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Little Busters! Refrain – 13 (END) »« Little Busters! – OVA

Little Busters Refrain – 12

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「お願いごとひとつ」 (Onegaigoto Hitotsu)
“A Single Wish”

Time to dust off the spoiler warning again…

To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting after last week’s emotional typhoon of an episode. I suppose I wasn’t really thinking that far ahead, because I was so emotionally drained after that ep, especially the last 10 minutes. I know I thought Refrain would never top that episode as an emotional climax – and I certainly don’t think it did here – but about the specifics of what was going to happen afterwards I gave surprisingly little thought. It’s not that I didn’t think it mattered so much as that I wasn’t ready to really think about it.

Well, enter Episode 12 – and on the whole, while I now am thinking a lot about what’s going to happen next I’m not sure what to think about what’s going to happen next. I find myself torn about what I’d like to see happen as well as unsure of what actually is happening. Certainly, I’d like to see a happy ending – certainly happier than what we saw in the first half of this episode. These characters deserve it. But at the same time, that would sort of cheapen the terrible, beautiful sadness we got last week. This is a mood I find myself in often with highly emotional anime as they wrap up, but rarely so much so as with this incredibly emotional one.

In a sense, you could almost say the last two episodes of Refrain are a different series than the first 37 of Little Busters!. Everything we’ve seen up to this point has been illusion, with Kyousuke the one pulling the strings. Now that the curtain has been lifted and the Wizard revealed to be a mortal man, everything changes – what we’re seeing now is the harsh reality that Kyousuke worked so hard to prepare Riki and Rin for. The frozen time has begun to move, and the scales have been lifted from Riki and Rin’s eyes at last.

Except… not really. Or so it seems, anyway, based on Rin’s experiences this week. She certainly seemed to be having very real encounters with the five satellite Buster girls, and she doesn’t seem to have sustained a head injury that could explain delusions. Up that that point everything was shockingly, brutally real – the bus accident was depicted in scarier and more grisly terms than I’d frankly expected. We saw why Kyousuke was on the bus (hiding in the luggage compartment), we saw (sort of) the way Kengo and Masato saved Rin and Riki respectively. And we saw the terrible, heartbreaking aftermath in more detail than in Kyousuke’s half-lucid visions of it last episode.

What we see happen next makes a lot of sense – in fact I sort of saw it coming. Kyousuke tries so hard to make Riki strong, and he succeeds – but then he asks that boy he made strong to walk away from the accident, leaving his friends to die and accepting this new reality. I think this is Kyousuke being too successful for his own good – the old Riki might have done just that, but not this one. And I fully expected Riki to go back to the wreck to try and save whoever he could – though whether that was even possible I have no idea. It’s with Rin that things start to get weird. Komari, at least, implies that she somehow extended her own little slice of the artificial world a little longer because she wanted to see Rin one last time, and tell her the wish she’d promised to make for her all those episodes ago.

There’s no question that the five auxiliary girls have had a lesser role this season, and it was nice to see them get some closure with Rin. Truth be told I found it less emotional than what we saw with the core Busters last week, apart from Kud’s farewell (she’s just so good that it breaks my heart to think of her on that bus). I fully acknowledge the importance of Komari to Rin’s struggle to overcome the traumas of her past – I just don’t feel the character very much. That said, it was nice to see Rin take a more active role in events after her passive performance last episode – but I’m not sure what to make of her “Terminator” moment there at the end. Is she going to bring everyone back to life with sheer Rin power?

VN endings and anime… It’s a checkered past. I’ve really only seen anime adapted from VNs ace the ending twice – Kanon and Mashiroiro Symphony (and they went about it in completely different ways). Most of the time the transition just doesn’t seem to work, but I’ve generally been very impressed with the work JC Staff has done with LitBus so I have a lot of hope. I still feel that in a sense, the series really peaked with the 11th episode – and if so, I’m completely fine that, because I don’t think it could have been any other way. That said I’m highly curious to see where things land, and I feel as if there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to be surprised.

Author’s note: Please “refrain” from posting any VN spoilers (or hints, or confirmations or denials of guesses, or clever spoilers disguised as jokes) into the comments section. Read the comments at your own risk, because I make no promises about catching every spoiler soon after its posted. We’ve made it this far more or less in-tact – let’s keep it going one more week for the benefit of those of us who want to be genuinely surprised.

