Hibike! Euphonium S2 - Episode 3

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The beginning of the discussion scene between Kumiko and Asuka purposely broke the 180 degree rule in order to build tension. The 180 degree rule is designed to maintain the camera on one side of the line of action so that the subjects stay on their side of the frame consistently. This is done for visual continuity, which makes it easier for the audience to follow the scene. The rule is broken when the camera jumps the line and the subjects suddenly switch sides on the next frame.

There are times the rule is broken for either practical or narrative purposes. The scene between Kumiko and Asuka broke it for the latter reason. The characters switching sides multiple times created a subtly disorienting and jarring visual that enhanced the tension of the scene. This disorienting visual also reflected Kumiko’s feeling of unease and nervousness throughout the entire exchange.

180 degree rule broken: Asuka on the left side in the first then switches to the right in the next shot.
The rule was not broken since the extreme close-up acts as a reset but the switch still has a similar effect when in context with the other shots. 
180 degree rule broken: Again Asuka on the left side in the first then switches to the right in the next shot.
The first and third examples above broke the 180 degree rule. In the next shot for both examples the characters are on the different side of the frame. The second example doesn’t technically break the rule since the extreme close up works as a reset. Despite not breaking the rule, it’s cohesive with the other examples and still maintained the uneasy visual.

When Asuka was about to reveal the reason she’s against Nozomi rejoining the band, a dramatic coverage was used to build suspense. As you can see in the shot sequence below, it starts with a wide shot, cuts to close-ups and then cuts to extreme close-ups for the moment of truth.

Shot size progression is a common practice and often happens multiple times within each scene, while using different angles. It can be striking when a single angle is used, just like the example below where it stays as a straight profile shot that just gets tighter and tighter.