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+

30DAC – Day 20: Anime Character that Gets on Your Nerves

Fun fact: I had basically an entire entry written out for this in advance because I knew exactly, EX-ACT-LY who I was going to pick for this, and to few people’s surprise, it was going to be Mayo from Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden. By all means, she is incredibly irritating, but I think that, for this prompt, the answer should be somewhat different. Mayo’s aggravating because she’s an evil bitch that we’re meant to sympathize with because the writers say so. No matter what awful things she did, we’re meant to forgive her because reasons.

However….I think that, to some degree, Mayo was meant to make viewers mad. There’s no way you do the various things she did in such a bitchy manner as she did them without the intent of having the audience be angered. I just can’t believe any writer would be that stupid. I believe they’d be stupid enough to take a character like that, turn around and say ‘like her now’ but I can’t believe a character would be written in that way without the intent of making the audience mad for some reason.

I recently watched a show that showed me the light on what makes a true character that gets on my nerves. It was called Amnesia and ♪ I’ve been through this prompt on a character with no name. ♪

Her ‘name’ is Heroine. Yes, she has no legit canon name, so she’s simply known by the fanbase as ‘Heroine’. And she’s usually addressed in the anime as ‘you’.

Let’s give a short synopsis of the show first. Amnesia is a show about a girl who suddenly loses her memory of her entire life after being bumped into by a fairy/spirit named Orion. She tries to live her life without drawing attention to the fact that she’s amnesiac, but soon discovers that she has a boyfriend. After getting to know him for a bit, she jumps into another reality that is basically the same as the one she was in, only she’s dating a new guy. And the cycle continues until they run out of guys. How’d you know this was based on a dating sim?

What makes this character so annoying? She is basically a non-character in her own friggin’ show. She does nothing. She barely ever shows any emotion. She never tries to get her memories back and only does investigating into the world around her when prompted by Orion. I would say she’s a reactive character instead of a proactive one, but she barely ever RE-acts either. All she does is stand there with that blank expression and maybe once in a while she’ll chime into a conversation with her annoying breathy voice to say ‘s-sorry’ or ‘it’s nothing’ Even when awful things are happening to her, she barely reacts and does nothing. You could replace her part with a mop and it would probably be more tolerable.

This kiss bores me….
Oh I’m drowning now? *sighs*
Being trapped in a cage by a crazy person disinterests me so….

Oh but every guy is nuts about her despite this. They do have good reason, though. The various Heroines throughout the realities actually supposedly have some sort of personality. We just never see the personality because the Heroine in their reality is replaced by plywood.

And I’m not buying for a second that her amnesia is an excuse for this. A little bit, sure. If she doesn’t remember who she is, she can’t act as she would. But that doesn’t mean she’d have zero personality, it just means she’d have a different one. The different personality could be completely void of personality, but that’s an awful choice in terms of writing.

This does, however, solidify her status as the most blatant Mary Sue character ever. I mean, if you’re watching this show just to imagine yourself dating one or all of the eligible bachelors, then you’ll likely have a ball with this because it’s never been easier to copy/paste yourself onto a character. Since she’s made of cardboard, paste works very well. For those of us watching for actual plot, she essentially ruins what little there is because it’s incredibly difficult to care even a little bit about this non-existent main character, and she is the first ever character I’ve seen to ever infuriate me because of how little there is to them. Usually this just means they’re forgettable and bland, but she’s enragingly forgettable and bland, and she really deserves this spot.