Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / White Album 2

Go To
Happiness is a transient thing, like the falling snow...

White Album 2 (ホワイトアルバム2) is a Japanese Visual Novel produced by Leaf. Although it shares the same name as White Album as well being set in the same world, albeit almost two decades later, it bears little connection to the first game/anime aside from the songs that it reuses from the former: the titular White Album, sung by Yuki Morikawa, and Sound of Destiny sung by Rina Ogata. In effect, it is better described as a "Thematic Sequel" of sorts, as the main writer, Fumiaki Maruto, wanted to use the story explore the themes and concepts of the first game in more depth and detail.

The story was released in two parts with the first part, Introductory Chapter, released in March 2010, with the second, Closing Chapter, following in December 2011. Closing Chapter also contains the story part Coda, which is effectively a third chapter to the story. A further, shorter epilogue, After Story, was released in December 2014. The full story was finally put together in a collected version with the Extended Edition, released in February 2018, which encompasses all three chapters and the epilogue, plus a few extra odds and ends.

It's close to the school festival, and Light Music Club members Haruki Kitahara and his good friend Takeya are in a bit of a pinch. They want to perform for the school festival, however they're pretty much all that's left in the club. They need to find new members, both for the performance as well as ensure the LMC's survival, as with just two members they've fallen well below the numbers needed to be considered an official club. Despite the gravity of the problem, Takeya hands over the responsibility to fill out the club's numbers to Haruki.

Through luck and circumstance, Haruki somehow manages to find the members they need: Setsuna Ogiso, a beauty known for her participation in the school's beauty contests and who Haruki discovers has a wonderful singing voice; and Kazusa Touma, an introverted yet extremely talented pianist, and the mystery performer from the adjacent room that Haruki's been playing along with his guitar for a while now. Though getting the two to agree to help the LMC seemed innocuous at first, Haruki unknowingly set into motion a series of events that would bind the fates of the three of them together for the rest of their lives...

Produced by Satelight, an anime of the same name aired during Fall 2013 Season, and adapts the first part of the series, Introductory Chapter.

A fandisc for the series came out, and contains playable After Story-style epilogues for both Setsuna and Kazusa's True ends.

A drama CD which takes place after Kazusa's ending in the After-Story was released as well.

This work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alone in a Crowd: Setsuna. She may be the most popular girl in school, but underneath that facade of hers is a lonely girl who just wishes to have real friends she can be together with.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Kazusa falls in love with Haruki because of the fact that he kept being nice to her no matter how much she tried to push him away.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Let it be clear that none of the endings provided by the story can be considered completely happy; someone will always be shortchanged in the end. Indeed, for the three sub-heroine ends for Closing Chapter, that someone will always be Setsuna. The only way she has to achieve a truly happy ending is to get Haruki. While Setsuna decides to study economics just to stay with him, he later changes departments to keep his distance from her. She tries very hard to romance him for 3 years, which leads to many dramatic moments like when it is revealed it takes her a whole day to call him and she ends up in tears because he ignores the calls each time. She uses everything in her power to get him. A good example would be when she discovers Kazusa placed second in a competition and forces Haruki to talk with her to celebrate her success only to end up monologuing at the end she's sorry she used Kazusa yet again. If Haruki chooses Setsuna an ending appears where they live happily as a couple. She starts singing all the time (even when they kiss) and says she's never been happier in her entire life. If not she gets into a deep depression. The two "True Ends" in Coda are also pretty much this as well. To whit:
    • In Setsuna's True End, which is as close to a traditional Happily Ever After end for the series,Haruki asks Setsuna to look after Kazusa. Kazusa and Setsuna reconcile, and what's more Setsuna finds ways to that Kazusa won't have to be so alone anymore — like helping her make friends with Takeya and Io — and give her a way to stay in Japan via recording an album with her and Haruki to make her more "visible" to even casual music listeners. Everyone becomes friends again in the end, with Kazusa even playing accompaniment for Haruki and Setsuna's wedding reception. However, this glosses over the issue of the condition of Kazusa's mother Ryouko, who's apparently dying of cancer. There's also the implication is that Kazusa will never reach her real potential as a pianist, but hey everyone's happy again right?
      • Still not the best romantic outcome for Touma if we take into account Introductory Chapter and Coda. In introductory chapter after Haruki enters an official relationship with Setsuna, Kazusa pretends to be happy so as not to worry them. Haruki's late confession to Kazusa makes her reveal that having Haruki at hand yet never be able to have him is a nightmare for her. In Coda it is revealed having him is her dream and in this ending before Haruki proposes to Setsuna Kazusa tells him that she loves him, that she will always keep loving him and that she can never fall in love with someone other than Haruki.
