Visual Novel Highlight: White Album 2

As promised here’s the next VN highlight for today which is White Album 2. For this one it’s going to be a little different due to the fact that this is not a old VN but a brand new VN. Last time I spoke about the first one , so this is the sequel of White Album. For future highlights I’ll be back talking about older obscure VNs.

White Album 2 is a sequel to White Album, but despite being a sequel it almost has nothing to do with the characters from the first one. The development of this VN was a bit different from the common. The story is split into 2 parts, The Introductory Chapter and the Closing Chapter, this makes White Album 2 a duology VN. White Album is developed by the same company LEAF and was originally developed for the PC. The first part which was released on March 26, 2010 focuses on the introduction of the 3 main characters, while the second part that was released on December 22, 2011 focuses on the rest and closure of the story. The first part runs in a linear story line without any choices and interactions from the player in choosing the story, while for the second part while introducing new heroines it returns to the same theme as original White Story where it focuses more on the heavy romance drama. LEAF/AQUAPLUS just recently announced a new port for the PS3 that will be released in this 2012 Winter.

Synopsis

Introductory Chapter

The story starts roughly ten years after the events of the original White Album. We are first introduced to the troubled Light Music

Setsuna Ogiso singing White Album on the roof.

Club. Haruki Kitahara who plays the second guitar in the club is tasked by his Club President and friend Takeya Iizuka help him solve their lack of members problem. Didn’t have any ideas, Haruki decides to stay behind in the club room for awhile.  He then heard the sounds of a piano playing from the Music Room who was played byone of his classmate Kazusa Touma, and when he heard that she was playing White Album he decides to follow along with his guitar. But suddenly he also hears someone singing the lyrics for White Album from the rooftop, he stops playing and runs to the source of the singing to find Setsuna Ogiso, who is idol of the school.

The Cold Genius

After knowing that Setsuna the idol can sing and Kazusa is the rumored genius musician of their school, Haruki tries very hard to make sure both of these talented girls joins the Light Music Club. After successfully convincing both the girls to join the club they’ve started to practice singing songs that was sung by Yuki Morikawa and Rina Ogata which is White Album and Sounds of Destiny, while trying to compose their own song for the upcoming school festival. Without them knowing their love story starts after the festival.

Before the Performance

Closing Chapter

Three years after the festival, Haruki is now in college who also works as a tutor and a writer in a magazine. In college, he there got

New Heroines

acquainted with Chiaki Izumi who’s one of his closest classmate and share a “close but not a couple” relationship with him. He then meets with Koharu Sugiuraa Highschool Girl who was waiting in front of the college gates to scold him on what he did to her best friend when Haruki rejected her love for the reason that he cannot love anyone anymore. On his way home he meets with his editor from the magazine, the beautiful Mari Kazaoka, but the sight of Setsuna and Kazusa was never seen throughout his day.

Without trying to spoil too much, in this Closing Chapter Haruki has changed to a cold person that feels that he cannot love anybody anymore. Something has happened that cause the three of them to stay away from each other. Because of this you guys need to play the VN for yourself to find out why.

Why do I Like this Visual Novel

Pretty much the same reason that I also liked the original White Album, it’s mostly because it’s a well done Love Drama. Despite the cliche settings and story, it’s Love triangle wasn’t bland, and each characters are well developed  so there’s no feeling of a one dimensional generic character in White Album 2. The sudden plot twist that happened in the end of the Introductory Chapter was done well, making players crave more for the continuation and closure of the story.

Also, White Album 2 has received many positive reviews and awards. According to Getchu.com 2011 rankings, White Album 2 received many awards including, Best Scenario, Best Music and Best Character. So with that it is assured that White Album 2 is worth the read.

Notes: The Original PC version is rated 18+, while the newest PS3 port is rated 17+ with the adult content removed. There’s currently a project to translate White Album 2, keep an eye on it.

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13 responses to “Visual Novel Highlight: White Album 2

  1. Are you able to read Japanese? Might you be able to answer a few questions about this game’s plot?

    I’m surprised that Madoka Yonezawa (Setsuna’s seiyuu) signed on this eroge project, given the fame she got from her role in the K-ON! anime. By all accounts she sings pretty well in this game, but wouldn’t her career have taken a hit given how she had to make (censored) noises for this game?

