It’s no secret that I love White Album 2. As such, it should be of little surprise that my twelfth and final post in this series should be about that very show. However, I couldn’t narrow my choice of a moment from White Album 2 down to just one. (Okay, that’s a lie. I could. It’s the moment from episode one. There. I said it.) Regardless, I don’t believe a single moment is sufficient to capture the greatness of White Album 2 and so, in the spirit of giving, I offer you twelve different moments from White Album 2: one from each of the first twelve episodes.
We start off with the moment that made me realize that White Album 2 might be something special. The first twenty minutes of the episode had been interesting if not totally gripping but as soon as I heard the voice singing from the roof I knew things were about to change. As Haruki rushed through the school to find out the identity of the singer I let the music soak in. Finally, he opens the door and we’re treated to this shot:
My favorite scene from episode two took place in a park on the swings where Haruki and Setsuna sat together to have a nighttime conversation. The conversation warmed me to Setsuna as she seemed like such a down to earth and earnest girl despite her status as the school’s nominal idol. The conversation was exactly the kind I like to see in romance anime. It is an entirely believable conversation that despite being about nothing in particular still reveals important facts about the characters. It doesn’t hurt that this sequence included this:
Similar to the episode two moment, this episode provided us with another conversation with great interplay between the characters that shed a lot of light on their inner desires and feelings without beating you over the head with it. The get-together at Setsuna’s house was also nice because it gave us a glimpse of her happy family life, a rarity in anime and a stark contrast to Haruki and Touma’s home lives. All in all this is one of the weakest of the twelve moments but still a memorable one.
Episode four was something of a bridge episode providing us with very few notable (read: Setsuna-related) moments. The biggest moment was probably Haruki and Touma’s conversation on the train ride home from school. This is the first chance we have for some real insight into their relationship. Touma’s sand-offish nature is on full display but the writers do a great job of letting her affection for Haruki show just a little bit. The scene culminates in as blatant a show of emotion as Touma is ever willing to give when she grabs Haruki by the tie and drags him out of the subway:
The highlight of episode five, at least for me, has to be the cell phone conversation between Haruki and Setsuna following the argument they had over Haruki staying over at Touma’s house. It is here that we first see Setsuna demonstrating a level of self-awareness uncommon among girls her age. She was able to analyze exactly why it is that she was having these strong feelings of jealousy over Haruki and Touma’s actions and was able to articulate this to Haruki and come to an agreement that was acceptable to everybody involved. It’s a shame that this skill wouldn’t be enough to save them later on but it held off the drama at least for a little bit. It doesn’t hurt that Setsuna was completely adorable in this scene as well:
Episode six provided us with a moment of complete badassery from Haruki while at the same time setting the stage for the later hearbreak. After finally mastering Sound of Destiny Haruki rushes off to school and almost literally sweeps Setsuna off her feet. It may not have been the best thing for Setsuna’s long term mental well-being but at the time it was undeniably awesome.
There were so many moments to choose from in episode seven which might be the best concert episode I’ve ever seen in an anime (non K-ON division). After much deliberation I settled on the shots of Setsuna dancing on the roof. (thigh slapping sounds were close second) The sequence perfectly captured Setsuna’s joy when she sings as well as showing off the show’s beautiful color palette. Sure, there were other more plot-relevant moments from the episode but this was the one I enjoyed the most.
If the school concert wasn’t the epitome of happiness and contentedness for the main trio, the hot springs might have been just that. However, for my money the best scene in this episode took place at the start of the episode between Touma and Setsuna on the roof. Setsuna continues to try to get Touma to justify Setsuna’s guilt over taking Haruki but Touma stands strong, refusing to admit her feelings. The desire of each of them to ensure their friend’s happiness was quite touching. It’s when they share an embrace that the closeness of their friendship shows the most. It’s a happy but at the same time tragic moment as we know it can’t last.
Episode nine was where things started to fall apart for the group. Despite the turmoil Haruki and Touma are feeling and the concern Setsuna has, we still have one moment of happiness shared in the restaurant following Touma’s piano performance. In this scene we see that the three are still good people despite the fact that they are about to hurt each other deeply. It’s the one last happy moment before the long darkness to come.
For episode ten the scene between Haruki and Touma on the sidewalk after he pulls her out of the taxi stands far above any other moment in the episode. It was such a perfect example of two people finally realizing their feelings for each other but the backdrop of everything that had come before made it so much more impactful because we know that this realization, while inevitable, is going to make things that much worse for everybody involved. It’s a perfectly tragic moment much like the show itself.
The best moment from episode eleven was one of the most sentimental moments of White Album 2 as a whole. During the extended flashback during which we see Touma’s growth from hostile to smitten the scene where she searches for the gift Haruki had given her really stood out to me. It was a sign that a girl who had attempted to give up all human connection still had a heart. The following scene where she works so hard (including hurting her hands) to repair the plush dog her mother had given her added an extra layer to this sentimental feeling. The final shot of the book with the dog was a sign that the girl who had been broken had once again become whole (for now)
The best scene in the most recent episode once again showcased the bond of friendship shared between Touma and Setsuna. Despite the fact that their romantic lives are falling apart. It’s moments like this that cause me to have such respect for the characters in White Album 2 and maintain my firm belief that no matter how bad things get for them, they’re smart and strong enough to be okay in the long run.
So there you have it, twelve moments from the first twelve episodes of the best anime of the fall season. May you all have a White (Album) Christmas