Today we're looking at White Album, which was recommended to me by a friend (you bastard). It starts out with the main character in a somewhat strained, but very sweet, relationship with his rising idol singer girlfriend. It seems poised to be a sweet love story... And then everything goes downhill.
Hey wait. I've seen this plot before. OH GOD NO. NO NO. IT CAN'T BE YOU SCHOOL DAYS. GET AWAY AND NEVER COME BACK. I can't take that mental trauma again, you were almost as bad as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Well guys, good news and bad news. The good news is, there aren't any nice boats this time!
The bad news is, this chart I made:
White Album gets very close to School Day's craziness, it just leaves off the boats. How? Well, I'll be covering that all in just a moment.
Also, this will be important later, White Album 2 is currently airing as part of the 2013 Fall anime season.
The plot of White Album is okay. It follows Touya in his daily life of being the boyfriend to a rising idol singer Yuki. What starts as a seemingly simple love plot quickly devolves into School Days level of relationship self destruction. It is interesting to follow, at least to an extent, for the better part of the series. The relationships in the show are complex (to a ridiculous extent) and convoluted to boot, so the tension of the series over how it will end keeps you going.
Hey, at least we didn't hit Nice Boat territory with this series. We managed to dodge that one.
This is a show about idol singers, we were bound to have a good soundtrack mixed with cast showoff since Nana Mizuki and Aya Hirano not only lend their voice talents to the show but their singing talents as well. Personally, I think it's damn good because of the talent behind it. There are a couple of really bright spots in the series, like the titular "White Album" track by Aya Hirano (in-series Yuki Morikawa). Yeah, to be honest, I'm a sucker for that saxophone.
Now comes the problem. The drama in White Album gets wildly overplayed a majority of the time. The relationships between the characters become so confusing and nonsensical that the drama just kinda stops making sense.
Helping to drive this is the pretty weird protagonist Touya, whom has really weird character flaws. The best analysis of this character that I read noted that he has a pathological need for relationships, although not necessarily romantic relationships. This makes him latch onto every girl that he meets and be friendly. This, in turn, makes the girls like him. But he's in a relationship so...
Yeah, that's the problem with White Album. The main character causes it all. Intentional or not. This whole drama dynamic causes Touya to make some of the weirdest and most questionable choices that I've ever seen in a show like this. He isn't all that likable and his supporting cast doesn't do much to help.
Let me make something clear, you're liable to want to smack the entirety of the cast at least once while you watch the series. They all contribute to the stupidity that occurs on screen. Every. Single. One. The dad, the girlfriend, the protagonist, the mandatory supporting male character, the girlfriend's idol friend, you will want to smack them all.
As a result of the drama, I feel like the series overstays its welcome with 26 episodes. At least School Days was polite enough to destroy me in 12 episodes. White Album just drags on and on.
The worst part though was the ending. The series ends with a really strange reveal (honestly, I feel like the whole thing came out of left field) and it didn't really change anything. It was kinda played up to be something big and important and it really wasn't. In fact, I think I might have just been trolled by an anime. To boot, the series didn't really get any sort of resolution, likely because the visual novel has many endings, but it still isn't acceptable.
You'll notice that this is the first time in the marathon that I have outright dropped a category (The Great). This was unfortunately unavoidable since I don't really think it has anything in that category. Huh. Awkward.
White Album has a curious distinction of being tolerable. I haven't used that word yet in this marathon, so I'll define my meaning. I'm not sure there is a specific reason to watch White Album. It doesn't have any elements that I can point out as unique or interesting. Where Eureka Seven: AO and Gundam SEED Destiny have something unique and noteworthy to them, White Album doesn't. The biggest thing White Album has going for it is the soundtrack in my opinion.
It doesn't do anything outright wrong (besides drama llama'ing), but it doesn't do anything right either (again, except for the music). As such, I'm not sure who to recommend this for. In its purest form, this is for someone looking for a deconstruction of the harem genre.
An Important Note about White Album 2:
Now, I've said my piece on White Album, now I'll mention White Album 2.
White Album 2 is currently airing as part of the fall season. I need to point out two things in particular, White Album 2 is not a sequel, it is a spin-off set ten years after White Album. It wasn't even advertised like it was. None of the main characters from White Album make a direct appearance in White Album 2. As far as I can tell, you can watch White Album 2 without any knowledge of White Album.
It is very, very important to note that White Album 2 is actually good compared to its predecessor. You should give White Album 2 a shot if you are looking for a romantic drama series. This series actually finished airing while I was writing this, so a review will be coming soon.
EDIT: I still can't figure this out. It seems like there might be another episode next week, although I can't confirm anything.
As usual, I claim no ownership of the images herein.
Code Geass and a certain Gundam series are on deck. Expect one next time.
This is part of my Anime Review Marathon that I began in October 2013 to record my thoughts as I watch a variety of anime on my ever growing backlog. These reviews won't come out on a consistent basis, they'll come out when I feel I have seen enough of a series to pass a judgement on it, although I will usually finish the whole series before the review.
You can see all my articles on Dex's Corner.