Fours: Euphonium, Mikagura, ShowbyRock, Pleiades, Nasuno Desu

euphonium4-1Hibike! Euphonium 4 has the expected turnaround from the band that sucks to the band that sucks a little less, because they practiced a lot.  They also ran a lot of laps, did breathing exercises and bitched about how hard it was.  Well, most of them did.  Reina enjoys the hard work and the goal, so she’s now Taki’s #1 fan and quietly reprimands anyone she hears saying bad things about him, and in this way, finds a little niche in the silence between herself and Kumiko.  It’s ironic, because the basses are about the only section that Taki seems happy with.  We knew he would be when they played that note after the, er, solfège, the first decent note any group of players have made the entire series.

Since the episode title is itself “solfège,” I suppose I should try and figure out why.  Not much luck.  There’s the concept of using syllables to represent pitches (do-re-mi), but the basses aren’t singing syllables.  So maybe we should consider the intent.  By singing the note, you get a clearer picture (not the best word) of the pitch.  So perhaps by talking about what the band is trying to accomplish, all the complaining and commenting, it brought the group to a greater understanding of what Taki is trying to achieve?  Nah, I don’t buy it either.  Better to take the episode at face value.  By sending the band through a one-week boot-camp, they focus their energy, even if it comes from anger, and get better.

Combat training.
Combat training.

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyokou 4 starts with a look at drama-kid Yuto’s unhappy past, his cute younger brother, and his inability to smile sincerely, and I was afraid the whole episode was going to follow him, but right after the OP it returns to Eruna and takes on her frantic and often bewildering pace.  HER problem is that she can’t get her gun power (Tension Max!) to work.  But the drama club decides to have a series of rookie practice sessions, which seem to be nothing more than acting out silly plays.  It’s fun because it makes little sense.  At one point Eruna is on a fake horse spouting lines and falling off.  What’s THAT got to do with training?  On the other hand, Eruna is 100% into it and everybody has a good time.  I think she ought to just join the drama club.  She’s a good fit there.


I also appreciate that the show doesn’t dally, but (after some introspective bits from Seisa and others) dives right into the tournament.  We see Eruna face off against Katai, the girl from ep1 who joined the Calligraphy club.  The battle is fun and nice to look at with its ink horses (So THAT’S why she trained on a horse, but how could they know?), and Eruna is able to use her Tension Max with no explanation why.  We didn’t see any breakthroughs earlier.  Maybe it was because it was in the battle and she had no time to overthink it.  We also get some closure, I think, concerning Yuto.  I wonder if they’re done with his story for now.  Seemed rather quick.  But I didn’t mind because I didn’t care too much.  And it slows down the fun, frantic pace that Eruna brings.

Show by Rock! isn’t as frantic, most of the time, but it can wander into odd side doors that have little to do with anything.  This week the girls get to see Tsurezure, a trio who want to bring far east music to Midi City.  So it’s traditional Japanese clothing and instruments with a rock beat, nothing we haven’t seen or heard before, but it dazzles our girls, who immediately think maybe they should change their look and become “more original.”  But Rom from Shingan Crimsonz tells them to get real, and that’s the end of that.  After that it’s a confrontation of sorts with that idol guy, whom Rom hates for some reason.

Costuming experiments.  Note Moa on the left: Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
Costuming experiments. Note Moa on the left: Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

But, as I said, this show likes to wander a bit, so after all the plot’s done for the episode we go to Shingan Crimsonz’s intro bit again, but this time featuring their favorite ramen toppings.  And earlier, though this isn’t a digression, while the girls are trying new stage outfits, Moa comes out in a cape and mask and gives an evil laugh.  The next time she’s on screen, still wearing the outfit, she laughs evilly again, for no reason.  And a third time.  Why?  Maybe it’s fun to do an evil laugh, or it’s fun to be nonsensical at times.  All I know was I giggled throughout the scene.  Bits like that, and the ramen, make this show more fun to watch.

Recently I’ve wondered which is the loopier show: Show by Rock or Houkago no Pleiades?  SbR had pointless evil laughs and visual kei bands doing ramen.  HnP … Well, I’ll tell you, but it’s a toss up.

We start with Hikaru’s memory of writing a note on her composer-father’s unfinished piano score, and then we get a clubhouse bit about how Hikaru never finishes books, movies, or music, because she sort of “figures it out,” so what’s the point of continuing?  The thought is taken further on Suburu’s weekly visit to Minato, where she learns that buds there will never bloom, and there’s talk about knowing what they’ll look like even so, but for them it’s more of a botany thing.  Meanwhile Hikaru’s parents have been sending piano music to some new (to us) constellation by playing the piano next to a telescope.  There’s also the concept of believing Hikaru when she says something, because she doesn’t lie, and she told her parents she was going to the moon, and the moon would be blocking that constellation that evening …

Hard to explain, but it’s nice to see a silly show play with thoughts like this … While flying to the MOOON for a fragment orbiting it.  Hikaru, inexplicably, has a dream along the way that has her and Suburu on the moon’s surface, but it’s edible (the moon, not the dream).  Back to the “finishing things” theme: Hikaru has never been able to finish listening to that piece of music she added a note to (so maybe her condition is a mental block), and now she can hear it.  Serious discussion with the dream-Suburu, though both remember the conversation after she wakes up.  Anyway, another fragment tussle with Minato, more cosmic light shows, another puzzled grin on my face.  Yeah, it’s hard to say which show is loopier.  I just hope that both of them stay that way.

Speaking of loopiness, Takamiya Nasuno Desu! continues Teekyuu guests story, and winds up with a blistering 3.0 gag ratio!  I guess four girls and one guy just worker than one girl and a guy.  I’ll say the boy had to work extra hard this week.

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