To start off, for anyone who have watched the previous installments of Hibike! Euphonium, both season 1 and 2, you'll find that this new sequel doesn't deviate much, if at all, from the seasons in terms or storytelling or theme. It's pretty much a speedrun of Hibike! Euphonium condensed into 1 movie with new characters added in. There is nothing added in the movie that truly breaks from the mold already established by both previous seasons. The movie is centered around certain 1st years who enter the high school and join band. Each of them have their own unique problems relating to band drama and
personal conflicts with one another. With the last graduating class gone, there is a large hole in the club in terms of both numbers and talent, and tensions are high once again as old scars are brought up and new people bring their own baggage to the stage.
I'll talk about the positives first.
The music, as expected, is fantastic. The soundtrack is amazing and really sets in the mood for you to relax and enjoy. I had no problems with it really. The music played by the band is also incredible and it really does the series justice. If you haven't watched the spin off movie Liz and the Blue Bird, I highly do suggest you watch it beforehand to get a better grasp on the music piece played by the band. It made the orchestra scene so much better and emotionally powerful. This is just a suggestion for fans of the series who are invested in the musical aspect.
The art is fantastic as always. It's the same classic style you see from season 1 and 2. Nothing much changed and nothing much really needed to change. The quality was still good and while the animation itself was nothing much to brag about, the art and cinematography more than make up for that. There was nothing as well animated as the Kumiko running scene or the Reina smile scene in season 1 but the movie still held up high in regards to looking great.
The thing about Hibike! is that it is a character driven show, and as much as people give the music the highest praise, the characters are the best part of it. I really appreciated the fact that they did build up the characters we were familiar with, such as Natsuki and Kumiko. You see them still grow and adapt to their new roles in the club, especially as they are a year older now and they must shoulder the responsibilities that their former mentors held. The movie didn't totally just remove their role in the band in favor of the new students. However this becomes a double edged sword. I talk about the negatives regarding the characters below but the positives are still there in the mix. The character drama is all generally realistic in its portrayal of not only band culture but of competition. The series themes resonate with the movie still regarding both the philosophy of talent and winning. Because for some, winning is the only thing that matters, while for others, it's the effort in achieving either success or failure that is what is most important. You can achieve nothing but that is better than doing nothing. Hibike! prides itself on centering themes around this type of philosophy and they do a great job. It's why Hibike! is so good. If anything else, I consider the overarching theme in the movie to be the best positive I can write about.
I'll be moving on to the negatives now.
The movie was fairly rushed and you rarely have time to settle down with certain scenes and their implications before moving onto another problem. One of the reasons for this was that they heavily condensed the novel from which the movie was adapted from, cutting almost half of the substance. And while of course the anime movie should be judged independently from any other source, it does explain why the plot seems to be as if some scenes are being skipped. So when you are watching the movie don't worry if you do get slightly confused, some context is missing. And while this issue is not obvious all the time it does seem noticeable in a few important scenes relating to the new characters. You see them lash out spontaneously and their reasoning while perhaps justified have no real set up, making it as if we were supposed to have watch another prequel about the new 1st years before this movie to really understand them. We don't know enough about them to emphasize with them on anything but a shallow level. The pacing wouldn't have been that much of an issue but certain things seem to snowball together for a bit of confusion towards the end of the movie. KyoAni was essentially juggling screen time between the popularity of the old characters for fans and the introduction of the new ones.
The drama of the series is also a part where this rushed storytelling suffers from. The movie switches between the personal problems of Kumiko and the problems of the 1st years. And so what you get is kind of this underdeveloped conclusion to both in certain ways. While of course you can give the benefit of the doubt as there will be a sequel season 3, the movie seems to dilute the new characters a little too much. We rarely get to see them outside of their drama, acting as students circumnavigating band life in its entirety. It's more that we see them as walking talking plot points to address in order to move the story forward. You don't really know who they are as a person and I think that for a series like Hibike! there should have been a little more due diligence in fleshing out the new characters for the audience to relate to. The new characters all suffer from a lack of believable development save for one of them. The story tries its hardest to make up for that by giving them all emotional conclusions to their personal arcs but it feels somewhat hollow.
