Were there a Greek god for bullshit and mediocrity, his name would be White Album. While the series flaunts a strong premise and a unique method of conveying moods, it stumbles around for thirteen episodes without the faintest clue how to handle its content. Despite setting up an intriguing core story, it dances around with a bloated cast of side characters in a manner that would rival the original Kanon, and slowly corrodes away its potential in a boiling vat of failure.
That said, White Album still manages to thread the viewer along at a steady pace. By incorporating an absolutely terrible male lead, it consistently outdoes its own shortcomings from one scene to the next, turning an initially interesting story into a scattered mess. Just when you think “he can’t do anything more stupid than that,” he miraculously exceeds expectations by floundering around like a moon-beached whale. Of course, managing such a feat by himself would be difficult, so the story includes so many archetypical girls that it virtually buries itself under its own weight. There’s the tsundere high school loli, the tsundere professional older woman, the ditsy-dysfunctional girl with an onii-san complex, and a good handful of others who fit into the “pointlessly obsessed with the main guy” mold. But hey, socially inept rejects are incredibly sexy, am I right?
Oh, and then there’s the fact that everyone becomes bipolar as soon as the major drama kicks in – the entirety of White Album’s cast is fueled by characters who lack any distinct personality. The consistency with which I post reviews is damn near on par with their whimsical ineptitude, as each character’s reaction to a given situation seems made up entirely on the spot. You may as well forgot any plot value, as the ad hoc flow of the story does little more than breed confusion. Tie in the fact that every single girl on the whole damn planet is engaging in some pseudo-retarded romantic subplot with the main guy, and it’s little wonder that the show pulls itself apart at the seams. Come the end, it completes a metamorphisis from drama to harem, and blacks out its once-substantive content in favor of trite whining and erratic pacing.
But wait, there’s more! Call now, and not only will your watch of White Album include an overabundance of junk romance, but you’ll get two doses of SERIOUSDRAMA™ absolutely free! From unexplained angst to childhood friend tragedy to oh-shit-the-girl-caught-a-cold-after-being-outside-after-dusk moments, White Album has it all. And not only this, but White Album is entirely self-sufficient – you don’t need cohesive stories, intelligent characters, or any actual substance to make it work. Top it off with three different settings of stupid, really stupid, and light-myself-on-fire-and-jump-off-a-skyscraper stupid, and this puppy will drag on for hours and hours on end without need for a rest. What are you waiting for? Here’s how to order!
Hi there audience, our budget ran out! Please accept our apology for the lack of proportionality, shading, and facial detail in the latter half of the show. To make up for this, we have included lots of shots of Yuki’s skirt fluttering when she performs! This is because we know that you, our loyal fans, all really love skirts. We do, at least. Skirts are cute! Anyway, yeah, don’t focus too much on the exorbitant tackiness – it really wasn’t intentional. Honest! Please don’t give us a score of 5. We are a 2009 production. :(
Believe it or not, White Album actually has some good music aside from the catchy opening theme. Sadly, that’s all the musical score has going for it. Track placement follows a quandary of appropriateness, as some scenes flaunt well-chosen insert tracks while others sound downright awful. This haphazard level of quality often proves disruptive, and contributes to the show’s mediocre level of drama; it’s hard to take a moment seriously, for instance, when you’ve got circus music playing in the background.
Since I can’t accurately remember the main guy’s name (I think it was Touya?), I’m just going to call him Retard. Unfortunately for Retard, White Album decided not to include giant humanoid mecha for him to fly around and blow things up with, so his presence in the show is of trivial significance; in terms of indecisive and spineless male anime leads, Retard is the cream of the crop. Despite this, the girls flock to him in droves, which does little more than generate some dozen or so relationship-things with no direction or purpose. “Character revelations” entail little more than fifteen second cut scenes, none of which get revisited in any fashion. Simply put, they’re just there. Case and point, one of the extraneous girls lost her older brother in an accident or something; the show explains this later by showing a five second scene of her crying at the funeral as the extent of the back story. What?
