WA2 manga – Volume 3, Chapter 3

White Album 2 manga

Volume 3, chapter 3


Page 63


FX:                                        Tap tap

Message:                            Submitted my report. Today my seminar is having a get-together. Now I’m officially on winter break. That said, my plans for the winter are pretty much just working, so it’s hard to call it a break…

                                             …I guess I won’t really have Christmas or New Year’s, then. But I have to take this opportunity to save up. Once I start looking for a job in earnest next year, I won’t be able to do anything part-time.

                                             Are you going anywhere, Setsuna? Hokkaido? Okinawa?


FX:                                        Mrrrrph


Setsuna:                              No Christmas or New Year’s…


FX:                                        Flump


Page 64


Setsuna:                              But this is supposed to be a vacation…


FX:                                        Hug

Setsuna:                              …You don’t have to keep that perfect guard up…

Chapter title:                     SESSION14

A Love Letter in an Article


Page 65


Student 1:                          Hey, Kitahara! When is Izumi-san gonna get here?!

Student 1:                          We came today because you said she’d be coming!

Haruki:                                Sorry, she’s not picking up…

Phone:                                The number you have dialed cannot currently be reached…


Narration:                          Izumi was whining about how she didn’t know where we were meeting, so we all gathered on campus at 4:30, but we waited forty-five minutes and she still hadn’t shown up.

Izumi:                                  I don’t knowwww!


Narration:                          I mean… I guess that’s the usual for her, but…

FX:                                        Sigh

FX:                                        Snap


Student 1:                          Dammit, this is boring! Drink more, Kitahara!

Student 2:                          It’s my turn next!

For every minute that she doesn’t show up, you’re gonna take responsibility!

Haruki:                                …If I get carted out of here in an ambulance, it probably won’t look too good when you two are trying to find jobs.

Student 1:                          …Y’know, I never did like you…


Page 66


FX:                                        Chatter chatter


Haruki:                                Izumi! Why haven’t you had your phone on this whole time?

FX:                                        Flip

Chiaki:                                 …Sorry.


Chiaki:                                 I kinda got… caught up in something… Actually, some pretty intense special training.

Phone:                                Uh? I don’t know what you…


Chiaki:                                 …Yeah, you probably don’t.


Page 67


Haruki:                                Well, whatever.

                                             Do you know where we are?

Chiaki:                                 Is the party still on?

Haruki:                                They said we can stay until nine, so we’re good for now.

Chiaki:                                 Got it…


Haruki:                                What’s up? Are you not going to make it?

Chiaki:                                 Ah, no, it’s not really that…

Haruki:                                …Izumi?


Chiaki:                                 Hmmm… I dunno…

Narration:                          Something seems weird with Izumi today.


Narration:                          Like she’s fatigued, or in a trance, or… She’s more lethargic than usual, further out of tempo with me than usual.

Chiaki:                                 Hey, Haruki… What are you gonna do? When the first party is over.

Haruki:                                Me?


Page 68


Haruki:                                Huh… Well, this time around, I might actually go along to the second one.

FX:                                        Clench

Chiaki:                                 …

Haruki:                                Izumi?


Chiaki:                                 So, this is what it’s like… Having your chest tighten up and ache, dying to see someone, just from hearing their voice…

Haruki:                                Huh? You’re talking too quietly. I can’t hear you.

Chiaki:                                 Haruki…

Why don’t you cut out early?

Haruki:                                I don’t understand.

Chiaki:                                 Why don’t we have our own second party, just the two of us? …That’s what I mean.

Haruki:                                …I still don’t understand.


Chiaki:                                 I guess not. I just want to see you… right now.


Haruki:                                Then come here right now. Everyone’s been waiting for you.

FX:                                        Chatter chatter

Narration:                          This isn’t the kind of relationship where I should freak out over her saying she wants to be alone together. I mean, that’s what I always thought…


Page 69


Chiaki:                                 Haruki, you really never get a clue.

Narration:                          But, lately, Izumi has started to feel more like a woman… and I’m a bit at a loss as to how to respond to that.

Chiaki:                                 That’s just who you are.


Haruki:                                The upperclassmen want to drink with you, Izumi. The professor, even.

Haruki:                                If you want to drink with me, we’ll have loads of other opportunities.


Chiaki:                                 Game over, huh?

Haruki:                                Huh? What was that?


Chiaki:                                 Nah, I’m just gonna head home.

Haruki:                                …If you say so.


Chiaki:                                 Apologize to everyone, will you? Make up some kind of excuse for me.

