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Little Busters! – 19

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「きっと、ずっと、がんばるのです」 (Kitto, Zutto, Ganbaru no desu)
“I’m Sure I’ll Keep Doing My Best”

It was always going to be hard for this episode to live up to a preview that consisted of Kud saying “I AM A JAPANESE STUPID”, but on the whole I think this one did pretty well.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to blog LB! differently than I do other series, because I react to the show differently than I do any other. I’ve often struggled to figure out just what the unique quality or qualities of LB are that make it work. Yes I’m weak for Kud, I won’t deny that, and that surely makes liking this episode easy to explain – but there are much more involved factors than that. If I’m to choose a word, I believe it’d be hard to find another anime that’s more straightforward than this one is. Little Busters is almost totally transparent – it tells you from the beginning exactly what it’s about (“secret of this world” questions aside – one wonders is this smirk has something to do with that) and goes about doing exactly what it promises. It’s an absurdly simple series in terms of theme – friendship is good. Observe the Golden Rule. Mean people exist – screw them. It delivers angst and drama, for certain, but almost entirely lacking in irony. I love irony as much as the next guy, but there’s something about this direct approach that’s really refreshing.

That said, getting a Kud episode was clearly something I was looking forward to, and she certainly delivers the goods every time. I really like the sheer oddity of Kud – absolutely nothing about her is average. And the more we learn, the more of an odd little puzzle she becomes. She’s a year younger than the other Little Busters, having achieved so many credits through international correspondence – necessary because she never lived anywhere long enough to attend a real school – that she skipped a grade. Of all the many places she lived, the longest stay was in Tevua of all places – a tiny island in the Solomons, near the equator (I confess I’d never heard of it). Her Grandfather worked for Glavcosmos, the old Soviet Space Agency, and Kud is quite the expert in esoteric physics and subjects like hazardous materials management.

There’s more to all that than just backstory – it’s far more unusual than it needs to be simply for narrative purposes, and I like that. I like the fact that Kud isn’t a simple ditzy airhead moemoe girl – she’s actually extremely smart. She passes international exams by mail and writes cogent notes (in Russian) in the margins of her quantum physics texts. She just happens, as Riki sagely observes, to be “good at complicated things and bad at simple things.” She gets nervous and flustered easily, which leads to mistakes on exams. “I have trouble filling in those little bubbles” as she says herself – and in an age of standardized tests, this is a real problem. Given that these are the Little Busters, what else can they possibly do but all pitch in to help her prepare for the next national placement exam?

There’s another recurring theme that appears in this episode too – despite the focus on friendship, there’s no shortage of cruelty in the world. And that certainly includes the girls who mock the “cute little quarter-Japanese” who can’t read English properly and gets flustered every time she speaks publicly. I’ve noticed that it’s the girls in Little Busters who tend to be the really nasty characters, for what it’s worth, and the three who come to gawk at Kud and mock her as she’s studying for her exams really set the blood to boil. Needless to say I knew plenty of people like that in high school – I imagine we all did (or do) – but here’s the thing: wouldn’t it have been great to have a group of friends like Kud has? People who are always around when the assholes pick on you or when things generally so bad, and who never judge you – only support you unconditionally and help you solve your problems? Again, absurdly simple, and there’s possibly an element of wish fulfillment here, but I think that’s a big part of the reason so many find LB to be an appealing story.

There are two other developments in the episode that I find quite interesting, the first of which is that Mio is back, without a word of explanation for her virtual absence in the Haruka arc. Perhaps she just really doesn’t like Haruka – their personalities are certainly oil and water, and that dichotomy generates one of the funniest scenes of the episode when Haruka presents herself to the rest of the group during Mio’s physics lesson and offers up a lame string of gags. Mio stares ahead impassively, wordless, then continues her lecture without a word of acknowledgement. These two are quite like a Manzai team – that Manzai theme tends to run through a lot of the humor in LB, with Riki as the tsukkomi. I also loved Haruka’s “Hey, hey, Girls!” (in English) entrance later in the ep – and the other interesting development was that it seems as if her reconciliation with Kanata has taken hold. In fact with her sister’s tutoring she manages to get an 85% on the tests – but when poor Kud flunks out after (yet again) putting her answers in the wrong column, Haruka pretends she flunked too so she’ll have to take remedial classes with Kud. Of course when the moment comes it isn’t just Haruka, but every member of the Little Busters (even third-year Kyousuke) who’s there in that classroom for Kud – a development that on some shows might have seemed overly sentimental, but on this one was really the only believable outcome.

