This review on Mashiro no Oto contains spoilers. If you haven't seen the chapter we recommend that you do it and then go back to read the review.
Chapter 9: Snow Flurry
Umezono introduces itself, the rookie members are nervous but determined. It begins with Setsu's premature introduction, which joins Rai's cry, accompanying and illuminating some strengths that surpass their weaknesses. Rai's role lit the hearts of the audience, who applauded what they heard and saw. When Setsu showed the sound, it faded and took the audience into another dimension. You stop and surprise. Setsu is attended by the best artists from the other schools while they wait for the results. The top three were known in the auditorium: Umezono, Mai and their friends and Billiken as winners, who knew the answer from Wakana's comments. They won, but now it's all up to Setsu in the individual competition.
Very good chapter, I definitely liked it. First, because the presentation met my expectations very closely; second, because the rivals are developed, they are not just competitors but people with goals; third, because Umezono didn't win. There are other reasons, such as Setsu's leadership, the reappearance of the Idolswhich, among other things, lowered May. As for the sound section, I don't know if it was very good, but it was good enough to be able to enjoy what Setsu and his company have delivered. There were some noises, like Setsu talking to one of Billiken I liked and who lent himself to the occasion. Perhaps the only thing I personally didn't like was when they put a melody into the silence created by Sawamura, although such a sound was pleasant, it didn't help the silence the audience was saying. Anyway, it wasn't serious and the rest was very good.
Anxiety? Panic? Maybe it was mostly what Yui and Maeda felt. The boys were the ones who stood out the most. Kaito, who received an afterthought from Setsu to play the first string louder, which caused it to burst at the beginning. Then we have Rai, who with Nagauta's technique put the audience in a spring-like and lively atmosphere. Finally, Setsu, who portrayed the melancholy of joy in the quiet atmosphere created by her performance. Sawamura's mental congratulations suggest everyone was fine, but I would have seen a moment in particular from Maeda, who in my opinion is the most descending "main character". I don't ask much of Yui because she didn't want to be there, she tried hard, but that doesn't mean she should be the best or very good.
Two key moments for later: the discreet but emotional applause from the audience during Rai's performance; the mystical silence of Setsu. It seems to me that those two moments were key to that "consolation prize".
One of Setsu's natural skills was introduced, a skill that only someone with the due natural talent and passion can master to become a director. By practicing with them for so long, listening to their mistakes, living together and realizing the weaknesses of others, he knew how to hide the bad and present the good. And that's what a director does, right according to the directors' abilities. It is the captain of the ship who gives everyone the role they can best play. This is another strength of the chapter, showing a development of the protagonist that also shows his sincere desire to win. This sawamura display made the performance more enjoyable for both us and the fictional audience.
One of the things I least like in anime when I don't know how to deal with it is seeing how an inexperienced and inexperienced group can get better at life in just two months than others who have been practicing their lives for years have given or have a natural talent ... That there are two to whom it can happen is acceptable, but not all. The three weak elements of Umezono are not good or excellent, they are regular that if they can shine, it is thanks to the talent of the two highest. That was good.
The other thing is that when evaluating someone or a group there must be objective criteria of impartiality in order not to get carried away by emotions (although one of these jurors will certainly be ahead of the charms of the Idols). I will refer to it again I do not use Shigatsu wa kimiWe all know Kaori's presentation was the best, but she didn't finish first because she didn't follow the established rules to be able to judge, while Arima did so and therefore always came first. This is important to understand as it is a qualification, the teamwork, and the guidelines of the tune to be interpreted.
Were the results fair? Yes.
And here comes a comment that can override all or at least a majority of the above. What is more important in music: strictly stick to the rules or evoke emotions? The special award, at least from my point of view, is the true first place, which is why Mai asked herself: Did she really beat Setsu? It is the jury's award for the presentation they liked best and the public liked it too, which is why this applause during the presentation. The silence indicated the importance of the music and transported it to a different environment. They gave emotions, they created it in public and in the jury. It was his risk card from Setsu because a normal presentation wouldn't have placed it that high and it wouldn't have been conspicuous either. Subjectively, they were the ones who got the most attention, but the best?
As I said, a good chapter, I hope that this intensity will be maintained with the individual presentations and that there will be magic like it was in this chapter.