Little Busters! EX

November 6, 2015

What happens when you have minor but likeable supporting characters? You give them a short spin-off of their own! And so this is the case that some of the girls in Little Busters that fall under this category who do not get enough love of the screen time are going to get some of that they deserve in Little Busters! EX. Yeah, what a way to acknowledge that they aren’t just unimportant characters that nobody cares by giving their own story, background or even adventure with the main character of the series. Heck, they should have been part of the main gang but I suppose too many cooks spoil the broth and that is why you have to resort to this. Okay, I just made that up but those are mainly my sentiments why this special series is created in the first place. Sort of. Enough of me talking. Time for these girls to shine.

Episode 1
Saya Tokido is seen shooting shadow monsters in the school’s hallways. When Riki learns Masato borrowed his notebook and left it in his desk in class, he decides to retrieve it. But he is quickly pinned down by Saya who tells him to run to the nearest exit. After he does so, he remembers about the notebook and returns to get it. He only finds Saya’s student ID. Next day he goes to return it in her class. He has a strange nostalgia of meeting her before despite this is the first time seeing her. Later he receives a mail to meet at the rooftop. Right away she tells him he will die a pitiful death. Excuse me? Because he has been wandering around the halls at night, he will be captured and interrogated by Darkness Executives. Saya becomes embarrassed when she gets to know he only realized that was her back then. After flustering, she tells him he will die now and initiates the start of the game. She pushes him off the ledge and tries to make him fall. Masato is passing by and thought he is rock climbing! Riki puts his trusts in him and falls off. He wakes up in bed in his room while thinking the events that has just happened. Thinking this is a game by Kyousuke, Riki confronts him to stop this. However he becomes serious and warns him never to speak of Darkness Executives again because they know his weakness and is for Rin’s safety. Riki thinks he shouldn’t let others get involved in this when the shadows start attacking him. As he runs to the clubroom, he gets caught in a trap. He is about to be strangled by the noose if not for Kengo cutting him down. Riki thinks Saya is out to kill him and making it look like suicide. So he thought he is going to take action but what can he do with a baseball bat when the enemy starts dropping electric poles and water balloons!

Riki manages to get to safety in his room but Saya is waiting there. She has decided not to kill him as she considers him lucky for avoiding all her traps. She wants him to team up as her partner. Otherwise he’ll be food for the Darkness Executives. At first she sounds confident when he didn’t need her help. But shortly she returns and threatens him to team up because she is an unlucky girl. Join her or die! Hey, she says she is unlucky, right? Does that mean he won’t die by her shot? But they have to run when the shadows appear. Wanting to know more about her, Saya explains she is a spy and is enrolled in this school to find a hidden revolutionary treasure. Those Darkness Executives are believed to be students or alumni of this school tasked with dealing with the problems behind the scenes. Since they are able to project their shadows, their real body is elsewhere. Saya has found the room where it would lead to the hidden treasure. She wants Riki to stay cover her while she tries to find a way in. Examining the different pressure plates on the floor, Riki deduces the way to solve this is to stack a pyramid on it using the furniture. The Darkness Executives show up as Riki gets his first taste in kill. Don’t worry. They’re not humans to begin with. Saya has found a big hole behind the wall. Time to go down this hole.

Episode 2
Inside the labyrinth, there are a few doors to choose from. Saya wants him to choose the one that will lead them the next floor. The rest are just death traps. Hey, he is the lucky kid, right? Unfortunately, every door they open they encounter traps till they finally slide down a hole. Riki might consider all that as bad luck but to Saya, they’re alive aren’t they? The mission is put on hold for now when Saya’s stomach growls. Can’t go on without an empty stomach? So Riki is willing to ditch hanging out with Masato just to go join Saya? As they go get food, she hints she has never played the crane machine before and before you know it, she’s already addicted to it and won several prizes. Having fun for a spy? Must be embarrassing to realize all that, eh? Next night, they continue their mission as Riki observes her clumsiness and flustering. Yeah, so cute that it just makes you want to protect her, no? So is it really fun to be dragged around by her? They come to a point where they need to find the right tile to trigger a path down. Darkness Executives are already here as Saya keeps them at bay while Riki finds the opening. Not only he manages to do that, he even saves Saya from the face of death. Wow. A few shots and Riki is a pro shooter already. In the next level, they stumble upon a hotspring. Too tempting to clean yourself? Well, Saya goes in first and if Riki turns around, she’ll kill him. They both start imagine like this is an open hotspring when suddenly a cold drip of water drops on Saya. She screams. Riki turns back thinking she’s under attack by Darkness Executives. Nothing shadowy but the glowing sight of holy fanservice! Louder scream? Don’t worry Saya. Riki claims he didn’t see anything. Anything… As they take a break, Saya mentions how she will be whisked away to another mission once this one ends. That is how it has always been. The duo then faintly remember about each other. They have indeed met before. When she starts crying, Riki remembers that he once loved her since long ago.

Episode 3
As they move on, Riki has lots of questions regarding the treasure and who Saya really is. In the next room they are faced with a stone guardian. I don’t think the pea shooter is doing it any good. Or that sword Riki found on the ground and repetitively hitting it. It’s like bug bite to that big thing. Saya sees a keyhole and has Riki toss that ‘sword’ to her. Once she inserts it, the giant crumbles. As she has sprained her leg, he carries her. Idiotic flustering mode… Start! After all that, she reveals she also likes him and tries to kiss him! But it shocks her when he evades her so now she wants to kill him. Or herself? Riki calms her down by telling her to close her eyes. A real kiss… But subsequently the idiotic flustering continues with Saya even making up gibberish words and illogical stuffs to ‘cancel out’ her embarrassment. WTF. They make their way to the final room where the strongest boss of this world, Shun Tokikaze who is also the leader of Darkness Executives awaits. They discuss what will the final treasure be and Saya believes it is a time machine. She wants to go back in time to redo everything again and meet him once more. She suggests if this mission ends successfully, please go on a date with her. I guess that is the motivation to finish this job. Now here comes Shun (sounding very familiar…) and since this is her fight, Saya will only face him alone. Riki has a bad feeling he will never see her again after this but she manages to convince him that they won’t reach the treasure if they don’t follow the rules. Steel bars separate them as Riki can only watch helplessly Saya’s gunfight with Shun. She gets shot and dies in her own pool of blood. Saya narrates she lost the game and died again. It has been the 99th time she’s been playing this. She chooses to play again. Everything restarts. It goes back to the scene where Riki is in the school hallway and Saya pins him down to tell him to escape. As he runs, she claims Riki will always be her one and only partner.

Episode 4
Saya narrates her tragic past. She never knew her mother and her father is a doctor who treated the poor and sick in war torn countries. Because she followed him around, the only relief is a manga named School Revolution a Japanese volunteer had brought. Once her father’s term ended, they return to Japan and she never knew how peaceful it was. She used to play a lot with Riki but one day a heavy rain caused a landslide in which Saya was killed and buried underneath it. Now Saya has been repeating this game so many times that she is worried if Riki still loves her. Don’t worry. Each time he has never failed to say those magical words. But each time she repeats, it means she will die. WTF is she doing?! In her latest confrontation with Shun, he mentions as a game master of this world, she is an anomaly that will disappear sooner or later. That is why she needs one more time to replay this game. The next time they reach Shun, she uses Riki to disguise as herself but this doesn’t food Shun. But this is part of Saya’s plan to use Riki as her shield because she has done her little research and knows very well Shun will not shoot Riki. Shun will prove her wrong but Riki fires his gun. He heard 3 gunshots fired simultaneously. Saya only has a flesh wound and Shun is down for the count. As reward for beating him, he tells them to take the elevator to the most bottom floor where the treasure awaits. Don’t worry. There are no more traps or tricks.

At the 60th floor, there seems to be a lab room. After locking Riki out and she looking around, suddenly her hand starts to bleed. Riki is in distress as Saya wants him to calm down and listen. The treasure is a biological weapon. This is also where they part. The route where they meet always leads her to a bad end. Saya remembers her previous bout with Shun. She has realized the truth of this world. She is just a character that appeared in School Revolution. Without realizing it, her soul wandered into this world and started acting like her. Saya is sad that she has been trying so hard and to die without knowing what it’s like to fall in love is just unfair. Saya knew Shun was kind enough to let her go on till she is satisfied because he could have gotten rid of her any time he wants. As the treasure in the manga has not been revealed yet, it could mean the treasure can be anything she wished for. She wants it to be a biological weapon so she can complete her mission before disappearing from this world. Saya thanks Riki for being with her and then shoots herself in the head. Riki wakes up crying in his bed. Kyousuke is next to him. Riki tells him about the important partner he had but lost her. He replies he heard about the Darkness Executives being overconfident and thus Saya escaped. The time machine that was being guarded is also gone and there were signs that it was being used to get away. Riki is relieved and he hopes they’ll meet again one day. Saya wakes up in a hospital tent. She is a little girl who goes by the name of Aya. She talks to her dad about this dream she had. An adventure in the underground labyrinth and the partner she had whom she loved. Father knows that boy will come to play with her again. We see her going off to play with young Riki.

Episode 5
When Rin and Riki notice a stray black cat in their class, they follow it out and it seems it takes a liking for Sasami. She is embarrassed to be seen this way especially when Komari almost busted their secret. Rin gets blamed for this? Later as Komari explains, this stray cat that they found was weak and they took turns taking care of it. That night as Riki goes to get juice at the vending machine, the cat comes up to him and even follows him back to his room. Because Masato picks it up and ‘confirms’ this is female, he gets scratched in the face. When Kud and Mio enter, they see this ambiguous yaoi scene of Riki and Masato! He’s just checking his face for injuries, by the way. Mio feels something is strange with the cat but brushes it off thinking it is just her imagination. In the dead of the night, Riki gets a rude awakening from Sasami. His scream wakes up Masato in which Sasami turns back into a cat again. That muscle head checks her out as a female again and gets scratched once more. This turns Sasami back but as soon as she tries to leave the room, she turns back into a cat. Oddly this time, Riki can understand what she says. They discuss the source of the problem. It could be that she turns into a cat whenever she tries to leave the room? Or maybe like when Masato regains conscious, she poofs back into a cat. You mad, girl? Big guy is scared of you now. Thanks to that, Masato is ‘kicked out’ and has to stay somewhere else temporarily. Yeah. Riki chose the cat over muscles.

Sasami is back in human form once Masato leaves. She wants to call her roommate to tell she won’t be coming back but turns back into a cat. Komari cannot understand what the cat is saying and this is confirmed that only Riki can understand her. Riki answers on Sasami’s behalf and this makes Komari think they’re having a secret tryst. Sasami is mad but all Komari can hear are angry meows. Next morning, Riki tries to get help and he thinks Rin is the best person who knows all about cats. Sasami couldn’t be more insulted when Rin gives her cat food! Get out! Riki better get his ass moving and get her proper food! But how can you enjoy your meal in peace when you know you’ll turn into a cat? It’s pitiful to have her think that she’s turning into a shut-in. But she gets the optimism to go around and find other people who could understand her. None. Not even her friends. Sad. Finally there is Komari. Riki tells what happened and she confirms it with a quantity question that only Sasami knows. From time to time, Komari would bring fresh clothes into Riki’s room for Sasami to change. Well, he almost walked into one. This pops up the question of why Sasami’s clothes are also transformed along with her. No, he isn’t a pervert who wants to undress her, mind you. As they find this phenomenon strange, Riki deduces that they may have wandered into a strange world. Riki gets a call from Rin that Komari is missing.

Episode 6
Riki won’t tell Sasami so as not to worry her. Based on his experience from the strange world (during the Refrain season), he tells her this world will only disappear if its wish is granted. It sounds ridiculous but what grounds does Sasami have to reject him? She places his faith in him to help her and he has got the cheek to say how much it sounds like a marriage proposal! Next day in class, Riki notices Rin and Komari still missing. Something is odd. Kengo knows something is wrong but Riki won’t tell him since he fears he might disappear if he does. Sasami is cooking in Riki’s room and she is proud of it. And then just feeling embarrassed that she’s feeling so. So which is it? Riki asks Sasami about her past as he couldn’t picture her as someone who truly hates cats. She explains long ago she once found a stray black cat and took it in as her own. One day the family was to move but she couldn’t find the cat anywhere. She never saw it again and believes it has died. She thinks it has come to hate her for abandoning it. Riki thinks that perhaps it is Sasami’s strong wish that is unknowingly creating this world. Perhaps if she goes to talk to Kengo (the person she likes), something could happen. At first she is against this but if you won’t know if you don’t try. She is not as pathetic as she claims to be. Unfortunately the next day, she couldn’t. As she is a cat, she immediately runs away at the mere sight of him. But the strange thing is that Kengo can understand her. Just as he believes this cat is Sasami, Kengo suddenly turns into smoke and disappears! It crushes all the theories that Riki has believed in. Sasami is sad that Riki didn’t tell her about Komari’s disappearance earlier on. But there is a bigger problem looming. They notice outside the school gates, everything is white. This world might be vanishing and the creator’s power isn’t going to last. They can try to exit through the cat but there is fear that Sasami might stay in this cat form if she does.

That night as Riki thinks hard, she sees that black cat before him. Then he understands. The cat is the creator of this world. This isn’t just a dream but fragments of Sasami’s memories. Riki sees Sasami taking in the cat and naming it Kuro. They were very close. Until that fateful day. Fast forward a few days ago where Komari and Sasami found the stray black cat and the latter upon seeing it said it had nothing to do with her and that she hates cats after all. Riki then tells Sasami about this. Kuro didn’t die but survived as a stray. They even met in school recently although she didn’t recognize it. So does it want revenge? He thinks it wants to meet her. However when they head to the supposed place, there is a barrier preventing Sasami from getting closer. She feels sad as they both head to the exit to get out of this world. However Sasami only pushes Riki through it and says that this is her responsibility and thus she must bear alone. Of course Riki won’t allow this selfishness and thus breaks through whatever is holding him back and into his room where Sasami is sitting around waiting for her fate to come. With words of motivation, she agrees to go see Kuro again. She thinks back of their times together and the words that she always loved to hear: “I’m here”. Realizing Kuro has always remembered them, the barrier disappears and Sasami is able to touch Kuro. They spend their last moments together before Sasami reminds Kuro that it’s time to say goodbye. Riki wakes up in bed in tears. Sasami is also back in the real world and despite still sad over Kuro’s departure, she knows she is supposed to smile after crying.

Episode 7
Little Busters are having their own kick the can competition. Before it begins, it already ends because Haruka scores an own goal, giving Riki’s team the win. Suddenly a couple of public morals girls chase after Haruka because she ditched her duty in collecting trash cans. How convenient. Here’s one. Kanata reprimands her girls because they were breaking their own rules by running in the hall and then reminds Haruka to go pick up cans after school. Kyousuke tells Riki that some of the clubrooms are being redistributed and theirs is on the list. Of course he has planned to use politics to leverage out of this and has sent his Little Busters to go help out other clubs and earn some points. This means Riki has to go help Kanata with her paperwork. They talk about things and when he mentions the lonely task she is doing, she believes other people are of no concern to her as long as she can protect what is important to her. Kanata continues to put up her strict front in front of everyone. Then she meets some girl about some initial agreement. It seems Kanata has not told Haruka yet because she believes she does not need to know. Riki continues to help out Kanata around the school and although she finds his casual character annoying, she is still going to let him help her out after school for errands. They stop by a burger joint. He notices she doesn’t like pickles but is okay with the ketchup. In fact she likes any kind of red fruits like apples. Speaking of which, she reveals her name means apple of the field. On the way back, Riki is concerned that she always calls him on his full name and that gives a bad impression. She admits she does. She tries pronouncing his surname but it just feels odd. Next day, Riki sees Kanata teaching Haruka how to bake. Kanata has practised saying Riki’s name so she is better this time. It made her embarrassed when she revealed this. Later, the fire alarm rings. Looks like somebody’s cooking fire got too big and activated the sprinklers. Kanata immediately jumps in to put out the fire with her blazer. Because her shirt is now wet, everyone can see hideous marks on her body. Kanata goes into trauma mode. I guess it must have been so traumatic that she needed to run outside to vomit. Riki wanted to console her but she is trembling in fear and won’t allow him to touch or get near her.

