「わたし、必ず戻ってきます (Watashi, Kanarazu Modotte Kimasu/i>)
“I’ll Definitely Come Back

In summing up my thoughts about this episode, I can do no better than to quite Riki himself: “What was that??”

This was another very solid episode of Little Busters drama, successful because it’s anchored around a character sympathetic enough to pull it off in Kud. A bit too much crying for my tastes, perhaps, but this is Key after all and LB certainly still has a solid lead in the "no more tears" department over the likes of Clannad at 22 episodes – there haven’t been many tears at all, really. But I can’t help but wonder if this was episode 2 of the Kud Arc or episode 1 of the "Little Busters" Arc, because it seems as if the gloves have really come off now in terms of the mystery underlying the main storyline.

Let me preface the rest of the post by pleading with those of you who know the details to please, for goodness sakes spoiler tag any and all comments which remotely spoil any of the "secret of this world" and all its extensions. I’ve already seen a few scraps in the process of deleting and tagging comments as is, and I hope VN veterans will result the urge to "help" new viewers and make clever insinuations about what’s really going on here. With that said, here are a few things that stuck in my mind after watching the episode:

Kyousuke for damn sure knows more than he’s letting on. His conversation with Kud was a strange one, to say the least.

"It seems you’ve remembered everything. You’ll just experience the same thing – the same time? Has your wish changed?"

The mind certainly does wander, doesn’t it… Time loop? Riki interpreted it as simply Kyousuke disapproving of Kud not going home to Tevua, but there was surely more to it than that. To add weight to this notion we also have Kud waking from a dream of being in prison – and shots of shackles in the preview.

Then we have the obvious, the sequence where Riki had a Tsuritama-esque vision, though altogether a disturbing one. What was he seeing – and why was he seeing it? It’s surely not coincidental that this happened on the heels of his trying to call Haruka, and being unable to reach her. That’s especially interesting given that Haruka and Mio are strangely absent in the third act – not even coming to see Kud-o off as she departs for home. That’s surely not normal. There’s the fact that both Mio and Haruka were part of unusual sister (or twin) oriented plotlines, though I’m not sure I’m ready to believe there’s a connection.

There’s certainly more weirdness here. Riki seems genuinely in the dark about whatever’s happening, but his words after his speech convincing Kud to go home and deal with her problems rather than run away from them – "My words were probably meant for myself" – had the ring of ones spoken at a later time by someone who knows a lot more than they did at the moment they’re speaking of. What is Riki running away from that we know of, exactly? Kud’s mention of a “curse for good luck” is certainly an odd choice of words. And then there’s the strangely extemporaneous appearance of this girl, Suginami (who briefly appeared before, bullying Kud), delivering a notice for a class trip which seemingly has no connection to events in the episode – which happens right before Riki has his vision. She’s played by Hanazawa Kana (who isn’t these days) and thus, seems sure to be an important factor in some sense.

All of that conspiracy-related white noise shouldn’t overshadow the fact that this was a very good episode about a very good character, and it did a really nice job expositing the details of Kud’s situation (which is weird and painful enough even without factoring in whatever she was discussing with Kyousuke – ans by the looks of the preview it seems as if it’s going to get even worse for her). I love all the contradictions in Kud – her great intellect and her total inability to deploy it in academic situations, her appearance and her true nature. Whatever else is happening, what’s going on with Kud and her mother is pretty dark stuff – there are obviously political issues at play (her mother seems to be a powerful propaganda tool) but of more direct concern to Kud is her conviction that she’s a disappointment to her mother. The fact that she was willing to burn her box of memories because they’d come to represent her failures is a pretty harsh declaration of just how far into despair she’d fallen – but I certainly felt from the beginning (before things got really weird) that going to deal with whatever faced her there was the right thing to do.

Kanata – who I noted was very much present after Riki’s attempted phone call to Haruka, even though Haruka was not – said something very interesting to Kud – "Rather than staying here and regretting it, it may be better to go and regret it." If you followed my move to Japan, that will sound strikingly similar to the words I used at the time (and have tried to follow as much as possible): "Most of our regrets in life aren’t what we did and wish we hadn’t, but what we didn’t do and wish we had". It follows a trend I’ve seen in Little Busters, in that it’s a very simple series in terms of philosophy – it extols the virtues of common sense and decency, and the ideas it promotes indeed make a good deal of sense. I don’t know what’s going on in the big picture and frankly, I’m reluctant to even speculate because I don’t want to encourage denials or confirmations of anything I guess. But what we have now is a very interesting duality – this very innocent and good-hearted show about immensely likeable and decent kids, existing side-by-side with a mystery which more and more is casting a rather creepy and ominous shadow over everything. If it wasn’t before it should certainly be a given now that we have a second season on the way, and while I suspect it will be enormously different from this one, I look forward to seeing the other side of Little Busters take center stage.