 

Preview

Little Busters   19   Preview 01 Little Busters   19   Preview 02 Little Busters   19   Preview 03
February 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm
70 comments »
  • February 18, 2013 at 5:50 pmleungclj

    I have been looking forward to Kud’s arc for a long time, and its great to see the bonds between LB is so strong, at the very end, I got a little teary T_T

    as a side note, how can someone understand so much quantum mechanics without being good at maths?….

    • February 18, 2013 at 9:01 pmSmokex365

      The same way someone can program an artificial intelligence algorithm or do binary to 64-bit in their head and struggle with college algebra, ie. me. Math math tends to have nothing to do with math you see in science or computers besides order or operations and some of the steps to solve problems.

      • February 18, 2013 at 9:57 pmRoguespirit

        Practical math vs Academic math, story of my life.

    • February 19, 2013 at 12:04 amrufe

      The answer is you really cannot. You absolutely must have a solid grasp of elementary calculus and linear algebra and have some skill playing with differential equations before you can even manage an introduction to quantum mechanics. Seeing as the rudiments of these are exactly the types of topics that are taught in Japanese high schools there is no way she could be good at one and bad at the other. I mean look, she’s taking the Laplacian of a potential in picture 21, how could she be bad at math?

      Of course applied math is not always the same as real math because that would be a disaster in the laboratory or wherever, but physicists do have to know math extremely well.

      • February 19, 2013 at 9:20 amNitro

        Isn’t Kud’s problem her nerves, and the fact that she doesn’t fill in the bubbles right? I’m sure her grades would be through the roof if she could get over those.

    • February 19, 2013 at 8:51 amWherethecowsfly

      That is explained in the vn, but I don´t remember well xD

    • February 19, 2013 at 11:16 amMiep :3

      I’m hoping, that the “Muscle Sensation” mini-route will be presented with Kud’s route x3

  • February 18, 2013 at 5:59 pmDerp

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • February 18, 2013 at 7:21 pmD-LaN

      Plz provide reasons for your arguments against the show if you do not want to be seen as a troll if you are not one.

      • February 18, 2013 at 9:53 pmDerp

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • February 18, 2013 at 10:44 pmMCAL

      The arc isn’t over yet. It’s just taking a one episode break (For some reason).

      • February 19, 2013 at 8:43 amWherethecowsfly

        I think is for not rush the things. It would feel odd if in one episode kud ends being happy and in the other she is chained in the woods to be sacrificed

      • February 19, 2013 at 8:44 amWherethecowsfly

        would someone edit my comment? I put the spoilers but did not appear D:

      • February 19, 2013 at 8:55 amWherethecowsfly

        could* Sorry, english is not my language

    • February 19, 2013 at 6:27 amWherethecowsfly

      The arc isn´t over yet!

  • February 18, 2013 at 6:04 pmPasserby

    Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m hoping that Kud’s bullying is a setup for Kurugaya’s route. Crossing my fingers. We seem to be taking a detour into Rin’s route again next week, so it seems that our guesses last week about the Kud’s route subsuming other material before it ends at episode 23 was correct.

    Final note: I’m pretty sure Tevua does not really exist. I’m sure if there was an island republic just north east of Australia we would have extended our hegemonic influence over it years ago.

    • February 18, 2013 at 6:54 pmMCAL

      I’D SPOILER TAG THAT IF I WERE YOU.

      • February 19, 2013 at 12:06 amPasserby

        No, I wouldn’t, and even now I think the spoiler tag is completely unnecessary; it doesn’t spoil anything. At all. For the anime viewer, there is in fact nothing to spoil here. I know as much about the plot structure they will employ for the anime as much as the next guy; it is evidently not the same as the VN. In the two censored paragraphs I merely 1) pointed out the familiarity of Masato’s smirk, which is an in-anime detail and 2) explained one of the mechanics employed by the VN evidently not employed in the anime. For the anime viewer this is both trivia and trivial.

        To slap the spoiler tag on it merely misdirects anime-only viewers and makes them think too deeply about all the hidden twists I could possibly be expliciting. Heads up: there are none. The cigar is just a cigar. Just keep watching.

