Yosuga no Sora Arc Breakdown – Episodes 3 and 4 (Kazuha’s Arc)

Kazuha Arc

Plot: Haruka develops a relationship with Kazuha while trying to help her with her relationship to Akira and her problems with her father.

Breakdown: I’m not going to lie, this arc really isn’t bad. It’s not great, but it’s okay.

Obviously, one of the worst offenses this series is making is trying to cram four visual novel routes in 13 episodes, minus three technically because those are meant to provide foundations for the actual routes, so ten episodes. Each route has two episodes to play with (except Sora, who gets three….) so, of course, that means every relationship develops at a breakneck speed.

That being said, the relationship between Haru and Kazuha is pretty good. He’s very supportive of her without being pushy. He helps her get through some major hurdles in her life and backs off when she clearly needs space. Likewise, while Kazuha does does try to keep Haru at arm’s length, she obviously can’t do it for very long and eventually gives in to her feelings.

She’s not overly preoccupied with Haru in this arc, either, as she spends a lot of time doting over Akira to the point where she even proclaims that all she wants to do is dedicate her life to Akira, making Akira question if she loves her romantically, so obligatory (incest again…) yuri kiss~~ She rejects Akira, though, even though it wasn’t really Akira hitting on her so much as pushing her to admit she loves Haru, which she wouldn’t do because she felt that would be betraying Akira….It makes more sense in context.

I do have to say for being the prim and proper ‘princess’ of the harem, she dives a bit too hard into the heavy physical stuff too quickly. Her first kiss with Haru is a full makeout session and the next time they show physical affection outside of hand holding, they’re having sex on her bed immediately after a festival. They get into the ‘I love yous’ really quickly too because it feels like Haru’s known Kazuha all of maybe a month.

Also, I think he’s too forward when he puts his hand on Kazuha’s (clothed) breast when they take pictures at the fair. I’m quite certain that’s literally their first date. It was also pretty random. Like, hey, funny pictures, whee, Immagropeyanow, say cheese!
Edit: It was brought to my attention that Kazuha was probably touching her own chest here (feeling her heartbeat) and I agree. The art of the hand and the way they’re positioned gave off the suggestion that he was doing it. Sorry for the confusion.

At this point, at least by normal anime standards, they might be dating and holding hands regularly, possibly kissing on the regular, but not saying “I love you” and having sex.

As for the story itself, it’s also pretty good. I think Kazuha has way too much of a personal guilt complex, and it’s a bit unbelievable that Akira never told Kazuha that she was happy the way she was and that she actually had a much better relationship with her father than Kazuha knew about, but it’s not that bad.

In addition, they leave plenty of Akira’s story open, despite the two being so closely intertwined, so Akira’s arc will have plenty to go over.

Oh and in case you’re wondering about Sora’s role here, she mostly does what she’s been doing this whole time, which is standing around doing nothing and really only being a reaction shot. She has one kinda nice conversation with Akira about how Haru and Kazuha are similar in their desire to help other people before thinking of themselves. Thank god she’s actually conversing with other characters, and she….kinda….ish gives advice….ish…stuff to Haru about Kazuha? But not really. She mostly just points out that his gift of a birthday cake on Kazuha’s birthday is too predictable.

Also, we’re shown a shot where she’s fiddling with a cross necklace. I really hope they don’t slap us in the face with religion when we get to the incest. I got enough of that with Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru.

If this arc had more elbow room and incorporated Akira’s story into it without also including her romance arc and included more of their father, this arc would be perfectly fine as the main plot of the show.

…..But it’s not, so onto Akira’s arc!


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Yosuga no Sora Arc Breakdown – Episode 2 (Base of Kazuha and Akira’s Arcs)

YNS EP2

Plot: Starting off the branching storylines of Kazuha and Akira, Haru gets to know the girls better and becomes very curious as to what they really are to each other.

