Posted on 26 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, White Album



If you’re planning to watch the first season of White Album: good luck. Have fun sitting through one of the most frustrating series of the past years. However, for those who do manage to get through it there is a reward, because the second season is much, much better. In fact, it’s a breath of fresh air for both the harem and hentai game adaptation genre.

The first season really had no idea how to write good drama. It really tried, but revelations were poorly built up, the romance was shallow, and it used really cheap plot devices in an attempt to create drama (answering machine?!). Thankfully, Seven Arcs noticed this, and actually changed the directors, in favour of someone who did know what he was doing. The result really allowed this series to show the best of its daring premise.

The result managed to add depth to nearly all the characters. I really loved the execution of this series: a lot of bad stuff happens in this series, Touya for a large part is an incredible bastard who fools around with tons of women, however everything still progresses naturally: it never goes over the top or forces climaxes. Characters don’t suddenly turn emo because of one simple revelation, but what goes on inside their heads is much more complex than that. Every character has his or her own issues that get explored really well and the way that the creators manage to interweave all these stories is really skillfully done. There’s hardly any moment of boredom.

And then Touya. He really is one of the least likable lead characters after Makoto Ito, but in comparison to the latter he’s actually really well written and receives some memorable development. In fact, he’s so incredibly refreshing amongst most other harem leads with their wimpy and one-sided personalities. This guy’s issues are deep and yet they come together wonderfully at the end.

I really was prepared to hate this series when it first started, but it really proved me wrong when it improves on the first season in a lot of ways. It’s at times very emotional, but at the same time also very subtle and realistic. This really is everything I want romance to be, and it’s truly a leap forward for the harems and hentai game adaptations. If you’re tired of seeing the same thing over and over again in these genres, then this is a series that you should check out. However, be warned: it makes no attempts to make its characters easily likable. It’s realistic, but hard to get into as well.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Realistic, poignant, weaves many storylines into one and yet it progresses very naturally.
Characters: 9/10 – HUGE improvement over the first season. Touya is one of the best developed harem leads out there.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Better animation, great use of music.
Setting: 8/10 – Accurate and finally stops using it as a cheap plot device to get Touya and Yuki to miss each other.
Posted on with categories: White Album



You know what? I’m impressed. I’m fucking impressed by this ending. The way it wraps up so many plot threads, there’s a very good chance that it’s going to end up being the best ending of all the shows that end around these times. At the start of this series, I was expecting nothing other than a school days trainwreck ending. And yet here this show comes and does the exact opposite. Holy crap.

I love how the creators again did not try to end this show with a bang. There’s only one emotional climax in this entire episode: the point where Rina forces Touya to remember that what he forgot as a trauma, ten years ago. After that, Everything else follows naturally as he puts back the pieces of the puzzle that he once forgot. It’s basically a lot of exposition, but for Touya it makes perfect sense, now that he finally realized why he heck he turned into such a big player in the middle of this series. It’s a case where bullying went too far. Yuki actually tried to console him with a ribbon, but he threw it away. Haruka then picked up the ribbon, after Touya was scolded by his father and went back to search for it.

So as it turns out, the majority of White Album was just there, to get Touya to remember his past, and put aside his trauma. All of his actions don’t just stem from his loneliness created by how he was far away from Yuki, but instead out of escapism, created by that trauma. Influenced by both Yuki, Haruka and Menou at that time, he kept searching for his goddess, and never really found it. The way Touya healed in the final quarter of this series was also well built up. I think it started around the time that Mana left: it forced him to actually do something: get after Mana and instead stop running away. That time with Mana and after that Haruka really changed him.

Haruka breaking down in front of Touya’s door was of course a bit overdone, but with this revelation you can see that she’s not just another childhood friend who randomly falls in love with a harem lead (in the end, only Misaki took on that role), but rather, she too suffered from Touya’s trauma, and I can bet that she vividly remembered it: she had the ribbon to remind her of what happened. And with that, I can see why she fell for him in a moment of weakness. Menou in the end just turned out to be a girl who likes to fool around with guys. Touya was extra interesting for her because she met him when she was little. The reason she stayed with him was really because she liked him as a friend, rather than that she seriously had feelings for him. This rebellious way really comes from how she was raised: she resisted her strict mother, and because of that her mother became even stricter to Mana, who ended up listening to her mother and ended up studying really hard, to turn out about the opposite.

