Little Busters! – 08

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Probably the best episode of Little Busters! so far, though that should hardly come as a surprise.

It would be easy to sum up the strength of this episode with “Duh – it’s Kud!”  And while our little Euro-Asian hybrid is without question the most entertaining of all the girls we’ve seen so far (at least to me) this was a pretty strong ep on multiple levels.  I think it played up the strengths that LB had displayed through the first eight eps, and managed to avoid most of the weaknesses.

What makes this series work for me, mostly, is the slightly off-center humor and relentlessly good-natured attitude that keeps it from becoming a cloying and insufferable mess.  It’s just weird enough and plenty sincere enough to work, and for me is mostly does – like an overeager pug that’s too cute for its own good and way too eager to the point of annoyance, but that’s also impossible to stay mad at.  And so far it’s mostly free of the overwrought melodrama that was a fixture of Clannad almost from the beginning, though I know we’re going to get our fair share of that before too long.

Kud is another one of those characters that at first glance seems like she’d be way too much for me to take, but much more so than Komari I find her to be thoroughly irresistible.  “Wafu!” is pretty much a stock Key catch phrase – though it’s cute when she says it – but it’s when she lets loose with a “Coincidentally, I’m a girl too.” that I really fall for her.  Especially when Riki delivers the perfect Manzai comeback, “I think we already knew that.”  I also love her incredibly schlocky “Japanese” decor – courtesy of her Grandpa in Finland.  LB is a shamelessly silly show, and Kud is the shameless-est and silliest of the bunch – a completely unrealistic character, but genuinely funny and hard not to love.  I’m not putting her on the level of Kate (Sketch Book) but her mangled language skills (is the episode title an homage to that, or just Engrish?) and odd manner set her apart from the boatloads of generic harem girls that populate anime casts everywhere.  Yes, she’s way too cute – but again, I think it works here because with Key this doesn’t feel manufactured and manipulative – it’s just what Key is.

Of course, it wasn’t all Kud this week – though her search for a roommate did dominate the episode.  That quest brought us the introduction of Nishizono Mio (Tatsumi Yuiko, one of the few cast changes from the VN).  One of many candidates “interviewed” to be the lonely Russo-Japanese charmer’s roommate, she’s deadpan, a serious reader and according to Riki, never speaks to anyone in class.  I don’t know if she’s major enough to have her own route but she wasn’t introduced to be ignored, so we’ll see more of her I’m sure.  It was also a big week for Kanata, who was her usual oni-like self as head of the Disciplinary Committee, but actually ended up volunteering to take in Kud when no one else stepped up (they do have the dogs in common, I suppose).  You knew she was going to soften up sooner or later – there are certain rules for these things that simply can’t be ignored – but this is clearly the first step on her journey to character redemption.  I especially liked the little pat on the head she gave Kud after effectively ordering her to move into her room.

I confess I thought for a moment that we might have a “Bosom Buddies” scenario where Riki goes into trap mode (he’d be a natural) to live with Kud, but this isn’t that kind of show (and poor Masato, think of him).  What we did get this week was some of the nicest-looking animation JC Staff has delivered in the series (this scene especially was beautifully done).  Rather than launch into Kud’s route, it looks as if we’re going to have a stand-alone type of episode next week, with the guys stepping back into the spotlight – another interesting choice by staff of the adaptation, though I confess a few more weeks of Kud would have been fine with me.  But there’s something to be said for saving her for a bit as something to be looked forward to, and as an official member of the Little Busters (and quite an outfielder) we’re sure to see more of her.

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  1. S

    What dawned on me recently about Little Busters was that despite the premise of Riki building a baseball team via harem creation, the real focus on the show is not romance, but actually friendship, despite the Key label.

    And that answers many questions I had behind LB and its production.

    As Sorrow-kun once infamously proclaimed, JC Staff understands friendship. And it is this focus on friendship by the LB source material that it is well-loved by fans, and why JC Staff picked it up, and why, like you, I find it so charming and comforting.