The movie may offer nothing truly "new" to the table for those already familiar with Hibike! but it does give us a small glimpse of the greatness that was season 1 and why the series is so popular.
Thanks to Fathom Events, this Hibike! Euphonium fan was able to see the latest installment of the series on the big screen, and I enjoyed it a lot. Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale follows Kumiko and her friends on her second year of high school, directly after Hibike! Euphonium 2. If you're just reading for my general opinion: Overall, the movie suffers from the issues you would expect from condensing a season's worth of story into roughly 2 hours and may not be great as a standalone film, but is definitely worth a watch for anyone who liked the first two seasons.
you would expect, this movie delivers the same outstanding aesthetics you would expect from Hibike! Euphonium and Kyoto Animation. The character designs have that signature kyoani moe, the backgrounds are vibrant and gorgeous, and the animation is a step above their competitors. Not on the level of standalone films like Koe no Katachi, but definitely not a step down or a huge improvement from the Hibike! Euphonium anime.
And that's what this movie felt like, just a continuation of the main series rather than something separate like Liz and the Blue Bird (which is now a priority for me after seeing a particular scene in this movie). There's a bit of deja vu from the first season, and the movie showcases recurring events for the Kitauji Band, such as the Sunrise Festival. Unfortunately, some of the little day to day interactions were cut to make time for these pivotal events. As expected of this series, there's a lot of character drama leading up to the big performance, including freshman recruitment and competition auditions. The narrative doesn't go out of its way to introduce any new concepts, it just shows similar sequences as the first season, but now the characters are in different positions. But that isn't a bad thing in itself, as it shows how Kumiko and the now second and third years have matured and learned from their past mistakes, and their new determination to succeed at Nationals. An example is Yuko, who as the new captain of the band has to learn to become an effective leader, and further progresses from the character she was in season 1.
Speaking of characters, that's where this film faltered. As expected, a new school year brings in lots of new characters. At the same time, some second and third years who didn't get a character arc previously also got an extra spotlight. But of course, there were only an hour and 50 minutes to tell everyone's story, so some of these new faces definitely got the short end of the stick. It was disappointing to see some interesting new characters shown on screen who either completely ignored or given a character arc that lasts about 5 minutes. There was really only one freshman character who we got to know well. At the same time there were some recurring characters that had their own drama, but got so little screen-time in the past installments that I just had no idea how I was supposed to feel about them. But the lackluster character development doesn't feel too bad in this kind of movie, since it's pretty obvious that this was just a bridge to lead into the inevitable Hibike! Euphonium 3. If this was a standalone film, I would've come out of the theater way more dissatisfied. I'm sure these looked-over characters will be able to shine in the next season. I won't say exactly what happened, but the romance progressed further in this movie than it did the past two seasons. The romantic tensions unfortunately felt a bit rushed, but still were so heartwarming and cute that I couldn't help but laugh and smile along with everyone else in the theater. There's something here for fans of all ships!
But aside from the pacing of the movie leading to a lack of character development, this was a fantastic experience. The music is absolutely incredible, as you would expect. Arguably, the best part of the movie was the performance scene; it might just be my favorite in the series yet. The smooth animation, slick camera movement, good use of 3D, combined with the gorgeous soundtrack made for a truly blissful experience in the last leg of the movie. Seeing it in theaters only made it more magical.
And that's what I thought of the movie. This is definitely a must watch for anyone that is still interested in following Kumiko and Kitauji in their quest for Gold, but I would advise anyone who hasn't seen the tv anime yet to watch that before seeing this movie. As a standalone movie with no context, this will be a pretty dissatisfying film. And as always, feel free to ignore the numbers you see here and have your own opinions on the movie. As for me, Chikai no Finale has got me even more excited for the next chapter in the Hibike! Euphonium story.
I just watched the film in theaters and it was great! All Sound! Euphonium fans should watch it, as it is indeed a continuation of the series.
Like all movies, material is condensed, and there's quite literally nothing we can do about it except show our support for the makers in hopes of getting more content. The film starts by giving a 10 minute review of what happened in the first 2 seasons, and then kicks off. One should definitely watch "Liz and the Blue Bird" before watching this, because there are quite a few connections to that movie (don't wanna spoil anything).
