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!

White Album

August 14, 2010

I admit that I am a fan of The Beatles but please do not mistake this blog as a tribute to their revolutionary White Album. Instead, the White Album that I am to blog about is the anime one. Based on the adult visual novel of the same name, I found out that it was released as a PC game way back in 1998! Wow. That’s more than 10 years since the adapted anime version hit the TV screens back in 2009.
 
Though it is adapted into a 26 episode series, it took nearly a year for the whole series to finish airing. I’m not sure about the logic of splitting the series into 2 halves. At midpoint, it took several months break before resuming and finishing it at the year’s end. I don’t know but perhaps it is more cost saving that way or perhaps a strategy to retain viewership. Either way, it’s either you’re going to totally love it or hate it. Aside the big names lending their voices to the series’ main protagonists, I find that this whole anime is one big romance drama. So if you’re not into it, you’ll find it hard to follow it especially for the first half of the series. I have to admit that at times I found it to be draggy and caught myself yawning. What was I expecting? Dragon slaying action? Who am I kidding. Sexy fanservice? This series has none whatsoever.
 
Initially this is my impression and expectation when I briefly skimmed through the synopsis. An inevitable battle going to be pitted against an up and coming idol star, Yuki Morikawa, and a veteran and popular songstress with a huge fan base of her own, Rina Ogata. And the thing that comes between them? Yuki’s boyfriend, Touya Fujii. Yup. I was smelling a big catfight among the ladies just for Touya’s attention but it didn’t turn out that way. Not even close. In fact both Yuki and Rina as you could say, best friends in the music industry. Why not? Since they’re both under the Ogata Production, headed by Rina’s elder brother, the mysterious Eiji. And so I guess the main problem here is that Touya guy who is not only torn between Yuki and Rina, but a bunch of other girls in the series too. Woah! A harem series, you say? Erm… I’m not sure if it fits that definition because it’s not a very obvious fact that the girls are fighting over him.
 
So episode 1 gets things started by introducing the main characters of the series and also the other supporting casts like Touya’s university buddies such as the gentle and caring senior, Misaki Sawakura, the athletic but melancholic-looking Haruka Kawashima, Touya’s best buddy and also colleague working part time at a cafe named Echoes, Akira Nanase, the dialogue-less cafe master of Echoes known as Franky who seems to be spending most of his time listening to music in a specially-made music room at Echoes while leaving Touya and Akira to do most of the job (hey, that’s what they’re paid for, right?), and Yuki’s manager Yayoi Shinozuka (she looks so ominous that you think she’s a witch with an ulterior motive!). Being a rising idol is tough because Yuki is whisked away by Yayoi as the lovebirds don’t have proper time to chat. Let alone enough time to spend together. I guess this is how cracks in the relationship start. But whether the crack is there or not, at least Touya and Yuki try to remain loyal to each other. Okay, so at least that is what Touya seems to be. Furthermore, there seems to be some phone restriction thingy whereby both sides are unable to pick up the phone and chat for more than 5 minutes. Must be some strict idol rules thingy, eh? Sometimes it’s just mind boggling to see Yuki waiting at the phone or when they call each other but got the phone message instead. Touya also seems to have a rocky relationship with his widower dad so the kid lives in an apartment on his own, though he may have a hard time trying to pay the rent, thus Akira helps him to find another part time job. Yuki too is having a tough time at the agency because a bunch of all-girl group Sakura-dan seems to love bullying her. Thankfully Rina is there to stand up for her. That night as Touya watches Yuki’s performance on TV, he gets a surprise call from her. Yup, that was pre-recorded. But the thing is, Rina was also there and upon finding out she was talking to her boyfriend, she requests Yuki to bring her to meet him.
 
You may have guessed in episode 2 that Haruka has some sort of a secret crush on Touya as the former requests the latter for a walk. He initially refused but soon agrees. Next day as Touya is working at Echoes, they are stunned to see Yuki and Rina coming in. I don’t know if that heavy scarf and sunglasses disguise is supposed to work but heck, it’s sure an eye-puller. Do idols have that much free time? Apparently they had some just before today’s work and speaking of that, Yayoi comes in to pick up Yuki and this leaves Touya and Rina alone. Rina may have taken an interest in Touya because she asks him to write down his phone number. And Touya gets another surprise for the day when Eiji comes out from somewhere inside Echoes to escort Rina out and back to work. That night, Touya gives Misaki a call since that girl was absent because she was sick and when he returns home, he hears his phone ringing and what do you know? It’s Rina on the other line.
 
In episode 3, their phone conversation is interrupted when Haruka rings the doorbell. Another walk? Nope. Something about re-registering for classes on Saturday. With that out of the way, Rina has a request of Touya. She wants him to be her manager. Gasp! And why would a university kid shoulder such a heavy burden? No, it isn’t the money. Rina somehow convinced that Yuki will be around. Ah, I see. Soon after, another phone call from Yuki about wanting to meet him on Saturday. Wow. His schedule is sure busy. Which should he choose? Of course his girlfriend’s one lah. Next day, Touya learns he has landed another part time job as a home tutor. On his way into Ogata Productions, he sees a chubby man, Hiiragi, rushing out and was soon told by Eiji he was Rina’s manager. Was. So I guess that’s where Touya the replacement comes in, eh? Yuki is surprised to see Touya. During a stage performance, Rina notices Touya waving to Yuki so she stops the performance just to slap him! But it’s all part Rina’s plan as she causes a fake tantrum so Touya and Yuki can spend time together. They chat about things like how they first met. Though Touya remembers it was during their high school years, Yuki remembers much further. While they were young in the woods. Yuki also wants to tell him a secret but that will be on Saturday. Unfortunately, they are discovered so Touya is fired as Rina’s manager. So fast? To make things worse, Yuki suddenly has work on Saturday so they can’t meet up. I guess Touya with nowhere left to go, decides to go to the kid he’s supposed to tutor, Mana Mizuki. Supposedly some demon kid as she has changed several tutors as long as she has home tutored. Because nobody answered the doorbell, Touya leaves and ends up at Echoes. Suddenly Rina comes in and heads into some secret doorway in Echoes (a broom closet?) to confront Eiji about Touya’s dismissal but the latter avoids and escapes.
 
