Hibike! Euphonium - Episode 8
During the festival Kumiko and Kousaka decided to go hiking which lead to a beautifully executed scene of the two characters sharing a moment that cemented their friendship. The most apparent visual aspect of this scene was the strong usage of lighting on Kousaka in comparison to Kumiko. The lighting on Kousaka made her look ethereal and created a sense of reverence that epitomized her desire to be special.
Another visual aspect in this scene that was not as conspicuous as the lighting was the meaningful use of the city lights backdrop. It was used to both differentiate the characters and connect them towards the end of the scene.
The city lights backdrop were used for Kousaka’s solo shots, while Kumiko’s were set against a dull background. This contrast in vibrancy formed a perception of differing personalities between the two. The colorful city lights reinforced Kousaka’s ambitiousness. The bland background complemented Kumiko’s understated and reserved nature.
As the scene progressed Kousaka pointed out the similarity that they share, which is their indifference towards conformity. Kumiko attended a high school away from her former classmates in order to have a new start. While Kousaka decided not to join a school with a more relevant music club in order to shine on her own. Coming to this mutual understanding established the bond between the two. This moment of burgeoning friendship was wonderfully captured with a wide shot of Kumiko and Kousaka finally sharing the vibrant city lights together. The city lights were once used to differentiate the two but in a single shot it became an imagery of their connection.
One minor nitpick is the composition of the shot above. I understand the intention behind it. The juxtaposition of Kousaka against the two stars shining in a seemingly cloudy night symbolizes her drive to stand out and shine amongst the crowd. It’s just that the large negative space with her head at the edge of the bottom of the frame is aesthetically off-putting. It created a floating head effect as if she’s been decapitated by the frame.
A look back at Episode 7
The scene that really stood out was the one where Aoi decided to quit the music club right in the middle of rehearsal. In the beginning of the scene she was shot inconspicuously, really she was almost unnoticeable. By doing this it made her decision to quit less telegraphed, which helped maintain tension and drama.
In the first shot above, Aoi is in the foreground but way off center, blurred and half cut-out by the left edge of the frame. Also in this shot Noboru, the music teacher, was the one moving the most and naturally that would draw the attention away from Aoi. It then cut to the second shot. It’s a wide shot where she’s at right edge of the frame and again hardly noticeable.
The blending in of Aoi amongst the crowd made the scene less straightforward. Her inconspicuousness also helped make the moment when she was finally singled out (shot above) more impactful. The suddenness of the shift of emphasis on her was a nice dramatic touch.