White Album 2

July 12, 2014

No, The Beatles didn’t have any sort of secret recording of demos while recording the double album that was released back in 1968 and thus the discovery of new materials and with new technology and techniques, they were able to fully develop the lost songs and made a second White Album. And sure hell there is no way any sort of connection to this Liverpool Fab Four when an anime was made with the title similar to that double album. If there were, it was just the genre of music. That’s it. I won’t say that White Album 2 is a direct sequel of the first season that aired back in 2009. A sequel nonetheless but not a direct one because there are new characters and a new storyline despite it’s still the same drama romance genre. Probably that is the reason why I decided to give this one a try seeing I remember that I wasn’t impressed with the first one. But there are a handful of references from the first season and that is especially the music in which those who have watched the first season would recognize. And thankfully this season’s era setting is around 2007-2008 unlike the first one which was set in 1986. Not too distant… So I don’t have the odd feeling that I’m watching a modern anime from a different era.

Episode 1
Just when Haruki Kitahara has the time to practise his guitar, here comes the problem of vocalist Tomo Yanagihara wanting to quit the band. Takeya Iizuka desperately tries to make her stay but nothing could change her mind. Not even reminding her about the goal of beating the super idol, Setsuna Ogiso. Now the band only has Haruki and Takeya. The rest quit thanks to Tomo who was the main problem. Now that the problem is gone, they’re still in trouble as they were supposed to play a gig at the school cultural festival. Haruki is called in by his fellow festival committee members. They view him the only one who can solve this problem. Setsuna does not want to enter this year Miss Hojou contest despite being last year’s winner. That time too she didn’t want to participate but her friend nominated her and she felt bad about winning. Haruki tells her that the past is the past. It cannot be denied she has won. Regretting it means it is unfair to the friend who nominated her and those who voted for her. She understands the meaning of what he says but in the end, Haruki does not want to force her to participate because the event is supposed to be fun. But this doesn’t sit well with the rest of the members because Setsuna is supposed to be the main draw of the event. You can pretty much guess the reception of it without her. Haruki gets back to practising and he hears the usual mysterious pianist playing next door. Each time, the pianist tries to accompany his horrible guitar playing. Later Haruki talks to his friend Io Mizusawa as she is best friends with Setsuna. Though they are popular but apparently there is something different about Setsuna that sets them poles apart. It’s like as though she is trying to hide her true self.

Next day when Haruki is helping to do labour stuffs with the committee, Setsuna comes looking for him. Because he is busy, he makes her help out carrying the wooden beam! It might seem heartless but this way, he is not giving her any special treatment. Because normally he doesn’t give a girl do physical labour. Anyway she reflected on what he said yesterday and felt bad that the committee is putting lots of hard work into it. Haruki doesn’t want her to sound like as though the festival will fail without her participation. Besides, he is okay with it although he and his pals now have extra work to do. Haruki is trying to allocate time for stage performance but is having problems since there isn’t much time if you want to consider the set up and performance time of each participating groups. Then as he goes chill out practising his guitar alone in the clubroom (Haruki only took up this instrument a few months back because Takeya desperately begged him and was supposed to be the band’s back up guitarist). Once more he finds calm and soothing in next door’s piano accompaniment. However there is somebody singing to it too. He rushes up to the rooftop and to his surprise it is the voice of Setsuna. She is also surprised that he is the guitarist.

Episode 2
Haruki asks if she would like to join his band and club, Light Music Association (LMA). After when Haruki sends in his final stage performance schedule to his pal, Chikashi Hayasaka, Io calls Haruki because Setsuna wants to speak to him. Unfortunately she rejects his suggestion to join his band. Haruki is okay with it and will give up for now. The rest of his spying pals take it the wrong way that she rejected his confession. So they try to console Haruki by going to some karaoke session after school. It’s all on the house so sing your heart out. But after school, Haruki goes to talk to Setsuna and she is surprised he knows her working part time despite she dresses up like a dork. She’s doing this to earn her own pocket money since many students who go to Hojou are rich kids. He promises he won’t tell and she wants to meet up with him in an hour’s time at the karaoke. This is also another secret she wants him to keep as she secretly comes here once a week. Karaoke is her hobby. She gets to the point that although she refused the vocalist position yesterday, she hopes there is still an opening. She wants to join. She will even participate in Miss Hojou event as long as she can sing along to his guitar. There is no way in the world he would refuse this chance, right?