    The focus on this episode is on Kud's isolation and loneliness, as Riki searches for a roommate for her. It surprises me how LB uses loneliness and separation as a recurring motif, as Riki reaches out voluntarily to these withdrawn girls. It starts out with Riki first being taken in by the Busters, and now, gaining the hope and strength from these friends, him going forth and aiding these new people. Kinda like a different take on the same themes Natsume Yuujinchou explored.

    I think that Little Busters, with its focus on friendship, character interaction and trust, will eventually achieve greatness on the level of Clannad as the full cast is assembled together.

  2. Thank you, Slashe – far more eloquent than anything I've written about LB.

  3. N

    Mio has her route 🙂 (and in ME/EX version, Kanata and Rin's nemesis also got routes so practically every girl in the show has a route)

    Hell, even the three guys have a route XD (the final Refrain route is theirs actually).

  4. S

    Thank you GE. I wanted to share this little epiphany I had but ended up writing way too much.

  5. s

    You didn't write too much; you wrote what you needed to say in a concise manner that was also true. Nice. 🙂

  6. B

    The show actually surprised me. I was expecting Rin to get over her shyness at the last second and become Kud's roommate. Well, even better.

    This episode was pretty alright, one of the best of the show so far IMO. I expected Kud to be only slightly more tolerable than Komari, but to my surprise she ended up being significantly better.

    Also, a heck of an outfielder? Not so much, we know she can catch, but outfielders have to be able to throw too and we haven't seen her do that at all.

  7. d

    Right… a show about a baseball team with 8-9 moe-girls with 5-inch skirts and all. The fact that you take this premise even half-seriously and tries to analyze it should tell you something, pal.

  8. A

    Decent episode yet again. Found the scene between Kurugaya, Riki and Kud to be hilarious and the ending scene where she (Kurugaya) plays the piano interesting. I feel like she will be my favorite female character in the show.

  9. A

    No offense to Kud though, Enzo.

  10. T

    I knew this was going to be your favorite episode, however I have to say in a way, it was kind of mine too…

    I'm not as much of a Kud fan as you are, don't get me wrong I don't hate her, but I did like the general plotline of the episode and how it executed it, for once I didn't feel like I felt pity for the wrong reason or as if I was supposed to feel entierly this way while feeling another way I was able to get caught up in the episode and enjoy it in its entirety.

  11. A

    ah well, it's quite clear now that this show can do no wrong in Enzo's eyes. The most critical attempt at this show was like similar to 'I shouldn't like this, but fuck it…I love it!" or "I hope such character shown less". Nowhere near to the treatments that shows like Psycho-Pass, Sukitte Ii na yo, Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojou, Zetsuen no Tempest, and Chuunibyou get when critical points are detached from the fondness of the shows and presented in clinical fashions from time to time. Dare I say, this shows gets the same shielded (also dare I say, to a certain degree, fanboy) treatments of SSY, Tonari, Jormungand, Uchuu Kyoudai, Robotics;Notes, Shirokuma Café, Hunter X Hunter, Ginga e Kickoff, and Bakuman 3. Yeah, yeah I get that you really liked these shows, so you don't see problems that others see and/or are willing to let them go whereas you like those 5 shows, but just not as much as these for one way or another and it's easy to praise its strength, but just as easy to point out critical points.

  12. B

    This just in: writer on the internet praises shows that he likes, full story at 11.

  13. A

    There's praising AND there's fanboy-ing, wiseass.

  14. B

    As far as I can tell that difference seems to come down to whether or not you agree with the praise.

  15. s

    GE hasn't even played Little Busters. How is he being a fanboy? Like he said in the post, LB has been silly so far. There's nothing much to criticize or analyze. Plus, there's nothing wrong with liking something for no reason. Your comment would have been helpful had you written what you find wrong with the show.

  16. s

    I thought I would hate Kud as well because of the moe and other stuff, but she's all right. Not one of my top characters, but I can tolerate her more than Komari.

    I also thought this episode is the best one so far, but MAL people are just saying that it's okay. But then again, they're also dismissing the scene with Kurugaya playing the piano as a depiction of her hobby. I think there's something suspicious about the shadow on her face.

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