In Sound! Euphonium, the 65-member Kitauji High School Wind Ensemble needed to cut down to 55 to compete for the nationals. Episodes were committed to the auditions, and the ten who failed to make that cut became Team Monaka.
This was the brainstorm of the band's conductor Taki-sensei. Though out of the main practice sessions and given no chance to replace any of the members who passed the auditions, these ten girls need to find their purpose, including Kimiko's friend Hazuki and Natsuki, a second-year euphonium player who admitted that Kimiko was the better, more experienced musician. Named for three second-year band members, Team Monaka serves basic support for the Kyoto competition bound fifty-five. They create good luck charms, lug the instruments, and load the bus and then joins the Kitauji band to do small tasks at the competition site. The OVA ends at the moment Kitauji enters the stage to perform. Hey, we know how it ended, so no need to comment. As plots go, Ready, Set, Monaka is just filler.
The OVA continues to use the subdued earth tones schema Sound! Euphonium employed in their series. But there are two neat animation techniques that make this 24-minute 'quasi-fourteenth' episode stand out. There is a 360-degree spin of the band in concert. And for a dull coloration scheme, the brandished glare of the trombones swung up into performance mode stabs into the usual brown.
Music is not as interwoven into this project to the extent it was done for the first season of S!E. And one might wonder if this episode would make some point. I could only find one. Hazuki personalizes the good luck charm for trombonist Shuichi Tsakamoto. Is she doing this knowing that Tsukamoto has shown some interest in Kimiko? Is a love triangle on the horizon in the future for this anime?