    • In Kazusa's True End, despite going steady with Setsuna for more than two years already, when Kazusa returns into his life, Haruki decides that it's about time to stop lying to himself. He breaks up with Setsuna, and runs off to be together with Kazusa, despite the both of them coming to realize that they're terrible people for what they're doing. The two of them alienate everyone in the process (when Haruki leaves, Setsuna actually loses conciousness and has to be rescued by her family) , but it is almost outright stated that it is only when Haruki and Kazusa are finally together that they can reach their full potential — as a performer for Kazusa, while as a person for Haruki. Kazusa tells Haruki that by having him return to her side she has become " the happiest girl in the world" and that even though it is at the cost of turnig Setsuna into the "world's most unfortunate" she still "relishes in it". Two years later, Kazusa is now married to Haruki, and the former is rightfully now an internationally-acclaimed pianist. However the two have cut all ties with Japan, and what's more Haruki tells Kazusa she sometimes has nightmares (it will take them another year to completely get over everything and achieve a super happily ever after for the 2 of them as the epilogue in Mini-after story shows). Then, much to their surprise, one day Haruki checks the email and finds a video message sent by Takeya and Io, with Setsuna in it. Takeya, Io and Tomo had recorded a song played by Setsuna on Haruki's guitar. Not only had she spent those 2 years learnig to play Haruki's guitar but she also sings another song of unrequited love, which makes it seem her love for Haruki hasn't changed much, especially considering she deliberately changes the lyrics of the original powder snow song and turns the chorus of the song into "I still love you" and "I will never forget the warmth of the lips I first touched (kissed)". She ends the video with this line:
      Setsuna: How are you doing? I’m still singing.
    • And let's not even get into the Kazusa Good, aka the Cheating Chapter here, where everyone gets shortchanged by Haruki's indecisiveness. Haruki bounces between Setsuna, and sleeping with Kazusa behind her back. This culminates in Haruki and Kazusa going on a private trip to the inn the three of them visited way back in Introductory Chapter, where the two of them spend a night of passion. Despite this, she declares that it's over between the two of them; only for the winter, as she promised. After her final concert Kazusa leaves without a word, but despite everything Setsuna still forgives Haruki, and lets him back into her life. Kazusa's future however, seems bleak: with the inevitable death of her mother approaching, she's going to be literally left with nothing but her piano skills, and what's more has admitted that she will never be able to love anyone else other than Haruki.
      • The whole situation may be better understood by looking at the almost identical counterpart of this ending in Introductory chapter: After having kissed Haruki the day Setsuna was supposed to celebrate her birthday alone with Haruki the drama starts. Kazusa later tells Haruki she hates betrayals, so she hates herself (not that it keeps her from sleeping with him though). Considering she tells Haruki not to say anything to Setsuna about that can be seen as Kazusa still wanting him to be happy with Setsuna while at the same time running away because of his indecisiveness (even though she knows she's the only one left alone) and Coda She wishes for Haruki's happiness and if because of his acts (mainly cheating, being a jerk, lying and 2-timing both girls) he's going to be have big scars, she chooses to give him to Setsuna so that he can be fine, turning herself into the most unfortunate of the 3: "With me you'd become the most miserable"; "Only she can heal you, I cannot"
      • Eventually made much less bitter and more sweet by the After Story that follows, where after spending months working on himself, Haruki gets better and gets his feelings in order. He and Setsuna reconnect and are in a much better place with their relationship. Meanwhile, Kazusa finds closure with the events of Coda, furthers her career significantly after a gruelling period, helps her mother back to health and grows tremendously as a person.
  • Book Dumb: Kazusa.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Kazusa. Her issues with her mother as well as her inability to make friends or attachments of her own no matter what turned her into a completely bitter and angry young woman who relies solely on her piano skills as she believes that it's the only thing she's good at and the one thing she'll always be attached to.
    • Setsuna too, though it is much less immediately evident. Her issue stems more from a fear of losing attachments, and she only gets worse as Haruki first cheats on her and later avoids her for years despite the two of them still technically dating. It reaches its apex in Kazusa's True End, where Haruki going back to Kazusa leaves her barely coherent as she tries anything to be able to remain with him.
  • Call-Back: Setsuna's last line, listed above in the Bittersweet Ending entry, is this to an earlier line spoken to her by Haruki in Concluding Chapter:
    Haruki: The girl that I love most in the world is the Setsuna that sings.
  • The Cameo:
    • You can find posters of Yuki Morikawa and Rina Ogata scattered all over the anime to remind you that the story is set in the same universe as the first White Album. Becomes a little strange when you realize that, despite more than two decades passing between this story and the first White Album, Yuki and Rina look like they haven't aged a bit in years.
    • Two female background characters who comment on Setsuna's performance of White Album in episode 7 look exactly like Kirika and Shirabe from Symphogear. Given that both White Album 2 and Symphogear were produced by the same studio, it may have been an intentional Shout-Out.
  • Censor Shadow: In full force for episode 13 of the anime, to cover up Haruki and Kazusa's vigorous lovemaking. Ironically, Kazusa was actually dressed (she was still in her school uniform) for most of it.
  • Club Stub: The Light Music Club as of Introductory Chapter.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The famous musician that Haruki was supposed to interview in Europe for his job... turns out to be Kazusa.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: The ice cold wall Kazusa built around herself begins to melt the moment Haruki and Setsuna enter her life.