Breakdown: I mentioned in my Episode One-Derland entry for this series that I was going to continue looking into this show on my own while also denying giving it the green light to continue because I, personally, wanted to see how screwed up this series got. I finished episode five when I realized something very odd about this anime.

You remember in my review of Amnesia where I said the format was perfect at least in regards to letting the MC date all of the possible suitors (or explore all of the visual novel dating routes) without cheating or seeming like a tramp because she could cross dimensions and take over the life of the heroine from that world where she was currently dating one of the guys? Yosuga no Sora does something similar, but it doesn’t even bother trying to actually frame the different routes with some other plot.

Instead it just opens a new story where Haru is entering into a relationship with one of the girls. When the story is over, or when the two of them crotch wrestle, they end the story, even putting ‘The end’ on the screen and the next episode starts a new route.

There are three episodes detached from this structure, according to the incredibly helpful flow chart on the Wiki (Thanks for that, whoever made it!) The only way these arcs are framed is through episodes one, two and seven. One introduces the full story and branches off into either two or seven. Two, our episode today, is our gateway into the Kazuha and Akira arcs. Seven is the gateway to the Nao and, yes, Sora arcs.

Since the structure is as such, I thought it might be better to review the series in segments based on arc instead of eventually reviewing the entire thing as a whole. However, episode two is one of the base episodes, so we don’t really have an arc to review here.

So what does episode two entail, you might ask? Not a lot.

Sora proves what a clingy, creepy and useless human being she is yet again. Haru leaves for school, and he’s not more than three steps out the door before she’s screaming bloody murder…over a mosquito. If you know me, you know I absolutely deplore mosquitoes and even I would never freak out a fraction as badly as she is in this scene over one. And yes, it’s just one.

But that’s not all – she’s absolutely filling her bedroom with spray trying to kill it……Hair spray.

And when Haru tries to go off to kill it, she vehemently refuses to not cling to him, in her flimsy might-as-well-be-lingerie nightgown. Oh and later she gets all pissy when Haru texts her and says he’ll be a bit late because he’s stopping off at Akira’s place to get mosquito netting for her.

Then, when Kazuha comes over to sew the buttons on Sora’s school uniform, because Sora can’t do that either, of course, Sora just pouts in other rooms….and eats a popsicle in a suggestive manner…..Then later has a pouty tantrum when he gives her the uniform.

As Haru’s off in school having all the girls, though in this case Kazuha and Akira, try to hide that they’re all swampy for him, Sora stays at home being bored, lazing about and eating chips. If only there was a place people her age could go to spend time during the day. Doing productive things like learning and socializing. Oh my bad, she couldn’t go to one of those places even if they did exist because she is so clearly too weak and sickly. Look at her, running around like crazy over a mosquito and not even coughing in a room filled with hair spray. Why isn’t she hospitalized? 😐

(Being fair, by the end of the episode, she is in school, but it still miffs me that she was ever kept out of school for that excuse in the first place.)

Other than Sora, we have the plot with Kazuha and Akira, showing off their dynamic as friends. Akira is very much a people pleaser, typically tending to the needs of others before thinking of herself, and everyone asks her for help with various things so she tends to leave herself to the wayside quite often, even refusing to go to excuse herself to the bathroom when someone needs help. In addition, she’s an ‘orphan’ who lives alone in a massive shrine, meaning she’s forced to take care of herself, though she does have Akira and the local candy shop owner, Hiro, looking after her.

Meanwhile, Kazuha is very proper and responsible, basically to the point of nagging and scolding Akira all the time, but she actually cares very deeply for Akira and wants her to be happy and healthy.

It’s a bit weird in regards to setting up the two arcs, because it puts quite a bit more focus on Akira than it does Kazuha but Kazuha is the arc that occurs first. Akira is my favorite character, so I guess setting up her story better is a good thing, but it’s still weird.

Also, they’re cleaning the pool this episode so wet fanservice abounds. Also also, they purposely make it sound like Akira and Kazuha are having sex in the changing room because audio fanservice.

