Well, tis the season where all the good little boys & girls are rewarded with nice gifts for their good behavior; have you been naughty or nice this year?

       OK, now down to business, I haven’t dropped White Album, but I’ve decided to try something a little different for the last part of the second season. After falling several episodes behind due to work conflicts and the subbing schedule I’ve decide to stop doing episodic reviews and instead do a character by character study as soon as the series finishes. I think White Album is a trashy and naughty soap opera, and I love it.

        Also, I’ve decide to participate in the Twelve Moments of Anime 2009 project, so I’m currently working those posts. I’m also finishing up on my Best Anime of the Past Decade posts, and I’m also finalizing my Top 10 Anime of 2009 list. Because all this shit is going on, my episodic coverage might slow down so I’ve decided to do a Christmas 2009 anime stocking stuffers post each day featuring Christmas themed anime pictures, Christmas themed Asian Idols Pictures, and anything else that’s Christmas related that I think you might like.

I'm sorry Yuki 

       This episode begins with Touya waking up in a hotel room from a dream of his childhood, Yayoi has left him a note saying she’s in the lobby’s cafe. Touya joins Yayoi who’s already eaten, and Touya thanks her for not destroying Yuki’s letter to him (I thought it was destroyed). Soon, Yayoi tells Touya about the upcoming Venus music festival hosted by Touou TV, only young female singers can enter, and the festival decides the future singing stars. Touya asks Yayoi about Rina and the festival, she says that Rina had two chances to enter but she was always scheduled for other jobs. Eiji’s doing? Yayoi says that’s probably right. And this year? Yayoi says who knows.

Thank You Yayoi 

       Touya and Yayoi continue to talk about the festival and he finds out that only one singer can enter from each production company, so it’s Yuki or Rina. She tells Touya that Yuki doesn’t know about this, and she goes on to tell Touya that he should realise that his should be the end of his & Yuki’s love.

it's about time you accept

your love is over 

       Next, we see that Misaki and Akira had to take Touya’s dad back to the hospital and they left him a message on his answering machine. Then we see Touya walking home after he refuses to let Yayoi drive him home, and we see him buying another copy of Yuki’s single from a music store. When Touya finally gets home he listens to Akira message telling him to hurry to the hospital because his father has gotten worse.

Yuki's CD 

       Later, we see Yayoi picking up Yuki at her apartment, and Yuki notices that something is bothering Yayoi. Then we see Touya finally arriving at the hospital, and then we see him telling Misaki that his father just had a blood pressure spike and that he’s going to be alright. Misaki then tells Touya that she knows that Yayoi has been picking him up at Echoes, and does Yuki know? He, says it was just once, and Misaki says, so Yayoi takes care of Yuki and him? Touya just leaves it at that.

She often comes to pick you up 

       Later, as Misaki is leaving the hospital she overhears Touya talking with his uncle, she finds out that his father is much worse off than Touya’s been telling everyone, and she also hears that if his tests don’t come out OK they might not be able to operate. Misaki goes back to visit Touya’s father, he thanks her for the nice time he had, and he also tells her to get along with Akira. He goes on to tell her to forget about his son, and she says she’s sorry.

forget about my son 

       Later, we see Mana and Haruka still hanging out, Haruka asks Mana about Touya, and she dodges the question. Then we see Yuki trying to get in contact with Touya asks about his father and so forth. But, as time passe, we see that Touya’s is spending all his time at the hospital, and he’s even doing all his college studying there.

Touya with his father 

       Then we see a meeting at the production office that includes Eiji, Rina, Yuki, and their managers. Well, the topic of the meeting is the Venus festival, and Rina says she knew this would come up. Eiji says, so you don’t want to enter, and Rina says you know that I’ve always wanted to enter. Well, as Eiji is trying to say that Yuki will be chosen Rina says she’ll save him the trouble by saying that she’s quiting her brother’s  production  company and going solo.

you've avoided the subject 

       After Rina says this and leaves the meeting Yuki goes into shock, Yuki tries to stop Rina from leaving the room but Rina walks out the door. Yuki goes to chase Rina down, she catches Rina, but Rina separates herself from Yuki, and says she’s sorry. Yuki tries to get Eiji and Yayoi to stop Rina from quitting, and Yayoi tells Yuki to wait in the car, and she’ll drive her to Rina’s house.

goodbye Yuki 

       When Eiji and Yayoi are finally alone, she tells him that it’s Hiraki who’s been following her and taking picture. Eiji says he’ll handle it by telling him he’ll not notice his activities or he’ll take legal action. He asks Yayoi is she’s OK? Yes. And the youngster? There’s nothing between us. Eiji tells Yayoi that if Yuki’s hurt he won’t forgive her.

