「そんな目で見ないで」 (Sonna Me de Minai de)
“Don’t Look At Me Like That”

Playtime’s over. Again. For now.

One thing that’s interesting about Little Busters (and something I don’t always love about it) is that it tends to be very much all-or-nothing in terms of drama. It’s either full-on serious mode or full-on silliness, and there isn’t a whole lot of in-between. Apart from the episode where Kud was looking for a roommate – certainly the most balanced ep so far – the series has been a study in contrasts. This is true of all Key works to a certain extent, and on balance LB is less focused on the drama than any of the eithers I’ve seen, but I think the clear-cut separation between the two modes might just be more pronounced than in any other Key work.

If anyone was wondering whether the premise of this episode came as a surprise to this anime-only viewer, this is what I had to say when Futaki was introduced back in episode 7:

I strongly suspect there’s more to it than meets the eye – or rather it’s the eye that suggests there’s more to it, as the two girls look strikingly alike. In fact Suzuki-san is playing both roles, which lends even more credence to the notion that there’s some connection between the two. If that’s the case I’m sure there’s going to be an arc centered around it sooner or later.

I take no credit as it was hardly subtle, but I’ll confess that LB had more or less lulled me into a false sense of security on this, as I’d forgotten all about the connection between Futaki and Haruka. But boy, did that seed bear fruit this week – it was one of the darkest eps of the series so far. It’s striking that when LB does go dark, it really packs a punch – perhaps it’s because the series is so light-hearted and lacking in villainy generally, but when the uglier side of human nature does show itself it really stands out. Futaki hasn’t exactly been a lovable figure so far, but she hasn’t shown anything like what we saw this week. And she has the added mitigating factor of having taken Kud in when no one else would (which seems to place Kud in a somewhat awkward position at the moment).

If I had to pick a word that captures the essence of what Futaki did to Haruka in this episode, it would be “personal”. That’s what really separates it from her earlier appearances as head of the Disciplinary Committee, when she was a hard-ass but at least somewhat professional about it. Here everything we saw screamed “vendetta” – while there was never any doubt Futaki was especially strict with Haruka, there was equally no doubt that Haruka went out of her way to cause (mostly harmless, it’s true) trouble – one might even say to cause trouble specifically for Haruka. There was a definite cat-and-mouse effect here – Haruka testing Futaki’s authority at every turn, provoking her,and Futaki harassing Haruka over seemingly minor violations. But the bench scene showed real venom – it seems a bit overwrought to get that emotionally attached to a bench (even the one where Haruka first met Riki) but Futaki’s destruction of it was blatantly mean-spirited. When those two said “I hate you” to each other, it was easy to see they meant it.

As much as I’d figured the two girls were likely sisters, some elements of this still surprised me. The fact that they’re twins, for starters, and even more so Haruka’s revelation that in her old, traditional family every wife has two husbands. Presumably the girls were split up after their birth and put under the charge of a different father, and Haruka seems to have drawn the short straw – her father seems not just to have been a bad seed, but in fact a murderer. There’s ample fuel here for the burning enmity between the two – status within the family, for starters – and it seems that Haruka’s over-the-top happy go lucky act was just that, an act. She was hiding a lot more than the truth about her past, although it’s obvious that the revealing of that was already highly traumatic for her – the sight (and sound) of her completely losing it at the Disciplinary Committee’s kangaroo court was a pretty ugly spectacle.

For all the bad blood and Futaki’s cruelty this week, I can’t imagine she’s the one who plastered flyers all over the school revealing Haruka’s family history. It’s her family too, for starters, and then there’s the matter that she’s a cute girl and thus, by anime rules, must eventually be forgiven. I just don’t see the girl who’s so kind and protective of Kud doing that, no matter how much she professes hatred of her sister – but of course, that begs the questions: if Futaki didn’t spread those posters, who did? And why? In any event it’s clear that this has happened to Haruka before, no doubt causing her to transfer schools, and the memory traumatizes her. A social outcast on the verge of mental breakdown? Sounds like a job for the Little Busters, friends of the friendless – and Riki will no doubt be the point man in reconnecting Haruka to the world she feels totally cut off from now.