Oh, and for being supposedly about Yuki’s rise from an amateur to a professional singer, surprisingly few resources are dedicated to this plot. So few, in fact, that she’s indistinguishable from the other side characters in terms of screen time. In lieu of all the character shortcomings, her story was actually fairly well told, and provided enough of a hook to catch me initially. Still, given the increasing shift of good to bad as the series progressed, come the end her initial importance is all but lost. Go figure.
Oh God, there’s a sequel.
Notice: This review covers both seasons.
Someone insisted that White Album is a masterpiece, a deconstruction of the harem genre, and a mature look on the pop idol industry of the 80s. All I saw is yet another generic adaptation of a porn game. Just look at its freaking cover. Is this telling you it’s going to be deep and mature?
The bullshit are obvious from the first episode, where the bland self insert can’t hear what his girlfriend is saying, when she is sitting right next to him. So deep and mature, totally not what sitcoms are doing to stretch a simple issue with lazily written misunderstandings.
The story is supposed to be about the problems pop idols are facing in the 80s, and by problems I mean one idol bullying another idol by spilling drink on her dress. Because that is the only possible way we can have drama in a mature story. So much for a serious conflict by the way. They just wear different clothes, and the problem is solved. Look at me biting my nails from all the excitement. Everything in this show is first world problems that are made to seem huge with overblown drama, and irrational behaviors.
Take the director for example. He mentions early in the story how pop idols are singing like clockwork machines. That’s a lovely topic. Where is it going to lead? Nowhere, it’s all forgotten for his obsession over a painting, and does nothing else besides treating women as sex objects. Hell, he even netorares the MC’s no1 waifu. Supposed this is done to show how idols are sucking dick to stay famous but it’s not explored as a theme, it’s just there for overblown drama.
And that’s pretty much the whole series, a constant bombardment of lazy excuses to show pop idols having problems. Such as not being able to meet with their boyfriends because the bland MC is busy trying to shut up a loli that constantly screams he is a pervert for no freaking reason. The maturity is oozing from every corner.
Wait, did I say idols with boyfriends? We can’t have that, the otakus want their waifus to be pure. This is why the manager is telling him to stop seeing her. In return, he can fuck the manager. And she is even willing to pay him money for that, like he is a gigolo. Such maturity; that is exactly what happens in the real world.
Now, speaking of the protagonist, I read that the fans of this garbage call him an adult version of Shinji Ikari for some ludicrous reason, and that he is very realistic and faces real problems. Yeah man, it’s so real to be fucking a different girl no matter what you are doing. No, seriously, they guy is fucking a dozen girls without being charming or that special. In fact, there isn’t a single female who has a boyfriend in the show, or who isn’t throwing herself at the MC for helping them out a bit. Whatever realistic conflicts he faces are just an excuse to fuck around. And the most insulting part is that he insists he has a romantic interest with one specific pop idol. Where the hell is the romance when he is netoraring ten times per day? I mean, yeah, that’s what happens in porn games but this is supposed to be a romance with mature conflicts and all I see is bullshit.
There is a scandal about an idol taking pictures while having sex, as well as having someone dubbing her singing. Only thing, the scandal was all staged by the idol. You know, like actual idols do all the time to ruin their career. Do you know why she did that? To suck the MC’s dick. She ruined her future so his no1 waifu can get to the top, while the two of them will be fucking in the backstage. There is even an incest subplot in this mature story, which just like pretty much everything else doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s just typical Japanese deviance thrown in there as foreplay.
This show is like a hentai with all the sex scenes taken out. It’s boring, badly written, with dry as hell characters, and a plot that is all about netorare and presenting women as if they spread their legs to anyone who says hi. It’s awful and you should hate it. Deconstruction of harems my butt. It doesn’t even end in a satisfying bloodbath ala School Days. And how the fuck is this abomination anything remotely similar to Neon Genesis? You think I would love it because there are no schools and it’s set in the 80s? Frak you and your nothing ever happens hentai plots.
The story of White Album itself is fairly unique, although at its core it's certainly a harem anime. The show opens with Touya waking up late and catching his girlfriend, the rising star Yuki, in a TV interview. We are then introduced to a plethora of women who will each have their influences on Touya and Yuki's relationship as they struggle to make if work throught the strains the music business puts on it.
The story itself is very interesting in that aspect, and it doesn't shy away from trying to be as realistic as it can be (which, for a harem, may not be easy.) Of course, it takes a while to get into the rhythm of effective story telling, as the first few episodes fumble around awkwardly trying to get its stride, picking up certain story elements that don't seem to belong or make any sense. However, as the series progresses it definitely became more engaging to watch and harder to put down. It was certainly a good deconstruction of the Harem genre, but more on that later.
I would dock points for not being concretely ended by episode 13, but that's for season 2 to fix. I wouldn't suggest going into White Album with no intentions of watching the second season.
White Album was a treat to watch. The character designs were gorgeous and animation was smooth. The opening sequence was a bit boring, being just a bunch of (beautifully drawn) designs, but it was apparent in the rest of the show's animation that it was not a meaningless sacrifice. Every now and then the style would switch to a pretty pastel style that I loved, it definitely added to the experience and did not fail at the symbolism it tried to convey.
I didn't care for the OP or the ED, but many other reviews say they're marvelous. It's up to you.
Voice acting was effective, Rina and Yuki sang well, although the difference between Rina's singing voice and speaking voice was a bit jarring.
Being a harem, it contained all the expected characters; the boring male, the ditz, the tsundere, the sempai, etc... Being a deconstruction of te harem genre, it handled these archetypes well by making them all extremely flawed, if not human-like, characters. However, there are some characters which the show just turns into robots with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, which detracts from the realism the show was aiming to achieve.
Another thing that the show screws up with the characters is making them do things or act in ways that just the previous episode they showed no signs of being capable of. At times the characters were so bi-polar it made me wonder if they'd been kidnapped and replaced with a stunt double.
Another problem was something I suspect most harem anime fall victim to. The female characters were generally not that strong and were portrayed as marshmellows.
White Album is a good anime to watch if you like harem series or want to see a semi-realistic take on fame and relationships. White Album tries to show the effects of a harem situation on all the people involved. It falters on characters and pacing, but if drama is what you like you should give it a try.
Just be warned that there are mature themes in the show, so I'd rate it 15+
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
This is part 1 of a 2 part review of the White Album franchise.
*The first positive point is that WA didn’t fool around. If you’re expecting a sweet love story between Touya and Yuki well than you’re terribly mistaken. This is, at points, quite a depressing anime because of all the challenges that the characters get thrown at them. And our characters also aren’t perfect. In a lot of romance anime’s the main characters are like angels, they never do anything wrong. But in WA our characters make mistakes, sometimes even quite heavy ones that made me seriously dislike some of them.
*Next to our characters not being perfect, the anime also shows us the grim side of the music industry. When we as outsiders look at the music industry we usually see the pretty and the glamorous side but WA shows us the more darker side that hides behind that facade. It shows how bitter and ruthless it can be at the top and how you constantly have to fight to remain at that top. It pushes our characters to their limits and also puts several relationships under extreme pressure.
*My next positive point is the main premise of WA being the music and the singing. Because this is an anime that centers around singing it would have been a disgrace if the singing was bad. But it wasn’t, the singing of the different characters was good and I could see those songs score high on the billboards in real life as well.
*The last positive point is Yuki, probably one of the few likable characters in this anime. She was so sweet and so pure but at the same time she was so dumb or naive is a better word. During WA I asked myself several times if she was just so naive to not see what was happening right in front of her.
*Now I have quite some negative points to mention about WA starting with the animation. This old style of animating was not pretty to look at. Now I’m not going to completely destroy the animation of WA since there is the possibility that this was done on purpose. WA takes place in the 80’s/90’s so it could be that the animators choose to use this kind of vage animation style to represent that.
