「可愛いものは好きだよ、私は」 (Kawaii Mono wa Suki da yo, Watashi wa)
“I Like Cute Things”

Three episodes in Little Busters! seems incapable of being less than likeable, but this week’s episode had something of the feel of a placeholder.

I suppose it’s unavoidable to compare LB to its predecessors in adaptation from Key, especially Kanon (which I loved) and Clannad (which I liked). I’ve mentioned it before but in a funny way, LB has the feeling of being the earlier work even though it was written afterwards – it’s much more innocent in tone, and frankly a little less sophisticated in narrative structure (though perhaps that’s more the result of how it’s being adapted). For me Kanon is clearly the most mature work from a dramatic standpoint despite being first, though that’s directly linked to who the main writer was – it almost feels here as if Maeda Jun made an intentional choice to step back from the heavy tone of Clannad and create something more simple and direct.

The result of all this for now is that the anime version of LB – whether it be the product of Maeda-san’s writing or that of the adaptation – thus far lacks something of the narrative flow you’d expect to see from an anime after three episodes. More than any other Key adaptation LB so far feels like the VN it is, and sometimes that’s charming – but there’s a reason anime are different from VNs, and this one feels a bit adrift to me at the moment. Routes are being introduced and checked off dutifully, plot points are being foreshadowed (though less so this week than last) and the comedic patterns laid out in the premiere are being followed predictably. It’s a pleasant world to inhabit, but it all seems a bit dutiful at the minute.

This episode saw the introduction of two more heroines, genki girl Saigusa Haruka (Suzuki Keiko) and seemingly the more important, Kurugaya Yuiko (Tanaka Ryouko). While Haruka’s interaction with Riki is strictly comedic this week, Kurugaya is a more interesting addition and seems likely to impact the story more directly. A bit of an ojou-sama in temperament, she seems much older though is apparently in Riki’s class – and speaks openly about the elephant in the room, that Riki is effectively a moe main character. One might almost be tempted to call Kurugaya a Mary Sue as she’s physically invincible and among the top 10 in the nation in test scores, but she redeems that by being a bit of delinquent – she rarely shows up for class, carries a katana (perhaps hoping one day to waitress in Hokaido) and has an odd and perhaps the most edgy sense of humor in the cast. I didn’t find the broken chair gag especially funny (I don’t know why anyone would laugh at that joke in this day and age) but her interactions with Riki are interesting. She’s somewhat mean towards him, but there’s a sense that there’s no malice behind it – that there’s an underlying core of affection that goes beyond her admitted predisposition towards cute things.

I continue to get most of the biggest laughs from Masato, though his humor is definitely of the lowbrow (and repetitive) variety. I mentioned last week that I wasn’t sure I enjoyed the ep as much as I did, and that applies to Masato in a way as well – I mean, he’s hardly an original creation and his role as the comedic schlemiel of the Little Busters is strictly vaudeville. But it works for me, because he has the feckless sincerity that makes him likeable and because the underrated Canna Nobutoshi is doing a nice job with the role. Mangled wordplay and pratfalls aren’t exactly the stuff of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, I admit, but what makes us laugh makes us laugh.

I’m still undecided about where the big picture for Little Busters! is headed. Is this really a kinder and gentler Maeda Jun, or simply a more elaborately staged calm before the storm? We all know that even the most dramatic Key works start slowly, and “marathon, not a sprint” definitely applies. But even so, I’m ready for things to go to the next level and for the anime to start acting more like an anime and less like a VN. It’s not as though I can simply press on in one sitting until things heat up here – I have to wait a week after every 22 minutes. One could speculate that because this is a J.C. Staff team of less renowned talent than the KyoAni staff who worked on the likes of Clannad and Kanon they’re being too reverent and faithful in adaptation to avoid giving offense, or even that Key and Maeda have too much influence creatively for the same reason – but it’s too early to reach that conclusion yet.

 

Preview

58 Comments

    1. i am still waiting 2 more episodes until i drop this after all it is still the start of the anime, i am gonna wait for the plot that is gonna appear, at least that is what i hope.

      Hum
    1. As far as I know, Enzo, only the main storyline (and actions by all the male characters) was written by Jun. The side heroines (or however I should call them) are all done by different people. So I’m guessing that the feeling is different because it isn’t complete Jun material.

      Crook
  1. Lol this show is the #2 best comedy of fall 2012 IMO XD (1st being Chuunibyou) Not sure can I treat this as a comedy though…..

