Little Busters!

Title:Little Busters!
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - JC Staff
Original Concept - KEY
Little Busters is an adaptation of Key's romance adventure visual novel of the same name. Riki Naoe was orphaned when his parents died, but his depression is slowly lifted when he befriends a group of kids calling themselves the Little Busters. The series takes place during his second year of high school.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

[TV series, 2012/13, 26 episodes, 23 min; animated by J.C. Staff; based on the 2007 visual novel by Key plus no fewer than 13 manga series for this franchise, most of these being rather short and already finished; see also the 2013 sequel: Little Busters! Refrain and side story Little Busters! EX.]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 8 7 7 6 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:2621#1552]
Little Busters mixes Key's formulaic storytelling style with slice-of-life comedy when a group of high school friends called the Little Busters are trying to recruit additional members to form a baseball team and our male lead Riki is put in charge of not only recruiting additional female members for their group, but also resolving any personal problems they have. In terms of the "helping girls" approach to its story, Little Busters milks Key's typical storytelling tropes with this aspect of its storytelling style as the series mixes supernatural and actual issues effecting the female characters that Riki tries helping. The quality of these arcs tend to vary as they are overdone with their drama at points and have some rather convenient resolutions via deus ex machina to resolve them. The only arc I could say that I would genuinely care about was Haruka's arc, which seemed more believable with its developments despite the drama to it being a bit overblown at points.

Beyond said girls and Riki's character, a good chunk of the Little Busters members don't get much in the way of depth as they are mostly tacked on with some sort of archetypal personality and a good chunk of the female cast milk enough moe pandering that can make things feel obnoxious with them at points. The slice-of-life comedy aspect to it is different compared to past Key works, but I couldn't find myself getting hooked onto the comedy. The series also seemed to be dropping hints of there being more to its storyline than there was on the surface with the mysterious letter the Little Busters received. But obviously, this aspect to the plot was left unresolved to be handled for the second season of the series, Little Busters Refrain.

Overall, I'm mostly indifferent towards Little Busters. Even with the slice-of-life comedy aspect to its premise, the series still milks Key's typical storytelling style for a good chunk of its run and it doesn't really offer much new from the visual novel makers. I don't think I will be going after Refrain anytime soon, if ever.

Last updated Tuesday, December 23 2014. Created Tuesday, December 23 2014.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2621#628]
(Four episodes watched):

Never judge an anime by its title. That's a lesson I have learned over the years, and it was reinforced by Little Busters. Based on the title alone, I expected this to be an inane children's show. Based on the first couple of minutes of episode one, I was expecting another high school martial arts show. The truth is that LB soon took off in a novel direction. This is actually an amusing show with a fresh premise. A group of friends since childhood--the 'Little Busters'--bow to the wish of their senior member, a guy who has an odd way of thinking and is now in his final year in high school, to do something special while they are still together. He makes a strange choice, and I wondered if he was really serious about it. But either way this initially seemed like a fun show with colorful characters which ought to be good. But somehow episodes two and three seemed disappointing in comparison to number one. Perhaps the fresh premise was about all this show had, and the makers were unable to do much with it. There doesn't seem to be much of anything novel anymore, and the additional characters don't seem to deserve to be described as 'colorful'--I guess a character has to continue to develop and deliver interesting and bizarre behavior to deserve that title. That is not the case here, no, the characters seem more like stereotypes: a ditsy girl and a brash, forceful one, for instance. It's like vapid characters are given some strange problem--narcolepsy! amnesia! whatever!--in the hope that this will instantly instill them with an interesting personality without the makers having to go to all the trouble of character development and whatnot. But it doesn't work; the characters that have been around since episode one have hardly grown at all while more and more braindead girls show up (the thought that somewhere in the real world, a real-live VA is actually voicing the mindless accent that one girl uses was disconcerting). And there has been little or no progress towards forming a baseball team, other than recruiting more players. It doesn't look like the Busters are ever going to form a baseball team, and even if they do the characters are so dull that who cares if they win or lose? If the jokes can't carry the show by themselves (I don't think I so much as smiled during episode four), there's got to be some sort of plot, but there doesn't seem to be. Sometimes what seems to be a fresh premise is in fact little more than a one-time joke and you hear little more of it afterwards; that seems to be the case with Little Busters. There's got to be something wrong when I find myself thinking 'If I struggle through this week's episode of Busters, I'll reward myself by watching something good afterwards'.

Last updated Tuesday, November 13 2012. Created Saturday, October 20 2012.

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