 

Preview

59 Comments

    1. Most anime of Kei Vn.. end up that way *sniffle* they always love to go Humor —-> serious —> depressing —> amazing ending!!! though the vns themselves go that way but you can choose the order you can do most of the routes :c but I also admit going that path makes it easier to connect to the characters, and make the story more lovavle!!! I so hope Lb delivers on the emotional truma! like all the previous kei animu!!!!!

      Akarin
  1. Good catches, Enzo. I know you will catch most of the clues scattered here.

    I’m no “played the refrain” person,so probably my current guess about “the secret of the world” is as vague as anyone else who tried guessing. However, having played Rin1 (which is short and giving almost nothing to the current clue) gave me a sense of awareness about clues,far from episode one. And I think I should say that this is not the first episode that they thrown clues,although it’s the first time they are throwing at noticable pace.

    Some additional notes from me :
    – In case of people forgetting this, this is not the first tunnel vision shown in the anime. It’s first appearance is at the second episode, at the first tine they introduce “the secret of the world” (and you can also rewatch that ep to compare current and previous vision)
    – Going back to the second episode probably is an excellent idea,since it’s also the first appearance of Suginami. You can safely say that she’s kinda different with the rest of the bully gang. For bonus, you can also see Rin’s past behavior and comparing her to what she is today (Rin also takes a big spotlight this episode)
    – Don’t forget that Mio is missing at Haruka’s arc as well!

    One unique thing about Little Busters is that “know”, “aware” and “unaware” about secret of the world will greatly change your view about almost all of LB’s episode. Too bad most people fall to “unaware” (or not interested) category when they are struggling with the early episodes, resulting in low interest toward the entire series. It’s their lost, I guess.

    Ah,and this is just the beginning. The clue won’t stop coming to the Show until Refrain come, so enjoy the show! (too bad with the amount of VN players, it’s kinda difficult to openly speculating about anything)

    zeroyuki92
    1. Yes, this is the great difficulty in blogging a show like this. Ideally there would be places for experienced and new viewers to comment separately, but as that’s not possible here all I can do is plead for restraint and hope for the best (and try to tag untagged spoilers without reading them).

      And yes, I did note (and speculate) on Mio’s absence for part of Haruka’s arc. It struck many new viewers as odd at the time.

    2. I think this is the first time we ever saw Suginami. She wasn’t in episode 2.

      Also, the show itself is full of little clues you might not notice until it hits you like a train.

      About Haruka and Mio’s disappearance…Even VN players might take a while to understand.

      (On a sidenote: I think Kud and Masato really get along well together. Bring on the Muscle Sensation!)

      someone
      1. Nope, she’s in episode 2. Go to around 9:11 when the bully gang are gossiping about Rin and her cats.

        She wanted to say something to two girls who was gossiping Rin, but she didn’t get the courage to do so.

        zeroyuki92
    3. I love the mistery in this series! Makes me want to see how they will show the secret of the world even more! This show is simply epic, I don´t know why people dislike it so much D:

      wherethecowsfly
    1. Well
      In the vn you can choose to kud to not go but…
      Show Spoiler ▼

      And that is even worse that what is happening ;___;

      wherethecowsfly
  2. another solid episode! o.O
    The foreshadowing was strong with this episode!
    I still feel like the performance/drama are not quiet doing it for me on the level of the VN but it’s still enjoyable!
    PS anyone know If that scene with Kyousuke and Kud talking before she left is in the VN??!

    Naske
    1. People said it’s an anime original, yet a very good one.

      Well, let me praise JC staff and the production staffs for this one : a lot of anime original moves are become the strong point of this episode. Good job for the scriptwriter here for her creativity in order to adapt the non-linear plot of LB into a linear medium.

      zeroyuki92
    2. No. That is not in the vn, but it sure makes the character to get more lovable in the vn.
      Major spoilers of refrain.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      wherethecowsfly
  3. As predictable as the plot of this episode was, it wasn’t any less heart-wrenching! I loved seeing Kud each week, and I hope that he DOES indeed return to the Little Busters despite the laws. But it looks like she’ll be in more trouble over at Tebwa!

