I’ve never been keen to the idea of creating, whether it be writing, art, or, music. Honestly, I’ve more or less always liked the idea of being a creator,but I’ve never put forth much effort to bring my ideas, or thoughts into fruition. This isn’t to say I’ve never tried making anything before; back in high school I was really invested in creating forum signatures and banners and writing. After seeing high quality tags all over a Diablo 2 trading forum I’d frequent, d2jsp, I felt an urge to pick it up. Spending hours to days, I read thumbnailed threads in the graphics sub-forum while simultaneously trying to make my own signatures. However, I would post occasionally despite having a lot of positive feedback, people willing to offer criticism and pointers. I was always left feeling unimpressed with my product, despite knowing I truly put in my best into it, spending several sleepless days on a single signature/drawing/analytical post, etc. Within the same time frame, I had joined the creative writing club at my school, which honestly sort of put the nail in the coffin for my creativity. Though I’d write a lot of poems and satirical pieces that did have a comedic style embedded in it (helping me find my voice as a writer), the trade-off was making me realize how inadequate of a writer I was at the time; having really lack-luster grammar and never really being able to understand how to incorporate world-building well enough to make a convincing short story/ comedy piece diswayed me as a writer and left me uninspired. I felt like I was more or less just the same as all the other writers in the club, making poems about petty emotions and propaganda pieces. It put me into a self-deprecating mindset that lead to me carrying the thought that I just wasn’t cut-out to be a creator ever since those early high school days. Consequently, I ceased my artistic endeavors and opted to take on a purely consumer role despite my latent desires as I couldn’t ever really find a way to cope with the frustration I felt from not being able to detect any sense of uniqueness, or personality from my art. However, recently, I have felt inspired to give it another try due to overwhelming support of my pushy friend Swerve and after seeing the passion-filled shows by Kyoto Animation and Trigger, especially the beautifully crafted, emotional coaster that is Hibike Euphonium!!
Hibike is a show that resonates with me on several different levels. It follows the protagonist’s journey of self-discovery as she slowly comes to understand other’s passion for music as well as coming to grips with herself as a musician through her interactions with her bandmates. I see myself in Kumiko’s struggle as it parallels my current struggle to find a creative voice. I already have some experience in exploring new mediums and avenues; besides writing, I made a recent decision to pick up the trumpet as a direct inspiration from seeing Kyoani’s depiction of a high school concert band. Seeing the development of the band’s sound throughout the series being mirrored within the development of the members attracted me to the idea of joining such a group, which again Kyoani has done spectacularly well and has even improved on since K-ON!. The show put the subject matter of music on a different stage and using it to its advantage to further develop the setting and characters that inhabit the show. The development of Kumiko’s relationships, I find, is akin to mine as within the first episode of Hibike an outraged Reina forces Kumiko to question her relationship with music by asking her “Why aren’t you upset?/ How are is everyone so happy when we didn’t even make it to Nationals?” in reaction to Kumiko’s own question of “Did you really think we would make it to Nationals?” after receiving “dud gold” in their last middle school competition. This scene sets up the stage for the rest of the show as Kumiko re-contextualizes her role as a musician, finding inspiration through observing her passion-filled friends and finding her place as a member of the band. Similarly, I feel as if I need to find new purpose as a creator and invest more time into refining my talents through rediscovering the passion I once had.