WHITE ALBUM2 –al fine–
Title: White Album 2
Title: White Album 2
Setsuna: It’s been… three years, huh?
Setsuna: Kazusa Touma’s Office contacting the editorial department directly…
Setsuna: saying, “Come and pick her up at the airport tomorrow”… It was all so sudden!
Setsuna: Well, you are their go-to for all things Kazusa.
Haruki: We’re going to be putting out another special feature on Kazusa’s international performances.
Setsuna: Oh, wow!
Setsuna: Maybe Knights Record should get a piece, then!
Haruki: Now, now…
Narration: Shortly after we got married, Kazusa’s mother, Youko-san, who had been battling a disease, passed away. Even the most careful nursing couldn’t save her.
Youko: You’ve killed me, I hope you know!
Narration: Youko Touma’s Office changed its name to “Kazusa”…
Narration: and Kazusa left Japan with her manager, Miyoko-san, for the international performances she had already scheduled.
Setsuna: It’s cold… You think it’ll snow?
Haruki: The forecast said it would snow tonight.
Setsuna: Here, wrap your scarf up tight.
You don’t want to catch a cold.
Akina: Mommy, lookit the big plane!
Setsuna: Yes, she’s flying here in a plane.
Haruki: She’s a dear friend of Mommy and Daddy’s.
Setsuna: She’s coming home in an airplane.
Setsuna: Let’s say “Hello” to her, okay?
Setsuna: How much longer will she be?
Haruki: The flight’s already landed, so it shouldn’t be long.
Announcement: Attention, please…
Setsuna: Hm? A camera?
Haruki: I’m technically here for work today.
I took a half-day off.
Haruki: We’re calling it her “triumphant return.”
Setsuna: Oh! She’s here, Haruki-kun!
Haruki: Yeah, I just got a few pictures…
Haruki, Setsuna! I’m back!
Setsuna: Huh? Kazusa…?
Kazusa: That must be Akina.
She’s bigger than she was in the video you sent!
Kazusa: Um… Yeah, she’s my daughter.
Setsuna: Your daughter…
Kazusa: I couldn’t keep hiding her forever.
Yes, I gave birth to her and raised her.
Kazusa: Here, say “Hello.”
Kazusa: Wait. I haven’t taught her Japanese yet.
Kazusa: Ach Verzeihung. Mama sprach Deutsch nicht. [Sorry. I’m speaking in a language you don’t know.]
Kazusa: Sagen Sie guten Tag. [Now, say “Hello.”]
Haruki: No… There’s no way…
Kazusa: Natsuki, er ist Ihre Vater. [He’s your Daddy, Natsuki.]
Kazusa: Ahh… Yeah.
Kazusa: I’d been keeping her a secret, but this is my daughter, Natsuki.
Kazusa: Hm? What’s wrong?
Kazusa: You shy?
Kazusa: Sorry, I guess she’s feeling a little shy.
She’s never been nervous around strangers before, though…
Setsuna: Oh, don’t worry! It’s our first time meeting, it’s understandable.
Kazusa: And is that Akina-chan?
Setsuna: Yes. Just to introduce her officially, this is Akina.
Setsuna: Now, Akina, what do you say?
Kazusa: Hello, Akina-chan! Nice to meet you.
Kazusa: I’m Kazusa, Setsuna’s—your mommy’s friend, and this is Natsuki.
Kazusa: Essen Sie gerne? [Do you want something to eat?]
FX: Shake shake
Narration: Setsuna’s daughter, Akina, has been observing us continually this whole time. One could say that, like her mother, she is deeply curious about everything.
Narration: Also, though she can’t talk that well yet, she’s very chatty. She must spend a lot of time surrounded and loved by many adults. Her verbal communication has been properly established.
Narration: As for my daughter, this is probably the best she can do.
Narration: Unsure of how to deal with her first foreign country, speech, and having attention on herself, she hides behind me, slightly restless.
Narration: Up until now, her world has consisted only of herself, her mother, and Miyoko-san, my manager
Narration: I can see why she’d be anxious.
Kazusa: Sorgen Sie sich nicht. [Don’t worry.]
Narration: Kazusa’s doing the “Mom” thing now, too.
Akina: Here! Juice!
Haruki: Think we’d better get going? We need to meet up with Io and everyone.
Setsuna: Haruki-kun, you go home first, with Akina.
