Yuuko Yoshikawa (吉川 優子 Yoshikawa Yūko) is a character in the Sound! Euphonium series. She is a second-year student who plays the trumpet.
Yuuko is a teenage girl, who looks younger than she actually is, with shoulder-length dirty-blond hair that has evenly cut square bangs, light-bluish-green eyes, and a pale-yellow bow headband.
She wears the standard Kitauji High School uniform.
Yuuko is a nice, friendly and cheerful person who is also shown to have confidence, determination and a strong personality. She can openly and confidently show others what she is thinking through her actions, her facial expression, and her words.
However, Yuuko is also an emotional person, as she can easily get annoyed or angered when something didn't go in the way she wants it to. Yuuko does acknowledge these flaws of hers and tries to improve herself, and gets over her own pride for the success of the band.
By nature, Yuuko will put great importance in the people she cares about, willing to do anything she can to ensure their happiness and well-being. Sometimes, this leads her to make some mistakes, but other times it elicits very noble actions from her. Conversely, Yuuko behaves acerbically towards individuals she dislikes or someone she perceives as a threat to her cherished friends.
Yuuko is introduced as a second-year trumpet player who shows a great amount of admiration for Kaori Nakaseko (Yuuko's section senior), as she pounces on every possible opportunity to walk home with Kaori. Also, Yuuko is shown to dislike Reina Kousaka from as early on as when Reina plays her trumpet for the first time, probably due to the fact that Reina can play better than Kaori.
At the Sunrise Festival, Yuuko (along with most of the band members) feels nervous after she witnesses Rikka High School's performance. Kaori Nakaseko sees this and tells her to take a deep breath. When Reina suddenly blows her trumpet as an attempt to calm everyone down, Yuuko tells Reina that they are not allowed to make noise while waiting for their turn. Reina apologizes and brushes her hair in response. When Kitauji High School Concert Band's turn comes, Yuuko and other band members perform what they have been practicing, and manage to surprise the spectators.
Everyone is preparing for the upcoming audition to select members for the competition team; one day, after the practice ends, Yuuko asks Kaori Nakaseko to go home with her, but before Kaori can answer they hear Reina Kousaka play the trumpet solo part of Crescent Moon Dance. Yuuko talks to Kaori about why Reina would practice that part when the band already has Kaori for the solo, but Kaori tells her that it's okay, since there is no rule that prevents the first-years from practicing that part, and asks Yuuko whether she has been bullying Reina. Yuuko denies it, and tells Reina to clean up since practice is over. Later, Yuuko is shown to have a little fight with Natsuki Nakagawa on her way out of the room. Seeing this, Riko explains to Kumiko Oumae that Natsuki and Yuuko don't really get along.
On the festival day, when the practice ends, Yuuko tries to invite Mizore Yoroizuka to go to the festival with her, but Mizore declines her offer, so Yuuko ends up going to the festival with Natsuki Nakagawa and Tomoe Kabe instead.
Yuuko hears the rumor about Noboru Taki knowing Reina Kousaka long before she enrolled at Kitauji High School Concert Band. It means that Taki-sensei might be biased toward Reina, which would explain why Kaori Nakaseko doesn't get to play the solo part. Even though Kaori asks Yuuko to tell the others not to spread that rumor, Yuuko decides to ask Taki-sensei about it in front of all the band members. Taki-sensei tells her that he evaluates everyone without prejudice, but also confesses that he has known Reina since middle school, as their fathers are acquainted.
When Yuuko tries to ask something more, Reina interrupts their conversation and tells Yuuko to stop insulting Taki-sensei. Reina says that she was selected because she plays better than Kaori. Reina's words greatly enrage Yuuko, leading her to yell at Reina. Kaori manages to stop the fight before things get worse.
Yuuko's actions cause an uneasy atmosphere in the band in the following days, and everyone starts to lose their motivation for the competition. Taki-sensei decides to resolve this problem by presenting all the band members a chance for a re-audition. Kaori grabs this chance and asks for re-audition.
Yuuko eavesdrops on Reina Kousaka's play. When Yuuko sees Kumiko Oumae going to invite Reina out for lunch, she asks Kumiko's opinion on Reina's play. Kumiko says that Reina sounds very good and deserves to play the solo. Yuuko agrees with Kumiko, and says that it's unfair that a first-year can play that good, before walking away.
Then, Yuuko confronts Reina, bowing before her and asking her to purposely drop the audition. Yuuko explains that in the previous years Kaori didn't get to play a solo part because of the seniority system, and this year will be Kaori's last chance to do it. She also tells Reina that Kaori tried to resign from the competition in order to stop the first-year members from quitting the band last year. However, Reina says that it has nothing to do with her, and walks away.
On the day of re-audition, after Kaori and Reina finish their performance, and the band starts voting, it turns out that only Yuuko and Haruka Ogasawara clap for Kaori, while only Kumiko and Hazuki Katou clap for Reina. Taki-sensei then asks Kaori whether she will play the solo part. Kaori, knowing that Reina plays better than her, declines his offer and says that Reina should be the one to play it. Upon hearing this, Yuuko finally breaks down and cries out loud.
On the morning of one day, Yuuko and Kaori Nakaseko greet Reina Kousaka, who apologizes for her behavior during the audition, and Kaori apologizes to Reina in turn. Yuuko is surprised by Kaori's action. During this time, Natsuki sneaks behind Yuuko and surprises her.
