Saturday, 5 October 2013

White Album 2 - Episode 1

Set ten years after the original White Album and sharing very little other than a broad timeline and the evolution of its titular song, White Album 2 arrives this autumn with the time-honoured tradition of beginning at what seems to be the end of the story, as we see a trio of characters playing at a school festival.

From here, we rewind to properly meet our protagonist, Haruki Kitahara - a good-natured guy without any airs or graces who is always happy to help out or dish out some straight-talking home truths as required.  Although his official after-school role is as a member of the light music club, where he's a decidedly average guitarist, he also willingly helps out with student committee work.

It's this additional role that brings him into contact with Setsuna Ogiso, a beautiful girl who has won the school's "Miss Houjou" contest two years running - however, it appears that her entry into said contest was a decidedly unwilling one, so much so that's she's specifically asking to be left out of the contest this time around.  Despite the hassle this could cause the student committee, Kitahara has no qualms about letting her pass on taking part in the competition - besides, he has his own concerns given that the rest of his own club have now given up on attending, leaving him to play duets with a mystery piano player in the adjacent music room.  When a girl starts singing along to these two players one day however, perhaps a new opportunity has arisen for all of them...

While I'm more than a little happy to see a visual novel adaptation that features a protagonist who isn't a simpering milquetoast from the start, this is perhaps the only highlight of a pretty dull opening episode that felt directionless and without any real panache in what it presented.  As a result, I haven't seen any early indications as to why I should care about the main characters we've been introduced to thus far, so I'm really hoping that the series can flesh things out in a more satisfying, or at least quicker, way moving forward.  It would be harsh to tear into this series on account of one episode, but it'll certainly have to work a lot harder than this if it wants to grab my attention.

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