Kazusa: Did you not drive here?
Setsuna: We don’t have two child seats in the car, so we can’t drive both girls at once.
Setsuna: Haruki-kun, Kazusa and Natsuki-chan will come on the train with me.
Haruki: Oh… Okay, sure…
Narration: After explaining this all to me and Haruki, Setsuna said to her daughter, “You’re going with Daddy, okay?” Yep, doing the mother thing.
Narration: As for Haruki, he had gone visibly pale…
Setsuna: You two wait here. I’m just going to see them off.
Kazusa: Sure. See you, Haruki. Take care.
Narration: Haruki was barely present this whole time…
Narration: Well… I guess that’s our fault.
He probably knows a basic German word like “Vater.”
Kazusa: You did good.
Kazusa: Haruki, on the other hand…
Natsuki: Same kaninchen. [Same bunny.]
Kazusa: Yeah, I guess it was the same.
Kazusa: That’s nice.
Akina: Mommy, can I have Bun-Bun?
Setsuna: You’re going to Grandpa’s with Daddy.
Haruki: Is your seatbelt too tight?
Narration: He’s clearly shaken. The way he is normally, you would never picture him like this.
Haruki-kun doesn’t have any definite proof, either…
Setsuna: I know. It’s okay.
Narration: I was anxious, too.
Setsuna: Just take care of Akina for now.
Narration: That black-haired girl who looks so much like Kazusa…
Narration: She probably knows…
Narration: She’s beautiful, like Kazusa, but there was something ordinary about her…
She gave the impression that she was generally fairly calm, which was just like him.
Setsuna: I was sure that, if a time like this ever came, I might feel jealousy or hatred bubbling up…
Narration: But, having just met her, I find something precious about Natsuki-chan.
Narration: I loved Haruki-kun, who loved Kazusa.
Kazusa: Stop, Haruki!
Narration: Strangely enough, at this very same airport…
Kazusa: Let go of me! Setsuna… Setsuna’s watching us!
Narration: Haruki-kun hurt Kazusa, by choosing me.
Narration: Has the existence of Natsuki-chan dispelled my sense of being indebted to Kazusa?
I don’t know. I don’t understand how I’m feeling.
Narration: I want to know for sure.
Setsuna: I’ll talk to Kazusa about it. I’m sure she’ll tell me.
Haruki: Hm? What, Akina?
Akina: She had Bun-Bun’s Mimi!
Haruki: “Mimi”? What’s that?
Narration: She’s talking about her stuffed animal…
Mimi is Bun-Bun’s…
Narration: I think she’s trying to say, “That girl had the same bunny (but in a different color) as mine.”
Narration: Our daughter seemed elated…
to meet another girl her same age.
Narration: She understood Kazusa’s daughter, Natsuki.
Narration: My own thoughts are hazy.
Narration: Kazusa’s daughter… Natsuki…
Narration: Kazusa’s and… my… daughter…?
Narration: I’m remembering that night.
That night when Kazusa injured her own hands in a fit of despair.
What happened with me that night? What did I do?
Narration: I have to do some thinking.
About what happens now…
Narration: About the four of us… No, the five of us…
Kazusa: I have some quick shopping to do. Can you keep an eye on Natsuki for a sec?
Setsuna: I don’t mind, but I’d be happy to do that shopping for you. What do you need?
Kazusa: It’s nothing big, just an impulse. I’ll go.
Setsuna: Kazusa’s… Your mommy is taking a while, huh?
Setsuna: How far did she go?
Narration: Oh… I don’t know if she knows Japanese.
Narration: She got it! Maybe she understands basic conversations, at least.
FX: Wobble wobble
Narration: Aw, she seems tired.
She might fall down, like this.
Setsuna: Here, Natsuki-chan.
Setsuna: You have nice long eyelashes, like Kazusa.
Narration: She might be a little older than Akina.
Kazusa: Hey, Setsuna.
Kazusa: Ah, did she fall asleep? Sorry about that.
Setsuna: Oh, hey!
Kazusa: I’ll take her.
Setsuna: Nope! I’m holding her until the train comes.
Setsuna: It seems like she understands a bit of Japanese.
Kazusa: Just basic stuff, from TV or whatever.
Setsuna: I guess she’ll be bilingual in the future, then.
Kazusa: Yeah, that’d be neat.
