「逃亡の果てに」 (Tōbō no Hate ni)
“At the End of the Escape”

Well, any way you slice it that was a "Shaka, when the walls fell" kind of episode.

I’m trying very hard to trust Kyosuuke here, because in my gut I can’t help believe he has what’s best for Riki and Rin – and all the Little Busters – at heart. I have my theories about exactly how that’s going to play out and nothing that’s happened has contradicted them yet, but damn – an episode like this is hard to watch. The thing is I can really feel for Riki here so much (thanks in no small part to some very fine work by Hochan), because what he wants more than anything is exactly that – to be able to trust Kyousuke. And more than that, he wants to rely on Kyousuke to make everything all right, just as he always has. But right now, that’s a very hard thing for Riki to do.

This episode was the $50 buffet brunch at the Hilton when it comes to all-you-can-eat sadness. Take your pick, but I guess we can start with the texts between Riki and Rin. That’s made worse, of course, by the fact that just two weeks ago we saw them giddily exchanging shy and pointless midnight texts, flush in the glory of their new relationship – an intentional contrast, no doubt, but one that makes the heart-wrenching texts from this week (though interspersed as they were with the only comedy of the episode, the "Ooh!" texts from Masato) all the more, well – heart-wrenching. What a terrible thing, to know that someone you love is suffering and be able to do nothing about it. All he can do is tell her to try – a terrible word, as Riki says, because it absolves him from all responsibility.

It’s easy to see how Riki gets from there to hating Kyousuke – or at least resenting him very much. Not only is Kyousuke causing Rin such terrible loneliness, he’s breaking up that which Riki holds even more dear (let’s be honest) than Rin herself, the Little Busters. No end goal could be worth that – a perfectly natural conclusion, from someone in Riki’s position. Making things worse is the seeming betrayal by Masato, whose repeated hinting that he knew what was going on has finally connected the dots in Riki’s mind about him. Masato even more than Kyousuke has seemed dedicated to Riki specifically, taken a personal responsibility for him over all the others, and it hurts to see him cast in this light.

That leaves Riki, effectively, alone – alone that is, apart from Kengo, to whom he turns for help in resolving his existential crisis. Riki’s anger and desperation wins a small concession from Kyousuke, that Rin will come home for weekends (Riki quite rightly wonders how that’s up to Kyousuke in the first place) but it’s not much consolation as Rin is so beaten-down she can’t even get out of (Riki’s) bed. And she won’t show herself to Komari, with whom she’s mysteriously become incapable of communicating with by phone. Only Kengo seems to be on Riki’s side, and he pledges his support to him – though my sense is that he does so not because he too has been left out of the secret, but because he’s made a choice to support Riki in spite of knowing what he knows.

The baseball scene is possibly the darkest and most bleak in the entire series so far. As storm clouds (which have been a common occurrence of late) gather, we see the four childhood friends cast as enemies with Rin’s future on the line – and on the baseball diamond of all places, the symbolic Shrine to the unity of the same Little Busters that Kyousuke seems intent on tearing apart. What’s most striking is the change in Kyousuke and Masato – all trace of jovial friendliness gone, they wear the faces of soldiers assigned to fulfil a mission they find distasteful. Worst of all is the moment when Kengo sees the image (I was going to say "ghost" but that’s too loaded a word here) of Miyuki just as he’s about to swing the bat, and immediately turns on Kyousuke in a rage. "These are cheap tricks!" he screams, and goes on to pummel Kyousuke until Masato and Riki wrestle him off.

I’m going to avoid specifics for the most part here, but only one broad scenario makes sense to me – that Kyousuke is doing all these terrible things (and Masato is helping him) because the alternative is even more terrible. "Show me you can endure this." he tells Riki. "Can you do that?" It’s a strange request, in the fashion of something a parent would say to their child. I can’t help but feel that this is even harder and more painful for Kyousuke than it is for Riki and Rin – which is quite a statement in and of itself. As for Riki’s desperation plan to flee with Rin to the old house "where we used to play together as kids", well, for me that’s mostly just sad as well. It’s a further reminder than both Riki and Rin are still children, running away from home – it’s a futile gesture and we know it, so the ending of the episode is no surprise.

