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「WHITE ALBUM」

This feels more like a forlorn romance than the usual harem-moe romp that typifies many dating sim adaptations.

Music, and Motes in the Wind

This show is clearly set on building a certain atmosphere, and it’s all wrapped up in the music and animation. While talk of light music may call to mind a different show, the music here is less hyper-cutsie pop and more…well, to be perfectly frank I’m not terribly knowledgable about music, so all I can say is beautiful. Especially the titular song, which Ogiso Setsuna (Yonezawa Madoka) sang so wonderfully at the end. But the animation was what did the bulk of the work building the atmosphere. They cast such a soft glow over the school, where even the light coming in through the windows conveyed a sense of idyllic nostalgia, which is impressive since they almost made me feel nostalgic for a school life I never had.

Imperfect Characters

I have to give credit to the writers for creating characters who are imperfect, even unlikable. Yanagihara Tomo (Kashiwagi Miyu), the manipulative band-crushing devil who will do anything to become the school fair queen, is the most obvious example, but protagonist Kitahara Haruki (Mizushima Takahiro) is perhaps a better one. I started off kind of disliking him for his know-it-all attitude and tendency to lecture people he just met, but he was also right with his lectures, and he treats Setsuna far more like a normal girl than anyone else does. I appreciate a guy who doesn’t treat women like fragile flowers! Same with Setsuna herself, who lets herself get pushed around and was being unintentionally arrogant in thinking the whole school fair would fail if she didn’t enter a popularity contest. My only concern is that while they’re not flat characters, I’m not terribly interested in them either. (Yet.) That’s purely subjective though, so your mileage may vary.

Looking Ahead – The Other Girl

Without a whole harem of heroines running around, there’s only one more girl that needs a proper introduction, and that’s the thus far sleeping Touma Kazusa (Nabatame Hitomi) – though there’s a roughly 1000% chance she’s the piano player that Haruki has been playing with. I don’t plan to blog this show any further, so feel free to hit the comments if you want to discuss it more.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s all atmosphere, music, & imperfect characters in #wa2anime’s premiere

I’ve made a change on my blog to focus more on storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing, so check it out at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 24.

October 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm
77 comments »
  • October 6, 2013 at 6:45 pmMgMaster

    I hear this is a completely different beast compared to it’s lacking predecessor and this premiere certainly gives that impression as well.I’m tempted to get hyped,but trying to keep those expectations in check(as you always advise us,Stilts-sensei) and let myself be surprised it turn’s out to be something great.

    With White Album 2,Golden Time and Nagi no Asukara this fall’s turning out to be a season for good romance shows,assuming they’ll be as good as their first episodes or better,of course.I find it interesting that we have one in set in middle school,one in highschool and one in college.Makes for a good diversity if you ask me :P

    • October 7, 2013 at 5:11 amMgMaster

      *The next day,after reading more of the comments here and on animesuki*

      Well,so much for keeping those expectations in check,I’m hyped now but it seems to be safe to do so.

  • October 6, 2013 at 6:54 pmUDoh

    If you are looking for a great drama anime, watch this show.
    If you aren’t interested in dramatic stuff, don’t bother.

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:23 pmStilts

      A good way to put it, I think.

    • October 7, 2013 at 2:23 amUJelly

      Agreed. Also, for those of you who have not seen the first White Album, it is perfectly okay to watch this without seeing the first season; they are completely not related and are different stories.

      As a follower of the 1st White Album, I have to say, this art is wonderful and the plot seems to be a total change of pace from the 1st, meaning this one should not be overlooked. I am glad to say I will be watching this but kind of down that the authors aren’t following this anime.

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:07 pmPrimeHector

    Haruki is a way better protagonist than Toya

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:59 pmAlec

      Haruki, as of now, is a Gary Stu ; Toya, on the other hand, had a lot of flaws

      • October 6, 2013 at 11:29 pmhaseo0408

        A lot of flaws, that would be an understatement! It would have been perfect if someone stabbed the bastard to death.