    Is it me, or is this another episode with subpar animation than usual? Look at the classmates in her flashback!! Their faces are so screwy! And there are a few shots of the main character’s faces that seem way off-model!

    starss
  4. Since we keep seeing hints about the strange goings-on behind the mysteries of the show ONLY NOW way into the season, I feel like the finale will end on a shocking cliffhanger, and the mysterious forces will be revealed headfirst in season 2!

    starss
  5. I stayed up all night reading Refrain because this episode finally had me hook line and sinker Key style. I’ve got to say you blog this really wonderfully. I know what happens and I still have questions.

    aelove
  6. Yup. U absolutely right, Enzo.
    As a LB VN veteran I can assure you, season 2 will be a completely
    different show. Many of you will hardly believe it being a “2nd part”

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Helvetica Standard
  7. I have to say JC Staff is doing a good job with Kud’s route even with adding some anime original stuff. You should go back and watch the episodes that follow the end of each girl’s arcs because they reused the same scene of Riki waking up in bed, it’s something to take note of

    Wraith
  8. Seems like you missed one screen cap on the vision, one of a chained Kud (on a way more beaten up state than in the preview, almost dead). Also, the girl on the vision has a peculiar uniform.

    One thing that kept crawling in my mind after the vision, is the relationship between Kyousuke and Rin. I can’t remember a single time when they have behaved like brothers.

    PS: Enzo, some spelling mistakes here and there. Just giving you a heads up, since it’s really unusual.

    Raw
  9. It seems clear to me that Kyousuke is granting wishes. He didn’t stop helping people with Riki. The thing is, I don’t think the recipients are supposed to know he’s involved (or at least remember). It’s because Kud remembers the past/future (that she was/will be in prison), she also knows that Kyousuke is the reason. It seems like Kyousuke makes the time loop and Riki has to find a way to make it stop, so the wish is fulfilled. Er, except that in Mio’s case her wish was fulfilled and Riki cancelled it. And I’m not sure what Komari’s wish was, unless it was to remember her brother permanently.

    The only other clue to Kyousuke controlling the world is at the very beginning of the first episode. When he ‘returns,’ he sees the lights of the city unravel gradually, almost as if he was watching the city being built.

    However, I don’t get where Riki’s narcolepsy fits in. The first time it happened was when Komari joined the team; I don’t know what the significance of that was, except that they had just cleaned that room because of the note. The second time was when he was wondering who knew that the cafeteria would be in trouble. The third time was when he met Midori (so manly of him to fall asleep then). So far that’s the only time it happened in the middle of a route, unrelated to the notes to Rin.

    Actually Mio’s was strange in that she already had supernatural stuff going on (she already had no shadow). Then the world got funky with people not remembering the old Mio. Maybe Mio’s conviction gave her the ability to do the same thing as Kyousuke, to remake the world somehow?

    Back to this episode though, I’m with Rin — going back to Tebwa is a bad choice. And why would their government be so keen to get Kud back unless they wanted to use her?

    foo
    1. It’s a very plausible theory. However, I think Kyousuke = Mastermind is the default theory for everyone who starts to guess the “secret of the world”.

      I think the most important pieces of puzzle still haven’t arrived yet. I believe Masato and Kengo will take a great role in the story, not only as a Riki’s support. However, right now we only know Masato as a lovable idiot and we still don’t know anything noteworthy about Kengo, so I think we can’t really guess anything accurate for now.

      Heck, even Riki himself could be suspicious at times lol.

      zeroyuki92
      1. Sorry, English is not my first language, so I read fast without analyzing what I was reading, I thought he was telling the story ir something D:
        And yes, I realize that, But how I was telling you, I didn´t know he was just speculating.
        If I could I would delete my comment.

        Wherethecowsfly
  10. Poor my little kud.. I don’t know why people hate her.. I think her route is quite good until now

    But that inferiority complex of her pains me a lot… why kud? you are cute! you have your own charm.. Riki dude you should tell her..

    edo
  11. Loved the episode! IMO the best to date.
    Epic how they added the hints to the secret of the world and the form they adapted the route. If before I loved little busters! I am now obsessed! This episode simple raised my hype so much!

    wherethecowsfly

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