I won't forgive you 

       Then the scene switches to Echoes where we see that Misaki is now working there, and we see Mana and Haruka stopping by for a visit. Then we see Eiji thinking about all the things that have happen with Yuki and Rina when he gets a call from Kanzaki asking for a meeting. Then we see Yayoi and Yuki stopping Rina’s car because Yuki wants to talk with her, but we also see that Rina is avoiding the meeting with Yuki. The episode finishes with Touya hearing Yuki’s voice on the answering machine saying she wants to hear from him, and he seems like he’s almost in tears after hearing her call.

Yuki chasing Rina

       Well, this was one hell of an episode, and the shits really hitting the fan now. So, we find out the stalker wasn’t Eiji but Hiraki, and now Eiji will look the other way, but if Hiraki doesn’t quit his activities he’ll sue him. But, what was really interesting is trying to figure out what the hells up with Eiji’s and Rina’s relationship; why did Eiji stop Rina from entering Venus in the past, why is Eiji using Rina as a stepping stone of Yuki, and why the hell doesn’t Eiji have any loyalty towards his sister after all the years they’re been together?

       I really liked how Rina finally decided to break with Eiji after she comes to the conclusion that he really doesn’t care about her career, she’s got more balls than all the men in this series put together. It was also quite interesting to see that Touya knew all along that his father was in much worse shape than anyone knew, and as his father’s condition worsens he’s right by his side. Also, it’s quite funny seeing how all the girls still want Touya including Yuki, Misaki, Mana, Haruka, and even Yayoi seems to like his magic stick more than would have been necessary to expose the stalker. I continue to find Eiji to be really strange, while he doesn’t want Yuki hurt, he knows about Yayoi and Touya. Well, it’ll be really interesting to see Yuki’s reactions when she finally realises that she’s just a plaything in Eiji’s game, maybe she’ll quit and join Rina’s new production company.

Yayoi looking quite gentle 

     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.

 Touya after sex

Yayoi after sex

      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.

Yuki and Touya together 

      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.

you never cry TouyaI don't have all those experiancesyou had plenty of friends and lovers

I'm fine all alone

I don't want to be 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.

the sadness of the painting

Yuki please save me 

      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.

He said to make you happy 

      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.)

Touya kissing Yuki 

     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.

Touya kissing Yuki as Yayoi watchesThe picture for EijiThe New Years Picture 

      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.

it's been one month already

They Know

      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.

      I know that at the end of the first season of White Album I said that I wouldn’t be covering the second season. Call me a glutton for punishment, or call me a sadomasochist, or call me stupid, but I just can’t help myself, so I’ll be punishing myself for the next twelve episodes of White Album.

the the white album OP

      The second season begins on Christmas Eve, at the local hospital, with Yayoi leaving Mana’s room after getting her admitted, and we also see that Touya, Misaki, Akira, and the Master (Franky) are there because Touya’s father has also been admitted.  When Touya sees Yayoi leaving Mana’s room the others try to stop him from going to her, but he just ignores them and walks towards her for a talk.

Yayoi tucking Mana inYayoi seeing TouyaTouya going to see Yayoi

      As Touya and Yayoi are talking, we see that Mana has gotten out of bed and is spying on them until she gets caught by Haruka. As Haruka is talking with her, Mana gets light headed and passes out again.

Haruka meeting Mana 

      The next morning we see that Rina’s and Yuki’s concert victory over the Sakura-dan group is all over the newspaper. Then we see that Yuki shows up at the hospital after being informed of the events by Yayoi, but Touya is at his father’s house getting some things.

Yuki made the newspaper 

      After Yuki is comforted by Misaki, a nurse says that he’s finally awakened and asks if they’re family members, and Misaki says yes. Yuki goes in and visits him where he tells her that she hasn’t changed at all, no; he tells her that she’s matured beautifully.  After they talk for awhile, Yuki tells Touya’s father that she loves Touya just the way he is, and then Yuki has to leave.

I love Touya the way he is 

     When Touya returns to the hospital he gets in an argument with his father because he let Yuki leave without seeing him, and Misaki calls him outside and chews him out about how he’s acting with his father.

Misaki is very pissed 

      Then we move over to the Sakura-dan manager’s office and we see that the missing singer (Menou) has been found. When they head over to her location she’s passed out from a night of drunken partying, and all she has to say is that the other girl probably got along fine without her. The manager (Mana’s mother) physically abuses the girl for her behavior and orders her locked out of her apartment and inside a storage closest until she repents her behavior.

