White Album 2 – 13 (Fin)

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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.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)
Final Cumulative Rating (26 episodes): 7.462
MyAnimeList Score
 (as of 12/30/13): 8.10

Stray Observations:

  • 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.
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White Album 2 – 10

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Learning Touma is going to move to Europe with her mother, Haruki meets with her at Narita airport, to her surprise, skipping out on Setsuna’s party. Haruki and Touma take the N’ex back to Tokyo, and Haruki chastises her for trying to disappear. Touma rebuts by stating how painful it is to see him with Setsuna, confirming her feelings for him; Haruki pleads ignorance. Flashback to when Touma first met Haruki and gradually developed feelings for him.

Both Haruki and Setsuna are using this party as a test. Setsuna wants to know if she and Haruki are meant to be together, and Haruki wants to know the same, but he can’t until he meets with Touma one last time. Somewhat unsurprisingly, he learns that while he may be an idiot when it comes to picking up on Touma’s feelings for him, he’s an idiot Touma happens to love, a reality he previously thought had only reside in his head. The reason for this is not that Touma hasn’t expressed her feelings for him, it’s that she does it in a totally different and far more cryptic way than the more upfront, direct Setsuna, who Haruki was more able to respond to.

Even though Touma knew Haruki longer, Setsuna beat her to it with that direct approach, which Touma simply isn’t capable of emulating. But just because one person is more successful in winning the heart of another doesn’t mean they’re the one that person is supposed to be with. The Touma-focused flashback almost reads like a testimonial for why she and not Setsuna could/should be with Haruki, if only she had been clearer. At this point we don’t envy Haruki’s predicament, but given the choice between the relative “ease” of a life with Setsuna and the more involved challenge of Touma, we’d have to pick the latter.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Tokyo Trip Journal 2


What follows is the account of my week-long vacation to Tokyo in June 2010, where I stuck to the 23 special wards and got a taste of the people, food, music, art, pace, and culture of 21st century Japan.

5 June, Heisei 22 (Sat)

Arrived just before 2 PM, Tokyo time
after waking up @3 AM Eastern time
Didn’t sleep on plane / dozed maybe 2 hrs total
Immigration/customs were no sweat
Took Narita Express (N’EX) to Shinjuku Station from Narita Airport Terminal 1. Price? 3,110 yen.

Walked through a mass of people on roundabout route to hotel and checked in to Shinjuku Washington Hotel.

Had so many meals and was so tired, took a hot bath/shower and just went to bed in my room at the @ 5 PM.