The first episode of the second season of Hibike Euphonium contained everything that I loved about the first season: The beautiful art and animation, the music, the (in my opinion) interesting characters, and the direct continuation of the story that Season 1 ended in the middle of. And it was a double-length episode to boot. I don’t think I could have possibly been happier about it. It was like candy (the magical kind that doesn’t make you nauseous no matter how much of it you eat).
But it wasn’t just the same old same old. Instead of focusing on just the “main” main characters Kumiko and Reina (and to a lesser extent Midori and Hazuki), the first episode of Season 2 also introduced some new characters whose stories really grabbed my attention. I doubt the conflicts relating to the new characters will remain unsolved until the end of the season, but I like them so far, and I hope they’ll remain good. That said, I did have one small issue with the episode: I thought Kumiko sounded way, way too much like an adult. I like the style of the voice acting in that it flows very naturally (people aren’t super expressive all of the time), but this particular thing bothered me. Oh well, fortunately it’s just a minor thing.
Verdict: Great premiere, loved it, bonus points for double-length episode. Picked up without question.
Were it not for the fact that I watched the first episode of Eupho S2 right before the first episode of Yuri on Ice, the latter would by far be my favourite looker, and my favourite premiere of the season. Actually, no, let me rephrase that: Despite the fact that Eupho is airing, Yuri on Ice was still my favourite premiere when it came to both visuals and story. It was unbelievable. It felt like something that comes around only once in 10 years or so, it felt unique, and it felt fantastically executed. After just one episode, Yuri on Ice is already giving Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu a run for its money as my favourite show of 2016 (and best show of 2016, in my opinion).
And on top of it all, it’s a pretty novel show when it comes to its subject. I haven’t seen any other anime about figure skating, and I’m loving this. Come to think of it, Rakugo also had that novelty going for it. Anyway, the only slightly jarring thing about the first episode of Yuri on Ice was the goofy humour. But while I think it didn’t mesh perfectly with the rest of the story, I didn’t think it was bad. In fact, as far as goofiness goes, I think it was rather funny. I’m expecting there will be a lot more of it, though personally I’ll be looking forward to the more serious stuff.
Verdict: What a show (I mean both the anime and the performance in it)! Blew almost everything else away. Can’t wait for the next episode.