「リトルバスターズ！世界の斎藤は俺が守る！」 (Sekai no Saitou wa Ore ga Mamoru!)
Boy, talk about a mood shift…
It seems a bit odd to watch the “Sekai no Saitou” OVA right after the 11th episode of Refrain, but that’s just the way the timing worked out. You could hardly draw up two episodes that more effectively highlight this series in its polar opposite modes – the OVA is very much in the spirit of the first season at its most light-hearted and absurd, but having just seen what went down in the TV anime certainly casts the hijinks of this special episode in an unusual light.
That said, I think this was certainly among the funnier episodes of Little Busters!, although it seems more than anything else to be a special delivery for VN veterans. As far as I can tell it’s composed of several mini-chapters of the VN, games within the game, as well as some anime-original material (mostly fanservice) thrown in for good measure (and several pairs of breasts get a good measure). While as an anime-original viewer I had a good chunk of the references fly over my head (for example the repeated appearances of a certain blonde girl we’ll be seeing much more of next year) until after the fact, there was a lot here that I couldn’t help but laugh at, knowing the characters as well as I’ve come to know them.
The OVA is basically split into two plot threads (though calling them “plot” is probably being a bit generous), the first being the establishment of a new battle ranking system for all ten of the Little Busters (this being set during the S1 timeframe, all the auxiliary girls are present). Naturally Riki is at the bottom – as with everything Kyousuke does, even in light-hearted episodes, the idea is to make Riki grow stronger. The other involves the girls in the cast going to Kuragaya for life advice one by one – advice which generally amounts to “troll Komari” in several different forms. Well, trolling Komari is comedy gold in my book – we get stuff like Rin adding an “Oop!” at the end of every Komari “Yup” and Kud saying “God Damn!” (in Engrish) at the beginning of every sentence and “Touch me and I’ll beat the shit out of you!” (in Kud-o Japanese) at the end.
I’ve generally found the comedy in LitBus to be hit-and-miss, but in this episode the batting average is pretty high. Kud-o’s “God damn!” alone punched the ticket for me, but Rin following suit worked too. I also enjoyed seeing Mio at her kawaii-creepy best (though the whole “NYP” business with the Science Club went over my head – or something). The breast-size jokes are pretty tired at this point, but Kuragaya was certainly in her element at the top of the food chain in every sense this episode. As for the battle game, it starts off innocently enough with Riki plowing through the lower ranks (you can only challenge the person directly above you) like Mio and Kud using industrial tape and glue, but eventually Kyousuke introduces the titular “Mask the Saitou” element, which kicks the lunacy up a few notches. The best part here was when Kyousuke – who was Saitou all the time, obviously – faked an attack on himself while talking to Riki on the phone as the rest of his class looked on, befuddled.
Stay tuned for the end, because the ED credits (it’s very reassuring to hear the more upbeat S1 OP and ED again – until you actually pay attention to the lyrics) contain maybe the best gag of the episode, on the whole. And there’s a funny little vignette after they finish as well.