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With the obvious transition of storyline going from cute to serious between the two seasons of Hibike! Euphonium, I wondered if this translated with the two sets of special short features. Season one was seven features of sweet and innocent girls discovering their roles in the high school scene while avoiding the wind ensemble premise of a band program rising up from the previous year's travesty of members abandoning the third-years to their smug laziness. Season two specials gave us the same sweet girls, just a little less innocent. At least, this is the case with Sapphire (Midori, if you will). The first half of the specials focused on girls who mature in ways most abundantly. Remember that Kumiko, Reina, Sapphire, and Hazuki are of the age of high school sophomores. But for half the episodes, chest sizes of girls get special salutes for the fans of S!E. Reina has gained the interest (envy) of flat-chested Sapphire (Midori, please!) who wonders how she can equal the physique of Reina and Asuka. In another episode, three second-year girls conspire to gain the attention of that hottie tuba-player Gotou. Little of the episodes deals with music, just a plan to showcase the wind ensemble with dynamic band uniforms costumes. Plans to make Taki-sensei the 'flying conductor.' A debate between the third-years Haruka, Asuka, and Kaori about whose poster best promotes the ensemble. Goofy stuff. Plus, Kumiko is relegated to minor character status. The specials seemed to be an equalizer for Midori (that's Sapphire, you know) and Hazuki who were nearly written out of the second season. Kumiko's best lines are a confused 'Wha ...?' But the striking thing about the specials is the animation. It abandons the brown-tones of Kitauji High to begin and end in white. The character designs of the cast are simplified, not quite chibi, but more a rounded face and doughy figure. Different and striking does not equal to better, but the episodes of the second season specials are as disconnected as those of the first. More or less kibbles to toss to the fans as Kyoto Animation plans for the recap movies and the up-coming original features of Hibike! Euphonium: Ensemble Contest-hen (2023) and Movie 3: Our Promise - A Brand New Day (2024). After all, we have to get those four sweet and slightly less innocent girls through Kitauji High. New faces, new places, and that redemptive second shot at the Nationals. So much to happen after the original Sound! Euphonium played its final performance in 2017. And with those future projects on the horizon, there might be more 'specials.; Brace yourself.
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