「なくしものを探しに」 (Nahkushi Mono o Sagashi ni)
“Looking for Something I Lost”

Well, whaddaya know – Little Busters is a Key adaptation after all.

While the events in this episode were certainly foreshadowed last week, the change in tone was still pretty stark – especially in the second half of the episode. This was really the first time that the Key/Maeda Jun gene seemed to kick in with full force, and the melodrama grow thick enough in the air that it felt like humidity in a Tokyo summer (or so I’ve been told – I’ll find out next year, but a Chicago summer I can definitely vouch for). And with that, I suppose, the series has well and truly begun after a four-episode prologue.

It remains to be seen how an arc centered around Komari will hold up. My gut says that it hopes this is wrapped up relatively quickly, because Komari can be kind of a lot to take. Given my normal sensitivity towards moe for its own sake I’m not bothered by her so much as I would have expected, and I can’t say why – it’s a pretty shameless character truth be told, but somehow – like Little Busters itself – the reality is more appealing to me than the concept would indicate. There’s actually a pretty nice chemistry between she and Riki, who likewise has more appeal than I can quite explain – he seems a straightforward good-guy cipher of a lead, but perhaps it’s the sense of vulnerability in Riki that gives his character a depth that transcends the trope somewhat.

Of course, even if nothing else happened Komari’s arc would have been worthwhile just to hear Horie Yui doing a punk voice – it’s every bit as endearingly silly as you’d think, because Riki is no more a punk than Hochan herself. But he’s managed to endear himself to old man Koujirou enough to get him to the spill the truth about Komori’s brother Takuya (Komomoiya Yuu, also young Kyousuke) – or at least some small part of it. Riki himself has already figured out that the “white flappy things” Komori sees in her dreams of her brother are likely bedsheets on the roof of a hospital, and Koujirou more or less confirms that what Riki suspects happened has happened. But this being Key there’s most assuredly more to the story, and magical realism has an appointment with Little Busters, perhaps as soon as next week.

Komari’s breakdown at the end of the episode was certainly the most stark moment of the series so far, but the tonal change was just as great in the scenes leading up to it. I liked the sequences with Komari and Riki on top of the school looking at stars, and chasing down her memories in a rowboat on a lake (don’t they teach little girls that the first rule of rowboats is “DON’T STAND UP!”?). There was an agreeable sense of melancholy that was more substantial than anything the series has done to this point, and both scenes represented some of the loveliest art JC Staff has presented in the first five eps. The pantsu shot seemed a bit extraneous to be honest, but this is a Key VN so it’s to be expected I suppose. “Ecstasy” notwithstanding, Little Busters maintains a more innocent feel than Key’s other works, at least to my eyes.

In case you missed it Kouehi Kawase, the producer of LB, announced this week that the adaptation will certainly continue beyond two cours – “If you watch the 26th episode there will be a message that you want… We know 26 episodes are too short.” That’s about as unambiguous as you could want, though the details are still unknown – but it does imply that the adaptation is going to take its time and adapt each route with some faithfulness to the source VN, for better or worse. As with any romance VN there are probably going to be arcs I wish were shorter and those I wish were longer, but that JC Staff have chosen to open what could be a very long adaptation with Komari is interesting – I certainly can’t say yet whether it’s a good idea or not. But I’m enjoying myself enough so that I’m looking forward to finding out.




  1. “If you watch the 26th episode there will be a message that you want… We know 26 episodes are too short.” That’s about as unambiguous as you could want, though the details are still unknown – but it does imply that the adaptation is going to take its time and adapt each route with some faithfulness to the source VN, for better or worse.

    I say that this announcement is a positive thing- correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t shows that have an abnormal number of episodes (not the usual cour-multiples of 11-13, 24-26 or 50-52) tend to be better presented because it means that the producers are going the extra mile to get things just right by ensuring that the story fits the format?

