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Little Busters! – 09

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「学食を救え」 (Gakushoku o Sukue!)
“Save the School Cafeteria!”

It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that my view on Little Busters and the general zeitgeist are two ships passing in the night, likely never to meet again. But in the immortal words of George Costanza, “Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care.”

I’ve been spending weeks trying to figure out why I like Little Busters!, and coming up with reasons to defend that view – but I think a better question for me to ask would be, why do so many people not like it? I suppose that’s for them to share if they want to, but after some noodling on the subject, I think cynicism has a lot to do with it. As in, whatever cynicism the viewer brings to the table, and the complete and utter lack of cynicism evidenced by Little Busters. I’m normally a pretty cynical person myself, which is why I was so surprised for a while that I liked a show that on paper I shouldn’t, but for me the answer lies in another one-word answer: sincerity.

For me at least, there’s absolutely nothing insincere about LB. Not in the moe, not in the humor, not in the themes it chooses to focus on. It can rightfully be called many things, and it can’t be called slick or subtle – but for me the show plays as if it couldn’t possibly be any way other than exactly how it is, any more than a cat (never pull on a cat’s whiskers, by the way – they’re very sensitive) could decide to be a dog. All the kawaii and sincerity and goofy humor are intrinsically a part of what the show is, and if they didn’t work for you out of the gate, I think it’s pretty unlikely they ever will. But if you buy into the premise, as I did, I think the charms of the show are pretty hard to resist. Perhaps it’s because my schedule is so top-loaded with depressing and dark series like Shin Sekai Yori, but this one makes a welcome relief from all the irony and pathos that pervades most of the series I follow.

A commenter named Slashe posted on my other blog after last week’s episode, and since he captured the essence of LB more eloquently than I ever have, I’m going to quote from him here:

What dawned on me recently about Little Busters was that despite the premise of Riki building a baseball team via harem creation, the real focus on the show is not romance, but actually friendship, despite the Key label.


And that answers many questions I had behind LB and its production.


…It is this focus on friendship by the LB source material that it is well-loved by fans, and why JC Staff picked it up, and why, like you, I find it so charming and comforting.


The focus on this episode is on Kud’s isolation and loneliness, as Riki searches for a roommate for her. It surprises me how LB uses loneliness and separation as a recurring motif, as Riki reaches out voluntarily to these withdrawn girls. It starts out with Riki first being taken in by the Busters, and now, gaining the hope and strength from these friends, him going forth and aiding these new people…

Slashe also pointed out something I think it quite true – JC Staff gets friendship. It’s a prevalent theme in many of their best works, and looking back even many JC Staff classics that are theoretically romances are actually more about friendship than the romance – Ano Natsu and Toradora come to mind, for starters. What makes LB pretty rare, among Key works and anime in general, is that it unapologetically thinks that friendship is important enough to stand as the main theme of a series – that it can be the point, and not just a subplot. This really is a story about people supporting each other and having fun together, which is what friendships – especially those of our youth – really should be about. There are obviously other themes and plotlines and they’ll gain prominence as we go, but it’s the Little Busters themselves who are the heart of the series, and I don’t think that will ever change.

Another thing that struck me about why LB works for me – the comedy, specifically – is that the show is actually using a textbook manzai style. Riki is the perfect tsukkomi, and the rest of the cast – sometimes individually, sometimes collectively – plays the role of the boke. Manzai is by nature a pretty hammy style – it’s practically vaudeville – and clearly not to everyone’s tastes. But in context I enjoy it, and some of the jokes here which I know can go either way have totally connected with me. This week’s examples would be the “Viva croquette soba!” routine with Sasasasa Sasami, Rin’s arch-enemy – it’s not like we haven’t heard the ojou-sama laugh a million times in anime, but there was just something about the scene (maybe the half-turn foot-kick by her chorus) that made me laugh – and Rin running out of the room to text “What should I do?” to Riki. Very different types of jokes, but both very effective. Your mileage may vary.

As for the episode itself, I won’t pretend it isn’t a pretty bare-bones premise – the gang gets together to save the cafeteria after all the ladies mysteriously fall ill – but it ties back into the idea that a series can devote an entire ep to what’s basically a comedic team-building exercise and that’s enough. There was some nice focus on Rin’s struggles to come to terms with her social disorder, and an appearance by the canon story, both in terms of Riki’s narcolepsy making an unwanted return and another strange note tied to Lennon’s leg. Indeed, it’s obviously no coincidence that whoever wrote that note knew the cafeteria was going to need saving, but it’s clear the series is going to take its time meandering its way towards solving that mystery. And that’s perfectly fine with me.

I’m under no illusions that LB is going to win over legions of new fans (or win back disgruntled old ones) with an episode like this one – I suspect it was strictly preaching to the choir. But I do hope that those who’ve decided the series isn’t for them realize that those of who like what JC Staff is doing here have no reason whatsoever to apologize for that, and no responsibility to justify it to anyone who disagrees. There’s plenty of anime out there for every taste and someone liking a show you don’t isn’t a personal attack on you, even if you’re a fan of the VN who’s displeased with the way it’s being adapted. I’m quite satisfied to go on siding with the minority on Little Busters, no matter how loud the shouting from the opposition gets – it makes me laugh and it strikes an emotional chord, both in a very straightforward and honest way, and that’s more than enough for me.

 

Preview

Little Busters   09   Preview 01 Little Busters   09   Preview 02 Little Busters   09   Preview 03
December 3, 2012 at 5:39 am
86 comments »
  • December 3, 2012 at 5:50 amAffy

    Rin: You! Sasasasasa Sasami!

    LOL!!

  • December 3, 2012 at 6:02 amBaKaYaRou

    Just watching Kud-chan struggle on cooking the omelet makes me wanna help her as soon as possible ~_~

  • December 3, 2012 at 6:04 amAccess

    It would be nice if they didn’t talk about his attacks for five minutes before they actually happen.
    Narcoleptic attacks can be rather sudden, and portraying it like that would have much more impact.

    • December 3, 2012 at 6:22 amAccess

      I kind of forgot the actual part of my post.

      “but I think a better question for me to ask would be, why do so many people not like it?”

      Yes, indeed.
      It is a question that has many possible answers. To be honest, I don’t know whether it is because I’ve watched so many shows of this kind that I am now simply sick of it, or maybe I just realized it this late, but what I cannot stand in this particular show are the girls, with Komari and Kud being the worst offenders. People do not act like that. Not mentally weak people, not super-eccentric people.
      Instead of actual good writing, the authors try to make the characters memorable by giving them absurd and unrealistic eccentric traits you would never find to this degree in real life. This combined with at times nonsensical character design (I very much doubt the school would actually let Kud walk around like that on the premises) to pander to certain people makes me sick. I can’t stand it anymore. And it’s not just them. Sasasasa Sasami this very episode is yet another example.
      I find it flabbergasting to believe that people actually find this appealing.
      I am actually kind of realizing now how jaded I am about this.

      Another thing I do not like about the show is the arc format. This has always bothered me, particularly in Key adaptions. Basically I have to sit through this weird slice-of-life / filler stuff, I suppose, until the actual main plot restarts. In this case I think Rin and the letters are supposed to be the main plot. How long has it been since it last time appeared? Episode 2.
      This episode also feels like it basically resets Rin’s development to square one, but I suppose this is the price to adapt a visual novel.

      And yet here I am, still watching it. I wonder why. It’s not like I’m totally not enjoying myself, but I keep noticing certain elements that really set my teeth on edge.

