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「幸せのひだまりを作るのです」 (Shiawase no Hidamari o Tsukuru no desu)
“I’ll Make a Happy Sunny Spot”

When I said Maeda Jun series always have at least one moemoe character “or two” – I didn’t think I’d be proven right quite so quickly.

Liking a series and having no real idea how to explain why isn’t an easy position for a blogger to be in. If I’m to step back and look at Little Busters! honestly, I’m compelled to admit that at first glance this is a series I’d guess I would dislike intensely. It features a veritable laundry list of things I normally rail against in anime – moe near-lolis mugging endlessly for the camera being near the top of the list. An overreliance on the general cuteness of little girls and animals. Guys being mostly plot drivers with little focus on their motivation for doing the things they do.

And yet, somehow, I really like it. And I can’t quite tell you why.

The first and most obvious theory I can come up with is that Maeda Jun is quite good at creating characters I don’t normally care much for, and situations that normally drive me crazy. It’s easy to see why KyoAni was such a natural dance partner for Key because there’s an obvious crossover in their sensibilities, extending to a complete disregard for the notion of taking this sort of thing too far. I did love Kanon, though that was mostly Hisaya Naoki’s writing – so perhaps this is actually a better fit for me with a slightly less shameless JC Staff, and in KyoAni’s hands LB would simply have put me on tilt.

While the structure of the episodes continues to be a little clunky and disjointed, I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying the individual scenes as strung together. This week saw the introduction of Kud (Wakabayashi Naomi), full name Noumi Kudryavka, apparently half-Finnish and half-Japanese (and all moe). Kud is a living example of everything that should be all wrong for me in LB that I find mostly right – she’s adorable. I’m a sucker for badly accented Japanese (Kate from Sketch Book is among my favorite comedic characters ever) and the little snipped of mangled Japanese and Engrish between she and Riki was hilarious to me (I’m also weak against Horie Yui generally, especially speaking Engrish herself). Oddly, as was Haruka last week, Kud was introduced and then quickly moved away from the center of attention – another example of the somewhat odd structure so far that I take to be a too literal adaptation of the VN.

It’s clear that the focus of the first arc is destined to be Komari, who I don’t like as much as Kud but that I like her at all (“Uwah – I hit both sides!”) surprises me deeply. Her story is the first to get fleshed out – the dreams of “Onii-san”, the picture book (as classic a VN scenario as is imaginable) of the hen and the egg, and the fateful trip to the old folks home. It’s not bad enough we have moemoe-kyuns and kitties, we have adorable teens being kind to old folks as well? Yet again, though, where I should have gagged I find the scenes in the retirement home rather charming, though it does make me wonder – don’t old folks’ homes in Japan have maid staff? You actually need volunteer kids clean the rooms? In any event the clear point of this excursion (apart from the general warmth) was to introduce Kamikita Kojiro (Ookawa Tooru, a true seiyuu legend) – a grouchy old Ojii-san who not only knows Komai but shares a family name with her, and is clearly connected to the Kamikita Takuya whose name adorns Komari’s picture book.

So we’re officially into the routes now, and this will be the first test of how much staying power Little Busters! has. Almost invariably in VNs generally and Key specifically there’s a pretty sizable gap in quality among the individual arcs, but the better ones have a way of keeping you invested through the troughs as well as the peaks. We’ll see – for now I’m good, because I find the overall atmosphere of the series very winning. Little Busters! is betting everything on the likability of the cast and their chemistry as a group, and right now that seems like a pretty good bet.

 

Preview

Little Busters   04   Preview 01 Little Busters   04   Preview 02 Little Busters   04   Preview 03
October 29, 2012 at 7:39 am
39 comments »
  • October 29, 2012 at 7:51 amLinkark

    Why Kud didn´t say Wafu? Why?

    • October 30, 2012 at 5:08 am†Croos†

      you have to smack KUD first?

  • October 29, 2012 at 7:52 amTingster013

    When Komari read the story, my heart flows with it. This usually dun happen to me, I felt her sadness overflowing. She is definitely one of the anime characters that manage to make my feeling stirs along with her.

  • October 29, 2012 at 8:00 amVRMN

    They haven’t actually been very literal with the VN structure. They can’t be, to be frank about it. The disjointed feeling of some of these early episodes is mostly mediocre storyboarding being salvaged by the material behind it. As a VN reader it’s not bugging me too much, yet, but that’s because I fear more central issues to the adaptation.

