WHITE ALBUM – 01
The year is 1986, and college student Fujii Touya is in a relationship with a girl named Morikawa Yuki. The problem is that she’s an aspiring idol with Ogata Production, a company started by former star Ogata Eiji and anchored by Eiji’s sister Rina as its current major idol. Touya and Yuki aren’t able to see each other much because of this, and even when they do manage, it’s only for brief periods of time. On this particular November day, Touya runs into his friends Akira and Misaki, the latter of whom passes him a book of poems by Robert Browning. Misaki also warns him that he’ll have less chances to see Yuki from now on because of her work, so he needs to get a good grasp on her. Touya is currently job searching, and he and Akira work together at a cafe called Echoes. He is also registered as a tutor.
On their way to the cafe, Touya suggests that Akira should have gone with Misaki to the library, but Akira doesn’t really want to talk about his relationship with her and says that he’ll go at his own pace. The two then run into a girl named Haruka who wants to go for a walk with Touya, but he turns her down because of work. When Akira promises to accompany her if they play tennis, Haruka turns and bikes away, and this causes Touya to scold Akira for saying the wrong thing before chasing after Haruka. Although Haruka does stop for a moment, she asks if Touya met Yuki – which he did earlier – and claims that it was thanks to her. After Haruka rides off again, Akira apologizes because he hadn’t realized that Haruka was still affected by what happened to her brother, the person Touya refers to as the most important to her.
Meanwhile, Rina finds that Yuki’s outfit for their upcoming performance has been intentionally stained by another group of idols. Rina thinks that it was to get back at her – not Yuki – for what she did to them the previous week. Over at the cafe Echoes, Touya sees Ogata Eiji leaving the place and thinks that Yuki might be there too, but she’s not. Akira then informs Touya that they can go home for the day with pay, however Touya isn’t happy, so Akira suggests asking Touya’s father. Although Touya doesn’t have the best relationship with his father, he does make the call to talk about how he hasn’t been able to work much, but his father hangs up on him. At home, he watches on TV as Rina pauses in the middle of a song to go over and scold the other group of idols who were goofing off on the sidelines – the same ones who stained Yuki’s outfit – before continuing singing.
Touya is surprised when he suddenly gets a call from Yuki since he had just seen her on TV, but she reveals that what he was watching was recorded the previous week. Yuki is in turn surprised to hear that Rina scolding the other girls was actually shown on TV, and as it turns out, she had saved the outfit that got stained by staining it further and getting the other backup singers to dress in a similar style. While the two chat, Touya wonders to himself if Yuki wants to see him, however their conversation is then cut off because Rina has caught Yuki on the phone. Rina actually doesn’t mind though that Yuki has a boyfriend and wants to see him. Touya’s thoughts of Yuki meanwhile are interrupted by the ring of his doorbell.
ED: 「舞い落ちる雪のように 」 (Maiochiru Yuki no Youni) by Suara
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming
I didn’t think much of either the OP and ED when I first heard them, but they’re not so bad now that I’ve listened to them a few times (I prefer the ED a bit more). I did think that the animation that accompanies the OP was a bit on the lacking side, however that’s not a really big complaint since this isn’t a Gundam show or anything like that.
Well, this first episode got off to a bit of a slow start save for a brief flash of conflict in the form of the idols sabotaging Yuki’s outfit. It does manage to set up several of the characters and their relationships though, such how
Sunohara Akira appears to like Misaki (what can I say, it’s Sakaguchi Daisuke in another supporting role), how Haruka is still bothered by the loss of her brother and won’t play tennis because of it, and how Touya appears to have money problems. I was also surprised that Yuki and Rina got along so well already, though I guess having a friendship prior makes any love triangle later all that much more devastating for everyone involved. My point is that so far the story is intriguing enough, though I hope the pace picks up a little as the series moves forward.
Production-wise, I didn’t have any big complaints about the show – animation and music were both fine. I found it interesting though that the director or whoever chose to use on-screen text to represent Touya’s thoughts instead of just having him say them in an inner-thoughts style. It made for an interesting effect that really emphasized those thoughts and the background music, and I liked the way 「俺の、由綺」 (My Yuki) was used to end the episode. As for voice actresses, Hirano Aya fit as Yuki better than I thought she would, though I’d still prefer if Rina/Mizuki Nana does most of the singing in this series as she did in this episode.
Anyway, this episode was decent, but not incredibly impressive, and as usual, I’ll need to see a few more episodes before I can commit to following it. And who knows what my Saturday schedule is going to turn out like with all the new shows plus how both Index and Tales of the Abyss are moving which channel and day of the week they air first on…