is so spectacular that they might as well be. Unless something happens in the inevitable future continuation this is more than enough for the time being.

  2. To me, I do like the pairing for the fact that not because they look cute together, but they have a lot in common. Reina is not like anyone else in the band since she doesn’t really have that many friends and that she has a good number of quirks considering that she is an excellent trumpet player. This is why Kumiko can see something in her because she wants to become someone special like her besides just being an average Euphonium player.

    But as a whole, I relate to the show a lot since I was part of a concert band throughout my grade school year. While I’m not the best Clarinet player, but I was pretty good at it during my middle and high school years.

    • Both of them had a past too, and both of them are veteran players, and coming from the same band in middle school as well-they definitely have a lot of things in common. And from someone who’s pretty indifferent to someone who genuinely wants to be “special” and becoming a player beyond the average Euphonium player, it would make sense for Kumiko to admire her too, and it really comes off on screen.

      Yea, I can see how nostalgic they can be for people who actually had experiences with concert band, lol.

    • Oh, also wanna point out that outside of all the shipping thing, Hibike is a great musical/drama anime-as you can see, I spent a lengthy two-paragraphs intro to drive home that fact, lol.

  3. Indeed, this pair transcends the definition of romantic ships, or even friend-SHIP.

    My experience with Euphonium kind of reminds me of that in BLEACH, back in the days when I was shipping Ichigo and Rukia. They aren’t canon lovers, but they are also more than just friends. As Kubo had stated before, IchiRuki cannot be easily regarded as a romantic pair to pander to the fan’s wishes. It’s also not quite the same as a platonic friendship, since they have shared a “special bond” that’s just more than being with or supporting each other.

    And yes, I don’t like this kind of special relationship to be viewed simply as \between\ friendship and love. I agree with you. This relationship doesn’t fall into that friendship-love spectrum. No, it just cannot. It’s a whole different thing altogether.

    • “Indeed, this pair transcends the definition of romantic ships, or even friend-SHIP. ”
      Lol, nice one xD

      Ichigo and Rukia gives off the vibe of supporting-each-other-and-fighting-commrade kind of way, but I never see them as potential love interests, then again, you can probably apply the same thing to basically most of Bleach characters. Kubo said that? And here I thought Bleach’s just your standard shounen fare.. xD I never thought that much for the relationship between Ichigo and Rukia.

      There’s no “between” or either end of the spectrum here. KumiRei has such a special dynamic between each other that I just straight out called “magic” in my post, lol. I see you have the same impression :p https://twitter.com/miharusshi/status/618059490852646916

      • Hehehe :9

        I like the fact that Kubo didn’t push through with the romance stuff. The only romance subplot I remember that got almost pushed through (but thrown out of the window almost immediately after the Hueco Mundo arc) was IchiHime. lol Maybe Kubo realized that ship wasn’t well received by fans. Or maybe he didn’t like it all that much himself. Hehe// Rather, he put mysteries behind the most probable pairings (e.g. Gin x Matsumoto, Ulqui x Orihime) in a way that fans could only speculate if they’re really canon or not. In contrast, Mashima Hiro is very blatant with which OTPs he loves in his manga (Fairy Tail). lol

        Yeah. Kubo really said that. I read in an interview. :3 To be fair, I was quite the Rukia fan (and still am, for that matter) and I also really liked Ichigo. I thought they looked good and funny together. Their moments were some of the most memorable for me, so I shipped them regardless of what Kubo thought of them. But as to what I see them as in-universe, it would be a stretch to imagine them ending up together. lol

        Hahaha. It seems like KumiRei is truly magical that we can write as many words we can to describe our experience, but “magic” is the word that sums it up best. :9

        • Bleach with romance probably doesn’t end too well, actually, I can’t even remember if there was any shounen anime with an actual, developed romance subplot, even if there are, there are really hidden within the main narratives that it’s just easily forgettable at times. And oh, I remember that ship started sailing during that arc, lol. I guess it’s just “easy” to ship human character with another human character? It seems like a natural development when you think about it like that, but then again, the pairings aside, I think it has more to do that not many people likes Orihime herself.

          “Rather, he put mysteries behind the most probable pairings (e.g. Gin x Matsumoto, Ulqui x Orihime) in a way that fans could only speculate if they’re really canon or not.”

          Admittedly, I never think too much about the romance subplot, but yeah, I can see what you mean, all these pairings have subtle interactions with each other and it’s all really up to fans’ speculation.

          Yeah, like Grey x Juvia? xD

          I lost a lot of interests in Bleach recently, of the shounen Big Three, I’m actually liking Bleach the least, but yeah, Rukia’s a fun character when I first saw her in the earlier episodes-and her beginning interactions with Ichigo was pretty entertaining to me as well. She seems to be less quirky as the anime progresses, especially with the huge influx of other characters later on-guess there’s just not much time to focus on her.

          Yea, I think this whole can pretty much just be summed up as “magic”.. :p

  4. I have a different take on the series, unfortunately. I wouldn’t call it a great anime personally.

    Haha, yes, I noticed twitter went crazy during the whole confession part. I just thought Reina and Kumiko are interesting characters in different ways, especially the former. I was a bit shocked at her sudden change of character during that hike, but it’s a good one. I also find their friendship a little bit different than most anime I saw. They don’t seem to spend a lot time together and yet, they’re very close.

    • Before that hike scene, I think there had been subtle hints throughout the show that Reina is also just as attracted to Kumiko as is Kumiko to Reina (excluding that confession scene for now, lol). The hike scene was a pretty huge scene though, as far as yuri subtext goes, and it’s just as shocking to me.

      “They don’t seem to spend a lot time together and yet, they’re very close.”

      I know, right? And they look very natural together. The voice actors also did a good job with their characters, so their chemistry were very effectively translated on screen.

  5. Pingback: Kai’s Favorite Anime of 2015 | deluscar

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