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Band camp is brutal as the grueling practices and internal drama intensify. After Asuka reveals her reason for not accepting Nozomi and learning some huge details about Taki-sensei’s past, Kumiko finds herself with a lot of secrets to keep.
Ever since we got a peek below her perfect veneer in episode 11 of season 1, I’ve been loving Asuka’s role in the band drama. Clearly she doesn’t mean anyone harm, but the fact that she just doesn’t care makes her broad smiles and playful teasing feel pretty sinister. As the closest thing we have to an antagonist in season 2, it made Kumiko seeking her help almost feel like making a deal with the devil. Even the information she does provide shows her reasoning is purely machiavellian. She knows that Miyore becomes physically ill at the sight of Nozomi but does not care enough to even mention why to Kumiko, let alone help resolve the true cause of the problem. Instead, like with all her joking around, she chooses to ignore and deflect. If that doesn’t make her a villain in this context I don’t know what does. That all said, the gorgeous final scene with her practicing at the crack of dawn, alone, makes you wonder how much of an emotional burden she’s been hiding. Hooray character depth!
Meanwhile, I continue to be extremely wary of where they are going with this whole crush on Taki-sensei thing. If I had to guess, I think it’s innocent enough as it mostly seems to be a way to show Kumiko how she should handle her own drama. To contrast with Asuka, we need a new excuse to show Reina’s brutal honesty and the way she tackles conflict head on. Considering how much Kumiko admires Reina and wants to be like her, we then can expect that she will be inspired to handle the issue with Nozomi and Miyore in a similar way.
If that’s all we’re going for, I’m totally cool with that. Anything more though and we’re getting into super creepy territory. It’s revealed this week that Taki-sensei was previously married and that his wife died FIVE years ago. Even if he got married at the bare minimum of 18, he would be about 7 years older than her. Far worse though, he’s in a position where he is acting as an adult authority figure in her life and… yeah this whole situation just needs to die. Hopefully it will fizzle into nothing just like nearly every other romance Kyoto Animation has animated and we can move on with our lives.