Sound! Euphonium – Season 3 Episode 13 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Connecting Melodies

Episode 13 of Sound! Euphonium Season 3 starts with a flashback that’s set five days before our group attends the National Competition (Nationals). In it, Michie informs the students that the staff planted a cherry blossom tree to celebrate our characters’ graduation. She says it’ll blossom once Kumiko and her third-year classmates become proper members of society. 

What happens between Kumiko and her friends before they attend Nationals?

After that, Mayu and Tsubame greet Kumiko and her friends. The two want to take a picture of them for the grad committee. Eventually, we arrive at a flashback set seven days before this event occurred. In it, Mayu greets Kumiko. Kumiko’s playing the song Asuka lent her near Season 2’s finale. Mayu likes the song. Kumiko asks Mayu if she’d like to play the song alongside her. 

Mayu accepts. Before the two play the song, Kanade arrives and asks Kumiko if she can join them. Kumiko recalls Asuka’s remarks about wanting her to pass this song down to later generations. Kumiko allows Kanade to play the piece with her and Mayu. Then, we enter another flashback dating two days before this event. In it, Kumiko and Kousaka practice the soli part. 

Next, Kousaka shares more details about her American music school plans. Kousaka tells Kumiko she’ll be studying under her father’s acquaintance and that she wants to become a great performer like her father. Kousaka says she plans to confess to Taki when she becomes a great performer. Kumiko teases Kousaka about Taki becoming an old man since it may take a while for Kousaka to accomplish her music-oriented goal.

Then, we enter a flashback set a day before Nationals. Midori laments how she can’t wait to give it her all at Nationals. Hazuki agrees and gets everyone pumped for the event.

What happens when our group arrives at Nationals? What happens during Kitauji High School’s performance at Nationals?

Competition day arrives. Kaori and Haruka greet Kumiko. Haruka hopes Kumiko can lead Kitauji High School to victory since Haruka failed to do so during her presidency. Then, Kaho presents Kumiko with a photo featuring Kumiko, Kaho, Kanade, and Mayu. Kumiko’s and Motomu’s groups reflect on how this is the last time they’ll perform together. 

Then, some groups perform a “skinship training” ritual to elevate each other’s confidence for this performance. Taki leads everyone to the rehearsal room. Kumiko and Kousaka share an encouraging speech with everyone present in the room. Both girls hope everyone will give it their all to get Kitauji High School the gold at Nationals. 

Then, Taki and the others arrive on stage and begin playing their piece. Simultaneously, Yuuko and Natsuki arrive at Nationals but the auditorium security guard prevents them from entering since they arrived late. Yuuko and Natsuki pray outside the auditorium. Then, we return to watching Kitauji High School’s performance. We receive flashbacks of the main cast’s past musical experiences during their performance.

Eventually, Taki leads his students toward the song’s finisher and the crowd claps to praise everyone. 

What happens after Kitauji High School’s performance at Nationals? Do they win gold at Nationals?

Eventually, a proctor announces the ranks for each school that competed in Nationals. While he’s doing that, Kumiko reflects on everything that’s happened to her since she joined Kitauji High School’s Concert Band. Kumiko says despite all the pain and joy she endured at this school, she won’t have regrets about any of it. 

The proctor announces that Kitauji High School earned gold at Nationals. Everyone from Taki to Kumiko starts crying tears of joy. We also see Yuuko and Natsuki in the audience. The proctor takes a photo of Kumiko and Shuuichi holding a trophy and a pamphlet. 

How does Sound! Euphonium Season 3 end?

We receive a scene highlighting what Kitauji High School did after they won gold at Nationals. After that, we receive two group photos. One features our cast first outing at Nationals while the other showcases their victory. Then, we flash-forward in time. The principal greets Michie and asks her questions regarding Kitauji’s new students. 

Michie tells the principal the new students are thrilled. Then, we cut away to an older Kumiko. She says a few years have passed since Nationals. Kumiko says Kousaka’s still pursuing music in America and Hazuki and Midori are working at undisclosed locations. Nonetheless, Kumiko’s excited to help her students get the gold at Nationals. 

Kumiko introduces herself as Kitauji High School’s new assistant advisor. The season ends with her welcoming the new students to Kitauji High School’s band. 

The Episode Review

It’s been a long time coming but it seems Kumiko’s tale ends here. What a way to conclude. While Kumiko didn’t get a chance to play the soli part at Nationals with Kousaka, Kumiko achieved the next best thing. Kumiko got a staff role at Kitauji High School. This makes perfect sense given what fans know of Kumiko’s character (as of this writing).  

Additionally, this episode gave fans a phenomenal orchestral performance, brimming with tension and heartfelt imagery. Some may not adore the callbacks to prior entries since they intervene with the performance. Yet, others will argue these past scenarios elevated Kitauji High School’s desperation to win gold at Nationals.

Also, this episode slightly touches upon Kumiko, Shuuichi, and Kanade’s grievances with the soli part fiasco. It aims for a show-and-not-tell approach. During the soli part, Kumiko, Shuuichi, and Kanade don’t react brightly toward Mayu playing alongside Kousaka. While the showrunners could’ve explored that subject more, it’s great that they addressed it. 

Lastly, this episode offers fans a nice take on the “passing of the torch” concept. Kumiko passing on Asuka’s “Sound! Euphonium” piece to Kanade and Mayu is a great example. These small and precious details will make viewers cry and smile. 

All in all, Kyoto Animation Studios brought their A-game this season. Although this episode has minor shortcomings, it was a wonderful way to close off this music-centric story.  

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