  • Demoted to Extra: Surprise, Haruki, in Setsuna's True End. He does this on purpose, as he realizes (rightly for a change!) that intervening directly would just make the situation more difficult than it already is.
    • The same happens in the After Story that follows the cheating route. Haruki isolates himself from Setsuna from guilt and grief and begins working on himself offscreen. Instead, Kazusa and Setsuna become the major point of view characters for most of the story, and their character developments and struggles drive the plot.
  • Deuteragonist: Easily, Setsuna Ogiso, whose role and actions contribute nearly as much as Haruki's in driving the plot in every route.
    • Her conflictive and complex ralationship with Haruki is basically the entire plot of the game.
    • She is the only heroine who appears all the routes. Even outside her own endings, her presence and actions still play a major role, sometimes even serving as the final obstacle.
    • She is the heroine with most screentime and the character with most POV scenes besides Haruki.
    • The main theme, "White Album", is asociated with her, also the kanjis in her name can be readed as "Yukina", in reference to Yuki Morikawa, the main heroine in the previous game.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Todokanai Koi, the VN and the anime's opening theme song, is performed by Setsuna, Kazusa, and Haruki at the end of episode 13 (chronologically during their school festival's concert at the end of their performance). The theme song in question and its lyrics hold significant plot relevance as it is an original song made by the three of them for the school festival. Haruki is the canonical writer of said song and Kazusa the canonical composer. Though initially meant as a song to show the love between the two of them, Setsuna would also end up falling in love with Haruki, thus endangering Haruki and Kazusa's future together as she would later reveal in Closing Chapter - "After all... I knew what was going on from the beginning, and I still fell in love with him regardless."
  • Disappeared Dad: While Kazusa's mom is an integral part of Kazusa's character and backstory and thus gets to appear whenever she's needed, Kazusa's father is nowhere in sight, nor is he even mentioned at all.
  • Doorstopper: The story's three chapters, the Introductory Chapter, the Closing Chapter, and the Coda, are estimated to clock in at about 15, 40, and 30 hours respectively.
  • Downer Ending: The Introductory Chapter, and by extension, the anime. Kazusa leaves Japan, unable to deal with seeing Haruki be in a relationship with Setsuna anymore. Haruki is devastated from losing a girl he loves and filled with guilt for cheating on Setsuna. Setsuna has to witness Haruki cheat on her and is desperately (and we know futilely for years to come) trying to hang onto their relationship. All three relationships break down completely and everyone is left with guilt and misery.
    • Kazusa's Normal End, aka, the cheating route, mirrors this almost exactly, with Haruki and Kazusa having a short-lived romance behind Setsuna's back, only for Kazusa to once again leave Japan and with Haruki's and Setsuna's relationship fractured in the aftermath. However, the epilogue that follows the credits at least shows them getting back together, though it takes place an entire year after.
  • Dude Magnet: Setsuna in school and university where she gets many confessions from boys but turns them down every time.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The two True Ends of Coda, the final chapter of White Album 2, involve different variations of this trope.
    • To reach Setsuna's True End, the player (and thus, Haruki) must not tell lies in the choices given to the player. Not a single one. Doing so however results in relatively the happiest ending of Coda.
    • Reaching Kazusa's True End, however, is a little different. Instead of the player, it's Haruki who has to earn it. He gives up his job, his country, his family (and Setsuna's), his friends and Setsuna herself to be with Kazusa, all the while telling all relevant parties the truth of what he had done and accepting their scorn and condemnation. Doing all this results in the only ending where he can be with Kazusa, and it's still an incredibly bittersweet outcome where they acknowledge that the pain and regrets from what they had to do will never be erased by the happiness they earned, but neither can the happiness be wiped away by that grief.
    • Regardless of the ending, both After Stories that take place after these endings show a very happy future for Haruki and his chosen lover.
    • To My Sworn Enemy, which follows one of the worst outcomes of the original game. Though each of the trio eventually arrive at a much better spot by the end of the After Story, the trope arguably fits Kazusa best, as she goes through the most difficulties and growth. She has to deal with giving up the only man she loves and grappling with her mother's potential impending death while having (seemingly) no support and being ill-equipped to handle the myriad of challenges thrown her way. By the end, Kazusa's determination and perseverance (as well as finding closure with Setsuna) see her moving on from the events of Coda, catapulting her career to even greater heights, bringing her mother back to health and spirit and growing into a more independent and capable person outside of her musical abilities.
  • Easily Forgiven: Haruki, to a ridiculous degree. No matter what he does, or how much he's been a jerk to her , Setsuna will always welcome him back, no questions asked. Even if he ignores her for years or cheats on her with another woman, as in Kazusa's Good end, she'll still take him back. Indeed, in Kazusa's True End, Setsuna gets angry instead at her own family for ganging up on Haruki, instead of Haruki himself. In Introductory Chapter when Haruki told her he had cheated on her not only does she forgive him immediately but also add she can be the replacement. In Coda when she discovers her boyfriend Haruki has been sleeping with Kazusa she still wants to be with him and fights for that purpose. She's either a saint or, in the opinion of the less charitable players, insane.