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:28 amTakurannyan

        You shouldn’t apply real logic into anime. It is because characters mostly don’t act the way real people do that they are anime. If anything i myself rather enjoy those silly antics than realistic stuff, i can always find the later elsewhere. It’s because i have enough of real life sometimes that i go into anime world to enjoy what in real life can’t be found.

        That aside, about the format yea it is the price of adaption if you want to cover everything/routes possible.

      • December 3, 2012 at 6:01 pml3reezer

        I have to disagree. People don’t act like that, but some people do. I can vouch. I don’t have it in me to call Key out for liking those kinds of people more so than others because I feel the same way. In that sense, I do think you are being a decent amount too cynical about things.
        Secondly, I’ve been pretty impressed with how JC is handling the pacing and sequence of events. Arc format pretty much reflects the natural flow of time, events happen after one another. Of course,I understand you mean arc format as this obvious separation of events that make it so the story seems fluid. But when you target the slice-of-life filler material as another fault, I really don’t know what you’re expecting. That material added in by JC is completely enjoyable and adheres to the genre of Little Busters! and is what’s making the story more intermingled in terms of the respective girls of the harem and their arcs, if you ask me.
        As for the main drive in the story regarding the letter offering The Secret of the World, I’d have to reflect your yearning for a sense of realism from complaint #01. back at you. Sure The Secret of the World sounds intriguing as hell, but its indication on a letter tied to a kitten’s leg doesn’t make it convincing enough for Rikki and Rin to go out of their way to endlessly solve the puzzles, especially if their point of contact is a carrier pigeon kitten that takes time to receive a message from the origin. So of course, people like Rikki aren’t going to be too concerned with it even if the curiosity leaves its presence in the back of his head. He’s going to worry about the most important thing in his life, his friends. The female one in particular who are expressing being in need and who are justifiably showing intimacy with Rikki, in his age. (In my opinion, this is a decent set-up for a harem, but I’m really glad that the adaptation is one of the for all ages game/JC kept the ideals of friendship as the overarching motif.) Back to Rin, maybe she does want to find out The Secret of the World much more than Rikki, but she’s unable to do so without help. And of course, she’s unable to get help with the way she gives into her shyness. That’s something that has been satisfactorily portrayed in this episode in particular. I’m not calling it perfect but; if you ask me, characters, pacing, structure, development, all is fine within this show. Add in that recent say from JC that they’d take as many episodes as necessary to fully adapt the series in a way that’s fulfilling, and I think they are doing an excellent adaptation right here. Not being burdened by the 25/26 episode cap is such a fucking wonderful thing.
        tl|dr: Iono about dat mayng.

      • December 4, 2012 at 1:42 amAngelus

        I don’t like it simply because it lacks the visceral impact of KyoAni’s productions of Air, Kanon and Clannad. But not being a VN’er, am I being unfair? Should I have expected LB to be similar to the others I just mentioned?

        It just seems to me that the scenes which in KyoAni’s hands would probably have got me crying buckets (and I’m a grown man, btw) just leave me cold. Maybe some people think that’s a good thing though – obviously KyoAni’s perfectly-orchestrated symphonies of emotion are not to everyone’s taste. I don’t mean that as a value judgement either, but maybe you have to sustain a certain amount of emotional damage yourself before you can really appreciate the idea of emotionally-damaged people finding love, or at least some sort of resolution.

    • December 3, 2012 at 1:35 pmMCAL

      Plus, this is Key, so realism wasn’t exactly on the schedule.

    • December 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm†Croos†

      It would be nice if they didn’t talk about his attacks for five minutes before they actually happen.
      Narcoleptic attacks can be rather sudden, and portraying it like that would have much more impact.

      ^ I agree to these.
      Waste of broadcast time. They should have added something better than this because it was already mentioned before.

  • December 3, 2012 at 6:47 amjohn

    As someone who had watched Air, Kanon, all of Clannad and currently LB, personally it would be the difference in themes between LB and those mentioned above. As you have well put it, LB focuses more on friendship and less on the romance part as compared to the other works. This take actually did put me off a bit, since I was watching with romance-tinted glasses. However after realizing the real theme of the premise, I begin to enjoy this show as it is. More shonen type friendship story ala Naruto as compared to the usual romance anime.

    Another point to mention, would be the faithful(?) adaptation to the VN flow. Somehow the pacing seems off. Except for the heroine’s storyline, the in-between episodes seems to carry little weight and when putting them together the show’s flow doesn’t seem to flow (pardon the pun). Of course, this is just my opinion.

    Lastly, as every fan has mentioned, the art style is typical JC Staff. While I don’t expect superb details (try comparing Kanon screenshot to LB’s. You’ll know what I mean), I did expect better. They could have done better, some of the scenes in Ano Natsu were really fabulous. To their credit, Kyoani seems to have drop the ball with Chu2Koi (their none-action scenes are meh).

    In a nutshell, it would take a more tolerant viewer/fan to accept LB with time. Though hardcore fans will always be hard to please, even for Kyoani.

  • December 3, 2012 at 6:55 amWhatever

    I honestly believe that KyoAni could have adabted this way way better simply because the have already demonstarted that they are capable to do that.

    • December 3, 2012 at 7:23 amTakurannyan

      I also honestly believe that it’s about time we drop this and enjoy what J.C staff is offering. It might be not the best but i don’t think it is terrible either.

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:39 amc2710

        cant take it anymore…. dropped it already

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:42 amTakurannyan

        I meant the issue about “KyoAni could have adapted this better” but i guess you meant you dropped the show.

      • December 3, 2012 at 8:18 amc2710

        Yea… as much as the many merit points that the title has… the adaptation seems to be lacking =(

      • December 3, 2012 at 9:33 amladdle

        And I honestly never said that what J.C staff did is the worst. I just think that the show had potentional and it got wasted on the wrong studio. Despite that, I still like this show.

      • December 3, 2012 at 10:11 amc2710

        JC staff did better for other animes but for this… its not their best

      • December 3, 2012 at 4:50 pmNB

        Seriously this JC staff vs KyoAni thing again?? Let me assure you, it’s the source material that is the problem since it’s rather mundane and mediocre. Even KyoAni can’t magically turn a dud into a golden goose, if you get my drift.

  • December 3, 2012 at 7:11 amCybersteel

    More waafu is more than welcomed.

  • December 3, 2012 at 7:35 amJ-Luke

  • December 3, 2012 at 9:01 amMCAL

    What do you think it is lacking? Just Curious.

  • December 3, 2012 at 9:19 amPasserby

    It’s interesting, to me at least, that at some point Enzo’s posts have moved from apologia to being preemptively defensive to taking the offensive iniative. This isn’t meant to be insulting in any way; I’m just noting the phenomenon. As an anime apologist in general I often feel in my gut that many shows need to be defended and I get on all sorts of soapboxes to do so. I recognise, though, that often even the shows I rally to fall short in all sorts of areas. In fact, often an anime would have nothing going for it save potential. And there is something quite sad about wondering what a show could have been compared to what it turned out to be.

    Since Enzo asked for it I’ll play devil’s advocate on the issue of Little Busters. Let me preface what I’m about to say with the following: I think Little Busters will end up, ultimately, as a good show. This is mostly because I have huge faith in the source material. I rank it up there with Clannad as one of Key’s strongest works, and I’ve got heavy personal bias for Clannad. Therefore I’m of the opinion that there’s only so far it can fall, if at all.

