Maruto Fumiaki (丸戸史明) returns with yet another masterful insightful drama concentrating on the emotional horrors of a “well-meaning” triangle relationship. White Album 2 is as much about depression, angst and breaking up as it is about love and romance, actually it’s more about depression now that I think about it.
It really blows my mind how Maruto managed to write two characters who look good together together from the first glance, but in actuality have such a bad chemistry that their attempts at comforting each other further down are excruciatingly painful to watch. Yet, at the same time, you can’t help but cheer for them, in spite of yourself.
Then there are other heroines who have better chemistry with the protagonist, but come at unfortunate timing, or are impeded by other physical/social circumstances. The complexity of human relationships and heart-tearing angst explored in this work can seriously make one contemplate becoming a monk.
Though the visual novel is extremely long and the only theme it really has is complicated relationships, mainly jealousy and failure to understand each other, it never really becomes boring somehow; and I don’t even like soap operas that much. Each side-route offers a different approach to taking care of that one bad, stagnant relationship, and each heroine offers Kazuki (the protagonist) a different form of intimate peace.
The work is definitely at its best during the final route, however, which is as suspenseful and nerve-wrecking as a good horror movie. I was only disappointed by the ending most people seem to refer to as “true”, since it pretty much undermines the concept of the “well-meaning bad relationship” itself. Thankfully, there is another, less popular, ending which delivers exactly what one would expect from a good serious drama without ruining the original concept. Most people refer to it as the “the bad ending”, so it kind of makes me wonder if the fans aren’t misinterpreting Maruto’s message. Or could it be that I am the one delusional here?
Anyway, with complex characters, story which delivers some real insight into the problems to realistic romantic relationships, and engrossing suspenseful plot, which never makes it clear if you are supposed to feel guilty or romantically infatuated (a good thing), White Album 2 is a must-read for anyone interested in serious romance and drama, as it offers the best of both worlds. Ugly character sprites can be a bit of a turn-off though, it’s really odd given that all other Maruto’s works are so impeccably drawn.
|H scenes are relatively well drawn||Ugly character sprites|
|A couple of good songs||Low number of regular event CGs|
|Great voice-acting||Extremely slow pace, especially in the third part|
|Great complex characters||There could have been more interaction between the heroines|
|Very well written dialogue||Setsuna’s deus ex machina like ending ruins the drama|
|A good angle on love triangles|
|Touma’s ending leads to a lot of great tear-jerking drama|
|Easy to read|