Haruki:                                Will do. They’ll all believe it secondhand from me more than they would from you directly, anyway.

Chiaki:                                 Jerkass!


Page 70


Chiaki:                                 Anyway, g’night. Try not to go too far overboard.

FX:                                        Chatter chatter

Haruki:                                Yeah, good night.


Chiaki:                                 …

FX:                                        Phew



Chiaki:                                 Well…

                                             Keep it up.

Haruki:                                What?


Chiaki:                                 She’s a real handful, yeah?

                                             My condolences.

FX:                                        Bip

FX:                                        Beeeep beeeep


FX:                                        Snap


Chiaki:                                 All righty!

Time for the finishing touches!


Page 71


FX:                                        Beeeep beeeep


Student:                              Kitahara! Where’s Izumi?

Narration:                          Was she asleep…?

Haruki:                                Sorry, I don’t think…


FX:                                        Click

FX:                                        Shaaa


FX:                                        Ulp

Narration:                          The chores just keep raining down, even when I’ve got a hangover…


Sign:                                    Conference Room

FX:                                        Knock knock

Haruki:                                Excuse…


Page 72


FX:                                        Kachunk

Haruki:                                …me…

FX:                                        Pow pow


All:                                       Congratulations…

All:                                       on your first publication!


Haruki:                                Tou…ma…?


Page 73


Mari:                                   The February edition of Ensemble. It’s the magazine where your article was first printed.

Haruki:                                Oh, wow…


Staff:                                   Kazusa Touma is on the cover… It’s an unusual treatment for a rookie pianist, but the look is good, and the article you wrote was great, too.

Staff 2:                                It feels like an old drama, kind of. The delinquent girl blooms into her full genius through engaging with people around her…

It was super interesting.

Narration:                          As I saw her for the first time in three years…

                                             Her eyes were as severe as always.

                                             Her hair as silky as always.

                                             Her skin, pure white as always.

                                             As always… she looked incredible.


Page 74


Mari:                                   But this is about you!

Mari:                                   Congratulations, Kitahara! As of today, your life in editorial hell has officially begun!


Haruki:                                …Ah.


Mari:                                   Here, this is a sample copy! It’s yours, Kitahara.

Haruki:                                Th-thank you.


Page 75


FX:                                        Heft

Haruki:                                It’s heavy…


Narration:                          Ensemble is built on a simple, sturdy concept—a “heavy magazine,” which is reflected in everything from the paper quality to the number of pages to the cover price…

                                             But with this overwhelming cover, handed to me as my first commemorative gift, it feels so heavy that I don’t even know how to express it.


Mari:                                   So, how many more copies do you want?

Haruki:                                Huh…

Mari:                                   You have people you want to give them to, right?


Haruki:                                People I… want to give them to…

Narration:                          My first job… It might just have been for a part-time position, and I might have been given a lot of criticism for it… But this still represents a step toward the future I’ve envisioned for myself.


Page 76


Narration:                          I know those two would be happy. Just like always, they’d barrel into my place and stay up all night partying, celebrating a job placement that isn’t even set in stone yet, and then scoot out and leave all the cleaning up to me.

                                             …If the article were about anything other than this.


Narration:                          She would absolutely be happy for me.

                                             Even if she knew what my article was about.

                                             Should I tell her everything? If I want things to go back to how they were before, we’ll have to talk.

                                             But… I don’t want to ruin things as they are now

Haruki:                                No, I’m fine with just the one.


Staff:                                   Economy-sized roasted mochi…

Staff 2:                                Economy-sized peanut chocolates…

Mari:                                   Huh…?


Mari:                                   But… Isn’t there anyone who’d be glad to have one of these?

Haruki:                                Nah, not really.


Page 77


Haruki:                                Actually, could I have some of those?

Haruki:                                I love peanut chocolates.

Mari:                                   Oh…

Mari:                                   Um… sure.


Haruki:                                Yeah, these are good.


Haruki:                                It’s been a pretty significant amount of time since you were able to go home before midnight, hasn’t it?

Mari:                                   …Eh, I guess.


Page 78


Narration:                          Around 10, I looked around and realized we were the only ones left.

                                             Mari-san, strangely enough, didn’t have any urgent work, so the two of us left the office before 11.


Narration:                          Mari-san seemed kind of subdued, and I wasn’t really sure what to say to her, so we just headed toward the station together.


Mari:                                   Hey, Kitahara…

Haruki:                                Yes?


Mari:                                   Do you really not have anyone who would be happy for you?

Haruki:                                …Huh?


