I don’t think there’s any question Sasasegawa Sasami’s arc is one of the simpler and more straightforward in the Little Busters anime repertoire. And in the end, it’s probably one that depends on the audience having had a familial relationship with a pet – preferably a feline – to really connect with it emotionally. That’s certainly not an issue for me, but I’m curious to see how people who aren’t animal lovers or, even worse, are cat-haters reacted to it.
There are strands of other threads here and there in this arc – Sasasase’s crush on Kengo, for example – but basically it all comes down to a story of a little girl and her cat. In fact it was that cat, Kuro, who created this world via its wish (which adds a new element to the known rules of LitBus mythology). As was strongly suggested last time, the cat Riki kept seeing in his dreams was the one Sasami’s family abandoned when they moved away all those years ago (a story you hear a lot of, so you know it happens, but which is unimaginable to me). Kuro has survived as a stray and even met Sasami once at school, only to not be recognized, but her time is running out and her wish is the obvious one – to hear her mistress say “Koko ni iru yo” one last time before the end.
That’s obviously not subtle, and I’d have no problem with anyone dismissing it as a trivial basis for an anime. I guess you have to have been there, but as someone who loves cats and has lost many over the years, I can’t see something like that play out and feel nothing. I’m quite confident that whichever Key writer wrote this route loves cats too. About this part of the story there’s not much more that can or need be said – it is what it is. It’s interesting that the knowledge Riki seems to be carrying with him as all this plays out suggests it’s taking place after the events of Refrain. I thought the funniest moment came near the beginning, when Sasami protested that Riki’s theory about this wold being the product of a wish was preposterous – the same girl who’s been spending the last few days regularly turning into a cat…
Romance wasn’t the point of this arc, and it seems Sasami is pretty well pot-committed to Kengo, but she did have some nice bonding with Riki over her Chinjao Rosu (pepper steak). In fact she even says that it might not be such a bad thing to spend her remaining days as Riki’s pet cat – make of that what you will. Given that once they know the truth of this world Riki’s friends disappear, there obviously wasn’t much of a role for the regular supporting cast in this ep (none at all really, apart from a few seconds of Kengo). Hopefully that will change with the final arc of EX (still holding out for Kud Wafter here, J.C. Staff) as Anego takes center stage.