Rina calls Touya in the wee hours of one morning in episode 4 just to tell him to meet up with Yuki at a different time. Probably he was still dreaming and went ahead and followed Rina’s orders. As expected he sees neither Rina nor Yuki there. Touya looks around the place and bumps into a little girl brat, thinking he’s a pervert. This tsundere girl somehow agreed to help him wait for his girlfriend until she learns his girlfriend is no other than the singer. Would she believe it? They search and search so I guess it’s time to part ways. Yuki too is searching for Touya and they barely miss each other on several occasions. They finally meet when it’s night fall. Wow. It took the whole day. Touya hugs her as Yuki reveals the secret: She is going to release her debut single soon. Yuki invites Touya to her apartment so he escorts her back. As they go up the stairs, they both share an intimate kiss before heading into her room.
 
Touya comes out of the shower in episode 5 but finds Yuki fast asleep. Since he isn’t a monster, he doesn’t take advantage of her and leaves. But he finds Yayoi waiting for him so she offers to take him on a long drive. She tells him how when she was first appointed as Rina’s manager many years ago, due to her carelessness, a picture of Rina buying cigarettes became a scandal (a setup by some corrupted production manager, I guess). To atone for that, Yayoi offers to be Yuki’s manager and she vows not to make that same mistake again. How far is she willing to protect Yuki? How about placing Touya’s hands on her breasts and even starts seducing him! Note this isn’t the fanservice anyhow. I’m not sure about her logic of wanting him to fall for her so that he could leave Yuki since she thinks Touya is obstructing Yuki’s advancement in her career. In short, she wants him to leave Yuki alone. She is even willing to do it with him if he ever wanted it. Yeah, sex as bribe, I’d say. Meanwhile Misaki is writing scripts for a play at her university’s festival. But the bunch of ungrateful guys want her to do the costumes as well. Seems guilt-ridden Misaki has done something bad and probably the reason why these jerks are treating her like dirt, especially that bespectacled bastard, Tamaru. Yuki hands Haruka a coded message so that she could pass to Touya for another meeting (something about wanting to sleep with him. Geez, that guy is so popular). Before Touya could go meet Yuki, distress Misaki calls him for help.
 
Sure, nice guy Touya decides to help Misaki with her drama club issues in episode 6. He learns something about Misaki turning down an offer to be the drama club head and now that Tamaru jerk is using her. Yayoi offers another car ride for Touya and at the end, she kisses him as a reward for staying away from Yuki! Yikes! He pushes her away and quickly gets out of the car. He sees Misaki waiting outside his doorstep so he lets her in. While she fell asleep, Touya goes through her sketch designs. Then he gets a call from Yuki. He hides the fact that Misaki is here and both sides start apologizing over the things that happened. Next night, Touya and Misaki go shop for materials (since her designs were approved by the bunch of jerks the same morning). The little girl brat spots the duo and follows them. Touya and Misaki are trying to find a place to sew their costumes but the design club at their university is working at full capacity and has no room for them, thus rejecting their request. Yuki too is having a hard time with her practice session but Eiji isn’t going to give up as Rina comes by to give her some encouragement.
 
Yuki manages to finish her recording in episode 7 and Touya suggests Misaki to temporarily stay at his dad’s place to use the sewing machine. Note the different treatment between his son and the girl. They burn the midnight oil but the next day, Touya rushes to his tutoring job. He sees the girl brat and thinks she is Mana’s sister but she reveals she is the only child and her single mom is always away busy working. Touya gives Mana a proficiency test and as usual that girl isn’t interested giving all sorts of excuse. Mana isn’t a dumb girl as she is quite intelligent, just that perhaps she lacks the motivation to do so. Their chat include about Touya’s girlfriend (since she mistaken Misaki as Yuki, Mana thinks he’s a flirt) and Mana’s spiteful comments on certain singers. That night as Touya and Misaki are dinning at Echoes, Rina comes in and misinterprets. Touya chases her to Eiji’s secret room to clear up the misunderstanding. Rina makes an excuse to rehire Touya so that she could watch over him and not worry Yuki but Eiji isn’t convinced. They head back to the studio, leaving Misaki behind. Meanwhile, Sakura-dan continues to bully Yuki as they even get physical on her! Yayoi wanted to give them a piece of her mind but Yuki doesn’t want her to create any commotion. Haruka is turning into a stalker because she’s ringing Touya’s doorbell so much so it annoys the neighbours. He’s not there, girl. He’s at Ogata Productions whereby he listens to Rina’s singing and is mesmerized by her different level.
 
