Of all the series I’ve liked over the last couple of seasons, Little Busters! may be the hardest affection to justify.
In a court of law, a stipulation is when both sides agree to a certain set of facts, and that they won’t be argued for the duration of the trial. If I were acting in defense of LB, I would have a pretty tough case to make – because I’d have to stipulate to the following at the very least:
- The female cast is mostly moe-moe.
- I normally detest more for its own sake (though not moe in support of a greater cause)
- Yes, the animation is not KyoAni caliber (though it’s fine for me, apart from the marble scenes this week)
- The jokes surrounding Masato are basically slapstick, and they repeat every week with very little change
- A little bit of Komori goes a long, long way
- The seiyuu cast – apart from Horie Yui and Midorikawa Hikaru – has all the subtlety of a sack of hammers
And yet, I laugh. I smile. I wince, too, but not so often as to ruin the experience. Why is that? I hate to be a broken record, but I really can’t say exactly. This is a series that I know intellectually I should really dislike, yet I look forward to and enjoy every week. It’s not as though I love it or I’d rank it as one of the top shows of the year, but for a good-natured comedy with a hint of melodrama and romance, it’s entirely pleasant. Maybe there are times when in spite of the urge to do so, analyzing is really detrimental to the enjoyment of anime. Or would that mean sites that RC and LiA would be out of a job?
Since we’re here, I may as well admit to some of the lame jokes I found quite funny. When Masato said to Riki “Do you remember what I said? I don’t remember either…” When Kyousuke said “No, I’m joking.” And pretty much everything Kud said, including “How are you and I am fine thank you.” I also quite enjoyed the fact that there were actual repercussions to one of Masato and Rin’s silly fights – the broken desk actually ended up playing a part in the episode, and I can’t remember the last time an anime took a throwaway comic bit like that and actually worked it into the plot (though to be fair, there’s not much else about those Masato-Rin dustups that I’d keep, given the choice).
As for the larger direction of the series, we continue to see some somewhat surprising choices being made. After a very short (probably for the best) Komari arc we have what looks to be a one-episode interlude to fully introduce Haruka, and then rather than a Haruka arc, a jump to Kud next week – though whether for just an episode or a full arc I can’t say. Given that she’s my favorite of the girls so far I hope it’s the latter but I’m happy to see her get center stage. Haruka was fairly appealing in that role this week – there was enough that was unusual in her combination of airheadedness, deceit and physical dexterity to make her potentially interesting. As for her eternal blood feud with the Disciplinary Committee and its head, Futaki Kanata (Suzuki Keiko) I strongly suspect there’s more to it than meets the eye – or rather it’s the eye that suggests there’s more to it, as the two girls look strikingly alike. In fact Suzuki-san is playing both roles, which lends even more credence to the notion that there’s some connection between the two. If that’s the case I’m sure there’s going to be an arc centered around it sooner or later – in the meantime, bring on Kud and her tortured linguistic hodge-podge…