    • October 7, 2013 at 5:29 amEMChamp

      Haven’t seen the first season or played the VNs but Haruki’s straightforward character is refreshing when most romance male leads make choices that are just incomprehensible for a viewer. Reminds me a bit of Tomoya from Clannad in that regard.

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:28 pmKuntzy

    One of the big reasons this was so loved in Japan is that it’s actually a fairly realistic and well-written love triangle. Particularly in the Coda routes of Closing Chapter.

    Unfortunately, from what I hear, this will only cover the entirety of Introductory Chapter and whether they make more depends on sales. Closing Chapter is the real gem of the story, so hopefully it does good. Visuals look pretty good at least so we can’t say it’ll be production issues.

    I must say though, I’m rather surprised to see you blogging this Stilts, even if it is for only the first episode. Was expecting Enzo to be honest.

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:26 pmStilts

      I intro a lot of random stuff because I’m the only one crazy enough to try to intro all the shows no one else has time for, lol! It probably should have been Enzo or Zani though, especially since I was a mite hungover when I wrote this post!

      Sounds like what this needs to really work is its equivalent of After Story / Refrain. I wonder if it’ll get it…

      • October 7, 2013 at 12:09 amKuntzy

        Haha, I just figured the show was more up Enzo’s alley due to his blogging history. White Album 2 doesn’t exactly strike parallels to any of the shows I remember you blogging after all. Granted, I wouldn’t mind you continuing as I think it would be rather interesting to see your view on a straight drama since you mostly blog fantasy, sci-fi and rom-coms. Alas, it shall not be so.

        Hopefully someone does pick it up though. And hopefully I can keep up with it as opposed to last season, where I had to avoid this site like the plague since I had majority of my shows backlogged and wanted to avoid spoilers. The temptation to read is simply too great…

      • October 7, 2013 at 6:43 pmInsanemaster

        Enzo already watched this. I think he made a blog (first impression) on his website.

      • October 7, 2013 at 8:05 pmJinS

        The Introductory Chapter by itself is actually very good. Part of what makes this show’s drama great is that while all three characters have flaws, they are all very likable and easy to sympathize with (Which really wasn’t the case with this show’s predecessor). Thanks for blogging the first episode, Stilts! Hopefully either you or one of the others will pick this up.

        I am for the most part happy with how they directed this first episode. The only thing is that I wish they didn’t throw in a bunch of major spoilers in the beginning for some reason.

        Madoka Yonezawa seems to have improved her singing too since when the VN was made. Some people may not have known that Ui’s VA has that kind of singing voice.

      • October 7, 2013 at 11:43 pmStilts

        @Kuntzy

        You’re right, it’s a little outside of my normal fare. Doesn’t mean I might not enjoy it or even have enjoyed blogging it, but considering there are 20+ shows that are more up my alley, it becomes a bit more unlikely to say the least.

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:41 pmzeroyuki92

    ” I don’t plan to blog this show any
    further”
    That’s very unfortunate :(

    This is a very popular series -in Japan- which didn’t get -non Japan- coverage that it deserves, due to many factors I guess. I heard people in ANN didn’t even bother to list it since they didn’t know that it’s not a sequel of WA1. That’s the level of popularity of WA2 here, while Japan basically loves WA2 very much… (I guess I have said about this and several other facts several times, don’t want to repeat that anymore)

    For me personally it’s the best romance 1st episode for this season so far. It’s been a while that we don’t get a rather realistic, pure romantic drama show. And it’s also very atmospheric!

    • October 6, 2013 at 8:09 pmzeroyuki92

      Since this guy already made a good post about this, I’ll just post that here : Why you should watch White Album 2.

      • October 6, 2013 at 8:27 pmKuntzy

        Just a heads up. The link is screwed.

        For all who want to see it before he fixes it just delete everything before oppai.

        It’s pretty hilarious, I was looking up Maruto Fumiaki to see if he had any previous work on anime (He doesn’t as it turns out, he just writes some damn good VN’s) for recommendation prurposes and I was just at that site before I came back to check comments. He’s fanboying a teensy bit, but for the most part he has good points.

