Monday, 5 January 2009

White Album - Episode 1

It's new anime season in Japan once again to kick-start the new year, and the first series for my cogitation and digestion is White Album - No, nothing to do with The Beatles before you ask, but it does have something of a musical bent I suppose.

The protagonist of this series is Touya Fuji, a University student who doesn't particularly seem to have much going for him - He's not exactly the most dedicated student and he struggles to hold down a job of any kind, for starters. Oh, and it's the 1980s. However, life isn't all bad for Touya - He's dating an up and coming idol named Yuki. Then again, even this isn't as good as it seems... As her career has taken off, so he's seeing less and less of her, reduced to (rather amusingly in this opening episode) watching glimpses of her on TV with the rest of the audience rather than getting to spend any time with her in the flesh.

Despite all the excitement and glamour, life seems to be a bit tough for Yuki herself, with a rather scary (on occasion at least) senior mentoring her, and bullying and bitching from other idols who share a place on the show she works on making life hard even before you consider the fact that she's away from her boyfriend and thrust into the strange world of showbusiness.

So, the scene is set for what could be a pretty interesting series, and certainly this episode gave us glimpses of both Touya's more mundane life and the difficulties of being an upcoming idol backstage, all wrapped around the story of boyfriend and girlfriend and the problems created by this unique set of circumstances. Beyond that, we've also been rather hurriedly introduced to a number of other characters, largely female (this is a transition to anime from an eroge after all), who will doubtless play a greater role in future episodes as things most likely become more fraught for the main couple.

As always, the first episode is never a good time to pin too much on any series, and although White Album hasn't really stood out for me here as a wonderfully animated or characterised series in this opener, its premise has quite a lot of promise, so for now I shall happily hope that it lives up to that promise over the following episodes to turn into the well portrayed, character-driven series it could be.


Peter S said...

I rather liked it. "Show vs. Tell" is overrated, but I admired how much I figured out was going on without being fed any backstory at all. So when they did tell us some backstory about, er, bicycle girl, it felt clumsy and out of place. I liked how the camera moved about Fuji's apartment as he's getting ready to be late for work, thus giving us a pretty good view of what he's like, or his phone conversation when he's fired, which we don't even hear! We just know it he's been fired. There's some directorial effort here that I admire.

ghostlightning said...

I've downloaded the ep but I haven't watched it yet. I'm clearly interested, given how it seems to provide backstory without infodumps.