First Impressions – White Album 2

Which girl?

spring13-highwNew stuff, and maybe it’s time for some heartache! I rarely know much about what a show is about before it starts, so a lot of the time I get a good surprise, and sometimes I get a bad surprise. So what was the verdict for the first outing of White Album 2?

Let’s Start Drawing the Love Triangle

Mysterious sleepy girl

Mysterious Sleeping Girl Who We All Know Is Important.jpeg

White Album 2 is a show that follows White Album (which had two seasons, but I admittedly didn’t see either of them), but has very little in common with the previous series. Despite the naming convention, there’s no barrier to entry into this series from the other show. This one has different characters, 10 years later (and itself anchored in time by shots of a partially completed Tokyo Skytree), but supposedly at the same school, and it uses a song (named “White Album”) from that first series. That song is actually the impetus that brings together the three main characters of the show: Kitahara Haruki (Mizushima Takahiro, Taichi in Kokoro Connect), Ogiso Setsuna (Yonezawa Madoka, Mayura from Red Data Girl), and Touma Kazusa (Nabatame Hitomi, Saori from OreImo) as they share the experience of playing it together from different rooms – Haruki on guitar, Kazusa on piano (this hasn’t been revealed yet, but who are we kidding?), and Setsuna singing.

Conscripting Ogiso

Haruki is good at conscripting people

Of these three main characters, we really only learn about two of them in this first episode. Haruki seems like the classic “great guy”, top student, always helping his friends, always knowing what to say, always genuine, while Setsuna is the school’s idol, twice-defending champion of the Miss Houjou competition, popular yet reserved. And despite being two fairly noteworthy students in this school, they’ve apparently never met until the fall of third year, when the School Festival committee asks Haruki to help talk to Setsuna about wanting to back out of the Miss Houjou contest, even though he’s not even on the committee (which just confuses Setsuna).

The reluctant winner

The Big Reluctant Winner

With all this, Haruki has been sustained by the chances he gets to play along with an unknown pianist in the next room as he stays after club to practice guitar, since he’s the backup guitarist in the hastily thrown together Light Music Club, whose whole purpose was apparently to deny Setsuna a third win in the Miss Houjou contest. But that falls apart when their diva singer drives everyone away from the band and then quits herself. So as he’s just practicing by himself, joined by the mystery piano player, he hears singing from the roof of the school, and goes to find out who it is, it of course being Setsuna. And we’re off on a big 12-episode ride of love triangle, which perhaps unfortunately was spoiled by the prologue flash forward.

So, Was It As Bad As You Feared?

Haruki says the wrong thing

Some of the guys have some suspect hair, tho, including Mr. Spock back there

Definitely not. I actually really enjoyed the first episode here, even if it’s nothing revolutionary. The characters are appealing, with fairly standard designs (how do girls with twin-tails get their hair to be pointy corners like that?) and nice contrast, The cast is not overly large, so the four girls we saw are all different, and while the guys might have a little sameness, it’s not too bad.

good hand position

Nice hand positioning and believable notes with the playing

But given that this is an anime about a band, the more important thing might be the music and the animation of that. And what they showed was pretty believable. Haruki’s constantly reminding us that he’s not that good at guitar might have gotten a little old (especially after the nice solo he plays in the prologue), but it fits with his character, not really a bragging guy. And I can go along with his thinking: no matter how good you are, there are better guitar players. A lot of better guitar players. So it’s almost a rule that you have to say you’re not that good (for comparison, each of the three guitarists in my band thinks the other two are better. But I’m the best bass player :D ). The music they play to was nice, if inoffensive, and the detail on the instruments was very good, to the point that I think that Haruki is playing a Japanese-made Stratocaster with a Schaller Floyd Rose bridge and neck and bridge humbuckers (an odd configuration for a Strat, so it might be a different brand). Only mistake was that he tuned the guitar with the tuning pegs, behind the locking nut. That’s not how it works! (more bonus information: my guitar with a Schaller Floyd Rose system never goes out of tune, so he probably wouldn’t even have needed to tune it). They did show a little piano playing, but I’d guess that they’re usually going to use the standard dodges for that (who wants to look at a pianist’s hands besides other pianists, anyway?).

Practice

Practicing in the sunset

The show really does have a nice visual look, and benefitted from so much of the time period of the show being after club time, in the “Golden Hour”, giving it very warm hues. Overall, it’s usual quality by Satelight, not amazing, but not a letdown.

