With many shows into their third or fourth episodes, it’s about time to start playing catch-up. We could have started with a completely new anime, but instead we begin with one of the most heavily-anticipated shows of the season: Sound! Euphonium 2. Season one was met with almost unanimous praise and got some outstanding reviews, and it appears that for once the studios gave everyone what they really wanted. That fabled second season has actually been given to us, and it’s gotten off to a pretty good start.

First of all, the thing you notice about the first episode is that it’s a full 47 minutes long- that’s long enough to be a film or a lengthy OVA. Once you get over the eye-watering length, you realise that there is actually a reason for it. Introducing the second season with a double-length episode was really a good call. After all, the first season aired quite some time ago. This long episode allows us to get back into the flow and mood of the show, slowly reintroducing characters while giving us new plots and promises to follow. KyoAni were allowed to help us along at a deliciously slow pace.

After a mysterious opening scene (complete with melancholic mood music), we’re thrown into the opening. It’s once again an upbeat, big band number, produced by the same band we heard in season 1: TRUE. Despite the cheerful music, everything is presented in greyscale for the first half of the episode. The appearance- along with a rather toned down first scene- hints that this season might not all be sunshine and rainbows.

Sound: Euphonium 2

When we really begin the episode, the hints at the beginning are gone but not forgotten. While the girls are reunited and begin their training for the next competition, the old unanswered question from last season crops up again. Just what happened last year to make half the second-years quit all at once? The older students keep exchanging shady glances and they’re keeping secrets from our heroine Kumiko as well as the other first-years. Kumiko is rightfully worried when a new face (Nozomi Kasaki) shows up and gets all the senpais gossiping once more. Even with this long episode, KyoAni have not used it as an excuse to peddle just their insane animation skills. They’ve used it to set up massive amounts of drama at the same time.

Speaking of drama, the yuri love ship is sailing strong for Kumiko and Reina. Their close friendship is closer than ever, and they do a lot of hand-holding and blushing. We love these two. If anything happens to destroy their newly rebuilt relationship, there will be uproar.

No-one thought it was possible for KyoAni to get any better than they are already, but the animation here is outstanding. Sound! Euphonium already had great amounts of colour and shiny instruments, and season 2 looks to be even more gorgeous. We swear they pick out certain scenes to do because they have the potential to be so gorgeous in their hands. We have snow, fireworks, sunny days and yes, more shiny instruments. And that was just in the first episode. Seriously, every character looks like they have a solar system in their eyes.

Sound! Euphonium 2

In the past, it’s been criticised for lots of pervy up-skirt camera angles, but we’ve yet to see much of that. It could be possible that this is still to come- hopefully not. To be honest, a studio with this good a reputation shouldn’t have to still rely on fanservice beyond the moeblob art style they’re so known for.

So things are off to a good start. There’s so much to pick apart just from the first episode. KyoAni has appeared to impress us all again. Hopefully they can keep it up and produce a second season to restore the community’s faith in second seasons. Fingers crossed.

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