And then the bomb is dropped that Kazuha and Akira might actually be sisters.

————————————

Admittedly, this episode was a lot better than the first one. It’s still covered in every breathing human with a vagina lusting after Haru (Except, refreshingly, Hiro, but she’s just rude so it even out on annoyingness.) but the plot with Kazuha and Akira is actually quite interesting and leaves me intrigued to learn more.

Sora is once again the weakest link here because she’s obnoxious in her nothingness. She’s so useless and overly clingy I’m surprised she’s able to breathe without Haru inflating and deflating her lungs for her. She is probably the closest I’ll ever get to finding a character as useless and flat as Herione from Amnesia.

The other incredibly annoying character was Ryouhei who’s only purpose in this show so far is to be as big of a pervert as humanly possible. That’s it. Every line out of his mouth is somehow perving on one of the girls. What is it with harems and having the main guy have an obnoxious pervert friend? Usually it’s to make the horrible scumbag main character look better by comparison, but there’s nothing really wrong with Haru so I don’t understand his purpose.

Also, the little short omake animation with Motoka the maid has her showing off her panties to Haru and grabbing Haru’s ding-dong totally ‘on accident.’ Lovely. She’s an adult, by the way. They never confirm her age, but she’s old enough to drink and he’s 16.

(Final note: I’m aware Haru’s name is actually Haruka, but he keeps getting called Haru so I’ve taken to calling him that.)

Coming up next, a full review of the Kazuha arc, episodes 3 and 4.


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White Album Season 2 Review

Rating: 3.5/10

Plot: Same as the first season, only with more sex and drama.

Breakdown: (Spoiler alert: Also, this is not to be confused with White Album 2)

Nihon rater, I apologize. You had perfect reason to name Touya on the same level as Makoto. He didn’t leave a pregnant girl on her own so he could bang other girls, but I can see why you’d put them on the same level.

Touya’s upped the assholery 1000 fold in this season. The first one only had him cheating on Yuki with Yayoi. He seemed to feel guilty about it, he kept pretending Yayoi was Yuki because he missed her. Okay, somewhat understandable, I suppose. Cheating’s still a major dick move, but it is slightly understandable here. Understandable, not excusable. He also kissed Misaki and proclaimed his love for her….okay that’s much less understandable. Especially if his one ‘love’ is Yuki.

In this season he continues to sleep with Yayoi until about three episodes from the end, sleeps with Haruka, makes out with Misaki (again), has sex with Misaki, almost has sex with Menou, makes out with Rina, goes out on a date with another woman (whom he later ditches from said date to go with Yayoi for no reason whatsoever. And when I say “ditch” I mean he said he needed to go to the bathroom and never intended on coming back. She was a nice pretty girl and Touya just ditches her in the middle of a date for no reason. What’s worse is that the final shot they show of her is her waiting in the restaurant saying she’ll never date again. Touya, you’re a dick. At least say something came up and you needed to leave. Don’t act like you’ll be right back and then ditch her. What’s even worse is that he strung her along first by calling her a savior goddess. Jeez.) and strings along Mana.

All without remorse and eventually even becoming blase about his relationship with Yuki – the one he still won’t friggin’ end.

This season also brings up a lot of confusing and pointless moments. Like, though I don’t mind the thought, why did Akira get hit by a car? It added nothing, he suffered no actual injuries besides a scratch on the head and he was back to work days later. I’ll tell ya why. It got you to watch the next episode because that was a cliffhanger moment. So useful!

I could’ve done with White Album if they left it as it was in season one, but no…

Characters

Touya: You can basically understand my thoughts on his character already. He turns into a super-ultra ass in this season, yet still holds his relationship with Yuki for no reason. Did you know they barely ever have screentime together? Ever.

How can you root for a couple that we hardly ever see together? We see him with the other girls a lot more than Yuki. Again, I honestly don’t understand why he never dumped her. Why pretend you guys are in love when you barely even like each other by this point?