Menou after a hard night partying

Damn, I wish I could have been there to party with her. 

think about what you did to the other girls

Kicking Menou ass

       Later, as Rina is waiting for Yuki to arrive for a meeting with Eiji she asks him if they won and he says that there are more important things to talk about, more important than me? Yes. When Yuki finally arrives, Eiji informs them that they won, and he feels that both Rina and Yuki improved, and it’s important to capitalize on their success next year. Eiji tells Yuki “Merry Christmas”, and you have the day off.

you have the day off 

      Then we see Eiji receiving his victory prize from the Sakura-dan’s manager, a painting of a young girl that kind of looks like Rina. He asks her if this is the first time she’s admitted defeat? She tells him that the game has just begun and she’ll win next time.

 the real fight begins now

      Later, we see that Haruka is looking after Mana at her house when her mother comes home and Mana’s mother says that if she had just listened to her this wouldn’t have happened.  As Haruka is leaving, Mana’s mother says that she’s glad that her daughter has such good friends like Haruka and Mana’s tutor. As Haruka is hanging out in the park Mana shows up saying that she feels better and her mother is gone for the day, so let’s hang out, it’s Christmas. Then we get a montage of what everyone is doing at the time; Haruka and Mana hanging out, Touya in his father’s hospital room, Menou getting a visit from another Sakura-dan member, and a flashback of a much younger Eiji seeing the painting for the first time.

Mana meeting Haruka at the park

Touya at his father's sideYuki trying to call TouyaMenou getting a visit

Eiji flashing back to the past

     Later, Yuki asks Yayoi if she’ll join her at Echoes for tea, but Yayoi says she has another engagement planned.  Then we see that when Yuki decides to visit the hospital again she sees that Yayoi’s car is already there and decides to turn back while inside the hospital Yayoi and Touya decided to use an vacant ward to have sex in, with Touya thinking that for just this night Yayoi can be Yuki’s replacement. Well, that’s all for this episode.

Yayoi getting more than Yuki

      OK, here we go, nothing’s really changed from season one, and I still don’t like most of the main characters; Mana’s still your lonely anti-social schoolgirl who’s screwed up because her mother is a bitch, Misaki shows a little backbone but jumps on Touya without knowing all the facts, Haruka’s is still lonely and messed up, and Touya and Yuki for being young adults still act like middle school students when it comes to how they feel about each other. So, why the hell I’m I still watching and blogging White Album II? Well, three reasons, and they’re named Rina, Eiji, and Yayoi.

      Like I wrote in reviews of season one, I think that the whole Touya/Yuki relationship problem/frustration/impasse could be solved in one episode if either of them acted like young adults instead of middle school kids. All Touya has to do is show up at Yuki’s apartment one evening, and tell her how he feels about her and then they can proceed to break her bed with a couple of hours of animal sex, or the problem could be solved if Yuki would have included a key to her apartment and condom inside her Christmas gift to Touya, problem solved, no more frustrated virgin.

      But, what really intrigues me about White Album is what drives Rina, Eiji, and Yayoi. Is Yayoi just having sex with Touya because she feels that it’s keeping him away from Yuki, or is she really a lonely person that thinks that having sex with Touya as a Yuki replacement is better than going home alone and having no sex at all?

      Rina, what drives her to feel that she needs some sort of approval from her brother? Rina, as an established pop star surely doesn’t still need him, and she could easily take care of her own affairs and career. Does Rina feel that the only way she can keep her relationship with her brother is to put up with his cold and distant moods? The new OP for White Album also raises some questions as the girl in the OP is the girl from the painting, but she also looks strikingly like Rina.

      To me, the most interesting character in the whole series is Eiji. We know from the first series that he really doesn’t have much interest in his sister, or her career because he told Touya that he considers her a completed project. Eiji also fawns over Yuki because he wants her to reach her full potential, but does Eiji really care about his charges or is it all just a game to him? Eiji’s reaction to the painting also raises some serious questions about Eiji and his real world relationships with women; does Eiji view women as a work of art that can bring tears to his eyes? But, does Eiji’s view of women as art make him unable to have a real life relationship with a real woman? Is Eiji’s driving desire to complete his women equal to the desire of a sculptor or painter to create the perfect art object? If so, does that mean he can never have a real relationship with a women because a real woman isn’t perfect, a real woman has flaws, desires, and needs.

Here’s one for Yuki and Touya if they ever can get to spend a night together.

“As Time Goes By, 1931, written by Herman Hupfeld”

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo
They still say, “I love you.”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date.
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate.
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny.

It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.