Little Busters – 06

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Wow – that conclusion sure arrived a lot faster than I expected.

Little Busters - 06 - Large 01As with just about everything else with Little Busters!, I’m very much of two minds about this episode, and the entire Komari arc (both episodes of it).  On the one hand I can very much feel myself being manipulated emotionally, and while Maeda Jun supposedly didn’t write this arc personally it’s clearly written to fit with his style.  But on the other, while I wasn’t devastated or anything it did have its moments where it really connected, though more so from Riki’s perspective than Komari’s. 

Little Busters - 06 - Large 02It goes beyond that, to the length of the arc itself.  I’m definitely of a mind that a little Komari goes a long way – between the way the character is written and the performance she can be a lot to take – so the fact that her arc was so short might just be a blessing.  But the downside of that is that it definitely comes off feeling a bit rushed.  The character development got to what felt like a fairly logical place, but there were some obvious shortcuts taken along the way.  Given the announcement that the series would be extended beyond 26 episodes in some fort, it’s an interesting decision to cut the first character arc so short.

Little Busters - 06 - Large 03My general sense is still that LB is a more innocent and straightforward story than Clannad and Kanon, and the very expeditious and direct resolution here plays into that.  It was pretty clear where the story was headed last week and there were no surprises on that front, and it was pretty clear from the look in Komari’s eyes when Riki took her to his room that the pilot light had gone out.  I appreciated the fact that there were no halfhearted attempts to mine humor from the “girl in the boys dorm” scenario, and that Masato was allowed to behave with some dignity for a change – otherwise it would have felt cheap and inappropriate.  From there the point was gotten to with astonishing rapidity – Riki went and got the truth from Koujirou, and devised a plan to try and bring Komari back to reality.  And it worked on the very first try, in about ten seconds.  If only all of life’s problems could be resolved that way.

Little Busters - 06 - Large 04The message of Komari’s arc is one I certainly agree with, but it was played out in very broad terms – running away from sad events only makes our problems worse in the long run.  The storybook motif that ran through the arc is an apt one, because that’s very much what Komari’s story felt like – a fairy tale, with a moral at the end for all the learn from (and a very un-Mother Goose like happy ending).   One might take issue with the fact that the bond among the Little Busters had grown so tight so quickly, and that Rin was able to overcome her anxiety and bond with Komari so quickly, but it’s not as though subtlety and realism were really the point here.  The essence of Key under Maeda Jun is to play out big emotions in broad terms, and this was very much in line with that general tenor.

Little Busters - 06 - Large 06Whether we can make any inference from this as to how long future arcs are going to last I don’t know – we had basically three-and-a-half episodes of introduction and two-and-a-half for Komari’s story.  The next in line is Haruka, apparently, a character who barely appeared at all in the first six episodes, so it seems safe to assume she’s not going to be a major player in the ultimate resolution of the story as a whole.  Unlike with some VNs (though certainly it was the case with Clannad as well) there seems no suspense at all here as to who the main girl is, unless I’m very much misreading the situation.  Perhaps a good deal of the series’ time is going to be spend not on the preliminary routes themselves, but on what happens after Rin has officially “won”.  As such, I’m more or less expecting her time in the spotlight to be saved for last as she plays a supporting but significant role in the other arcs.

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  1. H

    All I felt throughout these last two episodes was efforts at emotional manipulation, using a cute girl with a squeaky voice. I didn't feel any real emotion at all throughout Komari's problems, and thought it was pretty much a cookbook approach to manufacture drama and resolution in a show.

    Whether it was the speed of the arc, or an indictment of the writing and direction, I had no emotional investment in Komari at all. She's a happy girl one day, gets all sad the next, and then everyone comes together to help her. There was no reason I cared. I completely agree with your opinion that a little Komari goes a long way, because I found her voice and speaking manner very grating, but I don't think that's more than a small contribution to why this fell so flat.

    From the other sites I've read, it seems the real divide in opinion on this is between people that have read the VN and people who haven't. Those who have think it was well adapted and emotional. Those who haven't (like me) found it flat, boring, and honestly, not good. I wonder how much the anime is intentionally relying on the emotional investment that people who read the VN have, which leaves those who don't a bit out in the cold.

  2. Well, I haven't read it…

  3. D

    You know, I got the exact opposite impression. While the anime-only viewers got what they expected (typical Key-drama), many VN-readers, including myself, were dissatisfied with the adaption. Okay, Komari's route isn't the most popular route either.