In addition, in the scene where Akira gets hit by the car, all he’s worried about when he gets to the hospital is how he’ll handle it if Haruka’s upset with it. Nice. Some friend you are. He’s completely unlikable, boring when he’s not being an ass and I wish HE had been hit by a car at some point.

Akira: Like Touya, he’s upped the assholery quite a bit this season. He’s still an angry jackass, only now he’s a sex hound. He tries to sleep with Misaki in Touya’s father’s house (right after he came home from having a heart attack!) and then gets pissed because she doesn’t want to do it, justifying it by that they’ve been dating for a month (a whole MONTH! Wow, why aren’t you married yet?) and it’s time that they did. Feh.

Also, he states that if she ever had tea with Touya, he’d dump her in a heartbeat. True love right here, folks. I mean, I wouldn’t trust Touya to be alone with my shoes, but that’s a complete lack of trust in Misaki as well. He also seems barely bothered after she broke up with him. He was even on a date with Haruka smiling a few days later…

Eiji:
Eiji didn’t have that much of an impact on the first season, but he was a jerk there and he’s still one here. Also, he’s out of his damned mind. I’m dead serious. The reason he’s a jerk is that he basically treats his sister, Rina, as an object. He believes Rina has overstayed her welcome in the music world and keeps trying to replace her with his new star, Yuki, despite the fact that Rina is still a huge sensation.

The reason he’s insane is because he’s completely obsessed with this painting he saw when he was a musician. It was so amazing that he was moved to tears whenever he saw it. He was so obsessed with it that he tried to obtain the painting for years, but kept getting ‘copies.’ However, he was just under the delusion that they were all copies of the same painting, when, in reality, the paintings were all drastically different and he was just imagining that they looked exactly the same.

He has a mental breakdown and it’s revealed that he doesn’t even remember what the painting looked like. So impacting that he doesn’t even remember what it looked like….just that it had a girl and a lily. Wow.

Yuki: Yuki’s even more of a doormat in this season. She actually finds out that Touya has been cheating on her and lying to her along with a bunch of other people, yet she still doesn’t dump him or even confront him about it.

Yuki wants the best of both worlds by trying to maintain her relationship with Touya and staying as a pop idol, but she makes little to no effort to see him or make time for him. The most conversations they have is by phone tag – just leaving messages for each other on the answering machine.

It’s obvious that she cares more about her career than him, yet she still won’t let him go. I questioned many times whether or not Yuki actually loved Touya at all during this season. Their relationship has the emotional depth of a sippy cup. Why are they the main couple?

Oh and, get this, she won’t make an iota of effort to see Touya because she doesn’t want to hinder her career, but she says she’ll quit her career because Rina said she was leaving the record label. LOGIC.

Also, when she finds out that Touya’s a lying ass, she bites into her hand so hard that she creates a puddle of blood on the ground….Ya know what? Maybe they deserve each other…

Rina: Rina was the one character who I still pretty much liked in the end. However, she does make out with Touya. She owns up to it with Yuki immediately, though. And she still shows that she’s a strong character and a good friend.

Misaki: Misaki turned horrible in this season. She makes out with Touya, later sleeps with him (granted, he was grieving, but still.) takes a job from an old boyfriend who apparently got her pregnant and wouldn’t support the baby. Then he became a huge dick to her and tried to stab her later.

By the way, I have no clue what happened to the baby, if there was one. She willingly creates a trashy article for him as well. It’s a side plot that seems unfinished and sloppy. She’s also not being fair to Akira by being with him. It’s obvious she went with him because he loved her and she couldn’t have Touya. She dumps him, which is more than I can say for Yuki, but geez.

Haruka: Haruka also lost her likability in this season. Not terribly much, but she ends up practically throwing her(naked)self at Touya and then sleeps with him. Also, we have no clue what happened to her brother, nor why she stopped playing tennis because of it. In addition, I really got sick of her monotone personality….