    • And in Coda, Kazusa. Kazusa pretty much ruins Setsuna's life by proxy by forcing her fiancee to break up with her, and what's worse, makes himself alienate himself from his oldest friends and Setsuna's family. When Kazusa tries to make amends and show how much she loves Haruki by deliberately crippling her playing hand — and thus ending her career as a pianist forever — Setsuna stops her because, while she hates Kazusa for what she did, she still also loves her as her best friend.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Kazusa. As someone who grew up in piano and whose mother is a renowned pianist herself, she's naturally this.
  • Expy: Setsuna and Kazusa are, appearance-wise, dead ringers for Rina Ogata and Yuki Morikawa respectively, two of the main heroines of the previous game, White Album.
  • Fan Disservice: A great many sex scenes can become... very difficult to get off to due to context.
    • All of Kazusa's sex scenes involve the main character cheating on his girlfriend. In fact most of her scenes are in the Normal Route, aka the "bad ending" where she and Haruki cheat behind Setsuna's back before they are inevitably separated.
    • Half of Setsuna's sex scenes in Coda are simply Haruki drowning himself in her to desperately try to forget about his feelings for Kazusa. While this happens, Kazusa herself is emotionally devastated from his absence. This incidentally happens immediately after he chooses to continue to keep Setsuna in the dark. Good luck enjoying the fanservice through the emotional pains.
  • First Girl Wins: Of the five heroines, Kazusa and Setsuna are the only ones introduced (within minutes of each others) to the player in the Introductory Chapter, or Kazusa is the one Haruki meets first, and they are the only two who Haruki can end up with in the final chapter of the story.
  • Friendless Background: Kazusa. Coda also reveals that she's still friendless five years later. She's just that socially awkward.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Kazusa, to Setsuna. In Coda, she flatly states that she hates how Setsuna seems to have everything needed to survive in the real world, like friends, an understanding family, and (at that point) a significant other — unlike her, who can't cook, can't keep her affairs in order, and has no friends. All she has is her skill with the piano, and nothing else.
  • Foil: Kazusa and Setsuna to each other. One is a cold, stoic, dark-haired, friendless beauty who almost always carries a sullen expression on her face and hides what she truly feels inside of her from others, while the other is a cheerful, popular, Nice Girl School Idol who isn't afraid to outwardly express herself in front of others though at least part of her personality is a facade to hide the loneliness that's always inside of her. The culmination of their stories also go in opposite directions. Setsuna is both selfish and kind and her True End involves trying to keep everyone happy no matter how unfeasible or contradictory her desires may seem. Kazusa on the other hand is completely devoted to one person above any other, and her two endings in Coda involves either letting Haruki go for his sake or accepting his proposal for both of them to sacrifice absolutely everything else to be happy together. This contrasts Setsuna in Kazusa's True End, as while Setsuna loves Haruki just as much, she is incapable of letting go of the people she currently has, like her familly, whereas Kazusa does end up leaving her mother no matter how much regret she will feel in doing so.
  • Hated Hometown: Kazusa, as of Coda, hates Japan. It's because it's the place she left Haruki behind in. That's why her decision to return to the country for a concert surprises even her mother.
  • History Repeats: Coda, specifically Kazusa's Normal End, repeats the events of the Introductory Chapter nearly beat for beat, but this time even more prolonged and painful. Haruki's and Setsuna's relationship progresses to the next level. He falls in love with Kazusa. Haruki cheats on Setsuna with Kazusa (bonus points for doing so on Setsuna's birthday both times). Kazusa leaves the two of them and returns to Vienna. Haruki lets Setsuna know in no uncertain terms that it's Kazusa he loves. Everyone is left heartbroken in the end. The only thing that changes is after one year, this time around, Haruki and Setsuna (and Kazusa, though it is not evident in the original game) manage to mend their relationship and get better, unlike after the Introductory Chapter where it took them over three years.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The three main characters go to a hot springs inn during episode 8 as part of their R & R and to bond with each other.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Haruki for the student council and other committee members in their high school despite having already left such positions in his last year of high school for being so reliable and organized.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: During the Closing Chapter, each heroine other than Setsuna and Kazusa try in their own way to help Haruki mend things with either of those two women, despite themselves being romantically interested in Haruki. Mari gives him the opportunity to and urges him to see Kazusa again. Izumi quietly prays for him to mend things with Setsuna. Koharu helps his friends set up a date with Setsuna so the two can fix their relationship. Tragically, at least in the short term, none of this works out.
  • Idol Singer: Setsuna.
  • If I Can't Have You…: First person comes to mind for this trope is probably Setsuna, but surprising it is Haruki who fits this trope better, In the events of Idol Who Forgot How to Sing, he denounced his friendship with a supporting character because that supporting character confessed his love to Setsuna. Haruki makes the statement that even though he can't be with Setsuna, he doesn't want to see anyone else with her.
