“Ready Set Monaka”
Available on Crunchyroll
In this bonus episode, we get a look at what Hazuki, Natsuki, and the other cut band members were up to as they helped prepare for the big competition. Between confessing to Tsukamoto and not being able to compete, Hazuki in particular has a lot of rejection to overcome.
In a season full of really nice looking shows, it’s rather convenient this bonus episode popped up to remind everyone that no one makes things prettier than Kyoto Animation. I’ve always held Euphonium is in the discussion for the best looking TV anime of all time, and the stunning backgrounds, flawless character models, and nuanced animation continue to blow away the competition – yeah, I’m looking at you, Love Live!, with your unnatural, over-animation.
Unfortunately, beyond that there’s not a lot of meat on the bone here. The engine that drives this show is Kumiko and Reina, and with those two reduced to a brief cameo I found it hard to care too much. Hazuki does do about as well as she can to pick the lead role for an episode. The bits with Tsukamoto were cute but did little to quiet my fears that they’re going to hook him back up with Kumiko in season 2. I am jokingly calling this “The Straight Episode” but seriously, please don’t ruin this KyoAni. Natsuki gets one good scene in her attempt to be a good senpai, but other than that there wasn’t much else worth noting.
On a positive note, there was not a pool, beach, or hot spring in sight nor did any of the girls end up in swimsuits, which is normally what you’d expect from an expisode like this. And even if it wasn’t a great episode, it did remind me how much I liked this show. Maybe, just maybe, it got me a little excited for season 2. There’s cetainly more story to tell and I do enjoy being with these characters, but it’s going to take a lot to overcome my skepticsm.