No, don't jump!

No, don’t jump Haruki!

header-spr13-highway

I was pretty pleased with the first episode of White Album 2. Adaptations from eroge can always be hit or miss, but this one seems to focus well on the characters it has, and seemed to take the pacing pretty slowly and deliberately, not rush. I think they could probably have skipped the end of the prologue bit, but that would be the only real complaint I had about the show. It does seem that it might get pretty drama-filled, but that might be fun to blog, too.

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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17 Responses to “First Impressions – White Album 2”

  1. skylion says:

    HWY! Damn you. Since I hadn’t seen the previous shows, and that I know as well as you that game anime are just that hit and miss, I put this one off the list. But it’s on the damn list. Are you happy? I’ll get back to you….

    • Highway says:

      If you’re really tight on time, there are some other shows I might leave off (like “BouncyBouncy and Hero guy”). This one actually gives me more of a feeling like True Tears, where you know someone’s going to end up sad.

      According to people online, they think it’s unlikely they’ll get to the whole VN in a one-cour season, so we’ll see where it ends up.

      • skylion says:

        Nope, Bouncy Bouncy and Hero Guy is so totally my show. Can you disagree with me at this point? I’ll find the time, I’m a busy person. I’m serving drinks at my pub right now, and aniblog responding. Heck, I’m pretty wrecked on Jameson cocktails right now.

  2. sonicsenryaku says:

    Man, i was caught off guard by how much i was actually enjoying this premiere even though this was one of the fall shows coming out that had some negativity buzzing around. Love that song in the end; Setsuna has a lovely voice. I will be sticking around for this series

    • Highway says:

      It was a well-done premiere. I think a lot of negative buzz was from remembering the first series. But I haven’t really seen any negativity from this first episode.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        and there shouldnt be; it was a solid first ep

      • BlackBriar says:

        Personally, the episode went too well for there to have any negativity.

  3. Cybersteel says:

    #Unrelated to first season.
    #Design reminds me of Another.
    /me goes back to re-watching Refrain.

    • d-LaN says:

      I find it amusing tht the artstyle reminds me of School Days.

  4. HannoX says:

    It didn’t grab me at first, but before the end I was enjoying it so I’ll stick around. I liked it better than Golden Time so this will be my romance show for the season.

    • Highway says:

      Why limit yourself to just one? The more romance the better! Or you can watch this one, and then marathon the first half of Golden Time to watch the rest of it in Winter. :)

      • HannoX says:

        But I didn’t like Golden Time or the characters in it. I’d have no problem with watching several romance shows in a season if I liked them all. I was really disappointed that I didn’t like it since I liked the setting being in college rather than high school and I really liked Toradora.

  5. PrimeHector says:

    Haruki is a way better protagonist than Toya

    • Highway says:

      I thought Haruki was actually a good protagonist for the show. Not really too generic, he actually has some notable features: strong-headed, known by reputation as a smart guy, even ‘the fixer’. He actually gives off some justifications of why someone would fall for him. I hope that stays in the show, and the reasons why he falls for whoever, and whoever falls for him, stay in the realm of transparent and realistic, not just “because the plot says I should”.

      • HannoX says:

        Yes, it’s so nice to have a dynamic protagonist that you can see more than one girl falling for rather than the generic, non-entity nice guy with all the spine of a wet noodle.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Did this series have a previous season? I’m quite unfamiliar with the name but went in without expectations and liked it. The setting here almost guarantees a good drama.

    Haruki makes a good protagonist as he always thinks about situations and makes examinations of people before speaking and doesn’t beat around the bush when speaking his mind. Another good point is that although Setsuna is popular, she isn’t stuck up and doesn’t rub her success in the face of others for self satisfaction. Usually, idols tend to have that kind of mindset. Moreover, she’s kind and considerate.

    I can see myself continuing to watch this anime. Good review, Highway.

    • Highway says:

      White Album was another series, and eroge, that was set in the same high school, but 10 years before this series. White Album and White Album Second Season are the two series made from that eroge. This series, White Album 2, is another eroge by the same company and that’s what this season is based on. And from what I hear of the amount of content in the game, if this is successful enough, there will likely be a White Album 2 Second Season. So it could end up like Da Capo, but hopefully not as crummy as that.

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