I agree, this could
have easily been a season in and of itself, but it was crammed into a movie. There was a little bit too much drama for just a movie, and although we know the series has drama, they overdid it a bit for the duration of the film.
I really enjoyed the piece they played, and I love how they take the time to animate the entire duration of the song and the characters playing! The piece was not as moving as the "Crescent Moon Dance", but maybe because we don't have a big back story behind this new piece like we did in the first 2 seasons. Also, seeing familiar faces come back on screen was a very pleasant surprise. If I say anything else I might spoil it, so I'll stop, HOWEVER, there is an after-credits scene that some people might enjoy a lot.
Honestly, I didn't really think we needed this movie, but...eh, I'm not against it. Could it have been better? Oh definitely. Story probably could've used a proofread.
With the new school year incoming, Kumiko Oumae and the previous veterans of the Kitauji High School Band come back with new members, new drama, and a new goal in mind for the school year. Now with the bronze reward in Nationals under their belt, it was finally time to try again and get the coveted gold they weren't able to get in the year prior.
Given that the entirety of the movie is centered around Kumiko's entire second year
of high school, it comes as no surprise that the series is the most rushed it's ever been. Given the fact that the series prior had cemented its story into giving both the regionals and nationals competition its own season, seeing the entire journey up to regionals be given less than half a season of screentime is not exactly the most ideal situation. In doing so, both of the character stories for the new members of the Bass section feel rushed, a lot of smaller plot threads (including the romance one) feel less than satisfactory, and a staggering amount of jump cuts are used to progress the flow of time.
And I mean A LOT of jump cuts. Watching the movie, I couldn't tell which month we were in because the chronology is simply that fast. One minute we're given the introduction, and maybe twenty minutes later we've hit summer vacation and the band camp. It also doesn't help that the stories of the characters at hand were solely based on their respective backstories without enough meaningful interaction between them and the rest of the band to give full weight of the problem. It was honestly more annoying to watch because one of the girls kept snapping or leaving the situation to the point that that was her only worthwhile character trait before we were given her spiel/trauma from her past.
That being said, the movie did still provide enough of the series's themes and existentialism that's been around since the series started. Kumiko and Reina deciding for themselves what's to come while proving that life is full of failures whether we like it or not are mainstays that keep the series engaging and unique from a lot of other school series. Even more so, the ending was a great poetic tribute to the themes of the series though expected as it was. It's the one redeeming quality I can say about the storytelling in this movie and is at least a decent takeaway from the whole thing.
I feel like this is Kumiko's most major existence in the series thus far. While she was always the 'protagonist character', she never really felt like that due to her tendency to always sit in the back while everything happens in front of her and more important events and stories became the spotlight of the series. Because she now has seniority in the club, Kumiko seems to be taking a more active role by trying to sort out problems with others rather than always sitting back like she used to. That trait even ends up biting her later on and the reflection of who she is and what she wants is positive growth to become motivated and really push the spirit of the series in an attempt to try give her all.
Much of the rest of the screentime is devoted to the newer additions to the cast, specifically Kanade Hisaishi as Kumiko's underclassmen in the Euphonium section. Much of the movie's character drama focuses on her and the new tubas in the band, storylines that really feel the weight of the rushing storyline the movie was unfortunately forced to deal with. In a way it feels like the movie was just following the steps of its predecessors as they didn't feel naturally integrated or abundantly present through conflict of gut reactions like before. Fortunately, Kanade still does have a presence in the movie, though only through proxy of being next to Kumiko the whole time, which is not something I'm fond of even though she is an interesting character.
The rest of the Kitauji veterans do not get much time in the movie's run aside from a few small plot threads sprinkled throughout to detail the state of the band and the changing times. Some old characters make cameos, the romance subplot was shot down before it started, some other characters that I don't particularly remember get some time to themselves, but only enough to make a small impact or change without upheaving the entire storyline. It's ok, but personally I wish there was a little more to them being their at large.