    • February 18, 2013 at 6:55 pmMCAL

      Tevua does exist though.

    • February 18, 2013 at 6:57 pmGuardian Enzo

      Tevua does indeed exist – it’s part of the Solomon Island chain.

    • February 18, 2013 at 8:53 pmMegas

      Tevua huh, a small “hut village” with a few dirt roads – & yet none of the irony exists here because of obvious reasons. I’m kinda glad they cut Kud’s arc in half. The 2nd part of her arc made me rage (mainly because it hardly made any sense).

    • February 18, 2013 at 11:55 pmPasserby

      Really? Tevua, an ex-Soviet island republic? This is news to me. Thanks for the info.

    • February 19, 2013 at 10:51 amMCAL

      What if there are potential visual novel readers who don’t want to know that?

      • February 19, 2013 at 2:30 pmPasserby

        What, about the structure mechanics? You’ll know that just by finishing a route. It does not come as a revelation. It will be a curious feature that will remain as such until you finish the game.

  • February 18, 2013 at 6:19 pmnagi

    Aww Kud you cute little puppy. :3

    On the preview though, who’s this “Sasami-san” they’re talking about? Was that actually a reference to @Gabaranai?

    • February 18, 2013 at 6:56 pmMCAL

      That would be the Ojousama with the purple. Ya know, Viva Croquet Soba!

    • February 18, 2013 at 7:27 pmD-LaN

    • February 19, 2013 at 12:08 amnagi

      Thanks guys! So she’ll have a role, huh.. I wonder what that’ll be. She’s virtually non-existent during the past few episodes so I can’t remember her.

      • February 19, 2013 at 8:48 amWherethecowsfly

        This makes me realize that in the anime sasami has only appeared in 3 episodes D:
        I hope they animate her arc, is so emotional and cute ;__;

  • February 18, 2013 at 6:36 pmrasone0104

    Ican actually see the ending…
    this show will probably Show Spoiler ▼

    if it does it’s the perfect sequel hook at the same time it’ll give the feeling that this half of the show in a tad bit pointless as the second half will contain more of the answers and this first half is just pure character development.

    • February 18, 2013 at 6:58 pmGuardian Enzo

      I didn’t open your spoiler, but I certainly disagree that character development is pointless.

      • February 18, 2013 at 7:44 pmrasone0104

        Nothing bad about character development but this is like Clannad all over again each girl has an arc second half they don’t matter so what ever small amount of char dev they had didnt really matter in the end. The story really focuses more on the dev or Riki and Rin which is probably the whole purpose of the entire 24 eps

      • February 18, 2013 at 8:35 pmrising7

        I think Riki (and Rin to an extent) has had enough of a stake in the conflict of each heroine so far that it’s grown the viewer’s attachment to them. When future drama comes, having gone through so much will add some maybe unneeded but appreciable emotional weight.

      • February 19, 2013 at 12:26 amPasserby

        I will not comment on Little Busters, but to say that in Clannad every other heroine and their conflict would be, to paraphrase Enzo, belittling the very idea of character development. Even at the most fundamental level things that happen in the past affect how things happen in the future–that’s casuality. A character’s experiences helps build on that character; even if we never see certain people again their stories remain significant because they were the bedrock we call development. Consider all the things you have done and all the people you’ve met in your life. Whether you know it or not, those encounters shape your personality. Extreme example: child abuse.

        So, no matter how you think things will ultimately turn out in Little Busters, it is still entirely likely that on the way we will have character development. That would be–shock horror–good storytelling. This might be alien to you, but do keep at it for now.

        tl;dr: the lights are symbollic, damn it.

    • February 19, 2013 at 8:49 amWherethecowsfly

      That would be epic! But i think it would end with kurugaya´s route. That would be even more epic.

    • February 19, 2013 at 11:13 amMiep :3

      MAJOR SPOILER!
      REALLY!
      It’ll spoil parts of Rin’s and Kurugaya’s routes!
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • February 18, 2013 at 7:19 pmrising7

    It was a lot of fun to see the whole gang chip in to help Kud – curious to see how the LB! crew will be handled when we get deep into her arc. Was also nice to get some more dimensions to Kud, as well as the bits of payoff from Haruka’s arc. The Haruchin/Miochin dynamic is certainly amusing and I wouldn’t mind getting some more of that, having read some good bits of it in the VN recently.

