Kumiko Oumae (黄前 久美子 Ōmae Kumiko ) is the main protagonist of the Hibike! Euphonium series. She is a freshman euphonium player who enrolls at Kitauji High School with the original intent of avoiding the concert band, but is coincidentally roped into joining along with her new friends, Sapphire a.k.a. Midori and Hazuki. Throughout the series she begins to change her mind about the idea of starting anew.
Kumiko is a young teenage girl with an average height and build. She has fluffy, curly light brown hair which is shoulder length, amber eyes and fair skin. In scenes of Kumiko in junior high, she has her hair tied into a ponytail. Her hair is unique compared to other characters making her stand out as the main character. Kumiko is usually depicted in a normal Kitauji High School uniform for first-year female students.
Within the story of Hibike! Euphonium, Kumiko is an ordinary girl to which interesting things happen. She is surrounded by characters that drive or instigate dramatic situations. Although she occasionally has a hand in the events around her, Kumiko mostly plays the role of a bystander, witnessing enough situations and exchanges that she always receives both sides of a story. As a willing and nonjudgmental listener, she easily befriends everyone she meets and accepts both their flaws and strengths. Due to this nature of Kumiko as a narrator, Hibike! Euphonium has no main antagonist. However, Kumiko dislikes her own personality because she knows she is a poor communicator who has difficulty making her wishes known to others, and so often listens instead of speaks.
Kumiko is mostly friendly and polite, but she can be awkward and blunt sometimes due to her quirky habit of accidentally blurting out the first thing on her mind without restraint or tact. This lack of a filter is part her impulsive streak, a trait which also led her to enroll at Kitauji for a reason as trivial as its' uniform design, and also to accidentally ask Reina Kousaka to attend the Agata Festival with her. She also has a habit of dwelling on past situations to the point of obsessing over them in her head, such as her awkward encounter with Reina prior to entering high school.
Kumiko speaks standard Japanese, which is rare in Kansai. Her school bag is plain, and it seems that she is not interested in anything "over-the-top". She is an indoors type of person and she does not get along with sports-oriented people, except for Hazuki. In addition, Kumiko sometimes compares herself to others too frequently. This is why she often puts up a "good-girl" face, but in reality, she is actually really distant.
Over the course of the series, Kumiko grows more and more passionate about music and life in general, training hard to play the euphonium flawlessly as she finds the motivation and strength to become a better musician and better person.
BackgroundKumiko's older sister, Mamiko, is one of the reasons behind Kumiko's interest in playing low brass instruments. Kumiko has been a well-experienced euphonium player since middle school, and was a member of the Daikichiyama Middle School Band, which was able to secure a gold award in the prefectural (first round) tournaments. However, the band was unable to qualify for the national-level tournament. The results of the competition created a rift between her and Reina. Since then, the confrontation during the end of the prefectural tournament continues to haunt her as she tries to create a fresh start for herself in Kitauji High School.
On her first day in Kitauji High School, Kumiko learns of the school's own concert band and comments on its dismal quality. Meanwhile, she meets new friends in her class, namely Hazuki Katou and Sapphire Kawashima, the latter revealing her music background and her interest in joining the school band. Many things prevent Kumiko from joining, including her experience in the middle school prefectural tournament, and the fact that Reina herself, who also enrolled in Kitauji High School, has just revealed her interest in joining the school band. Eventually, after much thought and seeing the eagerness of both Hazuki and Sapphire in joining the band, Kumiko decides to join as well, but not until she could resolve her past with Reina.
- It was shown at least twice that Kumiko does play bass clef for her sheet music. It was also shown in the key of Bb Major.
- She likes novels which contain extreme matter that contrasts to her character.
- Kumiko (久美子) means "long time", "beauty" and/or "child".
- Kumiko is shown to have developed a closer relationship with Reina after rising into the same high school.
- She used to be on good terms with Shuuichi since they grew up together. Their relationship turned worse when he offended her by calling her "an ugly girl". Nevertheless, as seen in the novel finale they restored their good relationship again.
- She lives on the south bank of Uji River, near Byoudouin Temple and Agata Shrine.
- Kumiko is very insecure about her below-average chest size. She tends to compare herself frequently during the series the books and the novels.