    • About the plot, maybe But don’t give me a high expectation.
      ——————————————

      about the seiyuu, I never once heard a seiyuu’s career drops after doing an Eroge gig, on the contrary most seiyuu’s that I know voices Eroge once in a while, keeps getting more jobs.
      ex:
      -Shizuka Itou
      -Asakawa Yuu
      -Yuuko Gotou
      Then there’s Akira Ishida who does loads of “hentai voicing”. lol

      In short, I don’t see any significant rise or drop, just because one person has also done some hentai work, Because there are cases like the ones I mentioned, and the ones that are stuck as eroge exclusive until an anime adaptation come out. Most use pseudonyms and aliases, but I never heard a direct negative impact on ones career, since newbies usually start off from eroges->animes. Rina Satou also voice Yuki Kusakabe in the original To Heart 2 X Rated.

      In the end the role itself and how good they are with their role that counts, also fans. lol

      Heck, I’m a BIG FAN of Shizuka Itou, knowing that she voiced some hentai works in the past makes me go hunt those titles rather than just dismissing her just because she voices in eroges.

      • Yeah, I’m a fan of Shizuka Itou too (she can sing pretty well if she’s given the right lyrics and musical backing–one of her best is “Sora no Sabaku”). But it seems many more otaku are victims of the “Otome fantasy” and get screechy when one of their idols turns out to be less than pure. Look at the kerfuffle raised when Aki Toyosaki turned out to be living with the composer Tom H@ck. And none of these eroge seiyuus who regularly act in anime can seem to openly talk about their time making (censored) noises.

        There are a lot of eroge-specializing seiyuu who just can’t seem to get a break in mainstream anime for some reason or another. Harumi Sakurai is one, though she did get some exposure as Yuri from Angel Beats!. Ryoko Tanaka, Mio Yasuda, and Kei Mizusawa are a few more “eroge specialists” who are quite good but don’t get anywhere near the exposure they deserve. And I think Yuki Kusakabe was the last eroge role Rina Satou is going to do ever since she had her major breakout role as Mikoto Misaka in To Aru Majutsu No Index.

        I’d still like to hear about Mari Kazaoka’s route in White Album 2. Ever since they started promoting the PS3 all-ages version, they revealed that she’s voiced by Yuu Asakawa, another of my faves.

  2. Mari Kazaoka, huh? Do you have an older lady/OL fetish? hahahaha

    Her route symbolizes Haru’s depression caused by the the events with Setsuna and Kazusa and giving in to it. He tries to find new comfort in Mari, but that doesn’t help much, because Mari treats him like a little brother. Resulting, at one point he tries to force his way due to the frustration. After some understandings later we get a happy end with Mari.

    So, Basically Mari is the actual reverse of Yayoi. While Yayoi tried to seduce Touya, Mari indirectly “seduced” Haru by being herself, giving him a false “Green-light”.

    • No, I just a little tired of the focus on teenagers in anime and eroge, so its refreshing to see a mature woman who isn’t a stereotype and who has her act together, unlike, for example, the 28-year-old Yukiji Katsura from “Hayate no Gotoku!”. So does Haruki work at Mari’s magazine to avoid Setsuna? The “false green-light” you talk about, if the CG pack is any indication, appears to be taken too strongly by Haruki. Did she string him along, or make light of his mistake with the main two girls, so he was provoked into going full force? And why does Setsuna appear only to care if Haruki switches his affections to Koharu (I’d personally like to know how the latter changes her bad first impression of him).

      Personally, I think Yuu Asakawa’s characters haven’t been doing too well lately. There wasn’t an animated route for Hibiki from “Amagami” or Satsuki from “Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate,” for instance. A damn shame.

      Speaking of Yayoi, I think her route in the first White Album is worse off with the removal of the 18+ content in the PS3 version. Of the many different ways to cheat on your intimate partner, sexual betrayal is in a class of its own. With that removed from the game, wouldn’t Yayoi’s route lose a lot of its emotional impact?

      • Nah, Haruki working at Mari’s magazine is not “directly” avoiding Setsuna. In fact Haruki has other jobs besides being in a magazine. Haru has already showed that he’s ignoring Setsuna directly to her, So these jobs is not really an escape.

        If I recall it right, the scene that you see is caused by his own misunderstanding, also Mari herself doesn’t know their past relationship, It’s the “I’ll comfort you” thing, but Mari didn’t know how frustrated Haru is.