Episode 8
Kanata wants to be left alone. Next day, Kud is very worried about her and even more disheartening is how rumours have spread throughout school that Kanata’s marks are from abuse. Her concentration in class or anything dips. When Kanata meets that girl, we learn that Kanata was supposed to be in some marriage meeting but got beaten up because she screwed up. Haruka heard this and is furious. How she doesn’t know about this? Kanata won’t say anything but the girl tells Haruka that she will be getting married by the end of summer and become the heiress to both households. Although this means she will never be able to leave, she is doing this for Haruka’s sake. While Kanata is practising her sword in the rain, flashback reveals Kanata won against Haruka in some comparison competition. But Kanata was devastated to see Haruka being mistreated like hell despite this was not part of the promise. She did not like this one bit. But her father (or uncle) tells her she can save her sister by throwing away her future. He promises not to even hurt her. Kanata after some deliberation agrees to the conditions. After Kanata is taken to the infirmary, Riki and Haruka talk to her but she remains defiant that she does not need anyone’s help. She feels she doesn’t need to be protected because nobody came to her rescue. What good would it do now? Riki has some nice words. Haruka has some too. Plus a little sisterly hug. She tells her she doesn’t need to get married and if their relatives come looking for trouble, they’ll drive them away. I hope it is easier done than talking. Shortly after Kanata gets her confidence back, that girl comes to kidnap her and usher her into the family’s limo. Riki and Haruka are too late to catch her. Because that girl’s job is just to bring Kanata to them, she doesn’t mind telling them about tomorrow’s programme for Kanata’s marriage meeting. Riki and Haruka seek Kyousuke’s help to save her. Don’t worry. Little Busters are more than happy to gate crash the party. They plan out the diversion to snatch Kanata from the room, including Kyousuke and Rin acting as their decoys. The plan goes well till at a safe distance, Kanata wonders if this is the right thing for them to do because the household is not going to let this slide. Haruka doesn’t care and doesn’t want her to go back there. That isn’t her home. Coming with her is the better ending. After little sister said all that, you still have doubts? F*ck all your worries and just go with her! That’s right. Kanata finally decides to go with her. Soon everybody converges at the river bank. Mission success.

End Of Mission?
Well, these short stories are extra fun and addition to the 2 seasons of the Little Busters TV series. Even if you haven’t watched them and jump straight in to this one, you won’t lose much but still it is better to go watch the TV series to understand better about why strange occurrences happen in this world. Overall, it brings a satisfying end to the Little Busters series. Unless they are going to make some more out of it in the future, which I don’t see it happening of course. But you’ll never know…

As already said and known beforehand, these little specials give more prominence to the minor female characters in the TV series. Their unique personalities make them likeable like Saya who is a bundle of emotions with a penchant for jumping to conclusions whenever she flusters. Funny girl. That is why they call assume as ASS-U-ME. Get it? Checking back my previous blog on the series, I remember that there was no such character called Saya appearing in both seasons. Not that I noticed. So I thought they created a new character. Doing a little research (read: lazy browsing over the internet), I discovered that Saya did appear but in very short blink-or-you’ll-miss cameo appearances. That is why I figured they dedicated half of the episodes to her to make her proper and official debut. So proper and official that the other girls in Little Busters do not even have a decent appearance! Actually they do but it is for just one short stinking scene and they do not even have a single dialogue. Yeah. They’re trying to pull some heart strings by showcasing her heart wrenching moments spent with Riki. I guess everything is okay as long as it ends well despite her ending is pretty much left to viewers’ discretion.

Therefore I thought Saya replaced A-chan as the heroine for this season although the latter did make her appearance in Kanata’s arc despite her role just feels like secondary. Better than not appearing at all, eh? It goes without saying that since this season is all about the secondary heroines, our main heroines from Little Busters are not given much prominence. A handful of scenes of them just to remind us they are still the same girls that we know. Like who wouldn’t go “Awww…” each time we see and hear extremely moe Kud go “Wafu!” and Haruka’s cheekiness in causing trouble. And there is of course the resident idiot Masato. This muscle head should also get a spinoff of his own seeing he is a pretty funny guy. But hey, unless you are a yaoi fan, there isn’t any point in putting a guy’s route in such visual novel genre.

Although I want to say this special is about Riki and the secondary heroines, it is mainly only confined to Saya’s arc. Basically for Sasami’s arc, despite Riki is still prominently featured, it is actually more of Sasami and Kuro. Finally for Kanata’s arc, Riki feels a bit secondary since the heavy focus is between the sisters. Though, I feel Kanata’s arc is a bit rush including the climax of the gate crashing and everything. What do you expect with only a couple of episodes? Kanata has got so much heavy drama and weight on her shoulders that it could sink her to the bottom of the ocean.

Another good reason to watch the second season of the series is to also understand better the timeline of the stories of these heroines. As those who have watched, at the end of Refrain, the truth of everything is pretty much revealed about this strange mysterious world. So if you haven’t watched it, you’re wondering in which timeline the stories take place. Heck, I don’t think you’ll be asking that question if you haven’t seen them. But for those who do, you can at least make a guess when it took place. Like for Saya, her arc occurs before the start of the Refrain saga, Sasami after that and Kanata in between.

If you like this series especially with Key-style drama and emotions during and at the end of each story, you’ll be glad to know that these specials have not lost their touch in bringing them all out with their storytelling. Although it gets a bit repetitious a while seeing it follows a somewhat same pattern of Riki helping out a girl in focus with her problems that includes her haunting past as well as getting clues in discovering the truth of this world. But nevertheless with the varied and unique personalities of each girl, you’ll find them refreshing and interesting. To conclude what this entire series is about, everybody has got their own little problems to deal with. Sometimes you can’t deal them by yourself and need the help of your friends. After all like they say, a true friend is one who helps you up after a fall. But a best friend is one that laughs at you when you slip and tumble. And then help you up.

Little Busters! Refrain

July 19, 2014

Time is running out. Better hurry. That seems to be the underlying theme to me when I started watching the sequel, Little Busters! Refrain, which covers the final arc of the visual novel. As announced at the end of the first season, thus the second season was greatly expected and things won’t be as rosy as it has always been. The truth and the big picture will be revealed. Will it be a shocking conclusion and finale to everything that we have seen? Or to what Riki our weak Little Busters member who has learnt to overcome all obstacles and hardship through the support of his friends, has seen and experienced. Or maybe everyone should just continue having fun playing baseball like they always have, huh? Oh wait. This isn’t even a baseball anime to begin with.

Episode 1
Kyousuke shows Riki their group photo after their first official baseball match. The guys then head over to the cafeteria because Komari is organizing a pancake party for their match success. They had lots of good pancakes and fun. Especially the girls mixing in all the ingredients and feeding it to Masato. Ah, the resident idiot. It was so fun that Riki wonders how much time they will have left to spend like this. Hoping to stay this way forever? Remember the dwarves’ story from Komari? Hell, I didn’t… As the gang cleans up, a group of girls spot Kurugaya with Little Busters. Seems they are not happy because they have this very deep grudge against her. They blame her that because of her, the class looked down on them. The days go by and Riki feels that he is forgetting something important. Every day continues to pour like cats and dogs. Kengo notes they can’t practice at this rate. Suddenly the guys are called. The girls are consoling Kud. Seems someone has done a mean prank of her and put thumbtacks in her bag and shoes. Even her books are torn. Riki sees a suspicious girl hanging outside and chases after her. It leads him to a room where the perpetrators are. Two of them are revelling in this cruelty but one of them, Mutsumi Suginami feels guilty for being part of it. The duo are confident Riki can’t prove that they are the ones behind it when suddenly a tape recording of their heinous plan is played. It was about them discussing to hurt Kurugaya’s friends as a lesson so they will not hang out with her anymore. Kurugaya is in possession of that proof. And she has that killer eyes look. Telling them off (including Mutsumi because she did nothing to stop them which makes her equally guilty), she threatens to broadcast their scheme. The duo think they can get tough with her and talk back. Kurugaya shows her true power and seriousness in killing them when she kicks and destroys the door!!! Now you scared? Just get out of here. Better run for their lives. The rest of Little Busters arrive but so has a teacher. They will handle this and wants Riki and Kurugaya to leave. Masato and Kengo put up a stupid act of fighting… Riki takes Kurugaya’s hand and run away. She says she thought she had no emotions like a robot but turned out she felt angry then. Riki disagrees. She got angry because she cared about them. Kurugaya brings him to the broadcasting room and club which she is a member. Riki feels something familiar. Like as though he has been here before. Even this conversation sounds familiar. Haven’t they talked about this before? And then it happens. His narcolepsy cuts him off from reality.

Episode 2
Riki wakes up in the same room and looks like Kurugaya has taken care well of him. She talks that she is surrounded by friends unlike before and Riki adds he hopes these days won’t end because it has been loads of fun since she joined. Riki then feels they had this conversation before so Kurugaya distracts him by flirting with him. A boy and girl alone together in a room… Why does she tease him this much? Because she likes him! Holy cow! Never expect to hear that, didn’t you? Because of that, Riki couldn’t concentrate on his card game with his friends. Sharp Kyousuke can guess he is in love! Even more shocking they really think he loves Kurugaya. But because he cannot answer, Masato thinks Riki likes Kyousuke! Not to lose out, he too confesses he loves Riki! Rin is not amused and leaves. But the guys jump to a conclusion and will help him confess to her. Though they can’t understand what he sees in that girl, it’s when all their other fetish in women comes revealed. Kyousuke into lolicon? Kengo into miko priestess? Masato into maids? The plan now is to have Riki confess to Kurugaya during a fireworks display. I figure this must be the romantic setting they wanted. Also, this is to thank the other girls for the pancake party although they’ll be watching somewhere else. Surprisingly, the rain stops that night and so while the guys setup the fireworks, Riki’s job is to gather all the girls into a room. Let’s hope they don’t think he’s planning to attack them all in the dark corner… As they walk through the dark corridor, Riki has no intention of doing the confession when Mio has the girls run helter-skelter when she mentions a fake ghost rumour. Riki had to go find them but ends up finding Kurugaya alone in a classroom. The fireworks begin and everyone watches in awe. Riki accidentally drops his handphone when he gets a message from Kyousuke asking if he had already confessed. Kurugaya saw the message. They both starred at each other for so long and Riki felt he was spellbound that he couldn’t say a word. He never knew she was this pretty? However the next day, Riki felt something strange. The way the guys are acting as though it was yesterday, 20th June. He is arguing that date was yesterday but the sense of déjà vu overwhelms him. There are similar patterns of what happened yesterday happening today. The rain. The weather forecast and the radio claiming today is 20th June. He goes to the broadcast room and sees Kurugaya there.

Episode 3
He talks to her like they’ve had this conversation before. But she admits that she watched the fireworks and it was beautiful and unforgettable. Then she hugs him and hopes to stay this way for a while. Riki back in his room feels something is wrong. Kurugaya never acted like that. Something is wrong with the world. Before he knows it, morning comes and again it is 20th June. His friends certainly don’t remember. Could Riki be the only one reliving Groundhog Day? However it isn’t exactly Groundhog Day because although the date remains the same, everything else is changing little by little. Like how it is snowing now! Riki alerts the rest but they think it’s pretty normal! Wait a minute. Snow in June? Each time Riki falls asleep and wakes up, it’s like he is forgetting something. Groundhog Day continues and Riki has lost count how many times today has repeated. Then he remembers. Where the heck is Kyousuke? That guy should know everything. But he doesn’t pick up his handphone. He is nowhere to be found. The search leads Riki to the broadcasting room again. Kurugaya is there. He questions her about this never-ending day. How long has it been? He feels like the memories are slowly fading away. She wants him to forget about her and the time they spent together. It’s her fault that he’s trapped in this never-ending loop. When Riki wished back then that these days will never end, the one who truly wished for it was her. Thus, Riki is actually in her dream. Kurugaya begins her flashback. Long ago, she was touted as a genius because excelled academically and in sports. However in exchange for that, she lacked any emotions. As she refused to take part in international competitions, she refused and this made the adults think she’s looking down on her. She never smiled. She felt empty. She was alone. Till she caught glimpse of Little Busters and took interest in them. She talked to Riki about what is so fun being in that odd group and his reply was that it is a place where you can feel like you belong. So when Kurugaya joined, the more time she spends with them, she experienced more emotions she never had before. She is happy to have experienced them but now it’s time to go. Her fate is set in stone and this dream is her last wish. When he wakes up, he won’t remember anything of it. She wants him to promise to protect Rin no matter what. Riki cannot accept all this because she’s making it sound as though they’ll never meet again. Kurugaya and hugs him and says she really wanted to experience love. Then she vanishes. Riki wakes up to a brand new day. It’s going to be a good and fine weather too.

Episode 4
Although Kurugaya is not wiped out from everyone’s memory, they think of her just another classmate who plays truant. Riki sees Mutsumi being suspicious at a corner, when he gets her out, she confesses she likes him but knows he already likes someone else. Riki ponders about her words and especially if there was a girl he likes. He starts thinking of Rin and flusters. Could she be the one? He didn’t realize Kyousuke is nearby. He tells Riki that Rin was also confessed by some guy. However she doesn’t know what love is and is confused so he turned him down for her. Later as Riki thinks about his times with Rin, this girl comes by to have him help her out. On the way back, they slip down the slip and Riki falls on top of her. As they compose themselves, they mention about being confessed to. Rin then suggests they date each other because it will solve their problems. Riki asks if she likes him and she didn’t hesitate to say yes. And so he agrees. He couldn’t sleep that night just thinking about it when he gets a message from Rin just for fun. They begin exchanging messages and Riki feels the need to tell Kyousuke about it. But he feels like as though he is asking a father for her daughter’s hand in marriage! So when he meets the guy, he is nervous and couldn’t say. But Kyousuke could guess he is dating his sister. He was waiting for this day to happen as they were so close that they probably didn’t realize it. Then they tell the rest of Little Busters and they’re happy for them. Except for Masato who is reeling for shock over stupid things. Will he still be able to hang out with Riki? Of course he can. Kyousuke teases them if they have already kissed. This sends embarrassed Rin bolting out of the door. The rest encourage Riki to go after her. Riki talks to her but I guess she is still embarrassed and her tone of talk is like as though she wants to pick a fight. Then a cat jumps down into the picture with a message attached to its tail. It has a final task for them. They must nominate themselves during homeroom.

Episode 5
Rin wonders what they should do know that they are a couple. Probably Riki took too long that she fell asleep. Yeah. Like about 5 seconds. In class, the teacher announces members of the prefectural assembly will be conducting an inspection of their school. He wants volunteers, a boy and a girl. After a lot of hesitating, Rin and Riki volunteer. But will Rin be fine? Does she know how to speak politely? Can she even smile nicely? So the big day arrives as Riki coolly shows the members around. Rin should just keep her mouth shut because the words she chooses brings ambiguous meaning. Like they are living together. Living in separate dorms is what she means. In the end, the member asks Rin why she is always happy despite being an odd person. It’s because everyone is here for her. He hopes he could continue to smile like that. Soon, Rin is called to the teacher’s office. Due to her bad grammar, what she understands is that they tell her to go to another school. Kyousuke explains that she has been offered to enter a student exchange programme. There’s a serious reason for this. A bus containing students from the other school crashed. Only 2 survived. The entire school was traumatized and it became school of gloom. This programme is to help them out of the doldrums and Rin was chosen because of her cheerfulness. The school is pretty far away and it will last for a semester. This means Rin will be separated. Riki objects to this. He also questions how Kyousuke knows everything. He also accuses her like as though he sounds like he wants her to go. Kyousuke wants him to calm down since he is just stating the facts. He doesn’t want him to get so worked up because it’s up to Rin to make her decision. What about Rin? Does she want to go? Nope. She did turn down the offer but the teachers told her to rethink. And so she is doing some rethinking.

