(Note: As this is not a formal review, I’ve written about Fraternité as is spoilering the hell out of pretty much everything. So if you wish to experience the work at some point unspoiled, I’d strongly advise not to read on.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
In which everyone’s favourite airhead effortlessly becomes a national idol, adored by all.
My love is… ‘NG’?
Sekai de Ichiban Dame na Koi
A word like ‘fate’ is an all too convenient one: it guides people to meet, coaxing them to open up their hearts to one another only to toy around with them. Such are the morose thoughts a man holds as he’s on the verge of freezing to death one wintery night. The subject of corruption within the firm he once worked for, it’s no surprise that he’s also left without a sense of purpose or self – until, a goddess who may as well have descended from the heavens themselves offers him a warm drink and a lifeline. Her name is Hinosaka Honoka, a landlady at Hinosaka Terrace House. Feelings the warmth of the drink in his hand and the warmth of her words spreading through his body, the man knows that the word ‘fate’ is convenient. Honestly, he does. After all, humans live on a larger scale than to be governed by some unscientific higher power. He knows that, but… For such a meeting to occur when it did, he can’t help but feel that it may indeed be what one could call ‘fate’.
The man’s name is Yoshimura Osamu. Unemployed, divorced, and pushing thirty
Winter passes, and his feelings thaw. Our poor excuse for a hero shows up at Hinosaka Terrace House in his best suit with a bouquet of roses, holding every intention of wooing his savior. But it’s not Honoka who answers the door – a scowling girl forty cms below him does. Instead of getting the warm welcome he expected, the girl slaps him and demands that he return her mother. On a spring day where the cherry blossom petals fall, the rose petals which were once part of his bouquet are carried along with them. As it turns out, Honoka has mysteriously disappeared leaving the daughter to take care of the battered boarding house and its rent-evading residents all by herself.
The girl’s name is Hinosaka Mitoko. An overworked high school student about to enter her final year.
And so begins the world’s most unacceptable love…
If you happen to move to a new city and someone encourages you to join a ~friendship club~ right off the bat, here’s a friendly tip: don’t.
An English proverb ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea’ came to mind.
Behind me lies a devil, ahead lies a situation which you could call a deep blue sea
There’s no salvation no matter which one I choose.
– But I hold no fear.
Le volume sur printemps
Deep within a forest, an all girl’s school surrounded by pastel-coloured flowers can be found. Built in the late 1800s, Saint Angraecum has a reputation for preparing elegant young ladies for life on the outside, as it were. Now, new students who are to enroll in April will become part of its Amitié system. On entering they will be rigorously assessed and subsequently matched to a pair who they will (hopefully) grow to be firm friends with. The trio will share rooms and generally be encouraged to be together. Doesn’t sound like a bad deal, right?
One student who has taken an interest in this system is our protagonist, Suou. A quiet soul, she’s lived her life without a single friend to call her own isolating herself in the world of books and films due to a difficult family situation. Believing that she’s unlovable, she enters Saint Angraecum with the desire to make the kind of lifelong friends she’s always dreamed of having; the kind who she can take midnight trips to the bathroom and share sweets with. The Amitié system eventually matches her to Mayuri and Rikka, a pair of girls she had a perhaps fateful meeting with on her very first night. Her heart beating at all the new experiences which no doubt await her, Suou’s very own spring in all its rich verdure begins…
“Please, don’t make me watch another episode! I swear, I can’t take anymore pleaARRRRGHHH-“
I’ll be with you…
Even if it means abandoning everything that matters to me.
WHITE ALBUM 2
A crappy guitarist, a talented vocalist, and a prodigious pianist: three melodies once distant came together and formed something harmonious. But as it swelled to a crescendo, it became too much for them. Something had to give, and none of their own melodies reached… Neither did their love.
Three years later, the harmony is no more. With Kazusa having long since left for Vienna, both Haruki and Setsuna are left to pick up the pieces of their fractured relationship. Held captive by their destructive memories and overtaken by a mutual guilt, it’s all Haruki can do to avoid Setsuna as he throws himself into work despite her evident hopefulness. As they’re being strangled by the string of fate it’s a wonder if he can continue avoiding her. Three distractions come in the form of women Haruki finds himself coming into contact with. It’s all well and good for him to forget about everything that happened, right? Time to wipe the slate clean…
…Is what would happen if this were any other title. It’s not so easy for Haruki and Setsuna to move on as they’d like to hope, for the shadows of their past persistently linger, blanketing everything they do.
A new winter is on the horizon. A season filled with much pain for them, for it’s a season without -