There’s never been any question in my mind that the main theme of LitBus – along with friendship – is the painful realization of all that must be lost when we leave childhood behind and become adults. If the series has largely been a celebration of the simple and innocent joys of childhood, this episode and its ending are a kind of splash of cold water to the face – a reminder that being a child also means being powerless against a world that we sometimes see as cruel and indifferent. Riki’s last line of dialogue echoes ominously long after the ED has stopped rolling: "For such a long time I’d forgotten… That to live means to lose." It feels as if we’re going to be reminded of that frequently and painfully over the next several weeks.


Author’s note: Please “refrain” from posting any unmarked VN spoilers (or hints, or confirmations or denials of guesses, or clever spoilers disguised as jokes) into the comments section. I don’t want this experience ruined for me, and I don’t want it ruined for any other new viewers. Read the comments at your own risk,. Zephyr has kindly offered to pop his head in here and look for spoiler comments, but that will not necessarily be before any potential spoilers have been posted for a while. Untagged spoiler comments will of course be deleted, and serial offenders will meet with further and more decisive response. Let’s be respectful and keep this a safe place for people who want to experience Refrain to the fullest without having to worry about that experience being spoiled because they want to participate in a discussion.

ED3 Sequence


ED3: 「花火」 (Hanabi) by (Lia)


  1. Can’t remember if they ever showed it in S1, but in the VN Kyousuke essentially has complete control over Rin’s phone. He set the password on her phone, so she’s basically locked out of accessing whatever Kyousuke decides she can’t, like the blocked numbers list.

      1. @guardian

        I want to write my Speculations, but i accept your request for not spoiling and speculation.

        I think, i know the Secret of the World. But i put myself into chains not to speculate about it

    1. The truth is, Rin actually doesn’t know how to use a cellphone in the very beginning.
      She had to ask Kyousuke or Riki’s guidance to help her.
      Kyousuke only taught her how to text and answer calls.
      Thus you see why her mail is simple.
      With little words with (‘.’) emoticon because she doesn’t know much about emoticons.
      Kyousuke must be… no it is him that made the phone blocks other contact to others and only allowing Riki.

      1. Yeah, she didn’t know how since she never needed to know. Prior to the start of the series, she was incredibly shy around anyone besides the (original) Little Busters, and she was never in a situation where she would need to use a cell phone to call or text anyone since they were always together.

    1. Wow, they skipped quite a lot of material there.
      I’m not a VN player, so from my perspective Rin is such a spoiled child. It doesn’t help when I saw the scene where Riki doing the laundry and Rin just playing around with the cats. But after I watched the VN part, I guess she is not as spoiled as I thought. At least she’s not demanding too much.
      Anyway, thx for the link Croos.

      BTW I don’t remember this Miyuki girl ever appeared in the first season, CMIIW. Please don’t answer with too much unnecessary detail.
      I think I should start preparing some tissue box from next episode forward.

      1. Well, OF COURSE it’s only Riki who’s making the laundry. Rin is in such a terrible state of mind that no wonder Riki just wants her to play with cats. She’s the most happy when she’s with cats after all. I’d do the same at his place.

  2. one of the episodes that every VN player is looking for in anticipation.
    it was intense and eventful. seriously, this ep gave me chills till now.

    of all things I must praise the performance. that kind of atmosphere rolling from one event toward another…this ep..it was amazing. brought the real feelings of the VN and managed to enhance them in a way only anime is able to do.
    it was emotinally strong, dark, tearing apart the LB’s symbol from all ways..especially that ED sequence..felt like a roller coaster of emotions of LB.

    yes, omissions have been made, mostly of the last part after the escape, that could serve as almost a full ep.
    for example: one should wonder what is that deserted house?why go there all of a sudden?why Riki and Rin took a bath together? and more little things like that..that were detailed in VN.

    it was hard to see those scenes and details almost gone…got only glimpses. but you know what? I have been thinking about it, and I guess that’s what it is. in order to keep it intense, and to bring the right ending to each episode, modifications must have been made.
    but unfortunately, some of them were indeed crucial
    here is a little from my perspective:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    above all, LB anime has some improvments than VN. we can definitely feel key’s presence here.
    Show Spoiler ▼


    she won’t show herself to Komari, with whom she’s mysteriously become incapable of communicating with by phone

    actually, kyouske did something to Rin’s phone. that’s what Riki said (which make sense). it’s more clear in the VN.