Since talking to the others doesn’t really yield a straight cut answer, Riki has decided. He concludes Rin is still a kid and doesn’t understand the real meaning of love as he is always by her side, this new experience is what she may just need to mature and grow. So when he goes tell Rin to do it, she is not happy. She thinks he hates her. On the contrary, he loves her that he is willing to have her go far away. Huh? Rin no understand. Because Rin continues to get mad, so does Riki. He accuses her of running away and they end up having their first lover’s quarrel. The days come closer for Rin to leave. Riki thinks back how the letter’s sender anticipated all this. And then it hit him. The letters started to appear after they play baseball and after each task, Rin grows more confident. He deduces the sender’s goal is to make Rin stronger and that she has been manipulated all this time. He sees the cat and follows it, leading him face to face with Kyousuke. Riki should have known. Everything was his doing. But how did he predict it all? How does reality warp around his words? Kyousuke wants to hear his deduction. Riki reasons Kyousuke wanted Rin to be independent. When he graduates, he won’t be able to look out for her so when he heard about the exchange programme, he decided to take advantage of it. It is the perfect way to make her independent. Each task makes her stronger and he even used the pretext of forming a baseball team for her to make new female friends. Kyousuke says he misinterpreted the question: The secrets of the world. Has he uncovered it? Riki thinks it’s just a bait to get Rin’s attention. Kyousuke laughs it off. However they have to run as the guard spots them. Kyousuke takes Riki’s hand and flee but when Riki trips, he lets go and continues running, vanishing into the darkness.

Episode 6
Riki continues to think how everything was Kyousuke’s doing. It’s all a setup. On the day they see Rin off, it seems a little… ‘Quiet’. Riki deduces Masato knows about this from the things he said. What about Kengo? He talks to him and although Riki understands Kyousuke wants to make his sister independent, he cannot forgive his method. Especially forming Little Busters just to disband it. It’s like he intended to send Rin off and disband Little Busters right from the start. Kengo agrees with him because Little Busters is the symbol of their friendship. He assures he will keep Little Busters alive even if everybody is gone. Riki gets mail from Rin that everybody is so depressing. Nobody talks to it. She can’t take it anymore. Riki can do nothing but give her text messages as support to try her best. When Rin cannot contact Komari and the latter’s mail keeps bouncing, Riki concludes Kyousuke must have had a hand in this to keep Rin away from the girls. Rin must have caught their depression syndrome that she wants to come back. Riki can’t take it anymore and wants to bring her back but Kyousuke stops him. Riki chides him of this approach and will lose everything they’ve worked so hard for at this rate. Kyousuke will try to make Rin come back during weekends so until then he wants Riki to keep his emotions in check. Come weekend, Rin really returns but she is so tired that it’s disheartening. He seeks Kengo’s advice and there is only one option: Fight Kyousuke. He won’t be alone, though. Because Kengo is going to fight with him.

The duo confront Kyousuke that they will challenge him to whatever. If they win, Rin stays. Otherwise, she’ll go back. Kyousuke suggests playing baseball and the first to hit 3 home runs, wins. Who is Kyousuke’s partner? Masato. But it seems this muscle brain isn’t happy doing this. Masato shows he hasn’t been building muscles for nothing. He quickly hits a home run. And that was just a practice shot. Riki throws but he slips and screws up. Since it is raining heavily, Kyousuke wants to cut it short and the first to hit a home run wins. Masato pulls off another home run. Riki can’t afford to lose so Kengo tells him to trust him. As Kengo gets ready to hit Riki’s pitch, suddenly he is filled with memories of Koshiki. He misses the hit. Kengo is upset and accuses Kyousuke for playing dirty. In his rage, he rushes to punch that guy but the rest hold him back while he screams in agony. Kyousuke leaves, declaring he has won. Riki feels Little Busters is no longer a place for him. That night, Riki suggests to Rin that they run away together. I don’t know how far they’ve run or where they’re staying, Riki knows from the bottom of his heart that he is too weak to protect her. And then a couple of police find them. Riki quickly hugs Rin as he remembers for a long time he had forgotten that to live is to lose.

Episode 7
In the dead of the night, somebody yells Kyousuke is back. Masato goes off to fight Kengo at the cafeteria. Riki tries to stop them and since he can’t, he tries to add some rules like throwing some random weapons in but the duo ignore him and continue fighting. Riki rushes to find Kyousuke but is nowhere to be found. Next day, Masato and Kengo injured each other. Kengo’s arm is injured and this jeopardizes his kendo selection trial. Although Kengo brushes it off as nothing major, he hopes Riki can come up with something fun for all of them to do. Riki goes to pick up Rin but notices she has changed. She has become scared of people, doesn’t go to school and her mind has reduced to that of a little kid. Riki looks for Kyousuke who is sitting in a dark corner of his room. Seems he is very down. Riki wonders if something has happened to Rin but is told he won’t find the answer in this world. Riki thinks back about their fun times as Little Busters and wonders how to bring those days back. Although he is worried for Kyousuke, Kengo advices he should put more focus to Rin. He says she loves him, the reason why she is not afraid of talking to him (Riki is the only one she talks to now). Riki gets motivated to do something fun with Rin. But playing badminton or wearing funny masks didn’t cut it until he gets this baseball idea. Rin likes it and is even a good pitcher. Riki wonders if she has played baseball with Kyousuke but she somehow feels it was with Riki. He goes to describe Rin’s smile and excitement in playing baseball to Kyousuke but he maintains his gloominess. When Riki gets Masato and Kengo to play baseball with them, Kengo is not amused and leaves. Riki wants to know why and is told he is doing the same thing as he did. This makes Riki think that everyone but him and Rin knows something and is trying to hide it. Even Masato hints something of that sort. When Riki mentions about Rin’s fear of people, Kyousuke’s reclusiveness, his drifting apart from them and the answer to be found in another world, Masato notes he should be fine since he has gotten this far. Yup. He’s leaving too. Riki and Rin are the only ones left. Riki feels the need to uncover the secrets of this world. He vows to become a leader like Kyousuke and gather their friends to form Little Busters.

Episode 8
Riki thinks if he follows Kyousuke’s footsteps, he can find out about that world. He asks Rin who was the first friend she made when Kyousuke formed Little Busters. It was Masato. Because he had a bounty on his head and everybody was scared of him. Kyousuke defeated him and they signed some friendship contract. Riki tries to recruit Masato into Little Busters but he isn’t interested. Why? Because he is the strongest and he will prove it. So stay out of his way if he doesn’t want to get hurt. Soon, a few students get hurt simply by talking to him. That must be one awful punch they’ve got. Riki plans to stop his rampage and Rin remembers how they setup traps to ring Masato in. Riki is glad liveliness is returning to Rin’s eyes. They make a bait for Masato to punch something. The strong dude wonders if all of them were disappear if he smashes all these. When he punches the bait, he flies back and is stuck to the statue thanks to the super glue. Riki explains this is to stop his rampage. But this doesn’t look like a rampage in Masato’s eyes. So with his elephant strength, he breaks free although the statue is still stuck to him. Riki has a plan. First he drags Masato around just to make him lose stamina as he is carrying a huge load. Then he leads him to a place where Rin is waiting to throw the net onto him. Although Masato breaks free from the statue, soon it becomes a fist fight. Riki throws a few ineffective punches. Masato punches back but Riki gets up. With a little help from Rin, Riki elbows the final blow into his gut. Masato commends Riki of this surprise. He never knew he was this capable but still is far off from Kyousuke. Because if he intended to remake Little Busters, it isn’t going to be easy and will have a long tough road ahead.

When Masato was a kid, others used to laugh at him because he was stupid. So to stop that, he trained hard to become the strongest. Nobody was stronger than him. Those who laughed got beaten up. Soon, nobody laughed at him but it still made him an outcast since everybody feared to get near him. After declining Riki’s invitation to join Little Busters, Masato started to see clones of himself everywhere. Actually they were other students, just that they looked like him in his eyes. So he punched ‘himself’ when in actual fact they were trying to take to him. He also saw Riki and Rin looking like himself. And thought if he smashed the bait, all his clones would disappear. But one was different (Riki) because he stood back up to fight. A worthy opponent just like back then. Kyousuke challenged him and set traps around till the final fist fight. After each side deliver several blows, Kyousuke wondered why he won’t fall. Masato fears that if he did, all that he has worked hard for will go to waste. He became stronger than anyone but is still alone. So he can’t afford to fall or he’ll go back to being an idiot. Kyousuke didn’t care for all that because he had fun fighting him. He hopes he won’t change and will play with him any time. They become friends from that day and Kyousuke promised there will be more fun times ahead. Masato finally falls as he realizes this was what he was looking for, a place to belong. And now, Riki almost says the same thing as Kyousuke did. He doesn’t care how strong Masato is and no matter who he is, he will always be his friend. Masato vows to stick by him no matter what and until the final moment.

Episode 9
Kengo is next on the list but he’s going to be a tough one. Riki asks how did Kyousuke managed to him to join. Masato explains when Kengo won a kendo tournament and became a local hero, Kyousuke challenged his father and defeated him. Riki asks Kengo about this but he can see through his ploy to get him recruited and asserts he won’t fall for it. Riki goes to talk to Kyousuke who is still in that pitiful state. But Kyousuke says something. Kengo is lying about one thing. Riki observes Kengo and notices his right hand is not injured as he uses it like normal when he thinks his friends aren’t watching. He confronts him that his right hand was never injured to begin with. Thinking he knows something about this world, Kengo warns darkness only awaits and wants him to go enjoy himself. Riki disagrees since everybody is apart and there is no way he can do that. He wants to make everyone smile again. As he isn’t going to give up, Riki wants to challenge him and Rin suggests baseball. If Riki wins, he must join Little Busters. Kengo goes back to tell Kyousuke to poor kid Riki has become. He accuses Kyousuke of using a mechanism of this world that Riki doesn’t know to trick him back then to make him lose focus. Because he tossed away his morals just to see his plan through, he plunged them into darkness and is now acting like a coward wallowing in regret. Kengo views Riki and Rin as weak and it’s their job to protect them. However Kyousuke believes people will mature even if this is a closed world.

On match day, Kengo thinks to himself that after this match, he will do all he can to protect them so he’ll be his enemy for this moment. The winner of this one on one match is the one who hits a homerun. Kengo is cocksure that his victory is guaranteed. Despite several misses and foul balls on Riki’s side, he gets back up no matter how injured or tired. This causes Kengo’s feelings to waver. Why won’t he just let him protect them? Riki’s will to bring everyone back to Little Buster finally lands him a homerun. But there’s still Kengo’s turn. If he scores a homerun, it will be a tie. Because Rin is also serious about this, she wants to be the pitcher instead and Riki be the catcher. Everyone agrees and Kengo will show it to them. Rin’s pitch improves as Riki gives her lots of encouraging words. Kengo realizes he cannot hit a homerun when he normally would. Is their drive putting him under pressure? Rin thinks about the nice blue sky and her friends supporting her so she throws the best pitch that strikes Kengo out. He remembers how winning was always everything in his life. So when Kyousuke defeated his dad, it was to free him from the strict mentality and pressure that he must win. Now no one will care whether he wins or loses because Kyousuke knew all Kengo wanted was to have fun like everyone else. They became friends that day. Kengo breaks down as he admits what he really wanted was to have fun with his friends without worrying about winning or losing. So let’s play a little longer shall we? Safe to say, he’s onboard the Little Busters.

Episode 10
Little Busters are going to see Kyousuke. Riki is going to do the same for Kyousuke like how he did for him. The rest of this episode is from Kyousuke’s explanation of important events throughout the series back to the first season. Kyousuke fears that Riki and Rin will be engulfed in darkness and despair that they might never recover from so he created another world set long before that cruel incident. Because Riki was weak and relied on him whenever something went wrong and Rin couldn’t hold a conversation, Kyousuke created the baseball team of Little Busters and added the few other girls who carried regret about their lives to the team. Masato was fully aware of his plan but played dumb. However Kengo was against it and the reason he was reluctant to join the baseball team. In this world, Kyousuke had absolute control of the cat as it is his other self and used it to send tasks to the duo. Because Riki was prone to anxiety and grief, he kept running away from it so he turned back time and restarted the trial from the beginning because running away won’t solve anything. By doing so, he began to overcome his weaknesses. That was the case of Riki and the other girls like in Kud’s case, that magical thingy that happened at the end of her arc. Riki became stronger and Rin more cheerful. He wished such happy times would last forever but his power to maintain this world was gradually weakening. So when all the other girls left, Komari wanted to stay behind to watch Rin till the end.

Kyousuke wanted to test Rin and thus the final task that will separate her from them. He knows it was a tough plan and he himself didn’t like it but he knows he can’t always protect her. However she was at her limit and Kengo had his own idea of protecting them. He refused to accept they don’t have much time in this world, the reason Kyousuke ‘cheated’ and made Kengo go berserk at him. But when Riki and Rin ran away, Kyousuke began to wonder if his plan had failed. Was Kengo right that they are still weak? He alone foolishly believed that Riki would mature and Rin was traumatized. Even though no one is left, he will violate his morals and principals to do this again and again. Kyousuke seems to be following the smell of the gasoline while slowly crawling in pain in the dark while leaving a trail of blood. He is sick of making them in despair. He wanted to give up but that is when Riki took his own initiative to form his own Little Busters. When Riki came to see him at the time trying to recruit Kengo, Kyousuke wanted to help him out but couldn’t. So he only gave the little hint that Kengo was lying. Finally Kyousuke has reached a funny structure and will stop the leaking. He will prolong these final moments as long as possible to give Riki an opportunity. If he can do that, he would have served his purpose and will have no regrets. Seeing Riki extending his hand to him, Kyousuke is amazed how much he has grown even though he has messed up and the many times he has restarted this world. He never imagined this would have happened. He knows when he takes his hand, everything will be over and leaves him to handle the rest. After he disappears, this is where everything will begin.

