The wait for dem subs was a long one but at long last we are here to talk about a very interesting movie starring a highlight duo from the second season of the following series. I will say this right now. This movie is mainly about their relationship. I will elaborate as we take a look at the Hibike! Euphonium movie: Liz to Aoi Tori/Liz and the Blue Bird. Starring Mizore and Nozomi.
Note: While not necessary it is recommended to watch the first two seasons or their recap movies to better understand this one. Check out my reviews of both seasons HERE.
Alternate Title: Liz and the Blue Bird (EN)
Genres: Drama, School, Yuri
Themes: Band Club, Brass Band
Length: 90 Minutes
G-Rating: 9/10 (Will require repeated viewings to potentially agree with this rating). Otherwise 8/10
Plot Summary: Mizore Yoroizuka and Nozomi Kasaki are a pair of best friends in their final year of high school. They’re both obsessed with the school’s brass band club. With Mizore on the oboe and Nozomi on the flute, they spend their days in happiness–until the club begins to practice songs inspired by the fairy tale Liz und ein Blauer Vogel (Liz and the Blue Bird). Immersed in this story, Mizore and Nozomi begin to realize that there may be no such thing as being together forever.
The first and most important thing readers must know about this movie is its pacing. Like Mizore it takes its time giving everyone enough to take in the beautiful scenery because…this is a Kyoto Animation movie we are talking about so expect the presentation to be excellent.
As I mentioned in the description of the Mizore pic the movie mainly follows her. It is not up till the second half where Nozomi starts getting more screen time. Because of this for most of the movie viewers experience how Mizore is feeling. That is the one of the biggest reasons I recommend checking out the anime/recap movies, especially the second season/recap as they debuted there, before this movie. Contrary to Blue Bird season two mainly followed Nozomi whenever their subplot was brought up, meaning to get the full experience viewers are recommended to check out the whole thing, even season one (Two is better but one is also quite enjoyable). The movie is set during the second season so there are several moments and scene brought up from that period in time so viewers who did not see it may feel lost at some points. Not entirely but it could happen. That or be encouraged to check out what they were referring to after finishing the movie.
So what is the story about exactly? First of all it is a continuation of their dilemma from season two, that being them having difficulties saying what they really want to say to each other. Despite the two resolving things at that point in time it eventually became clear that there were still things left unsaid and with the two graduating soon time was running out. Nozomi is an upbeat girl who is friendly to everyone but there was always a sense of her not always being honest. She was cool yet cold without showing it. Mizore on the other hand is as socially awkward and timid as she was in her debut. So much so at times she seemed to react slowly, leading me to see them as a “tortoise and hare” duo. She was always soft spoken, having a distant gaze on her face and lost in thought. We will get back to our heroines in a bit. Let us briefly talk about everyone else in the movie.
Our delightful bickering duo of Natsuki and Yuuko were the most important side-characters who once again helped and supported their respective childhood classmate. When not doing that they were doing their usual “NibuDeko lite” sweetness. Not to give anything away but at one point we were given a small hope that maybe one day…Just maybe…We will have to see if this is followed up on in the next big Euphonium movie.
Other favorites from the main series also appeared, including the lead duo themselves. One of whom had an important moment of her own. Other familiar faces either had a few lines of dialogue before disappearing into the background or had a “blink and you missed it” cameo. There is one newcomer who had some interesting interactions with Mizore. I liked her.
As shown in the main movie poster there was another important duo, Liz (brunette) and the blue haired girl whose identity is not meant to be a big surprise. The reason their story is important is because of how closely it is tied to Mizore and Nozomi’s. HOWEVER, it is not as simple as (Oh! She reminds me of myself.). There is much more to this fairy tale than intertwining it with the main plot. Let us go back to the presentation. As I said above it is a Kyoto Animation movie so it is no surprise that the presentation is superb. Personally the most visually appealing scenes, unsurprisingly, were the ones with Liz and her blue “friend” (Quotations have an ulterior reason behind them). I have not talked about it yet but like in season two the music was secondary to the main plot. Even so it remains as joygasmic as it has been since the series first aired. The movie has another excellent mega performance near the climax but my favorite tune was the one that played at the beginning when Mizore first appeared. The way it started and ended were perfect. It starts around 3:10 after Mizore’s soon to be nemesis passes her by.
Ah yes. Before we get to the main event there is one more important detail I must point out. Remember when I said the movie was slow paced? It is also full of symbolic messages with deeper meanings behind them. Basically I imagine most viewers may need to watch this movie more than once to get the big picture.
Now on to the main event. The following is something viewers do not need any deep analytical video or essay long analysis explaining it. The REAL story this movie is trying to tell…is Mizore having romantic feelings for Nozomi and trying to make sense of it all in her own way. What about Nozomi? Again viewers may be required to watch season two to get a better idea of her mindset and approach to things. We are not left in the dark on how she feels but some viewers felt like they did not get enough of Nozomi’s viewpoints up until the second half to fully understand her side of the story. As for the conclusion…it is worth the wait. I will say that much. How I felt about it? One expression: GRRRRRRrrrreeeeeeeoooOOOD.
Overall Liz and the Blue Bird is a visually stunning with excellent presentation and a story that rewards the patient. The movie is not Ikuhara level deep but there are instances of deep symbolism or viewings of the anime/recap movies to better understand some things. Mizore is wonderfully adorable, Nozomi is a nice knucklehead, Natsuki and Yuuko still rule, it is nice seeing familiar faces again in preparation for the next big movie and THE REAL STORY is worth the time of Euphonium fans from these neck of the woods, specifically ones who are not salty about “you know what”.
Speaking of “you know what”, still have my fingers crossed that against all odds they do the right in the next big Euphonium movie…and it ain’t KumiRei.