December 22, 2013 at 6:48 am
27 comments »
  • December 22, 2013 at 7:24 amjellyfish94

    I just feel that somehow, Rin is rather underdeveloped compared to Riki (well, fact that Riki is the main character, but Rin is also supposed to be equally “forced to grow up” by Kyousuke)

    And this episode feels like a last-minute attempt to fill that gap…

    Aside from that, well, I’d go for the happy ending any day, just cannot stand the bad end, it’s too sad…

    • December 22, 2013 at 8:44 amAni_BEE

      I felt like Rin has developed alot up to Refrain but to see her emotionally striped down in a reset of lost memories this last turn of this world was disconcerting. To see our old Rin back in a rather short amount of time was very rushed this episode I give you that but it’s so nice to see her back to her true self and having hope in the future.

    • December 22, 2013 at 4:25 pmJuan

      I get what you’re trying to say but it’s not really the fault of JC Staff in this case. In the VN you will have to play the Rin Route about the 3rd time already before (you play the events again but there are subtle changes with Rin taking the lead rather than Riki) which actually shows Rin’s growth throughout the ordeal in the artificial world.

      Understandably so, they can’t animate that just to show those subtle changes as it would require them to revisit every event in the series all over again. It’s just one of those things that are lost in translation adaptation

  • December 22, 2013 at 7:31 amGiorno Giovanna

    No spoilers? How about Key™ magic?

    • December 22, 2013 at 9:30 amWanderer

      Heh. I was just about to suggest that myself. Key™ magic has solved lots of similar problems in the past, after all.

  • December 22, 2013 at 7:45 ameldaron

    I feel like Kyousuke and Rin should have more interaction thought the series, to make the drama more effective. Even thought they are brother and sister, i can barely (if at all) remember them talking to each other, except Kyousuke giving instructions to Rin.

  • December 22, 2013 at 7:47 amthedarktower

    oh god..those LB emotions.
    whether you expect this or not..you can’t be ready for this. it throws you into the vortex without warning. and it’s getting intense more and more.

    this episode had 2 major events: the return to the real world. and Rin.
    the return to the real was one hell ride. seeing everyone on the bus, including Kyousuke hiding there, knowing what’s gonna happen in just a minute..was painful. and god, those moments of the accident tear you apart since you know Masato and Kengo will protect Riki and Rin and it happens within seconds, but god those seconds lasts longer and it overwhelms you since you watch closely of every little detail when Masaso and Kengo protect them. and it’s not like we can rest here, those two must stand strong and bear it.

    after that it was all about Rin and that one wish.
    I don’t know for sure if it was in Rin’s mind or in the illusion-world’s final moments, before it totally fades away, but Rin remembers the other little busters girls and pay them a last visit, we are reminded here to the chemistry between LB characters, this was all S1 about – establishing it. and truly those 5 girls deserved a proper farewell from Rin. especially Komari, who stayed a little longer in this illusion world, in the place we knew from the very beginning – the rooftop. that one wish..when she said it was her “selfish” decision. I couldn’t hold it anymore. and so as Rin.
    however, we see a tremendous courage from Rin. the strength Kyousuke so wanted to put in Rin, finally bear fruits but through Komari’s love and optimism.
    it’s no secret ’cause ever since ep #1, Rin was also there, with Riki, growing slowly and learns to deal with her difficulties. to become stronger.

    oh Little Busters. you are the best!
    one more episode left. I know I’ll never be ready for this…but I love it. in all my might!

  • December 22, 2013 at 8:36 amstars

    I don’t know about you guys, but this is the first episode that made me cry since the ending to Haruka’s arc! If you’re wondering why Rin has been unusually quiet these past few episodes, here’s your answer- I suppose they were saving her moments for this episode. Rin’s encounters with her friends “in her mind, I guess” pulled off the uncolored-outline style in a way I had never seen before, and I wish more animation would do this!

    I did not know what to do with all these feelz!!!!

  • December 22, 2013 at 8:58 amedo

    Why was haruka in the bus too?

    • December 22, 2013 at 9:27 amWanderer

      Remember Haruka was always skipping out of her class to visit Riki’s? Or just skipping her class and being delinquent in general? The regret that caused that was dealt with in the dream world, but in reality… well… Haruka had every reason to prefer to be with Riki’s class rather than her own.