      • October 6, 2013 at 10:13 pmzeroyuki92

        Oops, didn’t know how could I scewed that up,thanks. Since I don’t think I could edit, here’s the correct…
        …wait,for some reason it keeps adding randomc link before the link although I got the (a href =”link”) right, dunno why. Sorry, I guess I’ll just post the normal text for link here:
        http://oppaiisjustice.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/heterosexuals-rights/ (yeah, the link name is pretty lulzy)

        Anyway, yes it has a bit of fanboying, but a post directed to anime viewers from experienced WA2 fan is pretty rare. I hope some of that could be informative :3
        (could someone delete the previous post? I should have not lurking in net with this headache)

      • October 6, 2013 at 10:32 pmStilts

        Fixed the broken link for ya, and deleted your extra comments. It happens : )

      • October 11, 2013 at 9:53 pmKastel

        I just read White Album 2 recently =w=

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:56 pmbaseone

      Crossing fingers and hoping that someone will pick this up!

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:50 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Yeah, I’ve heard the talk of the lacking previous series too, but so far, I’m pretty intrigued by this, so I’m going to stick with it a while longer and see how it goes.

  • October 6, 2013 at 8:22 pmbelatkuro

    I planned to pick this up because I heard it was really good and that it’s not connected to the first series of the same name. Surprised to say that I liked what I saw in the first episode. The atmosphere and the mood is pretty well done. The character design is also decent. Setsuna looks a lot like NGE’s Asuka and ANOTHER’s Akazawa and she has the seiyuu of the latter. And I was blown away by that song in the end. The characters haven’t been fully fleshed out for now but we’ll get there I guess.
    This is my surprise of the season and I’m looking forward to more.

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:33 pmStilts

      Well, this was one of my potential sleepers for the season, though it doesn’t seem fair to pick it since I know how popular it was in Japan, haha

      • October 6, 2013 at 10:56 pmmublasgoo

        What is popular in Japan does not mean it’s popular outside Japan. Hopefully there will be someone who is going to blog this show, though I have no qualms if no one pick this up.

      • October 6, 2013 at 11:13 pmStilts

        True, but I like to think it being popular there means it has a good story. Or at least that + what I’d heard about the plot led me to think that.

    • October 7, 2013 at 7:48 amToto

      It actually is connected, albeit thinly, to the original. The first White Album took place in the 80s and got its title from the main heroine’s debut single as an idol. This one is a decade later, and said single is the connecting thread between Haruki, Setsuna, and Kazusa.

  • October 6, 2013 at 8:54 pmberrish17

    Too bad there was no OP/ED but typical in 1st episodes so I’m not gonna whine.lol
    Anyways the insert song was nice though~ Yes, Setsuna surely sang wonderfully in the end :D

    • October 6, 2013 at 9:23 pmbrajt

      Well, after this song, ED would be a waste of mood.

  • October 6, 2013 at 9:01 pmbrajt

    I like the amount of romances in the current season. Summer was very poor with that, if not to count Kimi no iru machi which would be so much better if it started from chapter 1, not 80. But I can’t say this ep was the best of them, as there was hardly a hint of romance yet, even if we all know that it’s going to happen. I’ll surely follow the show till the end though.

  • October 6, 2013 at 9:21 pmAlec

    First White Album was awesome, well the 2nd season of it to be precise.

    Was worried about it at first, because it look generic.
    Liked the first episode, but the side characters still worry me. I fear they’re gonna ruin the experience for me.

    • October 6, 2013 at 9:23 pmbrajt

      Is there really a big difference between 1st and 2nd season? Didn’t watch it yet, but heard all the shit about the show.

      • October 6, 2013 at 9:55 pmAlec

        It’s been so long now, it’s hard completely explain the details.

        All I can say is that the first season was incredibly slow-paced, and it spent so much time on making the viewers hate the main character ; add the fact that a lot of people didn’t know that a sequel was coming made the slow-paced anime more unbearable. That being said, it still had plenty of moments.

        The sequel did everything right!

  • October 6, 2013 at 9:55 pmJel

    I liked this episode quite a bit. Maybe it’s because it’s entirely different from the first series.

