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Aoi grows more and more distant from the band as exam pressures start to mount. After being pressed by Mr. Taki, she quits, causing the President to question her ability to lead. Elsewhere, Kumiko and the gang learn about the truth of last year’s falling out.
Aoi’s departure was inevitable. I was looking forward to seeing some repercussions from the stricter teaching style of Mr. Taki, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to go down like this. The way Mr. Taki handled it seemed incredibly poor. Why would you try to shame a student in the middle of practice? If he had his suspicions that she was going to quit, he should have just talked to her face to face. This all then bleeds out into the drama over the presidency. It’s here where Asuka first actually seems like a real person. So far, she’s just been a characature of the weirdo, someone who is entertaining to watch but not terribly grounded. For the first time it seems like she’s pulling back the veil as she talks to the President. I like that she gave the most sensible answer: If the President really didn’t want to take charge, why didn’t she refuse like Asuka? Aoi’s departure is an unfortunate sign that the changes are working. Those with the drive to win will stay, and those that won’t will find themselves increasingly alienated by skill.
The drama that had been alluded to in the past is revealed, and it’s basically a typical high school clash of personalities. You can see just how much of a problem the seniority system is just from this one issue. Just because there were some outgoing seniors that couldn’t care less, the band’s growth was brought to a halt. It would also seem to imply that no teacher was in charge last year. At the very least, I could never understand why a teacher would allow the lazy party in this conflict win out in the end unless they were equally lazy in their duties themselves. I am worried that the show is going to use this to show the causes of people like Aoi leaving as a bad thing, they shouldn’t be punished for finally getting the right attitude while others still want to goof around.
I feel this is an incredibly me thing to think, but I’m really excited about seeing this show tackle Hazuki’s crush with Shuichi head on. Kudos to the girl for having the courage to ask around, but she really could have started with a better question. I wonder how much further this will rock Kumiko’s head. She obviously(at least, I hope obviously) isn’t interested in the guy, but she’ll still feel a little weird if two of her friends start dating. Plus, we don’t even know where Shuichi stands on this yet. As much as I love band talk, Hazuki’s longing stares have been adorable, and she’s definitely right behind Asuka for the girl I’ve taken the biggest liking to. Here’s to hoping they don’t drop the ball on this.