Natsuki Nakagawa gives Yuuko an oversized lucky charm as a sign of her "love through harassment". Later, when Kitauji High School Concert Band is waiting for their turn to play, Yuuko stands behind Mizore Yoroizuka.
Yuuko performs along with the other band members in the competition. When Yuuko finds out that Kitauji gets gold and will proceed to the Kansai competition, she is very happy like everyone else.
Yuuko comes to school early for morning practice with Mizore Yoroizuka. One day, Kumiko Oumae and Reina Kousaka walk in while she is talking with Mizore, and Mizore suddenly asks Yuuko about her relationship with them, which leads to a very awkward situation. Yuuko later tells Mizore that Nozomi Kasaki wants to rejoin the band.
Yuuko catches Kumiko Oumae eavesdropping on her conversation with Natsuki Nakagawa, and invites Kumiko for a chat with her. They talk about the situation between Nozomi Kasaki and Mizore Yoroizuka, and reflect on competitions. Yuuko indirectly admits to Kumiko that Reina Kousaka should be the one to play the solo, and says that they should aim to get gold in the competition.
When Mizore Yoroizuka runs away from Nozomi Kasaki, Yuuko prevents Nozomi from going after her and asks Kumiko Oumae to help her looking for Mizore. Later, Yuuko finds Mizore hiding behind a table, and confronts her about the issues regarding Nozomi. Yuuko cries with Mizore over the misunderstood relationships both of them had, and watches Mizore reconcile with Nozomi. Later, Natsuki Nakagawa teases Yuuko, but also praises her for helping Mizore. Yuuko teases Natsuki back and runs away, with Natsuki close behind.
When Kitauji High School Concert Band is waiting for their turn to perform, Yuuko encourages Kaori Nakaseko, saying that their band's journey will not end here and everyone will go to the nationals together. Yuuko then points up her finger as a "let's go to the nationals" sign, and everyone around follows her lead. Later, Yuuko cries out tears of happiness when Kitauji gets gold and gets to go to the nationals.
During the school festival, Yuuko visits the joint cafe between class 2-2 and class 2-3, and orders a cake to eat. However, Natsuki Nakagawa, who works as a maid, gives her a very tall cake as a prank. Yuuko sees this as a challenge by Natsuki and ends up finishing the entire cake.
Yuuko acts as the voice of the band and asks Taki-sensei about Asuka Tanaka's issue. Later, when Haruka Ogasawara finishes her speech, she tells Haruka that everyone in the band will stand by her. Natsuki Nakagawa uses this chance to make fun of Yuuko about her and Kaori Nakaseko's relationship. Their little quarrel ends up lighting the mood for everyone.
Yuuko notices that Reina Kousaka is troubled by something, as she plays her trumpet worse than usual. Later, while Reina is practicing her solo part outdoors, Yuuko approaches Reina and says that she can talk to her about the problem she is facing, if she wants. Reina is thankful for Yuuko's offer to help and promises that she will get on track soon, and continues to practice. Yuuko listens to Reina's solo with a smile on her face.
During the award ceremony for conductors, Yuuko and Kaori Nakaseko thank Reina Kousaka for cheering for Taki-sensei on behalf of the band. After Kitauji High School Concert Band learns that they get bronze, Yuuko tells Reina that they are going to get gold next year. Later, Yuuko comforts Reina after Taki-sensei misinterprets her love confession.
Yuuko becomes the band president after Haruka Ogasawara and the other third-years retire from the band. She and the remaining members host the farewell party for the third-years. On the third-years' graduation day, Yuuko is seen hugging and burying her face in Kaori Nakaseko's chest, while holding Kaori's ribbon in her hand. Kaori tells Yuuko to be strong as she is now the president.
While Yuuko, Natsuki Nakagawa and Riko Nagase are hanging out at the summer festival, she and Natsuki try to encourage Riko to share a kiss with Takuya Gotou. Later, they see that Gotou is, apparently, about to kiss a woman other than Riko (who turns out to be his older sister), and go to beat him up.
- The name Yuuko means "excellence, superiority, gentleness" (優) (yuu) and "child" (子) (ko).
- Yuuko's surname Yoshikawa means "lucky, good" (吉) (yoshi) and "river, stream" (川) (kawa).
- Natsuki Nakagawa's and Yuuko Yoshikawa's surnames seem to contain a curious wordplay: if written together in kana, their first kanji (中 and 吉) form "nakayoshi", which means "(having a) good relationship"; at the same time, they both share the second kanji for "river" (川).
- According to the official Sound! Euphonium novel website:
- Yuuko resembles Ai Shindou from the Kyoukai no Kanata series, which is also animated by Kyoto Animation.
- They also share the same voice actress.
- Yuuko, Natsuki Nakagawa, Nozomi Kasaki and Mizore Yoroizuka graduated from Minami Junior High School.
- Yuuko's height is actually at average compared to other characters in the anime. The reason she looks small is that she is often seen standing next to Kaori Nakaseko who is quite tall.
- Yuuko was one of the hardworking band members who didn't quit the band last year.
- Character Designer Shouko Ikeda said in an interview that she specifically designed Yuuko to look very cute.
- Yuuko's trumpet model is the Yamaha YTR-850S.
|Kitauji High School Concert Band during Kumiko Oumae's first year|
|Note: Section leaders are shown in bold text
1Rejoined the band
2Left the band
3Also in charge of the Tuba and Double Bass sections
|Kitauji High School Concert Band during Kumiko Oumae's second year|
|Note: Section leaders are shown in bold text|