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Little Busters! – 22 »« Little Busters! – 20

Little Busters! – 21

「50ノーティカルマイルの空」 (50 Nōtikaru Mairu no Sora)
“50 Nautical Miles in the Sky”

I had to go back and check, just to be sure she really said it, but she did – “Wafu, wafu! Thank you nano desu!”

One of the things I’ve praised Little Busters for is its straightforward and direct nature – ironic, I suppose, given that the entire series is apparently built around a secret being kept from the audience. But in thematic terms this series is a straight shooter – friendship, decency, empathy – it’s all pretty back-to-basics, Golden Rule stuff. I have to give the show credit for this, though: it really has an innate ability to change moods, and dramatically so, without causing a sense of disconnect. It can go from abjectly lightweight to deadly serious to reflective from week to week, and make them all seem like its native state.

I’m still undecided about the decision to slot the Sasasase episode in between Kud’s one-shot and the start of her arc, though it now seems like the anime was correct in splitting them up for the reasons listed above – there doesn’t seem to be a tonal link between them that would have felt right. If anything though I would have liked to have seen Kud’s exam ep a few weeks earlier so there was more of a gap between it and this episode – as it stands it’s a little bit odd. That said, what I do pick up here is something that’s been simmering beneath the surface but making itself felt a bit more of late, and that’s a sense of mysticism (something obviously not uncommon in Key works). It’s been a slow build, and not a steady one – episodes like last week’s were played pretty straight – but the general trend is upward, and it really became noticeable for me around the time of the Mio arc.

With that in mind, Kudryavka Anatolyevna Strugatskaya would seem like an odd choice to build an arc around at this point in the narrative. But she isn’t, at least for me, because Kud-o is a very strange little girl. She’s easily the most distinctive member of the cast, and as I’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing whatsoever that’s normal about Kud – and that’s an element of her character I really like. Every time it seems as though she’s about to be defined by a trope, she defies it. Her ancestry, her manner of speech, her intellect, even her name – taken from two of the dogs that went into space in the 1950′s at the dawn of the Soviet space program and the name of two legendary Russian science-fiction writing brothers – none of it is conventional in the least. Sure, Kud-o is cute – ridiculously cute – but she’s not like any other cute anime girls in matters of substance. That alone makes her unusual – we’re now seeing some of the details about the other ways she’s unusual.

It’s interesting that Maeda Jun chose to name the country where Kud spent the most time growing up Tevua, because it is in fact the name of a very real tiny island nation – but in every other sense, Kud’s homeland seems fictionalized. Just as there aren’t many characters that could pull off the dialogue Kud uses (such as the phrase at the top of the page) I don’t think there are many anime that could have pulled off the scene where she performs the ritual of her homeland under the stars on the school quad, with Riki’s help. It could easily have been ridiculous or gotten bogged down in clichéd ecchi awkwardness, but LB is so earnest – and so are Kud and Riki – that it instead came off as oddly beautiful and surprisingly sensual, in an innocent and elemental way. I don’t want to overstate the case but I think that scene was really wonderful – this odd girl who never seemed odder than she did at that moment, and Riki – supremely tolerant and a gamer as always – not just putting up with the weirdness but seemingly getting caught up in it himself.

One important element of that scene, of course, is that it represents a link between Kud and her mother – the one who gave her the geometric pattern she asks Riki to paint on her back, and someone she "hasn’t seen for a very long time" (of her father there’s still no mention at all). Kud’s mother is a cosmonaut, and seems to have seen little of Kud altogether – but certainly passed along a sense of wonder and a love of the stars. There are indications that the space program of Tevua is still effectively a tool of the Russian military, and that there are sinister aspects to the mission she’s about to fly for that tiny country – and even, perhaps, that Kud has an inkling of it. But that’s still pretty sketchy – what’s clear s that something goes very wrong with the launch of the rocket, and the sight of it is too much for Kud to bear.

It’ll be interesting to see where Kud’s arc goes from here. It might end up being a straightforward saga of the Little Busters helping her deal with her grief at losing her mother – as we’ve seen in the serious arcs in LB, permanent loss is not somewhere the story is afraid to go. Yet I sense that’s the less likely outcome – I think there’s something more complicated going on with the mother side of the story, and I think the arc as a whole is going to explore corners of the room that haven’t yet been explored, and its importance will extend beyond just Kud’s story itself. I can’t help but dwell on one thing Kud said her mother told her the markings in her crest symbolize – that she should "be a good gear for our world". It’s an interesting and odd sort of thing to say to begin with (quite fitting for Kud’s mother) but it also has the feeling of significance to the world of Little Busters.


Full-length images: 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 26, 30, 32, 34.


March 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm
  • March 3, 2013 at 7:39 pmNaske

    The execution of the major plot points of this ark so far were actually handled pretty well considering their going for the non romantic approach, but having just recently completed this ark in the VN i really couldn’t bring my self to like this episode :/
    the pacing, meaningfulness, and “feelings” just weren’t there (IMO)

    • March 3, 2013 at 7:57 pmNaske

      Oh yea and I didn’t really like how they didn’t show Kud talk to her mom before the launch like they do in the VN ( it just added more of a kick)
      Also I wonder how they are gonna handle the ending of this arc considering the approach they’re going for.
      In the VN *SPOILERS*
      Show Spoiler ▼

      I’m starting to think that it might be better just to go for her bad end where
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Oh yea and I haven’t read refrain so please dont spoil any of it for me if you reply >.<

      • March 4, 2013 at 6:17 pmwherethecowsfly

        Major spoiler of kud´s route
        Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 3, 2013 at 7:47 pmGetchman

    not surprising Kud has a hot mom, but she is nowhere near Akiko’s level

    • March 4, 2013 at 6:10 pmwherethecowsfly

      Akiko and her jam are in other level of hotness

  • March 3, 2013 at 8:05 pmstarss

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 3, 2013 at 8:14 pmNekomimimeido

    Kud-chan best chan!