    Of course this kind of position inevitably moves us to the unfortunate issue of adaptation and the pervasive dead elephant in the room that we’ve been beating: JC Staff vs Kyoto Animation. Arguing which one is the “superior studio” is both tortuous and not very useful. Let us however, lay out the plain and obvious. In terms of production value, JC Staff is not going to match Kyoto Animation. This is simply a matter of business model. Kyoto Animation throws lots of money and effort into every series they do. As a tradeoff, they do not put out many series; in fact they do not even have one every season. Compare this to JC Staff, which every cour always has two or more shows going. Budgeting-wise, Kyoani would have alotted more to Little Busters than JC. I hope this is not disputed.

    Of course, throwing money at a show does not by itself a quality show make, especially when we consider diminishing returns. On JC’s part, though, it does unfortunately show. Still backgrounds, unblinking eyes, talking heads, skipped frames–these are the kind of shortcuts that rear their ugly heads in many shows to remind us that anime costs money to make. Obviously grade-A Ghibli x Makoto Shinkai lovechild visuals are not reasonable to expect, but JC is at best mediocre with Little Busters.

    As for things like story and characters and comedy, those are often subjective experiences. But I should say, as I have before, that Little Busters is very slow. It thrives on repetition and endearment rather than speedy gratification. This is a feature in many works Jun Maeda is involved in. Not only does it create potential pacing problems for the studio trying to turn a VN into an anime, this slowness will turn off many watchers.

    Little Busters has yet to come into its depth. Enzo mentioned that the general feeling is that Little Busters is about friendship; that’s only really scratching the surface. Friendship/camaradie/nakama is a pervasive theme in anime and another anime of the same stripe will be nothing new. In fact its so ubiquitous that to say that JC Staff gets friendship is almost like saying JC Staff makes anime. Unfortunately, Little Busters will not really get into the nitty gritty of it’s thematic core until late into Rin’s route and Refrain. Everything prior is a very long setup, in the same way Clannad sets up for After Story. Until then, Little Busters lives and dies by its characters, comedy and, as an anime, its aesthetics. As a VN at least it had minigames. No such luck for the anime; it’s on its own.

    Finally, I should note that the choice of JC Staff, to no discredit to the studio, stinks awfully like a commercial decision rather than an artistic one. The Keyani partnership has obviously collapsed. But then, why JC Staff and not, say, A-1? We might never know. In any case it’s interesting that Kyoani is doing Chuunibyou this season and not Little Busters. Under the surface those two shows have remarkably similar souls.

    tl;dr: For a show with so much potential like Little Busters it’s dangerously easy to compare it to what it is to what it “could have been”. This is especially true when it’s being done by “another studio” (cf, e.g. Gunslinger Girls). The shortcomings may just be more apparent.

    • December 3, 2012 at 3:56 pmZen

      Amazingly well-written, my friend- and I say this with the utmost sincerity! ;)

      Of course, throwing money at a show does not by itself a quality show make, especially when we consider diminishing returns. On JC’s part, though, it does unfortunately show. Still backgrounds, unblinking eyes, talking heads, skipped frames–these are the kind of shortcuts that rear their ugly heads in many shows to remind us that anime costs money to make.

      Which leads us to the question of why aesthetic quality matters as much as it does; why does it hold so much (arguably undue) influence on the audience’s perception of a show that it often ends up mattering more than other elements like character development and narrative creativity? Perhaps the answer to this question lies in fact that aesthetics are visual- and that which is visual is usually also the most immediately obvious, inevitably shaping first impressions- that are far too often weighted far too heavily by the masses in their evaluations (of shows or any other media), not unlike how a genius is turned down at a job interview for showing up in an unpressed shirt. More subtle, narrative-related qualities hold less sway because they are not immediately apparent and consequently do not influence the audience’s first impressions. Well, this theory explains why movies like Transformers and Avatar with mediocre to poor stories are so massively popular while numerous indies films with weak visuals but significantly stronger narratives struggle, at least- and hopefully helps to explain why people are lambasting JC Staff’s adaptation of Little Busters although the underlying story would probably remain more or less the same regardless of which studio produced it.

      JC Staff’s adaptation is certainly visually inferior to what KyoAni might have potentially put out, and where narrative quality is constant, the visually superior adaptation is probably superior overall- but having said that, whether this singular element (visual quality) on the long laundry-list of the components of quality should be given as much weight as people seem to be giving it is very questionable. And if the significance of aesthetics within an overall evaluation of quality is reduced, then the gap between a JC Staff adaptation and a KyoAni one is also lessened. Perhaps the disparity in quality between JC Staff’s adaptation of Little Busters and the KyoAni one that wasn’t isn’t nearly as large as prevailing opinions seem to suggest, at least according to the most rationalistic system of evaluation. As to why rationalism isn’t prevailing, going by the above theory, I would imagine that one of the most significant causes of this phenomenon is the undue influence of first impressions (Which are governed only by things that are immediately obvious, such as visuals) on the human psyche . Although where well-marketed, “beloved” companies and brands like KyoAni are concerned, I’m inclined to think that an (un)healthy dose of mindless fanboy/girl-ism is also involved…

      • December 3, 2012 at 5:09 pmPasserby

        Thank you for the compliments, but all I did was make a wall of text of my feelings on the issue. Allow me also, with all respect, to offer a counterpoint to your post as well.

        Anime is a visual medium. I therefore think that visuals do in fact matter very much. While I too overwhelmingly desire a good story above all else when I watch anime I also do not think that plot alone can carry a series, in the same way production values alone cannot. A text novel is a written medium; no matter how good a yarn it is a novelist must also write well to deliver it. A visual novel should be able to make use of art and music to complement the writing. An anime, in turn, should be using animation to deliver a good story.

        You mentioned movies like Transformers having poor stories but still great commercial success. I think we need to understand that when it comes to media consumption not everything is sold on narrative. I’m sure that Transformers sells itself mostly on high-action, explosions, and giant robots fighting giant robots. And maybe some vapid models to provide sex appeal. Strip away those and you will have practically nothing left. Presumeably those who want to watch it are predominantly male audiences looking for their next fix of Hollywood action film. It’s not just a matter of looking good; it’s about delivering designed content to a target audience. At the same time, we can have huge commercial successes that use their visuals to deliver good narratives and make that one of their selling points, like Inception, which uses its CG budget to allow surreal elements to enter an otherwise realistic filming style*.

        *Of course Inception was a high-action, andrenaline junky appeasing Hollywood blockbuster as well, so I guess you can have your cake and eat it too.

        I think drawing a line between indie and big-brand is misleading at best. This is not what the real “fight” is about. Take, for example, Voices of a Distant Star. That’s as about as indie as you get. The animation was kinda choppy but damn was it pretty. Makoto Shinkai’s style is to use what may be called visual poetry to deliver a poignant piece on separation and longing.

        Even less “arthouse” anime can make use of their medium in their storytelling. Camera, lighting, palette, backgrounds–those are all tools a skillfull director and their studio should use to enhance their work. Heck, you can just cram in more detail to fit more into each scene. Does JC Staff use all these tools well? I’m afraid not–at the very least, I don’t think they can afford to do so.

        As an aside to my main argument, although majority opinions are not necessarily correct I would not so readily label them as being irrational, or that our own viewpoints are somehow “more rational”. On my part I fear drawing such conclusions, lest it leads to hubris.

        tl;dr: Anime is a visual medium and visuals are important, and not just on a visceral level.