  • February 18, 2013 at 7:34 pmHelvetica Standard

    ooh.. I was proven wrong. Show Spoiler ▼

    Nice touch, I like it :3

  • February 18, 2013 at 7:50 pmKouji

  • February 18, 2013 at 8:18 pmCrunchie

    I believe it’s the girls who are portrayed as mean because, well, boys aren’t really mean to girls (Little Busters has a lot of girls), and girls around the age shown here are most definitely in the stage where all they can do to make them feel better about themselves is to look down upon and bully those that show a slight weakness.

    I am female, I attended an all girls high school, and I’m not bothered by how these girls are shown simply because that’s really how they are in high school.

    Also, I’m kind of hoping for an OVA of the rest of Kud’s story~

  • February 18, 2013 at 8:40 pmNoSicko

    “PRIME MINISTER!”

    Love that natural english-speaking accent (no offense to Kud).

  • February 18, 2013 at 8:40 pmstarss

    Poor little Kud. I remember freaking out over grades in school, so this ep hit me hard. And since she’s the foreigner in the class she expects herself to be the most proficient in English. The world puts expectations on us that we cannot or are not reach. Those classmates who mocked her behind her back are jackasses and Kud should never listen to them!

    After watching this ep, I feel like a sucker for always laughing even a little at her poor Engrish. I’m sorry, Kud!

  • February 18, 2013 at 9:21 pmAnonymous

    Sorry, spoiling is still spoiling.

    • February 19, 2013 at 2:09 amCybersteel

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • February 19, 2013 at 3:06 amAnonymous

      Who’s Kinny?

      Anyway, what’s with the 5 downvotes for? I didn’t exactly spoil anything, so learn to chill, folks.

    • February 19, 2013 at 3:46 amAnonymous

      Sorry, spoiling is still spoiling.

      With all due respect, sir, I’m going to have to angrily disagree that that post of mine was spoiling. You seem to make a major confusion between “hinting” with “spoiling”. By your standards, a lot of posts in previous episodes ought to be deleted and edited away as well.

      Definition of “spoiler” – A remark which reveals important plot elements from books or movies, thus denying the reader (of the article) the proper suspense when reading the book or watching the movie.

      Definition of “hint” – An indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion.

      In my original post prior to your brutal edit, I was NOT denying anyone not in the know the “proper suspension” of revealing whatever it was I was even hinting at. There is NO inference as to ANYTHING, besides what is being observed in that scene. A person not in the know would not have even suspected anything.

      If anything, it would ironically be your OTT reaction instead that would have prodded those not in the know of even suspecting something.

      • February 19, 2013 at 5:27 pmGuardian Enzo

        I’m not interested in picking a fight with you “Anonymous”. But ask yourself this: what if a new viewer doesn’t want any “hints”? What if they want to figure out themselves without being “helped” by a VN viewer? Call it spoilers or hints, whatever floats your boat – it still materially changes the viewing experience. And, let me add, you didn’t even use spoiler tags so new viewers would at least have a choice about whether to read your “hints”.

      • February 20, 2013 at 3:50 amAnonymous

        what if a new viewer doesn’t want any “hints”?

        The “hint”, if you even consider that a “hint”, was NOT supposed to be obvious except to the most seasoned of VN players. All I merely said was “guys, pat yourself on the back”. I would say it was more a coded message rather than a hint.

        What if they want to figure out themselves without being “helped” by a VN viewer?

        Whoever said anything about me helping them? This is just you second guessing my intention.

        And, let me add, you didn’t even use spoiler tags so new viewers would at least have a choice about whether to read your “hints”.

        That’s not the position you had when you brutally edited some people’s posts in previous episodes, EVEN with spoiler tags on.

  • February 18, 2013 at 9:23 pmbaseone

    Little Busters’s are with you through thick or thin. To be honest I thought Kud-o’s arc would have been a 2-3 episodes but then I’m ok with 1 ’cause everything is well explained. Hate this three stooges.

    • February 19, 2013 at 6:33 amWherethecowsfly

      This is not all of the kud´s arc. Only 1/3 of the story. her complete path will be adapted in episodes 21-22 (and maybe 23). and comes the best of the best. In my opinion the best route of the vn!

  • February 18, 2013 at 9:25 pmAnonymous

    Is it really realistic to believe that a well-travelled kid like Kud could not read basic conversational English? Even if she isn’t a native English speaker, surely she would need a certain level of conversational English to get by living in so many countries. Can someone please enlighten me on this?