And so Takeya is introduced to the new vocalist and he is pretty shocked that Haruki managed to get her onboard. Setsuna thinks he is the pianist but they reveal it’s the mysterious person next door. That adjacent private music room is reserved for top music students. Because their band is still incomplete, the idea hit Haruki. Why not ask this pianist to join them? So he goes over to the music classes to find the person playing the piano but their arrogance shoo him away. Anyway it was none of them. Chikashi thinks it’s some ghost because there was a student who committed suicide there many years ago and they’re hearing the sounds of the ghost playing. Seriously, nobody paid attention to this dude. Day after day, Haruki waited in his clubroom just for the pianist to show up but never did. When they are about to leave school, he hears the piano sound and rushes back. All they need to do now is to wait. A couple of judo guys come looking for Haruki about their allotted space for the festival but Haruki has got brighter ideas. He borrows their belt, ties it to his waist and tries to climb out of the window into the next room! Kids, don’t do this anyhow! Because he saw the figure of a girl, in his surprise he slips! Thankfully he is holding on the ledge. Before he becomes a victim to that suicide story, the pianist grabs his hand. She chides him for making her use her hands for this kind of thing. Kazusa Touma recognizes her as his classmate who always sits next to him in class. Always sleeping. Somebody who is cold and difficult to talk to. That’s Kazusa.

Episode 3
Kazusa is the daughter of the world class pianist, Youko. However she was an illegitimate child and had problems fitting in class and ended up causing lots of problems. The teachers are at their wits end on how to deal with her but they can’t just throw her out and put her in the normal programme instead of the music class. Takeya thinks he’ll have a hard time recruiting her. It will be impossible since she hates to stand out. But Haruki sums up his courage to ask her. Perhaps he sounded a little conceited so she kicks him out of the room. Once Haruki tells Setsuna who the mysterious pianist is, she invites Kazusa out for a drink and tries to persuade her to play for them at the festival. Of course she is not interested. She also accompanied the guitarist just to kill time and not for fun. Although Kazusa still doesn’t change her mind, Setsuna will not give up. And so one weekend, Setsuna invites Haruki and Kazusa to her place. Kazusa is suspicious if Haruki has a hand in this (he doesn’t) and why would a school idol who just joined LMA in less than a week be so forceful? Kazusa points out their plan isn’t going to work. Even if they manage to recruit sufficient members, there’ll not be enough time for the festival. Haruki is confident with Kazusa they can do it. Then there is the question of who will play the bass and drum. Haruki believes he can find them… In a week. Then another week it will be the festival. His ideal scenario is nothing but a dream. Kazusa finds Haruki odd because he is supposed to be an unadventurous, boring, pragmatic and risk adverse guy. Haruki argues he can be unpredictable once in a while. Before the argument escalates, Setsuna tells them to hush. She finds mommy and little brother Takahiro trying to eavesdrop. I suppose they want to know what is happening seeing Setsuna has not invited any friends over for the last 3 years.

Setsuna has second thoughts about calling them over. What she was looking forward to was singing that song, White Album again on the rooftop. Their chat is interrupted when Setsuna’s father wants to see her. Seems he is not happy that she wants to sing at the festival. Because any important decisions she makes need to be discussed thoroughly with them. Though mommy and Takahiro want to give her some slack and let her have fun, daddy wants an explanation for this and will decide whether she takes part or not. Since her friends are over, he wants her to ask them to leave. What’s this? He controls her life? Kazusa and Haruki had to leave and not get involve in their internal family problem. Kazusa notes she can’t get along with Setsuna. She’s cheerful to a point everyone and the world likes her. However before they left, Kazusa hinted to Setsuna that she is willing to join them if she manages to convince her parents to take part. Haruki is surprised because after what happened, he was convinced it will never happen. Kazusa cheekily replies that he was quick to fold and at this rate he won’t be able to seduce her. She makes it clear she is doing it for Setsuna. Although she said she couldn’t be friends with her, it means she can only be her sworn enemy or best friend. As they are completely different than her, they’ll never understand each other. Therefore it won’t hurt to be with them.

Episode 4
More shock for Takeya when Haruki introduces Kazusa joining LMA. This guy is amazing, no? As they don’t have time to find other people for other instruments, Kazusa wants Takeya to make do with programming those instruments. So get to work right away! After practise with Setsuna, Kazusa talks to Haruki that Setsuna is quite good for someone who has had no formal lessons. Ordinary people may pass her off as a professional. Kazusa herself have to practice every day for 10 hours otherwise she will lose touch. She wonders if Haruki can pull off his guitar part as he is a beginner. He’ll somehow do it. Sometimes having enthusiastic isn’t particularly convincing. She pulls him by his necktie and out of the train just to tell him to stop making promises he can’t keep. And so Haruki practises his guitar with Kazusa’s accompaniment at her place. He always messes up that single chord and they have to take it from the top again. Practice makes perfect, right? I don’t know how many hours they’ve been at it… Next morning, Haruki catches glimpse of Kazusa coming out of the bathroom in her towel. Embarrassed Kazusa feels she has been drawing the short end of the stick ever since she joined LMA. But Haruki doesn’t want her to feel bad. Her bad luck is balanced out by his extreme good luck. Seriously? Any luck mastering the song?