    Srsly Kurugaya debut makes rivalling Kyousuke as coolest/fav charac lol. Not to mention she is the 1st anime girl I saw eating kimchi (I love tht stuff).

    Finally a (minor) badass Masato scene lol.
    I also lol’ed at Rin non-chalent comment while eating a pudding/ice cream.

    Too bad there no a pic of Kengo to do the “real men drink tea” joke ^.^;

    Kurugaya/Kyousuke, I don’t think an artificial sword can do this.

    D-LaN
    1. Admittedly, the bar for the comedy shows of fall 2012 is pretty low as there aren’t that many. But yeah right, pulling out chair gag + spoiled food gag + recycled-to-death prop cafeteria fight gag surely make this show #2 best comedy, doesn’t it? What is this, 1991?

      Both Tonari and OniAi are much funnier than this. I will say this is #3 best comedy of fall 2012 by default.

      Booya
  2. The animation seems a bit iffy at times. The characters look awkward when their faces aren’t zoomed in. Oh well.
    And I think I’m in love now with Kurugaya. That hairstyle, that voice, them boobs, that ZR. Perfect. And a good addition to the rowdy team.
    Still enjoying this show. It might not be going forward much but it’s still okay to waste time and enjoy the little things. The big things and revelations will come when they come.

  3. I am not sure why people bother to go all the way here to complaint and announce to others that they are dropping this show like it is the biggest deal in the world. You guys can just drop quietly and no kitties will be hurt during the process.

    We are not even done with characters introduction yet. Young people these days have no patience.

    Takurannyan
  4. Kurugaya was one of those heroines I didn’t think I’d like very much, but when I got to playing her route it was surprisingly good. Now, I don’t think JC Staff will actually get to it which, while a shame, is rather unavoidable. Trying to structure Little Busters in 2 cours will be difficult as is. I cross my fingers for an Another World special.

    Passerby
    1. Pretty much the majority of the cast is in Riki’s class, of the introduced major characters only Kyousuke and Sasami are the exceptions so far.

      And there’s a VERY good reason for that, though you’ll have to figure out why.

      Kinny Riddle
      1. You forgot Haru-chin.

        Also @†Croos†
        It was already stated by the LB! staff that a certain character appeared in Ep#1.
        >Source Twitter

        So far I´m not enjoying it very much. JCStaff it´s doing a good job so far (despite the QUALITY) but I can´t help but compare it with the original work which I enjoyed very much and see only the negative stuff.

        Daek Flame Master
  5. Not sure how I feel about the blatant service shots… Not that I’m complaining, but if some heavy drama is to follow, those kind of scenes may feel out of place soon…

    zen Pudding
  6. From the experience of watching Clannad (which I didn’t decide to watch until after AS was finished airing,) it’s normal for this series to start off slow, especially when we have an even larger cast than Clannad. Since this is Key’s work, I will stick with it until the end! >_<

    Kaka
  7. For me the deepest work from Key will be ‘Air’.

    Little Busters! give me some very generic school life comedy ATM. But, since this is Key’s work, I will give it a benefits of doubts and stick to the end.

    Kuma Kuma
  8. Everyone honestly needs to take a step back. It’s like Clannad, in terms of school themes, and if you’re paying attention, there should already be something ringing in your head… subtle clues that the shows dropping while being all light hearted and stupid. I don’t even know how many episode Little Busters! is suppose to be, but considering this is Key story we’re talking about, hard hitting stuff should soon come. J.C. Staff just isn’t pulling of the jokes as well as KyoAni did I feel… not that it’s a good excuse. All I’m saying is a. there still hope, and b. considering what I was told about the format of this VN was, it’s quite hard to make an adaptation of it.

    Sora no Kaze
  9. For those riding the fence on this show, especially because of the perceived lack of plot, wait till next episode. All points indicate we will be starting Komari’s route, or at least showing a bit more of her plot.

    Tarage
    1. Not killing but in about two episodes we will see some character development Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Daek Flame Master
  10. Gandhi was born in 1869. He begins his autobiography by describing his family and the caste to which they belonged. Gandhi later struggled against the caste system of India. Gandhi’s formal schooling had little impact on him. He believed that the teacher should be the textbook, and the teacher and the teacher’s moral qualities should be what the student retains. At the age of 13, Gandhi was married to a younger girl. At age 35, Gandhi took a vow of celibacy and saw his wife as a creature of pure love.

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