White Album 2 Episode 2: Idol Next Door

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Megane! I suppose it was only natural that Haruki would eventually ask Setsuna to join the club, but I didn’t think the episode would carry out the way it did. In some respects, I felt it spent too much time developing a single character. In other cases, it almost felt like there wasn’t enough time, which worries me a little if this is only meant to span a single season. Still, this week’s plot manages to carry on with enough moments to satiate romantic drama fans’ thirst for good character development. I mean, just look at those glasses on Setsuna; how is that not adorable at all?! Come to think of it, why does she even look that way?

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It’s almost a standard for the girl-next-door setup: a nice, deep conversation of family and upbringing while on a swing set in the neighborhood park at some odd hour of the night. I just wasn’t expecting Setsuna to be that girl and, apparently, neither was Haruki. He was expecting the ‘complicated circumstances’ route of a family struggling to make ends meet (which makes more sense given our new-found understanding of her family) whereas Setsuna proclaims she works just to help earn a little income for herself since her parents are paying for her attendance to the private school she and Haruki attend. Perhaps she does this to remind herself of her roots so that she doesn’t get swept up in the atmosphere of wealth and privilege the other girls at school may be projecting. Facades aside, this establishes Setsuna as a very likable character in my opinion. For having nearly two whole episodes dedicated to her, we could have simply gotten sick of her and her reservations about having any ounce of popularity, which is a mindset that would totally kill any potential she has at a successful singing career.

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Way to go, Haruki! Your approval points just went up after discovering Setsuna’s two (and only two) secrets: her part-time job and her love for solitary karaoke sessions once a week; and now she has you! So that’s where she finds time to practice. And since we were just talking about how she works for a little extra spending money, now we know where her roughly 2,500 yen goes towards every week (at least that’s the rough equivalent of how much it is for karaoke in my area).

Simple money issues aside, I couldn’t help but reflect a few minutes prior to Takeya’s presumptions on Haruki’s progress with Setsuna. With understanding her life outside of school a bit more and discovering a rather cute perk of hers in the form of these solo karaoke sessions, it truly does seem that Haruki is on the fast track toward enlisting Setsuna as the Light Music Association’s new vocalist. That is, until it is revealed that the piano player she was as excited as Haruki to meet isn’t part of the club just yet.

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And here we are at the climax of the episode, the pivotal scene where we finally get to see who has been behind Music Room #2’s curtains all this time: Touma Kazusa! While it was convenient to end this week on this particular cliffhanger, a big part of me wished they brought her into view a lot sooner. However, given the revelation at the end of the first episode of Setsuna being the singer on the rooftop, it should really be no surprise the story now would face a similar pacing and path with Haruki’s risky attempt at figuring out Kazusa’s true identity behind the piano keys so late in this episode. I can only guess that next week will be focused primarily on Kazusa before shifting gears back to the Light Music Association as a whole once they have their key members in position to further develop the club.

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Next week! Actually, there is no next-episode preview. Like I said before, we’ll probably get the Kazusa development we’ve been waiting on for two episodes now. And if this trend continues, I also look forward to seeing Haruki doing more dangerous things for his slowly blossoming harem. How convenient would it be for him to land in the hospital while have both girls fawning over his recovery? As far as Setsuna’s development, how much longer can she keep her job a secret whilst participating in the LMA’s practice sessions and continuing to put up a rich-girl front? Given Kazusa’s seemingly polar opposite personality from Setsuna’s, how will Haruki persuade her to join the group as well? At the very least, now I can justify all the times I fell asleep in class simply due to being a creative genius. It sure takes up a lot of energy.

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