    I’ll start nitpicking if and when they dodge the land mines buried in the original material.

    • October 29, 2012 at 6:42 pmPasserby

      They’re trying to do Komari’s route while doing character development for everyone else, while in the VN we basically get all the development frontloaded. It’s like Kyoani adding Nagisa to Fuko’s route in Clannad, though I must say it doesn’t feel as smooth. Overall I have the same attitude as you regarding the adaptation though so waiting and seeing is still good.

      Adding the childhood friends to Komari’s route is, I feel, more or less a good a idea, even if not perfectly executed. Their excellent dynamic and comedic potential is good for just keeping things active, especially since at this point they’re much stronger characters than our protagonist (in more ways than one). I also feel that Komari’s route is one of the weaker ones in the game so overall I support this choice.

  • October 29, 2012 at 8:04 amGirl from the forest

    The Key feel has definitely been accomplished in this episode and
    this series is growing on me so much.

    When you first meet Komari I found her a bit to much but now I
    understand her better, it’s al part of a way to cover up your lonely
    feelings and the things that are hiding in the back of you head.

    The interaction between the characters just works very well.
    Ofcourse some thing are cliche and overdone but that makes me love it even more !

    I also don’t really know why I like this series but I just do !

  • October 29, 2012 at 8:14 amJY

    Kud is quarter Japanese actually, and she’s not Finnish. Her grandfather (the one who lives in Finland) married a Japanese woman.

    • October 29, 2012 at 10:12 ampuppygod

      Kud nationality is rather confusing. Just like JY said she’s quarter Japanese – her grandmother is Japanese. What’s more, she has dual nationality – going by the jus sanguinis she’s Russian, and going by jus soli she’s Teguan, Tegua being fictional post-soviet country. To make things even more complicated she was raised by her grandfather, who traveled all around the world doing business, so she was living in, like, dozen or more countries. Finland just happened to be one of her most recent locations.

      • October 29, 2012 at 4:57 pmGuardian Enzo

        Thank you for clarifying. Is there any way one would have known that from the anime or is that all prior knowledge?

      • October 29, 2012 at 6:34 pmPasserby

        The only way you would know that Kud is not Finnish at this point in the anime is by knowing that Kudryavka is not at all a Finnish name. Otherwise I guess you would have to wait for them to get into exactly what sort of beast Kud is.

    • October 29, 2012 at 11:10 pmFlameStrike

      Heh, I see what you did there.

  • October 29, 2012 at 8:22 amkira

    in the game sasami is confessed by a guy ? did they skip that in the anime? Sorry for the off

    • October 29, 2012 at 8:41 amVRMN

      We’re way too early to know if they’ll leave anything out. My inclination is that the event you’re referring to will not be cut.

      • October 29, 2012 at 1:21 pmkira

        I see,but that happens in the common route or in her own route ? is It important?

      • October 29, 2012 at 3:32 pmVRMN

        It’s been a while, but as I recall it’s a common route event tied to Rin’s arc.

  • October 29, 2012 at 9:25 amstarss

    The sadder Komari got, I also found myself getting shaken too. I’m sensitive I guess.

  • October 29, 2012 at 9:42 ammudge

    The experience of following Kud in EX has left me slightly nauseous. Seriously, she’s drawn like a nine year old and the anime manages to make her even more childlike. At least Komari has tits.

    On the plus side I guess I’ve found my limit, wish I’d played the original version is all.

  • October 29, 2012 at 10:19 amAffy

    Muscles, awww yeah! Muscles, awww yeah!

    • October 29, 2012 at 1:16 pml3reezer

      I’ll have one order of muscles, then!

  • October 29, 2012 at 11:23 amelmaton04

    Looks like the start of the first arc.

  • October 29, 2012 at 12:53 pmephemeral

    This show looks good for my 12 year old nephew. Yep, he will like it very much indeed and quite age-appropriate.

  • October 29, 2012 at 1:21 pml3reezer

    Things are starting to kick off on the intensity level. New content after new content seems to be developing, but I wouldn’t go as far to call it convoluted right now. Just more things to look forward to, and a spectacle to behold once it all, if it does, interconnects.

    Can any visual novel readers offer an estimate of how many episodes it’d take to cover all this content? I’ve read some varied estimations.

