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.
Kumiko 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.