After hearing her singing in episode 8, Touya and Rina chat about stuff like how Eiji quit being a singer because he was sick of it and that time it led him to give Rina her big break in the music industry but she too she is no longer his number 1 when Yuki appeared. Haruka eventually leaves Touya’s place but gets assaulted by several men. Thankfully Mana saves her and you can say it’s a start a beautiful friendship between the duo. Touya continues to help Misaki through the night and I guess Haruka got desperate enough to climb through Touya’s room window and sleep in his bed. A surprise that guy got when he returned home. Seems busy Touya has no time to pick up Yuki’s calls so Yuki calls his father’s place instead and finds Misaki taking up the call and thinks she is there taking care of his dad. Where is Touya? He’s out with Haruka figuring out what present to buy for Rina’s upcoming birthday. He’s such a busy guy. Meanwhile, Eiji is in a conversation with a rival studio production manager, Itsuki Kanzaki of M&M Music or better known as M3 Productions. Something about Eiji has lost out to some TV ratings so Kanzaki’s team will be taking some popular arena venue for their Christmas Eve performance. As Touya meets Rina to give her the gifts he bought, Yuki finally sees him (after all that miscalls). The duo talk as she finds out about the university’s festival. After Touya listens to their singing sessions, Yayoi brings him back and tries another passionate kissing-cum-seduction. Call it a guy’s thing to give in. Can’t give in to the sexual pleasures of the skin, eh? If you can’t resist them, join ’em.
 
The festival is just around the corner in episode 9 but Tamaru continues to be a jerk by rejecting Misaki’s hard work costumes. He’s trying to test her patience and throw his weight around, eh? So it’s back to the drawing board as Touya’s dad chip in to help. What about Touya? He’s trying his best to tutor Mana so much so he falls asleep on the job. Due to exhaustion lah. Misaki sends the finished costumes to university by herself. Yuki is at the festival and as usual, she and Touya missed each other. Even if Touya did realize Yuki was there, he decides to go watch the drama club rehearsal. The next day, Tamaru refuses to give Misaki and Touya the seats for the play. He is willing to, if they pay, that is. Probably Misaki doesn’t want Tamaru to have the last laugh as she guides Touya through the backstage maze. I don’t know how long they’ve been crawling through the dark and across the props just to get some view of the stage since it took them pretty long as the play have already well started. During the ‘journey’, Touya tries to talk to Misaki about Akira’s feelings for her but the latter slips and causes lots of metal rods to fall on her. He goes to help her but she refuses. As far as I understand, Misaki is trying to say that she has feelings for Touya. So what’s a guy got to do that he kissed her! He even claims he loves her! What about Yuki?! Is this guy trying to psychologically help her or what?! Of course Misaki denies everything, doesn’t return his feelings, bla bla bla. Misaki makes Touya leaves but the latter sends Akira to help and at that time he confesses his feelings to her as she is wheeled into the ambulance.
 
Well you could say Akira and Misaki are a couple in episode 10 as they spend a night together at the hospital before being discharged the next day. Tamaru is upset and blames Misaki for the humiliation and drama club’s poor performance. At the same time, Touya’s dad suffers from a heart attack. Eiji informs Rina about some number that she needs to win. 46,701? Is that money? Nope. Some concert seats. Rina isn’t too happy about it but she goes to encourage Yuki. Yayoi has been receiving harassing letters from Hiiragi so she accidentally rips up the one Yuki passed to her to deliver to Touya. And to Rina’s surprise, she sees the ripped letter in the waste bin. Yayoi continues to seduce Touya (probably that guy has no qualms giving in after one time too many) and she’s pretty smooth in ‘covering’ her accidental letter ripping incident with the answers she come up when asked.
 
In episode 11, Eiji along with the rest of the staff and managers including Rina and Yuki, meet up about some game plan that is set between him and Kanzaki. Since Rina has lost out to Sakura-dan over the TV ratings, not only the b*tchy 7 member all-girl group doesn’t respect her anymore, her performance venues for Christmas Eve is demoted to some tiny arena. From what I understand about this plan is that the victor goes to the one with the most concert seats sold. And since Yuki’s in the fray too, it will be a 3 way battle. So how can Rina’s tiny stadium capacity beat Sakura-dan’s larger one? Something about Rina has to perform at several places that night. So if you add them up, they win. Something like that. Argh. I still don’t get it. Rina confronts Yayoi about the ripped letter but she reveals nothing and that she’s just doing her job. Maybe this is bugging Rina so much that she couldn’t get her act right during rehearsal and needed several retries. Haruka and Mana continue their female bonding via cycling and Yayoi continues her usual with Touya. Are we going to expect this in every subsequent episode? It gets even ‘hotter’ because Touya breaks down because he can’t get speak to Yuki recently so she licks his ear! She must be happy her plan to keep them away is working and thus the ‘reward’. If Touya is so concerned about Yuki, what the heck is he still doing with Yayoi?! Ah, pleasures of the flesh… You bet he has given himself to Yayoi because when Rina asks him to go out with her, he turns her down because he already has plans with Yayoi, leaving poor Rina shocked. For goodness sake. You’re her manager, remember!
 