Of course KyoAni pulls out all the stops for their better shows; why wouldn't they? Is what I would be saying except for some reason, despite being a movie, 'Chikai no Finale' looks almost identical to the normal art for the series. Hibike! has always had REALLY good art as the care, love, and detail the series is given by KyoAni is miles above what a typical anime gets. But it almost feels like even on the big screen, it's still like watching the show when generally there're higher production standards for movies. What those higher production standards would be, I don't know, but something in me thinks there should've been SOMETHING.
The only standout part that the movie has in terms of art or animation appears in the final section of the movie during the performance. A whole variety of shots ranging from wide angle shots to zoom ins, pan arounds, to close ups of each individual key or lever being pushed on a specific member of the band. (I suspect this is where the budget went). It was honestly really impressive seeing this particular scene given how 3-D models were only used sparingly during the wider shots, but the more up close areas were all in 2-D with the same level of quality the rest of the movie had. There were a number of somewhat unsatisfactory shortcuts that happened during this scene and many of the wider shots in the movie, but given how grand they decided to make the final performance, I can look over that.
Especially since the sound quality from the band is something of a nostalgia trip to me with a number of small details that give the series its own sense of flair. Everything from the small breaths in between the lengths of making notes, speedier tempo in one specific scene in an attempt to throw an audition, and the quality of the pieces shown in the final performance were (quite literally) music to my ears. I love how much time and effort the 'Sound' in 'Hibike!' Euphonium is given, and this movie was certainly no exception to the already impressive repertoire of sound bites this series has given.
This movie is a lot of ups and downs for me. I have a personal attachment to Hibike! mostly due to the fact that, as a previous band member, a lot of the practices and little mishaps that occur during the series put me back in a time when those things became an every day occurrence. The solid sound of the band tuning, the stops midway through the piece to adjust how one section sounds, and the general contempt for wanting to play a bass instrument all give me a reason to really like this series.
But the awful pacing makes the story feel like a requirement than a natural part of the series. I didn't really get invested in a lot of the newer freshman because they didn't get time to sink in. I didn't care much for the smaller side threads because there wasn't time to explain them. I felt cheated at the romance because while it made sense, not enough effort was put into build it up before breaking it down. It's these things and so many others that makes this movie feel average instead of great. I wanted reasons to care about other people other than Kumiko, which wasn't possible given how many people are in the band and how many of them were featured in this movie alongside with her to create the personal drama the series is known for. It feels kind of satisfactory, but not at the same time, which is a damn shame because I've always had a soft spot for this series.
On its own, the movie is a pretty good trip. But when put alongside its sister seasons, it's probably the lowest point the series has had in progressing its story. Time crunch is a real problem and movies that fail to properly work around this problem are unfortunately given a poor treatment. Apparently there's going to be a season 3 after this, but in my mind, this should've been what Season 3 was going to be about. Because I'm sure a full length cour was straight up just going to do better than adapting it into a movie that didn't have enough time.
I don't have to much to say here. The story felt rushed. I have followed the Hibike series for the past couple of years and have always liked their portrayal of the students navigating through school and the drama of dealing with that is a big draw for the series in general. To me the movie needed to tell a smaller story to rectify this problem, as a less than 2 hour movie is hardly enough time to develop 5 new characters, provide growth for the returning cast, and propel the plot.
Visually the movie looked great, It only had one scene that I remember being
a bit below the others but still looked good. I really thought they blended CGI and traditional animation well in the orchestra scene.
Fucking great, will be listening to that song for a while. Also watch liz and the blue bird for more background on the piece.
I thought there were too many characters that were juggled around. To me it felt like the movie had an identity crisis between wanting to focus on the new characters and keeping the familiar ones around. This left a lot of the drama feeling somewhat hollow as the characters weren't developed well enough.
I went through a series of highs and lows in the movie. I liked all of the music and the visuals but a lot of the lack luster story and characters stifled some of my enjoyment of the movie overall.
It was still worth the watch and overall I would rate my experience as positive. As bad as some of the stuff might sound I still liked watching it and thinking back on it furthermore it was a decent fun movie.
The bad stuff is easier to talk about in length as the best parts where the visuals and the music.
