10 things I learned from the Eupho Quartet!!

eupho-radio

Besides my Anime Writing project, another thing that my YOI obsession derailed this year are several Sound! Euphonium posts I’d planned to publish during the fall season. Admittedly, it’s taken me many fits and starts to get this done, largely because of what it involved. Listening to Eupho’s extras in the past year, especially after Aldnoah.Radio, I reaffirmed something for myself: I don’t really like listening to female seiyuu. Sakamoto Maaya, Komatsu Mikako, Paku Romi and Sawashiro Miyuki are amongst the exceptions, because they don’t have those high, cutesy voices. Hence, trying to finish the Eupho radio shows1 and the cast commentaries was a bit of a challenge, especially since I could not always tell these four ladies apart by their voices alone:

  • Kurosawa Tomoyo, aka Tomonium [Kumiko]
  • Anzai Chika, aka Chikapet [Reina]
  • Asai Ayaka, aka Ayachuu [Hazuki]
  • Toyota Moe, aka Moebass [Sapphire]

What can I say? I’ve always been more of a male seiyuu fan, after all… But if there’s one thing I like about listening to the girls, it’s when they start discussing which (male) characters they like, or who’s popular amongst the cast. Why? Because they tend to have a fresh perspective that’s different from most viewers in the West. For example, have a listen to them rave about “our angel, Chikao!” from the 4th episode commentary!

They also bring up Sakurai Takahiro (Taki), Tsuda Kenjirō (Gotō Takuya) and Ishiya Haruki (Tsukamoto Shuuichi) a fair bit. I especially loved the incredibly embarrassing anecdote about what Chikapet did to Sakku XD. But in terms of popularity amongst the four of them, Chikao definitely won hands down.

However, voice actor shenanigans aren’t the only reason I kept listening. I don’t have the time to write all the radio shows and episode commentaries up, but let me enumerate on the 10 other things that I came away with.

eupho-01
Dialogue dialogue dialogue! This was something that the four of them brought up quite often, especially as a means of interpreting how characters relate to each other. Tomonium, for example, was incredibly keen to find out the history behind Kumiko and Shuuichi, because of the incredibly casual way in which they spoke to each other. Yup—what everyone in the West seemed to interpret as “indifference,” Kumiko’s own voice actor saw as an indication of an incredibly close relationship. Relatedly, they taught me to notice changes in register, such as someone going from polite or honorific to casual. When Kumiko and Reina finally started using each others first names, they also switched to casual language, showing that they’d really become friends. (Radio #1)

Speaking of dialogue, the way that Reina speaks is apparently quite strange. Basically, a lot of her sentences are inverted, so she’d say things like “I want to talk with you more, I was thinking” instead of something like “I was thinking that I wanted to talk with you more.” They figured that this was because she doesn’t really interact with people much, so she always starts with the first thing that comes to her mind, rather than putting her thoughts in order before opening her mouth. (MC #6, a slightly longer summary here)

eupho-02
Gotou Takuya and Nagase Riko. This couple are a great example of ‘show, don’t tell’ in terms of relationships. For example, all the seiyuu reacted immediately to the shot of these two going home together at the end of episode 2—basically, they knew at once from that shot that the two tuba-playing seniors were dating. And in the next episode commentary, they point out how they’re just like an old, married couple: she scolds him and then apologises for him! To think that even after Gotou’s “I like the tuba” in episode 4, a number of Western viewers were still seeking confirmation…hm… (Ep. Commentaries 2 and 3)

This was later revealed in interviews and stuff as well, but whilst Kaori’s solo was done by someone from the Freshman Wind Ensemble that plays the band music for the show, Reina’s was performed by a pro! Kaori had to be pretty good as well, but the directors wanted viewers to be able to tell the difference, even with an untrained ear. IIRC, it was mentioned in one of the film’s commentaries that the music was also rerecorded, and that the difference isn’t quite as obvious. (Radio #11)

eupho-09
The girls love their senpai…or rather, their “pai-sen!” I don’t know exactly when it started, but in recent years, it’s become cool to reverse words like that. You might also hear “men-go” instead of “gomen” as an apology (e.g. JJ in YOI episode 10). Anyway, as I was saying, Natsuki is particularly popular (Ep. Commentary 9) though they also mention how all the seiyuu playing the older students read the rest of the novels and filled them in. During S1, the four of them had their hands full with their own characters, so they really appreciated the love that their own “pai-sen” showered on them! (MC #7)