Full-length images: 6, 8, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 28, 31, 36




  1. This! This is how you show a drama. I’m really liking this arc now, it has more impact to me than the Mio arc.

    I’m guessing is that Haruka’s father has a reason for committing those crimes and yeah looking forward to the next episode!

    1. This is NOT a drama. What part of “KEY’s works are not all about DRAMA” you guys don’t understand?
      If you want sobfests, there’s plenty to look for elsewere.
      I suggest you read 1 or 2 of KEY’s visual novels or at the very least
      watch their anime counterparts and then return to voice your opinions.
      After that, I assure your views and thoughts on the matter will greatly change..

      Helvetica Standard
      1. err… If this is not drama then what is it? Action?(nope, there’s no explosions nor gun fights.) Comedy?(certainly not for I am not laughing.) Horror?(nah, I don’t see Misaki Mei in this anime.) Seriously speaking, your comment good sir/ma’am is quite confusing.

        Just to be clear to you, I’m stating the current episode/arc and not the whole anime and no I’m not planning on playing/reading the VN while watching the anime(because it will only lessen the impact of the show, plus I am not a big fan of “looks like they’re being true to the VN” or “I have read/played the VN so I know what will happen next”.)

        So there you have it.

  2. Gotta say, I really love how they portray Kengo, Kurugaya and Kyousuke’s different reactions that really show their friendship. Kengo being the masculine way of tackling issues with people, with Kurugaya being the feminine way.
    And its great that they inserted a scene with Kud and Kanata right before the scandal, showing that Kanata is normally level headed and rational in contrast to her treatment of Haruka, even if they went overboard with this observation by having Riki voice out his thoughts of this nature. Its like telling viewers plain as day, “HEY, STICK AROUND AND WATCH, there’s a reason she’s acting this way!”.

    I still wish this was done by Kyoani, because the first half was so poorly animated.
    Especially the way Riki’s left eye is shifted all the way to the right, when Kanata is standing in the other direction.

    And it might be just me, but the full length images links at the bottom don’t work.
    Also, great post! +1

    1. JC’s animation is, I hate to say, Janky As F**k but I can’t complain about anything else – it’s still LB. A KyoAni treatment would have been amazing but you have to take what you can get and it’s a hell of a lot better than Toei’s Kanon at least.

  3. Holy rushed plot Batman!

    It wasn’t a bad episode, but they did cover quite a bit of Haruka’s route. Makes me wonder if their going to be doing some of Kanata’s route in the next episode.

    Just one question though, for anyone who’s went through the visual novel recently or remembers Haruka’s route, was the reason Haruka cherished the bench so much the same as the anime? I don’t actually remember that part too well and it seems like the anime maybe added that in. In any case because of that and the earlier Haruka centric episode it seems like Haruka is the first girl to actually like Riki romantically in her route.

    1. and by their I totally meant they’re. The English language… how does it work?

      Since this post would be pretty useless if I left it right there, I might as well say that Haruka’s route was my second favorite in Little Busters. It was probably the most emotionally charged of the routes as there was A LOT of yelling and baw scenes. Kurugaya’s was my favorite (Refrain doesn’t count) as it really was the only good route I feel Tonokawa’s written, but I’ll leave talking about that for when we get there.

      A little bit of a spoiler about Kanata (nothing explicitly stated, but just in case)

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. They better not exclude Anego’s route like people are saying they will, or I’d be majorly pissed.
        I’m expecting them to change Kud and Haruka’s scenes in the opening for Rin and Kurugaya.
        Looking forward to seeing if that happens and when…
        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. I’d also rank Kurugaya’s route very highly, but it is obviously problematic to integrate into the general anime structure. Personally, if I was the director and wanted to do it I’d have the first half before Rin’s route, and the second half after, which would lead nicely into Refrain. The endings…eh, well, compromises have to be made.

        A separate OVA story, like the Another World DVD specials for Clannad, may or may not be more ideal. I would like to see it in some form, though.

    2. I agree with you, but I also think the writers did a good job with the source material.
      It was rushed, yes. But It fit in nicely with the rest of the adaptation. Thus, very few of the emotional discharge was left out (VN wise I think Haruka’s story was dragged out where as in the anime if felt momentum and didn’t lose its strength.)