Apparently Rina is upset about that in episode 12 and tries to warn him. But that Touya flirt is undeterred and is even okay with the thought of having a 3 way relationship (WTF?!) and goes back to sleep with Yayoi! WTF???!!! Then later when Touya goes to see Rina in her changing room, she gives Touya a long lecture via Yuki’s letter. Did she memorize them? I mean, she mentions about Yuki blaming herself for failures in her relationship, concerts and her final wish for him to come to her concert before she stops bothering him. Rina fires him as her manager once more so I’m not sure if it was the letter or the firing that made Touya crying like a little girl and running out of the room (or both). Touya leaves Yuki a message that he will attend her concert but has a hard time getting tickets. Fortunately for that loser, he gets several of them including from his friends Akira and Misaki (they plan to go on a date and don’t need to attend the concert anyway), Haruka and even Mana herself (her mom is Kanzaki! What a small world after all). Then after getting beat up by Franky, I guess Touya has to ‘cure’ his injuries by having another make-out session with Yayoi. Ugh. On another note, Akira and Misaki are having their nice walk together when Tamaru confronts them. He stabs Misaki! OMG! Has he really lost his mind?! Thankfully the book that Touya lent her protected her from being seriously wounded and Akira isn’t happy because in some ways Touya was playing the hero. Count your lucky stars that you didn’t get stabbed.
 
Touya manages to arrive at Yuki’s concert in time in episode 13. Some quickie, eh? Just kidding. He bumps into a girl who seems to know him but she goes off shortly. So the performances between Rina, Yuki and Sakura-dan start and though Yuki performs exceptionally well, Sakura-dan is hit with a snag since a member didn’t show up. Every time Rina finishes her concert, she sprints and dashes to the next one. You really got to be fit to do this. After the concert ends, Touya gets to see Yuki and she gives him his Christmas present. Another Christmas gift is that their 5 minute phone ban is over so that can talk anytime and how long they want. Oh wait, this is got to be his best Christmas gift yet. Yuki confesses she loves him. So are you ready to ditch all other girls? Probably he took the first step towards that when after some chat with Eiji (Yuki being some Song Goddess and things like that), Yayoi tries another seductive advance but he rejects. Touya returns home to see Mana waiting out in the cold at his doorstep. You can tell she’s being tsundere, just happen to pass by here on her way to her friend’s place but she wasn’t in. Liar. Since Mana is coming down with fever, Yayoi takes her to the hospital. Then Haruka comes by and as a woman, what would you do if you have suspected that another woman is at a guy’s place? You leave. Touya chases after her to quell the misunderstanding that he’s turned into a lolicon but Akira in a panic runs over Haruka’s bicycle (that panic, eh?) and informs them that Touya’s dad has landed in hospital. Wait a minute. Now they find out he’s in pretty bad shape after he got heart attack several episodes back?
 
Touya’s dad seems fine in episode 14 but he is to undergo heart surgery soon. Yuki finds out about it and pays him a visit. As usual, Touya and Yuki barely missed each other. And as always, the usual bickering between father and son. Haruka takes Mana and leave from the same hospital. Meanwhile Eiji has won that whatever number seats game and he is to collect the grand prize as agreed by Kanzaki. A painting of a girl. He’s like so obsessed with it and a flashback reveals his obsession begun back when he was a crude musician in his younger days when he saw that painting at a museum in London (he was so moved that he shed tears and caused commotion that needed guards to restrain him!). And speaking of the missing Sakura-dan member, Menou Matsuyama, she has been found sleeping (after getting drunk and all) in some garbage-like apartment as Kanzaki gives her an earful. Not to mention physical abuse. She locks her in and has one of the managers on guard to make her repent her actions. Unfortunately you can’t keep that slippery girl in as she escapes with Natsuko for an ocean-view road trip. And about that part whereby I said Touya taking his first step ditching girls. I take that back. Because Yayoi turned down Yuki’s offer for a drink at Echoes just because she had an ‘appointment’ with someone else. That someone else turns out to be Touya and they’re using a vacant ward for their romp. He even thinks Yayoi can be Yuki’s replacement. Are we starting to hate this guy?
 
After that (satisfying) sex in episode 15, Touya has having a chat with Yuki atop the hospital. He comforts depressed and breaking down Yuki about her uncertainty. Touya visits his father as they chat about memories and loneliness. Eiji is talking to Franky about the painting. Something about sadness of losing something and that something is to be Eiji’s mom whom he never knew. He believes the girl in the painting is her. Then when Yuki comes in, Eiji wants her to share and drag him back to happiness. I hope it’s not what I’m thinking. Elsewhere, Haruka and Mana continue their bonding while Rina performs at various TV stations. Touya arranges for his dad to come home for New Year’s Day as he is being cared by Akira and Misaki. Couldn’t father and son spend New Year’s Day together and patch things up? I guess he rather spend it with Yuki whereby the duo share another intimate kiss. Probably they should’ve done it inside instead of the balcony because Yayoi spots them and even snaps a shot. Next day as Touya waits for Yayoi to pick him up outside Echoes, Eiji from inside spots and is thinking of greeting the kid but quickly hides behind a wall when he spots a shiny reflection from across the street.
 
Touya’s fling with Yayoi continues in episode 16 (are we getting tired of this?) as Yayoi reveals about the upcoming Venus Music Festival. The thing about this festival is that each production company can send only 1 of its singer to participate. That means, it’s either Yuki or Rina. What is Yayoi trying to imply? That Touya should accept that his love with Yuki is over. Touya gets word from Akira that his father’s condition has worsened so he rushes over. Misaki blames herself after learning that Touya’s dad condition is much worse than it seems. She apologizes to the old man but he tells her to get along with Akira and forget about Touya. Meanwhile Eiji and the rest are in a meeting over the Venus Music Festival. Rina knows Eiji’s mind has been made up on whom to represent Ogata Productions so she quits and plans on going on solo. Yuki is in a shock and goes after her but Rina just left and said sorry. Yuki tries to persuade Eiji to change his mind as she doesn’t mind not to be picked since it is Rina’s lifelong dream to perform there. Oh the dilemma but Eiji’s the boss, you know. Yayoi confronts Eiji to tell him that Hiiragi is the one behind all the harassment but he chooses not to notice and will take legal action as a last resort. Yayoi warns him that she will not forgive him if he hurts Yuki. As Yayoi drives Yuki back, she spots Rina’s car and tells Yayoi to stop. Out in the rain, Yuki tries to talk to Rina but she avoids.
 
