White Album 2 – Musical Melodrama

I was never given the unique opportunity to experience the first White Album series, but that didn’t stop me from taking my chances with White Album 2. For those unaware, White Album 2 is a slice of life anime drama focusing almost entirely on three High School students: Kitahara, Touma, and Ogiso.

Let’s just get this out-of-the-way at the start, so we can move on… this show features several scenes that are absurdly overdramatic. There were a few scenes where I just had to roll my eyes, shake my head, and wait until things returned to reason. It’s not exactly surprising for this type of anime, it wasn’t usually excessive, but it was still unfortunate.

But despite all of that, I found myself eager to watch the next episode. At least once I stayed up far later than I should have because I just wanted to know what would happen next… I just wanted to spend a few more minutes with these characters. Each of our main characters felt like people. They weren’t ‘just tropes’ – although they certainly drew inspiration from common tropes – they were people. Their reactions made sense – the way they acted felt right for who they were. But not until you got to know the real them… and that’s the key.

They weren’t just open books right from the start to me… each episode, each scene, each moment helps to write those empty pages. The show doesn’t so much develop the characters as it does define them. It’s interesting to see, because it makes sense for a High School focused anime. The one exception is Ogiso, whose character actually does show some growth over the series in some noticeable and real way.

Aside from the absurd drama, White Album 2 is one of the more fascinating anime of its genre that I’ve seen lately thanks to a good balance of humour and drama. While the dramatic moments are heavily exaggerated, the humour provides a successful counterbalance to this that makes the show entertaining. The first half of the series focuses on setting the preliminaries for these relationships and uses a very logical central event as a focal point. And they certainly picked the right singer, or singers, to represent Ogiso as well – the songs just sound perfect.

The songs are clearly indicative of the show, with each of the primary songs representing a segment of the show and they do something fantastic with one of the pinnacle moments of the show. One of the key points of the show is, naturally, a concert – makes sense for a show entitled ‘White Album 2’ – and they keep one of the songs performed secret until the perfect moment to reveal it. And when they do, it provides such a perfect match to the tone of the scene during which they flash back to it.

White Album 2 is an interesting show, there are moments that really made it hard to watch. Fortunately, it does enough to counteract these awkward moments that I was able to easily ignore them… and getting to know these characters kept me coming back to see more. The ending is a bit of a disappointment, but it doesn’t sour the overall show and it does fit in with the story and the characters.

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