Actually, I was more hopeful about this "Hibike Euphonium movie", because it was made in the form of a movie, Kyoto Animation made a beautiful TV series, especially if it's a movie, I said. but it turns out my expectations are too high. this movie is not bad, I like it a lot, but in my opinion the conflict is still less climax than what happened in season 2 hibike euphonium, orchestral music in season 2 can make me cry emotion because it's really cool, but in this film I think " good "but not special. The ending that is presented in my opinion is
not as good as other KyoAni films such as Koe no Katachi, Suzumiya Haruhi movie, K-On! The film, Kyoukai no Kanata I'll Be Here, and other films by Kyoani including Liz to Aoi Tori. there are still many unanswered questions after watching this film, maybe it's a good idea if this series will get further adaptation, but in my opinion this movie is becoming less climax. apart from it all, thanks to "Kyoto animation" and other parties involved, for presenting this beautiful work. I hope that the journey of Kumiko and friends will continue.
Although a 12-episode series would have been a more satisfying treatment of the material, Chikai no Finale is an entirely worthy addition to the Hibike! Euphonium franchise, successfully carrying through the warmth and kindness of its characters, the focus on growing personally and building sustaining, healthy relationships in the face of adversity, and stunning animation, music and voice acting in a welcome two-hour return to Kitauji High School. (9 / 10)
(very mild thematic spoilers for the movie possible ahead, movie plot spoilers hopefully scrubbed. SPOILERS FOR THE TV SERIES, WHICH YOU SHOULD HAVE WATCHED ALREADY ANYWAY!)
Chikai no Finale is asked to serve a somewhat strange
purpose, essentially standing in for what, on balance, really should be a 12-episode cour on TV. To review the film, you have to determine how to view it. There is a lot of content here, and it's clear that significantly more time could have been spent on many characters and themes if the film had two or three times the runtime. That might be pretty obvious, of course. Viewed through the same TV series lens as season 1 and 2 of Hibike! Euphonium, the movie is perhaps a 7 out of 10 at best due to the comparatively limited character development and detail it can achieve; viewed as a true standalone movie, it is maybe only a 4 or 5. Unlike Liz and the Blue Bird, it isn't even remotely a standalone movie, though, and it certainly is not fair to compare it to a full season of television. So, for what it is, Chikai no Finale is a 9 out of 10. Its spirit is the same as Hibike! Euphonium seasons 1 and 2: beautiful and inspiring, a fine successor to an affecting series.
Thematically, threads from the series carry through: hard work, merit, seniority, failure, frustration, purpose. "Why you play" was a key theme in the series, but was then most frequently personified: who you play for. Asuka might be playing for her father; Nozomi and Mizore for each other; Reina for Taki or Kumiko or herself, depending on the day or mood. Purpose of action became a focus by the film's emotional climax, and had little to do with individual people and more to do with internal drives and motivations. Is playing for someone or something enough? And going beyond Mizore's doubts about competitions in the series, is it worth it not just to expose yourself to the criticism of the judges, but also, potentially, that of your peers?
On first viewing the subtitled version of the movie, Kanade seemed an interesting, layered character, and the most worthy addition to a series filled with characters whose depth lent them uncommon realism. (Go figure, the first-year given the most screen time would seem that way.) On a second, dubbed viewing (with a more sensical overall translation), Kanade more strikingly seemed to replace Asuka for Kumiko, both as a friend and also as an erstwhile adversary. In the series, Kumiko faced a few adversaries of this sort: Reina, who prompted Kumiko to start to care deeply about music, competition, and relationships; Kumiko herself and her inability to do very much to help with Mizore's trauma over Nozomi's departure and return; and Asuka, who directly forced Kumiko to speak her mind and help others through their troubles by telling them how she felt about them. Kanade, like Asuka, clearly admires Kumiko, but is also frustrated by Kumiko as she moves into a leadership role and adopts a carefully guarded, laboriously positive outlook.
Initially, I could not imagine giving this higher than an 8, but like the series, this movie rewards a second (or, one imagines, a third) viewing. Certainly, it is too dense with new characters and plot arcs that would have earned three or four episodes in the series but were processed in minutes in the film. One might expect Nozomi and Mizore to garner more screentime given their solos and their relationship's centrality to the themes of the piece "Liz and the Blue Bird", but with only two hours to basically stage a season's worth of content, sidelining them is understandable. Comparisons between "Liz and the Blue Bird" and Kumiko and Reina's future are perhaps too on-the-nose, but that can pretty easily be forgiven.
