White Album Season 1 Review

Rating: 6/10

Plot: Touya Fujii has been dating Yuki Morikawa since they were in high school. However, when Yuki wants to pursue her dream of becoming a singer, she puts her relationship with Touya on hold because she can’t balance her career and dating him. This leads Touya through a tough time trying to continue at least keeping in contact with Yuki, but failing numerous times. However, he has plenty of ‘goddesses’ to keep him company and help him through his troubles one way or another.

Reasons for rating: (Spoiler warning and whatnot) I haven’t had such a love/hate relationship with an anime since Fushigi Yuugi. First off, let me get this out of the way, every anime site I went to listed seasons 1 and 2 as separate anime, so I’m doing the same here.

Next, let me get the ‘goddess’ thing out of the way. Touya basically lists one woman a day as his ‘goddess of the day.’ Criteria for this is being female and seeing him on a day. Yuki is supposed to be special because she was his ‘everyday’. This doesn’t matter. At all. But the show keeps pointing it out so there ya go.

Now, this anime annoyed the living hell out of me, but I still watched with intense focus. Why? Two reasons. One was that I read on Nihon anime reviews that Touya was seen as being more despicable than Makoto of School Days. Not as hated, but more despicable. That’s a pretty bold statement seeing as how Makoto was complete garbage. Second was simply the anime has a way of keeping your attention. I get drawn into dramas like that…

I haven’t seen season two as of this initial writing, but from what I gather of season one….he’s not as bad as Makoto by a long shot. Makoto was a heartless sex fiend who cheated on about five different girls, one claiming she was pregnant, without any remorse or caring whatsoever. The only time he ever showed an iota of caring is when he got caught doing something bad and even then it wasn’t much.

Touya….is an ass. I won’t deny that. He’s an ass to Hakura for no reason even though she is nothing but nice to him, he admits his love for Misaki even though he knows his best friend likes her and he’s supposedly in love with Yuki, he makes out with and sleeps with Yayoi, Yuki’s manager, as a replacement for Yuki (even though Yayoi’s one of the main things keeping them apart) and he’s incredibly difficult to like as a main character.

However, unlike Makoto, he actually shows remorse for cheating.

….Sometimes.

He doesn’t use the girls he knows for sex beyond Yayoi. In fact, he only kisses one other girl besides Yayoi and Yuki for the entire show. And, being partially fair, Touya actually has SOMEWHAT of a reason to cheat (even though I think cheating is horrible no matter what reason, at least Touya had a reason beyond Makoto’s ‘I WANT SEX!’ reason.)

The anime pulls you into so many directions that it’s exhausting at times. Why? Because this anime is based off of a visual novel….More to the point: a dating sim. He has six, count ’em SIX different girls to choose from. However, unlike a lot of visual novel based anime (Like Rumbling Hearts or, hell, even School Days) this anime wants to travel down every romance path possible. It wants you to root for way too many pairings. Focus on Yuki, Rina or Haruka, some mixture of those. We didn’t need Yayoi, Mana or Misaki’s relationships with him muddling it up.

In addition, their relationship is so flimsy that they should’ve just fully broken up with she became a singer. If you still want her to remain as a romantic interest, make them miss each other. Try to get back together. Keeping them together only highlights what an ass Touya is and what an idiot Yuki is. None of this would’ve happened otherwise and I was never really rooting for him and Yuki to begin with.

Instead of trying in vain to dissect the show, let me break down the characters since they’re really what make the show.

Touya: Touya has mostly been explained. He’s in love with Yuki, but is willing to cheat on her and declare his love to other women. He never seems to try very hard to see her or do stuff with her etc.. He’s also a doormat. Besides Haruka, he does what everyone tells him to do with little fight. Speaking of Haruka, I’d really like a reason as to why he’s so cold to her. She does tons of crap for him and he barely acknowledges her existence. Which is odd, considering they’re supposed the be childhood friends.

Akira: He’s the token ‘best friend’ but he’s almost as annoying as Touya. He’s always angry, hardly ever smiles and his only real character point is that he likes Misaki for no given reason whatsoever. Oh and I love this scene where he and Misaki spot Touya in a library. Touya’s just staring out the window, he sees Akira and Misaki together so he quickly waves and goes back to staring. Akira says with a snarl “What does HE want?” I think he wants to look out the window and mind his own damn business, Akira. Even after he basically gets together with Misaki he’s an angry whelp. He’s constantly making unprovoked comments about being jealous of Touya and it’s obvious even when he’s with Misaki that he’s being treated as runner-up.