An understanding of the Yuuko-Kaori-Reina conflict from a Japanese perspective. When episodes 10 and 11 first aired, most Western viewers were incredibly critical of the majority of the club, who chose not to vote for either Reina or Kaori. I seem to remember people lambasting them for being afraid of “making the wrong choice” and so on and so forth. But the quartet explained what they’d done in this way: they all knew what had happened the previous year and so wanted to let Kaori have the chance to play the solo, as she should have had. But at the same time, they could clearly hear that Reina was better. So it was less about courage to make a choice and more about it being a choice between the head and the heart. Yuuko, Haruka and Kumiko voted based on what was close to their hearts, and Hazuki because she didn’t understand what had happened the previous year. But for the rest of the club, they simply couldn’t choose. (Radio 11; Ep. Commentaries 10 and 11)

eupho-10
Reina. The way that the quartet see Reina and her interactions with Kumiko differs a lot from the way that many Western viewers seem to see these two elements of the show. The most interesting scene in this regard is the one where Reina tells her new friend of her crush on Taki. Chikapet actually had to stay behind to rerecord that scene in episode 11, because she just couldn’t get it right…until the (sound) director told her “it’s probably the first time in her life that she’s having “girls’ talk” with someone, right?” and it just clicked (Ep. 10 commentary). Chikapet also noted on no-MC Radio #5 that “And I don’t mean like, I mean love” was one of the lines she had to do for the audition for the part.

But if you’re a Kumiko x Reina shipper, you’ll be pleased to know you have an ally! Might not be who you’re expecting, though…because the only one rooting for that ship on the radio show was…the radio show’s writer, Chanko!2 Chikapet was into Taki, Ayachuu into Shuuichi, and Tomonium probably split between Shuuichi and Chikao. Moebass was…more Chikao, I think, but she didn’t really go as crazy as the other three did. (Radio #9)

eupho-07
Speaking of youthful relationships, though, the girls really had fun elaborating on the friendship between Shuuichi and Chikao. I translated it previously, but the way they laid into Shuuichi for “leaving poor Chikao there on the platform with nary a goodbye!” still cracks me up to this day! Still, they absolutely love this duo, to the point that they’ve coined the nickname “Chikaichi” for them! (Film commentary track.)

And finally, remember how I said at the start that I’m first and foremost a fan of male seiyuu? Well, colour me surprised myself, but Tomonium is now the only female seiyuu that I’m following on Twitter. I can’t really explain why, but she’s such a breath of fresh air. Like, her sense of humour, and yet the maturity she carries that let her get along really well with both Sakku and TsudaKen (MC #8, commentaries 6 and 7). The impression I got was that she just treated them like colleagues. They’re many years her senior and thus people she should learn from, of course, but she didn’t let that prevent her from joking around with them both at the studio and when, for example, she happened to run into Sakku in transit something like three days in a row (radio #21). Eupho is already a show that I love from the bottom of my heart…but getting to know Tomonium was definitely one of its highlights for me!

And that’s it for the seiyuu-related stuff, at least, for season 1. Next up: highlights from the staff commentaries!!


  1. There were two shows, one audio-only version broadcast on the Onsen radio station that normally does a lot of anime-related shows, and a video version that was made available on Nico Douga (called “The MC-less Music Gig”), even to fans living overseas. 
  2. Chanko-san is the only radio writer I’ve ever heard named. He writes the famous Dear Girl ~Stories~ radio that is hosted by Kamiya Hiroshi and Ono Daisuke. 

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

3 Responses to 10 things I learned from the Eupho Quartet!!

  1. Frog-kun says:

    Who’s been saying that Kumiko is “indifferent” to Shuichi? It’s pretty obvious that they have a close relationship from how casually they speak to each other, although there’s no indication that Kumiko has romantic feelings for him. That’s probably what people mean if they call her attitude towards him “indifferent”, or at least that’s how I’d interpret it.

    Anyway, great post! I liked all the little insights that the Eupho girls brought to the table, especially in regards to the Yuuko-Kaori-Reina issue.

    Like

    • karice says:

      Thanks! I did enjoy listening to the show and the commentaries, and dearly wish I’d been blogging the radio while S1 had been airing. It was mostly Eupho that made me wish English-language anime journalism did a better job covering how the Japanese were responding to the show, because there are so many little nuances that Western viewers just never picked up upon!

      Re: Kumiko’s “indifference” to Shuuichi

      It’s mostly on a forum I check from time to time, but have largely stopped posting at. Though after picking up the “So indifferent” from the first episode this season, they largely went back to “oh, he’s so irrelevant.”

      Hm…for me personally, the fact that Kumiko hasn’t been able to restore or otherwise deal with her relationship with Shuuichi suggests that she hasn’t actually worked out what kind of relationship she wants it to be. I also think she overreacts a little too much when her friends have brought up the possibility of the two of them being an item… If she were really ‘indifferent’ to him as a possible boyfriend, I think she’d be far more blasé about their teasing. But that’s just me. ^^

      Like

  2. Pingback: Celebrating the Sexiest Female Voice in Anime Today | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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