Little Busters – 11

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I can only imagine what the tenor of the discussion is going to be like this week.

Little Busters - 11 - Large 01Let me state up front that I enjoyed this episode, as I’ve enjoyed all of them so far to some extent.  But I’m also not going to offer up an extended rebuttal against those who might argue that this episode proves there is no “there” there when it comes to Little Busters.  And the reason, simply, is that I have no proof that they’re wrong.  At this point LB seems very much like a slice-of-life comedy that revels in the art of high-school time-wasting.  If you haven’t liked that up to now you probably won’t have liked it this week, and even if you did, I could understand if you said you wanted more.

Little Busters - 11 - Large 02There’s a flipside to that, though, and it’s that there are plenty of series that never get around to being more than that, and don’t catch the flak that Little Busters does for it – the “cute girls being cute” genre contains more of them than I care to count.  Part of the problem may stem from the fact that this one focuses more on comedy and a mixed-gender cast than straight up CGBC, but I suspect the biggest reason is that this is a Key anime – and people have come to expect melodrama from a Key anime.  Apart from the Komari arc and to a small extent the Mio ep last week, we haven’t had much of that.  Add to that the fact that a sizable chunk of the VN base is upset that this isn’t being animated by KyoAni, and you have a series without much of a built-in support system.

Little Busters - 11 - Large 03As to the episode itself, not to be a broken record but it was fun – nothing spectacular, just fun.  It made me laugh a few times – the “cheek demon” bit especially, along with the sheer preposterousness of the whole “Holy crap, it’s Tweety!” scenario and a couple of Kud’s “Wafu!” moments (especially when Tweety buzzed her and she bolted down the stairs).  Not to mention that the silliness with Masato and Kengo in the Principal’s office was never explained at all (unless you count the puzzling “yes ghosts” bit with Kud) except Mio’s “You might want to burn that.”  The reason all that stuff is working for me is that LB has no qualms about being extremely silly and random, and doesn’t seem especially concerned about justifying it.  I find that refreshing, and the silliness more often entertaining that not, along with the relentless positivity of the piece.

Little Busters - 11 - Large 04All that said yes, I too am ready for something with a little more substance – if not bitter, at least something salty or a little sour to cut the confectioners’ sugar.  This is a Key anime after all, and even with JC Staff’s very relaxed pacing the simple fact is that there are arcs out there with girls’ names on them, and those arcs will contain drama – and I think viewers would be a little more forgiving if the stand-alone episodes came as transitions between them rather than in an extended run the way they have.  Perhaps the preview indicates that Mio’s arc starts next week – at the very least she’s going to be the focus again, and formally join the Busters.  And she brings a certain gravity to her storylines that the other heroines so far lack.  It won’t be enough to silence the critics, but it will be a welcome change of pace.

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  1. A

    This is basically moe porn and thing else, really. No plot, but children running around the school and screen full of moe girls posing endlessly. Sigh. I'm sure NEETs will love this.

  2. T

    Eh, I don't really see anything wrong with that. I find this much more entertaining than I ever found K-on anyway…but then again lots of things are more entertaining than K-on to me…

    As far as I'm concerned I can't chalk this up as one of the best shows of 2012 (and I am acctually making a list) or, hell even this season, but it's fun enough, for my standards anyhow.

  3. N

    This is based on a VN an Anime based on a VN can have lengthy introductions where plot doesn't start up until later.

    LB! is no exception. Most of the plot comes from character arcs, but so far only Komari's arc has been animated (with Mio's starting next week) with the rest being part of the Common Route that serves to introduce characters and make the reader know them before the drama hits everyone.
    Even Key wouldn't be able to make a More Porn popular. LB! is deserving of its popularity, but you will need to be patient to see why.

  4. B

    I'm not even sure what the hell I just saw, much less what the tenor of the discussion will be ;).

    I will say this, I think the negative reaction to what we've been shown so far is exactly what you said about it being Key and us expecting a certain kind of thing from them. In some ways it's unfair of us to judge it more harshly than we otherwise would, and in some ways it's perfectly understandable. We expect certain things out of certain brands in a lot of cases and I don't think that's unreasonable. If Valve announced that the next Half Life game was going to be an MMO or a free to play Facebook game, people would be upset. If Michaelangelo had gone from sculpting David to doing fingerpainting, people would have been upset. If Michael Bay announced his next movie would be a deep, thought provoking mystery instead of an action flick, his fans would be… too busy drooling on themselves to notice, but the principle remains.

    We should try to judge the show on it's own merits. Unfortunately for Key, so far they've moved down a peg with this one, presenting us with a show that is cheap entertainment when they usually provide more, so it isn't going to compare well. That said, I haven't dropped it yet so it must be doing something for me even if that something is not what I wanted/expected, but I think people's disappointment is understandable. Should a parent not feel disappointed when their child decides to quite their successful doctor career to work at McDonalds? Of course they should, but they still have to accept it at the end of the day.

    The people who are still upset that it isn't being done by KyoAni though are another story, they need to get the fuck over it, there is nothing to complain about with the artwork, it's perfectly fine.

  5. E

    Well, the ones encountered by Masato and Kengo are real ghosts, as detected by Kud. Of course, this matter won't be brought up more than this. Every Japanese schools have one or two ghosts. It's nothing new, lol.

  6. N

    And so starts Mio arc next week… I liked that one so I am looking forward to it and how JC Staff catches the crazy, desperate atmosphere of it.

  7. A

    You see, these scenes depicting the Little Busters' everyday lives are more important than they seem. However, you won't realize just how important they are until Refrain, where everything comes crashing down. I understand though that people are expecting drama from the beginning like previous Key works, but if people will be patient, then they are in for a very rewarding experience. This is not claimed to be Key's best work for no reason.

  8. s

    While I laughed a lot this episode, I'm glad we're getting into a character arc next week. It's interesting how VN fans keep saying to wait for Refrain, when we're not going to see it this season. If all of these seemingly pointless scenes are actually going to pay off during Refrain, that's cool, but they're not going to help this season. Who knows if people are going to be interested enough by the end to watch the Refrain arc?
    I don't have those concerns since I find LB! enjoyable, but still.

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