「だからぼくは君に手をのばす」 (Dakara Boku wa Kimi ni Te o Nobasu)
“So I’ll Reach Out for Your Hand”

Building on the one that came before, this episode of Little Busters felt very much like a part of the Key universe.

Many thanks to Bakamochi for helping out with capping on LB!

I have no idea if this is how it was intended in the VNs – given the structure I don’t see how it possibly could be – but it seems as if the anime used this arc to set things up as much as to resolve them. It asks as many questions as it answers, and the feeling I have is that it offers clues to Riki and Kyousuke’s story as much as it exists as an arc on its own. And it feels as if we’re looking at a very different series now than we were before Mio’s arc began. In that sense, in anime terms anime, it exists as very much a transition point.

That said, I think Mio’s story is a very solid one on its own – these last two have been arguably the best two-episode stretch of the series, and for me Mio’s arc was far more interesting than Komori’s. There’s still a great deal that’s left unexplained here, but that seems somehow fitting because Mio has been a character shrouded in mystery from the moment she was introduced. Just who is Midori, exactly – is she a sister to Mio in any literal or even symbolic sense, or simply a product of the cosmological imagination? How exactly did the forgetting of Midori cause Mio to lose her shadow, and Riki’s refusal to forget her allow her to get it back? I don’t know the answers and I don’t think I’m supposed to, but this feels very much like the tip of the metaphysical iceberg with Little Busters.

Ultimately I think one could view Mio’s story symbolically as being about teen suicide and I don’t think that would be completely off-base, though I don’t think it was intended to literally represent that idea. There’s no question that the desire Mio expresses to be alone, and at the same time to be at one with the universe – to find her true self and at the same to lose herself – have a profound sense of suicide to them. It seems certain that – at least partly due to the trauma of having seen Midori in the first place and the treatment that made her forget – Mio’s wasn’t an especially happy childhood. She was alone much of the time, and apparently unhealthy. In her unique situation of having an understudy ready to assume her life – one who was more genki and robust – “trading” with Midori must have been quite the siren’s song. To be able to end it all without having to worry about the sadness it would cause those left behind? Perhaps for some suicidal kids, that might seem an especially attractive alternative.

It’s certainly no secret that in broad terms, Little Busters is a story about friendship, and I don’t think that was ever more clear than inside Mio’s story. Riki remembers back to a time when he might just have disappeared himself, before Kyousuke took his hand. Maybe that was meant allegorically, but I’m not so sure – there are a lot of common threads between Riki and Mio, it seems to me, with the biggest difference being circumstances – Kyousuke’s hand found Riki when he was a child, but Mio didn’t find Riki’s hand until she was almost an adult. I don’t know what the “secret of this world” is – and I don’t want to be told by anyone but JC Staff – but there’s definitely a part of it that concerns Riki directly, and I suspect Kyousuke as well. Both of them have an “otherness” to them – though expressed in very different ways – and I sense an underlying sadness lurking beneath Kyousuke’s “Uber-Bro” exterior. There a method to everything he does, I think, though I won’t pretend I’ve figured it all out yet.

I don’t want to start down the road of justifying why I like LB when so many seem to dislike it all over again, but I will say this – I think that the above is a pretty damn strong base around which to build a story. The fact is, I connect with these characters because I understand them, and I understand them because their desires are very basic and elemental. To not be alone. To not be afraid. To have fun with people they love. It’s very simple, but it’s also profound because these are things everyone feels at some point (but perhaps never more powerfully than in adolescence). I don’t find all the girls equally involving by any means – I adore Kud for her sweetness and hilarious kookiness and Mio is by far the most emotionally compelling heroine thus far. But in Riki and Kyousuke there’s something rather deep, I think – because both of them are immensely decent and driven by the desire to do good things for other people. Even Masato, for all his time at the receiving end of the Manzai-style physical humor, has a certain poignancy to him because his protectiveness and concern for Riki is so genuine and straightforward. In a way Little Busters benefits from being simpler and more elemental than other Key works – lacking the supercharged romantic sentimentality of Clannad or the intricate plotting of Kanon, it’s free to simply be what it is – a series about friendship and supporting other people. That’s clearly not to everybody’s tastes, but so far I mostly like what I see.

Full-length images: 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 24, 28, 32, 35, ED 4.


