Twelves: Euphonium, Nisekoi2, Finales: Show by Rock, Mikagura, and Teekyuu!

Hibike Euphonium 12 … It’s going to take a while to get that little tune out of my head.

She practiced her way to the infirmary.
She practiced her way to the infirmary.

It starts with Taki asking the Euphs to help play one particularly nasty passage.  Kumiko can’t handle it, but spends most of her time practicing, and gets better.  Taki is still not impressed, but she promises she will play it well by the competition.  And still it’s not good enough.  Taki asks Asuka to play it alone.  There could be a little life lesson here, saying “No matter how hard you work you still might not be good enough,” which is true, but the situation puts Kumiko in a funk.
euphonium12-2
But it demonstrates a change.  Earlier, Katou had mentioned that Kumiko seemed less detached and more passionate now.  After she loses the part, she runs around screaming how she wants to get better (and so does Shuichi, but who cares about him?).Obviously, Reina is an inspiration.  Reina seems to like this new passion, and offers encouragement, as well she would, because Kumiko HAS gotten better.  It comes down to a chance meeting with Taki, where he talks about doing things he wants to do (not to mention encouraging her to keep practicing that part, because she had promised she’d get better).
euphonium12-3
“I love the euphonium!” she cries out more than once near the end, which, frankly, makes her a little weird in my book, but weirdness is good.  She wants to keep working at it.  All of this is countered by reality and studying, her sister who dropped music to cram, and Aoi, who’s doing the same thing, making practical decisions they say they don’t regret, and I believe them.  I believe there’s only one episode left, which is a shame partly because we won’t get to see Kumiko and the others deal with life after the competition.  Meanwhile, I’ve still got that little tune in my head.

nisekoi2-11
Nisekoi 12 seems to have abandoned any pretense of the plot moving forward.  I mean, when was the last time anyone brought up the locket?  Instead in episode 11 it’s two stories about Onodera.  The first one was predictable.  She’s afraid she’s gaining weight and starts starving herself, er, dieting.  I think we all knew the second time she got on the scale that it was broken.  The second story is much nicer.  We go back to middle school and see how she decides to get into the same high school that Raku is going to.  It sounds like a silly reason to choose a school, because your unrequited crush is going there, but she adds that it’s the first time in her life she feels determined to do anything, a nice though unintended reference to Euphonium …

And there was this lovely moment in the middle.
And there was this lovely moment in the middle.

 

showbyrock12-1Show by Rock! was a dumb show from start to finish, so I guess I shouldn’t have expected a great, slam-bang finale, but I was still surprised that it was such a clumsy, ham-fisted affair.  It felt like the creators said “Okay, you guys do the rescue Rosia bit, you guys do the Angelica and Maple sneaking in bit, yo guys work on those kids coming to Midi City.  Don’t worry about flow–we’ll just splice it all together.”  That is to say, one scene would go on, then another, and back to the first scene, full of clumsy starts and finishes, each of them full of potential that they wasted.  You had all those bands together, you could have had a big battle, but instead all they did was gape, except for that blonde guy and Darudayu.  Dagger turned into an impressive monster and Cyan wiped him out with one shot.  Grateful King’s ultimate song was never used.  And I never did figure out what the deal was between Rom and the blonde guy.

During the big battle, the other girls just stand there gaping.
During the big battle, the other girls just stand there gaping.

Okay, one or two good points, like Grateful King sending Cyan back to her own world but she fought to come back and finish the battle.  They spared us the tearful goodbye scenes (they had enough tearful scenes already) at the end and just had Cyan getting the nerve to enter that clubroom–end of show … That’s all I can think of.  Okay, I shouldn’t have expected more, except that this show had given us moments of loopy fun and a couple of moving scenes before.  And they had handled the story pretty well–until the finale.  Sigh.

One more of Shingan Crimsonz, and what's left of Dagger.
One more of Shingan Crimsonz, and what’s left of Dagger.

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku‘s finale was pretty silly, but it was funny-silly and had moments of joy in it.
mikagura12-1Though they never really explained what was going on with the reality breakdown.  Eruna has a flashback dream to … her ancestors maybe, and Seisa is there too, and, sadly, Shigure, then she’s falling in the air, caught and finds herself in what must be the real world, the ruins of the school.  The rest of the student body is there too, but they don’t seem shocked at all.  Do they even notice?  Meanwhile, the fighting pavilion is still in one piece and there are still midterm matches to attend to.  Through the rest of it, sometimes we see the complete school, sometimes the ruins.  Later, it all comes back, but isn’t that an illusion?  Should they all be happy to be there?
mikagura12-2In terms of the story now, there are no villains to defeat.  They just want to get Seisa out of her mansion.  Eruna asks her to join her club if she wins, and Seisa doesn’t say yes or no, but in the final, which is supposed to be Eruna and Kyouma, he is suddenly “abducted” by the drama club.  Up to that point the episode had dragged a bit; the confusion over what was going on mixed with heartfelt speeches about intentions was responsible, but the sheer inanity of the abduction (to clear the way for Seisa) brought back the happy, goofy side of the series, and led to the moment of joy I mentioned before.
mikagura12-3Eruna has always been fun to watch because, as I’ve said countless times before, she’s a blithering idiot, but also because she manages to have fun no matter what the situation, and when she hits a setback she bounces right up to try again.  Finally, this rubs off on Seisa, and they have a great battle, crashing out of the pavilion, over rooftops, into the forest, then flying in the air (while Bimi exclaims that they’re breaking the laws of physics).  Eruna is smiling throughout … and so is Seisa.  And while there’s a little wrap-up time after that, it isn’t really necessary.  You knew Seisa would join Eruna’s club, nothing else really mattered.  I don’t need to say more about it, or about the show.  Eruna’s positive idiocy redeemed Seisa, and most of the time, it redeemed the show as well.  Well, the Drama Club helped.

One more of just about everyone.
One more of the Drama Club (right).

 

teekyuu48-1Finally, Teekyuu!  THE WORLD’S GREATEST ANIME SERIES EVER, UNLESS IT’S NASUNO DESU, finishes with a dismal SPG of 4.5.  It felt almost leisurely.  And only two of the girls were in it (doesn’t Nasuno have enough screentime with her own series?  Is two minutes a week not enough for her?) But don’t worry!  Season 5 is coming up!

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