The iffy part of this episode was the performance, though. While the aftermath made sense and was interesting (Yuki and Rina finally got to work together as a duo, which takes care of the tensions between them of being competitions. And it’s not like everyone got a happy ending either: Rina’s brother still ended up in jail), but for a supposedly “perfect” idol, Rina’s English is pretty abysmal. And her showing up is also a bit hard to buy. Also, what happened with the animation in this episode? It’s back to the quality of the first season?

But really, it’s been a lot of fun to blog this series, even during the annoying times, there was tons to write about it. This ending also really showed that you don’t need to go over the top in order to create a great ending. White Album overall was a true breath of fresh air in both the harem and the hentai game adaptation genre. It for once took its time to give its male lead deep and memorable development, rather than just letting him be the same over and over again. Touya was a huge idiot throughout the majority of the series, but he could be one of the best developed harem leads out there. I would never have said this after finishing the first season, but I really hope that more series like this get made in the future.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 19 December 2009 with categories: White Album



Okay, so it indeed doesn’t look like this series is going for a School Days ending, but at this point, I honestly don’t care anymore. This episode was so emotionally moving, and the second season of White Album has just gotten better with every passing episode. At this point, I’m even sad that there’s only one episode left. I want more, dammit.

The dialogue in this episode was exceptionally well written. The way it carefully wrapped up, developed and progressed all of the different storylines in this series was really well done. Rina seems to have just lost her voice, but I really liked the subtlety with which she ended up dealing with it. In fact, the frail Yuki overreacted more than she did.

In the meantime, this episode also wrapped up Yayoi’s story, surprisingly. It had it coming, because she has been screwing and kissing Touya surprisingly little lately, and I really applaud the creators for letting it resolve itself very slowly, rather than just devoting an entire arc to her and wrap up everything that is about her in that arc.

I’m also really surprised at how much extra depth Mana and Menou’s mother has gotten through the past few episodes. She really seemed like your average uncaring mother, but the final quarter of this series made her a much more important character. Seriously though, at this pace White Album is well on its way to bombard itself into my top 3 favourite hentai game adaptations, along with Air and True Tears. The first season indeed drove me insane with the way it so annoyingly screwed up its potential, but for some reason the new director (yeah, apparently the first and second season have different directors) really changed the way this series worked, and instead of going for the cheap drama shots that the first season was full off, he continued the story with much more natural plot twists and developments.

Really, I think that if the director of the first season would have handled the second one as well, we indeed would have gotten this School Days ending. Under his guidance, everything probably would have gone to hell by now. I think that that’s also really nicely symbolized by that episode in which Touya buys himself his answering machine: it’s the new director’s way of saying: let’s develop the characters through their interactions, instead of these cheap plot twists.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 12 December 2009 with categories: White Album



I have no idea what exactly happened with this series. The first season was so incredibly cringe-worthy. And yet the second season is so good! It basically took everything that was good in the first season, and left everything that was bad behind. This episode yet again showed what a great series this turned into, both in terms of plot and romance.

Oh, and this show is so cruel in its cliff-hangers. I can’t believe it took me twenty-four episodes to figure this out. Every cliff-hanger makes you expect the worst, and yet in the next episode things progress naturally, rather than what people would be doing in a soap opera. Akira didn’t die, get into a coma, or anything. Instead, he just has to spend a few days in the hospital, and the development from this accident is mostly subtle, rather than really angsty and cheap. This episode too: Yuki walked in, in an emotional state, at Touya’s house. While he has Menou sleeping over. I was really looking forward to see how she’d react… and then the credits rolled. Even now, I have no bloody clue how the creators are going to progress this in the next episode. After all, we’ve only got two episodes left!

But yeah, this episode did mark the beginning of the end: you can see that the creators are working towards the ending of this series. The scandals surrounding Eiji (it was about his picture, wasn’t it?). It really looks like is agency is done for, and if this is the case then things are also looking pretty grim for Yuuki.

There are quite a few series that are going to end in the next two weeks. And really: aside from Aoi Bungaku, White Album’s ending is the one I’m looking forward to the most. Heck, I can’t help it. The build-up has been so good throughout the entire series. I have absolutely no idea how the creators are planning to end this thing. Out of all the upcoming endings, White Album’s is the biggest mystery to me. Again, aside from Aoi Bungaku, but that one’s special because I don’t even know what kind of stories it’s going to animate.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 5 December 2009 with categories: White Album



Okay. What the heck?

This episode had a very good chance to be among the best of this series yet. It was chock full of character-development, changing relationships, extra character-backgrounds, characters coming to realizations. Touya spinning even more out of control, and yet everything fitted. To think that Menou was the president’s daughter! That fully explains her rebellious attitude and it also gives a whole direction to Mana’s loneliness: she doesn’t just suffer from being neglected by her mother, but she also has to endure the fact that her older sister gets much more attention, because she just happens to be able to sing well.

