White Album 2 – 07

Which one would you pick

Which one would you pick?

spring13-highwMost of the time watching anime, and even TV, I’ll watch one show, finish up, and then go on to the next show. But then there are episodes of anime that after you finish watching them, you just want to turn it all off and just let it sink in. They’re rare, but they’re very special. THIS was one of those episodes.

It’s Showtime!

The whole band

The whole group, of course without Takeya

Far from her scared non-performance in rehearsal, Setsuna owns the stage when it comes to their performance. Of course, it’s all down to who she’s up there with. And again, this part of the show really resonated with me. Getting up there and playing with a band can be a tremendous experience, and even though I’ve never had a crowd of hundreds all paying attention to me, the feeling of performing is still something that feels very energizing. And nailing your guitar solo is something that makes you feel terrific.

The animation of the concert performance wasn’t the best animation ever, with obvious cost cutting by showing a lot of Kazusa’s back, Haruki’s back, Haruki’s face, Kazusa’s face, and a lot of other things that don’t really move. And then they blow the budget syncing Setsuna’s lips and Haruki’s guitar solo. Which works out ok, but I kind of wish they’d done more with Kazusa’s playing as well, she kind of got short shrift. She made up for it by being the triple threat: keyboard, saxophone, and bass. And overall the whole performance was done well, with White Album replacing the OP song for the episode and Sound of Destiny as an insert song. But we didn’t get to hear their version of Todokanai Koi, which I’m guessing is more like the version from the VN than the OP from this series.

Playing it up

Friends and Rivals

But just as important as the live was the communication that went on during it. And if you think it’s not very realistic, well, there are times when you can convey an awful lot of meaning on stage without actually talking if both people are in tune with each other. And Setsuna makes it plain that she’s going to go after Haruki, admitting that she loves him, and encourages Kazusa to admit that she loves him also.

The Afterglow

Kazusa breaks down

Kazusa breaks down

From the spotlight on stage, the second part of the episode really changed the venue, from being in public to being alone with each other. This is the part that really grabbed me. From the open, yet still guarded conversation between Haruki and Kazusa, we find that Kazusa can’t really open up to Haruki, and is continuing to try to keep that distance, even as she gets closer to admitting to herself that she likes him. But Haruki wants to stay together with her and Setsuna, and continue to have fun as friends or even performing. And of course he talks to her in his usual way which kind of tweaks her the wrong way. But ultimately, even if Haruki tells Kazusa to show that she’s happy, she can’t admit her feelings, and can’t admit that it makes a big difference that Haruki refers to Setsuna as ‘hana’ (flower) but to Kazusa as ‘yatsu’. Even as she breaks down in tears, she’ll only admit to being cold.

Setsuna gets greedy

Finally confessing

But when Setsuna gets her chance, she doesn’t hesitate. Finding Haruki asleep in the music room, she waits for him to wake up, and then finally takes the initiative, ultimately confessing that she loves him. And for me, this whole scene was pretty magical. Setsuna takes the initiative, even while admitting that she had hoped for Haruki to approach her, but that she’s waited long enough. And even if she gave him the out, saying he could dodge her kiss, I don’t think Haruki was in any mindset to dodge her.



So the prologue that they showed us at the beginning of the series seems to have been complete misdirection. I like that Setsuna finally took the bull by the horns and decided to confess to Haruki, and I was somewhat surprised that Haruki seemed to have been watching Setsuna for a while, describing her as ‘the flower I’ve always admired’. So while he was probably a bit shocked at her confession, I don’t think he was that disappointed in it.

But where does this leave Kazusa? Has she missed her chance? Well, of course not, because otherwise we wouldn’t have more show to go. Will she get demoralized by Setsuna confessing to Haruki? Or will it galvanize her into action, now that she has to catch up. And just to make things a little bit more interesting, is anyone else wondering who the mysterious woman that was watching their performance was? We didn’t see her face, but I’ve definitely got a feeling that it was Youko Touma.


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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12 Responses to “White Album 2 – 07”

  1. Mentar says:

    You seriously think that the prologue at the very beginning was a “misdirection”? ^_^;

    Like always, there’s more than one truth to what happens. The show has been great at giving each girl her time, focusing on each to show her side of the story. I’m absolutely sure that the same will happen here, as well.

    • Highway says:

      The implications I read into the prologue from the scenes they showed were completely different from how it turned out. So it certainly sent me down the wrong path with thinking about how this series would go.

      Yeah, we’ll definitely get fair time for all here, and that’s one reason I’m glad they had this performance so early in the series, rather than in the last or second last episode.

  2. gandalf8 says:

    Epic concert, IMHO on par with Haruhi episode 12. A bit disappointed they didn’t show the 3rd song though. But Kazusa still rocks, showing her skills by playing 3 instruments. On a side note, I wonder if Kazusa gets a few votes for the Miss Houjou contest?

    I think that woman in the audience is definitely Touma Youko, Kazusa’s mom. I’ve rewatched the first episodes flashback of the concert and matched her face to Kazusa’s flashback in the last episode. Her mom coming to watch Kazusa on stage is no mere coincidence I think, and will probably play a big part in the drama that is to come.