Episode 11
Kyousuke rejoins them and Little Busters is back to what is used to. The first order? Play baseball! But they don’t have much time left. It’s like Kyousuke giving his ‘report card’ to his fellow Little Busters and is glad to be with them. When Masato tries to catch the ball, he crashes through the scoreboard. Riki wonders if he is alright but Masato says this is goodbye and enjoyed the times together. Suddenly he disappears! Riki seeks an explanation from Kyousuke what is happening so he says he will be returning to the real world soon. A world where Riki and Rin are the only survivors. Remember that bus crash? It wasn’t the other school. It was them. The bus carrying them fell off a cliff during a school trip. Riki and Rin are the only ones who narrowly escaped death thanks to Masato and Kengo. But they couldn’t leave them to just die there because they’ll be overcome with grief once they wake up. Therefore Kyousuke created this world so that they could become strong. When he was wallowing in the darkness or afterlife or something, he prayed so hard and perhaps God heard his wish and let him create this world whereby they repeated everything since the first semester many times. They watched over Riki and Rin to become strong enough to overcome the cruelty of reality. Now that they have both become strong enough, they must move forward. No more turning back. Riki suddenly regains all his memories and he agrees the need to do so otherwise the strength that Kyousuke and the rest gave them will be in vain. Playing another round of baseball, this time the ball hits Kengo. He breaks down crying that he doesn’t want the fun to end and tried hard to make up for those lost times. He is happy to have met such great people. Kengo shakes Riki’s hand as a sign of friendship. Then he disappears. In the final game, Riki hits a homerun. I guess this is a goodbye walk for Kyousuke. Riki is so emotional that it’s affecting Kyousuke too. Yeah, he’s bawling out tears like we never seen him before. He loves them so much that he doesn’t want to part but life is so unfair. Why does he have to go. Since the world is fading, Kyousuke wants Riki to take Rin and run out through the front gate and not look back. Riki makes haste as he takes Rin’s hand, saying his last goodbye. Kyousuke walks around the school one last time to remember the fond memories. Ah… Good memories indeed…

Episode 12
Riki and Rin wake up in the real world to find themselves amidst the fallen trees of the forest below the cliff where the bus has crashed. He remembers everyone happily in the bus when it skidded out of control and crashed through the barrier. Kengo and Masato protected them from the impact. Smelling the gas tank has leaked, everything would have been futile if they are to die now so he brings her away to a safe place. But Riki doesn’t want a world without the rest so he goes back alone to the crash site to find them. However his narcolepsy starts acting up again after he sees the bloodied corpses inside the bus. Rin feeling scared by herself, crawls back to the crash site and is paralyzed in fear. She remembers her traumatic past but starts opening up when Kyousuke brings her out and the other guys joined Little Busters. She hears Komari’s voice as she narrates some sketchbook story to her. It made Rin remember her and the rest. How could have she forgotten all about them? Perhaps she didn’t want to see those scary stuffs and closed them off. But now she is going to find the things she lost and returns to that dream world. She meets Mio reading her tanka poems, avoids Haruka’s punch, getting teased by Kurugaya and licked by Kud’s dogs. She feels guilty for not being able to thank them as they have given her a lot. Then she remembers Komari’s one wish hasn’t been granted and runs up to the rooftop where she is waiting. Komari apologizes she couldn’t tell her the truth and should have gone a long time ago but stayed back out of her selfishness just to see her one last time. Rin doesn’t want this and rather be with everyone else. Komari makes this one wish of hers and that is to have Rin continue smiling. Then she disappears. Wondering how to make this wish come true, Rin believes if everyone smiles, she’ll be able to smile. So it’s not over yet. She’s going to save them and look forward. It’s going to be tough but she believes she can do it and have everyone smile together again.

Episode 13
Riki needs to overcome his weakness so he goes back in time through his memories to the day it all began. The car crash that killed his parents. Because he feared the sadness and wanted to run away, he fell into a slumber. I suppose this explains his narcolepsy issue. With the memories of Little Busters flowing through him, he gets the strength to overcome them and reunites with Rin. They’re going to do what they can now. Back in the harsh reality, they are standing before the crashed bus. First, they see Komari. Thankfully she has a pulse and is only unconscious. Safe to say that everyone is the same. They need to move everyone out before the bus catches fire. Riki sees someone outside leaning against the bus and realizes is Kyousuke. He is using his body to stop the gas leak. It must be excruciating but they need to move everyone out before taking him. The duo must have lots of reserved strength because they not only carried everyone out but stretchered them far enough where the sun reaches the grass. Wow. That’s lots of strength. Finally it’s time to get Kyousuke. He is still alive but hell, save your talking about surpassing your expectations and it’s all thanks to you for later. Get out now! The bus is already catching fire. Riki and Rin carry him with their last ounce of strength. And then… BOOOM! Three months later, we see Riki and Rin back in school. The rest of their girl friends are also there. They go greet Masato and Kengo who are just released from hospital. Slowly, all the students recover and come back to school. Miraculously there were no casualties but the last person left to return is Kyousuke. He is in coma and because in ICU, no visitors are allowed. In the mean time, Riki takes responsibility of leading Little Busters. As they wait and talk about him, the only person who gives them excitement in what to do, suddenly he comes back via the window. Surprise? He is back to normal like as though that accident never happened. The first crazy mission? Do something awesome and that is to go on a field trip again but this time it will only be them. Little Busters prepare for their beach trip in Kyousuke’s van. A new story for Little Busters will begin.

When Dream Ends, You Wake Up…
What else can I say? A feel good happy ending for our Little Busters to be together in reality. Although the thing that bugged me was Kyousuke’s super recovery at the end which seemed a little ‘fake’ and ‘rushed’. He seemed pretty badly injured and there was this possibility that it might not be a totally 100% happy ending. A bittersweet ending with him passing on. But having such a bad end and even one of the Little Busters dead would mean rendering 2 seasons of 39 episodes to be a big waste. Having Riki going through that endless trial of the first semester was just to prepare him for this and if it ended in a bad way, it would have really sucked. That’s why I think Kyousuke was miraculously revived so that we can all wake up and continuing living the happy life. Being admitted to ICU is no joke and I don’t think in my wildest dream this guy would even pull it off as a prank. Maybe except for the fact that the producers may just want to make us a little anxious before everything ends.

Seeing this is the home stretch, many of the characters we see in the first season are left out and this season the original quintet of Little Busters take the limelight and become the main focus. Even guys like Masato and Kengo are given some depth. Except for the first few episodes which had Kurugaya in the spotlight because she was the only girl outside the original Little Busters who didn’t have her stint with Riki. So characters like Kud, Haruka, Mio and to a little extent, Komari have been greatly sidelined in this season so much so that if you think too much about it, you might miss them and yell for them to come back because the new Little Busters are about the 10 of them, right? If such characters are already not given much prominence, the rest of those minor characters like Sasami, Kanata and A-chan are not even featured. I don’t even remember seeing them around and even if they did make their cameo, it was too insignificant for me to notice. I suppose that is why another special series called Little Busters! EX was aired after this season concluded. To give these little heroines their own screen time.

The plot of this sequel is still captivating enough and the melodrama was gloomier this time round since, well, Riki is a step closer in uncovering the mystery of this world. Speaking of which, when it was revealed that this world wasn’t a real one but a fake world created by Kyousuke, it somewhat didn’t surprise me because I was predicting something of this sort would happen. And I didn’t even do any reading up of the plot or play the game. I had a hunch that something like this would happen. How else would you explain the mysterious happenings that occurred all the while? Mysterious happenings that make things feel so dream-like if you think about it. It’s like magic. It’s like a dream. Nevertheless the magic of each episode still manages to evoke the same kind of emotion in my heart, the kind that I experienced while watching the first season. Not many animes can make a second season that is better or at least lives up to the reputation and expectations of the first so Little Busters! Refrain is one of those few who manage to do that well.

The overall gloominess of this season takes away much of the humour and comedy that I saw in the first season. I guess you don’t need any more fillers and drag on the series for another season just to keep your audiences watching. You’d be lucky if you have people who are still watching and not drop it halfway. With Kyousuke falling into a despair state, there isn’t any fun things to do like that free for all battle that has our battling Little Busters grab whatever ‘weapon’ the audience throws at them. As absurd and silly it may be, it was fun seeing the hilarity of it all. What about Masato’s penchant for always falling ‘victim’ of being called odd nicknames? Boy, I really miss those.

Of course in the area of character development, Riki and Rin grow stronger than before and are able to stand back on their own 2 feet. So that endless repetition of the first semester was really worth it. They came out unscathed, have a stronger heart (which probably led them to have stronger body since it’s all in the mind) and saved everybody. Kyousuke had his own problems and isn’t always the perfect leader that Riki knew but just like the rest, he wants to best and to protect the duo with all his heart. Masato isn’t a dumb guy and he’s probably the smartest since he just acts like a dumb brawn (somebody has got to play the fool that others need to make fun of) and Kengo too can break down or have his childish nature instead of the cool and composed one we are familiar with. So everybody improves, develops and moves forward because of each other’s support.

I don’t know how many times Riki and Rin have been forced to repeat a season of Groundhog Day but if we are going to be told in numbers, it would bring back memories of that sickening Endless Eight arc in the second season of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Say, if this was possible and it took many tries for Riki and Rin to get it right, I wonder how long time has passed in the real world? It could take forever since they’re in a world that runs on a separate time. So it is really odd if you think about it that this could be the perfect ‘trainer’. If you want to ace or get better in something, don’t worry, just restart everything from the top till you do it better! Neat, huh? If only dreams work that way. Theoretically if Riki and Rin never get stronger, does this mean they get to stay in the artificial world forever? That would be better, would it?

The opening theme for this season is Boys Be Smile by Suzuyu. Sounds like another one of those pieces with that Key feel to it. In fact, all the songs for this season as I found out were taken from the albums for the visual novel. Ayaka Kitazawa sings the main ending theme, Kimi No Nakushi Mono which is a lively anime pop piece with some cute synchronizer effects. Another ending theme that only lasts for a single episode, Hanabi by Lia is also a lively anime pop rock piece. The rest of the other ending songs are sung by Rita who did the opening and ending themes for the first season. Song For Friends is probably the best song because this lovely slow ballad piece with heavy focus on the piano just touches your heart after watching the episode. Haruka Kanata is also another slow sad song but I still prefer the beautiful Song For Friends. Of course the final episode’s theme is a variation of the first season’s opening theme, Little Busters! -Little Jumper Version- to bring back that overall nostalgic feeling of this series and a fitting finale to it all. For the rest of the background music, I think all of them are being reused from the first season. The familiarity of those instrumental pieces still invokes great emotions during certain scenes.

Overall, this sequel is a good finisher to the first and I highly recommend people to watch both seasons for the interesting and fascinating tale and how it is all well executed. I feel this series should end here and shouldn’t have any more sequels or it will ruin or diminish the perfection it has reached. Spin-offs are another story but Little Busters 3? I don’t know how you can top this one unless it’s a goddamn miracle. So it goes to show that you don’t need to resort to fanservice and ecchi elements to attract a certain group of people. You don’t need to do cheap shots just to gain viewership or bring in the dollars and sales figures. If you have a beautiful story and good implement, it will leave a lasting impression in the hearts of people for a long time to come. That’s the best result you could ask for. I think Little Busters did just that. I mean, if your emotions are moved and touched while watching this series, then it must be a direction in the right step. Now if only every other animes are like this without the risk of disappointment, it would be a perfect otaku world. Unfortunately that remains just a dream.

Little Busters OVA

March 14, 2014

You know Little Busters was supposed to be a group of high school students forming a baseball club and thus the expectations of seeing them in baseball-like training or activities, right? But you know, that wasn’t the case in the TV series. Little Busters OVA is something like that too. It has nothing to do with baseball whatsoever. Just another one of those entertaining fillers that has nothing to do with the original plot or storyline of the series. And it is a way for me to get myself started before I watch the second season despite it is long over.

I Will Protect The World Of Saito!
Masato is not happy that his nickname is now Space Idiot. This has Kyousuke suggests to start up the battle ranking system whereby you can only challenge the person who ranks above you. The winner takes the higher rank. Currently the ranking is as follows from top to bottom: Kengo, Rin, Masato, Kyousuke, Komari, Kurugaya, Haruka, Kud, Mio and finally Riki. Why is Riki last? Because it is more exciting that way. Masato challenges Rin and surprisingly the former won! I guess Rin was trying to make some paper airplane which took an awful long time. However Masato is devastated that the rules of changing nicknames remain the same. This means only losers can be given nicknames. I guess Masato is still a Space Idiot. But it won’t take long before Rin gets her revenge. Mio observes Kurugaya as always enjoying herself. She is envious and asks what she can do to be more like her. She suggests imitating Komari. And so begins Mio’s quest to observe and act like Komari, which creeps out that timid girl. Of course this is part of Kurugaya’s pranks to watch and enjoy the cuteness of it all. She didn’t even bat an eyelid when she admits this to Riki. Since it’s not working, she suggests Mio to tell off Masato he is dog vomit. WTF. But she does it anyway. And it seems Rin is also imitating what Mio says, causing Komari to be freaked out. So Riki’s battle with Mio begins. Mio has the backing of her science club led by Mad Suzuki. Nobody cares about his ranting. Just get it started. Anyway, Riki won. Kud then asks Kurugaya for advice to be cool like her. As usual, Kud believes her suggestion of starting her sentences with “God damn” and ending it with “Touch me and I’ll beat the crap out of you”. Doesn’t she get tired saying all that all the time? It’s scaring off Komari again… She uses the same sentence talking to Kurugaya but with her fierce face, she backs off. Then it’s Kud’s battle with Riki. Roller brush versus super liquid glue? Oh. Riki won. Haruka and Kud seek advice from Kurugaya about getting bigger breasts. How are you going to do that if you’re born with such body? But she did advice that it is important to put in effort. Looks like the flat ones will have a mountain to climb. Mio measures Haruka’s boobs. Haruka’s electric toothbrush against Riki’s industrial tape… Who wins? Riki of course. Don’t ask. Kurugaya knows she is next and anticipates Riki. However she gets attacked by somebody else while waiting for him.

Riki is surprised to see Kurugaya’s rank dropped. She has been attacked by a mysterious newcomer called Mask The Saito who claims he will protect the world of Saito. Mask The Saito is fast moving up the ranking and defeats Komari before Riki could act. He gets a warning call from Kyousuke to stay sharp but he already gets done in followed by Masato. Riki and Kengo protect Rin knowing she will be the next target. But when Rin goes after her cat, the guys split up to find her. Next thing Riki knows, Rin and Kengo are defeated at the same time! It’s Rin’s turn to seek Kurugaya’s advice. Yeah. She doesn’t even know what to ask but Kurugaya could tell it’s something about human relationship. Try this one. When Komari says “Yup”, end your sentences with “Oop”. And when that really happens, Komari runs away in tears. Again. Why does this always happen to her? Rin blames Kurugaya for tricking her so she says what she needs is the resolve to make her own judgment. She should try harder with her own efforts next time. Oh, Mio is still saying Masato is a dog vomit… That evening… Mask The Saito confronts Riki for a challenge. Well, we all can tell it’s Kyousuke behind that mask, can’t we? His aim? To decide on the Saito among Saitos in this world. Whatever. He tries to provoke Riki into the match like this mask is the symbol of strength. I guess he has no choice. Mask The Saito’s boxing gloves against Riki’s tweezers. The crowd is building up and excitedly anticipating this match. Riki loses his weapon and is an inch away from losing when Komari happen to walk into a scene, reading an emotional story to Rin. The effect causes Mask The Saito to lose himself and gets emotional. He declares Riki the winner. With the crowd cheering, Mask The Saito takes off his mask. Why am I not surprised he is Kyousuke? He gives Riki to put on the mask. Can’t see a thing. Everyone starts throwing Riki in the air and chanting his name (Saito). Lastly, Komari is now talking to Kurugaya. She relates her problem of everyone saying and doing strange things to her. Her reply? It was all her imagination. Yup. She buys that.

Nothing Is Given So Freely As (Hoax) Advice…
Still funny and enjoyable in its own way. Because I am not really familiar with the world of Little Busters, I do not really understand the significance of Mask The Saito. I am not sure what Kyousuke is trying to pull by becoming such character, especially about that protecting this Saito world. What or who is this Saito anyway? The only reason why I think Kyousuke start up this battle ranking system and let Riki fight his way up is because to let him take over the leadership once Kyousuke graduates. Come to think of it, is everything pre-planned by Kyousuke? I know he faked his own defeat but the timing of the defeats of the others (I believe they won’t go down that easily unless…) and the way it ended. That sad story felt like an excuse just to hand over the victory to Riki. The other amusing story that was running concurrently with this OVA is Kurugaya’s advices to the other girls. It’s amusing to see the girls taking her advice seriously and with hilarious results. I’m sure Kurugaya enjoys watching it as much as we do. Even if we don’t laugh out loud, at least it makes us smile and chuckle at the gullibility of the advice seekers. Hey, at least this shows they really trust her as a friend and are willing to do it for self improvement. Ultimately, I think Kurugaya is trying to teach them to think for themselves instead of following blindly. Something I feel Mio has yet to learn as she is still doing that dog vomit thingy… Oh, I believe we have not seen this much fanservice in the series before. Especially when the girls seek Kurugaya’s advice, it is either they are changing clothes or soaking in the bath. Nothing explicit but the TV series does not have such fanservice to begin with. So if you ask my opinion if you want to watch this OVA, you need to run 10 laps around the field, drink 10 bottles of milk in one sitting, do sit ups at 3am while listening to classical music, borrow a striped panties and say to 20 people “I am an idiot!” with full of passion. Really? What do you mean it is just as simple as sitting down and turning on your device to watch it? See? You’re already getting smarter.

Little Busters

September 15, 2013

At first the thought that this anime is about playing baseball turned me off. Baseball wasn’t really one of my favourite games so I was ready to give Little Busters the big pass. However, something must have caught my attention and made me changed my mind that instant. Something, I swear. But I can’t remember what it was. Was it because when I read that this series was made by Key, the company that was responsible for creating visual novel games-turned-animes like Air, Kanon and Clannad, that I thought this anime was going to be somewhere along the lines of those animes? Yes. Something like that. The main boy of the series and a group of girls. Each of the girls has their own problems and issues to deal with. Boy helps them out and solves their woes amidst all the drama. Girl becomes happy at the end after the problem is overcome. Oh, did I mention about a little supernatural effect thrown in? Does this sound familiar? Yup. This is basically how Key stories work and so it is no different for this anime.

But unlike the other Key works that I have mentioned, there isn’t going to be just a single male lead. Okay, there is still a leading guy but the other male characters that support him have their fair share of screen time making them a lot more prominent (although the main guy will still be the most prominent feature) and hence not reducing them into some unimportant comic relief and side jokes. Those Key animes also feature some sort of romance but for Little Busters, I don’t quite feel it here. At least not that I can see it happening. Riki Naoe might seem like the weakest among the guys in the group but he is our main protagonist and the one responsible in later helping out the girls with their problems. As a kid, he too had undergone hellish times and was at the lowest and darkest period of his life. Till this group of friends brought him out from that despair as he once more learns to love and enjoy the things in life, sweet and bitter. Because of this experience, he understands what the girls who are facing testing times are feeling. He will not sit back and will do all he can to give them a second chance like how he was. It’s the only way he knows to reciprocate the kindness shown to him. To protect those smiles and their fun filled everyday life.

Episode 1
The news that Kyousuke Natsume has returned has everyone up and excited. So excited that probably Masato Inohara is having a fight with Kengo Miyazawa at the cafeteria. And Kyousuke is sleeping… Riki hopes he would do something about this so Kyousuke decides to add in some rules. People are to throw anything to them. The first thing they grab will be their weapon. Kengo grabbed a water pistol. Masato got a cat. WTF. Kyousuke’s sister, Rin didn’t want the bully to take advantage of the weak (she’s referring to the cat) and beats up Masato. After learning the fight started out due to some stupid conversation, unhappy Masato wants to continue the fight. Rin gets a three-section-staff and Masato… An eel pie. This guy’s not good at picking things, eh? Needless to say, Masato gets owned again. Riki narrates this scene is normal to him. When he was young and lost his parents, his confidence was at its lowest. Till these four turn up and let him join their gang. Little Busters is what they call and vanquishing evil is what they do. The first task they did was eliminating bees. I guess Masato was brave to put honey all over his body but he didn’t expect the rest to breathe fire at him! At least that got rid of all the bees. The quintet discuss Kyousuke who has successfully got a job as a publisher in Tokyo. He walked all the way there… Since Kyousuke wishes that things would last like this forever, Riki suggests they should go round the neighbourhood looking for evil to vanquish like they use to. Kyousuke agrees but he wants to form a baseball team. First, he makes Rin the pitcher and her pitch is so damn hard that Masato flew away and broke the scoreboard! Kyousuke nicknames her, Godly Lack of Control. They will be using a shed by the school’s baseball team as their base. Currently the baseball team is in some sort of trouble so they’re practically non-existent. They ask why Kyousuke want to form a baseball team. To exist as his own individual. Huh? Because nobody would think that somebody looking for a job will play baseball. That will be his individuality. Kengo can’t be part of the team since he has kendo practice.

That night when Riki is doing his homework, Kyousuke summons his usual gang to the room to announce that Little Busters already have their first match. However as Masato points out, they lack members. Kyousuke wants Rin to find those members and since she is the kind not good with strangers, he gives her an earpiece and they’ll relay what to say. She heads back to the girls’ dorm to recruit but nobody seems interested. Till she bumps into the future softball captain, the arrogant Sasami Sasasegawa. She thinks Rin is insulting her. Because Rin is scolding the guys listening, Sasami thinks she is being scolded and sends her underlings to teach Rin a lesson. Rin lost. Next day in class, Riki sees Kyousuke reading his manga. Just that sight of his is very much divine and girls all over school would jus flock to class just to catch glimpse of him. There is something about this guy that draws people to him. But next year, Kyousuke won’t be here as he’ll be graduating. Riki thinks of helping out with the recruitment since all this was originally his idea. This leads him to the rooftop whereby he catches a girl knocking her head under the water tank and her sweets scattered everywhere.

Episode 2
Komari Kamikita seems like an airhead. Riki helps her out since she got stuck but realizes her skirt got stuck. She freaks out when she realizes he saw her anteater print panties. Komari shares her sweets with him and reveals she loves them because it makes her happy. She hopes that being happy, others will be happier too. Riki then tells her about Little Busters’ recruitment. She seems interested in baseball but doesn’t really know what it is. Riki doesn’t feel she is suited for it. During lunch, Kyousuke comes in and informs they’re going to form a band! What about the baseball. Oh, he was reading a manga on bands and was spurred by the moment. When Kengo uses his chopsticks to grab a fly, jealous Masato wants to show off his muscles. He punches the fly but it drops right into Kengo’s soup. Another round of fight. Somebody throw them weapons! Kengo gets a ping pong bat while Masato gets a soap. He sucks, doesn’t he? Needless to say, Kengo wins and gives the nickname of The Man Who Lost His Brain Somewhere to Masato. In class, Riki hears the girls badmouthing Rin because she ditched her class chores probably to play with her cats. True enough, Riki finds her doing so and reminds her about making other friends, something she feels she doesn’t need. One of the cats has a message tied to it and it says it will reveal the secrets of the world as long as she accomplishes the tasks given. And the first task is to clean up an old shed. Riki narrates he has this sleeping disorder since young call narcolepsy. He would suddenly fall unconscious, disconnected from the world for who knows how long.

Rin also gathers Kyousuke and Masato to help clean the shed. Look how dirty everything is. It’s going to take a while. Komari then comes in and she wants to join Little Busters. For real? As proof, she is wearing mittens. Mittens? You know, those hand gears they use in baseball… Oh boy. This isn’t starting off well. She is happy to see Rin the school’s idol and hopes they can be friends. Rin of course is still shy of interacting with others. After cleaning the room, Kyousuke decides to test her to see if she is fit to join. First, he asks a quiz on what is necessary for baseball. Guts, bravery and friendship! He agrees and passes her! WTF?! Riki reminds the need for some physical aptitude so here we have Komari trying her very best but she seems to suck. Can’t even lift the baseball bat… Didn’t even realize the ball rolled under her feet… Not looking good. Finally, the last test is the quiz and it is the same as the first question. What do you need in baseball? Same answer. Guts, bravery and friendship! Same reaction. Kyousuke passes her and welcomes her to the team. What was the aptitude test for anyway? Happy Komari hopes she can be closer to Rin but the latter is still having trouble being with her and runs away. Komari goes after her and I don’t know how she could even trip. At least this breaks the ice as Rin goes to check to see if she’s alright. Komari then suddenly gives her a tickle attack! Just when it seems things might be heading for a happy ending, Riki suddenly has his narcolepsy attack.

Episode 3
Riki reminds us of this chronic disease where he falls unconscious and wakes up later and having no dreams at all. It was like nothing of that sort ever happened. His friends never complained about it so it is some sort of assurance to Riki that everything will be alright. Kyousuke then has Little Busters practice in the early morning since the girls’ softball team isn’t using the field. In class, Masato messed up Riki’s idioms book and wraps it in a plastic. Haruka Saigusa is here to look for Yuiko Kurugaya to borrow her idioms book. Since she is not around, she takes Riki’s instead. He tries to take it back but bumps into Kurugaya’s desk. All her test papers fall out and all of them are 100%. As narrated, Kurugaya is a genius but comes to class as and when she feels like it. While Riki is at the vending machine, Kurugaya suddenly pops up and takes him to her own garden cafe. She plays a prank by making him sit on a broken chair. Why is she doing this? Because it’s fun. He looks like the type that wants to be picked on. So Kurugaya asks Riki about the strange hobby he has formed with his friends. His reply is that it makes him feel where he belongs. When the bell rings, Riki realizes he is late for class and dashes back. Haruka is not happy about the condition of the book and tells him to look inside. That is one hell of a scream… During recess, Masato confronts Kengo in yet another one of those stupid conversations.

They are about to fight when Kurugaya kicks Masato. The muscle brain thinks she wants to pick a fight with him and threatens her. However she is not cowed and threatens him back. Kengo lost interest and leaves, warning Masato not to underestimate her. They make a bet that if Kurugaya loses, she must change her name to Cuckoogayer and if Masato loses, Kurugaya will broadcast his most embarrassing secrets to the world. Before the usual match starts, Kyousuke drops in and offers to be the referee. You know the rules, right? So start throwing those weapons! We know how this will end, right? Masato gets a pop up pirate. Who the heck threw Kurugaya a sword!!! Even if it is fake!!! Kurugaya moves in inhuman ways to stab Masato, who is reduced to some dodging puppy. Masato is like a real joker. He thinks his pirate can turn the tables. Well, it didn’t. Weak. In the end, Kurugaya kicks him out of his senses. Then she admits she lost for breaking the rules. Do you want this kind of victory, Masato? Not happy, he decides to go train in the mountains. After Kurugaya leaves, Masato returns. So fast? When Little Busters practice, Kurugaya drops by and she can’t stand how they are having so much fun by themselves. She wants to take part and enjoy this sunshine of youth with them. In other words, she wants to join them. And so we have another member recruited. Thank goodness she is on your side now, eh?

Episode 4
Riki helps a foreigner and transfer student, Kudryavka Noumi AKA Kud to move her stuffs into her room. After that he goes to Rin who laments there is no letter for another task. She notices a cute bandage on one of the cats. Later she finds out it was put on by Komari so she wants Riki to say thanks on her behalf and leave him some sweets for her. Riki goes to see Komari at the rooftop but she is sleep talking. Their heads bump and she wakes up. As they chat over snacks, Riki asks if she has a brother. However Komari says she is an only child. The brother she has only appears in her dreams always reading her a sad story book about eggs and chicks. She doesn’t remember much since she forgets most of it by the time she wakes up. At the same time, she’ll also feel lonely. Later Riki tries to find if there is any such book at the library but to no avail. Then he goes see her again but notices her much sadder expression this time. She found that storybook in her home’s shed. The story of an egg that hatched into a chick. It grows up to be a hen who forgets she was an egg and lays one. The process repeats itself. Like it never ends. Even though the end has the hen finally remembering, it is the part that they forget which makes her feel sad. She thinks her brother drew this book because the name of Takuya Kamikita is written at the back. She tried to ask her mom about this name but she said she never heard of it. It felt like mommy was trying to hide something. And if she really did have a brother who ran away, why couldn’t she remember him? Rin tries to cheer her up with her cat talk and Riki has her loose translator. It cheered her up so she invites them to come to the retirement home this Sunday for some volunteer work to spread the sunshine.

Apparently the rest of Little Busters also tag along because they can’t practice on the field being used by the girls’ softball team. And some like Kurugaya had nothing else better to do. Everyone is awed at how the old folks are familiar with Komari. It’s like she’s their personal star. The rest aren’t too positive if they can click so Komari tells them to yell out “Alright!” when they feel down. Looks like they’re motivated. As the rest do clean up, chores and even put stage performances for the old folks, Riki goes in to clean the room of a stubborn and loud grandpa, Kojirou. Despite grandpa telling him to stay away, Riki will not budge and will clean his messy room. At the end, grandpa likes his work and hopes he can come back and clean another time. Of course he will. Komari is impressed he could clean Kojirou’s room because she has never been successful. She tries to enter his room but got scared away by his loud scream. Poor girl. Riki didn’t like how he treated Komari but when Kojirou realizes Komari’s name, he wants Riki never to let her near him. Seems he knows her. Why? Because he is Kojirou Kamikita. That’s why.

Episode 5
Little Busters practice baseball. Kurugaya didn’t like how Komari gave her a cute nickname. Rin is still afraid to call Komari’s name and mispronounces it. Disheartened Komari runs away and tries. This prompts Rin to call out her name. Well, there you go. Later, Komari tells Riki that she dreamt about her brother again. It feels like he is calling out to her and might be looking for her somewhere. Riki thinks her brother died. So he goes to see Kojirou to ask more about Takuya. Riki thinks he might be in hospital and Kojirou says he is right. As for where he is now, he believes Riki knows that answer too. He doesn’t want him to pry any further if he cares about Komari. He will say nothing more. That night, Riki can’t sleep as he can’t help think about Takuya. If he died, why wasn’t Komari being told? To avoid her becoming sad? That can’t be the only reason. He takes a walk and sees Komari trying to sneak back into her dorm after buying some snacks. She freaked out at being spotted but a big relief to realize it was only Riki. She invites him to the rooftop to watch the starry sky. The first of several shooting stars, Komari makes a wish that Riki could see more than he does now. With more shooting stars in the sky, Komari makes more wishes like wishing for everyone’s happiness. By the sixth one, Komari dozes off and Riki wishes whatever secrets there were, it wouldn’t be something sad. The last shooting star saddens Komari because it reminded her of the little match girl story whose life disappeared with the last shooting star. Just like her brother when she wakes up from her dream. She invites Riki out on a date this Saturday to help her look for something she lost: Her memories.

Riki meets up with Komari as she takes him to a place where she used to live. Ironically she doesn’t have much memories of this place. She thinks it is sad when you forget things you don’t want and remember things you have to. Riki notices a hospital at the hilltop and wonders if this is where Takuya passed away. The lake’s beauty was too tempting not to go boating. But Komari puts another sad look when she realizes she can’t see the bottom of the lake. She thinks losing something is sad. Riki asks if she really wants to meet her brother. Wouldn’t meeting him in her dream is good enough? Komari wonders in that case if he would like to be her brother. She’s just kidding. She tries to sit next to him but the boat rocks and she falls into his arms. On the way back, it suddenly rains. The lightning scares Komari. They notice a dead cat in the drain. Upon knowing it isn’t moving, Komari is paralyzed in shock. She starts crying when her memories return. Flashbacks of her time with Takuya are mainly seen spent at the hospital. They watched the stars together and he even promised to go boating with her. Then one day, he tells her all this is just a dream.

Episode 6
Riki takes Komari back to his room to shower. When she comes out, she tells him everything she remembered. Takuya’s health wasn’t good and always stayed in hospital. They played together, watched the stars and he told her stories. One night when he was telling her this hen and egg story, he realizes his time is almost up. So he told her he might not be here anymore when she wakes up. But there is nothing to be sad about because all this is just a dream. When morning came, Komari found his lifeless body. Though devastated, she psycho herself this was all a dream. It’s nothing sad. Rin and Kurugaya come in for some girl reinforcement and take her back to the dorm. However Komari doesn’t want to leave her brother’s side. She thinks Riki is her brother. Riki had no choice but to play along and assure he will still be here when he leaves. Later Riki tells the rest of his friends what happened. He laments she has remembered what she didn’t want to know and he too didn’t want to know this truth. Because of so, her self defence mechanism kicked in by viewing Riki as her brother and she lost that sunshine smile of hers. Kyousuke tells him now that he has known the truth, he can’t run away. He is the only one who can save her because if he runs away, he can never solve things. Next day Riki talks to Komari and tries to assert he is not her brother but to no avail. She doesn’t even remember the night they watch the shooting stars together or even care about the hen and egg book when it got soaked in the puddle since she is confident her ‘brother’ will draw another one.

Riki later tells this to Kojirou. He feared this would happen and apparently this is not the first time. She experienced this many times before. Death triggers this. When Kojirou’s wife died, she fell into this state. Give her some time. In a few weeks she will return to normal and forget everything. Including she had a brother. That’s why Kojirou who is nearing his time didn’t want her to be near him. He knows the impact it will have on Komari. Riki wants to know where Takuya’s grave lies so he can do some thinking. Riki then realizes what he should be doing. He is going to draw another book. His drawing sucks but he will do all he can. His friends do all they can to support him be it food or drawing utensils to keep him going through the night. When day breaks, Riki has finished his book. Then he confronts Komari and tells her the harsh straight facts of reality. He is Riki and her brother is dead. This causes her to break down. Then he shows her the hen and egg story. He added his own version whereby the chick saw many other chicks hatching and realized it has lots of friends around. He continues by telling her of his own situation. He once cried like that till Kyousuke and his Little Busters brought him on their adventures. He hopes she would do the same and run forward with them and smile. Then she can write her own story. The subsequent pages of the book are blank and with that, Komari returns to her normal self. Emotional Rin is the first one to hug her. Komari realizes if she keeps crying, everyone will be sad. She has accepted the fact Takuya isn’t here anymore. It may be a sad thing but there are so much more wonderful things out there.

Episode 7
Masato forgot to do his homework. So Kengo suggests he give that Osaka aliens zap his notebook to oblivion. Don’t ask. Because Rin calls him an idiot, Masato wants to fight her. You know what this means. Throw any weapons into the ring! While Rin has her army of cats, Masato gets… Nail clipper? Yeah, he is going to cut her nails so short she can’t open the can lid. And that he did but Rin earns victory when she orders her cats to scratch him and he crashes into a table. Masato earns the nickname of Trash. So while everybody starts calling him Trash, Kyousuke reminds Riki to recruit more players for their baseball team. I mean, he successfully recruited Komari and Kurugaya so he is the best person for the job. Along the way, they see Haruka playing Guess Who by herself. Don’t ask. Riki asks if she wants to play baseball. Kyousuke has her undergo a membership test. Putting on the glove, it seems like she is playing toss and catch by herself. Kyousuke realizes something and has her change the glove. Seems she is a left hander and when she pitches, the ball flies up high in the sky. Suddenly the discipline committee members are here to apprehend Haruka. She has skipped detention and used a doll as substitution! Haruka runs away but their playful dogs ring her in. Next day, when Kengo enters class, he falls prank to a bucket of water and got his foot stuck in one. Masato didn’t do this. It’s Haruka! She shows no signs of remorse when she explains how she set up this yesterday and got bored while waiting so she left. When the discipline committee members come in to look for Haruka for taking buckets without permission, Haruka takes Riki and run! She throws marbles to make their clean getaway. The duo then are confronted with Kanata Futaki, the president of the discipline committee. She warns Riki for raising trouble with his rowdy friends and has yet to decide his punishment for breaking the table (even though it’s Masato and Rin’s fault). Later Riki learns from Kurugaya the uncompromising person Kanata is.

Riki remembers he forgot to bring his gym clothes for practice and returns to the classroom only to see Haruka patching the table back. She did quiet a good job but she worries she will still be let off leniently as nobody trusts her who lies all the time. All the time? When the duo walk to practice, once again Kanata and her girls confront her. They accuse her of unlawfully acquiring cans from the vending machine. They check her bag and find 4 cans. Haruka says she got lucky playing roulette. Of course they view it as impossible and take her away. Riki didn’t like how Kanata accused Haruka without prove. It’s like assuming she is guilty from the start. When the girls mention about her crimes of skipping class and that winning the roulette is like unfair to those who pay, Riki takes out all the money he has to pay them. It’s okay if they can get payment for those cans, right? Riki’s pals who aren’t sure what’s going on, help to chip in to pay. Haruka decides to drop this and punish her the next time she causes trouble. Haruka couldn’t believe Riki believed in her. He believes that she isn’t the kind of person who lies although she plays pranks once in a while. His friends are still wondering what the heck all this meant so Riki replies Haruka wants to join Little Busters. Kyousuke has her undergo a membership test by asking what the glove smells like. The scent of youth! She passes! WTF?! Masato thinks it’s okay for her to join since having someone stupider than him makes him look better. Haruka and Rin team up to call Masato a retard. His new nickname…

Episode 8
Little Busters are running late for class so Kyousuke wants Masato and Kengo to throw Rin into class. Great cooperation. I wonder if she can reach the moon… Anyway Masato earns her wrath later. Then they see Kud playing Frisbee with her dogs, Strelka and Belka who are also helping out with the discipline committee patrols. She introduces to them and how her grandpa sends them from Finland to keep her company. When she invites them to play Frisbee, Riki notices how good she is at catching and wonders if she would like to join their baseball team. She doesn’t know much about baseball since it isn’t popular in her country. Don’t worry. Komari and Haruka know nuts too. Kyousuke has her tryout by catching his throws and she catches all of them perfectly. With that, she is officially part of Little Busters and she is happy she made her first friends since coming to this school. She has to leave since she receives word grandpa has sent her packages. Later Riki and Masato go check on her and see her having trouble bringing in the packages. Despite girls’ dorm is off limits to boys, they help her anyway. Just hope they don’t get caught by a certain ice queen. In her room, she explains her quirky taste because her grandpa loves anything Japanese and thus the fusion. Learning Riki and Masato are roommates and childhood friends, she wishes for that too since she has a hard time making friends as she always moves around. I don’t know why but Masato suggests Riki be her roommate. And then he gets depressed just thinking how lonely she will be. They send Kud’s request to her senior, A-chan so she will put up a memo for it. Unfortunately, Kanata has caught the guys in the girls’ dorm so there are no buts about it (she is also the girls’ dorm manager). Reprimanding time. Even Kud. So the trio relate their ‘nightmare’ to the rest how Kanata was lecturing stuff and all during their detention.

Asking the rest of their pals if they need a roommate, Haruka and Komari already got theirs so it’s not possible. Rin? She’s too shy so she can’t take her in. Kurugaya? Well, she wanted to be alone but the thought of having this cute loli with her just thrills her. She hugs Kud almost to the point of suffocating her. Riki realizes how dangerous she is because she might not be able to control herself after seeing Kud coming out of the bath in pyjamas! Let’s look somewhere else. Riki notices his classmate, Mio Nishizono. They don’t talk much and she has this very faint presence in class. They ask her if she needs a roommate. Apparently she has lots of books. And she recently had an ‘avalanche’. She doesn’t think Kud can pull herself out if that ever happens. That much, eh? At the end of the day, nobody has become Kud’s roommate but she’s happy to be part of Little Busters. They hear a couple of girls badmouthing Kud that she’s a funny little foreigner with strange things in her room. Kanata tells them off for taking a magazine out of the library. Then surprisingly, Kanata as the unlikeliest person and least to be even considered, becomes the one to offer to be Kud’s roommate since her room is too big and Kud can move into her room. Of all the people… Riki and Masato think she can turn her down if she wants to but Kud is more than happy since thanks to them she has finally found a roommate.

Episode 9
Little Busters practice baseball and though Riki notices everyone happy, he knows this won’t last because Kyousuke will graduate next year. Later Riki goes to talk to Rin playing with the cats and hopes she would get along better with the other girls in the team since the original Little Busters can’t always be with her all the time. Rin notices a message on the cat’s feet. After a long time they have their second mission: To save the cafeteria. Rin thinks it’s the croquette soba that is disgusting. Asking the cafeteria lady, she cites no problem and that somebody requested croquette soba to be on the menu. That person is Sasami. She won’t allow Rin to insult her favourite croquette soba and sends her girls to teach her a lesson. As usual, Rin lost. When Riki is in his room, Rin suddenly barges in because there is an emergency. Taking him to the cafeteria, all the cafeteria ladies are gone. It seems all of them had some emergency and had to leave. How is everyone going to eat then? Now is usually the time those ladies prepare meals for the students. So, this must be the big mission to save the cafeteria. Rin adamant to complete this mission takes the initiative to gather Little Busters for this favour. What are they going to make? They can’t make everything on the menu, right? With Riki’s help, Rin suggests to pick 3 things to serve and make it like a combo dish. Everyone gets down to work preparing the food. Slowly the students start streaming in. Some are surprised at the meal they get. Some get lots of pudding. Some don’t. It’s havoc out there and in the kitchen as well. Riki is glad to see Rin so lively around other people. However one thing still bothered him. How did the writer of that letter predict this crisis? And then it came without warning. After a long time too, Riki’s narcolepsy strikes. By the time he wakes up, it is night fall. Kyousuke comes to get him since the rest are waiting. At the cafeteria, they’re waiting for Riki to join them in a combo meal feast. This idea was thought up by Rin who felt she couldn’t have done it without him and everyone else.

Episode 10
Yet another baseball practice by Little Buster but with Kyousuke reminding them their first match is closing in, guess who have the honours to find the last remaining member? Oh Riki. You’re honest and good with people, right? The ball flew too far so Riki went to search for it and accidentally bumps into Mio sitting under the tree. Seems she is a little bruised from getting hit by the ball. She hopes the people playing baseball would be concerned of the safety of others. She might be joking about telling Riki to execute himself but the monotonous tone she said it doesn’t seem funny… When he looks back at her, he notices how lonely she is. On another day, Riki sees her at the same spot again and accidentally scares the birds she is feeding. She gives him her bread crusts for lunch. Wondering if she likes birds, on the contrary she hates them because they fly away without a word. They’re ungrateful too as she feeds them every day. Those with wings cannot be bound to earth. That’s why she feeds them. As long as they eat, they don’t fly. However she feels it is futile resistance. Riki begins to notice that Mio is always under her umbrella no matter the season. Every recess, she always sits under the same spot reading her book. He never even realized she wasn’t in class. He begins to hear badmouthing by other classmates that she doesn’t talk to others and must be shadowless. Riki talks to Kyousuke about this. He thinks Mio is always looking at the world alone. He could have been looking at the same way had not Kyousuke reached out for him. He thinks he can do the same for her and will try to recruit her into Little Busters.

On another chance, Riki sits next to her and talk. She likes books. This one she is reading is quite important to her. Her very self is written in it. Because Riki is eating while talking, she scoffs him off if his parents ever taught him manners. He says he doesn’t have parents and it made her feel a lithe guilty. But he has Little Busters as friends. Those same friends who vanquish evil and struck her with a ball? Yup, them. He invites her to join but she declines. As for whether she has a weak body or not, she will tell him another time when she fully trusts him. Later in the day, Kurugaya looks for Riki and tells him to help Mio find her lost book. She knows he won’t say no. Great way to dump her responsibility, eh? Mio left her book on her table before she went for gym. When she returned, it was gone. Riki knows he can’t suspect the classmates without proof and starts looking. Mio feels it’s okay not to search since she will buy another book. It’s the words that matter and she has read them so often she has recited them by hard. Still, he will look for them. But she wonders what good it will do by placing unnecessary burden on her. So what if there is someone with malicious intent to hide her book? Riki acknowledges there is evil in this world but there is also as much good. Kurugaya comes in and has a theory. When Mio changed, she accidentally dropped her book. There were 3 people who changed later than her and picked it up. Because she is the shy type, she thought of waiting for the right chance to give it back to her and put it under her desk. She has also deduced who this person is. True enough, that girl takes out the book from her desk and hands it back to Mio. She is grateful so Riki asks what the book is all about. It is a collection of poems by Bokusui Wakayama. The page she is reading at is about a lonely white bird floating between the vast blue sky and sky. Sounds like a sad poem but she views it as one with hope since the bird is not tainted by blue. Riki goes off to practice baseball and hopes Mio could come and watch at least once. She agrees to watch them play today. There is a little smile across her face and Riki has a feeling something great is about to start.

Episode 11
Kyousuke plans to do kimodameshi (test of courage) but Rin wants to chicken out. Masato scares her by telling some ghost story of some girl in a toilet. When knocked on the door, the ghost girl will ask what dress colour you would want to wear. Red, you’ll be covered with your own blood. Blue, your blood will be sucked out. Yellow… You die of being stuffed with bananas! Is this supposed to be a funny story? Kyousuke has hidden talismans in the school building so the rest are to form groups to retrieve 4 of them. Rin-Komari-Kud head in first. Kud summons the dogs for guiding help but they are trained not to go into buildings. Rin summons the cats but without training, they came and go. I guess it’s just them then. The first room, Komari entered first and got freaked out. Rin slaps her to wake her up and blames some slapping demon since her cheeks hurt. Masato and Kengo despite being a team, race each other to be the first to get the talisman. They burst through whatever traps set and almost scared Rin’s team when they thought they saw a yellow ghost (Masato wrapped in some yellow paper). Riki-Kurugaya-Haruka team is cool. Nothing scares them as they collect the talisman after another. Kurugaya got bored so she decides to watch Riki and Haruka from the back to see them get scared. Then she decides to play the ghost and scares the hell out of Komari. She’s out cold. Kurugaya wanted to get naughty with her but blows into her ears to wake her up.

Kud felt something swoosh behind her head. She panics and runs off while Riki chases her. They bump into Masato and Kengo. The guys leave them to enter the principal’s office since they feel somebody is watching them. When the office locks by itself, ghostly hands appear so the duo fight their way. When Kud pushes the panic button as she senses there are real ghosts, the rest of the gang head back out to Kyousuke. He cancels the kimodameshi and decides for them to go ghost busting. They try to sniff out the ghost but something shadowy is zooming among the darkness. Kud has roped in Mio to help out. She advises them to make it bright by turning on all the lights and make loud noises. The gang did as told, making the shadowy spectre run from them. Finally when they got it cornered, the ghost turns out to be an eagle. Kyousuke remembers it as Pi-chan. When he came back from Hokkaido, a young eagle followed him. They grew close but since they can’t keep eagles as pets, with a heavy heart he had to send it home. Looks like Pi-chan has flown all the way down here to see him. Give the bird a hug! By morning, the gang sees off Pi-chan and they’re glad it wasn’t a ghost. Masato and Kengo just got out from their predicament. Kyousuke suddenly turns pale when he hears them being held up at the principal’s office because he didn’t put any traps or talisman there. Masato shows him the talisman they’ve got so sleepy Mio advises him to burn it. Freaky?

