Soap opera-style dramatic love triangles aren’t really my thing. I dropped the KimiNozo anime in the early episodes, stopped reading the Kimi no Iru Machi manga, and stayed far, far away from any shoujo manga/anime that don’t involve magical girls. With that said, I finished WA2’s Introductory Chapter, which was actually pretty enjoyable. I’m saving the majority of my judgement for when I finish Closing Chapter (which I’m sure will bring me loads and loads of rage like any interesting love triangle should), but IC was rather interesting in that the character who appears to be the most flawless and idol-like is the one who initiates the suffering. IC worked and retained my interest all the way through because I managed to like both Setsuna and Kazusa (although I do prefer the latter).
The protagonist is Kitahara Haruki, a third year who happens to be a class president-type good student who is very involved in the school community and depended on by teachers and students alike. He’s also kind of annoying and persistent. In the eyes of Touma Kazusa, an anti-social girl who wants to be left alone, the ウザイ-ness is amplified by folds. He is supposed to be in the light music club with his friend as a second guitar, but everyone else quit and there is a month until the cultural festival where they’re scheduled to perform. He befriends Ogiso Setsuna, the school idol who won the school’s miss contest ever since her first year, and finds out that she is actually from a commoner-level family and has no close friends because she spends too much time trying to keep up the “ojou-sama” image others have of her. He finds out that she’s good at singing, and gets her to join the light music club as the vocalist.
Through some trials and tribulations, they manage to befriend and get Kazusa to join as the keyboardist, and they do some intense practicing before the festival. The three of them become really good friends, and their live at the cultural festival is a success. Later that night, Setsuna confesses to Haruki and going along with the atmosphere, he accepts. It all seems miraculously romantic on the surface, but right before Haruki kisses Setsuna, it was Kazusa’s image that flashed in his head…and then he reveals in his narration that he had liked Kazusa all along, but failed to read beyond her tsun/kuudere acts and thinks she doesn’t like him.
Because everyone is a human who cannot ignore their true desires, things go downhill. Fast. Introductory Chapter ends with their high school graduation, in a way that I wouldn’t describe as pleasant. At all. At most it’d be a temporary cooldown, but everyone suffers. Closing Chapter begins around three years later, when Haruki is in university and that year’s cultural festival has just ended. A university setting is slightly refreshing, only because Haruki is a hard-working student who juggles two jobs with his studies.
It’s a good thing that the pacing was decent and nothing felt like it dragged on for too long, while enough time was allotted to letting you get familiar with the characters involved. The drama didn’t become absolutely painful to watch, although I’m sure the extreme suffering will come eventually.