White Album 2 – 11

What to think

Thinking hard about what she wants to do

spring13-highwThe backstory for Kazusa continues, with hardly a view of Setsuna this week.

 

How does Kazusa love Haruki?

Terrible Present

Haruki gives some thoughtful, but still terrible, gifts

That’s not asking ‘how can she love him’, that’s “what are the ways?” I thought this part of the flashback was a lot better than last episode’s second half, because this one actually filled in new information that wasn’t just basic stuff like “How did they meet.” This episode also focused a lot less on Haruki’s obstinance and a lot more on Kazusa’s dere side. From Haruki giving a terrible gift with the best of intentions – a middle-school grammar helping book to help Kazusa learn – to the secret kiss she gave Haruki after he fell asleep, this part of the flashback really showed more how many opportunities Kazusa missed.

Kazusa's first move

How things could have been different, if only Haruki woke up

And it becomes clear that she had her chances. She never had the same thoughts that Haruki did, that he didn’t care for her. It’s more that she just dithered, failed to execute, or just couldn’t bring herself to do it. And it’s not that Setsuna was playing the jealous girlfriend for them, either. I can understand that Kazusa would back off after Haruki told her he confessed to Setsuna [aside: oh really? I was kind of surprised at that. Maybe he followed up her confession with one of his own, but it's pretty clear who took the initiative there], but before that, even right before that, she could have locked him up tighter than a drum. But she didn’t, and it’s to her current regret. (And while I thought I saw it the first time through, the second time through confirmed it: *someone* saw Kazusa’s kiss, and I think we all know who).

Decides not to

Was stopping on Christmas because she was trying to stop herself?

So What Happens Now?

Surprise Kiss

Not making this any easier

We’ve now had Haruki’s dramatic reconfession, that Kazusa was “the one he’s always loved”, but what will he do about it? That’s right, it’s pretty much up to Haruki now. Will he break things off with Setsuna and pursue Kazusa? Even though she’s now planning to go to Vienna with her mother, I think it was pretty clear that her mother would approve of her staying in Japan to be with Haruki.

Reunited with Youko

Youko has an interesting perspective

Youko’s apparent mindset is interesting to me, in that she desires to hear the passion of the performer come out in the music. And that’s what it seems she hears in Kazusa’s music now, both playing in the recital and on stage with Haruki. And that she’d allow her daughter to continue practicing on her own, with the supposed ‘distraction’ of a new boyfriend, is something I find very understanding and trusting. To me, that means she would trust Kazusa to continue to practice and try to elevate herself, which is the opposite of what most people would think would happen in that situation. But it’s also evident that Kazusa has worked with that distraction so far, and it’s been to her benefit.

Kazusa torn up

But also her extreme pain

header-spr13-highway

With the flashbacks done now, and all the feelings out in the open, now it’s just time for the fallout. And as I said, it’s primarily up to Haruki. Will he break up with Setsuna? Would he start dating Kazusa? Would she start dating him, even staying in Japan rather than go to Vienna (apparently one of the worst words for Japanese to try to say, boy that’s terrible every time, kind of like Germans saying “squirrel”) with her mother?

And what effect would it have on Setsuna? Since the very beginning, she’s welcomed the challenge from Kazusa, though I don’t know if it’s because she wants her friend to be happy, or because she just thought it was fair. But would that still be the case? Or would she dislike Kazusa for stealing the boy she loves (but who doesn’t love her as much)? I really don’t see Setsuna starting to hate Kazusa, especially the way this has gone so far. I think she’d be far more unhappy if everyone ends up unhappy.

Found

Even if it’s a terrible gift, it’s still from him

About

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 – 11”

  1. MgMaster says:

    Looks like Kazusa also got 2 whole episodes to herself,just as Setsuna in the beginning.I liked the previous one a lot too,as I feel it’s necessary to show how it all started,making the reveals in this episode have more impact.

    There’s this manga(which was quite interesting for a while but is pretty boring now – although I’m still reading it),Kimi No Iru Machi,that got a 1-cour anime adaptation this summer which was absolutely TERRIBLE(trust me,you don’t want to watch it) mostly because they chose to start from what was known as the most exciting part while almost entirely skipping out on how the characters met & how everything started.As expected,it turned out to be a complete mess.

    Proper build-up episodes are a must for a great show if you ask me.Even if that build-up is not that great on it’s own,it pay’s off in the long run.Of course,the follow-up episodes must deliver big time,else that build-up will have been for nothing and WA2 definitely delivered here.

    • Highway says:

      I watched the first episode of the Kimi no Iru Machi anime this summer, and while I knew about the story issues, what I disliked even more was the terrible style it had, with tight closeups and people half off the screen. But I don’t think that it was necessarily their choice to animate the most exciting part that was the whole problem. It’s possible to explain things that are important without the entirety of a backstory.

      I really just felt like almost everything in the previous episode was standard or obvious by inspection. The developments in this episode were more interesting because they expanded on what we already knew.

  2. Mentar says:

    Not sure if it’s quite that easy. She was unsure about Haruki’s feelings – it didn’t MATTER to her, really. She loved. She was happy. I doubt that she really _wanted_ to actively take their relationship to the next step. It’s not in her personality.

    For me, the critical scene was the hana/yatsu exchange. This was when she felt that the question “who does he love” was answered, and against her. Setsuna was the flower, she was only the “yatsu”. THIS is why she cried on the piano. This is why she apologized to him, fleeing in tears, after snatching a kiss in his sleep. And this is why she wasn’t as shocked as you’d usually be when you hear that your love has agreed to date your best friend: She had already been aware that this was coming.