It almost goes without saying that the animation was of an exceedingly high caliber, and the soundtrack was memorable and evocative. Aural themes from the series were carried forward and expanded upon, and underscore tracks built emotional punch highly effectively. Performance scenes were again a highlight, with a great performance of "Liz and the Blue Bird" headlining them. The film added some 3D zing to the performance, although the strange shot of the ceiling lights spinning in a couple of full circles in the midst of it drew me out of the performance. Fortunately, that odd shot was followed quickly by two thrilling rapid-fire series of shots of performers and notable people in the audience doing... well, the things they are known for doing. Predictably, the oboe and flute parts performed by Mizore and Nozomi were most chill-inducing, although obviously not as emotionally raw as they were in the Liz and the Blue Bird film.
Per usual, the expression in the Japanese voice acting was simply striking. The dub was well done, also: Kanade was a standout, conveying her positive disposition but never entirely hiding the edge lurking just beneath. It was welcome to not try and replicate Kumiko's various odd noises in the dub, and she came across as convincingly kind, genuine, funny and intelligent. Asuka was notably playful and charismatic, appropriately delighting and irking Kumiko in fairly equal measure. I thought that Shuuichi was played appropriately, seeming well-meaning but bumbling and rather milquetoast. So, about right. I did not think I would emerge thinking that a dub of the series would be a treat, but darn it, I do think that. Seems unlikely, though.
The franchise remains comfortably in its welcome space of portraying a group of generally kind and good people dealing with their challenges: growing, failing, improving, and achieving. At its core, Hibike! Euphonium is the story of the development of a warm, good-hearted protagonist faced with realistic conflicts and the unrelentingly believable and inspiring ways she confronts them. While, due largely to time constraints, Kumiko seemed marginally less emotionally deep in this film than she did in the series, especially as compared to Kanade, this remains Kumiko's story, and it was handled with care and compassion once more in this installment. Kumiko is provided with an array of compelling foils in the series and the film, but none of them is ever cruel. Kanade, like Asuka, can be direct in her criticisms of Kumiko, but in providing them, she provokes Kumiko to take lessons she learned from Reina and Asuka and convert them into thoughtful, kind mentorship. In doing so, she teaches Kanade to always care, to always try, to never fear. How warm it sounds, indeed.
Watching this movie with no knowledge of the series would be a fruitless, confusing enterprise. Watching the film in context, even if it is forced to try and do too much, provides as much succor for a sometimes cynical and nihilistic period in media as the preceding series did. These are warm, decent, believable people, and there is always a lesson to be drawn, a nostalgic reminiscence to be treasured, or an inspiration to be gleaned from engaging with this franchise. More than anything, Kyoto Animation has proven that regardless of form, they can deliver the soul of Hibike! Euphonium, and I'll be grateful for however many more heartfelt journeys they'll give us with Kumiko and her friends.
(I'll keep this spoiler-free for those who haven't seen it yet)
The experience I had with this movie was more or less the same as what I got through the first 2 seasons, with the main difference being that the original characters have moved up a grade level, new first years have been introduced, and with those new students come new pillars for the story to pick up on and use for it's plot. I think watching the Liz and the Blue Bird movie before this would be helpful as the theme presented in that one carries over to parts of this one, and additionally
because this movie pays no attention to Nozomi & Mizore's characters. When watching this, I was easily reminded of the events of the first two seasons because this movie follows the same main chain of events as past seasons: there is drama occurring between the students and they're taking up the goal of making it to nationals, but here it engages through alternative routes of key moments we've seen before with old and new faces.
In regards to characters, this movie does an alright job with it. Characters we've been introduced to before are showing clear signs of development from when we last saw them before, but of course, with this being a movie, we're not given much time to feel and care for some of the newer faces and of course we can't monitor their development as much as we did with former ones. The new first years bring in their own bits of drama with each other and develop some with a few of their senpais, and here is where my main issue with this movie was. We get introduced to new cases of drama from new and returning characters, but we only have so much time to pick up on all the ongoing issues taking place. Character arcs get brought up, but most get partially resolved or get abandoned with so much that has to happen in just 2 hours of runtime. By the plot being developed through a movie a lot of characters and the bonds they gain & develop aren't able to get much justice, but some are able to have some good moments.