  • In Medias Res: The anime starts with the concert at the school festival. The first half of the series focuses on the events that led to that point.
    • Introductory Chapter starts with the aftermath of the airport scene...
  • In Spite of a Nail: Assuming the Bonus Story Twinkle Snow Reverie is an alternate world rather than just a daydream, it shows that even had he gotten together with Kazusa instead of Setsuna, Haruki'd still cheat on his girlfriend behind her back (though at a later point than it was in the original story), which is implied to destroy their friendships together, just like in the Introductory Chapter.
  • It's All My Fault: Rest assured, whatever goes wrong, Haruki, Setsuna and Kazusa will always, always take the blame. Haruki blames himself for cheating on Setsuna. Setsuna blames herself for "stealing" him from Kazusa. Kazusa blames herself for "stealing" him from Setsuna.
  • Lonely at the Top: Kazusa and to an extent Setsuna. One is daughter of famous pianist, one is school idol who rejects all advances.
  • Love Hurts: All over the place. Regardless of which ending you'd get, one girl will always end up with the shorter end of the stick after going through so many painful things for the sake of love. Though in an advantageous position as he always ends up with a girl in every game ending, Haruki also suffers because of love, guilt and the dilemma of whom should he choose and the consequences it may entail.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Setsuna first Setsuna knows full well Kazusa is also in love with Haruki. When she sees Kazusa kiss him while he sleeps she confesses to Haruki even though she had intitially planned to confess a bit later. When Kazusa places second in an international competition Setsuna celebrates it with Haruki to try to date him again. Considering at the end she says she's sorry she used Kazusa yet again suggests this isn't the first time something similar happened. Her saying "Ever since I started dating you, Haruki-kun, I've been gradually becoming a bad girl. If it's for you I can become even more of a bad girl" or her monologue to Haruki in Coda "Everything's all right as long as you choose me in the end" makes it seem she knows full well her love has made her evil and afterwards Haruki and Kazusa. They sleep together behind Setsuna's back when Haruki is already in an offical relationship with Setsuna. In Coda Kazusa shows she would gladly stop playing music (destroying her hand, which would negatively affect her fans and most of all her mother) if it meant having Haruki. Indeed later on, all of them admit to being terrible people due to what they do for love.
  • Love Redeems: Haruki becomes less indecisive and tries to repair his relationship with Setsuna, eventually accepting her feelings and dating her again in the Setsuna end of Concluding Chapter. Also, Setsuna In Setsuna's True End (where she wins over Haruki's heart) she saves Kazusa from emotionally imploding , making it the only ending where Setsuna and Kazusa are able to reconcile. Regarding Haruki, during the 3 years following Introductory Chapter he literally avoids contact with Setsuna, which according to Takeya is making her "cry like there's no tomorrow". Even so, she still tries to romance him every week and tries to stop him from choosing other girls, making it possible for her to date him and be happy again in her own ending.
  • Love Triangle: If it wasn't already obvious. That said it is an unbalanced love triangle and each character will always love someone more. Haruki's first choice will always be Kazusa (with the exception of Setsuna's true route). She was his first love and is usually the person he loves the most. Kazusa's number one dream would be Haruki. As Setsuna says, Kazusa has eyes just for Haruki and is her number 1 dream. Regarding Setsuna, while she says she loves both of them (as boyfriend and best friend) she also referred to Haruki as "the person I love the most" (一番愛してる人) and she doesn't care what happens as long as she gets Haruki in the end (the story Twinkle Snow Reverie written by the author of the game Maruto being an example, where she deliberately destroys the eternal friendship Haruki and Kazusa promise to Setsuna because there's "a millionth" of a chance she can romance Haruki).
  • Multiple Endings: Par for course, due to the visual novel format. There are four endings for the sub-heroines in Concluding Chapter, as well as a good and "true" end for Setsuna. Finishing the latter opens the way to Coda, which adds three more: Setsuna True, Kazusa Good aka the Cheating Chapter, and Kazusa True. However, due to the nature of the story and the characters, none of these ends can be truly considered a "happy" end. See the Bittersweet Ending entry for specifics.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Setsuna's brother reacts this way towards Haruki after Haruki cheats on her with Kazusa. He even goes as far as punch him when he tries to approach her again.
  • Nice Guy: Haruki. Subverted in that there's more than enough lingering hints that he's being nice because he's got nothing better to do.
  • No Ending: Introductory chapter, despite published on its own, has no ending. The White Album 2 series as a whole does have an ending though.
  • Old Flame: Kazusa, when she runs into Haruki again in Coda. Her return causes a LOT of drama, for sure.
  • Once More, with Clarity: Certain scenes are first unlocked by completing the game on certain routes and then replaying the story. These scenes tends to jump outside of Haruki's POV, and adds quite a bit more context to why certain characters were behaving the way they did in some scenes. One of the more crucial ones is perhaps the scene where Setsuna made her Love Confession to Haruki, making it clear that that Setsuna's confession was an implusive decision driven by a combination of jealousy and desperation.
