「空の青 海のあを」 (Sora no Ao Umi no Ao)
“The Blue of the Sky and the Blue of the Sea”

Enter Nishizono Mio (formally, anyway), and she’s quite different than the other cast members we’ve met so far.

You’ll have to forgive the brevity of this post. In addition to this being finals week at my language school (Kanji alone would take more study time than I spend awake on an average day) as LiA readers know I’ve been pole-axed by a bout of food poisoning that’s left me quite useless, so between those two things I’m just able to keep my head at the water-level blogging wise. And a somewhat groggy head it is too, as I haven’t been able to hold down solid food for a couple of days. Still – better to keep in the flow of things at least a little than to wallow in digestive misery.

I won’t claim that I brought any deep analytical skills to the table with Little Busters this week, or that the episode merited them to begin with, but what struck me was that this was the episode that sort of tied together all the notions of what the series is really about – indeed, touching on several of the points in last week’s post. As a show that’s primarily about friendship, Little Busters is thus by definition just as much about loneliness. Each of the girls in the cast has a quality to them that makes them “different” in some way, not part of the social circle – and, as Nishizono points out, Riki is “the sort of person that likes to look after other people.” There’s a reason he got that way, of course – because when he was the lonely and isolated person, Kyousuke took a similar interest in him, and gave him a new lease on life with the Little Busters.

Given all that, it’s no surprise that he should take such an interest in Mio – as the lonely-heart girl who spends every day under a parasol reading a book, alone, she’s the perfect avenue for his “pay it forward” view on life. In many ways, this felt the most “Key-like” of all the chapters so far. It was certainly the most low-key and melancholy (more than Komari’s final ep, which was more melodramatic than melancholy) and Mio is the most mysterious of all the girls we’ve met. In most Key works there’s always a sense that everyone has a sad or even tragic story under the surface just waiting for the right moment to emerge, and that certainly applied to Mio. She even says herself when Riki asks her why she’s unable to participate in gym class and must hide under that parasol all-year long: “Ask me some other time, and if I trust you well enough I’ll tell you. Though I doubt that time will ever come.”

There’s certainly plenty that’s unusual about Mio. Her constantly red face, her mysterious medical condition (assuming that’s what it is) and the little book she’s always reading (though we do solve that one later). She’s called names like “rock by the side of the road” and the especially cruel “Shadowless” by her classmates. It’s through the intervention of Kuragaya that we discover the book she loves is a poetry collection by Wakayama Bokusui, a tanka poet who died young and – somewhat ominously – is perhaps best known for the death haiku he wrote near the end of his life. She’s certainly a lonely and lost soul by any available measure, and as such a perfect candidate for the Little Busters – except that she’s unable to play baseball. But for her, admitting an interest in watching is in itself a pretty significant step forward and admission of trust.

Next week continues the trend of alternating introduction and stand-alone episodes, as it looks like we’re in for a “test of courage” turn of events. It’ll be interesting to see which girl is in line for the next official arc, and how quickly we get to that point.




  1. I hope you get well soon, GE!

    Anyway, Mio and her mysterious persona (and epic BGM) adds a new spice to the group! And now that we have all the members already, we only have to wait for few episodes left until the next arc, I guess. I hope they will pick Rin1 first.

    About Mio, her original VA is being pregnant and her current seiyuu made her sounds a bit like Nagato (still pretty awesome, though)

  2. Wonder who Riki will pick to go for the test of courage. I’m playing the game simultaneously now and I’m really liking the friendship bonds that is so prominent in the game. Kyousuke/Masato/Kengo are also the bestest bros ever.

    1. ~ The meal ready yet?
      ~ Such a cute kitty kitty cat,
      ~ A blazing beam
      ~ Dedicated to you who worries over the harshness of your recent nighttimes
      ~ Sir, you have been KO’d

      – LB

  3. Riki, how could you? Kicking a girl in the butt! Yes, I know it was an accident… (turns and directs dissatisfaction at JC Staff)

    Over time, Mio’s nickname of “Shadowless” will take on a completely different meaning altogether. Of all the LB heroine routes, Mio’s route actually took some time to comprehend because of its “abstractness”, in every sense of the word. And won’t really become fully apparent until all routes are cleared.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. I like Mio’s character and enjoyed her route in general, but it sometimes had trouble deciding how metaphorical or literal it was going to be. It’s one of the difficulties of poetry, I suppose.

  4. I guess Mio can’t become an idol team manager since she’s watching them play baseball. It’s pretty interesting seeing Little Buster members pop in all the time whenever there’s something happening. While personal drama does drive the plot I probably enjoy the anime best when I can see as many Little Busters as possible participating in whatever’s happening.

    You know which team you have to be in for the test of courage Riki, no girl matters when you can choose Masato and Kengo.

  5. Another nice episode. I like Little Busters more for passing the time on a Saturday night. It’s a very relaxing series. The only problem I really have with it so far is with too much stills in animation (And Komari’s arc, but that was more the VN’s fault then the JC Staff), but everything else has been beautiful looking, very Moe and the art has been very consistent (Is it just me or have there been no irregular faces at all so far) that I can’t really hold it against it too much.

  6. Here it come the formal introduction of “Parasol Holding Silent Beauty”. I nearly slip in her route once. Aside for her route and Haruchin route that i fell to bad end several time other route is rather easy. That aside i still cannot get used to Mio voice since i’m already used to her snarky comment in VN.

    Neo Ankara
    1. I have a feeling Kurugaya will go near the end. If JC Staff is extending the show for another two cours or so after the first two are done (A decent possibility), I think the order will go Kud, Haruka, Mio, Kurugaya, Rin 1 and 2 (maybe just Rin 2), and Refrain. Show Spoiler ▼

    2. I have a feeling that Kurugaya’s arc will be majorly cut out or not animated at all, which is unfortunate because she is my favorite character.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. If anyone else doesn’t want to know the major plot twist of Little Busters then don’t click that spoiler.
        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. @MCAL
        That’s an interesting theory. (MAJOR PLOT SPOILER AHEAD)
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Helvetica Standard
      1. F$#K YEAH!!!!! Bro, u just convinced me not to drop this series!!!! Seriously, I just didn’t think I’d handle the series as well if Komari was the main girl, glad my thoughts were wrong. Besides, I always favored childhood friends in my VNs & anime.

        Show Spoiler ▼


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