Anime Christmas #1 – White Album 2 and The Story You Don’t Know

A brief preamble. This is part of an inter blog project known generally as the 12 Days of Anime. Here’s the basic idea. I’d originally planned to do the full 12 posts, and had started drafting posts accordingly, but alas, real life stuff happened, priorities were re-ordered etc etc. I still wanna participate though, so I’ll post one up every few days, there’ll probably be 4 in total but we’ll see.

Let’s get on thing straight to begin with. I don’t much like White Album. While the characters are more complex than usual, they fail to transcend their archetypes, the male gaze is disgusting, and having a story essentially revolve around two girls fighting over the viewer-insert male lead is made no less creepy or inorganic by competent direction or musical subplots.

That said, White Album 2 gained a lot more poignancy for me recently when I suddenly found myself drumming in a band for the large, cross-Uni anime club Christmas party. Five years out of practice, and with barely a week between the end of my torturous senior Science exams and the party, I found myself rushing to relearn the basics, but I’d need to do much more than that, as we had picked the challenging Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari to be our finishing piece of the night. Learning the various fills and rhythms was hard enough, but with the song’s significant speed, length, and abundance of pattern changes to memorise, the task seemed Herculean. To make matters worse, even the week itself was packed with events, giving even less time for practice.


Ok, I didn’t practice quite that much

So there I was, in a band surrounded by musicians who vastly outclassed me at their respective instruments, with a very short period of time to learn a piece well above my level (not to mention various easier songs, as well). In this time, the plight of White Album 2’s protagonist became infinitely relate-able. The dream, the challenge, the lost sleep, and finally, the triumphant performance.

It may not have been flawless, but seeing so many people jumping around and having a great time while I and my comrades absolutely played our hearts out on stage. That was a feeling like nothing else, and for all its flaws, White Album 2 did a pretty great job of capturing it, especially in the tiring mix of anxiety and excitement that characterised the lead-up to the performance.

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