White Album 08 (or How Much Punishment Can a Girl In Love Take?)

ホワイトアルバム Episode 08
White Album 08

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

White Album 08Haruka nearly gets assaulted by two men and is rescued by the screams of Mana. Rina has a long conversation with Touya on the roof of Ogata Productions regarding Yuki and her own singing career, leaving Touya with an invitation to come see Rina any time. Touya comes home to find Haruka in his bed. Yuki attempts to make contact with Touya, but he avoids her and stays at his father’s house, helping Misaki White Album 08make the costumes. This also helps him avoid Shinozuka-san, who’s also apparently looking for him. Yuki makes contact with Misaki at Touya’s father’s house while Touya goes shopping for a birthday present for Rina with Haruka. Yuki and Touya finally have an uncomfortable meeting at Ogata Productions when Touya brings Rina a present. Touya stays to hear the recording sessions and is taken home by Shinozuka-san. She stops on the way and as punishment for Touya’s stopping by the studio, she kisses him passionately. He responds and thinks an apology to Misaki for being late.

Thoughts/Review:

White Album 08The more anime I watch in Japanese and learn more things about Japanese culture, the more I appreciate little things. This week, it was the Zashiki-warashi, which is a humanoid, female youkai that has featured in a few stories in the xxxHOLiC manga. So when Haruka mentions the Zashiki-warashi to Touya, I went, “I know what that is!” I think Haruka is referring to Mana, who looks pretty young and saved her from a sexual assault (or even a rape).

White Album 08Haruka is still the one to be used and abused. I do feel badly for her. I don’t know what she sees in Touya but maybe we’ll get some more answers down the road.

Haruka isn’t the only one I feel bad for. There’s also Yuki. Now that it appears that Touya has boinked Shinozuka-san, how can he look Yuki in the eye at all? More on that in a bit.

White Album 08This brings me to Yuki, Rina, and the goddess issue that has come up a few times. Touya has known Yuki for a number of years. Touya like Yuki, but considering how he takes things for granted and doesn’t give much effort at times (such as showing up to work or to an appointment on time), it is amazing that Yuki even likes Touya at all. Regardless, she does and that’s that. Yuki is then recruited to become an idol. The term “idol” means “ a representation or symbol of an object of worship” (Merriam-Websters). In effect, for Touya, Yuki has been elevated from mere human to a goddess.

White Album 08Initially when we are introduced to Touya and Yuki, their relationship seemed one-sided, but the way the writers presented it, the viewer is left with the impression that Touya “worships” Yuki but Yuki has no time for him because of all the work associated with being an idol. With eight episodes under the belt, I see that the relationship IS one-sided, but it is all Yuki to Touya despite her being an idol. Touya has placed her on a throne so high as to be worthy of the gods. So while he is flattered to be with the beautiful idol Yuki, Touya sees himself as unworthy. Thus when access to the goddess has some obstacles in the way (Shinozuka-san for starters), he doesn’t even bother to fight to overcome them — he simply gives in because Yuki is now a goddess and thus shouldn’t be with him.

White Album 08On the other hand, there’s Rina. She too is an idol, but she has no history with Touya and is only connected to him through her friendship with Yuki. Touya sees Rina as a goddess as well (as evidenced when Yuki brought her over to Echos). The difference is that Rina has always been a goddess to Touya and has descended from the heavens to consort with him (giving him her phone number). From Touya’s perspective, this is a huge ego boost — a popular idol is interested in him, a mere human. Thus when Rina is able to get Touya to make more of an effort for her than he does for Yuki. She realizes this and I think that while she enjoys whatever she’s getting from Touya, she’s also told him about dropping the goddess stuff — neither she nor Yuki are the goddesses that Touya has made them.

White Album 08What must Yuki be thinking though? She can’t reach Touya and the one time she reaches someone, it is Misaki (with her own eye on Touya). Then after days and days of having no contact with her supposed boyfriend, suddenly he shows up to give Rina a birthday present. Does Yuki even have an inkling of what is going on (Shinozuka-san’s “guarding the hen house” for starters)? It sucks to be Yuki to be sure. She should come right out and ask and were I Touya, I’d simply say that I know Yuki’s career is very important and that Shinozuka-san and Ogata-san would not want her being distracted at the moment. Whether that would be enough or not, I don’t know. Of course if I were Touya, I would have taking an “up yours” attitude toward Shinozuka-san and gone to see Yuki that night anyway.

White Album 08I’m not Touya and so in addition to hiding from Yuki, let’s consider his actions in staying to listen to recording sessions. In my mind, he was only there for Rina despite it being Yuki’s invitation to listen to her record the music. Then Shinozuka-san offers to take him home. My first thought was, “OK, now what’s she going to say?” Touya clearly expected to be chastised and were it me, I would have taken the train home (unless it was so late that the trains had already stopped for the night). Instead, he takes the ride with her and she pulls over to some secluded spot to punish him by kissing him passionately.

White Album 08Shinozuka-san’s character design does nothing for me, but for the sake of discussion, lets assume she’s pretty attractive and roughly 30. That would help Touya give in (because as a guy, if some attractive woman keeps offering herself to you for your sexual pleasure, the “what the heck” idea of giving into that temptation is very strong). To me, it also means that he no longer sees himself as Yuki’s boyfriend. Heck, he doesn’t think an apology to Yuki, he thinks one to Misaki for being late to help her with the costumes. That also suggests to me that he might decide to pursue something with Rina, the goddess who condescended to spend time with him while at the same time, being a “nice guy” and trying not to hurt Yuki too much by hiding things from her.

White Album 08One final thought or two regarding Mana. Last episode gave the impression that Mana knew Yuki. If so, why does Mana ask herself if the current girl she sees Yuki with is in fact Yuki? Could it be that Mana does know Yuki but still doesn’t believe Touya? Also, I found it interesting that she referred to Touya and her “oniichan” in her conversation with Haruka. Does that mean she has a past with Touya somehow? I didn’t like how just as Haruka mentions Touya’s name, Mana is suddenly no where to be found.

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