White Album 2 – 07


The day of the school fair concert arrives. Haruki, Setsuna and Touma perform “White Album” perfectly and Haruki gets through the “Sound of Destiny” guitar solo without embarrassing himself. After the third song, Haruki finds Touma in the practice room and watches her play piano until he falls asleep. When he wakes up past six in the morning, Setsuna is there instead. She confesses her love and makes the first move, kissing him.

Everything’s literally been building up to this, from the first episode’s cold open. We have to admit, it’s a fairly exciting episode. After all the informal practices, the light music club is finally on the big stage, with fancy lights and come-hither outfits, and a huge crowd of their peers watching. Not surprisingly, they do quite well for themselves. Formally speaking, we liked how the episode simply gave the first two songs room to breathe, though interestingly, their performance of the third and most significant song is totally skipped. Now the dream is over, as is the truce between Setsuna and Touma in the battle for Haruki.

Setsuna knows Touma likes him, but Touma is unable to say or do anything about it, while Setsuna, ultimately, is. Things aren’t helped by Haruki referring to Touma as the “person” he always wanted to be “friends” with, while Setsuna is the “girl” who came down to “be with” him. All Touma can do is retreat when he falls asleep from exhaustion, allowing Setsuna to swoop in and make the move she’d clearly been waiting to make; she couldn’t wait anymore. Touma is “bothered” by Haruki’s presence and doesn’t want to talk about her future, but Setsuna is already planning hers out, and at no point does it not include Haruki.

Rating: 8 

White Album 2 – 05


Things are tense between Setsuna and Haruki on the way home, but Haruki calls her later that night, and apologizes for not telling her he stayed at Touma’s to practice. She tells him how her friends stopped talking to her back in middle school due to misunderstandings, and is afraid of losing friends again. Haruki promises he’ll never leave her; before hanging up she makes him call her by her first name. The next day, during a test, the teacher confiscates Touma’s music book. She loses her temper, grabs it, and runs out of the classroom. Haruki and Setsuna join her in skipping class and practicing. Later, at home, after completing the last song for the fair, Touma collapses from exhaustion.

In a friendship, sometimes withholding information is as bad as lying. Setsuna’s been there before; it involved a boy, and her friends abandoned her one by one. So she has every reason to suspect history is repeating itself when she finds Haruki’s toothbrush in Touma’s bathroom. But as Haruki tries to efficiently get to the vital points of things, he doesn’t let the discomfort he felt with Setsuna on their walk home linger to the point where a rift between them would widen. He apologizes, she tells him why she acted the way she did, he understands, and he promises her he won’t leave her like her other friends did. It’s a long phone call, but we like how it unfolds and progresses, especially when she abruptly ends it after finally getting a “Setsuna” out of Haruki.

So everybody’s happy, right? Well, not quite. Touma is putting so much into the music, it’s unlikely she’ll graduate along with her club-mates without their help. She doesn’t even bother filling in the blanks on a test that will affect her grade, and worse, she shows up a teacher, not letting him take her music book with Kitahara’s name on it. But she’s also working so hard, she may not have any more gas for the actual performance; staying up for days on end is no healthy way to live. And at the end of the day, Haruki is developing feelings for two girls, and vice-versa. Just because Haruki and Setsuna are on amiable terms now doesn’t mean another misunderstanding or two isn’t lurking on the horizon.

Rating:7 (Very Good)

White Album 2 – 03


Haruki’s efforts to convince Touma to join the light music club are ineffective, so Setsuna asks Touma to join her for coffee, then invites both her and Haruki to her house for a meal and to discuss the matter. After eating, Haruki and Touma start bickering, and the evening comes to an abrupt end when Setsuna’s dad forces her to send them home so they can have a family meeting. Before she goes, Touma says she’ll join the club if Setsuna convinces her parents to allow her to sing at the school fair; she does.