Come weekend, Setsuna and Takeya are invited to Kazusa’s house as part of their training camp. They are amazed at the big private music studio she has although Kazusa says she is merely using it and the previous owner was the one who built it. After hundreds and possibly thousands of hours of practice, Haruki finally manages to pull it off! Hooray! A thousand applauses for Haruki! Now they have to decide their next song. What? They’re not going to play just 1 stinking song at the festival, right? The next song should match Setsuna’s vocals. As Setsuna is a fan of Rina Ogata, she wants to sing her song that came out in that same year as White Album and won the first prize at the music festival: Sound Of Destiny. It’s a cool song. Just one problem: The guitar solo riffs are a killer! Oh God… Oh Haruki… How can you pull that one off? Notice how Kazusa is trying to contain her laughter? I’m sure Haruki wanted to decline but since Setsuna mentions how amazing he would be if he could pull this off… I think he better start practising now! Takeya leaves to start his programming. He gives Kazusa a notebook and hopes she will read it because he wants his dream to come true. Kazusa doesn’t think he can do it even if he practises 10 hours a day. Because there is only a week left to the festival. Even if he puts in 24 hours of practice, this means he will have 168 hours of practice time? Impossible? But Kazusa thinks he can do it. She will make him do it and turn him into a cool guy. Meanwhile Setsuna finds a matching set of toiletries with hers.

Episode 5
The riffs must be killing Haruki’s fingers. Thanks for sounding horrible. But big problem looms. Setsuna doesn’t look happy. Is she disappointed or something? Haruki tries not to pry too much and I’m sure there is some meaning behind what she told Haruki that he isn’t handsome and he’s probably being kind to everybody just to get on everyone’s good side. So he had to call her late that night to apologize for whatever. He found out from Kazusa so he had a gist of why she’s acting so. Because they never told Setsuna about Haruki staying at Kazusa’s place for a week (the toiletries, I suppose), she felt left out. Jealous. She thought that they’re in the same team and should at least tell each other things. Were they obligated to? Now Setsuna feels embarrassed and pathetic about it. Setsuna relates that she has this fear of being ostracized because her old friends for no reason did that. She has a trauma of being left out. Haruki promises to be with her all the way so Setsuna teases and forces him to call her by her first name. Needs some getting use to. So things between them settled, now it’s like Setsuna is trying to make up with Kazusa. Getting overly friendly? Cold Kazusa has no intention of getting that intimate with her and doesn’t really care about her past problems. Hey. It’s not her problem. However rest assured, she still finds her less annoying than Haruki. Was that supposed to be a compliment? During the test, Haruki must be really confident he will ace it because he finishes early and has time to scribble his plans for the festival on the back of the sheet! He thought the teacher caught him but it is actually Kazusa in trouble. She was doing her music sheet and dared to tell the sir that she doesn’t know anything about the test and didn’t do it. He confiscates her music book and this causes Kazusa to boil. She’s seething with anger and wants that precious book back. Scary face. Don’t blame the teacher if he turned pale. She takes it back from him and runs away to the music room. Haruki also ditches his test to go talk to her. And Setsuna makes it three. I guess you need another girl to understand a girl’s heart. Since they’re supposed to be a team, they stick with her till the end. If she’s going to be anti-establishment, so will they. That’s what friends are for, no? The trio continue their practice and make the most of the time they have left. Back home, Kazusa finishes writing her song but as soon as she does that, she collapses.

Episode 6
Kazusa dreams that her mother had to leave her and couldn’t bring her along. She was devastated. Probably she is sick that she dreamt of the past. She looks like she’s still reeling for it. Haruki seems to be nursing her. She shows her ‘gratefulness’ by claiming his food isn’t even fit for human consumption. Haruki must really treasure her. For he has skipped school and the rehearsal just to nurse her. He couldn’t lose a precious band member. Besides, he won’t do this if it was his other classmates. Aww. Don’t you just feel special? Haruki continues his practice and since Kazusa said she was responsible for making him a cool guy, she sleeps in the studio. Won’t it get noisy especially his horrible guitar? She explains that she wanted to give up piano because she wanted to give up being Youko’s daughter. When she left for Paris and told her straight that it was pointless for her to come along, she felt her world crumbled. Up till then, she viewed Youko as her role model and was everything. It was then she realized Youko thought little of her and everything started to look ridiculous. Haruki thinks it’s just a parent-child fight. If she recovers in time, they can play that song she wrote. Oops. He looked into her notebook. Will they actually have enough time? Don’t worry. It will work out. Such confidence. When Haruki goes to school on the eve of the festival, he is told by Takeya about the rehearsal yesterday. Setsuna couldn’t find her voice and stood there paralyzed. She felt guilty that she couldn’t do anything without her band mates. I guess that’s why Takeya thought Haruki will be the only guy who can solve this. Yeah. Everything will somehow work out. So he enters the class and surprises everyone because it seems that he is friendly enough to go up and talk to the school idol. And then he takes her hands and run away. Now Takeya has to answer to everyone for what is happening. The duo are on their way to see Kazusa. Everyone is starring at them. Not because of the traditional outfit Setsuna is wearing (part of her class café for the festival) but the way she is hiding herself behind Haruki’s back. Embarrassing? Yeah. Maybe. Anyway they make up and when they reach Kazusa’s place, Setsuna is glad to see her up and well again, pounding her piano. Setsuna is shown a song called Todokanai Omoi that will be their third and closing song. Never heard of it. That’s because it’s an original piece. Kazusa composed it and Haruki wrote the lyrics. Setsuna will sing it and it will be their song. She is very touched. Despite having less than 24 hours of practice, they are going to their best and live out their dream.

