White Album 2 Anime Episode 1 – I’m Scared (That It Might Be Good)

Oppai is Justice is now an episodic blog like the rest of the other blogs. Sorry mahjong players. Also, thanks Obamacare.

People have expressed interest that I should take up blogging for the anime adaptation of White Album 2 anime. After all, many are concerned whether it is faithful to its source or not. So I’m just gonna write weekly (see me fail in the third week) on that. The posts aren’t going to be long as this one, I hope. Lots of pictures and stuff. I won’t post anything deep or anything; nor will I post episode summaries or shit like that. These posts will be strictly about the adaptation and how I feel about it so far.

Just a short recap: White Album 2 is not White Album 1. As many have pointed out, Leaf, the VN company, has this tendency to use the names and setting over and over again. To-Heart 2 is another example. For a non-Leaf example of this quirk, Final Fantasy. I think it’s pretty cool since Leaf wanted to make a successor to one of its bestselling games. But it can be confusing. Hell, I asked the same question as you guys did: “do i need to watch wa1 first”. So 気にしない. Don’t mind about asking the Captain Obvious questions.

With that out of the way, let’s actually talk about the anime adaptation.

The anime adaptation will focus on the high school years of the trio (i.e. Introductory Chapter). I estimate the VN to be about 10 hours long. And it’s straight to the point. It’s a linear VN with no choices. You do need to re-read the VN for extra scenes but the anime could use them as flashbacks. So there is no need to deviate from the source except cutting the narration down. The 1-cour length is perfect for the adaptation of White Album 2: Introductory Chapter. Maruto, the writer, is on board. Nothing should go wrong.

So imagine everyone’s confusion when we watched the beginning of White Album 2: we were treated to a barrage of spoilers in the first two minutes.

There were many confused responses that probably frightened anime-only viewers. I had questions like, “Did it seriously start in medias res?” And I said this on IRC, “is the whole anime going to be a flashback????????” It’s akin to having the segments of the show’s middle in the beginning of the first episode. It was that bizarre.

And not to mention, everyone in the WA2 community was freaking out over certain foreshadowing elements used in those two minutes ala Little Busters: Refrain‘s first episode. They seemed so blunt it hurt.

In fact, I’ve been considering whether to tell anime viewers to skip to 2:31 for the sake of enjoyment.

During that awkward moment, I thought to myself, “Did Maruto seriously have any control over the work?” He’s dubbed as the series composer, but Total Eclipse’s director is taking the helm. For those fortunate enough to avoid that mess, Total Eclipse was horrible. It’s painful for Muv-Luv fans; its existence is like the desk in Tsukihime: it’s an eyesore. So it’s really scary that the adaptation might fail regardless of the writer of the VN returning as the series composer.

But when a clean electric guitar started playing “White Album”, I stopped getting tensed up. Maruto magic is happenin’.

I’m pleased with the way the show finally opens up. You see, White Album 2’s main strengths are its music and narration. The music is basically a rearranged version of the original soundtrack and it’s superior in every form. I have to say IC’s music, while memorable and lovable, can get stale when you keep on listening to it. In the anime, the tracks are reworked to have some zest instilled into it. Some songs has a cool bass line playing just because.

The VN also has things happening outside the internal thoughts and dialog through some p. kewl sound design. Like you’ll hear people say random shit while Haruki’s talking to someone. While it doesn’t sound as cool as it is in the VN, I’m glad it’s still here. Early in the show, a piano starts playing, Takeya is arguing with Tomo, and Haruki gets a cellphone message tone. A lot of anime’s settings seem to have no life. Like dull backgrounds and people not existing. So I’m glad White Album 2 is somewhat noisy when it can. So props for kewl sound design.

Haruki’s narration in the anime is also fantastic. Obviously, it got cut down a lot to the bare essentials but you’re still getting the feel for his character. His narration is still snarky as usual. A good deal of OOOMPH into them. Yet, like his character in the VN, he doesn’t come off as a huge asshole. The narration isn’t too overbearing so far like a certain Nisio series. Narration exists to help, not to be cumbersome. So it isn’t exhausting to read them and there’s a lot of pauses. It’s a smooth adaptation.

With dialog, not much has changed from the VN. From what I remember, it’s mostly lifted from the VN itself. Terse and normal-seeming (so far, heh). I do find the cuts’ focus interesting. The reaction shots aren’t just lazy cheap shit. They’re there for a reason. It’s interesting how each shot means something.

Soeaking of which, White ALbum 2 has lot of fun yet subtle visual foreshadowing happening. They don’t look dumb and there is one in the shopping district scene with Io that will please every White Album 2 fan I know. Go figure that one out, anime-only watchers.

That said, holy shit Satelight your anime are ugly as ever. The character designs look like shit (to be fair, the VN’s charadesigns are p. shit too) and your backgrounds are 90% CG, I”m sure.

I mean, where the hell are Haruki and Setsuna walking to? Why is there no perspective (i.e. it looks too flat)? Why are Haruki’s eyebrows so large? It’s one of the more disappointing parts for White Album 2. Seiya Numata, the chief director, is well-known for his p. fucking cool sakuga. It’s really disappointing the overall design, especially the backgrounds, looks like shit.

There’s also a lot of strange mistakes like Haruki’s strumming visually appears faster than the guitar’s sounds as if he just broke the sound barrier in the wrong way. There’s a lot to want for in this adaptation.

So let’s be realistic here: in a season where cool shit like Kill La Kill and Kyousougiga is airing (i.e. exploding in front of your face), White Album 2 looks ill-prepared visually. Hopefully, White Album 2 won’t fall away to obscurity in this strong season.

Still, I’m impressed by how faithful the first episode is so far. Except the really strange spoilery opening. That shit was weird. As I’ve said, you can’t really fuck up Introduction Chapter. The first episode didn’t cut much material except most of Haruki’s narration. I don’t feel like it’s lost in the adapting process.

From the looks of this first episode, I’m scared the show might be good and I wouldn’t be able to hate on it. If the visuals weren’t this shitty, I’d probably squeal in excitement. For now, I’ll stay skeptical. And a bit excited over the prospect that the adaptation might be good.

2 thoughts on “White Album 2 Anime Episode 1 – I’m Scared (That It Might Be Good)

  1. emchamp October 7, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    Haven’t read the VN but its definitely interesting you point out that the anime is starting out with a flashback. I have to agree with you on the character designs, they just seem a tad bit generic. Still, I’ve never seen a love triangle introduced in quite that fashion at the end of the episode, that scene left quite the impression. Looking forward to seeing more thoughts about this series especially from a VN reader as I think those comparisons are always fun.

    • Kastel October 7, 2013 / 3:21 pm

      White Album 2 has this intricate love triangle that starts out all simple at first, but it festers out into this complicated and painful relationship. It’s not an ordinary relationship, so I’m glad you picked up on that.

      And it’s a pity the charadesigns are, well, awful. At least, it’s in good hands; the writer is talented so I’m hoping he succeeds.

      Hopefully, I can keep on writing. I don’t exactly have a good track record, but I like to clear up misconceptions as much as I can.

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