  • March 3, 2013 at 8:53 pmRoguespirit

    My heart broke for Kud this ep. What I love about her is that she’s so different, so strange.

    It really is sad that she wasn’t able to see her mother much (to the point they’re nearly strangers)but it’s nice that she was able to think of her mother fondly. I get the feeling that she was trying to protect Kud, and judging from what’s just transpired I think that concern was warrented.

    Seriously though her mother looks just like she does now, so young looking so vibrant. She looks like a high schooler herself.

    • March 3, 2013 at 9:24 pmstarss

      Poor little Kud. I hope she realizes just how unique an individual she is, and I hope she puts all her great traits to benefit her life some day.

  • March 3, 2013 at 9:11 pmbaseone

    Hhnngg, HHNNGG, HHHNNNGGG and hhnngg?? Yeah I hhnngg so much in this episode. Little Kud-o with big backpack ha! so cute!

    I hope her mom’s alright.

  • March 3, 2013 at 9:15 pmEinander

    The appearance they chose for Kud’s mom is, to the best of my knowledge,

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • March 4, 2013 at 12:59 pmEinander

      For reference, other characters who are on-screen and voiced but not shown include the dorm manager and all three of Haruka and Kanata’s parents. Saying “someone does not have a portrait or CG art in the original medium, because the artists had other priorities” isn’t a spoiler, and that’s why I didn’t tag it. Relax.

    • March 6, 2013 at 3:07 pmwherethecowsfly

      For what I know kud´s hair was supossed to be silver but there is not evidence of that

      • March 6, 2013 at 3:23 pmwherethecowsfly

        Kud´s mom hair*. Sorry.

  • March 3, 2013 at 11:39 pmPasserby

    The stuff! It is happening! We’re going at it pretty fast, but there’s plenty more stuff that needs to happen before we’re out of Kud’s route, so…zoom zoom, I guess.

    I’m glad they’re teaching Rin more pitches. In the VN, Rin learns more pitches when you hit her cats with the baseball enough times. It was a somewhat evil reward structure–your juicy powerups all tasted like sin. Only slightly less sadistic than aiming for Komari.

  • March 4, 2013 at 5:05 amlegwkio

    The anime’s good but because I played the VN, I can’t help but feel disappointed every time I watch it…

    The VN was just that great.

    • March 4, 2013 at 5:52 amd-LaN

      Well consider LB! VN structure (I do not know wht is it exactly, but I can make a guess), there definitely some hiccup here & there. Heck, even kyoani won’t touch it…

      • March 4, 2013 at 7:26 ambillng

        Some said it would be impossible to story board but here it is

      • March 4, 2013 at 6:59 pmPasserby

        I would agree that Little Busters is hard to adapt, but I would not go so far as to say that it’s ‘impossible to storyboard’ or anything like that. A lot of visual novels are hard to adapt with their route structure, long length and first person perspective but for the most part they still obey laws of logic and causality. Some VNs (like some normal novels) employ narrative techniques or conceits that might translate poorly to a visual medium, but Little Busters is not one of them. It may or may not help that all the route save Rin’s are rather side-storyish (similar to Clannad, and arguably more pronounced) so the focus must always be on the common route–>Rin–>Refrain structure.

        tl;dr: it’s no harder than most VNs, IMHO.

    • March 4, 2013 at 9:30 amGermanguy

      Well in a VN your are in Control. Here at a Anime, your only a “Spectator”. Thats the Different.

      That same goes for Manga. You read the “Future” of the “Anime” your watching, and get bored. While you know what will happen, “Boy/Girl” from the “Future”

      Just Enjoy the Show. Your watching your “favorite” Show

      • March 4, 2013 at 9:33 amGermanguy


        Control = You can select the Outcomes of some Scenes. But you are not really in “Control”. You just selecting Scripts, that someone wrote for you

        Spectator = The “Story Writer” chose the “outcomes” of the Scenes you know. You cannot change it. You are sitting there and watching his “Script choices”

    • March 4, 2013 at 6:08 pmwherethecowsfly

      That will happen with every adaptation of something ever. But that´s the because it´s called adaptation.

  • March 4, 2013 at 5:48 amd-LaN

    Wow, they actually use the maid outfit frm the pic I posted last week lol XD

    Riki!? Wht happened to you!? So HNNNGGG

    Female fanservice scene spotted? XD

    Lol at the beginning part XD Oh you Haruchin. And well…hope Kud mom makes it out alive :X

    • March 4, 2013 at 6:07 pmwherethecowsfly

      I am the only who thinks that kud´s mom is not similar to riki? xD

  • March 4, 2013 at 6:39 amRoguespirit

  • March 4, 2013 at 6:02 pmwherethecowsfly

    That was for sure a shocking way to end an episode D:

  • March 5, 2013 at 5:41 amHibiki-kun

    That last scene was so predictable. -_- Well, every arc needs problem to work with.

    • March 5, 2013 at 7:02 pmwherethecowsfly

      Well, I think it was predictable because you know something needs to happe, and that was the most obvious option.

  • March 5, 2013 at 2:20 pmEntrav

    I enjoyed this one even though it’s predictable for me.

  • March 8, 2013 at 9:32 amWherethecowsfly

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 8, 2013 at 9:38 amWherethecowsfly

    Oh, and I forget to mention that an unreliable source has updated the summaries of the lasts 4 episodes, and these are:
    Episode 23:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Episode 24:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Episode 25:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Final episode:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 9, 2013 at 9:00 pmLim Lynn

    Really sad Episode 24. Seems this anime is very promising for tear jeaking moment.