In regards to other aspects such as the animation, aesthetic, & sound, there wasn't really much that deviated from the main series because this movie as a whole doesn't actually feel like new, but simply a continuation of the main series as it should be. Yeah, while it would've been nice seeing something that movie feel like it was doing its own thing, there's nothing wrong with it tracing the steps of the main series.
In the end, I feel this movie mostly just serves the purpose of bridging a gap between the transition of season 2 to what I hope becomes a confirmed season 3 in the future. I'd say you should give this movie a go since it's the direct follow up of season 2. All in all, I enjoyed it no differently than I enjoyed the past seasons, and additionally, this movie made me ready to see whatever may happen in the future for Kitauji High School's concert band.
Just back from the Dubbed screening of this new Sound! Euphonium movie; Before the feature itself starts, there's a quick sub-only 10 minute series recap that honestly I could've done without, the memory of Season 1&2 still fresh in my mind. It was also a little unsettling as I needed to be reassured by theater management this was indeed the dubbed screening that I paid for.
Anyway, it took a little getting used to hearing Erica Mendez's voice coming out of Kumiko Omae but her performance grew on me quickly. I was sad not hearing Cristina Valenzuela reprise Reina but Laura Post did an
admirable job for this film.
The story of this film basically occurs in partially in parallel to the story told in the spinoff movie Liz and the Blue Bird. The drama of that film is happening somewhere in the background while the events unfold for this movie.
Mizore & Nozomi do appear on stage for the final concert piece and Mizore's oboe solo is even more impressive than the version she did in Liz and the Blue Bird, and Nozomi stepped up her flute game enough to accompany her on stage in the competition band. I'm a little sad these two didn't actually have any speaking lines for this movie as I found them very sympathetic characters in the series and in Liz and the Blue Bird. One note of passing interest, they do revert back to Mizore's original series character design rather than the much more detailed and stylized version used in Liz and the Blue Bird. I'm guessing this is due to restraints of the animation budget, forcing them to use the simpler TV character design for Mizore since she's only a supporting background character for this film.
My personal favorite among the dub cast were some of the new freshman...in particular Kanade Hisaishi voiced by Christine Marie Cabanos which made me so happy.
My only gripe about the dub would be some of the pronunciation choices....most glaring is calling their school "Kita Oooh Geee" when in Japanese it's clearly more like "Kih TAU gee". I think Liz and the Blue Bird's dub got it correctly so I don't understand the divergence for this dub.
Koh-SAK-uh (Engl.) vs. KOh-suhka (Jp.); I really question when the ADR director doesn't try to make the actor match the actual Japanese name or surname more closely. It's forgivable and only mildly annoying and some dubs are better than others in this respect.
This story could've definitely been stretched out into a complete 3rd season but I still found the movie entertaining. Definitely be sure to stay after the credits for a special stinger at the end. I definitely want to see more of Kumiko, Reina, et. al. as they become seniors and move into leadership positions.
The Kumiko x Reina moments in this movie are so precious and worth the price of admission. They're so clearly in love and this shines through every scene they share alone together.
Viewers should watch Sound! Euphonium Seasons 1 & 2, then Liz and the Blue Bird and then this movie. I haven't watched the other films so thus can't comment on them. I'm very happy this got an English dub and remain hopeful maybe someday via Kickstarter or whatever there may yet be an English dub for the entire series.
Despite being similar to previous seasons of Hibike Euphonium, the movie does not really stand very well on its own and mostly serves to move along the plot of the series.
The presentation of the movie is very good. The animation is great, the voice acting is still very impressive and the music is very satisfying. It gets handicapped by the rapid pacing and unclear direction of the movie, which results in very short and disjointed scenes.
The plot of the movie feels very condensed and rushed, resulting in a very flat and unsatisfying viewing experience. It doesn't have the time to build up the characters
or drama for the satisfying climaxes of the previous seasons. If only it had a few seasons instead of a few hours to tell what could have been a satisfying arc.