White Album 05 (or How Sex is the Ultimate Bribe)

White Album 05
ホワイトアルバム Episode 05

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

White Album 05Touya emerges from the shower to find Yuki already asleep so he does not touch her. He leaves the next morning to find Yuki’s manager Shinozuka-san waiting. She takes him home the long way, telling a story of Rina’s debut single and a corrupt production manager setting up Rina to be pictured buying cigarettes from a vending machine by the paparazzi. Shinozuka-san offers herself as Yuki’s replacement (even placing his hand on her breast) White Album 05while saying it is up to Yuki and Touya as to where their relationship goes. Clearly it is a bribe attempt and Shinozuka-san further tries to convince Touya by taking him out and even kissing him and offering herself to him for use at anytime. Meanwhile Misaki gets stood up by Touya and finds her club approves her festival play manuscript but they want her to do the costumes as well. Rina wants a bit of time with Touya, but he can’t swing it schedule wise. Finally, Yuki hands Haruka a coded message to give to Touya for a 2nd meeting were she promises not to sleep. Haruka delivers and translates the message for Touya but before he can leave to meet Yuki, Misaki calls begging for help.

Thoughts/Review:

White Album 05When I saw Touya in the shower, my first thought was of similar scenes I’ve seen in other anime titles (Ai Yori Aoshi and Love Hina spring to mind, but there are others). As such, I immediately knew that Touya and Yuki would not be sleeping together because Yuki would be asleep and Touya would be the nice guy. Sure enough, that’s exactly what we got. It’s not surprising since (1) that’s what nice guys do, (2) this is a family-friendly anime and (3) Touya and Yuki sleeping together would cement their relationship more firmly I believe considering the kind of people they are. We can’t have that happen with a bevy of babes out there to tempt the senses.

White Album 05Speaking of temptation, there’s the very surprising Shinozuka-san. Her words of letting Yuki and Touya decide what they should do is the official line. Unofficially, Yuki needs to be single and not distracted by a boyfriend. Shinozuka-san is going to make sure nothing stands in Yuki’s way and obviously takes her apparent failure when she was Rina’s manager very personally. Do I think that Shinozuka-san is interested in Touya? No. Do I think that she’d sleep with him every time he called? If that’s what it took to keep him away from Yuki and for Yuki’s career to advance, you bet she’d do it. That’s some kind of devotion to one’s job, but it is also a sad commentary as well. I think of the 80’s tune by Divine Sounds, “What People Do For Money.” So even if Shinozuka-san’s feelings aren’t real, we can add her to the list of girls willing to hook up with Touya.

White Album 05Rina gets demoted to a cameo this episode (though it was interesting learning that Shinozuka-san used to manager her and that Rina had been caught in a scandal), but I figure that with her calling Touya and trying to work him into her schedule, she’s going to make the moves on him at some point, especially if he ends up backing away from Yuki. Even if Touya stays true to Yuki, I think Rina will still try to get closer to Touya. I pondered Rina for a bit and though she has friends, a high-paying job, and she’s a celebrity, she’s likely pretty lonely in that bubble world of hers. I think she sees Touya as her ticket outside the cage to be with someone who’s not going to be a stalker or worse. Plus, if more happens, well so much the better from her perspective.

White Album 05Haruka is the girl I feel sorry for. I was going to say that of all the girls, she’s the one that Touya would be least-likely to say “yes” to, yet Touya did think of her briefly when he thought about his close moments and kiss with Yuki. Anyway, not only is Touya using her, but now Yuki is as well. Yuki’s coded message (which I’m told is a pager code used by the Japanese in the 80’s) is basically, “I’ll be sure to sleep with you tonight.” I briefly considered the possibility of Haruka losing the message and coming up with a cover story for Yuki, then I remembered that she’s being the ultimate nice guy — by delivering and translating the message for Touya, she’s hoping to score backup points. I know nice guys do stuff like that but are there cute girls who do such a thing?

White Album 05Looks like Akira has accepted the fact that Misaki has no interest in him — she’s only interested in Touya. Akira has to be thinking, “What’s this yutz have to be dating an idol and have all the other babes wanting to bare his children?” If he knew that Misaki is still interested in Touya despite having been stood up by him (because he can’t seem to get anywhere on time…lazy git), he’d likely blow another fuse.

White Album 05While on the subject of Misaki, again the anime throws a new character out there, this time the grudge-holding Tamaru. While the characters act normal, we the audience are left going, “huh?” because there’s no setup to any of this. I suppose answers will be coming later, but regardless, Tamaru apparently feels jilted in some fashion by Misaki and by gum, he’s going to make her pay. So I ask myself, “Why is she in the same club as this loser?” Did he join just to piss her off or did she join after him and then piss him off? What do you want to bet his irritation is over something like her not dating him, sleeping with him, or breaking up with him. Isn’t that what always angers a guy over a girl?

White Album 05Finally, we come to Touya. He is a nice guy and has a hard time saying “no,” while at the same time, he’s also a user of people (Haruka). So even though he should have said “No” to Shinozuka-san when she showed up to take him out, he didn’t. Indeed, waiting until that evening to ultimately decide that Shinozuka-san is no replacement for Yuki is pretty weak. However, he is a guy and I suspect a virgin. So the prospect of sex with Shinozuka-san, even if it is a bribe, was in the back of his mind. Guys like the idea that an attractive girl or woman wants them sexually. Will he be the cliched nice guy and give Yuki up for the sake of her career? A nice guy might do that and he did ignore the phone call he suspected was from Yuki.

White Album 05As I said earlier, I do believe that Shinozuka-san would give it up for Touya in a flash to keep Yuki out of trouble. However, I also get a sense that Touya was being tested by her to see the depth of his feelings. Just because he hasn’t done something now, doesn’t mean he gets a pass, nor does he get one for deciding that Shinozuka-san isn’t a valid replacement for Yuki. OK, what about one of the other girls, say Rina? She’s also an idol, hot, and might be a good girlfriend. Would she be a good exchange? How about Misaki? Right now, Touya has a choice of getting to sleep with Yuki or help Misaki with her problem (and maybe if she’s upset enough, things will just happen and he’ll get to sleep with her). I also expect to see Shinozuka-san press the issue again to try to tempt Touya.

White Album 05One more thing — the secret of the broom closet in Echos is revealed this episode — the closet itself is a secret door which Touya obviously knows nothing about. So what gives with all that anyway? Maybe that’s where the drugs for the idols are kept or something.

I do have to give the writers credit here for creating an anime (even if based off a visual novel, dating sim game) that while has some strange presentations at times and doesn’t feel very 80’s-ish, it has still managed to keep me interested and coming back from more.

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