      • December 3, 2012 at 6:14 pmZen

        Anime is a visual medium. I therefore think that visuals do in fact matter very much. While I too overwhelmingly desire a good story above all else when I watch anime I also do not think that plot alone can carry a series, in the same way production values alone cannot.

        I was counting on you to say that. But all visual media, anime included, find their origins in written narratives. A movie or show, even a silent one, is no more than a written script put into motion; the foundational structure of any visual media is writing; should the aesthetic appearance of a building ever take precedence over its structural integrity? I think not, and any who do will very quickly find themselves mired in tragedy. This is no “chicken or the egg” argument; written narratives are clearly the evolutionary ancestor, and the immediate precursor to all visual media- visual media would not exist without the written narratives upon which they are based, but written narratives are fully capable of standing alone. Aesthetics certainly do matter immensely, but not to the point where narrative quality, which forms both the structure and the foundation of any show/movie becomes secondary. When evaluating quality, considering peripheral, secondary elements such as aesthetics to be more important than the primary, foundational element (narrative) that is the basis of the entire show simply cannot be understood as rational. Aesthetics should most definitely play a very significant in an evaluation of quality, but never to a degree where it becomes dispositive of overall quality in of itself, like what we are seeing here with Little Busters- narrative, which is the basis of all media, should always be more important.

        On my part I fear drawing such conclusions, lest it leads to hubris.

        Lol, you’re totally right about the hubris, but don’t worry about it- I argue for argument’s sake, not because I necessarily believe most of anything I’m arguing, remember? This included…XP

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:16 pmPasserby

        I don’t think which came first matters, but surely the visual came before the written, no? Before humans invented language we were already observing the world, demonstrating things, and even chalking it on the walls of our caves. Writing stuff down is such an incredibly complex invention.

        In any case, if I may be so bold I think you are equating visuals with aesthetics and drawing distinctions between visuals and narrative. Such a position does not sit well with me. All stories are told through their medium. As such, a visual medium should use visuals are part of the storytelling. For example, unlike a novel, for an anime one would not go about narrating stuff and describing the landscape and whatnot. You’d just show it, visually.

        Let us take an easier example. Now, I would say the ancient art of storytelling–that is, sitting with people and spinning a good yarn–is mostly dead, only preserved in some way in the form of radio dramas. When telling a story orally, stuff like pitch, tone and voice are all very important. If Welles had simply monotoned War of the Worlds nobody would have bought into it. It is part of the medium and part of the communication.

        On anime’s part, the screenplay is of course very important. But it is not written in the same way as a novel. It accounts for visual/audio. It is a different way to tell a story. If a director cannot use the visuals ideally to tell their story, I would necessarily have to rank their work as inferior. To cite a pertinent example, I still remember in Angel Beats that the main character would, more than once, narrate outright that a certain scene was sad. I despaired. This is not how you do it, folks.

      • December 3, 2012 at 8:24 pmZen

        If a director cannot use the visuals ideally to tell their story, I would necessarily have to rank their work as inferior.

        My argument was not that you needn’t rank a visually weak work as inferior, it was simply that visuals shouldn’t be given so much weight that it becomes dispositive of quality as an entirety in of itself without also considering the narrative, which is what seems to be happening here with Little Busters. In other words, a show should never receive a failing score for weak visuals alone- a show with weak visuals can only fail as an aggregate of its visuals and its narrative. But a show should be allowed to fail for having a weak narrative, even if it has stellar visuals because the narrative is more important. In other words, on a scale of 100, if the passing score is 60, then at least 60 points should allocated to narrative quality, with 40 or less being allocated to aesthetics. On this scale, a show that receives a score of zero for aesthetics is indeed far worse than a show that excels at it, if both narrative scores are equal- but it never receives a failing score (i.e. is never dismissed as utter garbage simply because it has poor visuals). But the visually superior production may still be deemed to be a complete failure (receive a failing score below 60) if its narrative quality is unsatisfactory.

        I don’t think which came first matters, but surely the visual came before the written, no?

        Alright, I’ll admit that I was being a little sensationalistic (Just a little? XP) when I said “evolutionary ancestor.” Clearly cave paintings depicting hunts came long before any written words.

        But surely you cannot deny that a strong written script is the basis of any good TV show or movie (I am referring to theater and its progeny when I say “visual media” and not the broader definition of the term that would include paintings and their like). Imagine the chaos that would ensue if one tried to film a movie with a “script” that was nothing more than a series of textless drawings. Which is more important? The written script, or the visual presentation that is based off of it? I like to think the script, because a strong narrative can stand alone as a story without any visual accompaniment, while theatric visual media (again I use the term narrowly) cannot exist without the written script. So no matter how significant visuals may become in an evaluation of the quality of theatric visual media, their importance should never exceed that of the narrative because the narrative is the foundation of the entire presentation…

      • December 3, 2012 at 9:22 pmPasserby

        I think it would be artificial, at best, to divorce the story from the telling. The impact of a story hinges much on the way it is told. Indeed, I may have engaged in a thrilling 48 hour hunt of a great mammoth, struggling with both beast and snow until finally in a moment of heroics I threw down my prey to the celebration of my tribe, but if all I can do is scribble some sticks flying at a blob with a tusk on the cave wall then a lot of it is lost in translation.

        Of course it never gets quite that bad in anime but at some level the analogy holds. Many a good stories are ruined because they are told badly, and the worst thing is that we’ll never truly realise how good the story is supposed to be because we haven’t really been told it properly.

        Humans have been telling stories for a long time; certainly before print was ever imagined. The yarns by the fireside from generations past are often very simple fares, but made bigger by the telling. It’s all about getting that idea in your head across to some other people and having them feel what you wanted to convey. You can write it, but you don’t have to.

        Let me apply my limited experience in theatre to anime, since it’s somewhat applicable. So let’s say you start out writing a script, and that’s really dandy. But then that’s not a play; you get some actors to do a reading, draw up a storyboard, design and redesign costume and props, hire a stage to do the blocking, and by the time you’ve got a performance your script is a mess of notes and changes and directions and everyone’s pretty much just thrown out their originals because what they’re doing is not reciting a script, but performing a story.

        Of course you can just not have a script in the first place. Impromptu theatre yields surprisingly entertaining results.

      • December 3, 2012 at 10:01 pmZen

        Of course you can just not have a script in the first place. Impromptu theatre yields surprisingly entertaining results.

        But it’s rarely if ever considered to be the highest form of its art. It may certainly be entertaining, but it is almost never an exemplar of objective quality- if it were, then we would be seeing impromptu plays taking over Broadway- but this clearly hasn’t yet happened.

        …by the time you’ve got a performance your script is a mess of notes and changes and directions and everyone’s pretty much just thrown out their originals because what they’re doing is not reciting a script, but performing a story.

        Even if we concede that scripts are often heavily edited to the point where they are unrecognizable by the time actual production commences (Reality is probably not nearly as dramatic), it doesn’t change the fact that the entire production is still based on a written script, changed as it may be. And even if the wording of the the script may have changed, the underlying narrative that it conveys remains the same- and that narrative is the basis of every other visual element of the production.

        …but if all I can do is scribble some sticks flying at a blob with a tusk on the cave wall then a lot of it is lost in translation.

