Characters that made my year – Reina Kousaka (12 Days of Anime: Day 5)
Keeping up pretty well so far (have probably jinxed myself now) – now it’s time to look at a character from a show I wasn’t really expecting much from but ended up really enjoying – Reina Kousaka from Sound! Euphonium.
I remember not really feeling all that enthusiastic about Sound! Euphonium before it aired, simply because of KyoAni’s previous attempt at a cute girls play musical instruments show sort of ruined that concept for me – I absolutely despised K-ON! Imagine my surprise when Sound! Euphonium ended up actually being about the struggles of trying to make it in a concert band! Having experienced playing brass in orchestras & silver bands in my youth, there was so much I could relate to in this show – KyoAni’s usual attention to detail was so on the nose that I could almost smell the valve oil every time I watched an episode.
What really sold the show though, is the extremely well rounded characters. Our lead, Kumiko is wonderfully written and it is so easy to relate to her struggle to master her instrument, and her admiration of the talented Reina. Reina was a great character, my favourite in the show really – so driven, so determined to stand apart from the crowd – Reina has no qualms about standing up to the upperclassmen who want her to stand aside and relinquish her solo piece to a third year. She wants to be the very best she can, Reina wants to be special, and that is a desire that is so, so resonant – at that age we all want to have something we are exceptional at. But it is Reina’s relationship with Kumiko that really makes her shine – and the pinnacle of that is in episode 8 with the two girls alone on a mountain, such a beautiful scene. Sound! Euphonium was a series that surprised me and that is always a good thing.