My Hot Take on Kumiko x Reina

I like lesbians. However, even though I like lesbians, I did not watch Eupho while it was airing. In fact, I marathoned it yesterday just in time for today’s post. Therefore, this post is literally my hot take, fresh out of the oven.

hibike_euphonium_08_4Kumiko x Reina is a good ship. It’s pretty obvious that they’re flirting with each other. However, even though I had my yuri goggles firmly strapped on since day one, I must confess that I did not care about Kumiko and Reina until episode 8. They barely interacted, and whenever they did come into contact with each other, Kumiko was just awkward the whole time, so it was kind of lame.

Episode 8 itself was really good but most importantly Kumiko and Reina kept flirting with each other afterwards. Their flirting was so obvious it reached “GET A ROOM” levels. So I’m not sure I ship them, actually, since they clearly don’t need my support.

That said, although I like lesbians, I must admit that the “schoolgirl lesbian” trope doesn’t generally do it for me since such stories seem to imply that homosexual attraction is just something that a young girl eventually grows out of. Kumiko x Reina did not really give me that vibe, though, possibly because the anime shows the two girls interacting with male characters, instead of just pretending that the girls are ~PURE~ and completely oblivious to the existence of the opposite sex.

Some people have expressed disappointment and anger that the Kumiko x Reina pairing only remains as (very strong) subtext. Kumiko x Reina attracted a lot of commentary because it seemed like it would cross the line, but it never did and probably never will. However, this never bothered me, as I have never found debates around which ships should be considered “canon” particularly interesting. Questions like “Are they gay or not?” are not interesting to me either. The most important thing for me is that the interactions are compelling and interesting, which they are in this case.

The other thing to take into account is that Eupho is an ensemble story. Kumiko and Reina might be the main characters, but Eupho is really a story about the concert band as a whole. So when Kumiko and Reina talk about love and passion and becoming special, they’re not just talking about themselves and how they see each other. They’re talking about how they see the world.


And you know what else I would call a good ship? Kaori x Yuuko, Asuka x Haruka – heck, even Shuichi x Kumiko. All of them reflect facets of the same theme: finding yourself and wanting to make every moment count. Yuuko idolises Kaori because she sees in the older girl all the dedication and passion she wishes to experience for herself. Haruka yearns to be a club president who can truly make a difference, and she sees qualities in Asuka that she feels she does not possess. Shuichi and Kumiko relate to each other’s frustrations about not being better musicians. All of these relationships and deep yearnings are entangled, and together they create the sound of the concert band.

Sound! Euphonium is full of good ships and endearing relationships. Kumiko x Reina is just one good ship in a great show.


  1. Admittedly I don’t ship characters that often, but it’s nice to see someone else who doesn’t care if a ship is considered canon or not. Then again often I don’t even care if my ship is even a romantic pairing. Sometimes I just ship characters for the non-romantic relationships they have with each other as friends or whatever. Either that or I ship characters with minimal interactions with each other just because I think they would be cool together. (So with either of those scenarios its easy to see why it doesn’t matter to me if a ship is officially recognised.)

  2. What the fuck Frog? You make a Euphonium shipping post and don’t even mention the ultimate ship of Hazuki X Tuba-kun.

  3. After the silly “I’ll be sooo disappointed if they don’t get together!” sentiment that seemed to dominate whilst the show was airing, t’was really refreshing to read your take on this. And I generally agree (though I probably see just a touch less ‘flirting’ in their behaviour than you do). ^^

    • Heh, I might’ve been exaggerating a bit in my post, but lines like “This is a declaration of love!” come off as so blatantly suggestive it’s kind of hilarious.

  4. I have to admit I was more impressed by Kumiko’s character development over the course of the series than the various shipping issues.

    And focusing on the shipping, especially in episode 8, distracts from the comedy of Kumiko’s genre savvy panic on realizing that she’s being set up as part of a romantic triangle (that she wants no part of). ;)

    • Hey, I said from the outset that this would be 12 days of shipping, so what did you expect me to focus on? :P

      The part where Kumiko freaks out about being in a love triangle was definitely amusing, though. And yes, there was some great character development, not just for Kumiko but for everybody.

    • I liked it for the ensemble aspect too! I mentioned that in the post, but I guess it doesn’t come across clearly enough?

      Natsuki’s a good character, but I don’t really have a favourite myself.

      • I wouldn’t say it didn’t come across clearly…it’s more likely due to my tendency to miss details during my first read-throughs, because my second read-through made it as clear as the water springs of…ah…Asgard, there we go!

        ANYWAY, I, for one, didn’t jump onto the shipping bandwagon, but after episode 8 my brain immediately suspected a Tumblr in overdrive. That made me positive about the viewer numbers for a show I love, but I also worried about the loss of regard for why I watched the show in the first place: to relive my ensemble days.

        • Having been in an ensemble too, I can say that Euphonium definitely got a lot of details right. It was nostalgia overdrive!

          I watched the show in one go, so I didn’t participate in the weekly discussions, but episode 8 still stuck out like a sore thumb. It was completely different in tone and style from the episodes that had come before. It was really well done, though.

  5. This is unrelated to the shipping aspect and more about the show itself. It’s a really good show and is great to marathon (being completely honest I started watching this show a couple hours ago and just finished episode 8) However I sort of feel sorry for it because it came out I think right after Your Lie in April finished. After finishing that and seeing a new music anime show up on the charts must have gotten a few people thinking “Oh, it’s probably no where near as good as Your Lie in April” which is sort of a shame. Though they are both music anime, they are two completely different stories with their own set of perks that make them what they are. However I must admit that I did look the other way when Eupho came out. I just think it had bad timing when it came out.

    • For what it’s worth, I enjoyed Eupho a whole lot more than Your Lie in April. In fact, the comparison never came to mind at all to me. They’re as different as chalk and cheese in every respect except for the fact that they have a music theme. It’s like saying Samurai Champloo and Haruhi Suzumiya must be alike because they both have a baseball episode.

      But maybe a few people did skip out on Eupho, assuming that it would be like Your Lie in April. Who knows? I’d say it was more likely that people made assumptions that it would be a K-ON! clone based on the studio and the music theme.

      • You can never judge a book by its cover, an anime by its art, or a girl by her boobs (unless you’re Issei Hyodo). Yet we all do it and I certainly did for this one. But I really love it and now I can’t wait for the movie they are making next year.

        Also, beside Kumiko and Riena, my favorite ship is Gato X Rika even though they are a couple in the show. C’mon we all knew they were going to get together at the beginning.

  6. Wait I spell his name wrong, I meant Goto and Riko. Goes to show that I only started watching this a few hours ago

  7. Definitely the ship of the year. Also I’m actually surprised I can agree with you, considering I don’t know you’re a yuri guy too up until I saw this post.

    I honestly don’t really mind the (very strong) subtext all that much. There are hints prior to episode 8 but I do agree that it’s only at episode 8 where this ship only really started to sail. I mean, as far as yuri goes, even the strong subtext already set itself different from a lot of it’s peers.

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