Yayoi: Still a whore. Next.

Menou: Not much comes out of the new character of Menou. We find out that she’s Mana’s older sister that their mother uses as a singing icon, she was Touya’s first savior goddess and…she’s pretty…what’s the word….sleazy? I don’t know.

Mana: Mana’s still a brat in this season, but she never kisses or makes out/sleeps with Touya. Her affection, what she chooses to show of it, remains stilted and one-sided. However, she does have a complete and utter flip out mid-season. Destroys her entire room for very little reason.

Misc. Issues

There’s no couple that you really want to root for…in this romance anime. There are three main guys in this series, Touya, Akira and Eiji. I’ve already explained why they’re either assholes or jerks plus insanity. Most of the girls also become very unlikable.

If you root for any pairing, you will definitely find a reason to not want them together. At the beginning, I wanted Touya to go with Haruka, but seeing what an ass he was to her this whole series, I believe he didn’t deserve her and she didn’t deserve to be with an ass. Later on, I rooted for Rina and Touya, but again I liked her too much to encourage her to go with Touya. So I figured, screw it, let him go with Yayoi. They’re perfect for each other. Both heartless sex fiends.

If anything, the best pairing in this series is Rina and Yuki. They have a really great relationship where both would gladly sacrifice everything for the happiness of the other and they get along really well. I usually don’t purposely make yaoi/yuri pairings in shows unless the characters themselves are solidified as being gay, but tell me this relationship wouldn’t work.

In a show that is based off of a dating sim, especially when you go the extra mile to try and explore every avenue, you have to have at least one pairing that you can root for. Even if it’s not the main pairing.

School days even had me rooting for Kotonoha and Makoto to some extent, even if he was major assholedickjackass who didn’t deserve her and likely would’ve kept up his cheating ways—okay I’m starting to regret this one now. Rumbling Hearts had me rooting for Haruka. I rooted for no one in the end of this. I hope he ended up alone and so did Yuki….

Let me try to explain the actual ending. Touya flashes back to when he really first met Yuki. Apparently he saved Haruka and Yuki from bullies by pissing his pants, putting it on his hands and chasing the bullies away by showing them his hands.

“If only a boy with piss on his hands wasn’t here” Wow writing staff, did you write that as a serious line? Like, really?

Afterward, Yuki is prompted by Touya’s father to encourage him or whatever so she gives him a medal made out of a piece of wood. He throws it into the woods. His father yells at him to retrieve it, but he never does. The emotional trauma from that string of events (that’s actually how they describe it) made him seal off his memories………..Does anyone need to fertilize about 300 gardens because that is a massive pile of bullshit.

Also, the reason he never found it was because Haruka took it and hid it. Don’t ask. I don’t care and they barely explain why.

The end is a big mystery. Rina and Yuki sing together on stage and apparently become a duo act now being handled by Frankie. Someone (either Rina or Yuki) writes a goodbye note to Touya on the mirror of the dressing room. Yuki leaves Touya a note that doesn’t say anything. Then Touya waves to someone as we fade out for the last time and hear all the girls (and guys, because…..I dunno) say Touya’s name. Basically, though the writers seem to want to point to one couple the entire series and this episode, the ending is left ambiguous to please any fan of any other pairing. Or please none of them. Take your pick.

Art and Animation: Same quality level of the last season.

Voice Acting: Same.

Music: Didn’t like the music as much in this season. The final song was fairly nice, though.

Bottomline: If you, for any reason, liked the first season, leave it at that. This season will make you hate almost everyone. In addition, if you do root for any pairing, there’s no real satisfying ending to any pairing. Even his relationship with Yuki amounts to little to nothing. I guarantee that you won’t find happiness over the horizon.

If you do like it, stop at the end of season one. Still no happiness over the horizon, but it’ll likely save you from hating practically every character and pairing.