        I think writing is far more capable of conveying intent and meaning than primitive cave paintings. In any case, as far as theatrics are concerned, the story is always first given physical, observable form through its written script- what the story actually looks like within the author’s imagination ends up mattering little; the visual portion of the presentation is constructed entirely around the written narrative as a projection of its image as interpreted by others (directors, actors, prop-makers etc.), therefore the written script is its foundation and core- and consequently always more important. Even in cases where the director is the screenwriter, the narrative matters more than the vision within his/her imagination because direct control over most elements of the production falls to others who only have his written script and verbal instructions to go on when attempting to interpret his intent, he/she is simply an overlord who is one-step removed from it…

      • December 3, 2012 at 10:52 pmPasserby

        …the visual portion of the presentation is constructed entirely around the written narrative as a projection of its image as interpreted by others (directors, actors, prop-makers etc.), therefore the written script is its foundation and core- and consequently always more important.

        Nah, not really.

        Stories in the end are just ideas in a head. You can communicate a story by telling it, singing it, drawing it, dancing it, even writing it; those are just mediums. As far as performance theatre goes, the performance is the main thing. Why write the script? Mostly for record and transportation. Writing is a brilliant invention like that. Why, instead of telling each actor what their lines are you can just type it up, print a few copies, and hand them out. Genius.

        Personally, I find reading scripts and incredibly inferior compared to seeing it on stage. All respect for the Bard, but reading Shakespeare is a bore. It doesn’t speak to me if I’m not at least reading it out loud. On stage it’s pretty good stuff. On paper, bleh.

        Actually Shakespeare is probably a bad example because people hold his poetry as the foundation of all modern literature etc. and I’m sure there are those spend a lot more time reading his plays than watching them, which I’ll give them credit for. But as far as story goes, you can really just pick up any given Shakespeare and go nuts. Hamlet with mafioso? Go for it. Hamlet in five minutes? Shoot. Hamlet entirely in gangster rap? Grab the boomboxes. Hamlet on the African savannah? Disney’s done that one. How close you stick to the script depends mostly on how much flak you want from the puritans. To say that your performance is faithful to the original script is really just saying your performance is faithful to the way previous generations of actors have decided to perform the play.

        I’m not at all saying scripts and screenplays aren’t important. Hell yeah they are. Their importance is in the effort some writer has taken to design the way a story should be told. Right until the moment your story goes on stage or the TV or the silver screen it isn’t complete. I’ll say it again: you can’t divorce a story from its telling. The “narrative” isn’t some super secret ingredient you can isolate, pull the lights off, and digest by itself. The narrative pervades the entire work. It’s a holistic experience.

      • December 3, 2012 at 11:16 pmZen

        Personally, I find reading scripts and incredibly inferior compared to seeing it on stage.

        Of course people tend to find script-reading to be dull and inferior to the actual production. You wouldn’t have much of a building if all you had was the foundation, after all- but you can’t have the rest of the building without the foundation. The foundation may be boring, basic and unseen- buried in the ground, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is the singular most important part of the building because the building can’t exist without it. Likewise, the written script is the foundation of all theatrical production- it may pale in comparison to the completed product when observed alone, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is the foundation and basis of the entire product and therefore the most important part of it. Being vastly more appealing does not make something more important by default, although lamentably people tend to equate appeal to importance.

        The “narrative” isn’t some super secret ingredient you can isolate, pull the lights off, and digest by itself. The narrative pervades the entire work. It’s a holistic experience.

        I suspect that the “narrative” you’re referring to is the amorphous final culmination of the entire production than manifests at the endpoint where the performance actually commences. The “narrative” that I am referring to is something else entirely; it is the guiding force behind the entire production that shapes an influences every aspect of it- and it manifests itself in the physical realm as the written script; every aspect of the production is built upon the “narrative” delineated by the script, heavily revised or otherwise- it is foundation of the entire production; all other aspects such as aesthetics could not and would not exist without it, and are simply functions of its interpretation…

      • December 4, 2012 at 12:07 amPasserby

        No, I don’t see it. There is no great divinity in the script. There is nothing innate about writing stuff down that sanctifies your words and puts it on a different plane from the rest of the cast and crew. The writer is important, sure, but to hold all other parts of the production subservient to some words on some paper does an injustice to the artistic process and risks spitting on the work of all designers, stage managers, directors, producers and actors everywhere.

        When a writer writes a script fundamentally they are trying to tell a story. And they sure are not trying to tell that story by way of a script; they are trying to tell it by way of a play. Presumeably you have sort of creative vision and you may even be retained as a consultant. But your script is not Biblical. More than once someone is going to stare at something and say ‘hey, this sucks, let’s change it’. And then they will. What comes out may be vastly different from what you wrote down in the first place. Then you change the script to match what people have come up with. The actual creative process is back and forth.

        If the show goes live and the performance sucked, you cannot point to the script and say ‘but the script was good’ or ‘my ideas were good’ or ‘the narrative was good’. Such protests mean absolutely nothing. There have been many productions of Hamlet. Some of them are really bad. Total stinkers. All of them start with the Bard. By the same token I’ve seen productions with no script at all, just a concept, movement, and emotion. You’ll never see it more than once, but brilliant stuff.

        Back to Little Busters: we weren’t really talking about the screenplay of Little Busters–I’ve of course never seen it–but the original source of Little Busters, the VN, was good. But even though the VN told a good story it in no way means the anime will be able to tell a good story too–but it may. They will have to tell their stories differently. The anime definitely can’t have the text roll past the screen. It definitely can’t engage viewers in the baseball minigame. As a visual medium, it will do so partly with visuals. They are not just “aesthetic” or superficial. They are the means by which they’re telling the story. If JC Staff’s execution is good, they will tell a better story. If their execution is bad, they will tell a worse one. Critique of the execution is no less valid than critique of original work.

      • December 4, 2012 at 12:41 amZen

        But your script is not Biblical. More than once someone is going to stare at something and say ‘hey, this sucks, let’s change it’. And then they will. What comes out may be vastly different from what you wrote down in the first place. Then you change the script to match what people have come up with. The actual creative process is back and forth.

        It isn’t biblical, but it isn’t so fluid that it becomes a completely different animal by the end of the production process, either. Whatever it may become at the end of the creative process, it is still based upon and inspired by the writer’s original script which was the foundation for everything- even divergent ideas only exist because there was a foundational idea to diverge from to begin with. And if you change your script along the way, then that only means that your foundational artistic vision has changed, doesn’t it? So it is reflected in the script, which is the first physical manifestation of the artistic vision that the entire crew is subject to, whether it originates from the writer or not…

        If the show goes live and the performance sucked, you cannot point to the script and say ‘but the script was good’ or ‘my ideas were good’ or ‘the narrative was good’. Such protests mean absolutely nothing.

        But where there was a strong script there was potential- that still doesn’t make the production a good production overall, but I do think that it shouldn’t be considered a complete failure. The same script in the hands of a more competent crew would almost certainly result in quality.

        There have been many productions of Hamlet. Some of them are really bad. Total stinkers. All of them start with the Bard. By the same token I’ve seen productions with no script at all, just a concept, movement, and emotion. You’ll never see it more than once, but brilliant stuff.

        And every one of them with vastly different foundational narratives. Each playwright who writes his/her own Hamlet inspired play does so by imposing his/her own artistic vision/interpretation upon the basic story, creating a script and narrative that is distinctly his/her own, separate from the original- if that person’s vision happens to s*ck, then his/her foundational script will also s*ck, as will the actual production. A foundation with a similar basic structure but made of vastly different building materials; that’s what Shakespeare rehashes are- if that new material s*cks then your building (production) falls flat…

      • December 4, 2012 at 1:34 amPasserby

        I think we’re arriving at a point where we can agree now. Let us say that the script is simply the production recorded into words. Let us say that every good production will have a vision of how to turn a concept into a communicable story. And let us say that even if the original vision was ambitious and interesting and whatnot, or even if your original story you’re basing your work on is pretty rock, you are in now way guaranteed to quality and can still screw it up. It’s just more the pity if you do, because that vision is left incompletely communicated.