Yuki must be desperate enough to tackle Rina down in episode 17. And maybe Yuki was so pitiful in tears that Rina had to calm her down as she takes her to a restaurant for a talk. She reveals her reasons for leaving Ogata Productions and that is to have Yuki stand on her own and be strong. A short flashback revealing Rina’s encouragement during Yuki’s recording session when she offered Yuki to be guest vocals in Rina’s album. Mana is at Echoes with Haruka and they both start crying upon realizing they have feelings for Touya. Sighs. It’s not like that guy have eyes for them anyway. Meanwhile Kanzaki calls Eiji to tell him that the original owner of the painting wants it back. But Eiji says it’s too late and that he isn’t going to give it up. To make up for it as an alternative, Eiji gives his entire studio to her but even so that isn’t enough. How much does that painting cost?! Kanzaki straightaway has Menou do her recordings and the odd part is that she needs that little girl partner of hers (who is never seen without her guitar), Natsuko, to write and compose her songs and lyrics. We see why Eiji can’t return the painting. That’s because he has written a big red ‘FAKE’ all over it. How does he know? He just ruined a multi-million dollar masterpiece. Touya’s dad is watching Yuki’s performance on TV and notes her crying but Touya says it’s tears of joy. Next day when Touya tutors Mana, the brat tries to hint that Haruka likes him but he brushes it off. Then the radio announcement announces that Rina is joining M3 Productions.
 
Rina has a press conference about her transfer in episode 18. Touya is pretty shocked to learn about this so he goes to chat with Yuki. When she goes to see Touya’s dad, Yayoi confronts Touya on why he is avoiding her (I hope she has no withdrawal symptoms since he hasn’t provide her with sex lately. Just kidding). He says he was busy taking care of his dad but as usual Yayoi is back to her seductive ways by giving that deep tongue kiss. If Yuki saw this… Forget her. Somebody seems to be taking pictures of them from afar. Apart from Rina’s packed press conference, Sakura-dan’s tearful press conference about breaking up isn’t drawing any much publicity or attention. Nobody seems to care about those fallen stars because the Q&A session passed by without a single question asked and one of them is going to make her solo album. Not interested. Yawn! Then Touya goes to pay Rina a visit in her dressing room. She wants him to get out but we all know she has feelings for him. She didn’t even resist when he hugged her. Since he triggered that, Rina wants him to kiss her. He obliged. My guess he’s going to ask her for sex after getting tired of Yayoi. Just joking. And I guess the part where she tries to stay neutral between Touya and Yuki just went down the drain, eh? Meanwhile Yayoi takes Yuki to dinner with Eiji and a couple of production manager guys. However Yuki ditches them halfway through dinner to go see Rina. When she arrives, she is shocked to see Touya leaving Rina’s room. Oh dear, poor Yuki.
 
So when Yuki confronts Rina about that in episode 19, Rina spills everything about her feelings for Touya right up to the moment they locked lips. Yuki breaks down and Rina doesn’t mind getting slapped by her. Yuki draws first blood. No, not by punching Rina. She bit her own wrist and bleeds! OMG! Is she the kinds of person who looks like she has very strong jaws? Well I suppose that they’re both rivals in terms of work and love life now. And what do you know? Rina soon hires Touya as her personal assistant. But Kanzaki isn’t impressed with Rina’s album (considering she came from her rival company) and tells it straight to her that Menou will be representing M3 Productions at the Venus Music Festival. Rina meets an ex-member of Sakura-dan who is going solo. She remains cocky and her manager is an ex-member of the same group. Rina is being instructed by Kanzaki to go help Menou with her songs at the recording studio. When Menou and Touya meet, Menou remembers him but it took a while for him to recall. She was that girl he bumped into during outside Yuki’s Christmas Eve concert. While Rina works hard on Menou’s songs, Menou being the irresponsible and unpredictable one shakes a leg. Make that two.
 
As Menou visits Touya’s apartment in episode 20, Eiji invites Yuki to see his collection of the same paintings in his secret room! Is he that obsessed with it? However Yuki points out that the paintings aren’t the same. Then suddenly his eyes opened and he saw all his paintings different. He breaks down and goes crazy. I guess Yayoi and Franky knew about it but chose to keep quiet. Remember the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? Something like that. Yayoi lectures Eiji that it was his ‘fault’ to begin with since the actual fact he couldn’t remember the painting he first saw in London. Rina continues her 5 hour vocal practice sessions and after that, Touya meets his university’s student affairs lady who got him the tutor job, Yamamoto. Oh sh*t! He asks her out on a date and she accepts! I didn’t expect more women are going to be added to his list, not especially minor ones! Akira and Misaki spot him and the former wanted to beat him up to make him realize but Misaki stopped him. And I know Misaki is a nice girl but she even showed her forgiving side to Tamaru considering that idiot tried to stab her the last time. Is it a wonder why wouldn’t Akira make that jealous remark? Remember now that Touya’s status has dropped lower than a water flea because during his date with Yamamoto, the moment he sees Yayoi entering the door, he ditched Yamamoto just to go with her! WTF?! And this had a great scarring effect on poor Yamamoto because she will never date again! What have you done Touya?! Have you no shame?! And Yayoi is the one to say that she wants him to stop seeing other women. And in the end, Yuki and Touya didn’t get to hear each other phone messages because one is so darn tired from her practice and the other is so darn busy from his flirting.
 