Additional Information and Notes: White Album season 2 was produced by Seven Arcs. The second season was directed by Taizō Yoshida. It was written by Hiroaki Sato.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2009

Recommended Audience: More sexual situations and fanservice shots than the last season. Also more mature themes. 15+?

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. Luckily, he has plenty of ‘goddesses’ to keep him company and help him through his troubles one way or another.

Breakdown: (Spoiler warning) I haven’t had such a love/hate relationship with an anime since Fushigi Yugi.

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.

One of the reasons I was so interested in this show 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.

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, and I find it damn near impossible to forgive, personally, 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 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.

Characters

Touya: 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 things for him, and he barely acknowledges her existence, which is odd, considering they’re supposed to be childhood friends.

Yuki: Yuki’s not terribly likable either. Her personality is fine, but she chose her career over her boyfriend, which would be fine if she actually fully chose one of the other. Things don’t always work out, and they could’ve had a very civil break. But she still tried to string him along without really trying that hard 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?

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.

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 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.

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.

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 by him. 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. 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.

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

Voice Acting: Japanese – 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 bland and forgettable.

Bottomline: Focusing on just season 1, it’s a confusing mess at it’s worst, keeps your attention at best. 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, 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.

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 Yugi: Eikoden….That…explains…a lot.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2009

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+

Rumbling Hearts Review

Rumbling Hearts

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Takayuki, Shinji, Mitsuki and Haruka were best friends in high school. Haruka had a crush on Takayuki for a long time, and she eventually gained the courage to confess to him. Takayuki didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so he accepted her confession and they started dating. He eventually grew to love her and their relationship eventually became more intimate.

Everything seems to be going great until tragedy strikes. Haruka was hit by a car and fell into a coma. The accident greatly impacted Takayuki who basically became a semi-mute mess. He was taken care of by Mitsuki for a handful of years, and they eventually hooked up and start dating. However, everything changes once again when Haruka suddenly wakes up…..

Breakdown: This is another anime that I had to rethink after re-working my old review of it. This was one of the first 10 reviews that I ever wrote, and I think I got a little too carried away with it, mostly because I really wanted a different pairing in the end.

Now that it’s been a few years since I watched this series and, thinking back on the facts….this anime wasn’t as great as I first believed it to be. It’s still great, but I really endorsed this thing too hard.

I should weed people out now, if you can’t stand soap-opera drama, you might wanna leave this alone. This is the most soap-opera-y anime I’ve ever seen. It’s better made and acted than soap-operas, but the tone and story are just covered in drama.

You also might think that I put too much information in the plot summary. What, did I summarize half the series? Well, fear not because that’s just from the first two episodes.

The main reason why I decided to dock this some points in my rework (it was previously 4.5/5 when I used to do ??/5, which basically equals 9.5/10 here) was because I thought about the entire story, barring my love of Haruka, and…well….I was basically right before, but even more.

Takayuki and Mitsuki, to me, have no chemistry. You know Mitsuki has a thing for Takayuki early on, but you never really felt like the feeling was mutual. The only real reason that they get together is because Mitsuki was fed up with vegetable zombie Takayuki and decides to snap him out of it by confessing to him, stripping naked, and then jumping his bones. Despite the fact that Takayuki went along with it, I never felt like he was as in love with Mitsuki as she was with him.

My major problem is that both Takayuki and Mitsuki are kinda difficult to like. Both Takayuki and Mitsuki, one being her boyfriend and the other her best friend, fail to visit Haruka in the hospital once in three years. For no good reason.

Yes, it might be awkward despite the fact that she can’t see or hear you or even acknowledge your presence, but she’s still your friend, dammit. You don’t have to constantly hold vigil at her bedside, but a quick visit like once a week wouldn’t kill you.

Once Haruka wakes up, things really start getting unfurled, starting with shaky waters between Mitsuki and Haruka’s little sister, Akane, who accidentally walked in on Mitsuki naked in Takayuki’s bed early on in her and Takayuki’s relationship. Now she hates Mitsuki for betraying Haruka but has an okay relationship with Takayuki because of how much he means to her sister.