        As far as bad Hamlets go, it could just be a bunch of schoolkids with no interest in Shakespeare forced to do Hamlet by their English teacher and, armed with only dusty copies of the play found in their school storeroom, decide that there’s no way they can get failed no matter how little they cared. I went to one of those. It was embarrassing just to watch.

      • December 4, 2012 at 2:47 amZen

        I think we’re arriving at a point where we can agree now.

        And so our arguments converge. Funny how these things work, persistent argument for two (apparently) separate positions sometimes eventually leads to agreement…;)

        As far as bad Hamlets go, it could just be a bunch of schoolkids with no interest in Shakespeare…decide that there’s no way they can get failed no matter how little they cared. I went to one of those. It was embarrassing just to watch.

        Lol, let’s just say that’s what happens when your “artistic vision” is to simply pass literature class and and never touch Shakespeare again- the silver lining is that I suppose it might end up being “so bad it’s good” if you happen to be into that kind of thing…XP

        (Careless posting, I think there’s a duplicate, Sorry Enzo! :$)

    • December 3, 2012 at 4:19 pmGuardian Enzo

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Passerby. I do think you’re making some assumptions that are questionable, starting with the elephant in the room analogy with the studio decision. In no way is this the big issue nobody is talking about – it’s been a drumbeat since long before the series actually aired. It’s not the elephant in the room – it is the room.

      I can also tell you that in my view, saying that LB is thematically just another anime doesn’t synch with how it feels to me so far – maybe that will change. LB plays like an anime from 10-15 years ago, when this sort of friendship focus was more common – as I’ve said, not knowing any better I might have said that it was written by Maeda before the darker themes of Clannad and Kanon inspired him. It’s an altogether more innocent story so far.

      Lastly, on the question of “pre-emptive” defensiveness and going on the offensive, I’ll say this. When people who have the temerity to like LB receive so many personal attacks for doing so (just look at the comments for the first 8 eps here, on LiA, and generally on the web) there’s nothing pre-emptive about it. And I think, more than anything, as I get deeper into the series I’m starting to understand why it appeals to me in a way that makes it easier to formulate those reasons in writing. It’s really as simple as that.

      • December 3, 2012 at 5:43 pmPasserby

        I would not go so far as to say something melodramatic like the choice of studio is the entire room. or at least not treat it as such. To do so would be to conflate what is, from the way I see it, three separate issues: whether the source material Little Busters is good, whether the anime adaptation is good, and whether the choice of JC Staff was a mistake yada yada. The third one is the elephant, but only in the context of my own post because I tend to avoid talking about it. It’s such an impractical and inflammatory avenue of discussion.

        I don’t think Maeda really ever gets dark; at most he approaches heavy and sometimes depressing. As a VN reader I do appreciate you finding Little Busters all very innocent so far (though I guess only if we forget Komari’s drama (heh, irony) and only somewhat more so than Clannad since we don’t have Tomoya’s father issues). It’s not the extent of Little Busters, but enjoying the frolicking is a big part of the Little Busters experience.

        For a dark take on similar subject matter…I guess Darker than Black 2? Though I guess it’s on a rather extreme end of the spectrum.

      • December 3, 2012 at 6:00 pmGuardian Enzo

        My point isn’t that the studio choice should be the paramount factor – it’s that the reality of the situation is that the studio situation is a major reason (though not the only one) why this show is facing such an uphill struggle, and it shouldn’t be dismissed as something that’s not being discussed much. Well North of 1000 posts on ASF criticizing JC Staff before the first frame of the series ever aired (while two seasons of Jormungand don’t have that many in total) speaks to the fact that many members of the jury rendered their decision before the trial even started.

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:31 pmPasserby

        I totally understand where you’re coming from. There are many series that I wish more people would get a chance, and it is infuriating when people don’t have anything substantive to say when dismissing them. On the same token though, one trap I find myself having to avoid is not being able to respond calmly to legitimate criticism when it arises. Extreme partisanship often gets in the way of open and earnest discussion. It is true that if you like a show you have ‘no responsibility to justify it to anyone who disagree’ but I think that, as a fan, giving what we enjoy real analysis so that we can share our enthusiasm with others properly is a noble task. This is especially true when you’re the writer for an anime review website. You really have to take a higher intellectual ground than the trolls.

        I apologise in advance if I came off somewhat patronising there. I may take public forums a bit too seriously.

    • December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pmYerld

      A-1 is an Aniplex studio, so they primarily serve their parent company. All we know is that Aniplex made an offer but were turned down because Key was unhappy with the proposed team.

      The other angle is money. Warner committed to what may be a 52 episode project. While the budget per episode is clearly underwhelming, they’re actually guaranteeing a huge amount of money from the get-go. Were competing companies willing to go that far?

      Last year, Warner’s producer (Kouhei Kawase) even suggested that Key may have struggled to find a company that was willing to commit enough money.

    • December 3, 2012 at 7:28 pmmoonpie

      Geez, Passerby! Stop writing novels!! Now I have NOT MUCH complaint on what you say at all since it’s clearly thougtful, but they are so bloody loooooooooooooong!! Every single of them (except for one)!!!!! Moderation, my friend. Moderation!! And your novel bug caught up these other posters who reply to your novels. Look what you’ve done!!! Look at the length of this thing (lame joke alert: that’s what she said!) Yes I hold you responsible since you started it, ehhehehe.

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:33 pmPasserby

        Should I write a 1000 word apology? It will demonstrate my sincerity.

    • December 4, 2012 at 2:44 amZen

      I think we’re arriving at a point where we can agree now.

      And so our arguments converge. Funny how these things work, persistent argument for two (apparently) separate positions sometimes eventually leads to agreement…;)

      As far as bad Hamlets go, it could just be a bunch of schoolkids with no interest in Shakespeare…decide that there’s no way they can get failed no matter how little they cared. I went to one of those. It was embarrassing just to watch.

      Lol, let’s just say that’s what happens when your “artistic vision” is to simply pass literature class and and never touch Shakespeare again- the silver lining is that I suppose it might end up being “so bad it’s good” if you happen to be into that kind of thing…XP

  • December 3, 2012 at 9:42 amzeroyuki92

    The main point, that has been repeated million times already, is that… This show has a long “investment time”. Common Route is the time when the character grow on people naturally with the slow pace that this show (and visual novel) have. Without that, the real story will fall very flat. Many shows have similar fate, such as Steins;Gate (many people come after the buzz when the time loop started), I also remember that early Clannad don’t offer anything much other than comedy and godlike art (but since people already trust KyoAni, they don’t bitch about it). This season’s example would be Robotic;Notes (in contrast with LB that got many flak just because J.C and it’s animation, R;N goes unnoticed and forgotten).

    Of course, the common question must be : “But will the investment worth it?”

    Little Busters didn’t became the #1 VN in 2007(?) just because it’s a Key work. Rewrite (Key’s VN after LB) is long awaited by Key fans, but the reception about it is very mixed and generally isn’t very satisfying. LB, however, have a very great reception by it’s fans because of one thing : Refrain.

    Not just because it’s awesome like After Story, but because it shed many different light to the entire story of LB. Could JC adapt that into anime wonderfully? The only answer would arrived at a year at best. Right now, the battle didn’t even started yet.

