This episode begins with Touya’s father asking a nurse about his son, and she tells him that he left for home without waking him which he knows is BS. Then we see Yayoi leaving Touya’s apartment after it looks like they had a night of sex, Yayoi looks happy, and Touya looks, well……….indifferent. Later, Mana blows off Touya’s tutoring appointment because she really wants to hang out with Haruka and not study.
Once Touya hangs up the phone he sees Yuki waiting to speak with him, so they head to the roof of the hospital for a talk. They talk for a while and Yuki tells Touya about her lessons being cancelled, and she sort of breaks down and starts crying over her uncertainty about her performance. Yuki starts to tell Touya that no matter how much time passes she never….(changes) but, doesn’t finish. Yuki even tells Touya that Eiji must have tired of her so that’s why he cancelled her lessons. Just when thing seem really bad for Yuki, Touya offers her the comfort she needs at that very moment.
Later that evening, we see that Yuki goes looking for Eiji, and she searches all his known haunts. Then we see Touya with his father at the hospital, his father assumes that Touya is spending his nights with Yuki, and Touya doesn’t deny his father’s assumptions. He then asks Touya if he hasn’t gotten sick of her yet? After some talking, they basically get to what I feel is the heart of their disagreement, Touya’s father assumes that Touya’s a young punk who’s never experienced any of the hardships, or sadnesses of life, and Touya thinks his father has let all his sad experiences in life beat him down, so now he’s happy being alone.
Then we switch to Eiji talking with Franky about the painting, and he tells Franky that when he saw the painting he felt three sadnesses inside of it, the sadness of losing something, the sadness of understanding your loss, and the sadness of having something right in front of you and not being able to grab it. He feels that the painting was his mother, even though he never met her. At that moment, Yuki show up and Eiji tells her that he cancelled her lesson because of his own reasons that have nothing to do with her. Then Eiji goes all weird on Yuki telling her she needs more happiness in her life, and then he tells Yuki to share her happiness on him because he’s been overcome with depression.
Later that evening, we see Touya looking for Misaki, and we see that Mana and Haruka are still hanging out. Later on, we see Yayoi picking up Yuki and telling her that Eiji told her to make Yuki happy. Then we see Touya making his way back to the hospital to see his father where he finds Misaki and Akira visiting his father, and he asks them what they’re doing for New Years? Then we see that Misaki and Akira have taken Touya’s father back to his house for New Year’s eve, but, of course, Touya had other commitments. We also see that Mana left a note telling her mother that she’ll be hanging out with Haruka instead of her, and we see the two of them hanging out at Haruka’s family’s country house.
As, Touya’s sitting at home watching Rina doing a TV concert his doorbell rings, and we see that Yayoi has chaperoned Yuki over to his apartment for a visit. As Touya and Yuki are standing on his balcony, Yuki struggles to convey her feelings to Touya but he settles the matter by zooming in and kissing her, in the background we hear the Buddhist bells tolling.
Culture Note ( As midnight of New Year’s eve approaches, Buddhist temples will slowly toll its bell 108 times symbolising the cleansing of the 108 sins/sadnesses from the world leaving the world with a clean slate for the New Year. Also, it is quite common in Japan and other Buddhist countries to pay a visit to the local shrine/temple right after midnight (hatsumoude in Japanese) then hangout with family or friends and watch the sun rise on New Year’s morning. I actually did something similar with my Korean friends when I lived there back in 1988 & 1989.)
As Touya continues to lay kisses on Yuki he can see that Yayoi is watching everything they’re doing. Then we see Yayoi taking a picture of Yuki and Touya (proof of Yuki’s happiness for Eiji?), and we see Misaki, Akira, and Touya’s father getting their pictures taken, we also see Rina getting bombarded by photographers after her concert.
Later, we see that Touya wants Yuki to visit the shrine with him, but when we see him there, we see that he’s alone. As the sun rises, we see Haruka and Mana watching it rise outside her broken down cottage, we see the two Sakura-dan girls riding a train to somewhere, we see Akira wanting to have sex with Misaki but she refuses him, and we see Touya going to meet Yayoi at Echoes. While Touya’s waiting outside the club Eiji sees him getting into Yayoi’s car and he flips out, he rants to himself about “they know”. As Yayoi drives off with Touya he tells her that he visited the shrine, and she tells him that’s good because it saves her the trouble. Well, that’s all for this episode.