    • October 29, 2012 at 1:46 pmpuppygod

      It’s really hard to estimate – structure of the LN allows for quite a lot of freedom in adaptation, with shuffling and combining events from various routes here and there. IMHO there is enough material to fill 52 episodes. But to fill it and don’t make it suck at the same time probably requires better guys doing this. So I’d prefer it to be squished into 26 episodes, even at the cost of dropping some material, if it makes the whole more palatable.

  • October 29, 2012 at 2:56 pmSora no Kaze

    I feel like my heart is going to kill me next episode… NOOOO >_<….

  • October 29, 2012 at 3:08 pmelior1

    it been very fast minute at the end of the episode but the last name of the old guy is not like the one on the picture book. also Baba Takahiro, the President of Visual Arts said little busters this season is going to be significantly long

    • October 29, 2012 at 5:02 pmGuardian Enzo

      As this gives me the chance to show off that I have actually been paying attention in class… The name on the storybook has “Kamikita” in Kanji, and the old man introduces himself as “Kamikita Koujirou”. How are they not similar?

      • October 29, 2012 at 7:43 pmLordip

        I think elior1 got confused between the surname and given name, as I sometime am, seeing that some fansubbers use given-name,surname like the western concept when japanese usually use surname,given-name

      • October 29, 2012 at 9:25 pmCybersteel

        yeah they’re related a distant relative.

  • October 29, 2012 at 5:55 pmAnomalous

    So… Komari… Parasitic Twin? Did she absorb her brother’s fetus while still inside of the womb? Can’t wait to see.

    • October 30, 2012 at 12:08 amTarage

      Well, if you really want to know if you are right or not…

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Not a major spoiler, just giving a yes/no to speculation.

  • October 30, 2012 at 4:17 amChipp12

    > When I said Maeda Jun series always have at least one moemoe character “or two” – I didn’t think I’d be proven right quite so quickly.
    Though Kud is not his character. His character casr include only the old Lil’ Busters characters.
    Here:
       【シナリオ】
       ・ 麻枝准 (企画原案) : 共通 (棗兄妹、真人、謙吾との会話) / 棗鈴 / 朱鷺戸沙耶 / グランドエンド 担当
       ・ 都乃河勇人 : 共通 (旧リトバスメンバー以外との会話) / 神北小毬 / 来ヶ谷唯湖 / 笹瀬川佐々美 担当
       ・ 城桐央 : 三枝葉留佳 / 二木佳奈多 / 能見クドリャフカ 担当
       ・ 樫田レオ : 西園美魚 担当

    • October 30, 2012 at 10:34 pmhoiut

      Interesting. So Kud is “new” to Little Busters? She’s from a different revision of the game, then, I imagine, since I’ve seen mention of her on wikipedia or whatever when I was looking into this show.

      • November 3, 2012 at 9:28 pmChipp12

        No, Kud was in the original version of game. The nex character is , and Maeda also created who route.

      • November 12, 2012 at 8:45 pmChipp12

        No, Kud was in the original version of game. The new character is her, and Maeda also created her route.

  • October 31, 2012 at 10:50 amD-LaN

    @Croos You lied…. where is the Kurugaya vs Kud??

    Oh and: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2012-10-31/little-busters-producer/anime-to-cover-everything-even-though-26-episodes-is-not-enough
    Confirmed 26 episode + S2??

    • November 1, 2012 at 3:55 amelior1

      we will know if there will be season 2 once we will see that messege in the end of episode 26 the productor talked about

  • November 1, 2012 at 7:49 amTheLastMan

    just an assumption, IF, IF this incoming arc of komari failed to reach the expectations of the fans what would happen then? i kinda sense many will drop this (to be possibly picked up again in later episodes of the series or if the story most fans are looking for FINALLY SHOWED UP) and only those who know or play the VN will stay faithful.

    my bench test for LB! is that it should exceed/reach the emotional intensity of episode 9 of clannad/kanon since, for me, it is in that episode where the anime solidified their positions as one of the greatest title in its time.

    • November 3, 2012 at 8:09 amelior1

      @thelastman i just finished episode 5 and oh man this is sure will meet the expections becouse the big emotionally scence will be in this episode and it more sad then it was in the vn

  • November 1, 2012 at 3:56 pmHum

    nyah nyah nyah nyah nyahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
    (where is my delicious plooooooooooootttt!!!!)