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The first time we saw Kumiko, she was accidentally blurting out the words in her head with no regard for the listener’s feelings. It’s a trait that has led to Reina and others saying she has a “terrible personality”. Since then we’ve seen her learn to control that ability to speak her mind and it reached it’s peak this week. In a world full of dumb high school drama where battles are fought with words, honesty is pretty much a superpower and Kumiko is the heroine the band needs. It’s been a great ride watching Kumiko reach this point and really gratifying to see her pull through.
By pull through of course I mean Kumiko’s presumably final showdown with Asuka. Despite softening up the past couple of episodes, Asuka made one last attempt at playing the villain and undermining Kumiko’s resolve. Even in the final moments of battle she wouldn’t explicitly say how she feels, but at that point I thought it was kind of endearing. As Reina noted last week Kumiko is more than just honest, she also seems to know exactly what to say. Her reply to Asuka about how they’re all still kids was perfect, punctuated by some fantastic voice acting. Euphonium always has great acting, but the performances this episode were some of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
Speaking of Reina, everyone has been freaking out about her death glare at the end of the episode. There’s a few reasons she might be mad. The last time we saw her she noticed the photo on Taki-sensei’s desk. Could she have found out Kumiko knew about his wife and didn’t say anything? You could combine that with the fact that we’ve seen Reina try to support Kumiko as she’s helping everyone else and basically getting ignored. It’s been particularly bad with Asuka as even Kumiko herself realizes she’s been neglecting her. Those may seem like small things but to someone like Reina who loves hard and doesn’t have a lot of experience with friends, it might be hard to take. I’ve always said Kumiko and Reina’s relationship is the best part of the series, so I’m more than happy to see the final episodes are going to be focused on it. Bring on the drama!