Announcement: The train will be arriving at Platform 1 momentarily. Please stand behind the white line…
Kazusa: Ah, it’s here.
Setsuna: So, what did you end up buying?
Kazusa: Here, look.
Setsuna: Frozen tangerines?
For a train ride, you gotta.
Kazusa: Setsuna, you must be angry… Right?
Setsuna: Mm-mm… Not really.
Setsuna: I feel like I’ve figured out a lot now.
Kazusa: I’ll tell you the whole story.
Kazusa: It’s not Haruki’s fault.
Kazusa: I’m the one in the wrong.
Setsuna: Your sense of being in the wrong toward me is based on societally established morals, right?
But, between us, the ones who judge what’s right and wrong are you and me… and Haruki-kun.
Setsuna: So, just tell me. I’ll listen to all of it.
Kazusa: Yeah… I guess you’re right. Sorry.
Setsuna: You can’t think every single thing is your fault, Kazusa.
Setsuna: That’s like disavowing Natsuki-chan’s existence. You’re a mom now.
Setsuna: And she’s so sweet. You should have some pride in your daughter.
Narration: I’m still no match for Setsuna, clearly.
Kazusa: That day…
Narration: Oh, the day that Haruki-kun followed me all the way to Osaka…
Kazusa: after my first concert was over…
Kazusa: raped Haruki.
Setsuna: Wh-Whoa, hang on, Kazusa…
Kazusa: No one’s gonna hear.
Narration: When Haruki didn’t show up for the concert, I gave up on myself, shut myself away in my house, which was up for sale and didn’t even have electricity any more…
and he found me, hiding there. I was happy.
Narration: But I was also angry, and I had a fever that was making me delirious.
I vented my anger on him, asking him why he would show up now, what he was there for.
Narration: I really blew up and hit him hard. The next thing I knew, he was passed out.
I freaked out, and checked over his head and body, to see if there was anything I could do to nurse him…
Kazusa: …And he had a hard-on.
Kazusa: Hey! I’m trying to talk seriously! This is important!
Setsuna: That’s just such an odd thing to say with that serious look on your face…
Narration: I guess that’s… conclusive.
Setsuna: He got aroused from you bearing down on him…
Narration: Sorry, Setsuna…
Kazusa: He’s… a real freak…
Kazusa: I was out of my mind from my fever, I was confused…
Kazusa: And, before I knew it… I was doing it.
Kazusa: I was raping Haruki, while he was passed out.
Kazusa: is the product of that.
Narration: It was right after you and Haruki had set your wedding date that I realized I was pregnant.
Narration: Not that I could say as much.
Narration: When I found out I was pregnant…
I was surprised, and regretful.
But more than that…
Narration: I was happy.
Narration: But I hated myself for that…
And, for one cowardly moment, I considered… taking the easy way out.
Kazusa: I agonized over it… I agonized a lot. At the time, Mom was also in bad shape…
Kazusa: I had no idea what to do…
Kazusa: But, I decided to tell her outright.
Narration: I still remember…
the stunned look on her face.
Narration: She was truly, deeply happy for me.
Narration: This meant that my child and I could live together from now on, she said.
Narration: Mom had always worried about passing away, and leaving me all alone.
I can hear what she said in her last moments.
Kazusa: “It’s too bad I won’t get to see my grandchild’s face…”
Setsuna: Here—you’re crying.
Kazusa: Thanks, Setsuna.
Kazusa: Want a tangerine?
Setsuna: Yes, please.
Narration: This taste… I remember eating these with Mom.
Kazusa: What I’m going to tell you next is the reason it took me three years to come back to Japan.
Kazusa: At the very end…
Mom told me… about my father.
Kazusa: He was a musician from a certain country. He used to write pieces for Mom.
Kazusa: But he got sick, and wasn’t able to play music any more.
Narration: When I think about it now, one of the reasons Mom worked so hard in playing internationally…
may have been to make this man’s work known to the world.
Narration: That, and her having raised me on her own.
Narration: Over in Europe, a short while after I gave birth to Natsuki…
I went to meet him, bringing her with me.
Narration: My father… He didn’t have long left to live, either.
Narration: His disease—ALS, or something—it gradually left his body unable to move.
Narration: He regretted his own powerlessness…
That his poor health had kept him from doing anything for me and Mom.
Kazusa: Nevertheless, he had collected the songs Mom and I played…
and listened to them, through all these years.