  • December 3, 2012 at 10:03 amKaioshin Sama

    lol I love the reaction to Enzo’s efforts here. How dare he point out the rather obvious butthurt and double standard on display here.

    It’s funny because the way I recall it even though nobody else seems to is that the reaction to Clannad initially was very much the same as it was to Little Busters here only you had the diehard Kyoani fanbase trumpeting what they saw as all these great achievements to fill out the discussion cause that’s what they do whenever it happens to be that particular studio involved and because they seemingly can’t think of much else to talk about. God help us if it were actually Kyoani doing this adaptation you know that’s what people would be talking about for the most part too instead of the actual storyline.

    In the meantime though the general reaction to Clannad as it was airing was basically that it didn’t really live up to the hype, was kind of slow and dull and that they were kind of disappointed. Sound familiar folks? In fact I only really recall people going bonkers for Clannad after that one episode deep into the After Story season, way after much of the plot had already transpired, when Tomoya went to make up with his dad (in what I found to be a genuinely strong scene) that people started to get really keen on Clannad and then it was over. With that strong finish it seems like everyone retroactively forgot just how slow a build up it was till the payoff week to week and the actual reaction as it was airing.

    Basically the only difference that I can see is without there being a Kyoani factor for people to rally around and trumpet about there’s really nothing to fill the gap while the story works it’s way through the extremely (IMO) hit or miss Key comedy fare.

    • December 3, 2012 at 6:37 pmPasserby

      While I still agree that the stories of both Clannad and Little Busters start off rather slow, I think we need to keep in mind that ultimately both JC Staff and Kyoto Animation are doing adaptations. While Clannad is strongest in the After Story and Little Busters strongest in Refrain, we should note that in the leadup to these points the two studios have adapted the stories somewhat differently. Rather than bait controversy by accusing one side of being biased compared to the other and whatnot, I think we should instead, if we really are going to talk about this, honestly address the central issue and have a good look at what the two studios have done.

      I don’t quite recall the same reactions as you do about Clannad; my impression was that the internet was generally positive even if they weren’t reaching for the medals until After Story. Rather than just pitch my memory versus yours (unreliable things, memories are) let us take a trip on the way-back machine to when Clannad was covered by the illustrious Omni on this very site. It’s interesting that we’re now on episode 9 of Little Busters, because episode 9 was when Fuuko’s route finished in Clannad. If we peruse the commentary of episodes 1 to 9 we can perhaps extract a small sample size of the general reaction.

      Omni never really did go on lengths with analysis, preferring to just write up summaries, but from his closers at the end of each episode I think he generally enjoyed it. The user comments feature people being mostly positive, with some offering contrary opinions, and some fine folks taking offence to the positiveness, like yourself. In particular episode 9 featured mostly satisfaction with the arc, with the majority of criticism being about Fuuko’s character itself, and some not really buying into the drama.

      JC Staff is obviously doing things differently from Kyoto Animation for Little Busters. For one, they’ve finished Komari’s route (like Fuuko, also the first route) some time ago. Whether one holds superior to the other is a discussion for another time. But I will not conclude that the difference of Little Busters is based simply on fan perceptions of the different studio.

  • December 3, 2012 at 10:16 amJustin

    Needs less hating, needs moar Waaffuu~!!

  • December 3, 2012 at 10:29 amdanpmss

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • December 3, 2012 at 10:53 amgrunt

      Your “fact” is somehow not really there. You obviously have not watched it till the end because Show Spoiler ▼

      • December 4, 2012 at 1:31 amdanpmss

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • December 4, 2012 at 1:35 amdanpmss

        and i liked your comment, because it was the same for me here XD
        my mind is a bit paradoxal, so… let’s forgot about clannad and talk about little buster :)

  • December 3, 2012 at 11:20 amAnanas

    Enzo, once again struggling with the fact that most people aren’t as good as him at overlooking a show’s flawns.
    People, why can’t you have the same opinion as Enzo?
    At least you could pretend to agree with him.

    • December 3, 2012 at 4:25 pmGuardian Enzo

      Thank you for proving my point.

  • December 3, 2012 at 11:48 amJust Passing By

    I really enjoyed this episode.THIS segment was what made me smile the most with their syncronized “Hime Laugh” just wish they showed the battle though. I also loled at the cooking part and the jelly part! XD

    There’s a lot of gif material in this episode and I hope that “someone” *cough*MasterDragonKnight*cough*! *sneeze*†Croos†*sneeze*! …would make them…ummm sorry about that, I’m a little sick today! ;P

    • December 3, 2012 at 4:46 pmboo

      Interestingly that pic just about sums up and reminds me why most Westerners do not take Japanese anime seriously -and justly so if that were the norm. Thankfully it isn’t the norm; this is wacky side of japanese anime I don’t care for. And thankfully Janapese anime does offer much more substantial than this sort things.

      • December 3, 2012 at 6:13 pml3reezer

        True. I don’t think a fuck needs to be given about someone(s)’s ill-bred impression of you in this case though.

      • December 3, 2012 at 7:07 pmhoratio

        You fail at insulting, l3reezer. If you’re going to insult someone, which I assume to be boo since you replied to his post, at least make it clear that he’s the target, instead of making it sound so incomprehensibly indirect that no one knows who you’re targeting here!

  • December 3, 2012 at 12:07 pmDvalinn

    You and Slashe kind of hit the nail on the head with the reason why I like this show. Unlike the gazillion friendship speeches of your average shonen, this show manages to build a cast of characters, all friends, in a rather naturalistic fashion (even if it has unrealistic characters, but who cares) and makes us watch their antics. It does feel sincere. The entire show feels nostalgic and comforting, much like some other Key works (Kanon was my favourite). The unrealistic behaviour doesn’t bother me either (well, except Komari) because I’ve seen these shows as pretty much fairy tales from the start anyway. Not every show needs to get all ‘realistic’ with its characters (which in modern terms pretty much means a freaking soap-opera anyway), feelgood shows have their time and place.

    So yeah, this show still remains one of the shows I look forward to each week.

  • December 3, 2012 at 12:43 pmPlayer

    Very nice post. It’s nice how you’re aware of and address more perspectives than just the commenters here on RC who are overwhelmingly positive toward LB with many having read the VN (like me).

    I do expect this show to tempt people back to it after later parts get good reviews. I mean, the show is 1/3 over and we’ve only covered the story of 1 girl (Komari)… I think the latter half of the show will be a lot more interesting.

    Thanks for covering this and I’m glad you find it enjoyable even if it’s not what you expected to like.

  • December 3, 2012 at 1:33 pmjingoi

    Needs more Kud, 100% less “comical” abuse of Muscles from girls.

  • December 3, 2012 at 2:02 pmstarss

    “Collapsed”? ………. why DIDN’T KyoAni get this show anyway? Did something indeed happen that cut off Key’s ties to KyoAni!?

    • December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pmKaioshin Sama

      As I understand it they were offered a production partnership to make a Little Busters anime by Key and declined the offer. People then proceeded to blame J.C Staff for accepting the offer when it came by their doorstep as if they somehow committed some huge offense by wanting to pursue a business opportunity.

    • December 3, 2012 at 2:56 pmHelvetica Standard

      who knows.. They might be tired of adapting KEY works, perhaps? They felt the challenge was to daunting? or they are probably cooking up something of their own? we’ll see if the latter is true once the winter 2012 preview is up :P

    • December 3, 2012 at 4:04 pmPasserby

      From what I understand, there was indeed a proposal of a Kyoto Animation Little Busters. However, as you may know, Kyoto Animation does not make more than one series at a time. This season, they were making Chuunibyou. With the options being to wait or go elsewhere, Key chose to pitch it to another studio and somehow or another it lead to JC Staff making it.