    As a firm member of the Kazusa camp, the 2nd part of the episode was pretty hard to watch. Even after that kiss though, I still think that Haruki has some feelings for Kazusa, based on those lyrics he wrote and the chemistry in their interactions, although he might still not be sure if it is love. Setsuna is definitely aware of this, yet credit to her, she was upfront on her feelings with Kazusa, and managed to strike first and clearly confess her feelings to Haruki.

    About the prologue they showed in the first episode, I disagree that it was misdirection. Even before kissing Setsuna, Haruki was clearly still thinking about Kazusa, and I think that by that time Haruki might finally confess his true feelings. But Kazusa will leave (probably to follow her mom back to Europe) and Setsuna remains to comfort the brokenhearted Haruki.

    • Highway says:

      I wouldn’t go nearly as far as to say that it matched the concert in Haruhi Suzumiya, especially not from an animation point of view. It was nicely done, but definitely full of static shots intended to keep the complexity (and the budget) down.

      I really don’t know what camp I’m in. For most shows, I would be in Kazusa’s camp, but on this one it’s more even, and I don’t really favor one or the other. I was very surprised to hear Haruki say that he had been admiring *both* girls before they joined the band with him. I thought that Setsuna hadn’t really been someone he’d ever thought about prior to that first interaction about the Miss Houjou contest. He certainly wasn’t on *her* radar before that, but she fell pretty hard for him after that.

      The one thing I hope for from here is that Haruki doesn’t waffle between the two girls. I’d allow for some indecision, especially if Kazusa steps up and openly throws her tiny hat (seriously, what’s with all these tiny hats in anime?) in the ring. But I think he has to make a firm decision: either Setsuna, Kazusa, or not leading either of them on. To just kind of muddle around would 1) be bad for the show and 2) be pretty out of character for him.

      • Mentar says:

        Careful. The core of people shows only in crisis, and so far, there have been next to none. I think there are many traits yet to be learned about ALL characters…

  3. MgMaster says:

    GG Setsuna.She definitely knows when to strike!

    Just like us viewers,she didn’t fail to notice that Haruki has better dynamics with Touma and that Touma’s gaining ground faster than she is while not even trying,not to mention that the moment either of the two would make a move on each other she’d probably be out of the race for good.When you’re slowly loosing a battle it’s often better to take a risk & go all-in rather than keep playing it safe.I think she also realized that once the fair is over,her chances would be even lower as she’d loose a big reason for them to hang out while Touma would probably keep giving Haruki guitar lessons while he’d probably help her graduate.Taking all of that into account,she probably realized that she had to make bold move very soon and I gotta say,she couldn’t have picked a better time to do it.

    I’m still not shipping anyone in this show and I’m trying to stay that way for as long as I can but Setsuna definitely earns a few points when it comes to dealing with romance ;P

    • Highway says:

      I’d say that Haruki reaches out to Kazusa more, but I’m wondering if that’s because Haruki perceives a need for *someone* to reach out to her. And that’s something that Setsuna doesn’t seem to need as much, being the beloved idol of the school. But both of them have built a wall around themselves, even if Setsuna’s is more of a transparent one, and I think Setsuna’s movement toward Haruki is at least as notably out of her comfort zone as Kazusa’s.

      I agree that Setsuna had to grab the bull by the horns and make a move. And she did pick the best possible time, as she’s been losing ground, but finally got him alone in that afterglow of the performance.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    It’s impressive how emotional the story got with this episode. There were some mixed feelings, like it’s shown here: You’re happy for one person but sad for the next. The concert was well done and had some nice songs.

    You got to give Setsuna credit for trying her hardest to win Haruki over as she knew she was losing ground in her personal competition with Kazusa. At the same time, I wish Kazusa would have been more honest with herself and told Haruki how she felt because as much as she wants to deny it, she grew attached to him more and more. It bites seeing her efforts go unnoticed. In my opinion, Haruki had equal development with each girl so who he would have ultimately ended up with would be anyone’s guess.

  5. Bonk says:

    That feeling of watching an awesome gig I hadn’t felt since… I don’t know, since Beck.

  6. skylion says:

    Nothing in the world like a girl telling the world how she feels. Risky, gutsy, bold, beautiful. She is in such trouble later on. I don’t know if Haruki feels the exact same way, and as you say, he will continue to reach out to Touma. He’s a “nice” guy like that.

    • Highway says:

      It’s crass, but there is significant strategic advantage in being the one who puts out first. At least in the world of people who don’t have harems. 😉

      I do wonder what Setsuna will think, she has challenged Kazusa to step up her game (am I the only one who thinks the “May the best girl win” fair fight for love thing is completely contrary to the way the world works? Or maybe it’s just different in Japan?), but we’ve seen her be disappointed at the thought of Haruki and Kazusa together. The thing is that there are more ways this can go than there are stars in the sky (at least, again, in real life).

      • skylion says:

        Well, playing off of two potential tangents heightens all the variables. In theory, that is storytelling 101: introduce a triangular conflict. The warp core is out and the ship is falling to pieces? Make gravity another obstacle.

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