Kazusa: And, even though he couldn’t move his body freely…
Kazusa: he had continued composing music for the two of us.
Kazusa: Several of them were incomplete…
Kazusa: but I was able to make music with my father.
Kazusa: A piece for Mom, a piece for me…
and a piece for Natsuki.
Kazusa: Just recently, those pieces were finally completed.
Narration: In between performances around the world…
Narration: When I wasn’t busy with the unfamiliar work of childrearing…
Narration: It took two years.
Kazusa: I came back to Japan so that Mom could hear them.
Kazusa: Setsuna… I have a favor to ask.
Setsuna: Hm…? What?
Kazusa: Let us stay in Japan for a while…
Kazusa: Just a few years—until she’s old enough to understand the world around her…
Setsuna: What… Do you really think I would refuse you that?
Setsuna: Why would you ask…
Kazusa: If I… were in your position…
I… wouldn’t be able to forgive what I had done.
Kazusa: Our existence could cause your family to collapse.
Narration: Ah… Kazusa still loves Haruki-kun.
And she still values me very much, too.
Narration: And Natsuki-chan is also important to her…
Kazusa really is a mother.
Narration: I have to be strong, too.
Setsuna: It’s all right, Kazusa. Don’t worry.
Setsuna: That’s not going to happen, I promise.
Narration: Because Kazusa is the foundation upon which our family has been built.
Setsuna: We have a second one…
Setsuna: on the way.
Narration: A new life—I just found out the other day.
Setsuna: I’ve kept it a secret from Haruki-kun. My plan was actually to announce it to everyone tonight.
Narration: Kazusa gave her blessing, beaming broadly, after having wept her eyes out.
Kazusa: Ah… Ah!
Narration: A growing family… Nothing is happier than that.
Kazusa: Setsuna… I’m so glad.
Narration: Of course. Someone like me could never break this family apart…
Setsuna: Let’s raise Natsuki-chan properly.
You understand, right? If she’s got a father, it’s important for her to be with him.
Setsuna: I’m sure Haruki-kun will do the same.
Setsuna: He’ll understand.
Kazusa: You really have a lot of faith in Haruki.
Setsuna: Of course I do!
Narration: I have Natsuki, my gift from Haruki.
Narration: Setsuna is still on top of things.
Kazusa: Haruki… He’s gonna lose all his hair eventually.
Setsuna: He already works so hard, and he loves imposing new things on himself…
Kazusa: He’s a masochist…
Setsuna: A real masochist!
Setsuna: The two of us can soothe him.
Kazusa: …! You’re kidding.
Setsuna: No! No touching allowed!
Setsuna: Oh! What you said before, though…
Setsuna: About me being angry.
Setsuna: Maybe I’m a little angry about you keeping Natsuki-chan a secret this whole time.
Setsuna: She’s just so cute!
Setsuna: This rabbit…
Setsuna: It must come from the same maker as Akina’s.
Note: Mother-daughter pigtail day
Kazusa: Remember those videos you sent me?
Natsuki and I watched the video where Akina was playing with this bunny a bunch.
Kazusa: It was the first time she’d ever begged me for something like that.
Kazusa: You want the bunny?
Narration: It was wild how happy she got once she had the real thing.
Natsuki: Danke, Mama!
Narration: She was so excited that she got a fever that day.
Narration: After that, Natsuki was always watching the videos of Akina playing with the bunny…
playing right along with her.
Narration: Even when I was away playing concerts…
she would talk to the screen, imitate her movements, sing with her…
And she saw a lot of you, too, since you were there.
Narration: Ah… Is that why?
Kazusa: Oh, you’re awake?
Narration: Maybe Natsuki’s restlessness today…
Setsuna: Good morning, Natsuki-chan! That was a nice nap you took!
Narration: was because she was finally seeing the real thing.
Kazusa: Now, Natsuki, why don’t you play with Auntie Setsuna?
Kazusa: That’s what you get.
Setsuna: Hey… Not fair, Kazusa.
Kazusa: I have a selfish request…
Kazusa: Make sure Natsuki gets along well with Akina.
Setsuna: I could ask the same of you.
Narration: I’m so lucky to have Setsuna as my best friend.
Setsuna: Does that make our girls stepsisters, then?
Kazusa: Oh! Good point…
Kazusa: …Yeah. It’s kind of strange to think about.
Setsuna: Yes, our relationship is pretty strange.
