I believe there is a way in which events are meant to unfold in life, I would say “ideal situations”. Things such as fated meetings or whatever else that can be missed if your timing is off. Or poorly made choices that can detract you from the ideal path. White Album 2 is a love story about things that don’t go the way they are ‘suppose” to, and a show where ideal situations that should happen don’t happen. White Album 2 is an anime that got to me like almost nothing else, so now I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this love triangle gone horribly wrong.
(Before I begin I want to note that even though it has a 2 in it’s title, this show is pretty much stand alone and the only connect to the original White Album is in the music. The events happen in the same world, but at different time periods. White Album in the 80s and White Album 2 in the 2000s. You don’t have to see the original to understand this show, all you’re missing is the explanation and context for a couple songs.)
White Album 2 is a drama, romance anime set in high school (where else). In his third year our hero Haruki is a member of the light music club. It’s slowly falling apart as all the members leave one by one until it’s him and one of his friends. Everyday Haruki sits by the window of the clubroom and practices guitar, playing of one his favourite songs “White Album”. In the music room next to him a mysterious pianist plays along with him, through all his mistakes and rough points. On one fateful day a beautiful voice joins in with them to sing “White Album”. Determined to track down the source Haruki runs to the roof and discovers Setsuna Ogiso, a girl considered as the “school idol”. Haruki begs her to join and together they discover the mysterious pianist as Touma Kazusa, a lazy classmate of Haruki’s who barely shows up to show. Together the 3 of them bring back the light music club and aim to perform at the school festival. However it’s not this simple as romance begins to blossom between our cast and soon it gets ugly, really really ugly.
White Album 2 is not a pleasant romance story and it will NOT leave you happy by the end. If anything I found the ending to be depressing, this show goes by the theme of going against the set path and theme of life. There is an ideal situation the characters should’ve gone down but instead due to a series of bad decisions and lack of communication, nothing happens as it should in this anime and that is the heartbreak. After episode 7 this show gets right into the drama. Setsuna tries desperately to keep the friendship between the 3 of them but as hidden emotions and motivations are revealed the ugly nature of the characters is brought is.
The characters of White Album 2 are dynamic and very three dimensional. Haruki seems like a standard self insert male lead but I found more then that in him. I felt like he was a character I could understand, as in I got why he did the things he did, he felt like a very real character to me and I could easily put myself in his shoes. What helps is the musically element of the show. Playing guitar and all, seeing these 3 perform music and everything was what sold it for me the most. Setsuna is also an ugly character, she plays a nice girl but deep inside she’s jealous, scheming and in a way self-sabotaging. She knows what she does is wrong, and she also knows coming between Haruki and Touma is a bad idea but she does it anyway to selfishly grant her wishes. Touma is the most tragic character in the show. She turns herself away from people and focuses on nothing more then playing piano. She denies her own feelings and does her best to repress anything she deems unnecessary, but ultimately she can’t. She’s a high school girl in love but the person inside won’t let her live a normal life. There are 2 flashback episodes with Touma and they are heart destroying. Nothing goes as it should for Touma but it’s also partly her fault for being the way she is. Everyone screws themselves over in this anime.
White Album 2 is only 13 episodes but it tells it’s story in it’s limited time better then it could if it was 13 more. Since it’s focused on three characters, everyone gets proper screentime and development. There are a couple of side characters but they are mostly used as plot devices. The way this show ends is not satisfying and honestly it’s bleak and depressing, but I liked that. This show demonstrates what a love triangle can do to a group of foolish teenagers, it doesn’t play anything tricks to make everyone happy, it gets ugly and I was so happy to see a show that was like this. One could compare it to School Days in how it depicts the love triangle (just forget the yandere and all the other romantic options), but I don’t even want to mention that show in the presence of White Album 2 because it’s not the same.
Ultimately it is a visual novel adaptation so there is still more to the story and I can bet there will not be a second season for this show. But even if there isn’t just these 13 episodes are enough for me. When I watched this show a year ago it had the biggest impact a show had ever had on me. The deception of the characters really got to me and the musical element is what hooked in me because I could relate to it all. I felt all kinds of emotions watching this show, and even typing about it now is hard because I’m not sure how to best describe what it means to me and why.
I can bet this show won’t effect everyone like it did me, and it was a perfect blend of in show elements and me at the time that made this a homerun. I recently rewatched it 2 months ago and it still hit home for me and made me feel awful for a few days after. This show will crush your world if you get invested. If you want a happy romance, find another show! But if you want something more realistic and crushing, White Album 2 is perfect for you.
Animation wise it’s low quality at times and when the characters play instruments they are positioned in ways to not show their hands. Like in one scene Haruki is practicing a hard solo and we see him from behind. The backgrounds are beautiful and the skies espically add a great tone to the show, lots of great lighting. The soundtrack is something to behold. The song “White Album” is amazing and to me represents so many emotions. From the lonely intro to the longing chorus, it hits every button for me. It represents the characters, beginning with Touma’s keyboard, then Haruki’s guitar and finally Setsuna’s vocals. The opening song “Todokanai Koi” is about the characters struggles, it’s a decent tune. The ending song is crushing and the score is wonderful, so many depressing, defeated, and lonely pieces. I love how music is used to symbolize the characters relationship. It’s really a great element.
White Album 2 is, at the date of me typing this, my third favorite anime. It impacted me like no other show and was a perfect storm of many emotions. I have not been able to forget this show since I watched it a year and a half ago, it threw me off the course of anime for months. This is the last amazing anime I have seen since to date, nothing has been the same afterwards. I still can find lots of great shows but after White Album 2 anime felt different. I might have to type another reflection later because I still can’t express how this show got to me on such a large scale because I’m not even all that sure myself. White Album 2 is for me one of the absolute best of the bests. A love that cannot be.