Episode 7
The festival is here. Kazusa is not particularly thrilled about this sexy almost revealing dress Setsuna picked for her (S&M police? Biker girl?). But it can’t be helped since she wasn’t here on that day for measurement. Like Haruki says, they’re both dressed to kill. LMA kicks off with White Album and the crowd loves it. Setsuna is pitch perfect. Tomo is not impressed. Just jealous. Could she have done a better job? She thinks so. I think not. The crowd is even thrilled when Kazusa picks up the saxophone and wails away. After the song ends, Setsuna introduces her band mates (I guess Takeya wasn’t part of it). She also introduces Kazusa as their bassist because their next song will be Sound Of Destiny. As they play it out, Setsuna and Kazusa remember about their talk. Setsuna wanted to know who she truly loves because she herself had no qualms in admitting she loves Haruki. Kazusa became uncomfortable as she asserted she has never fall in love before. Haruki manages to end the song with his killer rift. Perfect. We won’t get to hear their last number since it shifts to the end of the festival. Kazusa is back at her music room playing her piano as Haruki bugs her with questions she finds annoying. If she likes that outfit she’s wearing since she hasn’t change and it’s getting cold or what she’ll be doing after graduation. He thinks his actions have brought them together and hoped they will stay like this forever. I think Haruki’s nostalgic ranting must have got Kazusa teary eyed because she too had fun. Haruki must be so tired he fell asleep. When he wakes up, it is Setsuna who is beside him and Kazusa has left. Now it’s her turn to say she had fun and a wonderful experience on stage. And yeah. Always stay by her side. Since Haruki has gotten admitted to Hojou University, she hopes to take the same subjects with him so that they can be together. I suppose it is important. Then the romantic mood gets heavier and heavier, Setsuna gets closer to him till they finally kiss.

Episode 8
Setsuna sees Kazusa just to tell her about her and Haruki becoming a couple. Kazusa already knows because Haruki told her. Setsuna wants to apologize because it feels like she got in the way. But Kazusa doesn’t really want her to jump to such conclusions and doesn’t care about them dating. If they want to date, then just date. Kazusa allows Setsuna to call her by her first name, turning her into a happy emotional lass. Haruki is helping Kazusa study for her make-up tests but their friends want to go party since it is the year end and will be graduating soon. They can’t refuse a good karaoke session, no? Since when did Haruki become such a strict ass? At least Kazusa is more open up and joins them. So after Kazusa passes her tests (barely), the trio are organizing a trip to the hotspring for Christmas. Can you believe how whiny Haruki is? Since when he is like their father and disapprove of it? But he’s here anyway. I can see why he is concerned because Kazusa is going to drive them and there is a worrying damage on the car. Why not take a train? With Setsuna’s load of luggage, that’s why. Thanks to Haruki’s poor navigation, they got lost for 2 hours before getting back on track. Then it starts snowing and their car skidded. Oddly, Setsuna starts playing in the snow instead of panicking. And Kazusa is just laughing… Well, I guess that should be the way. But shouldn’t they call for help? I don’t know how but they made it to the inn. As they eat their warm meal in their room, Setsuna hopes they can do this together year after year but Kazusa disagrees since she might get a boyfriend and that Setsuna and Haruki might want some time together alone. Then Setsuna had to get all emotional arguing it’s because that they are her precious friends thingy. Turns out Kazusa was just pulling her leg. She should relax as she takes things too seriously. And so Setsuna hounds her (by stripping each other?) and for Kazusa to make it up to her, she’ll do anything she asks. Later it’s Haruki’s turn to thank Kazusa for being Setsuna’s friend. He also personally thanks her for helping him turn into a cool guy. He also sees her as his precious friends. Haruki thinks he has a quiet time alone in the hotspring when Setsuna forcefully brings Kazusa along to join him. She said she would do anything right? Splash! They trust this guy a lot, do they? Kazusa explains she is taking a piano competition next year. If she takes the entrance exams now, there is no guarantee she’ll be accepted into any university so it falls back to what she is good at: Playing piano. She thought she would give that a try again. Her friends are happy for her and will support her. Looking forward to watch her in competition.