      Helvetica Standard
  4. While there are a bunch of criticisms I can make for the episode (and for that matter, the show so far), I do have to say that this episode laid on the drama effectively for the most part. In particular, that segment where the Little Busters are taking down the slanderous fliers shows you just how tight their bonds are.

      1. I usually watch it raw unless it has tons of lengthy conversations. I thought they made it clear that the woman had 2 husbands, with Haruka being the product of one & Kanata being the other, with Haruka’s father being the murderer.

      2. Wait. Now I am confused. If you are arguing that the anime explains how Haruka and Kanata’s family works in this episode, then that is correct. But are you referring to another episode?

      3. I dunno. I guess its some kind of spoiler on how its possible to have 2 different fathers for twins. The VN wasn’t too specific on that one either & it certainly didn’t mention what was deleted.

      4. Well, I rewatched the scene just to be sure, and in the subs it’s never explicitly stated that the twins have separate fathers – only that the mother has (had) two husbands. There’s nothing to say that both girls might not have the same father, and were split up into different households at birth anyway. Maybe it should be obvious but what can I say, it wasn’t – I didn’t immediately assume it, anyway. Clearly whether it was intended to be obvious or not the cat is out of the bag now so it really doesn’t matter.

      5. Whoops, misreplied. Sorry about that. The reply to dangerism below should not be.

        To me everything is laid out completely. We know that:

        1. Haruka’s mother had two husbands
        2. Haruka and Kanata are twins
        3. Haruka and Kanata take different names

        While there is nothing patently obvious (in that it requires the viewer to put two and two together–oh noes) at the same time I would not say it is such a hidden revelation that the mere mention of a single word requires you to bring down the censor hammer in paranoia. ‘Rosebud was has sled’ is one thing, but I do not think pointing out the details is the same category.

    1. To me everything is laid out completely. We know that:

      1. Haruka’s mother had two husbands
      2. Haruka and Kanata are twins
      3. Haruka and Kanata take different names

      While there is nothing patently obvious (in that it requires the viewer to put two and two together–oh noes) at the same time I would not say it is such a hidden revelation that the mere mention of a single word requires you to bring down the censor hammer in paranoia. ‘Rosebud was has sled’ is one thing, but I do not think pointing out the details is the same category.

  5. As much as I think Futaki was laying the law down on Haruka a little thick I can’t fault her entirely. She’s frustrated with a constant troublemaker and she’s head of the disciplanary committee; it’s kind of her job. Obviously there’s some real hate goin on here but there’s reason behind it.

    I also don’t think that Futaki was responsible for those flyers, that would be too low, but it wouldn’t surprise me though if somebody else on the disciplanary committee or even the entire committee was responsible for those flyers. I can’t imagine Futaki taking that well: she may be hard on Haruka but she’s hard on herself too.

    Like you mentioned it was nice to see her and Kud interacting outside of school (sort of). Kinda feel bad for Kud to be in that position but it also gives her more perspective on Futaki than arguably anyone else except perhaps for Haruka, but we’ll have to see about that.

    I’m not sure I understand the “two husbands” thing, and yeah it sounds pretty outdated. Geez, talk about living in the past, move on, it’s a new millenium.

  6. I tend to agree that Key works often do just slam the drama forward suddenly like an emotionally unstable dump truck on road rage; it’s part of their formula. At the same time, I also feel that this is often a simple pacing problem. I go back to Angel Beats often as a prime example of a badly paced Key story. There you would find that content is accelerated without warming, drama is delivered with firehoses and the mood whiplash leaves burns.

    Is this a problem endemic to Little Busters as well? I find it difficult to give a wholly satisfactory response. As a VN reader (as opposed to an anime-only viewer–would love to hear views on this) part of the reason I liked Mio’s route so much was that it was (relatively speaking) subdued. The drama was contained mostly to strong emotionally responses within Rikki’s head. Even though there are still big emotional catharsis scenes at the end it took its time getting there; after all, on of the devices was to give time for the reader to also get used to Midori while letting go of Mio. The anime, of course, does not have such luxuries and sped along much faster in comparison.