ED2 Sequence

ED2: 「」 () by ()



    1. I agree with the rest of you. Somehow the emotional buildup is lacking compared to other Key anime adaptations. It would’ve been a saving grace if the production value was up to par with KyoAni as well, but zilch on that part too. 🙁

    2. Really?
      Clannad’s first season was just mediocore.
      I played even the VN and have forgotten about the other girls routes (not Tomoyo and Kyou).
      Both, Little Busters and Clannad started slow and used the Girls routes like a introduction.
      And to everyone who cries because next week is a fun/commonroute episode.
      These commonroute episodes are important, to make you fell for the characters…

      Good review.
      I’m looking Forward to the next episode…I loved this scene in the VN :3
      But I want to know, which girl will be the next D:
      I think that Kurugaya is the last route of the girls beside of Rin…
      Maybe it will be like this:
      Komari->Mio->Haruka->Kud->Rin 1->Kurugaya->Rin 2->Refrain

      1. I prefer to this order:
        Komari->Mio->HarukaXKanata->Sasasegawa sasami(man my tounge)->Kud->Rin 1->Kurugaya-> Saya->Rin 2->Refrain
        Where in fact, i think, that we are already in Rin1 mesh all route, which is an anime storyboard original idea.

  1. From a non-VN player point of view i’d say that the drama in this arc is pretty weak. In my opinion they should have spent more time in Mio’s past to let the viewers understand more about her.

    And also I think this was the highlight of the drama then it stumbled and became stale

  2. This episode gave me so much hope for the series, it honestly did. There was so much about it that just made me love Mio and feel sorry for her and Midori, and the magic in it really made it feel like it was a Key anime.

    …but then I saw the preview for next week.

  3. What this arc didn’t include:

    1.)Riki didn’t acompany Mio to a bookstore.
    2.)Might be animated in the future Riki didn窶冲 grope Mio窶冱 breast by accident.
    3.)They didn’t show this part and most fake glasses part as well.
    4.)Though they made this into a short version I still feel sad about it not properly animated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLEkSZOFcAyj7jzQVWi0zzzWZ6yX-k25Mx&v=EP8hclGPC3E&feature=player_detailpage#t=373s

    All in all: This episode was fine

    What I think this anime lacks

    1.)Anime Kyousuke doesn’t act trollish enough. He is somehow like this guy if he was animated.
    2.) They should have focus more in the common route first. Metting them instantly and tackling their problems is just…… not depressing. No character development at all.
    3.)Battle System should have a life gauge, invertory system ands stats(optional I guess). Although this things aren’t useful for the Little Busters! plot but at least let the viewers know how fun the battle system is. This will make the characters more appriciated.
    “Saigusa used
    4.) The Little Busters! Rin Dormitory infiltration part should have been like something like Angel Beat窶冱 operations were they make things exaggerated. What窶冱 the use of the James bond like music if it窶冱 not exciting. Idiots taking making daily life routin into MISSION is what Little Busters is all about. Example of Little Busters Infiltration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUiAUXDNT9iPicr4jUwY-4UQ&v=ERA5rguz7qo&feature=player_detailpage#t=207s

    1. About your 2nd point
      I believe they did want to go more on common route but alas people complained so much about “waa where is the drama, waa this is it? Moe girls do moe things? Where is mah clannad”. So J.C staff had to hit the drama as soon as they can to show some. Anime just don’t have the option to take their time to develop stuff sometimes.

      I think the reason why they hit Mio route so soon was also because of that. It has been over 10 eps since the last clue, people wants something and Mio route just happened to have the “magic” feeling and also not revealing too much of the world yet at the same time.

      Just my two cent.

  4. I played the visual novel and I’m actually glad to see that they captured the essence of Mio’s arc decently enough. However, I don’t think any anime could capture the feel that the visual novel had.
    The theme of Little Busters revolves around youth and friendship.
    This was their way of incorporating the idea into the story, of imaginary friends being something that is lost when children grow up.
    I’ll take a quote that expresses this story quite well from the Desiderata.
    “Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”
    I really do hope that they do the ending for Little Busters properly.
    That Haunted House episode was so terribly animated. Ugh.

  5. First people cried because they think it lacks the build up, now they cried because next ep is a common/fun ep to build/make you love characters more. Not sure i understand eh.

    1. Simple, non VN readers and KEY heretics who think that the ideal standard for KEY drama is Afterstory’s climax episodes and other of their sobfest works such as Kanon and Air.
      It’s not all about drama, people. (Little Busters is a light-hearted visual novel for the most part and I suspect the anime will be just about the same) At this rate, KEY won’t be able to create rosy or mild colored stuff because of the conventional KEY=UBER DRAMA assumption.

  6. “Memories are all just illusions made in your head”

    I am surprised on how much truth it is. Unconsciously, we sometimes jumbled up the delusion with the reality in our memories. Which also made me wondering how much of our memories are actually match with the reality.