Episode 9
Kazusa has not been to school ever since or answer Haruki’s calls. He thinks she wants to stay focus on the competition as she has locked herself in home practising her piano. Haruki and Setsuna talk about this so they agree to give her some space and not distract her. But they’ll support her all they’ve got at the competition. Later as Haruki sends Setsuna home, they have a very long passionate kiss outside her house. So passionate that Setsuna almost suffocated! It would have been hell funny if daddy came out with a shotgun… At the competition, Setsuna seems to be the nervous one. It is Kazusa’s turn and I thought the slow tune almost put me to sleep. Coupled in flashbacks of her times spent with Haruki. And when it got livelier, they must have fast forward it to the end. Later when they meet up with her, Setsuna is crying!!! WTF?! Seems she is sad that Kazusa wasn’t even placed. But Kazusa accepts her loss since she has not practised piano for 2 years unlike the rest who did for 10 hours every day. In fact, she doesn’t view it as a loss but a victory as she managed to move the heart of her best friend. Haruki steps outside to talk with Kazusa. He feels she is ignoring him. She doesn’t want him to talk to her even. He hopes they could get back like how they were since the competition is over. Besides, Setsuna’s birthday is next week. However Kazusa acts like she doesn’t care and this upsets Haruki. What’s wrong with her today? When Haruki walks home with Setsuna, he suggests booking a restaurant as he wants to celebrate this important occasion with just the 2 of them. However she tells him she was thinking of celebrating her birthday with her family and friends at home. But it seems her family is leaving for a vacation, I guess it will only be her friends. I can see why her dad was depressed when she didn’t want to tag along. She now hopes Kazusa will turn up or else it would mean she will be alone with Haruki. On her birthday, Setsuna hears the doorbell. A delivery man sending a bouquet of flowers from Kazusa. Guess she’s not turning up. Haruki finishes buying his present and has time to spare. He goes to Kazusa’s house and is surprised to be greeted by Youko. She recognizes him as the guitarist at the festival. As for Kazusa, looks like she is onboard a plane…

Episode 10
Haruki calls Setsuna and feigns he has some sort of cold and won’t make it in time but promises will be there. She is willing to postpone it do another day but he says today must be the day. Haruki is at the airport waiting to fetch Kazusa home from overseas. He learnt what is going on from Youko. Kazusa went overseas to find a new instructor and it took her a week for it. She is tired and wants to go home but Haruki won’t allow it and will have her come with him to Setsuna’s birthday. Because she is going to tell Setsuna herself about her plan of moving to Europe and living with Youko. He is fine with her plan but at least tell Setsuna about it otherwise it’ll be like breaking her promise of staying with them forever. Kazusa wants him to tell her on her behalf but that would defeat the purpose, right? And if she is going to tell Setsuna eventually, when will that day be? If Haruki had never found this out, she’ll never tell at all. Haruki blows his top that she is doing this to him and is this all he is worth. Kazusa acts tough but eventually breaks down. She doesn’t want to hear such things form her best friend’s boyfriend and it was he who left her first and torturing her to stay with him. Yet, she gets blamed and everything is her fault. She blames him for never realizing how she felt for him. How could he? He thought she never liked a loser like him. So she puts it bluntly to him. What’s wrong with falling in love with a loser?

For the rest of the episode, we go back in certain times during the year and see snippets of Kazusa. From the time she enrolled in this school and the teachers had trouble dealing with her f*cked up attitude and the special treatment they gave her just because she is the daughter of somebody famous is causing problems for other students in the same music programme. They were in a discussion to move her to the normal programme with a condition. Next, we see nice Haruki trying to leave her important notes in school but she just couldn’t care less and yells at him to f*ck off and not touch her. Although Kazusa is seen sleeping in class, she can still hear how Haruki is made to become the committee of the festival. One evening, Haruki continues to bug her to fill up her future career survey. At first she crumpled it away but when she realizes he doesn’t know who she is, she felt compelled to complete it for him. One day the teacher called her to stop giving problems to Haruki as they both live in different worlds. Though, Kazusa asserts that Haruki is the one who is bothering her, she is told to just ignore him like always. Kazusa hears Haruki practice his guitar and at first she hated it, she grew to like it. Although he should practice more as he often screwed up the simple chords. One day thinking of the teacher’s advice, she goes to talk to him to make him stop playing the guitar on pretence that the sports clubs didn’t appreciate his horrible playing. Since he continues to play (and screwing it up as usual), Kazusa tells him to hand over the guitar.