    Kurugaya’s route (which I’d love to talk about, but will not in hopes that JC Staff will get to it) also employs a similar, atmospheric narrative style which is ironic considering how Komarimax’s route (written by the same guy) is more of a BAM STUFF HAPPENS kinda story.

      1. I did not mean to say that Angel Beats was a corporately Key produced work. When I refer to Angel Beats as a Key story I meant it in a stylistic sense. I apologise for any potential confusion or misinformation. Jun Maeda brought with him, for better or worse, the standard trappings of Key; Angel Beats could easily masquerade itself as the adaptation of a Key VN, specifically something like a Kanade route.

    1. Pacing is very different between KyoAni Key adaptations and non Kyoani ones.

      If you look at first drama scene in Clannad, at the end of ep2, with the basketball scene, you gradually go scene after scene from an cheerful state (Nagisa’s making a suggestion), then having doubts (Tomoya looking at the rainy sky in Sunohara’s room) then to pure drama at the end of the episode.

      Here in this episode you go totally comedy before opening, then in one scene from cheerful/heartwarming to sudden heavy drama when Kanata comes.

      Well in Kyoani’s Clannad (or Kanon), these patterns of comedy/cheerful/drama/melancholic repeat every two eps, which gives a very good rythm and keep audience watching (except if you can’t bear Fuuko :]). More than animation value, that’s this rythm which is important.

  7. We have now witnessed so far the hugest case of Obvious Twist Ending in anime this year! I find it clever that KEY was able to give the sisters the same hair color (and the studio, the same voice actor) and STILL have it be as shocking as it was.

  8. The bench destruction scene in the VN was when I started to really hate Kanata for her vicious vindictiveness towards Haruka, it wasn’t till the end of the Haruka route as well as going through Kanata’s route that she started to redeem herself.

    This was why the set up of Kud to be her roommate and this episode’s scene with Kud was important, as it allowed some breathing room for the uninitiated anime viewer to know that something is amiss with her unusual hatred towards Haruka, as unlike the VN, the anime format would not be able to have time to quickly undo any enmity the viewer has towards her as the VN could.

    One thing the anime did better than the VN was it emphasized the solidarity of the Little Busters. In the VN it was just Riki alone supporting Haruka, whereas here she has the whole LB behind her back. Who does not think Kengo is awesome by telling the nosy bystanders to back off with his wood blade as he tore down those libellous posters?

    Kinny Riddle
  9. https://randomc.net/image/Little%20Busters/Little%20Busters%20-%2016%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    He looks suspiciously like Kyousuke….. Wonder is it intentional or not. Did the VN show Haruka dad face?

    Wow, this episode O.O The recent LB! episode certainly did lure me into a false sense of security. I don’t remember Komari and Mio arc being this intense….

    For some reason, Futaki seems to go all out b*tch on Haruka on this episode compare to the previous one…. I know tht she has a job to do and she can’t go soft on Haruka blahblahblah but still, tht pretty mean of you. But then again, the impression she give me in the conversation with Kud suggest tht she doesn’t like wht she does…. One thing tht I’m sure is Futaki wouldn’t be the one tht spread those flyer around.

    PS Did not saw the “married to two husbands” twist coming :O Enzo theory of them sharing the same mother with different dad seems possible…

  10. I know I am sounding like a troll, but I absolutely love Kurugaya. Every scene with her is made of pure win. As for the episode itself, I admit is does sound rushed. But as an anime only viewer (Although I know what the secret of the world is. Damn you Wikipedia!), I didn’t think it was rushed which is what I believe is truly important. As for the bench-kun scene, it seems like anybody and their dog who played the original VN is crying foul. I find this laughable for two reasons. One, making the scene any more dramatic would make it unbearable and stupid over something like a bench. (Look at the forum for Nihon Review if you want some proof) and two, people are making fools over their selves over said bench. That’s even worse then the scene itself being over the top. If you pardon my french, making a big deal out of it makes you all look idiots. It’s just a bench people. Now I’ll suppose I’ll tell you why JC Staff’s direction of the scene was great. One, the scene is better for being less dramatic and two, the fact that Haruka didn’t make a big deal out of it when all was said and done which actually made me respect her some more. It also makes the scene in the disciplinary council room better, because we already have the tension of the bench scene in place, so the fact that she went berserk after the whole committee started badmouthing her (And Kanata seemed to intentionally provoke her) made much more sense. Even more so, if it called forth memories of isolation and psychical (And sexual? Although maybe that is too dark) abuse. I also have to commend JC Staff for having shown us that all the Little Busters have Haruka’s back (Which I also heard wasn’t in the VN). It actually makes Haruka coming out about her past more believable since she had no less than eight friends who wouldn’t even think of demonizing her. So in the end maybe I am overreacting, but I am overreacting to the overreacters. JC Staff is doing fine, although I have to admit the animation was slightly off today, but that’s actually been a rare occurrence. That is all… Oh! And Kurugaya rocks!