*What I am going to destroy about WA is the fact that there are quite some superflous characters in this anime. Haruka, Misaki, Mana and probably some more that I’m forgetting now. All of those were completely superflous in this anime. Their story lines had nothing to do with the main storyline of Fuiji and Yuki and delivered no development to the entire anime. The only thing that they did was drawn attention away from our main characters which we can say were Fuiji, Yuki and Rina. This anime would have been way better if they dropped all these side characters and just focused on what happened between the 3 main characters. WA is an adaptation form an erogue game so they wanted to implement all the girls from that game in this anime but it wasn’t worth it.
*Going further on the story. This was a difficult anime to follow. There were several times that I couldn’t follow anymore. Because the anime constantly switches between different story lines and because there was so much happening at the same there were times that I didn’t understand anymore what the hell was going on. On top of that there were quite some things that weren’t explained well in WA. Best example was the story about the manager Eiji and his paintings. Until today I still don’t understand what that storyline was about. It seemed all so random and weird.
And I’m not ready with the story yet. During this anime I had no idea where this anime was going towards. There were no directions or clues that pointed in a certain direction where WA would take its storyline. And at the end of this mess of story lines we also don’t get a real conclusion to the anime. The ending of WA summarized the entire anime: random.
*So I can summarize this entire review and the entirety of WA in this one point. WA was boring as fuck. Even I, as a fan of slice-of life, have to admit that I was so extremely bored during WA. The story didn’t intrigue me and most of the time I couldn’t even follow where this anime was taking me. WA was one of the first anime’s that I was genuinely bored with. I had to force myself to keep watching this anime or I would have never finished it.
So as conclusion, as I just said WA is one of the most boring anime’s I’ve ever watched. The storyline had no clear direction and no clear conclusion. And that’s why I’m going to rate White Album at 2 stars and I’m still being quite generous here because of the music.
White Album was a huge disappointment. There were no good points to either the story or the characters which is probably the reason why this anime is ranked so poorly. My advice is for you to not watch it, it’s not worth it. Perhaps you will save yourself from wasting time like I did.
The plot surrounds the story of Touya, a college students who is very independent and works various jobs to make ends meet. His girlfriend is a rising idol and she gains popularity their relationship starts to suffer due to them not finding time for one another among other things. So far so good, the problem is that the story is supposed to get more complicated by adding several obstacles to the mix. Said obstacles are more or less other women who Touya meets or has been friends with for years and that apparently all harbor romantic feelings for him. White Album is a harem all the way so there is not much else going for it. The potential for a nice romantic story ends rather quickly as well.
I seriously could not understand the motives behind Touya in doing anything that he did or how he justified his behavior. I don’t hate many characters but this one is on the list because nothing that he did made sense and he was more of a villain to my eyes than a hero or a victim as it was tried to be portrayed at times.
The story appeared to lose focus many times and it gave a feel of a soap opera rather than an anime. In summary, nothing made sense! The motives behind characters attitudes or behaviors were confusing, their reactions inconsistent, their development poor, no real story to follow and no real ending either.
The animation was not bad, I would say it was average. Characters were pleasant to the eye but nothing special. The colors and drawing used in some scenes particularly those of the past were actually pretty cool.
Music was somewhat a theme here so there was some variety of music that if offered. With two seasons (26 episodes total), the opening and ending themes varied quite a bit but they were nice. The voices of the characters were fitting, nothing annoying or the like.
Did I say how much I hate Touya? I HATE HIM! He is nothing more than a player who likes to do as he feel like and may feel sorry for himself which is kind of stupid to being with. A very selfish characters that does not know a thing about honesty or loyalty. In the second season, his interactions with his father made me sick. Since he is the main character, I had a hard time feeling engaged with the story considering how much hate he provokes in me.
The other main character is Yuki, Touya’s girlfriend. Why she continues to love him despite everything is a mystery to me. She is sweet and talented so it was shocking to see her be so passive about everything all the time. Very much upsetting and not very credible in the slightest.
The other women are very much like Yuki in essence. They like Touya but it’s not clear why they could possible see in him. Not really worth mentioning either. There was not a single character that got my attention. If the story is lacking and there are not any good characters to make up for it, there is nothing worthwhile left.