Episode 11
Kazusa’s point of view flashback continues. As Haruki tried to practice his guitar, Kazusa played her piano to accompany his horrible playing. One day Haruki called her to thank her for teaching him how to play the guitar. He also mentions about the person playing the piano next door, not knowing it was actually her. As thanks, Haruki gave her an English grammar book since she wanted to go to university. So did use the book well but one day she somehow lost it and tried to search everywhere till she found it. She was the happiest girl in the world. Probably this is why she is so sleepy in class and moody when Haruki talked to her. After the festival’s performance whereby Haruki talked with her in the piano room, when he fell asleep, she kissed him on his lips (I thought she couldn’t resist it, the way she bend down on her knees just to reach his lips). She starts crying and apologizing. Next day, Haruki told her about Setsuna’s confession and he agreed to go out with her. He was disturbed because he said the three of them would be together and then this happened. Although Kazusa was breaking inside, she acts like it has nothing to do with her and assures she will still be with them. That night she gets a surprise call from her mom who is back in town. She heard about Kazusa performing on stage so she couldn’t miss this chance to see it. Youko wanted Kazusa to enter a competition and if she did well, she’ll allow her to come to Vienna with her. Then on the trip to the hotspring, Kazusa thanked Kazusa for everything. On the trip back, Kazusa wanted to kiss sleeping Haruki but backed off. After sending the duo home, the closeness of Haruki and Setsuna caused her to cry uncontrollably. After the competition, Kazusa was surprised that Youko allowed her to come to Vienna despite she didn’t get any placing. Youko claims those judges are amateurs and the way she played cannot escape her sharp ears. She agrees to go. So now back to where we left off, Kazusa and Haruki in a standoff in the streets. She’s still crying. So what does Haruki do? He hugs her and kisses her!!! I thought she enjoyed this moment, the reason it took her some time to push and slap him away. Before he can admit he loves her, she accuses him of why he is so good at kissing. How many times has he kissed Setsuna? So to say, she loved that passionate kiss? I don’t know, she continues to weep like a confused little girl before running away. And Haruki is left standing alone…

Episode 12
Setsuna nurses Haruki who is a little sick after left standing in the cold. He’s apologizing for not turning up for the party and making her come to his place. Is he sure he is sorry about that? She’s glad he relied on her. And after she leaves, he just cries like a baby. Kazusa meets up with Setsuna to tell her she is living for Vienna to continue her piano and live with her mom. Setsuna wonders if she is unable to accept her as her friend. Kazusa denies and in fact loves her as she is her only friend. It is her who made her decide to move on. She doesn’t hate her mom that much and wants to get along with her. She wants to be a good girl. Takeya talks to Haruki and he has an idea about him and Kazusa. He wants him to forget her since he has Setsuna and not end up like him. Io is also talking to Setsuna and the latter still has feelings of guiltiness. Although saying things now won’t change, what if Setsuna was the one who confessed to Haruki? Would he have rejected her? Because that night after the festival, she saw Kazusa kissing Haruki in the piano room. She believes herself to be fickle and selfish and caused ruin to everything even though she knew how they felt about each other. During graduation day, Haruki as the representative goes up on stage to deliver his speech. Later hanging out with Takeya and Chikashi, they talk about Kazusa never showing up at the ceremony. Haruki is surprised to hear Chikashi lamenting he couldn’t get a chance to confess to Kazusa. Takeya warns Haruki never to do that in front of Setsuna.

Setsuna comes rushing looking for Haruki. Seems Kazusa left a letter in her desk. It shows she was here. Haruki wants to go look for her but Takeya stops him. But after seeing Setsuna’s ‘approval face’ (tinged with sadness), Haruki makes haste out of school. He looks for her everywhere, from the streets to her home, tries calling her and leaving many messages but no reply. Desperate, isn’t he? That night when he goes home with all hope lost, he suddenly gets a surprised call from Kazusa! Instantly he picks up! There were many miscalls from Setsuna and he didn’t even bothered picking it up. He starts throwing a tantrum and crying like a kid. Kazusa says she is in a place far beyond his reach (that would be the park just outside his apartment) and heard his boring speech. Haruki then confesses he loves her but she replies she hates traitors. So she hates him and herself. It starts snowing again so whenever this happens, she will always remember the times they had playing as a band together, throwing snowballs on their way to the hotspring and that warm kiss. Oh yeah. A lot of things happened during snowy days. Haruki confronts her face to face below and has a feeling she came to see him. Sure watching him by the window was enough? Kazusa confesses that she really loved him. So when he chose Setsuna instead, it hurt her a lot. She was also sad and angry. Cue for the guy to hug her… She blames him for everything. She shouldn’t have done this or shouldn’t let him done or remind her about that. All Haruki could say is sorry. In the end? A goodbye kiss.