Eiji sells some of his other paintings in episode 21 but that only covers part of the costs of the one he vandalized. Yayoi and Touya get into another sex romp this time in the toilet cubicle. Menou who is again on the run, spots Hiiragi snapping Yayoi and Touya. Then it’s like destiny when Tamaru stumble upon Hiiragi and wants the fatty to work for him to bring down you-know-who. But I’m not sure about the later scene whereby Tamaru’s dad is scolding him for the trouble and shame he has brought to the family and something about ‘that woman’ is extorting them money and that mean Tamaru is like a cry-baby. As Yuki goes to visit Touya’s dad in her kimono, Kanzaki goes home to finally learn that Touya is her daughter’s tutor. And when Mana learns that loser Touya is dating Yuki (probably coming from her mom’s mouth made it more believable), she starts throwing tantrum and trashing her place before running away. Kids these days have serious problem. So serious that even strict Kanzaki gets worried and calls Touya that Mana has not come home. Touya has an idea where she is. He takes a taxi to Haruka’s cabin out of town and is surprised to see Haruka playing tennis.
 
Tamaru tries to blackmail Misaki into writing an article after showing her photos of Yayoi and Touya’s secret fling in episode 22. Misaki is reluctant and thankfully Menou is there. Seems Tamaru is ‘afraid’ of her and backs down. It doesn’t help with Hiiragi’s bumbling move by selling the photo negatives to Yayoi. Menou offers Tamaru something else. It’s like she’s plotting her own sex scandal to save Touya and wants Misaki to write it and have Tamaru to leave them alone. At Touya’s end, Mana straightaway leaves in his taxi when he arrives. So Touya spends the night with Haruka. If it’s not Yayoi, then it’s some other girl. Yup, Haruka gets all naked and wants to do it with Touya but he refuses. Later she apologizes but they end up sleeping together. Oh, I forgot to mention he kissed her before that. Is he trying to achieve a record of kissing every main girl in this series? But not sure whether they did it or not because early next morning, Touya left on her bicycle. Mana is seen visiting Touya’s dad but I can guess his time is up because he sees Mana and hallucinating her as a young Yuki, telling her to praise crying Touya but she just ran away.
 
While Yuki continues to prepare hard for the Venus Music Festival in episode 23, Touya and Misaki have a chat whereby the latter reveals she is going to break up with Akira all because she still has feelings for Touya. What is it about this five-timing guy that makes him so special? Okay, I’ve seen this coming. She kisses him. All that’s left is Mana. Oh yeah, go for it pal. You’re almost completing the list already. But bad news soon arrives because Touya’s dad passes away so he has to make final arrangements. Akira punches Touya jerk when he finds how he and Misaki are going to clean up daddy’s house together. I don’t know if that guy has learnt any lesson on restrain because it is common sense that when a family member passes away, you don’t go ask a girl to "love me one last time". WTF?! Doing it in the empty house?! On other developments, Mana passes her exams (she’s a genius if you remember) and celebrates with Touya on a ‘date’. Just short of a kiss, he embraces her in public, embarrassing her. Also, Rina and Kanzaki have a long chat about things. This includes Rina revealing how Franky or his other name as Rina knows him by, Nagase (related to Akira?), is like a father to her and Eiji since having taken care of them since young and the funds fraud was something made up because she knows Eiji used his hard earned money to build his secret hideout though it was the contractor that got involved in the fraud. Kanzaki also reveals that M&M stands for Matsuyama and Mizuki. This means Menou is her eldest daughter. When Kanzaki got a divorce, her ex-husband got custody of Menou and she got Mana. Till this day, Menou doesn’t know Kanzaki is her real mom. Another shocking revelation is that Yuki is a distant cousin of theirs. No wonder music is flowing in their blood. It’s all in their genes. Besides, Kanzaki did say that Mana used to mistaken Yuki as her sister when the real fact it’s actually Menou. Akira parts with Haruka on their cycling date but gets into a car accident. Seems Touya got message of that at his place. Guess who’s there? Not Yayoi. It’s Menou. New place to hang out? New girl to play with?
 
Episode 24 begins with Menou’s scandal surfacing everywhere. She reveals she doesn’t write her songs or sings them but her loli assistant. Plus, Eiji is in deep sh*t because he is being accused for tax evasion and funds embezzlement. Therefore it’s no surprise he goes into hiding when the police raid his secret hideout at Echoes, he’s not there but Franky. For the first time, he spoke! Sounds horrible his falsetto. I guess it’s better if he didn’t open his mouth. The long chat between Rina and Kanzaki continues (like they’re so close pals now? I mean, Kanzaki did says she never mentioned all this to anyone and Rina being the first). Rina explains the cigarette scandal years ago was setup by Eiji as a lesson for her to handle scandals whenever needed to. Yuki goes to comfort Eiji and I guess they lost it within themselves that they kissed! Gosh! I would’ve expected it from Touya but Eiji? Yuki soon realized and pushes herself away and runs out. Eiji thinks of giving himself up. With Menou out of the Venus Music Festival, Rina offers to sing in her place and has practiced singing her song many times. Tamaru isn’t happy that his grand plans has gone up in smoke and sends Hiiragi to infiltrate M3 Productions to obtain anything just to bring them down. Hiiragi gets in impersonating as a security officer and shortly after, we see Rina coughing incessantly after drinking a poisoned tea. Yuki flees to Touya’s place to seek comfort but sees Menou there. Ahahaha…
 