    I’m a little ticked off about how perfect Haruki seems to act sometimes. He’s a bit cliche, at least this episode. Him telling Ogiso that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to, and that he is treating her ‘special’ since he wouldn’t normally ask a girl to do heavy labor.

    Aside from that, Haruki is pretty cool and I like how he ran up to see who was singing at the end!

    I of course loved the music and the shout-outs to the first season by “Sound of Destiny” at the beginning and “White Album” played beautifully throughout.

  • October 6, 2013 at 10:01 pmSteelman

    Well, personally I found this to be clearly better than the other two romantic shows that aired so far (Nagi no Asakura and Golden Time). Quite disappointed that the best show of the bunch is not going to be covered.

    • October 7, 2013 at 12:54 pmdytianquin

      I’m also quite sad that this is not going to be covered as of yet, but we can hope that someone might cover this after seeing the next episode (if the episode is any good.) Though, it may be unlikely, I would like to think that this show has a chance to be covered.

  • October 6, 2013 at 10:40 pmKarplunk

    I’m thinking about watching this anime but I have a question…
    Is White Album 2 a direct sequel to the first one? (cuz I didn’t watch the first one)… I dont want any spoiler :P
    or is it a new series with no connection whatsoever?

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:51 pmmublasgoo

      No. You can watch this series without watching the first anime. White Album 2 is set 10 years after the first White Album (which has 2 seasons).

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:53 pmAlec

      It’s the same world, and the only connection : The main heroine’s song in the First White album is still being listened to in the 2nd White Album 10 years later, at least that’s the connection for now

  • October 6, 2013 at 10:49 pmmublasgoo

    I may be one of the few who really like the predecessor of this anime. To me, it’s one of the “mature” genre in terms of romance in anime spectrum/media. I could be wrong as to why some people drop the first anime, as what I’ve read to various forum, one of the probable reason is because of the male main character. Yes, the MC in the first anime is stupid as many of you pointed out though it is just normal. Normal in a sense that any young man will commit this mistake especially if he is prone to temptation. He is lucky to find a girl like Yuki who stays loyal and loves him till the end. At least near the end of the anime, he had a resolve to break up with all his ‘Goddesses’ and will now only focus to the main girl.

    For those who have yet to watch the first series, don’t hesitate to pick it up. In fact, it’s one of the best romance anime in my opinion. I may be a newbie in this genre as I don’t even watch romantic shows (even in TV and movies) but if there’s something that really pique my interest, I’m watching it.

    • October 6, 2013 at 10:54 pmAlec

      It’s my favorite harem, followed by Shuffle

      • October 6, 2013 at 11:02 pmmublasgoo

        Shuffle is great, though my pick is on Kimikiss. One of the things that I like in that show are the ending songs. In comparison to what they did to the first episode of White Album 2, I’m hopeful that they will incorporate properly timed ending like Kimikiss.

    • October 7, 2013 at 5:07 amMgMaster

      As someone who really loves a good drama,I can say that a few reasons why the I didn’t like the 1st WA.It wasn’t just the Touya that I hated(and believe me,I really,really TRIED TO cut him some slack),most of the other characters were pretty annoying at times.The only one I liked was probably Rina.Besides the characters,it was like always setting itself up for the ending,giving you this impression that you have to endure the bad for something great but it was a lackluster.If it had a better ending,I’d say I liked it a lot more,even with it’s very flawed characters but in such a show,I felt the ending was paramount.

      • October 7, 2013 at 1:03 pmdytianquin

        I like flawed characters, so I see that as a pro instead of a con. Are the characters flawed in a way where they just irritate the hell out of you?

      • October 8, 2013 at 4:20 amMgMaster

        “Are the characters flawed in a way where they just irritate the hell out of you?”

        Bingo.Believe me,I like flawed characters too,although it’s better to say I just like them to be human and not Mary Sues(for instance,my favorite character in Shingeki no Kyoujin was Jean while I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Mikasa).However,most of WA1′s character have this habit of making the worst decisions,and thing is,they never really learn throughout the course of two cours.The MC Touya and his rising idol girlfriend Yuki,are the ones who personally annoyed me the most,along with white haired guy that I forgot the name of.

        Like I said,don’t expect anything great from the ending either so watch at your own risk!(okay,it’s not really that bad though,the music & atmosphere is still good if you ask me)

    • October 7, 2013 at 1:01 pmdytianquin

      I’m not sure if I want to pick up the first White Album. On myanimelist it seems like it’s pretty good, but Omni didn’t seem to like it since he dropped the show while blogging it.

  • October 6, 2013 at 11:10 pmLeiosn

    The characters look like from To Heart 2 series. Ogiso looks like Tamaki with orange/brown hair. Haruki looks like male protagonist from it too.

    • October 6, 2013 at 11:41 pmKuntzy

      They’re both made by the company Leaf. It’s pretty funny because even though their designers and artists aren’t the same, most of them have a pretty similar art style to each other.

      In To Heart 2 Amazuyu Tatsuki was the artist for Tamaki and in White Album 2 Nakamura Takeshi is the artist for Setsuna.

      • October 7, 2013 at 12:47 amUDoh

        Leaf/Aquaplus is an Osaka-based company and Original ones of ToHeart and White Album are from Osaka studio. But it also has Tokyo studio, and they got 3 lead artists in Tokyo. They moved from another H-game company and have always been in the same team. That’s why their art style looks quite similar. Some of ToHeart2 characters are designed by Osaka, and some others by Tokyo.

  • October 6, 2013 at 11:25 pmsalty

  • October 7, 2013 at 2:30 amRed HeartGold ZX

    Uhh, this is supposed to be Season 2, right? Why does it look like a reboot?

    Oh, and by the way, I’m not saying I don’t like it. The truth is, it even exceeded my very low expectations. Lookin’ forward for the next ep. Good romance and music blend. :)

    • October 7, 2013 at 5:29 ambrajt

      No, it is not a Season 2. It’s adaptation of a different game, called White Album 2, which provides completely new story.

    • October 7, 2013 at 9:44 amzeroyuki92

      Basically you can consider this as something like Final Fantasy. It’s entirely different story, just with some kind of similar base (the trademarked music+drama+triangle romance). Leaf (the VN dev) like to number their series like that.

    • October 7, 2013 at 3:08 pmStilts

      The Final Fantasy comparison is a good one. This is as different from White Album 1 as FF7 is from FF8 or any other. They’re similar, but different characters and stories.

  • October 7, 2013 at 10:23 amkatsudon

    Was pleasantly surprised by what I saw! Will definitely keep watching this… Also, I want the full version of that song in the end- it was beautiful.

  • October 7, 2013 at 12:49 pmdytianquin

    I would definitely say this may be the sleeper hit of the season! It has the potential to be a great dramatic romance story, but it could flop… hard. If this really delivers and doesn’t have a lot of what seems like forced romance or dramatic moments, I’ll make sure to stick around for the ride. My prayer is that this won’t suck.

    Now, since I am a musician, I was a tad bit disturbed by how he was playing the guitar. It didn’t look natural and it didn’t seem like he was really feeling it. Sure, his face may have looked like he was feeling the music, but his body was awkward when he was playing it in my opinion. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I don’t want to watch K-ON. Kids on the Slope or Sakamichi no Apollon actually seemed more believable in the way their playing was animated, but was still awkward in some parts.

  • October 7, 2013 at 1:42 pmtehjonel

    BEST SHOW OF THE SEASON!

  • October 7, 2013 at 7:57 pmEuzio

    Hmmm. It does seem promising. I did try to sit through White Album 1 but it was rather unbearable from from the first episode. White Album 2 is different though, I found myself wanting more when it ended. This just might be the rom/drama for the season….

    And that amazing singing by Yonezawa Madoka…. It really made me situp and be awestruck…. She was amazing…. Totally need to get this acoustic version when it comes out.

  • October 7, 2013 at 8:54 pmJinS

    For those of you who have played the VN, I’m wondering how they will handle the extra scenes that are unlocked once you’ve read through it once. They add a lot to the story, but I just don’t think showing them from the beginning will have as much of an impact as making the audience go through the story once before showing those.