Episode 13
HOLY COW! Haruki and Kazusa having sex?! The kiss wasn’t enough?! Is this a goodbye present?! And who is that bugger who is calling in the middle of it all? SETSUNA?! Haruki you jerk, you want to pick that up?! Kazusa throws the handphone away and they continue to make love. Oh yeah. It’s snowing. Another best memory to add to the snowy album. Next morning, Kazusa leaves. But why the long face for the duo? The best sex ever and you’re regretting it? Setsuna comes over to check on him and although he says he is fine and not sick, something tells us that Setsuna knows what was going on. Haruki wants to tell her the truth but she won’t let him. She too has something to say but wants to tell Kazusa. That’s why she wants them to go see her before she leaves on her plane. On the train, it’s an awkward gloomy feeling between them. Haruki cannot believe after the truth he said (from lying about going to her birthday party and such), she can be so calm. Why isn’t she mad? She doesn’t blame him and would do the same had she knew Kazusa was leaving. However he was lying to her even before all this happened. Setsuna kinda knew how they felt about each other. She might have confessed and really wanted him as her boyfriend, but I guess she wasn’t as serious as Kazusa. They were in love and yet she came in between them. She thought she would win if she acted first. That’s why she doesn’t consider his act as betrayal and has no right to be mad. Besides, she became his girlfriend so that the trio can be together. Oddly, Haruki is the one getting emotional and breaking down. The weight of the guilt must be that heavy, huh? Once at the airport, Haruki thinks this is pointless and wants to go home. And then… There is Kazusa before them. Get this. Haruki yells out to her and rushes to hug her! WTF?! Setsuna’s watching you dimwit! Oh, what the heck, they just kiss without a care in the world?! WTF???!!! SETSUNA IS WATCHING!!! It’s just so sad that Setsuna can’t help but cry her heart out. Yeah, everything is just sad. It’s snowing too… Another snowy memory… I hope it will snow too much and the flight cancelled. Sorry, didn’t. Once the plane flies off, Haruki just stood there in the freezing cold. His heart must be frozen. Same case with Setsuna. She just stands there with him. Two frozen and broken hearts. We end with the third closing song the trio played at the festival concert that we didn’t get to see.

Torn Between 2 Lovers, Feeling Like A…
Uhm… Eh… What… Just… Happened? Is this how it ended? No wonder I felt unsatisfied. The ending wasn’t really clear whom Haruki decided to continue with but I guess it doesn’t matter. The way things played out, I thought we just wouldn’t care about this guy anymore. He’s got a nice sweet popular idol whom every guy would be green with envy and die to go out with, and he actually picks the tsundere girl who has been giving him the cold and harsh treatment for a big part of their time? Well, he is indeed a strange person so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Now that she has left for Vienna, will he go back to Setsuna? Don’t know. Will he maintain long distance relationship with Kazusa? Don’t know. Will he find a new girl, say hook up with somebody else like Io? Don’t know. Don’t care. All I know is, the ending somewhat left a bad taste in my mouth (although I won’t go as far as to say it really sucks) that it made me think if this season had a School Days’ ending, Setsuna would have understandably turned into a yandere and cut off that guy’s head!!! Oh yeah. White Album 2. School Days minus the killing.

I guess that is what this White Season anime is all about. The guy becoming a couple and falling in love with the wrong girl. In the end, everybody suffers and we go back to square one. Just like in the first season, we don’t know if the main guy had ended up with any of the girls. But unlike in that season whereby the rival girls end up collaborating and released an album together, this one doesn’t. Just feels bitter, doesn’t it? All we are left with are the memories of them playing as a three piece band during the festival. That’s the best time they had together. Not even the final sex scene could save this season. What sex scene? We are mainly left to our imagination to what is happening. What else could they be doing on a bed with the darkness preventing our eyes from watching it no matter how hard we squint our eyes. Or even get desperate enough to try to peek at the edge of the monitor in hopes that something will show. Ah well, if you really want sex scenes, then you should be better off playing the adult visual novel game this season (and the previous) was based on.

The characters aren’t really anything to shout about despite the entire season is mainly focusing on the interaction and the relationship of the trio and the love triangle that you could have seen it coming from miles away. Heh. We expected that since we read the synopsis, right? Though, both female leads are likeable enough that would have viewers wondering who Haruki would choose in the end. Keep guessing. It didn’t happen. Fans of the game may have good things to say but unfortunately for me, I have to admit that at certain points it became some sort of a little yawn. Something in me kept wanting to shout out for something really dramatic to happen though it came late when Kazusa revealed she actually liked that loser. Haruki is just a normal guy with his own flaws. Setsuna might be an idol but she too has her own insecurities and guilty conscious. Kazusa is like still waters run deep. She’s like a bomb waiting to explode. She has been keeping her emotions locked that when she burst into tears and getting very emotional, I thought she was a whole different person. Is this the Kazusa we really know? The whole love triangle thingy is disguised under this masquerade called friendship. Yeah. Such a convenient word if you can’t choose which girl you want to be or the girl is afraid of hurting her rival and thus conveniently maintaining their level of friendship like this. Though, it is one big drama of the trio trying to understand each other and maintain their friendship as long as it takes. I guess it didn’t. So did Kazusa’s ‘escape’ to Vienna work things out for the better? I doubt it. At least not in the context of this anime. Everybody is a sad cat and only got happy memories to deal with for a happy ending. What a bummer.