      • December 3, 2012 at 8:10 pmstarss

        Endless Eight and K-On! second season would like a word with you.

      • December 3, 2012 at 11:01 pmPasserby

        I would consider that the exception rather than the rule. Relative to other studios, Kyoto Animation does not make many series. Their model has always been that of extreme focus.

    • December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pmGuardian Enzo

      KyoAni makes huge amounts of money from their corporate sponsorship partners like Kadokawa and Pony Canyon, and they probably decided that producing those series would be more financially rewarding. Not too complicated.

  • December 3, 2012 at 2:11 pmrkn

    Was this scene just a glitch in the file i downloaded or something? It made me rewind it a few times wondering what I just saw.

    • December 3, 2012 at 3:28 pmAccess

      Same thing here, though I didn’t actually notice until someone pointed it out.

      Quite amusing, really.

      • December 3, 2012 at 8:08 pmstarss

        Got that too. It was either a glitch in the video transfer, or JC Staff are lulz.

  • December 3, 2012 at 2:36 pmmistress_kisara

    I actually like this better than the snoozefest of the past few episodes

  • December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pmHelvetica Standard

    Excellent review. I’m glad people have finally come to understand what LB is about (newcomers and VN veterans alike) and how this adaptation is a job well done (so far at least)

  • December 3, 2012 at 3:39 pmDDNB

    I am certainly curious about how they will execute the storyline, whether they will include sasami (Intentional) and Sayaka and the others or not. In a way, I kind of hope not. The overriding themes of friendship and growing as a person are enough to carry it through the bigger arcs to come. I won’t spoil anything as someone who played the VN, but I will say that so far, the execution is JUST right. It slowly builds the story but also knows what it is and takes itself lightheartedly when it needs to. So far, I cannot say I am disappointed by the execution so far.

    My only beef (And this isn’t much of one) is the animation. And I have to say, if that’s my only beef (And they aren’t even QUALITY moments either) then JCstaff is doing one heck of a good job in making this anime work.

  • December 3, 2012 at 4:33 pmfoo

    I’m enjoying the series a lot. The characters are really likeable and work well together, and frankly the show’s just relaxing to watch (and it makes you smile). I also appreciate that it’s not diving straight into plot development, and instead jumping around with the characters and stories; it’s casually showing me more of the world that they live in, plus scattered ‘wafu!’

    The JC Staff production was very jarring in the first few episodes for me. After some of the other high-production anime I’ve been watching, it felt like I was watching anime from ten years ago, and the areas that they cut corners were horribly obvious. But lately they’ve been playing their strengths better. While the quality is still not high production, the last episode (Kud’s) was generally fantastic, and this one managed to do many charming scenes (admittedly alongside some horrible ones like the speed-vegetable slicing).

    It would have been great if LB had a better budget, but it obviously didn’t get one; that itself isn’t JC Staff’s fault. However, it’s still fun to watch.

  • December 3, 2012 at 5:33 pmmoonpie

    Well now I suddenly don’t like this show. Thanks for letting me see the light, Enzo! (tongue firmly in my cheek~~).

  • December 3, 2012 at 6:08 pmEntrav

    I like this episode a bit more than the other ones. The points you touch upon are solid and I’m sure those are J.C. Staff’s “goals.” Although I know there is something deep lingering beside the story-line, I can’t help but sometimes be a bit bored. But, I’ll stick through until the end to see what it has to offer because sometimes, the humor and the “friendship” are quite enjoyable to watch.

  • December 3, 2012 at 8:49 pmAnomalous

    Fret not, Enzo. Your not alone.

  • December 3, 2012 at 11:27 pmTakurannyan

    Back when i read the novel, and now as i watch it being animated, i have always been thinking “If only my youth was like that, if only i had such a circle of friends”. My life hasn’t been bad, but these guys make me jealous, very much so. I also hold the same feeling towards anime of the same kind. It is just kinda a personal feeling since i wasn’t blessed with such back then.

  • December 4, 2012 at 3:21 amd-LaN

    http://randomc.net/image/Little%20Busters/Little%20Busters%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    For some reason I keep seeing her as a Purple haired Rin Tohsaka ^.^;

  • December 4, 2012 at 5:19 amfishell

    Is this anime worth watching? Is it something like as good as Clannad After Story? Kinda avoiding this anime first but might watch later if it is that good…

    • December 4, 2012 at 7:28 amSherylfan

      I’m really enjoying it so far. If you like key other work I say give it a go. It has that same comedy factory and light heartness and charming characters as the other key shows. Of course it’s still in the build up phase and character development so it’s more in clannad phase no idea if the twist and final story revelation (like after story) will be as good as previous shows, I will leave that answer to people who read the VN.

      But yeah if you are waiting then better to ask again when the show is at completion for more full in depth view then you can marathon.

  • December 4, 2012 at 7:21 amSherylfan

    funny how people still complain and we are 9 eps in, if it’s not that enjoyable and you have no patience to wait out a show why are you still posting/watching. It’s like sword art online, it’s 22 ep in and still gets stupid hate.

    • December 4, 2012 at 7:37 amTakurannyan

      You call them “Tsundere”

  • December 5, 2012 at 2:20 amJason Isenberg

    I just think this show was so hyped up and so high in expectations that it’s ended up being okay. Then again Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai didn’t get that much hype and now it’s probably one of the best anime’s next to Sword Art Online of the year.

  • December 5, 2012 at 5:33 pmTheLastMan

    the success of the title, well for me is not how it is successful in selling its BDs or DVDs… it is how they SUCCESSFULLY PULLED ANIME FANS/FOLLOWERS as they air… and i can see that through may experiences in japan 2ch/bbs, some other forums like MAL (myanimelist) and some other interactions from many other anime fans, IT IS CLEAR THAT MAJORITY, AGAIN, MAJORITY of LB! fans are VN PLAYERS. NON VN players watching little busters are perhaps out of curiosity or already spoiled themselves through the help of wikipedia of other little busters! sites. IT IS ALSO CLEAR that MAJORITY OF NON VN PLAYERS WILL AGREE TO ME. that is, “LB! is still yet to please or amaze me”.

    chuu2, sakurasou, SAO, have pulled, girls, boys, hardcore otakus and other variety of fans thus, their success is clearly evident. dont wish to elaborate as i can see there are karma and for sure, LB! NAZI EXTREMIST will give me ample amounts of negative karma…

    yes, i am a “kyoani BOY” BUT, again i am not against JC staff since they are amazingly successful in sakurasou (loved the moral lessons and such). i loved railgun, (i was jumping for joy after they announced railgun2) and index… but for unknown reason, they cant please me with how they run LB!. i have been a follower of kanon, air and clannad and i have a VN of rewrite (waiting for the english patch by amaterasu. if LB! cant please me, then the staff of LB! must be doing something wrong.

    in finalization of this post, yes, i will dropped LB! now (i dont care if the world doesnt care) and will be picking up again once the SHOW, THE STORY showed up. the story today, yes, it has hints of that story… but its only a “recharger episode” to recharge the curiosity of some fans since past episode are well evident BORING.

  • March 23, 2013 at 11:10 amLim Lynn

    Episode 9 and Episode 23 similarity where Riki thought who tied the message behind the cat tail.