Page 79


Haruki:                                You’re still thinking about that?

Mari:                                   I mean, why wouldn’t I?

Haruki:                                I’d think you would just let it go…


Haruki:                                …

Mari:                                   …


Mari:                                   What about your parents?

Haruki:                                My mother lives in the neighborhood, but she basically just pays my tuition…

Mari:                                   Friends? Don’t you have some left over from high school?

Haruki:                                Yes, I do, don’t worry. I’m not that much of a loner…

Narration:                          Mari…

Mari:                                   Well, then…


Narration:                          She really worries about me a lot… I have to make some kind of excuse.

Haruki:                                Um… It’s a little hard to explain…


Haruki:                                Basically… It’s not a matter of my family environment, or my relationships with people I know…

Haruki:                                Umm…


Page 80


Mari:                                   I get it. Whatever.

Haruki:                                Huh…?


Mari:                                   Stay right there!

FX:                                        Dash

Haruki:                                M-Mari-san?!


Narration:                          It’s too late for me to decide to talk about the past.

FX:                                        Clench


Narration:                          Lately, I thought I was starting to convert everything into memories, if only a little at a time…

                                             but it’s clear to me that I still haven’t broken through it.

                                             …Though, I’m not sure breaking through would be a good thing, either.


Page 81


Mari:                                   Kitahara!

FX:                                        Huff huff

Mari:                                   Look! I bought one!


Haruki:                                Huh? Um… Why did you go out of your way to buy February’s Ensemble…?

Mari:                                   This is my collector’s edition!

Haruki:                                What?


Mari:                                   You’re such a liar, Kitahara.

Mari:                                   You do have people who are happy for you.


Page 82


Mari:                                   You did great work, Kitahara. It was at least on par with my own first article.

Haruki:                                …Thank you.

Mari:                                   So!


Mari:                                   So… The idea that no one would be happy for you, after you worked so hard…

Mari:                                   Don’t say something that sad.


FX:                                        Blink


Mari:                                   What! Got something to gripe about?


Mari:                                   Wh-why are you laughing?

FX:                                        Pff

Mari:                                   I’m angry at you right now!

Haruki:                                …Khkhkh… Ahahaha…


Page 83


Haruki:                                You’re very passionate, Mari-san.

Mari:                                   Y-you’re the one who’s always cynical about everything! Do you think that makes you cool?!

Haruki:                                No. You’re the cool one.


Haruki:                                …I like that about you, Mari-san.

Mari:                                   …?!

Mari:                                   Y—

Mari:                                   Y—

Mari:                                   You—!


Mari:                                   Don’t make fun of your elders!

Narration:                          She really is cool.

                                             Mari is the second woman I’ve ever had this feeling about.

                                             The first one was aloof and sharp… but Mari’s coolness is more… hot-blooded. Like something from an earlier time.


Haruki:                                Again, thank you… for always sharing your energy with me.

Mari:                                   W-well, as long as you can tell…


Page 84


Mari:                                   Let’s go, Kitahara.

Haruki:                                Oh… Wait, just a minute…


Mari:                                   Why?

Haruki:                                I’m going to buy one, too.


Haruki:                                Thanks to you, I’ve got a notion now…

…of someone who might be happy about it.

Narration:                          You taught me that, in the end…

                                             If all you do is cast blame…

                                             If you never clash head-on… nothing will change.


FX:                                        Bip

Message:                            The magazine with my article in it hit the stands today. I bought one in commemoration.


                                             Everyone in the editorial department celebrated with me. It was just a party in the conference room, with sweets and juice—a modest party for a modest victory.


                                             I apologize for not telling you the name of the magazine or the release date.


                                             The thing is, I didn’t want you to get it first. I wanted to give it to you myself, directly.


                                             So, um… I want you to have the magazine with my first-ever article in it.


                                             Can I have a bit of your time tomorrow? Just five minutes is fine. I’ll bring it to your place.


                                             Waiting for your reply.


Page 85


Setsuna:                              …


Message:                            Body text

Sorry. I can’t tomorrow. I have plans to go out with my family.



FX:                                        Bip


FX:                                        Rustle


Page 86


Setsuna:                              It’s fine… Haruki-kun is trying to move forward, too…

Message:                            Body text

So… would the 24th be okay?

Setsuna:                              If we can spend Christmas Eve together… Then I know…


FX:                                        Plip plip

Setsuna:                              I know… we’ll be okay…!


Page 87


Takahiro:                            Sis, time for dinner!

Setsuna:                              I don’t need any…


Page 88


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