Posted by psgels on 11 April 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews

Key’s series are… interesting. They always have their flaws, but when they hit, they really make for a home run for me. Their latest title is Little Busters and yeah… let’s not fool ourselves: it is their worst adaptation so far. It’s a show that has so many problems, but still: if you look beyond them you actually can get something quite good out of it.

So yeah… where to start? The format is known at this point: we have the male lead who moves between various female characters and solves their problems one by one, with random stuff inbetween. It’s a simple task, but… yeah. The creators did not spend a lot of thought on polishing this. Some of the voice actresses are actually abysmal at their job (especially girl #1), making their story painful to sit through. Then there is the way at which the show tries to rush through its story way too fast in order to be able to stuff everything in, resulting in a long-string of infodumps that just fail to engage. And then there are some stories that are inherently just completely bad and stupid, where resolutions make no sense, or people overreact for no reasons just to create drama. Whenever this series tries to get dramatic, it falls into this horrible mess of bad execution and only one of the girls really ends up doing well there.

And yet… I managed to finish this series. The reason for that was all the stuff inbetween the big arcs. The slice of life, the random goofing off. For some bizarre reason, this show is actually really good at just fleshing out its cast. Rather than your standard harem, there are actually other male characters who aren’t cliches, and these guys are actually really interesting to watch. Why couldn’t they have had their own arcs? And beyond that it is just a very fun group of friends to watch. Screw the drama! This would have actually made a fine slice of life series there. The cast is varied, and even though there are a bunch of stereotypes, everyone just fills in for each other. The bond between the rather large cast of main characters is quite well done.

Do I recommend this then? Nah. It just takes way too long for these strengths to really show, and there is A LOT of crap you have to go through, just to be able to enjoy the good parts. Little Busters is… misguided. At this point it nearly seems like a build-up just for Refrain, which apparently is supposed to be amazing. But my opinion about those kinds of series is simple: DO NOT make me sit thruogh an entire season of build-up. I’ve got better things to do!
One-Sentence Review: This show is quite good at just goofing off and doing random staff. It’s quite bad when it goes really dramatic.
Suggestions:
Clannad
Air
Ano Hana

16 Responses

  1. Mikey says:

    “Rather than your standard harem, there are actually other male characters who aren’t cliches, and these guys are actually really interesting to watch. Why couldn’t they have had their own arcs?”

    Actually Refrain does that. 90% of the Refrain is actually one big arc for all the male characters.

  2. Mikey says:

    Anyway, since I’ve played the VN I’ll say that this was actually a very good adaption, although clearly not a very great show. I’d actually give it what you gave it. The only arc I think that really got messed up was Haruka’s due to omitting several things that made the anime version make less sense, but there was a lot of improvement from the VN.

    But yeah something tells me you will really love the next season: Refrain. Kurugaya’s arc combines the comedy and drama the best and has the least conventional ending of any arc made by Key except for maybe Air’s last arc, Refrain completely focuses on the guys and Rin is After Story quality material.

    • Kiraly says:

      Do you need to watch this season of LB to watch Refrain? I’ve seen about 3 episodes, but Refrain seems interesting.

      • Mikey says:

        Well you definitely should, but if you want to just watch the important episodes, I suggest you watch Episodes 7-10, 12-15 and 19-26. 15 really isn’t important, but it is hilarious. Basically all those episodes except perhaps episode 9 are really good. Basically you won’t miss anything important if you skip the others.

  3. Juno says:

    Okay, psgels. Now that you ended up sitting through the entire build-up series, you’ve got nothing to lose when “Little Busters! Refrain” comes out, right? =P

  4. meaqui says:

    I agree with the review, but you should watch out for your ellipsis points (…) and your “yeah”s ;)

  5. roonike says:

    they omited a lot of many arcs, they omited the epilogue of komari arc, ignored COMPLETLY kurugaya arc, omited DAYS in saigusa arc, and yet there still refrain to come wich actually is the biggest part of the serie also the way in wich they made the serie sort of confused up everything from my perspective

    • MIkey says:

      Well they had to cut out komari’s epilogue because there was no romance and jc staff made their own epilogue. The same thing goes for Haruka’s arc and it isn’t important in the Refrain anyway. And they are doing kurugaya next season so don’t jump to conclusions. Jc staff already has done a more complete job with LB then kyo-ani did with clannad.

  6. MCAL says:

    I have a question psgels. What did you think of the potential mystery in the series that made itself apparent in the last quarter of the show.

  7. MCAL says:

    Any way, I giving this show a very high 7/10. I actually enjoyed this more than Clannad’s first season though which I gave a low 7/10, although clearly it is below all the others (Toei’s Kanon does not exist).

  8. MCAL says:

    Anyway, I giving this show a very high 7/10. I actually enjoyed this more than Clannad’s first season though which I gave a low 7/10, although clearly it is below all the others (Toei’s Kanon does not exist).

  9. Amutofan123 says:

    I thought this was a decent adaptation. Decent, and that’s it.

    I’ve only played some common route stuff in the VN, so I don’t know how well the girls’ routes were adapted from the VN, but I thought the common route stuff was adapted very well. I just wish that each route had more episodes to be fleshed out in. I only really liked Mio’s and Haruka’s routes.

    I also think that the flow of the show was kind of choppy in terms of easing in and out of the drama and character routes.

    I do love the characters though, particularly the guys, Rin, and Komari.

    I’m looking forward to Refrain. I’ve watched a play through of it, and it’s amazing.

  10. MCAL says:

    If at all possible, could you delete one of my above posts. I accidently entered it twice.

    Anyway, I really can’t wait to see Kurugaya’s arc. I absolutely love her character. Not only is she just as much one of the guys as she is the girls (Which makes her perfect for Riki as he is just as much one of the girls (He has those Moe points) as he is the guys), but she’s incredibly hot. I think we can all agree on that. Right?

  11. El psy congroo says:

    You complete missed the point of an adaptation and key novels in general man. “Screw the drama.” Why on earth are you watching an adaptation then; it’s kinda impossible to change the story dude. None of this is the fault of JC if you hate drama, blame the damn people who wrote the story lol. Also male cast in season 2.
    And if girl 1 = rin ? Wha… That’s the same VA for the VN AFAIK.

    • Mikey says:

      Girl 1 would be Komari (And her voice IS horrible).

      And I don’t think psgels has anything against drama or drama in Key, he just didn’t think it was good in Little Busters. And where did he ever blame JC Staff?

  12. Tai-kun says:

    I have to say this. The LB adaptation is horrid, compared to the KyoAni Key adapts IMO. But for what’s given, it is solid, in its own way.

    As was said before, Komari’s voice is horrible. It was too shrill and too squeaky at the same time, which wouldn’t be too much of a problem except for one other thing: her direction and skill. Way off base IMO…

    Now as far as the trimming of certain arcs; not particularly bad (who can honestly cram over 40+ hrs into a modern anime these days? Or at least successfully), but the direction felt completely rushed, taking away the subtlety of the drama, hence making the resolutions make no sense whatsoever (and anyone who’s looked at the original VN can see why, particularly with Kurugaya and Haruka, who’s arc is more sad than one may think. And what’s up with Kud-chan in this adapt?)

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:02 AM)
    Mindgame is amazing. It is as unorthodox as they come but not really pretentious. It’s pretty humble and does have an actual message and proper story arc, so it’s definitely not just random for random’s sake. The industry needs more Yuasa.

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