The other characters feel lacking since as I have said, the big focus of this anime is on the trio. Like that Takeya guy who is a ladies’ man feels so insignificant that I thought his role has been reduced to some sort of gopher or something. It’s like the series can do without him but I suppose such buddies need to exist because every main guy character must have a good buddy whom they can talk to or poke fun or make in a way he isn’t the centre of attraction for the main girls. And then you need a little joker like Chikashi but he too is forgettable. Io might have known Haruki for some time and she might be his childhood friend if I’m not mistaken. I thought she would be added into the love polygon but it seems her role was just as minimal as Takeya and Chikashi. Heck, even in the first season of this series, there were a few other females showing potential interest in the lead male besides the main duo female leads despite they don’t stand a chance to these ‘giants’. And here, there is none. I suppose having a couple of girls and torn between them is already tough so don’t add to the confusion anymore. What about Tomo? I thought that b*tch would have some sort of role in the later episodes but her nose is nowhere to be seen after the festival. Only in the final episodes during the festival flashback scenes, we see her shedding tears of joy or whatever when she heard Setsuna sang Todokanai Omoi. I thought this b*tch hated her so much? Then after hearing her beautiful voice, she doesn’t hold a grudge anymore? This kind of woman… I’m glad she isn’t part of the love polygon because she might have yandere potential seeing how selfish and arrogant she is. And Youko, for whatever reasons she couldn’t bring her daughter along in the first place and left her emotionally ‘scarred’ and all of a sudden allows her to let her follow, I feel it serves as a wedge and the turning point to put an end to this fake friendship game the trio are playing.

The art and drawing are quite good but nothing exceptional. Though, there are some fine scenery and backgrounds, I like the snow effects best. I don’t know. The effect is simply pleasant to watch if the tear-jerking drama is getting a little too mushy to watch. Yeah. Now you know why they remember the important things that happened during snow. The art and drawing of the characters are also well done and resembles quite closely to the game. Satelight produces this anime, so they have some experience in drawing beautiful bishonen and bishoujo people. The Macross series, Arata Kangatari, Mouretsu Pirates, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse and Sousei No Aquarion just to name a few.

Since this is mainly a drama genre, I don’t find the voice acting to be anything extraordinary in particular. The leading casts have Takahiro Mizushima as Haruki (Furuuichi in Beelzebub), Madoka Yonezawa as Setsuna (Ui in K-ON!) and Hitomi Nabatame as Kazusa (Yukiji in Hayate No Gotoku, Saori in Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai). The rest include Takuma Terashima as Takeya (Mugai in Mushibugyou), Ikumi Nakagami as Io (Yukari in Girls Und Panzer), Noriaki Sugiyama as Chikashi (Sasuke in Naruto), Rio Natsuki as Youko (Nanami in El Hazard), Yuuki Kaji as Takahiro (Akina in Yozakura Quartet) and Miyuu Kashiwagi as Tomo (her only other voice acting role is young Arthur in Tears To Tiara).

The biggest draw to me of this series is of course the music. There are quite a number of lovely instrumental piano pieces played throughout the series which I believe can be nicely found all on the original soundtrack. As for vocal tracks (most of them taken from the visual novel game it was written for), there are also many insert songs in the series but my favourite ones are still those sung from the first season. My favourite is White Album. Probably they spammed the first few episodes with Haruki playing his solo electric guitar of it but it didn’t take me that long to fall in love with it. Just after a few listening and the piano version of it, I’m already hooked. Hearing Sound of Destiny isn’t bad either as it brought back memories of the first season but I still prefer White Album. Rena Uehara sings all the opening and ending themes for this season. Todokanai Koi 13 is the rock pop opening theme although it serves as the ending theme for the last episode and is sung by Madoka Yonezawa. Closing 13 is the first ending theme although this slow rock only lasts for one episode (episode 2). Also lasting for one episode is the pop ballad, After All ~Tsuzuru Omoi~ 13 in episode 11. The main ending theme would be Sayonara No Koto, another slow rock. Oddly I don’t find these themes as appealing as the instrumental ones or the older songs.

While overall this is not actually a bad or even mediocre anime, those who truly appreciate romance and drama and love to see how people handle love triangles, jealousy and rejection should have a go at this anime that can be heart-warming and heartbreaking at the same time. Just that the ending disappoints a little but that shouldn’t affect the overall enjoyment of this show. After all, there is nothing better to learn from others just in case you find yourself in a very similar position and circumstances. What would you have done? Could you have done better? Because in real life, you don’t have save game points to go back and redo any blunder. You can’t just switch off the TV and leave the drama as it is in the video. In this case, a win-win situation or a harem isn’t possible. Ah. Decisions, decisions and decisions. Choices, choices and choices. Choose a girl, get a harem or stay single. But don’t choose one where the girl will sever your head with a knife!

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