    1. Which means they might go the way of Clannad in having two seasons of two cours

      I’m not gonna lie, I felt absolutely *nothing* when the rain started and we got that flashback. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for tragedy. Play the first few notes of Dango Daikazoku and the feels’ll start welling up. If it wasn’t for the endearment the community has for the VN, I would’ve dropped this show by now. I’m only sticking around hoping that the source material will overcome the mundane directing…

      zen Pudding
      1. People seem to forget that Clannad also started off really slowly (And put off lots of folks initially as well)- its appeal stemmed from slow and steady, but exhaustively thorough character development, forging an exceptionally powerful emotional connection between the audience and the characters that never would’ve been possible otherwise. We still have ~2 cours+ worth of episodes to go- it is far too early to pass judgment on whether this (J.C. Staff) team is capable of pulling of something similar- although it’s probably a safe bet to conjecture that true extent of their abilities will become evident by the time the show arrives at its midpoint…

      2. I agree that the reason why Clannad was so powerful was because of how much emotional attachment the sheer volume of episodes gave us, but a huge part of the reason why we got so attached to those characters is the directing of the series itself. That’s the difference between good adaptations and great ones. Things like cinematography, timing of music, and seiyuu performance are all integral and show how even a 1 cour series could get anyone more than moderately invested in its characters. Clannad merely did both, and that’s how A.S. wrecked shit on my tear ducts.

        I’m studying this kind of thing right now, so it might be more apparent to me just how much things like the number of cuts in a scene affects the series as a whole.

        zen Pudding
      3. Things like cinematography, timing of music, and seiyuu performance are all integral and show how even a 1 cour series could get anyone more than moderately invested in its characters. Clannad merely did both, and that’s how A.S. wrecked shit on my tear ducts.

        So what you’re saying is that you think this adaptation of Little Busters is somehow inferior to Clannad with regards to these things? Being (I assume) a theater/film major, your opinion certainly does hold weight. However, what ultimately decides the way a show is remembered is neither scholar nor critic, but popular opinion.

        So if any other readers would be kind enough to answer; do you think this adaptation of Little Busters is inferior to Clannad (2007) in terms of directorial quality and logistical competence, that is, as far as things like musical cues, cinematography and voice acting is concerned? Why or why not?

      4. I think that the problem with LB is that they started with arguably the dullest heroine.
        In CLANNAD they started with Fuuko who, while not one of my favourites, at least had her “Dozo~ have a starfish!” thing and Tomoya’s pranks that made her funny.

        Son Gohan
      5. In response to Zen: Yes, I do think that this adaption is of a lower standard than that used for Clannad. It’s not necessarily BAD – there’s nothing terribly wrong with it – but it certainly doesn’t reach the same level that KyoAni managed with Clannad. Some voices are a little different to those used in the visual novel (Masato’s voice isn’t quite as deep in the anime, to my ears, and Komari’s is slightly more grating), the musical cues feel a bit forced at times, J.C. Staff doesn’t seem to use cuts as well as KyoAni, and some of the directorial decisions seem a little odd so far (removing some of the major jokes while keeping in the minor ones? Branching off halfway through the common route?).

        Again, I’m not calling this a bad adaption – in fact, it’s better than I was expecting, and most things have been handled very well so far. It’s just that I’m comparing it to KyoAni’s work on Clannad with every episode, and that’s a difficult level of quality to reach.

        I do feel that the discrepancy between the perception of the two shows will lessen as Little Busters continues to air. Having played the start of the Clannad visual novel and the entirety of the Little Busters one, I’d say that Clannad certainly has a stronger start to it; similarly, J.C. Staff decided to begin their adaption with the Komari route, which is perhaps not so wise a decision as Clannad’s choice of beginning with the Fuuko route. I do feel that the average LB route is of a slightly higher quality than the average Clannad one, though, and Refrain is certainly on par with After Story for its emotional impact. As long as J.C. Staff maintains the same level of quality and faithfulness as they’ve shown so far, the source material should elevate the show to some great heights when it gets into its later portions (or second season, as the producer’s message would indicate).

