I have had either the privilege or horror to watch White Album. Based on the visual novel of the same name, this anime is a faithful adaptation of series in style and plot. Having had it recommended to me and watching the first episode a year or so ago, I decided to pick it up again to give it a shot. After watching White Album, I have mixed feelings about the show, mostly coming from my bowels. White Album is a pseudo-harem drama that transcends the genre by making the main character, Touya Fujii, and half of the cast into human failures. Touya Fujii is your typical guy with an atypical girlfriend... a J-pop idol named Yuki Morikawa, with whom he went to high school. Being an idol, her work conflicts with her having a typical college-going boyfriend, which causes so much fun for both of them. Meetings rarely occur between them because of the record company that wants to maintain an image of purity, her conflicts with Touya's schedule, missing phone calls, and miscellaneous other hi-jinks.
As the series progresses, Touya, being the weak-willed guy he is, becomes desperate for affection. No longer does the prospect of sacrifice for Yuki's career cross his mind, as his immediate sexual and security needs are placed before his loyalty. Mind you, however, Yuki does not help in these matters. Knowing his desire for her, she places him in impossible situations, causing his loyalty to break down. The number of women there to fulfill this desire for sex and security are nigh endless, ranging from Yuki's manager Yayoi Shinozuka, aka Turbo Slut 9000, to a pseudo-loli named Mana Mizuki. Personally, I rooted for his old high school friend Haruka Kawashima, but by the time that was addressed, the show had devolved past the point of stupidity. As this drama is happening, life changing events are occurring in Touya's life that are not even addressed in their fullest and eventually become further excuses for him to bang more girls.
Another dynamic that makes this anime seem like Macross F totally ripped off this series (adding the awesome cool giant robot) is the rising star versus falling star paradigm, with a love triangle to boot! Ranka and Sheryl love their worthless pilot, too!! Yuki, being the rising star, is given precedence over yesterday's Rina Ogata. Yuki views Rina as a role model worthy to imitate. While Rina, concerned for Yuki's career, initially helps the struggling idol, she begins to distance herself from Yuki using her pathetic excuse for a boyfriend by becoming 'love rivals'.
Speaking of which, there is no character that goes farther from the heights of cool to the lowest of the low than Eiji Ogata, Rina's brother. At first calm, collected, and cool, the poor man is a victim of bad writing. Ogata's character takes a turn for the worse in the second season. The only man who seems like an average viewer watching this show is Touya's father, who is never named. Also, how Touya and his father became estranged is never fully addressed to my satisfaction. I think it goes
something like this: mom dies, son is turbo angsty, and goes to college where father then cuts him off. Mixed in there somehow is Touya's job drama. From tutoring a bratty Mana, to working at a cafe named Echoes, Touya somehow messes everything up even in his professional life.
The plot is very average. There are no twists or unexpected turns. Second season stuff hits the fan, but nothing too unexpected. Just expect Touya to fail as his father does and he will not disappoint. Beyond having sex with him, most of the females either give him jobs or do not really advance the plot at all. Even the tragedies, are not used to advance the plot or flesh out the characters. Tragedies are just used as another way for Touya to get laid.
Character development takes a back seat to "How bland and uninteresting can we make these characters?" Touya goes through no growth throughout the series. Haruka becomes more and more assertive as the series progresses, Mana matures, Yuki discovers she can sing (derp moment), Rina realizes she is not yesterday's news, turbo slut finds out she is really good at having sex, and a whole bunch of other trite character growth concepts are utilized. Hurray!!
The J-pop featured is great. Though the series could have used some more mood music in the background, I think that the director was aiming for a visual novel feel to the series and purposely left it out.
Directing and Voice Acting: 7/10
The directing was great. The show actually makes you feel like you are in a visual novel. Some scenes feel as though the budget was cut for that episode, but were more or less a decision by the director to preserve the visual novel feel. The voice acting seemed to be spot on. No character seemed to be reading off of cue cards. The voice actors really give the emotions that the characters are feeling... for all that is worth.
Nothing amazing. Neither bad nor amazing. "Average" is the word I will use here.
"After everything that happened, this is pretty shitty", is what you will be saying at the end.
Overall Rating: 5/10
If you love the visual novels, you will love this series. If you love bad endings, you will like this series. I recommend most to watch the first episode and if you do not like it do not continue.
Final Comments: Touya totally is far more pathetic than you, and gets more ass then you could ever think of obtaining. Think about this when you watch White Album as hilarity or envy will overcome your body.