Haruka doesn’t realize it’s been three years since the accident and hasn’t been caught up on anything for fear of her going into shock and making her severely ill. She still believes Takayuki’s her boyfriend, they’re all still in high school, Akane wears her old school uniform around her to further the illusion etc.

Takayuki’s relationship with Mitsuki is severely shaken after this, especially when he seems to start spending more and more time with Haruka. Eventually, he even starts getting romantic with Haruka again.

Mitsuki is so depressed by losing Takayuki that she….well, I don’t want to go so far as to say ‘rape’ but she drunkenly pushes Shinji into having sex with him despite him stating that he has a girlfriend. And that’s basically Shinji’s only real purpose in this anime. I guess they didn’t want her having sex with some random stranger, but I really can’t remember him doing anything else. He is a nice character, but that’s it.

On paper, this might reek of melodrama and it does, but it is also well-written and well executed. The characters are fleshed out and have believable personalities, especially given the situation that they’re in. While I find it to be a dick move for both Takayuki and Mitsuki to hook up then basically ditch Haruka, I can, sadly, totally see that happening in a real situation.

Now I won’t lie, I, myself, didn’t care for the ending. The ending was…unexpected. It was sweet, but not the ending I personally was rooting for and has a major problem given the information I’ve already presented.

SPOILERS FOR ENDING

Haruka and Takayuki are seemingly happy together, and Haruka has even come to terms with the fact that three years have passed and Takayuki and Mitsuki hooked up while she was in a coma. Shinji tells Takayuki of how Mitsuki was acting, and Takayuki actually seems like he doesn’t care. Shinji punches him and tells Takayuki off.

Later, Haruka tells Takayuki that a lot has changed over the past three years and that she wants to step aside for him to be with Mitsuki.

See, I don’t get this. This is a great gesture by Haruka. It’s extremely selfless and sweet, albeit sad. But it really seems like all of this is happening purely to make Mitsuki happy again.

As I said before, I never got the vibe that Takayuki was all that much in love with Mitsuki. It really seemed like he was trying to fill the hole in his heart from losing Haruka, and Mitsuki was there and loved him, so why not? We got to see Takayuki go from dating Haruka to avoid hurting her feelings to him legitimately loving her. And just because Mitsuki’s going on a self-destructive bender because she lost her boyfriend, Takayuki should feel more obligated to be with her than Haruka? And Haruka ends up with nothing? That just seems…awful.

And to answer your question, yes, he does actually go to her and they live happily-ehhh ever after.

END OF ENDING SPOILERS.

Art and Animation: The art and animation are fantastic. However, I really feel like, if they wanted a realistic feel, they shouldn’t have gone for the bright blue and pink hairstyles.

Music: Good, but not particularly memorable.

Voices: English – The voices were actually great, though Haruka’s and Akane’s were sorta too high pitched for my tastes.

Bottomline: Though it may be too soap-opera-y for some people, it’s still an enjoyable romantic drama. No matter if you dislike certain characters or not, you do connect with all of the characters on some level and feel bad for their situation. The ending may be disappointing or great depending on your opinions on the situation.

Additional Information and Notes: Rumbling Hearts was based on eroge game, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (which is also the show’s original Japanese name). It was produced by Studio Fantasia, and is currently licensed by Funimation in North America.

Rumbling Hearts has a sequel OVA and a spin-off show centered around Akane called Akane Maniax, which is a comedy. I may review these in the future. I started watching the OVA, but never got around to finishing it. I do remember the art being even better than the series, through. It was gorgeous.

Episodes: 14

Year: 2003-2004

Recommended Audience: Mild swearing, mild violence, some mature situations, severe levels of drama, partial nudity, mentions of sex, non-graphic(though there is a nipple or two…haha, get it? Or two?…ahhh..) depictions of sexual encounters. 14+