  • Only Friend: Putting her love for Haruki aside, Setsuna is this to Kazusa, as she is, and always will be, the very first person Kazusa could truly call her first and best friend, being the only person Kazusa has ever opened up to willingly after much optimistic prodding from Setsuna.
  • Picture Drama: The blue rays provide anime-only sections of still images showing funny situations where Haruki could have seen the heroines half naked before the school's festival concert.
  • Playable Epilogue: The fan disc will become this, for Setsuna's and Kazusa's True Ends.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Setsuna and Kazusa. There's enough going on there to make one wonders, from declaring their love to each others multiple times, to Setsuna saying that she'd have fallen in love with Kazusa if she was a boy, to Kazusa being willing to give up piano, the one thing she believes she has going for her life, to make up for what she had done to Setsuna. Despite knowing each others for a relatively much shorter time, Setsuna and Kazusa are much more attached to each others than to any of their other friends (not that Kazusa has any).
  • Put on a Bus: Kazusa leaves for Vienna at the end of Introductory Chapter, and as such is absent for most of the events of Concluding Chapter. However...
    • The Bus Came Back: ... A chance run-in with Haruki in Europe brings her completely back into the fold of the plot.
  • The Promise: Three significant ones are made during the story:
    • In Introductory Chapter, Setsuna makes both Haruki and Kazusa promise that they'd always be together even after they graduate from high school. Unfortunately for her, a number of factors make this promise impossible to keep, one of which is Kazusa leaving both of them behind to go live with her mother in Europe after graduation. The promise however, does end up being kept at the end of Setsuna True in Coda, and after a lot of drama all three of them reconcile following Kazusa's return.
    • Haruki foists one on Kazusa as a condition before they set out on what they need to do in her True End: they will not 'consummate', i.e. have sex while they are still in Japan. They can go at it like bunnies afterwards (which is clearly shown in Kazusa Good), but until then, it will serve as a sign of the seriousness of their resolve. This is a big deal, especially since, as Concluding Chapter had shown, physical intimacy was one of the ways Haruki used to blow off his frustration and anger.
    • Besides the promise Haruki made to Setsuna to always be with her, there is another one they made together after they reconciled: they would meet at least once every week after graduating from college, no matter how busy with work they were. For this reason, Setsuna insisted on following Haruki to Strasbourg when he got assigned there to conduct an interview. They were supposed to meet up at the Christmas Mass before midnight; needless to say the promise was broken because of Haruki and Kazusa's reunion. Also, it must be mentioned that Haruki was waiting for Setsuna with the ring prepared.
  • Releasing from the Promise: A heartbreaking example too: In Kazusa's True End, Setsuna realizes that she will never really completely own Haruki's heart — in her own words, she'd just been borrowing it for five years. Now that its true owner Kazusa had returned, all she could do was to give it back. And so, she releases Haruki from the promise he made to her, so he could be with Kazusa again. Just to double the heartbreak factor, all of this happens at the exact same bridge where, two years before, she and Haruki had managed to reconcile. Ouch.
  • Sadistic Choice: Coda in a nutshell, but especially Kazusa's True End . Does Haruki choose to be with Kazusa, the woman he arguably loves most in most routes and who needs him especially with her mother's deteriorating health, or does he choose to be with Setsuna, the woman he is currently with and has been for five years. Complicating matters is that in choosing to be with Kazusa, he not only gives up Setsuna, he also gives up all existing friendships and family and for all he knows the ability to live in Japan altogether. In Kazusa's True End, he outright says that there no longer exists a choice that he or Kazusa will not regret, and the only thing to do now is to choose and commit, come hell or high water. The rest of the ending shows how painful a choice it is.
    Haruki: There is no choice I can make anymore that I won't come to regret.
  • School Idol: Setsuna. Her looks and personality made her popular among the students in her high school, with her winning the Miss Hojou school idol contests consecutively for two years note  as the biggest proof that she's this.
  • Sex for Solace: Happens more than you'd think, particularly in Concluding Chapter. Let's just say that Haruki has a whole lot of issues that he's struggling to deal with, and physical intimacy is one of his outlets for his anger and frustation. See how he spends a whole week having sex with Chiaki at his apartment.
    • This comes into play in both of Kazusa's routes. Her Normal End is filled with sex scenes. Prolonged and explicit cheating and deception fills Haruki with guilt, and he repeatedly makes love to Kazusa partly as an outlet. In her True End however, he promises himself that he would not lust after her while in Japan and before their businesses are concluded. He comes close to breaking this promise after officially cutting ties with his friends and Setsuna's family, nearly using sex with Kazusa as "painkiller". He stops himself however, feeling that if he does so, he'd be just as weak-willed as before, and will go on to break more promises in the future. As a result, Kazusa's True End is the only ending to not have a single sex scene.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Takeya and Io, for Haruki and Setsuna. The huge bulk of Concluding Chapter has the two of them trick, connive, and do everything humanly possible to get Haruki and Setsuna together. It's why the two are positively devastated when Haruki breaks up with Setsuna in Kazusa's True End, which literally ends their friendship with Haruki then and there.