    • October 7, 2013 at 9:06 pmFaggot-kun

      could always add them in the Blu-ray version

    • October 8, 2013 at 5:26 amMatthew

      The anime is based on White Album ~ Introductory Chapter~
      There are no story branches in the first VN.

      I absolutely love the VN and can see why it is very popular in Japan.

      • October 8, 2013 at 6:27 pmJinS

        I know that there’s no branch in IC, but once you’ve completed reading through it once, this unlocks the “Extra scenes” on your second playthrough. These extra scenes are told from the girls’ perspective and are very good.

      • October 8, 2013 at 11:57 pmKamion

        There’s some extra scenes in IC. Replaying it after the first time unlocks a few Touma and Ogiso-centric scenes. It’s mostly stuff we knew about or at least suspected… but this time it’s from their perspective.
        There’s also a new scene after you finish a certain character’s route in CC… I wonder what they’re going to do with THAT one because holy… that’s going to be weird??

  • October 8, 2013 at 6:13 ambrajt

    Surely the first ep shows that it’s worth to pick up for RandomC.

  • October 8, 2013 at 9:19 amFaint Smile

    Tissue ready!..

  • October 8, 2013 at 6:15 pmOma

    hopefully one of the two girls will be the mature one in this triangle and accept rejection with good graces instead of doing something drastic in order to make the male lead stay

  • October 8, 2013 at 10:14 pmInsanemaster

    Probably the second time VN adaptation make me want to play the actual game!

    And I actually got all the spoiler I need by completing WA2:IC! (lol few minutes before this post…)

  • October 9, 2013 at 10:20 amlegwkio

    The floor of this adaptation may be True Tears and the ceiling could be After Story. I have high hopes for this one.

  • October 10, 2013 at 8:20 amSalbazier

    The first White Album was one of the first anime that I watch as it airs (as opposed to waiting till my local tv airs it). That fact alone makes it a memorable series to me but it also have great music and art. I also like its winter/snow theme. Its story probably isn’t the best of its kind (admittedly I never got around to finish it, but then I also don’t finish True Tears till last year).

    Anyway, that’s was why I’m so elated with this new series, especially with the promise that it was better than the first one. I’m very glad to see the first episode live up to my hope. I was greatly impressed. Hearing white album really made feel nostalgic and that last scene was beautiful. I prefer the character design of the first one but this is good too on its own way.

    I’ll join the ranks of people who pitied the fact that this isn’t going to get blogged here. :( Oh, well, I’ll enjoy this nonetheless

  • October 20, 2013 at 1:38 amShellshocked

    Shame this is not getting blogged, as of ep 3 looks like its going to be contending for best romance of the season

  • October 28, 2013 at 12:29 ambriex

    After reading Zephyr’s post Regarding Coppelion Coverage, I saw some positive comments about WA2 and then I took a look at WA2 first impression post and comments.
    Until yesterday, my pick for best rom/drama this season(well, till episode 4 anyway) goes to Golden Time. But soon after I marathoned WA2 to eps 4, I must say thanks to you guys. If I didn’t read the positive comments from you guys, I definitely will missed this show. At the fourth episode, I’d say this show had blown past Golden Time on my fave list.

    • November 19, 2013 at 2:21 amflCer

      totally agree.

  • November 3, 2013 at 11:36 pmlegwkio

    Kinda disappointed that this show isn’t covered by RC. Best Romance for me this season.

  • November 9, 2013 at 2:45 pmSLAM

    no new updates? ):

  • November 14, 2013 at 8:45 amKamiyaCheap

    White Album2 could be said, the best Romance this season… should continue watching it… it jst keep getting better. (I play the game so I know first hand how good it is.) It won’t disappoint.

  • November 19, 2013 at 2:24 amflCer

    I watched White Album 2, and it managed to suck me into a marathon through all 7 episodes.

    It’s really something else. Like the previous comments, it’s the best romance this season, perhaps one of the best romances for the last FEW seasons.

    Very neatly written storyboard and fantastic visuals. Shame it’s not getting as much spotlight!!