      • December 22, 2013 at 7:44 pmedo

        Are you talking about the kanata issue? that’s her reason to be in the class trip?

      • December 22, 2013 at 8:22 pmWanderer

        Since I started playing the VN I’ve lost track: during Haruka’s route did the anime never get around to revealing that Show Spoiler ▼

        (spoiler tag used for safety, but frankly I doubt it’s particularly spoilery. If the anime hasn’t mentioned it by this point, I really doubt it’s going to do so in the future, as the only relevance the information has outside of Haruka’s route is to give a bit more information as to why she’s on Riki’s bus instead of with her class, which is something that I believe can be figured out from context anyway)

        Anyway, yes, the fact that she hates Kanata and that Kanata has (from her perspective) been mercilessly cruel to her is the main reason why Haruka’s on this bus. Also she doesn’t really have any friends in her class anyway.

    • December 23, 2013 at 5:16 amedo

      Ohh I see, no it was never mentioned in the anime..

      I guess she had no friends in her class because she was a troublemaker..

      Thank you

      I should read haruka’s route in the VN someday

  • December 22, 2013 at 9:00 amxephx

    I didn’t really want to see the bus crash it was brutally heart breaking.
    Speaking of Kanon maybe that’s the kind of ending we’re getting. The one wish that saves the day kind you know.
    Also that Hana Kana girl showed up in the bus next to Kud, i think. Maybe she still has something to do.

  • December 22, 2013 at 10:11 amVsAllGaming

    The feels were strong with this one ;_; This episode was definitely needed for Rin since she was so quiet and clueless in the last episode.
    http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2013/029/1/0/lie_down__try_not_to_cry__cry_a_lot_combo_by_badflippy-d5t596e.jpg This represents how I felt when she was talking to her friends for the last time, especially with Komari.

  • December 22, 2013 at 12:10 pmTechim

    About Rin’s “real encounters” with the girls after knowing the secret, well, you can really fault JC Staff for it being vague….That’s how the VN was. I was confused at that part in the VN, but eh, ignorance is bliss.
    Komari’s farewell scene is well-adapted in my opinion

    Meanwhile on MAL, most of the VN players are raging about the left-out Show Spoiler ▼

    scene.

    • December 22, 2013 at 12:11 pmTechim

      *Sorry, I meant you CAN’T really fault JC Staff.
      Typo there.

    • December 22, 2013 at 6:17 pmTaage

      Considering what’s coming next, people being upset about that omission is justified. JC Staff seems dead set on making this a subpar adaptation.

    • December 23, 2013 at 4:23 pmzeroyuki92

      From my brief visit to MAL I think I will only quote : “JC decided to go for a bold decision”. Not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but I think some of the VN readers have no idea that it’s impossible to adapt everything 1:1, especially if they’re several different endings.

  • December 22, 2013 at 3:05 pmRandom

    so after episode 13 is over. Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 22, 2013 at 3:32 pmCross

    Not that I care
    Little Busters! EX CM

  • December 23, 2013 at 1:33 amlialiakicks

    Kyousuke hiding in the luggage compartment was pure WIN. XD

  • December 23, 2013 at 2:30 amRed HeartGold ZX

    Didn’t Kyousuke regret sneaking in their bus and coming with them? ‘Coz if he hadn’t, he would’ve been spared from death and he could still protect Riki and Rin since they survived… So. Argh.

  • December 23, 2013 at 8:24 amonion warrior

    D’awwwwwwwww when Kurugaya cuddled Rin on her lap ^^

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:13 amHector

    This episode convinced me that Little Busters! is a top ten anime of all time. I’m looking forward to the day Doki translates the Ecstasy visual novel so we all have access to those ‘missing parts’ everyone keeps talking about.

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:30 pmKami

    Well,they hyped Rin up A LOT in the later half of the episode.

  • December 24, 2013 at 7:30 pmofislacker

    Not sure if this applies in the real world of little busters, but Riki blacks out in the face of uncomfortable things as shown in the previous episodes. It’s likely that Kyousuke told Riki that only 2 of them survived to prevent the worst case scenario – Riki blacks out after seeing the wreckage leaving Rin alone. If the bus explodes with Riki in it, Rin’s mental state will be much worse as opposed to the two of them survived.