    • Youko seems to approve of her daughter's crush on Haruki. However, in Coda, she recognizes how painful a choice it would be for him to choose her daughter, and warns him about it, and tells Kazusa that she is going to make a lot of people unhappy by being with Haruki. In the anime, Takeya actually pushes Kazusa toward Haruki at first, though once Haruki begins dating Setsuna, he warns Haruki that he has to stay faithful to Setsuna, knowing he has feelings for Kazusa.
    • Haruki's co-workers at his magazine company think there's something going on between him and Mari and are excited by the prospect. Mari's best friend, Sawako, goes out of her way to push the two toward each others.
    • Haruki's co-workers at the restaurant he works at suspect something between him and Koharu.
  • Shout-Out: Setsuna sings the titular "White Album" (originally sung by Yuki Morikawa) and "Sound of Destiny" (sung by Rina Ogata) during the concert in episode 7, and later, "Powder Snow", also by Yuki Morikawa. You can also spot posters of the two main heroines scattered all over the anime as well. The other songs from the previous VN also show up, like "Glass no Hana" (juxtaposed in the karaoke scene) and "Shin Ai" (together with “White Album”, Setsuna sings this song to Haruki when the two of them go to Karaoke. She sings “Shin Ai” to Haruki and then she thanks him for listening so attentively to her sing, she tells him she needs to take a break and she says that now he knows her true self. Haruki and Setsuna talk while she rests and then she resumes singing, “White Album” this time) show up as well. Free and Dream from Tears to Tiara makes a surprise cameo as well, sung by none other than a character voiced by Rena Uehara herself!
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Setsuna and Kazusa. Even seven years after the events of the Introductory Chapter, they appear to have eyes for Haruki alone.
  • Something We Forgot: Haruki realizes that he forgot something, just as he and Kazusa are boarding the plane to leave Japan, forever: his guitar. While at that point he decides to leave it behind, as he from this point on he's not going to need it, it has one more part to play after all. In the video message that Kazusa and Haruki receive from Io and Takeya, it's the instrument that Setsuna has learned to play for two years and the one she uses to accompany her singing of the love song powder snow.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Haruki and Kazusa. Haruki is a normal, if friendly and helpful guy, while Kazusa is a budding pianist with potentially world-class talent. The climax of the anime hammers home the fact that, in any other circumstance, it would still be impossible for them to be together. Which is exactly what happens in the end: Kazusa leaves to further develop her craft in Europe, and leaves Haruki behind in Japan.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: Ironically, Word of God stated that the idea of the game is to let the final choice to the player, yet you can see favoritism towards Kazusa and Setsuna's endings because these are the only ones that continue into the Coda chapter, whereas the others end along with the Closing Chapter.
    • Some people seem to favor Kazusa's True End not only because it's longest and most developed but because of its incredibly cathartic and dramatic nature, making it a more fitting conclusion to the rest of the story according to some players. Also together with being the longest she was the only heroine to get a new year Drama cd in 2016 (it continues her story after the after story mini fandisc that was released in 2014).
    • Some players prefer Setsuna's True End because it is more happy, conclusive and rewarding than the other endings, with some even refering to it as the 大団円 (Finale). She is also one of the two only heroines who get the after story mini fandisc that continues her true ending.
    • To a lesser extent, this applies to Kazusa's Normal End as well. Though all the other endings get some kind of follow-up, especially the aforementioned True Ends, the "My Sworn Enemy" scenario, which follows Kazusa's Normal End instead, is the longest by far and, unlike the others, is filled with drama and character development for the three leads.
  • Stripperiffic: Downplayed, but Kazusa's outfit during episode 7's concert is this, showing off bare midriffs and a Stocking Filler with Zettai Ryouiki, something she herself isn't at all too happy to wear. Interestingly, Setsuna chose that outfit for her in her absence.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The epilogue to the cheating route suddenly turns a depressing ending into a (relatively) happy one, bordering on tonal whiplash. The ending repeats the events of the Introductory Chapter, with Haruki cheating on Setsuna with Kazusa, only for Kazusa to leave him to her, and for their relationship to seemingly fracture beyond repair when Haruki more or less tells Setsuna to her face that it's Kazusa who he really loves. Despite this, after the credits, one year has passed, Setsuna is suddenly having a successful music career, and she and Haruki have mended their relationship and gotten back together, somehow. The After Story To My Sworn Enemy that takes place between the ending and the epilogue goes into showing how much work it actually took for things to be fixed while also giving Kazusa a happy ending.
  • Time Skip: Done twice. Closing Chapter starts about three years after Introductory Chapter, with Haruki and Setsuna in college. Coda starts around two years after Closing Chapter.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Kazusa at the beginning of/before introductory chapter, when she only talked to Haruki.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Played for drama rather than comedy as usually is the case. Despite the promise he dropped on Kazusa — see The Promise entry for details — Haruki still tries to sleep with Kazusa anyway during Kazusa's True End, once again using sexual outlets as a "painkiller". He does not go through with it, believing that if he breaks this promise too, he remains as weak-willed as he was before, and risks breaking further, more important vows in the future with her.
