Sound! Euphonium – Season 3 Episode 12 Recap & Review

The Last Soloist

Episode 12 of Sound! Euphonium Season 3 begins with Mayu finishing up her audition for Nationals. Meanwhile, Kumiko reflects on Kanade’s words from a prior chapter. She enters the audition room next and gives it her best shot. Then, Michie announces who’ll participate at Nationals. Although Kanade doesn’t get to participate, Michie announces that Kumiko and Mayu will be soloists, leaving everyone confused. 

Michie says the two will compete in one final audition. However, the band will vote on who should be the soloist for the soli part. Later, Kumiko visits Taki and discusses the soloist situation with him. Taki says it was a difficult choice to make and since Kumiko’s the president, he felt the entire band should choose. Kumiko suggests she and Mayu play in different areas to help everyone select who rightfully sounds better. 

Taki compliments Kumiko and shares praise toward the students he guided this year. He accepts Kumiko’s offer and Kumiko departs to the train station. There, Kumiko meets Kousaka. Kumiko asks Kousaka if she’d be upset if Mayu defeated her. Kousaka says she would because Kumiko told her that her musical talent is on par with hers. Kumiko promises to give it her all. 

Kumiko returns home and notices a career survey resting on her desk. Mamiko attached a note to the survey. On it, Mamiko wrote that she’ll stand by Kumiko’s side, no matter what she writes on the survey. Kumiko fills out the survey and hands it to Michie. Michie knew Kumiko would write what she did and tells her to scram. 

Michie promises to send her the documents needed for her choice. Kumiko comments how grown-ups are amazing and Michie says Kumiko will one day say “those kids are amazing.” Later, Kumiko and Mayu head to the audition stage where Kaori and Kousaka had their audition competition in season 1. Taki asks Kumiko and Mayu to practice for their audition. 

Kanade tells Kumiko to do her best because she wants her to get the soli part. Kumiko asks Kanade to listen carefully and choose the musician she feels is best. Later, Michie hands the girls numbered playing cards. She says whoever has the highest number will play first. Michie says she and the others will be setting things up. Once they’re done, the two will play. 

While they wait, Kumiko and Mayu open up to each other about things. Kumiko apologizes to Mayu and reveals she was terrified that a third-year player (Mayu) transferred to her school and was extremely talented. Kumiko understands why Mayu acted the way she did when she transferred here. Mayu held no connection with anyone and Kumiko feels she treated Mayu’s situation poorly. 

Kumiko asks Mayu if she was ever traumatized during an audition. The former unveils that she got into drama during middle school because she was chosen over a higher-year student for a competition. Kumiko says during the pool episode, she felt Mayu was just like her. Mayu tells Kumiko she reminded her of her too. Mayu says Kumiko’s connection with Kousaka is where they differ. 

The former says her buddy quit music because Mayu was chosen for competitions, unlike her friend. Mayu says her friend always felt it was fine that Mayu was chosen over her. Mayu says she only wants to play alongside everyone and doesn’t care about getting gold or the competition itself. Kumiko knows Mayu cares about playing deep down and tells Mayu Kousaka was in a similar situation they are in today. 

Kumiko tells Mayu to give it her best shot. Mayu recalls what Tsubame said to her in the past and wonders if it’s wise for Kumiko to help her opponent. Kumiko says it doesn’t matter because she doesn’t plan to lose. Then, the re-audition process begins. Both euphonium candidates play their respective parts behind a curtain. Kousaka joins them on the left side but is visible to the crowd. 

Once they finish, Taki asks Kumiko and Mayu to reveal themselves. Taki asks the students to vote on who sounded better. After that, Yayoi counts the votes for each candidate and tells Taki the votes tied. Kousaka interrupts Taki and says she didn’t vote yet. Kousaka votes for the first candidate and Taki asks the first candidate to step forward. 

Mayu steps forward, much to everyone’s shock. Kumiko recalls asking Taki what his favorite type of person is. Taki says he values people who are fair to everyone. Taki asks Kumiko what type of grown-up she wants to become. Kumiko tells Taki she’d like to become someone that’s fair too. Kumiko steps forward and encourages everyone not to let this news bother them. 

She wants them to reach gold at Nationals. Mayu cries and smiles at Kumiko. Later, someone tells Kumiko that Kousaka left early. Kanade confronts Kumiko after the event. She’s upset and flustered over the result. Kumiko comforts Kanade and meets with Kousaka at Daikichiyama. Kumiko notices Kousaka sobbing on the steps and Kousaka apologizes to Kumiko. 

Kousaka says she knows she chose rightfully and says that she can tell Kumiko’s and Mayu’s musical sound apart. Kumiko reflects on everything that’s happened so far and performs a gesture Kousaka did to her back in a previous season. Additionally, Kumiko knew Kousaka would choose the best person and reminds her that she’s special. Nonetheless, Kumiko is upset that she lost because she wanted to play by Kousaka’s side at Nationals. 

While the two hold each other’s hands, the episode closes with a shot of the final competition’s building. 

The Episode Review

Heartbroken, conflicted, and speechless are three terms that best describe this chapter of Sound! Euphonium Season 3. This episode was an intense roller coaster from beginning to end. It had turns and twists that even baffled Sound! Euphonium’s source material enthusiasts regarding its closing moments. Although many will write this off as a bad decision and outcome, others will think otherwise. 

Whatever the case may be, this episode left an impact on fans and will be remembered for ages. That aside, this chapter delves into Mayu’s background to decent effect. It goes over what happened between her and her former friend. It’s unfortunate that her friend fled the music scene because Mayu claimed more competition spots over her. It’d be great to see this same individual attend Nationals so she and Mayu can make up. 

Moreover, this chapter had effective callbacks to prior episodes and mirrored the tension felt during one of Season 1’s most memorable duels. Now, audiences will understand what Yuuko went through when Kousaka claimed a spot over Kaori.

Next to its emotional material, this episode’s visual and animation quality was downright gorgeous. Fans will be astounded by the cinematic-level polish with this one. It shows why Kyoto Animation Studios is one of the finest Japanese Animation Studios today.

Overall, this was a wild, unforgettable episode of Sound! Euphonium Season 3. Hopefully, the final chapter can leave audiences with a more joyous outcome though. 

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You can read our Season 3 Review of Sound Euphonium here!
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