Yuki: Yuki’s not terribly likable either. Her personality is fine, but she chose her career over her boyfriend and still tried to string him along without really trying much to be with him. Lots of singers and actresses can still live their lives and have relationships. What makes Yuki so special that she can’t date Touya anymore?

Rina: Rina is Yuki’s mentor and best friend. She is also a pop idol who has taken Yuki under her wing to help her career. I really liked Rina, especially towards the end, but before the actual end. See, she finds out Touya’s cheating on Yuki, so she does the logical thing and asks if she can date him too….Right. I will never understand that logic. Rina doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would be in it for the sex, so why try to build a relationship with a guy who nonchalantly admitted he was bonking his girlfriend’s manager behind her back? However, she is likable and I liked watching most of her scenes.

Haruka: Haruka is Touya’s childhood friend and is treated like crap. According to a line of dialogue in episode one, she had some sort of accident in tennis and we never hear of it again. Haruka is extremely quiet and softspoken, but she enjoys biking and going for walks. She frequently asks Touya to go with her, but Touya almost never goes with her. Haruka obviously likes Touya, but claims she just likes him as brother. Oh and as a final “screw you, Haruka” before the second season, Akira runs over her bike…

Misaki: Misaki is good friend of Touya because they relate to each other with books and poetry. There’s not much else to say about her besides she’s in love with Touya, but knows she can never be with him because he ‘loves’ Yuki. She knows Akira loves her, but ignores his feelings. Misaki’s likable but boring.

Yayoi: Yuki’s manager, Yayoi has an amazing character design. Seriously the colors, the design, the eyes, they’re all great. The art’s great in this show, but her character design is very well-made. I guess that’s to ensure that she’s a good seductress.

Yayoi’s a whore, essentially. She does everything in her power to keep Touya away from Yuki and vice versa because she doesn’t want anything distracting Yuki from her singing. She knows this hurts Touya, so she jumps him every chance she gets to be a replacement for Yuki. It should be noted that he does fight this at first, but not much and not for long. She hardly ever cracks a smile and she’s not likable at all.

Mana: A girl Touya happened upon at a train station, then came to be her tutor. Mana just started following Touya, even though she seemingly hated him from first sight. She started screaming “MOLESTER! PERVERT!” just because he bumped into her. BTW, she does this twice and each time she’s by a security guard or cop and each time she has her mouth covered by Touya who promptly drags her away….Good job cops. You hear and see that and don’t move a muscle. Nice.

Mana’s annoying. She’s a brat who also has a thing for Touya (School Days effect will kill you in this series.) She’s also on a crusade to find who ‘Yuki’ really is because she believes he’s simply under the delusion that he’s dating Yuki and knows Rina. Every girl he sees her with she accuses of being Yuki. It stopped being cute the first time she did it.

By the end of the series, you’ll feel like you went through a blender. I had no clue who I was supposed to be rooting for, I was confused as hell and to make things worse, the season ends on a cliffhanger. There was hardly a happy moment throughout the entire show, and when there was it was almost always followed up by a dark cloud.

Art: The art and animation are really great. Nothing spectacular, but still high quality.

Voice acting: Japanese version: The voices are very well done and none of them got on my nerves or seemed flat.

Music: Being rooted in a lot of pop idol culture, there’s obviously a focus on music in this series. The music is okay, I guess. The vocal songs in the series are forgettable except White Album itself. The opening and ending are bland, but fairly memorable. The background music is also bland and forgettable.

Bottomline: Focusing on just season 1, it’s a confusing mess at it’s worst, keeps your attention at best. If you like a lot of possible pairings, this is a decent anime to go to. The technical quality is good, but don’t expect great things from this.

Additional Information and Notes:

White Album season 1 was produced by Seven Arcs. The first season was directed by Akira Yoshimura, who also did episode directorial work on Witch Hunter Robin, Gundam 00, Rurouni Kenshin (TV) and Zegapain. It was written by Hiroaki Sato who also wrote the screenplay for….Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden….Welp.

Year: 2009

Episodes: 13

Recommended Audience: There’s sexual situations, but no nudity. That’s about it for questionable material. However, considering the tone of this show, I’d recommend 14+

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