      1. Ok. I was exagerating when I said everybody and their dog. What I’m trying to say is that a lot of people were complaining about that scene (See MyAnimeList forums on the episode for what I mean. It even created a new meme.) and it was kinda getting on my nerves. They were making a big deal out of a bench. I mean how childish does that sound.

    1. The adaptation is very good for a VN-based anime series, particularly one of the multiple route variety, which require some significant changes to fit both running time and a linear sequence. Besides the KyoAni works, few series come close to matching LB in terms of faithfulness and overall quality (decidedly unspectacular by overall anime standards but still well above average for a VN adaptation).

      On the other hand, it’s certainly going to upset people expecting the same flow as the original. Additionally, many players have emotional investment in particular characters, so the time compression (which highlights how contrived and preposterous some of the original stories really are; where emotional manipulation is concerned, there’s far less time to force the viewer into taking the bait hook, line, and sinker. In other words, the anime reveals the true nature of the scenarios once you excise most of the introspective manipulation that’s embraced by many readers) and lack of romance might leave a sour taste.

      In terms of reception, the differences between the Komari and Mio arcs are telling. Both are adapted with roughly the same competence and approach to compression. However, the Mio scenario was better received because:

      a) Mio’s route doesn’t get nearly as melodramatic or manipulative as Komari’s (or Haruka’s)
      b) emotionally, fewer readers have an investment in the character

      1. Actually even if Kyoani animates this, it will still be hard to reconstruct.
        Kyoani doesn’t have TIME to animate Little Busters! in a right way or it would really take 48-100 episodes. Kyoani takes one project at a time to make a quality work done and time takes a lot of budget.

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

  11. I wonder if Show Spoiler ▼

    gonna be in the anime… I mean she is in the first trailer.

    And about Kurugaya’s route, big spoiler btw Show Spoiler ▼

  12. I actually think that it would have been better to omnibus this series… Because so far, the plot changes to accommodate Riki’s status as a friend not a lover is dampening the experience. Part of that may be the botched pacing as well…

  13. I have played Haruka’s route in the VN two months ago, and I have to say that…

    This route’s adaptation is definitely better than the VN for me so far.

    The reasons are simple :

    1. They cut a lot of unnecessary things that floating around Haruka’s route, which also bring a much better pace(albeit a bit too rushed). For me, the writer for her route is technically the worst from all of LB routes writer.

    2. In the VN, the friendship between LB! crew reduced to almost zero in Haruka’s route. When any of Riki’s friends show up (in the VN), it seems like they are putting them just to remind that there are other people besides Riki, Haruka and Kanata.

    For this reason, I find trading romance with friendship approach is a pretty good deal for the anime adaptation.

    3. Those little original touches in the anime are very good and enriching the overall “feel” of Haruka’s route. The short conversation between Kanata and Kud is absolutely crucial to add more depth into Kanata’s personality (especially when things are only going to worse from now on). Also, that “Riki is the first person who approaches me” scene is a little, yet very good vanilla touch for Haruka. Thumbs up for the script writer.

    Overall, it’s a good start for Haruka. I wonder if they could maintain this momentum so we wouldn’t get a shaky road to the climax of her route.

    Also, I’m getting more pumped for Refrain for each improvements that they do in every episodes. I was rather pessimistic at early episodes, but now I’m pretty optimistic :3


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *