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.
– Ano Hana