Who is this man looking outside the window of trains? Why does he exist with the most beautiful eyebrows? What is his reason to exist in this desolate world of lesbians and trumpets?
Tsukamoto Shuichi is an enigma to many Euphonium fans, especially since there is a perceived narrative that Kyoto Animation is pushing the “yuribait” agenda. Heterosexual relationships have lately been on the down. And it does not help that he appears more like a joke character throughout the novels and the anime, with little consequence to any plotlines except a hint at a possible romance with the protagonist Oumae Kumiko.
This is assuming that romance is important in the series anyway. Any possible romantic developments between people don’t make sense in a series mainly about improving and music. Kumiko in the anime does not seem to actually like him at all either.
Take a look at these images for example:
You can see Shuichi in the background, framed between the brown-haired girl and blue-haired girl. Kumiko is right behind him and she wants to talk to Asuka who has not been attending band lately.
And then, Kumiko pushes him away off a cliff to reach her girlfriend.
This isn’t a one-off situation. Kousaka Reina, another Kumiko girlfriend, does not see him as a man because he has no guts to confess to Kumiko. In season 2 episode 10’s trailer, people are upset that Shuichi appeared in this episode; however, that episode has nothing more of him than what is already in the trailer. I am sure I can find more examples, but my memory is failing because he doesn’t exist.
Ayano Takeda has clearly considered him as an important character to put into the series. In the fanbook’s interview, she sees Euphonium something like a shoujo manga. She has paired off characters with each other: Nozomi with Mizore, Asuka and Kaori, and Kumiko and Shuichi.
Kumiko can be brash with her words and sometimes appear rude. She doesn’t censor herself when she’s in the zone. But she can also be moody and nervous. She needs someone to tell her that’s okay and cool her off. That role is Shuichi.
But we know that’s not the case. In the first book/season, you can see Shuichi performing that role without a hitch. However, can we say the same in season 2 (or books 2 and 3)?
He becomes a phantom. Forgotten in the background, pushed around, left alone to ponder about his meaning in life and love for the girl. He may never get a chance in anything.
At least, he can’t peek into Kumiko’s thoughts where the worst has worsened. In season 2’s opening, we are treated to a flashback of Oumae Mamiko playing her trumpet beside a young Kumiko and Shuichi.
The flashback is revisited in episode 10 as Mamiko talks to Shuichi and remembers about the past — except Shuichi doesn’t exist.
Much like how words are defined by usage from other people, humans are defined by the community they hang about. Your personality is shaped by family and friends. We adorn masks based on the context — the societies — we’re in.
But the worst thing to happen is when the love of your life has ignored you. Ignorance is the denial of another person’s existence. Only their essence remains from this painful attack against their souls. And what is worse: this stab into the spirit of men is often done by women who seem blissful of their ignorance.
It pains me to see Shuichi appear in any episode. It reminds me of my own humanity. It reaffirms me the extinction of men’s importance is drawing nearer. There will be no more man in human and woman will be independent of man. We will be calling these people wo from then on. The world is becoming woke after all. Who is not a question anymore.
Woe is us in the future…
Maybe, there is no place for men and existentialism in this world…
Tomorrow, we will look into the existentialism of Colorful. Till then, I hope you men keep on living somehow…