    The main difference between her and Haruki/Setsuna: Due to her peculiar disposition, she was fine with loving Haruki one-sidedly in their relationship back then. It’s just that Setsuna’s confession _took that away_. She couldn’t love him anymore, he was the boyfriend of her best friend now. He had gone to “a place where she could never follow”, as she put it. Once again, she had lost what she had wanted, and once more, it happened due to her obstinacy. That’s what’s crushing her. And so, Vienna becomes her escape.

    • Highway says:

      Then do you think that Kazusa was doomed from the beginning? That’s what I think all “I’ll just be happy to be by your side” relationships are. Because culturally, humans don’t work that way (I will argue in favor of poly-amorous relationships, but at this point I’m in a severe minority on that one, and the ones people know about are terrible). There would have to be a point where it’s time to fish or cut bait, and if the decision is cut bait, then you’re gonna end up on the dock by yourself.

      I can’t go back and look at it right now, but I also recall during the ‘hana / yatsu’ exchange that Haruki’s answer to Kazusa about whether she was just ‘a person’ was more like “does it really matter?” than “yes”. Maybe not exactly that, but it felt like there was more ambiguity there.

      Your point about losing things due to her obstinance is interesting, because there’s another lesson there: the things you think you lost can still come back to you. It’s likely outside the scope of this show, but “the days are long, but the years are short.” It may feel like she’s lost Haruki forever, but high school romance is frequently fleeting, burning out in the passions of youth. There are many years ahead, and it’s possible that he could come back around to her. Maybe she’d still be interested in that when he does, just like she’s still interested in her mother’s attention now that she can get it again. Or maybe she’ll have moved on.

  3. Mentar says:

    Why “doomed”? What I mean is that Touma didn’t feel like she was actively trying to get together with him. It’s just what she wrote. “I loved”. She was happy. And before she would be forced to decide whether/how to act on it, the story happened.

    About the hana/yatsu scene: Haruki was sure that Touma never considered him romance material, rendering his crush hopeless. Todokanai Koi/Love that doesn’t reach, remember? Still, he at least wanted to stay in touch with her and said so: “I want to stay with you after Graduation”. Kazusa’s eyes widen – was this the beginning of a confession? The hana/yatsu exchange was critical. From her point of view, this confirmed that he loved Setsuna, and she herself was just a pal. Haruki’s response would be best translated with “Does this annoy you?” – a teasy response to elicit a reaction, not a confirmation of the meaning that Touma gave his earlier line (keep in mind, he was half-asleep by then). But that’s how Touma took it. Or do you think that she seriously cried this way because she was so “happy”?

    I think that only when Haruki continued to get close to her that she began to suspect that he might have a real thing for her, too. And she was annoyed about that, because she considered him off-limits. And disaster went from there – the more she refused to indulge him, the clearer it became for Haruki that he had lost something of huge importance to him.

    • Highway says:

      But that’s what I mean. At some point she’d be forced to act. You can’t really say that the story happened “before she would be forced to act”. No matter when it happened, that’s when she’d be forced to act, and she wouldn’t be ready. Maybe she didn’t want to think about the ‘next step’, but it was always there, and she was always putting it off.

      I don’t think Kazusa was happy, and agree it’s likely that Haruki’s response wasn’t intended the way that Kazusa took it (which is par for the course).

      As I said last week, I think that the main fault for the ‘mess’ is Haruki, because he is the one that failed to understand the implications of his actions, and he’s the one who failed to set appropriate boundaries for himself, even with Kazusa trying to forcibly set those boundaries. To me, Haruki growing to think that Kazusa doesn’t like him is his fault as well, because her responses to him seem consistently appreciative and scolding at the same time. “Only do that for your girlfriend.” As skylion and I bantered about last week, Haruki wants it all, and was too stubborn to realize he can’t have it all.

  4. MgMaster says:

    I read an interesting post on reddit regarding Kazusa’s conversation with Youko that was in the VN but skipped here.It’s not something we couldn’t do without but I found it pretty interesting as it also tells something about Haruki’s family.I don’t consider it a spoiler but it might be shown in the next episodes so your call if you wanna read it or not.Here.

    • Highway says:

      I liked that conversation: Show ▼

      As an aside and not a spoiler, we really need a better english phrase for 恋人, koibito. “Lover” carries just too much other sexual connotation. “Loved one” (a more literal translation) carries too little romantic connotation. And “Significant Other” is just too sterile, too PC, to carry the full weight of the depth of feeling that should be conveyed. I love the term koibito, because it carries that full range of “the one I love”, which may be the best translation, but is awkward for most use.

  5. Zades says:

    I would just like to point out that the actors are probably pronouncing Vienna the German way : Wien. As such, I don’t believe it is an actual mistake!

    Keep up the good summaries and posts!

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know if it’s a mistake, I just know that it sounds not so good. :) Same thing happened in Tari Tari.

      Thank you very much!

      • Mentar says:

        Well… phonetically, the German/Austrian “W” is seemingly difficult to pronounce correctly for non-natives. Requires upper teeth against the lower lip. Instead, they use the English phonetic form of W like in “weenie”.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Personally, I like Kazusa’s two episodes more than Setsuna’s because hers are more dramatic. Though she was brought up in a priviliged manner, she’s the one struggling the most. Rather, it’s because of such an upbringing, it’s why her character turned out like this. But I wish she made her feelings known or at least try to before it was too late to matter. It’s only natural that it would result in regret.

    What I want to know is how Haruki plans to live with himself due to him kissing Kazusa and blurring the line between friend and lover, especially when he put so much effort into getting with Setsuna. The act already is infidelity. You can’t have the cake and eat, too (Which is a ridiculous sounding metaphor if you ask me.

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