Also, Akira and Misaki have finally broken up, which also really had it coming. Even though Touya tried to stay away from them, it was clear that Misaki still had feelings for him. She tried dating Akira, but in the end her feelings remain. Touya then obviously continues to screw even her. Or at least this is implied very heavily.

But yeah, we get more and more evidence that everything that made Touya the way he is stems from his childhood, and his relationship with his father. My guess is that the reason his father kicked him out of the house was in a desperate attempt to make him create his own happiness. It’s clear now that his father was very bad at raising his son: he wanted to reach out to him when Touya was feeling down, yet instead he tried making little girls do it.

But then, yeah. The cliffhanger. KANON-SPOILERS in the next paragraphs.

Akira… was hit by a car. Bloody hell, it’s now certain that the creators are planning to drop a bomb during the finale. I have to praise this show for really making me not suspect anything: even in retrospect, it came completely out of the blue: no shallow build-up or foreshadowing. But yeah: car accidents are always tricky to do. The question is: did the creators have a clear purpose for it. Are they going to use this to get the best out of the characters… or was this just a cheap death for extra melodrama.

I remember when Kanon pulled this, and I was reminded the most of that particular scene when Akira crashed down. In Kanon, it hardly served any purpose; it felt random and out of place, and just for the sake of a sad climax. This is pretty common in anime (or any other storytelling medium, I guess): We need extra drama! Let’s have a car run over someone!

These final episodes are really going to make or break this series. It’s been building up to this for so long, there had better be fireworks at that ending. What I want to see is total chaos that yet stays in canon with the rest of the series: I want melodrama that fits within the story without any cheap plot twists pulled solely for the purpose of extra drama. We’ve got Code Geass for that.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 29 November 2009 with categories: White Album



Aah, I’ve seen too many shallow anime. I really thought that Mana would break down in this episode, while in reality what got into her was just a short emotional outburst. This doesn’t turn out to be the case in which a bit of talking simply solves everything and magically develops characters in the right direction. Ah, I should have known!

But yeah, this was likely the best episode of White Album so far. Instead of a major climax for Mana, we get to see a major episode for Haruka, which really surprised me: paste that scene of her in any other series, and it would have ended up incredibly cheesy. Suddenly coming out of the shower naked in a desperate attempt… that’s so hard to prevent from turning into soap opera material, it needs lots and lots of build-up. But I think that White Album actually pulled it off. I feared for a moment, because Haruka’s earlier emotion breakdown made no sense whatsoever.

This episode really shed light into her character. Her scene was daring, but still subtle and nowhere over the top, and again it was more like an emotional outburst: after that she behaved completely normal again, rather than some angsty teen that refuses to listen to anybody. Then there’s also the matter of Touya, of course, who really doesn’t seem to know when to quit.

Also, what on earth could Menou be up to? How did she find out about Misaki, and why does she intend to make her seem like a slut? I know she’s rebellious and all, but to do that just to protect Touya seems a bit unnecessary.

With only four episodes left now, we’re about to get to the point where everything goes to hell. I really wonder how the creators are planning to end this. I mean, at this point they can indeed show what they’ve been promising us ever since Touya started screwing Yayoi, or they could play the gigantic troll that laughs over us by having a very mundane ending…
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 21 November 2009 with categories: White Album



Oh god, guess who’s back? The one guy who could only turn this into an even bigger drama than it already was. He’s changed a lot, though. He was this confident asshole, but now he’s more like a wimpy moron. However, the impression he left on Misaki remains.

In any case, this episode marks the beginning of the climax. My guess would be that the creators finally found it time to start with the drama, and my guess would be that each of the successive episodes will now deal with and close off the stories of the various characters. The one to kick off, is Mana.

So yeah, she’s been paying Touya out of her own pocket money to keep Touya with her. In this episode her mother finds out. Since this is the same mother that employs Touya, this also means that Mana figures out that Touya is working as Rina’s manager. In any case, Mana runs away from home, Touya figures that she might have gone back to Haruka (involving her back into the storyline), but at the end of the day, she’s still missing.

The next episode should give us a bit of a hint into exactly what kind of finale the creators are going for. In terms of Mana’s story, there’s no reason for them to hold back anymore: the next episode is going to climax her story, as Touya either finds her back, or she commits suicide or something else that’s crazy. I see no reason why the creators can just make this into a temporary climax, because running away from home is pretty radical: Mana’s mother now also has to see that something went wrong with the way she raised her daughter. She’s a smart woman, so she will learn from this incident.

