More time at Nishigafuchi leads to some interesting personal connections in Chapter 16 of Hashikko Ensemble.
The Hashimoto Chorus Appreciation Society continues their joint-practice session at the prestigious Nishigafuchi High School, and they’re making quite an impression.
Mimi-sensei is getting conducting advice. Shinji learns the personalities of all the Nishigafuchi part leaders (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) from a first-year tenor named Andou who wishes he could sing bass. Jin is enthusiastically giving the other students voice lessons and even tips for pronouncing German. Kousei is scaring everyone away, especially because he refuses to sing anything he doesn’t want, but also surprises everyone when he jumps at the chance to sing some Brahms. Akira talks to Sadamoto, the guy from his old school who recognized him, but it seems that despite Akira’s worries, Sadamoto holds no animosity towards him.
However, Sadamoto makes a rather cryptic statement in reference to their past singing together: “We still won even though you didn’t sing, so that turned out well. But sometimes I think, even if we all sang and couldn’t win, that would’ve been good too.”
Jin’s brief lesson on German is that while things like umlauts and diphthongs matter, ultimately good German pronunciation comes down to position of the tongue and shape of the mouth. I figure that applies to a lot of languages, but it’s interesting to note what Jin would concentrate on first, as well as what he assumes is already common knowledge. The response from the other students is basically “We don’t follow.”
What Happened to Akira’s Voice
We know that Akira’s voice got hit by a lightning bolt of puberty back in middle school, but based on his exchange with Sadamoto, I have some conjecture. To me, it seems like in whatever competition they were a part of, Akira decided to lip sync because his voice had changed so much as to 1) be embarrassing 2) shift him out of whatever range he was supposed to sing. It’s even possible he went from soprano or alto to bass, based on what Himari has said about Akira’s childhood voice.
As for Sadamoto’s words, not only does it seem like he holds no grudge against Akira, but it even looks like he has some regret over Akira feeling the need to pretend to sing. I’m curious as to how this will develop.
The Nishigafuchi Elite Four
Andou basically fanboys over the Nishigafuchi club leaders, and it’s cute to see. He lays out their personalities as follows.
Shindou Yui: Soprano leader, has a gentle smile but a sadistic personality
Hisamura Nozomi: Alto leader, appears harsh but is actually kind and gentle
Honma Tadashi: Bass leader, started off as a regular member but rose to the top through practice and effort
Kouno: The sub-leader of the tenors, who isn’t important (according to Andou) because of…
Saiga: Tenor leader, a fop who’s prone to giving up easily
We were briefly introduced to most of them last chapter, with Saiga being the big exception. Was saving his appearance for this chapter just to make his eccentric personality stand out that much more, or is he going to be a more prominent character compared to the others? Either way, I like that these characters are getting established, though I do think the quick summaries provided by Andou are very different from how Hashikko Ensemble has been introducing its characters thus far. Up to now, they’ve mostly been more “show” than “tell.”
I also find it quite interesting that they’re being treated like idols or manga-style “popular students,” but they actually look quite normal—even Saiga. Compared to making them suddenly larger than life, it keeps the series grounded and humble, even though it can get fairly absurd.
While it’s mostly Andou talking about this, I did feel that the chapter spent more time on Shinji than normal, and his role as the straight-man among a cavalcade of eccentrics is getting more firmly established. I also wonder how Andou, who thinks Akira is a kindred spirit, is actually the naturally strong bass singer that Andou wishes he was.
The song Nishigafuchi is performing at the beginning of the chapter is “Hitotsu no Asa” (A Single Morning), composed by Hirayoshi Takekuni with lyrics by Kataoka Teru.
The song that Orimura really wants to sing is Johannes Brahms’s “O Heiland, reiß die Himmel auf, Op. 74, No. 2.”
Lastly, the song Shion is playing on piano is “Chopin Nocturne – No 5 in F Sharp Major Op. 15-2.”
This has nothing to do with the ongoing story, but I wish fanart of this series existed. I know the characters don’t have the most iconic appearances, but I think they’re worthy of some love