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      although I would love to see an explanation to what happened on the last minutes of this episodes ;___;

    1. and with Age, your Responsibility grown with it. Even Stronger, if you have someone you must take care. Then it is not only your Fate, it is the Fate of the someone, too. That you carry on your shoulders

  3. Wow, the whole escape and eloping of Riki and Rin was breezed through in the ending sequence.

    In hindsight though, I feel Maeda Jun may have dragged out the whole sorry saga of them taking refuge in that empty house for a bit too long, padding it with a bit too much “slice of life” drama, distracting the audience from what was truly to come.

    I say “sorry” saga, as they have decided to escape only on a whim with little to no planning, and it was only inevitable that the “authorities” would catch up to them in no time. (I have good reason for putting quotation marks on “authorities”. )

    This may have influenced JC Staff’s decision to keep their flight from Kyousuke brief, rather than waste one whole episode showing how they’re managing to live in exile before getting caught.

    Still, at least they showed Riki and Rin sharing the same bath can.

    1. Well, most Screen time we saw Rin sleeping. And they show not the Problems of getting food and so on you needed. Where he got this Money? Riki save fundings?

      Well, lucky they dont deepened it. So the Main Line is still firm

  4. If Kyousuke intended for Rin to grow up all this time….. it doesn’t seem to be working very well! All this accomplished was Rin going to another school and being even less social than she was before! I wonder.

    Oh, and this time, two naive teenagers in young love pronounce they’re going to run away…. AND THEY DO! For once in a storyline, they actually seem to accomplish it for a while before the authorities inevitably find them!

  5. Wow. This episode… was incredible. I think that even if you didn´t liked this anime, the baseball scene with Kengo yelling is something everyone should watch.
    Also Hanabi was beautiful ;____; I can´t stop listening to it.
    Next episode starts refrain´s arc. I can´t wait.

  6. Zoom zoom! Wow, that was fast. We really do have a lot to get through though, so I suppose warp speed is our only option.

    Some of you may remember back to Season 1 and Kengo struggling to hit the baseball after he broke his arm. In the VN, he had no such trouble. It has a home run on the first hit. I found that change odd because throughout the story–whether in baseball, other mini-games, or general descriptions–Kengo is portrayed as, universally, invincible. As in he literally could not be defeated. This episode is the reason why so much work was put into building that image of him. The very fact that Kengo loses is shocking. It is crushing. Kengo’s reaction is not an overreaction–in a way, it is too the audience’s reaction, and the stench of foul play is only the start of it. There are aftershocks. The bonds between the Little Busters that we may once have thought unshakeable are not just eroded. They are snapped in twain and trampled into the earth.

    But of course it had to be done. To create we must destroy, and the creation of drama is from the destruction of comfort zones. One may say that as of Episode 06, Refrain begins.

  7. That was a good friggin’ episode. They nailed the showdown so well. I got shivers running down my spine all over again (particularly during “Called game”). And, of course, what is a Key work without a Lia song.

    A pity they rushed through the last third of Rin’s route though. It’s not that big of a deal though, most of it is just slice of life events leading up to Riki’s realization that he’s incapable of taking care of Rin as they are now.

    And I guess really all that needs to be said now is…….

    So it begins.

  8. I don’t know where I want to start, but I know where I want to end. I don’t know where I want to start because this episode (at least for me) was one of those rare experiences, flawlessly and seamlessly weaving together so many of the “Great Themes” of humanity – love, loss, fate, god, and so on.

