As I mentioned in my last review, the ensemble competition begins with episode five, so a big highlight of the series takes place rather early on. The preceding exposition was very effective, though, so the series is not too rushed. Rather, it is moving at an extremely interest-maintaining pace. The drama of the competition is inevitable, but it is even more heightened when Seisou is paired in the first round against a school whose only hope of saving its music club is winning the competition. Kanade in particular has a hard time focusing because she is paralyzed by the pressure of competing against a group under such circumstances—they will certainly give it more than a group’s standard best.
After some additional plot twists (that I will not spoil), Kanade’s and Kyoya’s mental obstacles are forced into the open. This further heightens their character depth, which I so praised before.
The first round of the competition is really intense, and the animation in these episodes is especially beautiful. Although episodes six and seven precede the semifinal round of the ensemble competition, which I believe will begin in episode eight, they are still full of heightened drama and serve to further define Kanade and Kyoya. Overall, these episodes have really made me anticipate the next ones, and such engagement always marks a series as good, at the very least.
Occasionally, the melodrama in this anime gets to be a little much for me, but ultimately, the series is very good. Even though it is modern, it also somehow has the feel of an older anime—perhaps because it is part of an older series. I like that aspect, because I think we all yearn for a little bit of the oldies from time to time.