Episode 12
The girls of Little Busters are helping to collect donations. Kyousuke is moved by Komari’s words to be happy so he decides to donate. But in his wallet is only 5 Yen or 10,000 Yen! With a heavy heart, he decides to opt for the latter when Komari says they are collecting kindness. A 5 Yen with lots of kindness is priceless. He is even more moved to donate the bill. Riki suggests breaking it down to smaller denomination so he pays on his behalf first. Masato and Kengo try to outdo each other by donating more than the other. Why start with only 50 Yen? Riki thought he saw Mio in the distance but in the blink of an eye, she disappears. Realizing she is still an outcast, Riki invites her to be their manager. No, not an idol or some yaoi manager, but Little Busters’ manager. Easily she accepts. She is welcomed to the team though Riki has to remind Kyousuke that they are still short of a person for a full team. Mio can’t stand the sun and therefore won’t go on the field. The girls want to exchange her handphone number but she doesn’t know how to use her handphone. After Kurugaya helps her out, Masato seems desperate wanting to add him. Because it looked pitiful with just calls from Riki (90% of it) and Kyousuke. Surprisingly all the girls decide to add him to their list. He’s one happy guy. But he thinks it’s better to just have all Riki on it. Don’t even think about it! Then he goes a step further by asking to add his email address… Kyousuke suggests they should do tanka poems for a change. Mio lectures them about the history of tanka. I think everybody is asleep and one already close to dead! Just teach them how to write it, okay? I don’t know how it works but it sounds funny.

Later Riki goes talk to Mio at her favourite spot under the tree. Mio is still unsure of calling Little Busters as her friends since this is her first time spending time with so many people. Riki feels she is trying to deny the way she is living. Why not just accept it? Too late, she says. She explains the reason why spends her time reading lots of books as her favourite author once said stories are written and read to rebel against the fact that you only live once. She wants to read all the books in the world but her life is too short to even complete a library. She feels sad. Noticing a paper airplane in the sky, she continues it will eventually fall to the ground but wouldn’t it be great to ride it and fly somewhere far away? Riki felt an uneasiness welling inside, as though she wanted to disappear. He asks if she was at town last Sunday because he thought he spotted her but didn’t think so since she had no umbrella. There was also another trait different about her then: She was smiling. She gets up and leaves, thanking him as she has gotten an idea to write for her tanka. Next day, Riki is surprised Mio is absent. He notes if Masato or Kurugaya is absent, people would have remarked it but if it was Mio, no one would notice her. Think again because he overhears several boys talking about Mio. They thought they saw her in town but brushed it off since she was without her umbrella and the kind of person who won’t skip classes. See? They notice that too. Then Riki looks outside his window and underneath the usual tree, there is umbrella-less Mio. Smiling.

Episode 13
When the lightning strikes, Mio is gone. She continues to be absent for days. Riki is worried everyone has forgotten about her. Even his friends! It was like she never existed! Like as thought the world was dreaming and her existence slowly fading away. One day, Riki is relieved to see Mio by her usual tree. He thought she would fade for good. But she says if she were to disappear, no one will remember she lived. She noticed that the last few days everyone had already begun to forget her. She gives him her poem book as she believes there’s a reason why an insignificant someone like her was born. He can forget her but not the poem. She is going to where the end begins and if he would like to accompany her. So the beach is where the end begins? She has Riki tell about himself and Little Busters. She reveals she planned to come here sooner but after meeting him and Little Busters, her resolve shook a little. Such hope grew in her heart but what is going to happen now will not change. It’s something she wished since a long time ago. She wanted to be like that white bird unconnected to everything. Suddenly the umbrella-less smiling Mio pops up! OMG! Twins?! No. She is Midori and has a livelier personality. She wants Mio to go now but Mio wants to stay longer. Midori thinks she is afraid that Riki will find out. Too late. When her umbrella is blown away, Riki is shocked to see she has no shadow!!! This is the reason why she always has her umbrella open. Suddenly, narcolepsy time. Riki wakes up back in his room. He has no recollection why he was at the beach. Mio wasn’t in his memories. Several days pass and everyone including Riki has forgotten about Mio. Although Riki feels like there is something missing. Someone is missing. But who?

One day while rushing to class, Riki accidentally drops his books. He spots the poem book and his memories of Mio suddenly come back. He asks Masato what happened to her and he casually answers she is in class. In class, there she is. Everyone knows her. Everyone is friendly with her. She is friendly with everyone. Wait… Isn’t this Midori? Riki felt something wrong. Was this how Nishizono used to be? Did he get it wrong from the start? As he sits under the tree reading the poem book, Midori drops by and is impressed that he is the only one who could tell the difference between them. She hopes he would call her Mio like everyone else. He disagrees because if he does, he’ll forget about her. Riki thinks Midori is Mio’s shadow but she hints he isn’t exactly correct. She shows him that she too doesn’t have a shadow but unlike Mio, she doesn’t make a fuss about it as everybody doesn’t notice. She is sure everyone including him will forget about Mio. He vows he won’t so she steals the book and even tries to rip it so that he’ll forget faster. But she drops this tactic since she is confident he will forget her in no time. While hugging him from the back, she mocks that he is desperate to hold on to his memories. His memories of her are slowly disappearing. It’s getting harder to remember her. And in no time, he will see her as Mio.

Episode 14
Riki is already starting to forget. But he’s still holding on to what he can remember. So Midori tries to hasten this by asking if he remembers the clothes she last wore. She even plants fake memories like she wore glasses. Riki’s mind is confused so just the mere words from Midori would seem like as though Mio had such a trait. He starts becoming disillusioned. How much of Mio did he know? How much of it really happened? How much was made up in his head? He talks to Kyousuke about this but he points out only he can solve this as nobody knows Mio better than him. He apologizes he cannot do much this time because he might be just like everyone else. But there is one thing he can advise him on: Don’t trust words of others except his own. Believe in yourself. For her sake, Riki will not forget. Will not forget. Won’t forget. Mustn’t forget. Forget who? Oh dear. One day he remembers the tanka competition she entered and rushes to the hall to see if there is any tanka she wrote. There is one that resembles the conversation they had about the white bird and paper airplane. He firmly believes the real Mio exists. Midori pops up asking if he wants to see where Mio is even if it makes him sad. She throws him a question. If air is transparent, why is the sky blue? If water is crystal clear, why is the sea blue? Where does the blue come from? Riki finds Mio at the beach and vows to bring her back. But she is reluctant to do that as Midori is the new Mio from now on and forever. Wanting to know more about Midori, she explains that she started reading when she was young. She noticed herself in the mirror looking lonely and started talking to it. Before long, after Midori pops out from the mirror, they both started playing together. Of course her mother is devastated to see Mio talking to herself and has her undergo treatment. I believe the doctor terms it as imaginary friend. Mio gradually starts to forget Midori from the treatment when her appearance became less frequent up till a point she totally forgot she ever existed. Till she read the poem of that white bird. She realizes she lost an important part of herself. Ever since that day, she always holds an umbrella. Midori disappeared because she forgot about her and thinks she hates her. She feels she is the one who should have disappeared and will always wait for her to come back so that she could switch places with her.

Mio thanks Riki for the warm memories and laments she wanted to stay in his circle longer. She wants Midori to be part of that circle now. She wants to be free being Mio. In her desire to be eternal, she wants to be alone. This is goodbye. Riki couldn’t catch her in time as she disappears from his sight. He cries, knowing the fact he will soon forget about her when he stops. Then he gets a call from Midori. Yeah. He remembers her. She tells him there is something he needs to do and it’s not crying. He’ll bring Mio back so Midori is grateful for her short time around. Riki assures her because he didn’t forget Mio, he will never forget about her too. Then he rushes into the sea. He thinks back that during his darkest moments, he too wanted to disappear. He could have been forgotten by the world had not Kyousuke reached out his hand for him. That’s why this time he will reach out his hand for her. He reasons that she doesn’t need to be alone. Even so, that’s why they communicate and try to understand each other. She will truly become Mio Nishizono by being with them. Mio and Midori reconcile. The latter notes this is what Mio truly wanted. When she communicates with others, she will become the real Mio Nishizono. Then they will become one. Riki and Mio are back on shore. She reiterates that they’re alive, living in this world. Now that she has made peace with her existence, Mio joins and interacts with Little Busters like normal in their daily activities.

Episode 15
Out of the blue, Kyousuke asks Riki who he likes most. Does he have an answer? Riki tries to be like him saying none in particular. Kyousuke drops a surprise by saying he loves Riki! Is he joking? So does Riki like him? When he says no, Kyousuke seems heartbroken! Oh sh*t! Riki had to chase him all the way to dispel the misconception. He loves everyone in Little Busters and therefore he loves him! Man, this looked like a yaoi scene. Riki then gets mail from Rin to come to her room. Alone. He better sneak in quick without getting caught because Kanata is doing her rounds and she is quite fired up tonight. Riki learns that the girls have bribed Rin with cat food to call him over for their pyjamas party. Yeah, he is going to be their toy for tonight. Oh no. He wants to leave but he can’t since Kanata is patrolling. I guess the girls took this into account. First thing in order, they want Rin to take a bath but she doesn’t want to. Then they blindfold Riki and tie his hands up as Kurugaya forces Rin to make a choice who she wants to bath with. Riki? No way! Kurugaya? That’s worse! So she settles for Komari. In the meantime, Riki is being fed like a pig with cakes. Torture… Once Rin comes out, Kud wants to bath with her so it’s second round for Rin. After Kurugaya and Haruka, it is Riki’s turn. They have prepared pyjamas for him. Bad feeling about this. There is a camera in Mio’s hand. I can see where this is going… True enough, Riki’s fear comes true because the clothes he needs to wear after bath is the school’s female uniform. Or does he plan to walk around in the towel? Riki looks cute in the outfit! Mio takes a snapshot. She’ll treasure it. Oh dear. The ruckus has A-chan giving a friendly warning to them for being too noisy. Otherwise a certain scary discipline officer will drop by herself.

The night continues with Kurugaya being bold all over Riki. Haruka can’t stop taking photos of them together! The rest think of sending it over to the other guys! Oh God… Then they play sword fighting using rolled up newspapers. Kurugaya adds a penalty that the one getting hit most must confess who they love. It’s everyone for themselves! It’s getting noisy again… I was pretty sure they would team up against Riki but Komari seems to be getting hit the most. Rin can’t stand the bully and faces off with Kurugaya while it is Haruka versus Mio. So noisy that Kanata has brought her entire squad and barges open the door! Oh sh*t! She sees Riki and wants him to come closer. Is his identity busted? She just fixes the ribbon. Noting that ‘she’ is an unfamiliar face and an outsider, Kurugaya covers for Riki by saying she brought ‘her’ in. Kanata expects a written apology from her tomorrow and gives the girls one last warning. Wow Riki. Your cross-dressing is perfect. So the girls think. Riki sleeps with them (in a different bed of course) till morning breaks. He changes back and leaves while thanking Kurugaya for the cover. Outside, he is surprised to see Kyousuke. Oh, his bags underneath his eyes. Yeah, they were up all night trying to figure out which one of them should go save Riki. They played lots of stupid games just to decide. In the end, it was never decided (Masato and Kengo are still at it) so Kyousuke came himself. Riki is disheartened that the girls actually sent a picture of him cross-dressed to Kyousuke. Yeah, he thinks Riki is pretty cute. Hey. Riki is blushing! Oh God. Tell me that they don’t swing this way.

Episode 16
Masato didn’t like how Haruka stole his pork cutlets and challenges her to a fight. Great. Battle time. Throw in the weapons! Let’s see… Masato has got a camera and Haruka a set of toys. Masato starts snapping away and Haruka poses like a cutie. Yeah, no damage done. It’s Haruka’s turn so she unleashes her fury of moves with ridiculous names and pound Masato for ultimate victory. What nickname did he earn this time? Space Idiot. Riki, Rin and Komari see Haruka fixing an old bench. This is the bench she always sat on. She was alone when she first came to this school and the first person to talk to her was Riki. Of course he might not remember that. Then Kanata shows up. She chides Haruka for peeling of the ‘Do not sit’ sign and trying to fix it. The bench is old and is going to be replaced but Haruka doesn’t want so. Kanata goes on to run her mouth the troublemaker she is and then mocks her how she has Riki defend her again. Her committee members are here and Kanata orders them to destroy the bench now, much to Haruka’s dismay. Riki didn’t like how she is being too harsh on her but Kanata warns them if they cause any more trouble, she will have to restrict their club activities too. She then takes away Haruka to a committee hearing for all the violations she had made. Man, that’s a bloody thick book… How many violations has she made?

In the hearing, they read out the countless violations. I don’t think it will even finish in a week. But Haruka objects to the tampering of the vending machine. The committee is adamant in blaming her due to her frequent troublemaking attitude. This causes Haruka to have flashbacks about how people around her were telling her off how useless she was. The last straw came when Kanata accuses her of being at fault. This causes Haruka to go into a fit and tells them to shut up and not look at her like them. She becomes violent. Trashing the furniture, biting those committee members who try to restrain her. Only Kurugaya manages to calm her down. She tells her not to do anything rash. In the end, Kanata has Haruka suspended while Kurugaya and co are to clean this place up. Haruka says she hates Kanata very much. The feeling is mutual too. Riki narrates how that fun loving Haruka wasn’t there. He knows Kanata is playing the villainous role as the discipline committee to uphold discipline in school. He understands she is voluntarily taking a role that everyone hates. But why is shy targeting Haruka? Next day, it gets worse. There are writings all over the blackboard and posters scattered everywhere. It reveals Haruka is the daughter of an ex-convict and murderer. This talk spreads like wild fire throughout school as Little Busters work hard to remove every single one of these lies. Then they find Haruka crying alone in their club room. She thinks they hate her now since she has kept it a secret. Of course they do not hate her. Since it has come down to this, Haruka tells them the whole story. The Saigusa family is an old and respected family. So they started a tradition to ensure their heir. The women of the family will take 2 husbands. One of those husbands was Haruka’s father. Kanata is also part of the family. Haruka and Kanata are twins. Now that explains why they look so familiar. I had a hunch they were twins when I first saw them.

Episode 17
After the twins were born, their 3 parents couldn’t take it. Her father, Shou went to the main house and started getting violent. He was arrested for attempted murder and his criminal status destroyed the Saigusa’s reputation. They kicked out the parents but raised the twins. Haruka was put under Saigusa’s care while Futaki, another branch of the family took in Kanata. But after that incident, Futaki family dominated over Saigusa. That’s when they learn of a shocking secret. The twins are from different fathers. Eh? What? Say that again? A woman consummate with 2 men can have children from both simultaneously? Don’t think so much. Science not working here… Since only their parents knew which is which, the Saigusa family held an emergency meeting to determine which is the heir and the other the murderer’s daughter. As 2 of the parents’ whereabouts are unknown and Shou said nothing in prison, both twins were judged against each other in everything. Needless to say, Kanata outshines Haruka in every aspect. It was decided that Kanata is the heir to the family and Haruka mistreated and abused. Anything that goes wrong even for the slightest and unrelated incident, she gets blamed. Even beaten up. I wonder if they blamed her for running out of toilet paper too. That’s why Haruka purposely did pranks just to piss Kanata off. She enjoys seeing such reaction. Since she didn’t belong to her family, when she entered school, she tasted her freedom. Till the flyers showed up. She is worried she will lose this place and thinks she shouldn’t have been born in the first place. Now it’s Riki’s turn to work his magic. He too once felt like that. But Kyousuke gave him hope. Nothing good can come from rejecting yourself. She is an important member of Little Busters. She is the mood maker of the gang. This is her home. Haruka is overwhelmed with emotions. They then practise baseball so Haruka can smile again. But Kanata had to show up. Haruka accuses her for distributing those flyers. Kanata won’t say. She warns her not to drag her friends into more trouble. Even if everyone hates her, she doesn’t mind. At least she thinks she is not weak.