    Or something must be wrong with the textbook she’s got.

    That said, I’m willing to ignore the history buff in me yelling at how unrealistic it is for Imperial Russia, and its successor state the Soviet Union, to have a colonial presence in the South Pacific without getting past Imperial Japan and American naval presence.

    • February 18, 2013 at 10:31 pmfoo

      Yes, it’s realistic. If you are travelling a lot you’re likely to be communicating mostly with your family in your own language. Secondly, it’s very common for people to live in English speaking countries for years and not know the language at all. It’s also common for Japanese students to come to Canada for the purpose of English immersion. They may take simple jobs and have a very very hard time dealing with simple questions from customers. For example, if you ask about anything unrelated to the menu they can get completely blocked; even if they have a clue what you said they have no idea how to respond.

    • February 19, 2013 at 12:33 amPasserby

      Back in the days of antiquity when I was still at university we’d get a lot of international students in commerce and business classes. They had a tendency to stick together–which is a natural instinct–and mingled less with the natives. Those not already fluent in English never really do pick it up, because they never really do get to use it conversationally. There was always a lot of grief come essay time.

      It’s really hard to just pick up a language unless you use it. For a kid who’s always travelling, never integrating, and most importantly never socialising at school it would not unreasonable to lack language ability. Kud’s grandfather evidently spent all that time teaching her Japanese instead.

    • February 19, 2013 at 3:00 amAnonymous

      Thanks for the explanation, folks, sure clears up a lot of my confusion.

  • February 18, 2013 at 10:18 pmLoveAsuna

    good!!!!! Kudo episode started!!! I was looking forward it about the Little Buster’s most adorable lori@@
    I have not played the game of this anime but Kudo is great

  • February 18, 2013 at 10:23 pmEntrav

    I wanted to see more about Kud :( Next episode is about Sasami-san? Eh, whatever.

    • February 19, 2013 at 6:35 amWherethecowsfly

      You will see more kud in episodes 21-22. And you sure will be crying when happen.

  • February 18, 2013 at 10:32 pmfoo

    wouldn’t it have been great to have a group of friends like Kud has?

    I’d be very happy with just Kurugaya.

    • February 19, 2013 at 12:04 amMCAL

      I second that notion.

      • February 19, 2013 at 2:11 amCybersteel

        I third that!

    • February 20, 2013 at 7:04 amVaans

      4th!

      The power of friendship is always so strong and that’s what I like about the Little Busters. How I wish I had a group of friends like them.

  • February 18, 2013 at 10:42 pmtaiakun

    I hope Kud has another arc. I’ve enjoyed the episodes where she has been in the spotlight. A single episode dedicated to her was a tad bit short…

    • February 19, 2013 at 6:38 amWherethecowsfly

      Trust me, she takes the brunt when the writers where thinking who would be the most unfortunate girl.

  • February 18, 2013 at 11:19 pmGuardian Enzo

    Full Kud-o arc is definitely happening this season. This was just the appetizer.

    • February 19, 2013 at 2:28 ambaseone

      so this is just the appetizer eh? well looking forward to more WAFU!!

  • February 19, 2013 at 4:15 amGiorno Giovanna

    “Again, absurdly simple, and there’s possibly an element of “wish fulfillment” here.”

  • February 19, 2013 at 5:40 amDvalinn

    Putting your answers in the wrong column…the nightmare of anyone who’s ever done a test like that. Came close myself one time (but luckily I noticed it in time), so I can symphatize with Kud. She sure is lucky with the Little Busters though, I can’t imagine how alone and alienated she must’ve felt if she’d never met them.

    I loved Mio’s reaction to Haruka as well – her deadpan reactions consistently make for some of the funniest stuff in the show.

  • February 19, 2013 at 6:42 amWherethecowsfly

    Loved the episode! Kud is one of the most attractive and tender characters I’ve seen in any anime or manga. Even when I don´t like much her personality I just love how cute she is and this make me love the show even more!

  • February 20, 2013 at 5:49 pmwherethecowsfly

    summaries of the next three episodes!

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Thanks to a MAL user for the traduction!

    • February 20, 2013 at 5:50 pmwherethecowsfly

      I see that they´ll animate the ritual scene, but with a friendship approach instead of love!