「無限に続く青い空を」 (Mugen ni Tsuzuku Aoi Sora o)
“The Infinitely Continuing Blue Sky”

Are those the unmistakable strains of magical realism I hear coming from the background?

Well, it’s arrived at last – a “serious” episode, and the start of another character arc. Interestingly enough this was actually quite a funny episode in addition to that – arguably the most well-balanced and one of the best overall of the series so far. And in Nishizono Mio, we definitely have someone I consider a far more compelling subject than Komari – I see plenty in her character that makes me think that this can be an interesting story, and I find myself hoping that it will last longer than two episodes.

The way I see it, there are three obvious possibilities for what’s going on with Mio:

  1. Magical Realism. A ghost, or astral projection?
  2. Multiple Personality Disorder
  3. A twin – or at least, a sister

The first sign that something is off (well – not really, as things have been strange with her all along) with Mio was the incident in town. Riki sees a girl who looks just like Mio, but she disappears after a moment – gone when a man blocks her from Riki’s view just for a second. And even before, there was something odd – no parasol, and a smile (a real one, not one of Mio’s knowing, sad 1/4 inch mouth-curls). Did she really disappear, indicating supernatural involvement (which the test of courage ep apparently confirms is real in Little Busters)? This would arguably be the most classically Key approach to the issue. Then there’s her “It’s already too late” comment to Riki later – and the fact that she definitely seems to be aware of this other girl’s existence. For me, I’m going with the multiple personality theory for the moment – it feels as if Mio thinks this other personality is slowly taking over from the “real” one – or at least the one she’s shown to us.

There were a lot of nice character moments here, both comedic and otherwise. I enjoy seeing Kyousuke in the spotlight, because while he’s a very funny character there are obvious signs he’s much deeper than his superficially carefree demeanor would indicate. Take, for example, the Tenka competition. It wasn’t called out in any obvious way, but clearly he did this as a means to make Mio feel welcome in the group – something she could take the lead on, as the resident expert. I don’t seriously expect he really cares about poetry, but he’s all about including the outsiders and making them feel like they belong – and since Mio can’t play baseball, he changed the game to one she could play. I also thought it quite interesting that – as usually happens – Kuragaya-san ends up hanging with the guys when the girls split off to engage in their silly antics. In her way, she’s just as much an outsider as any of the others – she just happens to do a good job of covering it up with brash behavior.

Fundamentally, this is the main reason LB continues to work for me. There isn’t a villain anywhere here – all the cast are genuinely good people who just happen to have a little baggage. I enjoy watching them interact, I enjoy seeing Riki continue to gain more assertiveness to match his sensitivity, and I’m still finding most of the jokes funny. Mio’s misunderstanding of Riki’s manager request (it might be accurately be called a troll) was a winner, especially as she finally openly acknowledged Riki’s somewhat delicate physicality. I also liked the intro sequence with Kyousuke’s “5 yen/10000 yen” dilemma, and the way Riki defused it, as well as Masato’s cell-phone drama- and Riki’s reaction (and yes, you do see Japanese people bow to each other on the phone as Masato and Mio did). And the payoff to the Tenka scene – “I’m a freaking giant” – was characteristically random. In short, for me at least this is still working, and this week’s ep shows the potential for even better things to come.


Lost in America’s Winter 2013 Preview is out! Swing by and check out my take on the coming anime season.




  1. We still don’t know why Kengo hasn’t joined the baseball team, do we? I’ve noticed he seems cold towards Kyousuke at times.. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Kyousuke’s leaving and Kengo is being all tsundere about it?

    1. Kengo puts his kendo above just about everything else, so when given the option to play baseball or continue doing kendo, he picked the latter. He’s like that in the game, too.

      Slight game spoiler
      Show Spoiler ▼

  2. This was definitely one of the best eps so far. It was funny, I like how all the characters are really starting to play off each other now that they’re all together and Nishizono’s story is shaping up to be way more interesting than Komari’s – I find her to be a more interesting character overall as well, and she’s growing to be one of my favourite girls among them. I also quite liked how the visuals during Riki’s conversation with her later in the episode supported the calm but sad atmosphere perfectly, it gave me feels.

    Also, I’m going with a multiple personality disorder as well so far. The appearances of the other her may be kind of ghostlike, but it’s the differences with the normal her that are the focus, so I doubt it’s as easy as that. A sister is possible, but she’s hinting there’s something wrong with her personally, and that wouldn’t align with problems surrounding a sister. Anyway, whatever it is, it’s gotten me interested.

  3. LOL at Mio BL-shipping Kyousuke x Riki. Mio’s BL-fetish is a running joke throughout the story.

    And then there’s Masato freaking Riki out in only wanting him on his call log after adding all the girls.

    Masato, just how much do you like Riki anyway? Last episode he was quite upset he wasn’t in the same group as Riki for the test of courage thingy. XD

    JC Staff totally screwed up the mix-and-match tanka part. I remember spending hours reloading the game just to get as many funny tanka combinatins as I could find.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. Indeed, I remember systematically going through every single combination in order to create THE ULTIMATE TANKA for Mio to critique. I was William Bloody Shakespeare.

      And, er, it’s an important juxtaposition to (minor spoilers for Mio’s route? I don’t think they’re going to go this far) Show Spoiler ▼

      In fact, this and “Goodbye, Yukichi!” were some of my biggest laughs parts of LB. I do wish JC Staff gave those scenes a bit more love, but comedy’s hard like that, especially with limited time.

    1. In terms of the supernatural…

      Possible massive spoiler:

      Show Spoiler ▼

  4. Also, Nishizono is thankfully becoming a more developed character in this ep. She has a good imagination for shipping, and she can even troll once in a while (“Oops the wind caught it again.”) I’m glad because the last episodes about her were pretty boring to me.

    1. You really shouldn’t give a huge spoiler like that unless someone specifically asks for it.

      It makes you comes off as someone who’s bragging that you know what’s going to happen.

    2. Totally unnecessary comment. I mean, you have it in spoiler tags, but it’s still not necessary. No one asked what happened. That’s the good thing about being an anime-only viewer. You get to speculate and find out when the time comes.

  5. Straight into Mio’s route? Well, more Mio means more of her theme, which is one of my favourite tracks in the game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsNFeyLKRb0

    I was actually expecting Mio’s route as the penultimate before Rin’s, since it just kinda transitions the arching narrative nicely there. Kurugaya’s would also work, though it kinda forces a route reset and in any case fits better somewhere before Mio’s. As far as the anime goes I think a lot of both (and possibly all of Kurugaya’s) will have to be cut if only because of the romantic angle.

    I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again; I like Mio’s route a fair bit but it’s really tough. Even the VN had trouble with it. It’s very…poetic, I guess and it’s hard to execute without losing either the metaphor or your audience. This is really the big mid-term exam for JC Staff.

    Speaking of which, for once, JC Staff’s low animation budget might be to their advantage in Mio’s route, as it helps mask one of the little details without needing any camera or lighting tricks. We’ll see in time, maybe.

  6. took at least 5+ STAND ALONE episodes to get to a new “serious” arc? cmon… this is why most NON VN players dropped this anime (congrats to VN players you stood your grounds up to now).

    anyway since the next is a new arc i am hoping for an emotional intensity that everybody is expecting from a KEY title. but well, if it fails, i kinda seeing japanese 2ch and some BBS getting flooded with disappointment post.

    BUT WELL, i still understand. JC staff are inexperienced in handling VN novels specially from a known title. BUT I HATE SEEING GOOD TITLE GETTING WASTED.


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