Well, as the start of second season of White Album approached, I really didn’t know if I wanted to continue blogging this anime because I had developed a love/hate relationship with the series. While I loved the complex and intertwining plot threads I began to hate the frustrations most of the characters where experiencing in their personal lives. But, I decided to give the second season a few episodes before I would make a decision on whether or not to drop the series, and finally I was rewarded by beginning to understand what the causes of all the unhappiness surrounding the characters.
“All happy families are happy alike, all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way.”, Leo Tolstoy from Anna Karenina (1877)
First of all, let me say that the cast of White Album has to be the biggest group of unhappy son of bitches ever to grace an anime series.
As the Beatles asked in Eleanor Rigby
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
Well, all the lonely people come from the White Album series, and they belong with each other.
OK, enough ranting for now. What I really liked about this episode was that I finally got enough character development to begin to understand the cause/source of Touya’s problems with his father, and what likely is the source of his wanton womanizing. When the series first began I pretty much thought that Touya and his father didn’t get along because Touya was a lazy piece of shit, but now I understand that their problems are much deeper than that. After the death of Touya’s mother it seems that Touya’s father allowed the grief of his wife’s death to crush his spirit, and also caused him to lose all his lust for life, it must have been pure misary for Touya to live in that house. Touya’s father hates Touya because he feels that Touya’s a punk because he’s not experienced the pain of loss that comes with age. I feel that Touya’s habit of trying to find his “goddess of the day” is a direct result of him seeing how miserable his father is being alone, and he tries anything to not be alone. I also feel that Touya really loves Yuki, but he fears being alone like his father so much that he’s willing to sleep with any woman rather than being by himself.
Yuki’s problem is that she fears that she can’t change or progress, I think that she still sees herself as the same person she was back in high school, and Touya’s father didn’t help matters when he told Yuki that she’s still the same. For all of Yuki’s talk in the first season about changing herself she’s still just a little schoolgirl; she does what everybody expects and tells her what to do, and until Yuki does what she really wants to do for her own sake (whether it’s sleeping with Touya, or something else) she’ll still be the little girl that she feels she is.
Now, to the two most interesting character in the whole series, Yayoi and Eiji. Yayoi, where do I start? I think that Yayoi’s is beginning to actually enjoy her relationship with Touya, she’s having a lot more sex with Touya, and spending much more time with him than would really be necessary to keep him from wanting to jump Yuki’s bones, hell I actually thought I saw a smile on her face when she left his apartment. I think that Yayoi for all her dedication to her job is pretty lonely, and while she might think that sleeping with Touya is part of her job, some sex is when you’re lonely is better than being alone with no sex. Eiji, what a nut job, I can’t figure out if he’s the one stalking Yayoi and Touya or if it’s someone else, either way, he’s got major problems. The whole painting thing is a metaphor for his entire life, but in reverse. Eiji sees what he wants right before him but he can’t grab it, then he understands the pain of his inability to attempt to get any joy out of what he desires, he might want a better relationship with his sister, or he might want to sleep with Yayoi, or with Yuki, or with any number of other women but he’s too impotent to attempt any real relationships. So, I can see how Eiji just might be stalking Yayoi and Touya, or even Yuki an in attempt to get his gratification from watching others enjoy what he can’t.
Mana’s unhappy because she’s lonely and has no real relationship with her mother, so she’s clinging to Haruka. Both Akira and Misaki seem unhappy with their current situation, Akira because the relationship isn’t moving to the next level, and Misaki because she’s feeling pressure from Akira (hey, Misaki, have you ever heard about the three date rule?).
I really feel sorry for Haruka, when I saw Haruka watching the sunrise on New Year’s morning, all the things surrounding the cottage seemed broken down and in disrepair, a perfect metaphor for her broken life after her brother’s death. Also, I found the whole Touya kissing Yuki as the Buddhists bells were tolling to wash away the previous years sins to be quite ironic. Touya had the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf and be faithful to Yuki, and what does he do? He goes right back to being unfaithful to her the very next day. Well, I can’t wait to see how this whole big steaming pile of unhappiness called White Album turns out.