Also, I loved that little scene in which Touya ran into the girl he stood up earlier. ^^;
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 15 November 2009 with categories: White Album



Wait, he does it again? Holy crap, that bastard actually did it again! As if the situation he’s in isn’t bad enough already he decided to give the devil yet another one of his limbs. How much further is this going to escalate?

But yeah: screw the flawed first season. The second season did carry out many improvements. Especially the scene with Eiji and the paintings was just superbly directed, both in terms of art and direction. It definitely was the highlight for this series for me so far, and it really went out of its way to portray the insanity that’s going on inside Eiji’s mind, without cutting any corners.

But yeah, Touya. I’m starting to see where this series is trying to go to. In this episode, he hooks up with YET ANOTHER girl. Not only that, but he also stands her up in the middle of a date for Yayoi. I really hate Touya right now, but for once it’s in a good way: the way he’s portrayed as such an incredible bastard who just keeps running away from Yuki, fooling with every woman he can find. THIS is what School Days should have been. There were so many problems with School Days, but my biggest problem with it was that it didn’t seem to understand its characters: characters just randomly fell in love with Makoto without any possible reason. They acted conveniently like what the script wanted them to do. With White Album however, everything is well built up, and fits within the whole story. Or at least, that’s the case for the second season.

Also, that piano piece that plays during Eiji’s scene when he’s alone. Absolutely beautiful.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 8 November 2009 with categories: White Album



Um… what? What?!

I should have known. I should have bloody known. Don’t get me wrong, this episode wasn’t exactly bad. The creators just did it again: as if the current storyline wasn’t already screwed up enough: the long-haired singer girl starts flirting with Touya. Technically though: I can’t fault this series: it was well built up, they both have their reasons (they both want to run away and ended up flirting with the nearest person possible, and just happened to be at the right time and place that made sense in the overall storyline), but holy crap. It’s a good thing that Haruka and Mana are taking a break or else all hell would really break loose. However, that eventual climax seems to be even more disastrous at this point.

But yeah, as much as I hate to admit it: the second season of White Album is actually pretty good. The first season definitely had its issues, mostly introducing pointless angst and emo. In the second season however, the angst is anything but pointless. In this episode, Yuki broke down crying, but who can fault her? She just found out that her boyfriend has been deceiving her with her best friend. It feels like something out of a bad soap opera, but it’s actually well built up. If you take everything that happened in the first season into account, this had to happen. Can this series still be called bad? In fact, I’m actually glad that we might get a School Days-like ending that doesn’t feel forced and instead consists out of genuine drama, and that doesn’t get bogged down by a terrible script, character-development or pointless fanservice.

Out of all eroge adaptations I watched, this one has the most realistic animation and quiet parts. As much as I hate to admit it, this series can only be seen as a step forward in this genre that lives off seeing who rip each other off the most.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 31 October 2009 with categories: White Album


Touya… Touya… Touya. What the heck do you think you’re doing? Every time you think this bastard couldn’t possibly surpass himself… he does. WTF.

In any case, let me start with summarizing the major flaws that made the first season so unbearable:
– The set-up itself: how the heck do all these five girls pick Touya of all people to fall for. However, you can’t hold this against the second season, as it’s already part of its premise.
– The huge amount of drama that resulted in people who kept missing each other. This doesn’t return in the second season.Touya bought an answering machine, and he and Yuki actually meet a lot.
– The huge contrast between the drama: it was either incredibly subtle, or totally not. And really, the second season has been much better balanced in terms of drama.

yeah, as much as I hate to admit it: this was a really emotional episode. For the first time in this series, I really felt along with the characters, without being hampered by angsty melodrama getting in the way. The drama was definitely heavy (I mean, Touya kissed two girls WHO WEREN’T YUKI), but it felt much more heartfelt than anything I’ve seen in that first season. Am I going crazy?

Yuki.. finally she too gets suspicious of Touya, thanks to a major screw-up that he made. Or rather, two. First of all, he flaps out about how he’s been meeting Yayoi. Nice one there, dude. On top of that, when Yuki proposes to go and see Rina together. Touya declines and says that he’s got enough to do. ONLY TO SEE RINA THAT DAY, AND KISS HER. Holy crap, what an asshole. On top of that, he also starts ignoring Yayoi, even after Yuki already left, which also puts him on bad terms. Not to mention that some mysterious dude has photographs of the two hitting it off together.

I really feel like this episode was the beginning of the end. And someone shoot me: I’m beginning to like this series again!!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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