Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Busters! - 07

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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…

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15 comments:

  1. Well, seems like Haruka's arc is being delayed. Since hers was my favorite path in the VN, I am a little bit disappointed. But wait didn't kill anyone :)

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    1. It's like a better version of Kyou's route from Clannad.

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  2. I wasn't exactly sure on what to think of this episode, but I can agree that the series works for me in a odd sense.

    For this episode Haruka's tale struck me as sort of odd... I normally like enccentric and crazy characters and while I wasn't bothered by her antics, it was pretty hard for me to draw sympathy from her; after all it was pretty much 'the boy who cried wolf' tale with her, while it stinks to be framed, its not like it came out of nowhere. Fortunatly it was brief and the concil members were being enough of pricks about it to make me want to see them fail(Ok, we get it she has a record but saying its unfair to win a roulette? Arent those based on, y'know...LUCK?), so in a odd way the episode worked for me


    I found the "I'm just joking" gag to be quite funny, it was very random and out of place but...that was the reason WHY it worked. even better the character pulling that is random as hell anyway.

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  3. Muwahaha ... you are being assimilated my good Enzo! All hail the might of Komari and Kud and the steady incursion upon your psychological territory of cute girls doing cute things! :)

    Seriously though ... for me the series just works. Simply because I like these sorts of things (as you know). But I agree about the humor - every once in a while it reminds me of Marx brothers stuff, which I also like.

    While I agree that the art is very good indeed there is still a part of me wondering what it may have looked like in KyoAni's hands. But that's prolly neither here nor there - what it comes down to for me is that I also look forward to the next ep airing every week and enjoy the series very much as well.

    - Flower

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  4. This episode was better, probably because it didn't seem to be as manufactured as Komari's episodes (nor did it have much of Komari). Some of the jokes are getting too old, tho. I had kind of thought that the 'rules' of the fights might actually change, not just the crappy 'weapon' that Masato get stuck with. It's really anti-climactic to have Kyousuke bust in with a big entrance just to say the exact same lines each time (and it'd definitely not something that gets funnier with repetition).

    But overall, this series continues to suffer in comparison to the other shows that are on now, for me. It doesn't really flow, it doesn't really have great humor, it doesn't have (to me) much in the way of emotion - although that might be being hampered by the way I don't think it flows.

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    1. I'm with you. The series just hasn't lived up to the hype so far. I find with the list of shows i watch each week, this is near the back so far. I loved Clannad, Kannon, and Air though so i'll continue watching and hoping it picks up.

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  5. I agree with you Enzo. This series has some kind of undeniable charm that makes it fun to watch. I found this episode to be hilarious on occasion. Liked how Masato tired to think of something to get out of not handing in his homework.

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    1. Same guy here. Plus, I hear good things about the Refrain arc, so I want to stay along for the ride.

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  6. Could it be that, the massively unmatched hype and reputation among hardcore LB game/LN fans on rubbed you for a long time in a such way that you are now inexplicably trapped into a LB fan boy mode despite anime's rather mediocre quality? Human beings are fallible and easily coerced into a herd mentality one way or another... well no matter, I don't care either way which anime show one fancies or not as it doesn't affect me in any shape or form.

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    1. No, I doubt it to be honest - LN hype has little effect when you haven't played the VN. If anything, the "hype" on this show was near-universally negative among LN fans the moment JC Staff was announced as the studio. If there's a groupthink involved here, it's in criticizing the show more than it deserves.

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  7. As for the moe thing, the only guess I have is this: in a lot of cases, moe is simple pandering. I think that for the Key folks, it is something they actually BELIEVE in. I have mixed feelings about Key in general, but I'm not sure I could fault them for sincerity. So when other people use moe because it sells or because it's fun, I think the writers for LB must've honestly felt that it's a useful way of engaging with life on some level. Crazy, perhaps, but heartfelt, and even though Maeda's writing can certainly be emotionally manipulative, I do think on some level he really MEANS what he does. (Note that I haven't studied the man closely enough to tell if he might just be in it for the money after all.)

    Actually, that's probably not it at all. But I figured I'd experiment with ideas—so I'll throw it out there anyways and see what you think.

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  8. As a massive fanboy of Little Busters, I've always questioned why I like it so much. There're so many things I fundamentally hate, like the moe characters, the stupid, repetitive gags, etc, that should've put me off it, but I just keep coming back and loving every minute of it (except Komari's voice, ugh). I've ended up putting it down to just one thing: the innocence of the series. It's not dark and foreboding, it's not trying to be subtle, it's just portraying the innocence surrounding the characters - their personalities, their interactions, their problems. The music adds even more to that innocent atmosphere surrounding it. The characters are bright, happy, enjoying their youth, and they have their problems, but they're all just so innocent in the grand scheme of things. And in my opinion, that's exactly why Little Busters has captured our hearts, despite all things about it telling us it shouldn't have. Perhaps that's why it's captured yours too Enzo.

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  9. Kenosha and Roninski, I think there's something to both your points, and I've referred to it in earlier LB posts. There's a commitment to the ideal here, and a sense of innocence - if this material felt calculating it would be insufferable, but it really doesn't (at least to me).

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    1. Well, I think that's exactly the problem I had with at least the anime adaptation of Komari's story. To me it felt completely manufactured, completely devoid of actual innocence, and entirely calculated to extract emotional response. And usually I just gloss through that and don't have a problem with it, but this time it just seemed so egregious that it made the story nearly intolerable.

      And even now, the majority of the show feels close to the same way. I just can't get over the feeling that it's extremely formulaic. I likened Komari's episode to a cookbook recipe, but even more than that, the series feels like a prepackaged entree in a box where you just add 4 cute girls, a couple smartass guys, 5 slices of the same joke, and the included package of processed cheese. It leaves you with something that's perfectly edible, but it's not something you're going to rave about to your coworkers.

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  10. I am pretty sure that Kud's route come first. They have to insert Haruka in this episode because they are going to use her as Kud's roommate. There are only two choices to begin with, her and Futaki Kanata.

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