But nothing serious happened since Yayoi came to pick Yuki up in episode 25 and Menou tells her there is 1 thing she can do and that she’ll help out too. Rina is hospitalized and it has affected her vocal chords though not life threatening. Now she can’t talk let alone sing. Yuki gets emotional and apologetic each time as Rina communicates with a sketchbook. Word has it that Eiji is in police custody as Touya confronts Yayoi. She reveals why she tried to make Touya fall in love with her because those who did will eventually disappear. But she no longer considers him a threat to Yuki. Touya says he has never loved her (probably that’s why he never disappeared) so she replies he has never loved anyone and hates him from the start. I’m not sure if he’s doing any psychological move because he hugs her and says how relieved he is. Some love-hate relationship that was. Kanzaki slips into the hospital (what do you expect when hundreds of hungry reporters are waiting at the outside) to apologize for everything to Rina. Touya is chatting with Menou at his place as she reveals that she did meet him when he was a child. Soon after he helped and comforted him, she left and gradually forgot all about him due to her own internal problems and stuff until that chance meeting on Christmas Eve. Menou gets all over Touya. Till Kanzaki comes in, she tries to flee via the window but under mommy’s orders, Touya restrains her. The news report shows a former manager to be the culprit behind Rina’s poisoning case and has been arrested. Hiiragi even had a hand in arresting him. While Natsuko wanders in the streets, the Venus Music Festival begins and it’s Yuki’s turn. Rina is still in hospital and Touya decides to be by her side.
 
It’s Yuki’s turn to play in episode 26. But she’s just sitting there silently. Touya realizes how he’s been hurting Yuki all the whole and that he shouldn’t love anyone. Yeah, it took him 26 episodes to realize that. Rina tries hard to reach him that it’s not his fault when suddenly her voice comes back, "… is because all of us love you!". Back to Yuki, the broadcasting crew thinks of pulling her out but she starts playing. It’s like she’s screwing around with the broadcasting schedule because she’s playing a different song. A piano solo that lasts don’t know how long! They’re going to pull her out for sure but Yuki starts singing. Shortly, she is joined by Rina as they both do a duet. Woah! How did Rina arrive so fast? Maybe you can thank Touya for that. Even if it wasn’t as planned, the crowd loved it and wanted an encore but in the end, they’re disqualified. As Kanzaki goes to the police station, Eiji gets released and Natsuko gets her confidence to play street music to the crowd, it seems Touya has gotten his memories when he first met Yuki. The time at the woods a few months before she moved. That time, Haruka was being bullied and Yuki tried to help but Touya only stood there crying like a wuss. After that, Yuki gave him a medal praising him but he threw it away. His dad scolded him so he went all out to search for it but to no avail. Due to that ‘tragic’ incident, his memories were sealed and a few days later he met Menou. In present time, Touya chats with Akira and Mana about Yuki. Something about how Yuki was waiting 10 years patiently for his reply whether to thank or apologize her for it. Touya leaves when Menou comes in to chat with her sister. Touya goes to Haruka and it seems she was the one who kept the medal. Why didn’t she say a word? Because he didn’t ask. Simple as that. Plus, she was also waiting for Touya too. Few months later, Touya bids farewell to Mana who is moving home with Menou and Kanzaki (she looks so plain without the heavy make-up and fancy dress and accessories). Rina and Yuki duet album hit the stores via another production company, Daddy Long Legs.
 
Honestly, I don’t feel satisfied about the ending. So Touya realized and remembered his past but in the end is he and Yuki still seeing each other? It just made me a little more confused. I think from my point of view, this whole series is about Touya and not Yuki or Rina. The rest of the supporting characters are just secondary. If you noticed that throughout the series, you can see kanji words popping up on the screen from time to time. These are actual Touya’s thoughts and inner heart and they sometime may contradict what he says. When Touya starts flirting around with other women, it brought back horrifying memories of that sex-crazed jerk back in School Days, Makoto. Yup, I even predicted Yuki would turn yandere and cut his head off! Good thing that didn’t happen.
 
So I guess the problem with Touya is his saviour goddess thingy. As long as one of the ladies provides things his way, he calls them their goddess for today. But as revealed this goddess thing was conjured by Menou when she first met young Touya and that Yuki was the only true goddess for Touya though took her kindness for granted for a pretty long time. Yup, you could say the other girls other than Yuki were just substitutes for his goddess. And in the end of this near-harem series if I must call it, it isn’t clear cut who he ends up with, though my guess he’s still with Yuki. No signs that she dumped him. I also figured the producers wanted to leave an open ending for viewers as we’re not shown who Touya was going to meet in the final scene. So did Akira and Misaki break up for good? But Misaki couldn’t be Touya’s girl because she ‘loved’ him for ‘one last time’, right? Not Haruka because she admits he can only be her big brother. Mana? She moved away. Touya’s not a lolicon. Menou? She’s too enigmatic too comprehend. Yayoi? She hated him. It was never love in the first place. Rina? I guess when she wrote thank you and goodbye on her mirror, I guess that means it’s over with him, right? Probably ended his job as her manager too. Yamamoto? Err… Who? Too bad she won’t be dating again. So yeah, maybe he’s still got Yuki. Maybe. I don’t mean to be mean or rude but sometimes the way Yuki gives her little smiles makes her look a little dense. But even so, she still looks sweet and nice :). In extreme cases, maybe Touya would end up with Akira! Definitely just kidding on that.
 