    Kuma Kuma
    1. The thing that disturbs me most about memories is this, which I discovered quite recently when listening to a talk by some psychologist or other (whose name I can’t remember!):

      You can only recall a memory once. The second time, you are recalling the first time you recalled it, the third time, you are recalling the second time, and so on.

      According to this theory, human memory is like old computers’ magnetic core memory, where the act of reading the data wipes it and so you have to immediately write it back again if you don’t want to lose it. But our situation is even worse, because when we have recalled something from our memory, we can then only “write back” the memory of having recalled it, which is why memories can change or even fade completely over time.

      When we are young and have our lives before us, we obsess about “first times”. First love, first date, first kiss, first … (you get the picture). When we get old, though, we worry a lot more about “last times”, and after the last time we do something, all we have left are our increasingly unreliable memories. I think this is why this arc of LB has touched me so much because I really identified with Naoe as he struggled to hold on to his fading memories of someone who no longer existed in his world.

  7. It was quite a surreal resolution, I was struggling to understand what was going on when I got to that part in the game. With Riki suddenly plunging into the sea, swimming towards god-knows-where to seek out Mio, and then Midori (as a shadow) intervenes to save Riki and bring him and Mio back. (I hope I got that right)

    So I find it amazing they actually managed to animate the whole bit.

    Mio’s resolution continues to be a surreal experience, and it would not make more sense until the Truth of the World was revealed.

    PS Loli Mio HNNNGGG

    Kinny Riddle
  8. It just come to me, but the idea of Mio dissapearing may be simmilar to Kanna’s status in Air (trapped forever in the sky)
    Now, this is what a Key/Visual-Arts work should be. Forget some things of the VN that wasn’t added here, it felt like one of their scripts (finally) God, why did KyoAni had to make Chuu2 instead of this…

  9. Too bad, Little Busters! routes are very different with each other, and as far as I know Mio’s route is the route with the most “Key” atmosphere in it, discounting Rin and Refrain, the ultimate routes that was written by Jun Maeda himself.

    The rest? We already passed through Komari (which is rushed beyond belief, I think her actual route in VN is okay). Kurugaya probably is the one with the most connection with the main story, while Haruka and Kud are kinda… weak in my opinion. I think we will go through Haruka and Kud before going to Kurugaya, and most likely we will have to wait for months to see Rin and Refrain. I hope viewers will be patient enough to wait for them since there’s a possibility of disappointment after a well done Mio arc, especially when we are in Haruka and Kud routes.

    But even Clannad, Kanon and Air has weak routes, so I guess we have to avoid unrealistic expectation and watching them as they are. The real meat of the show is still pretty far ahead.

    1. As Kurugaya’s route is as you say, very much linked to the “main route”, it’ll likely be placed last before Rin and Refrain.

      Haruka and Kud’s routes are more on the melodramatic side, though the resolution for Kud’s route is slightly linked to the “Truth of the World”, while Haruka’s route is more down-to-earth (i.e. nothing supernatural).

      So the next three would be Haruka, Kud and Kurugaya, which would likely take up the duration of this second half of this series.

      Rin and Refrain would most likely end up in a 2nd season, 12-13 episodes would be just enough cover those two.

      Kinny Riddle
    2. I just don’t understand how they’ll do Kurugaya outside of an OVA. Whereas most routes can work with the “power of friendship” and whatnot, the second half of her route relies on love in a way that would be difficult to substitute.

  10. I’d have wished that Mio would’ve had more development to make this hit harder, but this was still the best arc so far. While not capturing all the atmosphere a show like Kanon had, this arc did feel a bit like a return to old, with a type of magic pervading all. It helps that Mio is one of my favourite heroines so far as well.

    And I feel like Kyousuke is hiding something as well, a feeling I’ve had throughout the entire show so far. He isn’t just a warm friend like, say, Masato is, there’s something hidden behind the surface and I’m interested to see what he does next.

    Wonder what arc will be next. Hope it’s Kud.

  11. This has been the best arc so far and the thought of dropping LB has not even crossed my mind. If theres one thing you learn from watching a key show its wait till the final episode before you pass judgement. Also I think we can all agree Jun Maeda knows how to make the manliest of men shed a tear and how to craft a great story. So LB should be no differnt.

  12. Rather than being “good”, I feel that Little Busters has so far been aspiring to be “good enough” which I suppose is, er, good enough. But it’s a shame too because I like Little Busters immensely and would always like to see it reach some higher height.

    Mio’s route, in my opinion, was one of the stronger ones of the VN. I liked Mio, but her story was a very difficult one to actually tell. Like a lot of poetry it was best when it had much to say but was best when it wasn’t saying it directly. One of its facets–let’s try to say that without sounding too pretentious–was that it was a love story, which is sadly lost in the anime adaptation.