  • Third-Option Love Interest: Concluding Chapter introduces three: Chiaki, one of Haruki's schoolmates at the university he goes to; Koharu, a high schooler going to Haruki and Setsuna's old school; and Mari, Haruki's boss at the Hirasakura Company, where he works at. All three represent facets of what might help shake off the lethargy he's been living through, which can be summed simply as: looks like Kazusa (Koharu), acts like Kazusa (Mari, albeit more socially-adjusted), and is not like Setsuna (Chiaki, who has no ties to and cares little for Haruki's past).
  • Third Wheel: Despite her best efforts, Setsuna quickly realizes that she's become this to Haruki and Kazusa. It leads to a whole lot of awkward situations. She resolves this by confessing to Haruki first, though by getting together rwith him, it leaves Kazusa the third wheel instead.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Haruki, for most of Concluding Chapter and, depending on the player's choices, in Coda as well. Has to be read to be believed.
  • Tragic Dream: After their breathtaking performance during their first concert together in their school's festival and getting to know both Haruki and Kazusa better together, Setsuna wishes that they could repeat the experience of their performance again and that they'd always be together forever even after graduating. Thanks to the nature of the story however, many things would inevitably put a damper on that dream and prevent it from ever coming true.
  • Tsundere: Kazusa. Deconstructed in that had she confessed and had been completely honest over her feelings for Haruki sooner, a lot of the pain and heartbreak that happens during the course of Introductory Chapter could have been averted as early as possiblenote , and that turns out being constantly rude to others does her no favour in the end and she is forced to rely on the very few people who care for her to survive.
  • 12-Episode Anime: Supposed to be twelve episodes with episode 13 supposed to be an unaired special, which is why it surprised many when it aired on TV anyway. The final episode adds context to some scenes in the previous episode, like the aftermath of the confession, which led to Haruki and Kazusa spending the whole night before her flight making love, and makes a clearer bridge to the next part of the story, Concluding Chapter.
  • Yandere: Ogiso Setsuna has a slight tendency of this post the events of Introductory Chapter. Especially in omake short story, The Idol Who Forgot How To Sing, where she is shown to be obsessed with Haruki
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • Pretty much the ending of Introductory Chapter and the whole point of Concluding Chapter with Haruki, Setsuna, and Kazusa, though the former two can fix their relationship by the end of the latter chapter.
    • And once again the ultimate result of Kazusa's True End for Haruki and anyone other than Kazusa. Once again however it is implied that years after the ending, at least Setsuna (and her family) forgives the other two.
    • In Koharu's route, after it becomes clear that Koharu is seeing Haruki behind Yada's back, Koharu's friends seemingly cut ties with her entirely, including Yada, her best friend. They do make up one year after the ending though.
  • Wham Shot: Seeing Kazusa at the very end of the Closing Chapter, followed by the knowledge that said chapter is a misnomer, and there is an entire third of the game to come.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Setsuna turning Haruki down over Christmas in the Closing Chapter elicits a myriad of this trope.
      • Setsuna calls Haruki out for still having feelings for Kazusa and lying to her about it. Haruki blames himself, though in the end, Setsuna really also only blames herself for being unable to accept his lie even after he chooses her in the end.
      • Io's reaction varies. If she catches Haruki spending time with another girl, she blames him for cheating on Setsuna. However, without this, she harshly condemns Setsuna instead, calling her out for petty "revenge". Everyone knows Haruki is never going to forget Kazusa, so if that is something Setsuna cannot accept, she should have just pushed him away immediately rather than drag it out for years only to push him away once he's ready to be with her. It's especially damning because Io would otherwise take Setsuna's side without fail every time.
      • Takeya's reaction varies. He defends Setsuna if Io blames her, and he defends Haruki if Io blames him. Without Io, however, he does blame Haruki for betraying Setsuna, but is much more sympathetic than her, and in Mari's route does recognize the shitty situation Haruki finds himself in.
      • Koharu blames Setsuna fully, sharing Io's sentiment in cases where Io does the same.
    • Sayuri and Ako, Koharu's close friends, call her out rather harshly for seemingly (and eventually unambiguously does) seeing Haruki behind her best friend's back, knowing Yada has a crush on him. They try to clear up any "misunderstanding" at first, but Koharu shuts them down, and when it seems clear that Yada was entirely correct, they unambiguously condemn Koharu and take Yada's side. Ako is more reluctant, but Sayuri shows much less regret about causing Koharu to be bullied at school and isolating her from everyone else. Koharu's inability or unwillingness to explain her position only upsets her further.
    • Done by both Io and Takeya to Haruki when the latter decides to break up with Setsuna, despite being already engaged and being in a physically intimate relationship with her for almost five years, all just to get back together with Kazusa. This is followed soon after by the same, except done by Setsuna's whole family. Ironically Setsuna herself doesn't call Haruki out on this; instead she avoids and ignores him for as long as humanly possible.
      Setsuna: Nobody likes the persistent type.