I wonder what happened to Franky. That speechless guy (except just that 1 time) seems pretty cool because he does his ‘talking’ via his actions. Maybe he remodelled Eiji’s secret room back to his normal music room. Eiji himself is somebody who is hard to understand. Sure, he and Kanzaki may have gotten into shady dealings but I felt his obsession for that single painting was just a side distraction for the overall series like Eiji-Rina and Misaki-Tamaru’s past. I know that Tamaru guy is somebody others would love to hate (besides Touya if you will) but thankfully his plans for revenge didn’t materialize in the end. Yayoi is a creepy character. She was willing to do extreme seductive stuff just to protect her ultimate goal but did she succeed? Some may call her a slut but it’s partly Touya’s fault for giving in. Don’t you think she really look like a modern day witch?
 
One thing if you noticed the problem between Touya and Yuki is the inability for a form to communicate with each other. You’d thought how easy everything would be if everyone just had a handphone and wahlah, problem solved. However, keep in mind that this series is set in the year 1986! Wow! It feels like ages ago. Handphones weren’t even heard of or thinkable at that time. Yeah, note how they have to use the good old traditional receiver or public phones. What? Don’t know how those bulky machines look like? Haha. Stop playing with your palm-size handphone and go out and look for one. Maybe I’ve seen too many animes revolving around modern times or even futuristic ones (fantasy medieval is a different matter) and coupled in with my take-for-granted modern facilities convenience, the series never felt like it was set in the mid 80’s. At least it never occurred to me that way.
 
The drawing and art are of today’s Japanese anime standards but sometimes there are scenes in which the art gets sketchy like as though it is drawn with crayons or oil-based materials just like all those paintings. Even in the next episode preview, opening and ending credits animation. Because of that, the animation feels a little jerky but I supposed that is done on purpose. On a trivial note, each of the episode titles (termed as Page) feels like lines from a poem. Some melancholic, some romantic, some about life, some in question form and some like similes. I’m not sure if they are taken from the poet Robert Browning since it was the book that Misaki lent Touya at the very beginning of the series. It was interesting to see the narrated words of the title appear on the screen during the next episode preview in the first half of the series. A little creative, I’d say.
 
Probably one of the ‘main attractions’ to watch this series is the seiyuu line-up. We have big names like Aya Hirano voicing Yuki (Haruhi in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu) while Nana Mizuki doing Rina (Fate in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series). It feels like some sort of replication in the real world because Aya Hirano is a rising star while Nana Mizuki herself is a veteran in this industry with her own base and such. Sort of like a ‘face-off’ between to seiyuu greats, eh? But even so, right till the end, I find both girls to be as friendly as before and no serious damage in their relationship. Maybe the producers don’t want to earn the wrath of fans from both camps so they compromise the ending with a duo collaboration. A win-win situation. I may not follow closely so I’m not sure if this show made them venture further into the music industry and expand their singing careers. Just like how it did for Macross Frontier seiyuus May’N and Megumi Nakajima. Rina may sound confident as the old hand but she too has her own weakness and while Yuki may sound fragile and vulnerable at times, it is her inner strength that remains her as steadfast. Other casts include Tomoaki Maeno as Touya (Saku in Sora No Manimani), Haruka Tomatsu as Mana (Lala in To Love-Ru), Megumi Takamoto as Misaki (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), Romi Paku as Yayoi (Nana O in NANA), Nozomi Masu as Haruka (Hiiragi in Lucky Star), Sho Hayami as Eiji (Tenzen in Basilisk), Rumi Shishido as Menou (Yumi in Hataraki Man) and Daisuke Sakaguchi as Akira (Shinpachi in Gintama).
 
Both the opening themes are sung by Nana Mizuki. The first one being Shinai and the second one called Mugen. I don’t know, I don’t really find the pop rock pieces appealing. How should I put it, let’s just say I find it a little odd for Nana Mizuki playing with her vocals while singing the pieces. Well, she does have powerful vocals. Logically from my experience if Nana Mizuki does the openings, then Aya Hirano has to do the endings, right? Nope. Not a single one. Sidelined? Both ending themes are sung by Suara. The first half a slow ballad entitled Maiochiru Yuki No You Ni and the second half is Akai Ito which plays to a faster rock beat. For the first half of the series, the sketchy ending credits change after a few episodes before settling to a fixed one in the second half. Some of the insert songs in the series aren’t so bad themselves. Well, at least Aya Hirano has her fair share singing. Not to say that it made me go crazy and need to get that song this instant but rather enjoyable.
 
Having a girlfriend as a top idol is definitely tough seeing that your private life becomes a public one. Everybody wants to know what you do. Scandals, gossips and rumours are stuff all too familiar in the entertainment world but as in any showbiz, the show must go on for better or worse. For me, I’d prefer to stay out of the limelight. I’m still having stage fright after all these years. And given a choice to have to hottest, prettiest and sexiest idol as my gal, I’d rather lock myself in my room watching animes, fantasizing over 2D girls and play such simulation games. Maybe it’s time I take out and listen to The Beatles’ double album release again.
 

White Album