    The biggest problem I have is JC Staff's decision to place a character arc this early. Most of the character interaction would have made sense, if the "new" Little Busters had been together for some time. But Komari has been a part of them since maybe two weeks.
    Rin's behavior didn't make any sense this early in the story. She has been portrayed as extremely shy (correctly, it's how she is in the VN, too), so she shouldn't be able to go to such lengths in order to help Komari. After months of spending time together? Of course. But not after only two weeks.
    There are reasons why the character routes come after the common route, and this episode shows quite clearly what happens, if you ignore this.

    Other complains would go too much into spoiler territory, so I'll refrain from posting those.

  4. T

    I'd say that the part that really irritated me was Komari's voice. That was terrible, no excuses about it, and it really stands out in a season where the voice acting of most of the offerings are top notch. There's nothing wrong with the plot persay, as I see it as an Anime original viewer. Indeed, the Riki scenes resonated well with me – but everytime I heard Komari, the nails-on-chalkboard voice literally made this arc almost intolerable.

  5. H

    My biggest problem with the plot is that it's so shallow. If Enzo's right, and they're trying to go with big emotions in broad terms, well, to me the emotions were broad, but not deep at all. Even down to Koujirou's basic dismissal of Komari's problems: Just leave her alone, it'll get better, it always does. And Riki deciding to help out just seemed like amateur hour.

    I can't help but compare Riki here to Taichi's role in Kokoro Connect, and so far LB pales badly in comparison to that, even as it tries for bigger emotions. Nothing about Komari's situation really got me feeling that bad for her or otherwise emotionally involved. It was just really disappointing, since everyone talks about how Key VNs have all these feelings and emotion, and this had zilch.

  6. A

    The adaptation of the story was good. Structurally, Shimada covered all the important points, and the episode direction (for Ep. 6 anyway) was decent.

    Aside from the pace causing some characterization issues, more VN readers are just realizing how poor the original story was. On the anime, there was less time for narration and exposition, which made it harder for the writer to wave a magic wand and trick people into swallowing bad, shallow drama. As a reality check, people are now saying "Wow…Komari's problem is sure lame, isn't it? Something must be wrong with the anime".

    In the first place, many of us thought Komari's route was crap, so there has never been any consensus on the quality of the character routes. You either took the bait….hook, line, and sinker….or you didn't. To me, LB was about wading through a lot of junk (with some good character bits here and there, plus a simple but fun mini-game) before getting to Maeda's awesome parts (the Rin route + Refrain).

    As time will tell, KyoAni was wise to avoid such a divisive work.

  7. R

    I just keep telling myself "It'll all be worth it in the end for Rin+Refrain", and I'm sure the other routes'll be more interesting (hopefully Kud's, my favourite non-Rin route will be done well, and who freaking knows what they're gonna do with Kurugaya). I'm just really curious how they're going to execute the Rin->Refrain transition, without being spoilery, considering how they seem to be executing the routes…

  8. A

    Well… Definitely too fast paced, definitely emotionally manipulative and Komari's Seiyuu is too annoying (Although there were one or two times she was very good). That being said, it definitely didn't fall in to overblown melodrama like I feared it would. I went into her arc expecting it to not be good and it more or less met my expectations. I probably won't like Kud's arc either. I expect Kurugaya and Rin's arc to be my favorite. As for Haruka and Mio, a so-so arc, but I can be pleastently surprised. If they animate Ectasy arcs, I don't know what to expect on those. I give Komari's route a 5 out of 10. I'd have gave it a four, but since it wasn't too melodramatic. (Give credit where credit is due and what not)

  9. B

    Definitely not an arc I enjoyed. It had the usual anime problem of a person with serious emotional issues being magically cured in a few minutes. Typically that kind of thing enrages me although in this case I was 100% expecting it so that kinda put a damper on the whole rage thing. It also had the problem of a character who can be funny in small doses, but too much of her was just grating. I'm glad they resolved her arc so fast, let's move on to someone who hopefully isn't so annoying.

  10. S

    I enjoyed how the various cast of Little Busters slowly broke out of their stereotypes contributed to helping Komari in her BSOD. I especially enjoyed how Masato broke out of his "dumb muscle-head" trope and went to bury the pet rather then just freaking out when Komari broke.

    While the arc was handled rather oddly in terms of pacing, I somehow sense that Komari's trauma might not be over (personal life-long traumas do not resolve in an instant) and that there might be a future trigger or event that would explore and develop Komari again.

    If so, props to the studio. If not, and if Komari's route is completely resolved, then this would be bad storytelling and character development. They might not coop out though, considering JC Staff did work on Kimikiss and exercised a number of creative liberties to present better characters and a better story, but that particular director is not working on this project though. Given how well they are doing Sakurasou, but considering how badly Arcana Familga turned out, I'm cautiously optimistic

  11. e

    well by the next episode summerys i see that we will be back to the common routh to show the rest of the female characters and try join them to the group like what was before komari arc

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