Kazusa and Haruki go to his apartment and make love. The next morning, Kazusa leaves early with his jacket buttons. Setsuna arrives to find a guilty, dejected Haruki, but insists they see Kazusa off. On the N’ex Haruki tells her everything, but to his shock she’s not mad, knowing full well Kazusa and Haruki’s feelings for one another. Setsuna says she only asked him out so the three of them could remain together longer. At the airport, Haruki is about to leave when Kazusa finds them both. Kazusa and Haruki embrace tearfully before she leaves for Vienna. Haruki tells Setsuna she should go, but she stays with him as the snow falls.
We haven’t been on the N’ex enough times to know if conversations of the type Haruki and Setsuna had on it are a common occurrence, but if they are, the conductors must have some stories to tell. Still, the talk Haruki and Setsuna had was something that had to happen, and part of why the second White Album came to a very strong close is that things that had to happen happened, leaving nothing left on the table. Kazusa and Haruki have their (tastefully edited) passionate night together, but it’s only the one, and who knows if there’ll ever be another. After coming between them for so long, Setsuna brings the two together one last time at that airport and lets them have a proper goodbye, even if it’s painful for her to watch. But wait, not...everything is off the table, is it? With Kazusa gone fir the time being, all that remains is Haruki and Setsuna.
While she told Haruki that she liked Kazusa more than him, she didn’t mean it (and Haruki could tell she didn’t). The trio who had so much silly fun together may be no more, but the two of them remain. If you’ll indulge us, we’re reminded of Monogatari’s Kaiki’s talk about there being “no peerless person”, and that “nothing (or no one) is irreplaceable.” In Vienna, Kazusa will repair her bond with her mother and fulfill her musical dreams. Would we have liked to see Haruki jump on a plane after her? Sure, but he may be just as “useless” there as Kazusa would be remaining in Tokyo. People can move on, and because of that, there may still be hope for Setsuna (she’s there, after all). But Haruki and Kazusa were awfully in love with each other here. They may find themselves apart for now, but we see no reason why that arrangement should be permanent.
The three of them may never be as happy as they were on that stage at the school fair, but the future may yet hold happier times for at least two of them.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Final Cumulative Rating (26 episodes): 7.462
MyAnimeList Score (as of 12/30/13): 8.10
- Carefully edited as they are, the dialogue-free love scene that starts the episode was really well done, mixing cuts of the cold, open, snowy city with the increasingly hot, steamy, intimate apartment.
- The jacket button thing in the morning was a nice touch, but some pillow talk would’ve been nice.
- Setsuna calls on Haruki’s phone, but not to be denied their night together, he and Kazusa ultimately ignore it. Still, dude shoulda turned that shit off.
- We also appreciated that all peripheral characters are given the episode off; this is all about the three leads, as it should be.
- The episode also ends by finally showing the trio perform an arrangement of the OP “A Love That Cannot Be,” which we thought was the best of a great batch of songs to come out of the show.
- While it may not have topped our rankings,we still enjoyed this series a great deal. The musical milieu and love triangle worked, we were sympathetic to all three leads, the romance was honest and believable, and there was no simple fix in the end. It was way better than we were expecting and, along with Golden Time, makes us very optimistic about the future of romantic anime.
- On that note, if the story of Haruki, Kazusa, and Setsuna is ever picked up (White Album 2-A?) we’ll be watching.