Touma Kazusa says no again and again, but we know from the first episode’s cold open (and the OP) that she was going to join the band. It was only a matter of how and when, and we thought this episode was reasonably successful in making those two aspects interesting, if not enthralling. First, the how: Haruki works his butt off to no avail; it isn’t until Setsuna enters the fray that progress is made. Setsuna looks a bit of an airhead next to the tall, prim, composed Touma, but she manages to outmaneuver her in conversation; the moments when Touma doesn’t have an instant response are pretty fun.

Setsuna andTouma aren’t really as different as they look, sound, and interact with family. Both have to deal with reputations thrust upon them with little or no control over them, and both show the world a person different from their true selves. Setsuna trusts Haruki’s insistance that Touma really is a sweet girl, and Touma proves it by making a deal with Setsuna at the perfect time. In the end, Touma has removed her cracked shell and is even smiling. If we wanted to be literal, back at the cafe, she was putting a shitload of sugar in her coffee, so one could conclude she was very sweet on the inside.

Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 – 06


In order to afford the upcoming 24-hour airsoft tournament, the C3 Club must have a profitable school fair. After striking out with goldfish and haunted houses they set up a “cosplay firing range cafe” using what they have on hand. Business is slow due to harsh competition from adjacent clubs until Mutsu implements the “Get Wet Strategy,” in which the C3 members face off against each other in swimsuits with paper targets and water pistol quick-draw. A momentary distraction allows Yura to beat Sonora. By the end of the fair, they’ve made enough to fund the tournament.

It’s clear even before this episode that Yura has long since been accepted by the rest of the C3 Club as one of their own, and her exploits with said club are both fun and formative. And yet she still can’t shake flashbacks to a time when she didn’t fit in anywhere, and her peers took advantage of her meekness to walk all over her. It’s that past, combined with her defeat at the hands of Haruna Rin, that continue to haunt her and fuel the overachieving that could become reckless if unchecked.

She seems to use her “powers” to change her environment (as she sees it anyway) to her advantage, imagining a western duel in defeating Sonora in quickdraw. What followed was a quite awkward interaction to a duel between friends. Yura, who is almost embarrassed to have won, is given the cold shoulder by Sonora either because she was concerned with the girl who ran into Rento, or because she’s sore about losing to a newbie, or a little of both. The fair was fun enough for all, but it didn’t resolve any of Yura’s insecurities, which will surely come to the fore at the 24-hour tournament.

Rating: 6 (Good)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 09

Shinka unilaterally decides the club will perform a flashmob battle. The fall semester is nearly halfway gone, and Rikka has been avoiding Yuuta ever since she spent the night. Rikka believes the “overseers” planted a “dark anomaly” in Yuuta, making her heart race at the sight or thought of him. She and Sanae call him out one night to “defeat” him with, but fail. Shinka picks up on Rikka’s behavior, takes her aside, and tells her she’s in love, then crafts opportunities for Rikka to get Yuuta to respond. The third attempt, when Rikka nearly falls off the roof of the school, succeeds when Yuuta rescues her resulting in a passionate embrace.

Akasaki Chinatsu voices Shinka. She also voiced Oribe Yasuna in Kill Me Baby!, which wasn’t the best anime in the world, but her strong, flexible, energetic voice was the main reason we watched it. The running gag was that no matter how many crazy methods she used, she’d never quite achieve her goal, much like Wile E. Coyote. This week, Shinka channels Oribe once she realizes the blatantly obvious: Rikka has well and truly fallen for Yuuta…like a ton of bricks. Shinka’s schemes come straight from shoujo romance manga, but this time, she finally succeeds. And all it takes is Rikka almost falling off a roof!

Yuuta, for his part, is your typical passive male lead who lets half a semester of awkwardness pass before his harrowing rescue of Rikka. Rikka mistakes her feelings for some form of sorcery, and we’re not even sure how sincere she is in that skewed interpretation, considering her Chuunibyou is a coping device, not just something she does for the hell of it (like, say Sanae, until she gets a tragic backstory…). Deep down, of course, Rikka knows the true reason why Yuuta makes her face red and her heart race; she just afraid and needs a little catalyst, which Shinka helpfully provides. She and Yuuta aren’t out of the woods yet (nor are any of the couples this Fall :P), but it’s a hug in the right direction.

Rating: 8 (Great)