        I’m kinda fuzzy for Koharu’s route, since it’s the least that I Iike, but basically Setsuna will still come out in every “Other girl” route. Sorry, but I can’t really remember other details besides Koharu’s main plot.

        About Asakawa Yuu, well at least she stil lgot jobs ahahah. Well in KoiSen’s case, it’s pretty cear that we will only get one route done, still better that the common thing that happens in VN adaptations, TOTAL HAREM route, and ending it with an indecisive end. In Amagami’s case, I don’t remember any Hibiki Route, There’s a fake teacher route and Sister route, but I don’t remember any Hibiki route.

        About Yayoi, yes that sex scenes had to be removed, but they never removed the sex from the story. It’s still there, but the “guilt feeling” from the sex scenes is reduced.

  3. Actually, there are some special Amagami discs from Tech Gian that supposedly allow one to play through her route. You can see a vid demonstrating this here:

    Frankly I liked the way Amagami’s and Yosuga no Sora’s anime adaptations were structured, in which all heroines got their time in the spotlight. Too bad that KoiChoco won’t be getting that, even though Satsuki was the most popular heroine according to character polls.

    I’d like if you could give me an idea of just how Haruki manages to turn Koharu’s opinion of him around. The CGs are not very informative in that area. It’s easy for writers to cop-out in that regard, so I’d like to know if the “turn-around” was well done.

    One thing I noticed is that both WA games’ protagonists work a lot of part-time jobs as college students. Is that “par for the course” for college students in Japan?

    One more thing I’d like cleared up for me about WA2’s general premise–does Haruki give up on love because he originally loved Kazusa and did nothing to stop her from going to Vienna, and ended up breaking Setsuna’s heart in the process because he wasn’t honest with himself?

    • -Lol, Hibiki Route, never knew that, thanks for the info.

      -Yes, the Omnibus story telling way is the best way, but is only effective if they have enough episodes. Yosuga no Sora was probably the most unique.

      -Koharu’s basic plot is that, she wants Haruki to take responsibility for her friend’s heartbreak. So, Haru also teaches in a cram school, Koharu’s friend confesses, but Haruki rejects her coldly. On her “quest” confronting him, she finds out he’s also working part time in the Diner she’s also working. As you can see, her relationship gradually grows on as often she tries to force him. But after getting “softer” with him. at one night she was caught talking to him casually with him be her friend, and the drama starts there.

      -Not really, if they come from a well-off family, he/she doesn’t have to work. But for independent people, the only way to pay for college is Part time jobs. All I know is, Getting a part time in Japan is easy and well enough paid. My friend who has a scholarship, still gets a part time job for his Otaku needs.

      -Yes that’s the basic premise for the 2nd part. But you got it reversed. Haruki first loved Setsuna, they even confessed to each other. But if I recall right, before going to Vienna, Kazusa also confessed, Haruki who’s too kindhearted for his own good, can’t reject her.

      • So by not rejecting either Setsuna or Kazusa, Haruki broke both their hearts and so gives up on love, which results in him breaking up with Setsuna before WA2?

        And what do you mean when you say “as often as she tries to force him”? Does Koharu actively seek him out to press an issue?

        Does Yayoi actually love Touya by the end of her route or is she still putting on an act?

  4. -Yes that’s basically it. The difference is that, Kazusa gives up her love after the “one night stand”, while Haruki broke up with Setsuna due to feeling guilty about loving both of them.

    -Yes, she seeks out Haruki, till the point that she’ll wait for him at the college gates from day to dusk. But the same Diner part time job is a comedic coincidence. :D

    -In short yes, she actually loves him at the end.

      • Here’s a personal problem for me, Yes, I can read Japanese, But I have almost no grammar knowledge. So the problem then lies when I’m going to “structure” the sentence into English. I self-studied them, and haven’t received any proper lessons.

        I have no problem understanding most of the stories, but translating is a different beast. So the least I can do is just raise the awareness, and hope a “better” person can help the translation.

        Heck, I once tried to help translate To Heart 2 (A single man project), but I got stuck often because the lack of grammar knowledge.

        ————————-
        Lol, that scene, I was like “something in my heart just broke”. lol

        ————————–
        Well, most eroge reviewers try to avoid spoiling the readers, and just put in general things.

  5. Man, that’s a pity. Still, I hope there’s a way for us Japanese-illiterate fans to discover just how well-written (or not) this game actually is. It would take a lot to win back Setsuna (should you choose her route) after snubbing her like that, or to win Koharu over.

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