Narration: The train will be arriving at the station soon.
Narration: I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on out…
But I’ll try leaning on Setsuna a bit.
Narration: I’ll talk to Haruki.
Narration: Ah… I’ve just had a flash.
Narration: These thoughts, these feelings…
Narration: I think I could put them into music pretty well.
End caption: Fin
Setsuna: Does Natsuki-chan like tangerines?
Kazusa: Yeah, she really loves the canned kind.
Kazusa: Oops, caught you by surprise, huh! Ahaha!
FX: Flail flail
Header: After doodles
Haruki: Absolutely not!
Takeya: I’m gonna marry Akina.
Akina: So small…
Takahiro: Sorry we’re late…
Note: *Tomo is overseas on a business trip
Kazusa: An autograph?
Woman: Please, Touma-senpai!
Setsuna: No, I’m not drinking.
Kazusa: Haruki, get over here.
Setsuna: I’m pregnant.
Takeya: Whoa! Congratulations, Setsuna-chan!
Takahiro: That’s awesome, sis!
Haruki: She drank too much.
Setsuna: Kazusa, wait!
Header: White Album 2
Special Live/Encore, February 16th/April 7th, 2013
Text: The February performance in Tokyo, and the additional performance following it in April—I never imagined I would be able to make it to both! The February show was just as cramped as the venue Setsuna and the others performed in in the game, lol (and it was jam-packed). I listened, I remembered, I cried. For me, it was an absolutely stupendous show.
I missed the pre-sale for the Encore in April (according to Shimokawa’s twitter, there were fifteen times as many entries), but managed to get a ticket when they went on general sale… And they announced the anime adaptation! (There’d been a leak the day before, lol)
Text: Then, there was the Club Radio-style talk show and live scripted performance. The talk show touched upon lines and character mindsets in players’ favorite scenes. How Takeya would be a real heroine if the genders were swapped… “Black Album 2”… The live drama didn’t necessarily have anything particularly tear-jerking in it, but people all around, myself included, wound up sobbing anyway (lol). That’s immersion for you! The joy of getting to hear something new, and heartache newly felt. Ah, nostalgia!
I hope we get to see it again, maybe as special content with the anime adaptation…
Haruki: Shut up…
Afterword: This is my fourth WA2 book, but it’s not brand-new in terms of content. I drew it based on a short story I wrote with a manga in mind.
The way I felt after reaching all-clear in the PC edition of White Album 2… It’s a feeling that only people who have cleared the whole thing can possibly experience, but I resolved it in the form of a derivative work, as a way of channeling that feeling. Now the PS3 edition has been released (I’ve only half-cleared that one), and we have info regarding the anime adaptation this fall; I am deeply happy to have renewed opportunities to interact with White Album 2.
-This was a notion of Kazusa’s route following Setsuna’s True Ending; I apologize for putting Youko-san among the deceased at the outset. She’s alive and well! She is. Though I do worry about diabetes…
-The name “Natsuki” does come from “Haruki,” but I also drew it from (Rio) Natsuki, the woman behind Youko-san.
-I wound up making it a story about two sisters, but I feel like Kazusa’s kid could also have been a boy. Later, he and Akina could… Well, they’d be like stepsiblings, though…
-I decided to have Kazusa’s father be Eastern European, of Asian descent. The director in the story gives the image of a… supportive stepfather? I just don’t think Kazusa’s looks and figure could come from someone Japanese (lol).
For my next WA2 book… I absolutely want to draw whatever comes to my mind while I’m watching the anime, after fully clearing the PS3 edition.
Publishing info: -al fine- White Album 2 Fan Book
Date published: August 2013, Comic Market 84
Publisher: KARTTI*KEYA @Natakuga-yuku!
Printer: Sunrise Publication
*Please do not reproduce or share online without permission.
Header: -al fine-
Natsuki: Good morning!
Haruki: Good morning, Natsuki.
Natsuki: She came home drunk this morning…
Natsuki: So she’s probably asleep.
Setsuna: Mm… That’s not good…
Haruki: What’s wrong?
Setsuna: We had plans to go shopping this afternoon.
Akina: Coming home in the morning? Maybe she’s found a new guy!
Setsuna: Akina! Don’t talk like that around your father!
Natsuki: We’re heading out, Setsuna-mama!
Akina: See you later!
Title: White Album 2 Fan Book