    A lot of the routes in Key VNs (and not just Key VNs, I suppose) are what can be described as “incidentally romantic”–they have a story to tell and our protagonist just happens to be in a romantic relationship with the heroine (and gets involved that way). Komari’s route fit that category. This is in contrast to stories that are necessarily romantic. This is an important distinction to make because for an anime adaptation that does not use route branching and only wants one “true heroine” (so to speak) the romantic elements of other routes must be surgically extracted. Sometimes it leaves a scar.

    Mio’s route sits in the middle of the romance continuum in that while it wasn’t neccessarily romantic the romance played a key role in the resolution of the story. Most notably, the tanka that Mio wrote –which, along with Mio’s favourite tanka, is symbollic of the entire story as a whole–is a love poem. What JC Staff does is to simply downplay the meaning of the tanka entirely. What they do, in effect, is try and make the tanka–and by extension Mio’s route–lose meaning. Perhaps they really had to do it that way, perhaps not. But it leaves me feeling that it could perhaps have been done differently.

    Of course, this is not the only thematic element that was left out in this limited anime adaptation, but I’ll leave it at that. Just one last note: it’s interesting that Enzo is trying to distance Little Busters from its predecessors, but I would say that Little Busters and Clannad are very similar stories, just from a different angle, and ultimately leading to different, but related, places.

    1. I’m not sure how pointing what I (as someone who hasn’t played the VNs) see as differences counts as “trying to distance” LB from the others. I’m just calling it as I see it – there’s no agenda.

      Incidentally, from a purely qualitative standpoint I would consider it high praise if LB were on a par with Kanon – that’s one of my favorite anime of 2006, a pretty darn good year. I’m simply pointing out that in terms of plotting, the two are at the opposite end of the spectrum for Key anime – Kanon is extremely detailed and highly plot-driven, riddled with magical realism top to bottom, and LB is a much more streamlined story which holds its cards closer to the vest. As to Clannad, that’s a mixed bag for me, but again whatever you think of the series it’s very different thematically from LB. Clannad is a story that’s ultimately a romance above all other things, and while all Key stories have romance in them, I don’t think it’s hard to see that it’s a much more overt factor in Clannad than LB.

      1. I wasn’t implying that you necessarily had an agenda, but rather that you have thus far approached the analysis from an angle that I did not expect and may possibly academically disagree with. When I first played Little Busters I was instintively drawn to elements that were similar to its predecessors rather than differences. I would have, for example, drawn the line between Little Busters/Clannad and Air/Kanon instead, mostly on themes and style.

        I would personally describe Clannad not necessarily as a “romance” but rather a “love story”. And I would describe Little Busters as a love story too. However, I use that term in a rather non-standard manner because there is more than one type of love. I would say that Clannad is ultimately about love between the family, while Little Busters is about love between friends. Both are rather retrospective (at the very least from the point of view of the responder) and separate the protagonist’s maturation journey into two parts, which we can loosely call, thematically (not necessarily literally), “child” and “adult” parts.

        Clannad was a bit of a paradigm shift for Key, I think, in that it was, compared to Kanon and Air, rather low on fantasy and broader in scope (so many commas!). It was from a time when Key was beginning to fully enjoy its successes and could afford to be more ambitious. I think Little Busters follows that line, but with arguably more polished execution.

      2. You’re a scholar and a gent. I came up with my own conclusions before reading this entry. I haven’t been to RC in a while but I will now be following your impressions of this show.

        “Keeping cards close to the chest” is the best damn phrase I could have heard concerning this.

  13. So far, this is the best episode for me. I felt the emotional impact but I can’t say for others. I never read the VN so I have no idea about the comparisons but from an anime-watcher perspective, I think this episode is well done.

  14. Everybody’s a freakin critic these days. Just watch the show, don’t compare it to other great works… Just try enjoying something for what it is, not what it isn’t similar to.

    1. Agree but I think the anime is try to tell us that this is not the main point of the story yet. I feel that the will make KomariXRin much heavier than the VN.

      I think what they plan for Mio:
      1.) Introduce her a bit.
      2.) Finish her route.
      3.) Mio plays in the common route with her right character. A.K.A Her complete character while on common route.

      Therefore this part shouldn’t be 100% emotional but emotional only.

      ^ Just was just think like an animator who is pressured with time constrain of 26 episodes.

      1. I can certainly sympathize with the pressure of creating this show, especially since I hear the VN is hard to adapt. But other teams, other studios can weave good stories even with that kind of pressure and it wouldn’t be fair to cut Little Busters some slack because of that.


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