      6. To say it plain, I think it’s fairly hard to make Komari’s route very good. In the VN, even though Komari is a fairly (and surprisingly) important character (like Fuko) her route itself was fairly weak. I don’t think JC Staff has done a -bad- job but I also think they could have done a -better- job. They’ve kind barrelled into the heavy drama perhaps without enough ammunition. Actually, there’s not really all that much in the way of real drama; we have the setup with the maybe dead brother, and then SUDDENLY TEARS. It doesn’t seem like a scene that’s supposed to pull at the heartstrings, but rather cause confusion.

      7. The problem i have with this is the same problem i had with the first 8 episodes of Clannad AS: You cant expect the viewer to care about a character’s sadness when we dont really know the character, or dont even find the character funny/appealing.

        Fuko was adorable and funny and awesome in her arc,so it mattered to me when stuff happened to her and i felt super empathetic.

        But with this I just find Komari to be rather annoying (especially the whiny voice) and not really very cute or funny, so i just dont care what happens to her.

      8. In my opinion :
        1. Komari’s breakdown scene is supposed to be sudden (and rather confusing) and didn’t play on sad and slower note like Fuko’s. It’s supposed to be more on depressing note, and we can only know if they succeed or not on the next episode.
        2. Since people keep comparing Fuko with Komari, I think Komari really in a disadvantage. Clannad has 9 episodes to slowly introducing characters and Fuko until the end of her arc, while Komari only has 6. That’s a huge gap of “hooking” chance.
        3. Hooking? That’s the key of success on individual arcs. Fail hook = fail arc, and that really varies between individuals.
        4. In conclusion, IMO J.C did a better job than I was expecting before, and actually this episode is pretty heartbreaking for those who already know what will happen in the future. So, the key is the next episode.

        I’m curious at what they could do in 1 episode, especially at what they will do in the end of the arc.
        Suddenly I’m thinking of Rin1 style, although it’s most unlikely happen.

  2. I love the art for this episode, especially the lake and the short crayonish flashback in the end. Judging from the filesize and art quality, they seem to save the budget for important episode like this. Well, it’s much better than spending money in common route episodes.

    Adaptation wise, I have no problem other than their decision to cut a short dejavu scene in the train, since it’s an important foreshadow for the main plot. Well, maybe they have another plan.

    Also, this week : Double drama by KyoAni and Key, what a treat. I guess we could say that this is a positive view of KyoAni’s decision to discontinue the Key adaptation series.

      1. Indeed, JC Staff does get a lot of flak, but mostly only about Little Busters these days. Still, I don’t think they are so derided that they would need any serious apologia, at least on my part. Best that we keep an objective outlook on these things.

  3. I had a moment at the end when Komari started freaking out that I noticed I had pretty much forgotten that I was watching a Key adaptation. I knew something tragic was coming, but still it was sad to see her break down.

  4. Idk even if they did say that they were going to take their time, things seem to be going at a pretty fast past. I was expecting more of the common route stuff before we hit a specific character arc/route. <.<

  5. The drama is meh and the quality is so-so.

    Is it just me or the story is running very slow?

    I have feeling that its going to be like Clannad:
    Slow start > Calm before storm > Rollar coaster ride to sadness/pain > Climax > Resolution

  6. hmm I always thought that Komari’s arc was one of the weakest out of them all, but nevertheless entertaining. but most key adaptations start out slow, so I’ll have patience and wait till the real stuff kicks in ^^

  7. Well at last my wait is over, I guess KyoAni can give better jokes for the main route. I even hyouka as it is so bland is interesting in the hand of KyoAni. I won’t say JCStaff is bad though, these two last episodes are so interesting

  8. Why does being cheerful automadically mean someone is covering up a dark past? Why can’t a character be cheerful because that is who the person is? Like Eru chitanda for instance,many people who first started Hyouka assumed Eru was just an airheaded idiot who didn’t have a clue but by the end of the series we saw she actually knew where she was headed and what she wanted.

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