    I suppose that the main theme of the episode is how (if at all) you can carry on if you believe that the world is controlled by an implacable deity who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, insists that everything that is happening is for your own good and for the good of the people you love. The ancient Sumerians pondered this over four millennia ago, and fifteen hundred years later, the writer of the Book of Job was still trying to make sense of it. Philosophers, theologians, poets and writers in the West have also struggled with this idea right up to our own time, with many of them rejecting either the notion of God altogether, or at least that God acts in our best interests. Others have concentrated more on what our response to this situation should be, like Camus, whose notions of Absurdism were so eloquently reinterpreted by Mamoru Oshii in The Sky Crawlers. But the more I think about this whole story of Riki and the Little Busters, the more I see the ideas of the 19th century Danish philosopher Kierkegaard. I suppose this should come as no surprise though as Key staffer Yuuto Tonokawa, who worked on Little Busters!, is apparently familiar with his works.

    Anyway, in his book The Sickness unto Death, Kierkegaard examines three types of despair. The first sort (and please bear in mind here that I’m trying to summarise one of the great works of modern philosophy in a few sentences) arises from a lack of knowledge or awareness of anything beyond a limited finite existence, an unconsciousness (in the sense of “not knowing”) of anything spiritual. And here we have Riki with his narcolepsy, periodically becoming literally unconscious. The second sort of despair arises from a realisation that things beyond the finite actually do exist, and manifests itself in organising things in such a way as to distract from that realisation. So now we have the Little Busters adopting Riki as a member and organising his life to help him recover from his first encounter with things beyond the finite, the death of his parents. The third sort of despair arises from the realisation of the spiritual and the infinite, but at the same time refusing to accept the will of God. And so Riki, beginning to see Kyousuke’s god-like role in the world, refuses to accept it and runs away with Rin.

    At this point we are in personal button-pushing territory. This, as they say, isn’t my blog so I’ll keep it brief, but I once ran away from a life I found impossible, and tried to set up home with someone I loved. It was all well and good while it lasted, but for many different reasons (not least of which was the finite capacity of my credit cards) I knew it couldn’t go on forever. So I really identified with Riki at the end. And by the way, I know a lot of people seem to be upset that this whole section was reduced to a sort of epilogue, but I think that added to it rather than detracted. It distilled its essence, leaving us with something so simple, so memorable, and still so sad.

    So now, finally, the end that I knew already from the beginning. And I’ll leave it to Rin’s own raw, exhausted emoti(c)ons…


  9. You probably knew already, but I really recommend the anime-only viewers not to read the comments, or read with caution xD some spoilers are flying everywhere.

    And yeah, the happy times are over…now is the time Key is going to wreck our poor little hearts to their content xD so prepare some tissues..
    And they crammed so much material into one ep! I would’ve liked to see more of the escape, especially some crucial parts, but hopefully those will be explained in the coming episode.

  10. It seems that my post was deleted, I was quite dizzy last night (and furious to see the next episode) and didn’t realize that I was posting a quite too advanced speculation without spoiler tag. I think reading too many forums and blog (and probably indirectly spoiled by other speculations and clues) sometimes make me sound like someone who have played Refrain, although I actually haven’t. I deeply apologize for that.

    To be honest I can’t comment anything else, though. The execution of this episode is brilliant and I have no complain about Riki+Rin’s runaway only displayed through ending song. I have a lot of thoughts about things that were “happening in the background” that Riki only capture partially, and some thoughts about their implications in the future, but I guess it couldn’t be discussed anywhere. The rest of internet were divided on people who have read the VN (and alreasy busy discussing comparisons and future events) and people who starts from zero knowledge. I have no idea where anyone who are on the middle zone could discuss things in a speculating nature without risk of spoiling each other… Ah well, I guess there’s no other way other than waiting for next episode.

    I guess Enzo have been struggling to find the balance of reviewing things without indirectly spoiling anyone through speculation, that must be a quite difficult thing to do :/

  11. Since Riki is always so forward with his problem solving I keep forgetting he’s always out of his comfort zone sticking his neck out. This episode highlighted that he really isn’t much farther long than Rin in a sense of independence. I thought to myself he didn’t have much faith in her to bounce back but then again it’s his gf he was watching unravel from a distance. Its easy to imagine the worst when the person isn’t in front of you so you can see them and gauge how they really are.

  12. Ep 07:

    Show Spoiler ▼

  13. At KSL 2013 this year the only song that was performed that had nothing to do with Little Busters at all was Hanabi by Lia.

    Three months later, guess what song is used as a special ED.


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