Haruka makes her chiffon cake for Riki and Rin to taste. Looks horrible. So dry like it can scatter in the wind. But do they have to lie to say it’s good? She admits she sucks in cooking but can cook well as long as there are eggs. Chiffon cake has eggs, right? But why doesn’t it… Anyway Haruka is going to see Shou today and ask him who her real father is. He has just been released from prison and knows where he lives. They see a useless bum drinking in the park. Must be him, right? Shou tells her to go home but Haruka stands her ground. However Shou still will not say and this causes Haruka to run away in tears. Riki says Haruka has been suffering for a long time and just wants to know who her real dad is. But Shou doesn’t think it will do her any good even after she finds out. That night back at the dorm, Riki sees Kanata talking to the Saigusa main family in their limo. She got slapped when she says distributing those flyers was too much. Riki confronts Kanata. She thinks they are pitying Haruka. He disagrees and from the way she says things, he views Kanata is worried about her. Kanata went on to ask if life is like a zero sum game. If happiness is fixed, when one is happy, does it mean the other becomes unhappy? When Riki asks if she knows who Haruka’s real father is, Kanata chides him off for asking something so heartless. Who does he think he is? Can he really save her like that? His earnest reply is that he just wants to help those in need. Back in bed, Riki ponders how he can free the trapped twins from a manmade web of chains. They may be fighting against something they can’t see. Next day, Haruka bakes chiffon cupcakes for him. Wow. Improved a lot. Suddenly she asks Riki if he loves her. Shocking? Even more shocking, the real Haruka is standing behind him. Oh wait. Or is that Kanata in disguise. Oh sh*t! Which is which?! Can’t tell!

Episode 18
So the one who made the chiffon cupcake is Kanata in disguise. Haruka accuses her of wanting to show Riki she is better than her at everything. Haruka is stumped because Kanata once told her she was allergic to eggs. Or so she believed. Haruka wants to give Kanata a piece of her mind but the latter continues to mock her she wanted to be the tragic heroine and make someone pity her as the unhappiest person in the world. When Kanata leaves, Riki had this feeling that it is Kanata’s heart that is tearing up as much as Haruka. Kud talks to Riki that she doesn’t think Kanata is a bad person. As her roommate, she is quite kind. However she saw something horrible on Kanata but can’t say it. Riki confronts Kanata on why she had to lie to Haruka. When they were in elementary school, their families wanted them to take picture of something they cooked during home economics. Of course it was again to judge them. Haruka was doing omelette and if Kanata made the same thing and won, Haruka would be beaten up. So she made something else. Anyhow Haruka still lost and got beaten up. So when she asked Kanata why she didn’t make omelettes, she lied she was allergic to them just to protect her. She believed it till today and became her only hope against her. When Riki tells this to Haruka, she is not happy and thinks he is trying to say it is not Kanata’s fault. Then is it her fault as usual? Not hers too? Well, if it’s not Kanata’s fault, then who else is there to hate? Haruka runs away. Kyousuke states she has been rejected for ages and she needs to hate someone to carry on living. Riki is worried her dark emotions will overwhelm her. Kyousuke replies only Haruka can find the answer. She must find out what she wants. Riki later goes to talk to Haruka on what she wants. But will finding out whose father she belongs to will solve everything? She thinks it will. But what happens if Shou is Kanata’s father? Then they will tear her apart. Haruka thinks she deserves it. Really? Is that what she really wants? Riki says if they keep forcing each other to be sad, neither will be happy. She must find something from the bottom of her heart. Something more important than hate. And so Haruka has finally decided.

She calls Kanata to talk. She surprises her by going down on her knees to ask who her real father is. Kanata thinks somebody became God and saved her. Riki denies anybody turning into one. It’s just this world and them. Kanata warns her if she really wants to know even if she would lose the life she had until now. She isn’t worried because she has friends. She doesn’t want to hate anymore and won’t run away. Kanata starts explaining. For a long time, she was giving anything she wanted as long as she beat her. Even so, their suspicion on Kanata being the daughter of a criminal never disappeared. The Futaki family loved whipping her whenever she goes soft of Haruka. They loved giving her more scars. Kud should know because she saw the scars on her body. She put up with the pain and couldn’t sleep thinking just how to best Haruka. Kanata worked hard to secure her succession because if neither was good enough, they no longer had any use for them. Because they didn’t want their reputation tainted, they ordered her to hate Haruka. They instructed her not to do sisterly things she wanted. Because if she doesn’t do so, Kanata would take her place. Kanata wasn’t afraid of getting beaten up. It was saying no. They even threatened to kill one of them. That’s why she is forced to be hard on her. Kanata thinks she won’t be forgiven for doing so many bad things to her but Haruka hugs her and apologizes. Because she kept thinking she was the only one who had a hard time. Flashback reveals the twins received secretly hair balls from their parents. They made a promise to go see them one day hand in hand. Both sisters reconcile.

Then they go see Shou. Kanata says she is leaving the family so he can tell Haruka the truth. The parents were raised under Saigusa and as childhood friends they were close. So they were forced into marriage but Shou notices her mom loved the other guy more. He wanted to get out of the picture to leave them alone. After the twins were born, the Saigusa family was angry when the duo tried to run away with the twins and tried to snatch them. That was when Shou came in to stop them. He wanted to protect the twins from this twisted family at all cost but failed. The trio wished for them to be born. He hands them a letter from their mom who can’t wait for the day she sees them both again. Before he could answer Haruka’s question, she doesn’t want to know it anymore. She thought everyone in the world hated her. She just wanted to know if there were evil people. She now knows no one is at fault so she doesn’t need to know whose kid she belongs to. She can love herself. That’s all she ever wanted to know. The twins are back to friendly terms as they go see their parents who are doing fine by themselves…

Episode 19
Kud is so cute when she mispronounces her English words. I know it’s bad of me not wanting her to improve… Her friends encourage her since she is always travelling and has no proper time to study. But they are surprised to learn she is a year younger than them and due to the credits she got, she managed to skip a grade. Because Mio hands out the proficiency test forms, the gang gets an idea of tutoring each other with their best subjects. Komari is good in English and tutors the lot. However she starts off with having sweets. And she almost forgot she had to tutor. Anyway Kud needs to improve. A lot. Next is Mio with maths and physics. She ignores Haruka’s foolishness to continue her tutoring. Since Mio is among the top, they wonder how she does it. Is there a secret? Just listen to the teacher and do your reviews. The look on their face tells us they never did it a single bit. During lunch, a group of girls seems to be watching Kud with glee in hoping she does or says something funny. Then they ask Riki if she is doing well in her practice. Because they are making bets to see if she will fail. They did not hesitate to say they love her when she is in her cute foolish self. Of course Little Busters are here to tell those b*tches to GTFO. Kud may seem discouraged but she won’t let that get to her and will continue the night with more studying.

The gang learn more about Kud. Her grandpa is Russian and raised Kud by himself since her parents are always busy. Grandpa was part of the Soviet’s space agency so they travelled around the world. She never stays in a place for long except for a tiny pacific island called Tebwa. So tiny it’s not even listed on the map. Kud was born there. Most immigrants there hold dual citizenship so Kud holds Tebwa and Japanese citizenship. When Kanata returns a difficult subject book to her, the friends are amazed she can comprehend such subjects. Ironically for a genius, she falters in exams because of her tendency to get nervous and mark in the wrong columns. Kud has never gone to school in her early days so simple things like time limits and answer sheets are completely foreign. But she is ever ready to rant about difficult subjects and this shows the depth of knowledge she has. The problem is she gets easily distracted and is too anxious. True enough on exam day, she is already starting to feel anxious. Yeah, it’s like bad luck sticking to her too with the pencil breaking and all. At the end of the test, Kud realizes something and becomes devastated. Seems she has marked in the wrong columns again and laments she wasted everyone’s time despite they have helped her so much. I guess it’s the remedial classes for her. Haruka notes she has failed her test too and will join her. But Kurugaya notices that she didn’t and scored high (despite depending on her trusty pencil to get the answers – can you believe she scored 85%!!!!). What does this mean? It means she lied so that Kud won’t be alone. What are the others going to do? When Kud enters the classroom, she is surprised to see Little Busters waiting for her. It gives her enough encouragement to work harder.

Episode 20
While Little Busters are practising baseball, here comes obnoxious Sasami and her underlings. Because Sasami in her reflex kicked away a cat, Rin won’t let this slide. Kyousuke suggests a match. If Sasami wins, they’ll leave. Otherwise she must apologize to her. Let’s say Sasami didn’t even get a chance to hit any of Rin’s pitch! And her pitching speed is super fast! Wow. She powers up when her cats are on the line. Sasami didn’t really admit defeat and just leaves. Not even an apology. As Rin is playing with her cats, another message is tied to one of them. It seems their mission is to help ease somebody’s lovesickness. Rin doesn’t understand what lovesick is and really thinks it’s some disease. She and Riki go see Aikawa, the person supposedly who have this ‘disease’. Yeah, Rin is being pushy and really thinks it’s a disease when Aikawa describes his heart being tight when he thinks about her and that he can’t study when he has her on his mind. He doesn’t plan to confess since he has no confidence as rejection only will make it worse. But Riki thinks he shouldn’t give up so easily. So who is this girl he likes? Sasami. Suddenly Rin is enraged in hearing her name! She’s on fire! Even the cats are snarling! She can’t accept Aikawa described her as smart, athletic and popular because she believes Sasami is otherwise. Riki doesn’t want her to shatter his dream. Rin will help Aikawa meet her since she is close to her. Really? Well, she’s starting to think of that plan now… Komari invites Rin to their pyjamas party so Riki thinks this is her best chance to ask the girls. But the girls misinterpret and get excited thinking she is in love. Definitely not you, Kurugaya. And Mio thinks the bond between Riki and Kyousuke is so strong that Rin is only a hindrance. Not that! The best way is of course to ask Sasami herself. And Rin asked it straight in her face on her hobbies and all. Yuri misinterpretation her when Rin says she wants to know everything about her. It is revealed that she likes Kengo.

So they ask Kengo and he knows her because they always greet each other in the hallway (obviously she’s trying to make a pass). But Kengo doesn’t have feelings for her. Then Rin tells Aikawa about it all. Such a heartbreak. Sasami loves Kengo but he has a chance since Kengo doesn’t like her. So to win her heart, Rin comes up with a plan for him to be strong. He has to beat up Kengo. He isn’t athletic. How about music? Aikawa likes hip hop and maybe he can sing to her in his own words. Aikawa takes up her advice but screws up in his lyrics. She is a cicada? Only gets worse. She thinks he is mocking her. More heartbreak… So it’s back to beating Kengo. Rin and Riki plan and cooperate to take down Kengo to make Aikawa look like the hero. It’s always easier on paper because in real life, Kengo easily dodges everything and takes down Aikawa with his judo throw. Since Rin called Sasami to watch, she admires Kengo even more now. You can’t imagine how low Aikawa is feeling now. Since Rin is persistent, Riki wants to back off for now. He asks her if she had fallen in love before. Because they both had not, they were rushing into fixing things. Riki re-reads the message and it seems they are to ease the lovesickness and pain of unrequited love. Rin calls Sasami again. She apologizes and hopes she can forgive Aikawa. She wants to get her handphone number on his behalf. Why doesn’t he come to see her himself? Rin describes his lovesick symptoms. Because Rin for once got Sasami’s name right, she agrees to give it to her as she knows how it feels like to have such pain in her heart. Rin gives the number to Aikawa and he is one very happy guy. Even with restrictions like one mail per day, he is very grateful. With this case solved, Riki wonders if Rin will fall in love for real one day. As Little Busters practise baseball, here comes arrogant Sasami again (surprisingly she messed up her own name). She wants to know Kengo’s favourite food. Rin, on Masato’s cue to lie, tells it to Sasami. She really believes it. When she finds out, both girls prepare for a showdown. The rivalry continues…

Episode 21
Rin seems to have improved in her pitching and also learnt a few curveballs. After that everyone starts cleaning up the clubroom but Haruka makes an exaggerated statement it will destroy the universe. Thank goodness nobody listened to her. Masato’s muscles are so shiny… Later, the gang learns of the meaning behind the names of Strelka (little arrow) and Belka (white). In Russia, sometimes people give names that mean the opposite of what you intend. Kud adds about the 13 dogs that went to space. Strelka and Belka are among them. Even her name was taken after one of those dogs who went to space. Masato: Her ancestors are dogs! That night, Riki sees Kud out in the field performing her own Festival of Stars ceremony. It is a ritual that her people in Tebwa do. She invites Riki to help her out. Kud shows the cocoa she mixes that will be used to draw a family crest over their body. She reveals her real full name as Kudryavka Anatolyevna Strugatskaya. Care to say that again? The people of Tebwa believed a god had one of his body part cut off and turned into an island. So they wrote the god’s name on all sorts of things so they won’t forget. Then it becomes a tradition to draw family crests on their bodies on this festival. The symbol Kud’s mom thought up for her means a good gear of the world. Kud then wants Riki to draw the crest on her back. She has to strip her top for that, right? Riki just drew spirals. While he does that, she sings a Russian song her mom taught her. She has not seen her for a long time and she is the kind of person who loves space. Her mom also taught her the 4 stars of the Yuzhny Krest, which is the Southern Cross.

Next day on the news, TASA (Tebwa Administration Space Agency) announces they will be conducting a rocket launch. Kud sees her mother being interviewed and she will be the one piloting the rocket. When everyone is waiting in front of the TV eager for the launch, Kud is nowhere to be seen. Riki goes to find her and sees her sitting alone. She feels the launch will go well without her watching. Kud adds that her mom has worked hard to achieve her dream of going into space and now that time has come. Because of that, grandpa always took care of her and travelled around the world. Kud once asked him about mommy (since she always only sees her in pictures) but he replied she was always busy and thus Strelka and Belka are here in her place. One day Kud managed to see her mom in person. She told Kud about her dream of being a cosmonaut. Kud looked up to her very much and wanted so much to be like her. Suddenly she starts crying. If you feel it’s like a bad premonition, well then… Here comes Rin calling them in for an emergency. Over the news, it is reported that the reactor exploded during lift-off. Oh no… Kud is so shocked to hear this that she collapses.

Episode 22
Half a day has passed since that incident and there is no news of whether there are survivors. Due to the contamination of the area, people are not allowed in or out so any updates on any information are scarce. Riki laments things beyond their control always happen so Kyousuke says that is how the world works. The most important thing is not let the tragedy defeat you. When Kud wakes up, she remembers she was in prison. It is soon learnt that Tebwa’s Embassy has given Kud a plane ticket back to Tebwa since she is the daughter of a national hero.  The rest are contemplating if she should go back. Some say yes because to confirm her mom is alright but Rin doesn’t think so because she thinks Kud will suffer more and should not see sad or scary things. Riki and Rin see Kud sitting by the river bank. She tells them she has remembered everything. She can’t go back to Tebwa because she came to Japan to escape. When Kud told mom she wanted to be a cosmonaut, she was elated and was happy she named her so. Kud soon enrolled in an aviation school but it was tougher than she thought. The other kids mocked her for being slow. Since she felt like an embarrassment to her mother, she dropped out of school half a year later and escaped to Japan without telling her. She considers herself useless. Then after they tell this to the rest, they have another round of discussion if Kud should go back. Riki personally feels she should because he is worried about her mom. However if she isn’t ready, she shouldn’t. Kurugaya thinks she should go or else she will regret it. There may not be another chance to see her mom. Even Kanata thinks Kud should go so she could move forward. However Kud doesn’t want to since she is scared and will send back the air ticket to the embassy.

Even Kyousuke talks to her and promises her that Riki and the rest will not criticize her for whatever decisions. But she apologizes and runs away. This has Riki to think that telling others is easy. Because there is no right answer and whichever way Kud chooses she will regret it. It is sad he is not strong enough to tell Kud to face this. When a classmate passes him the itinerary for the upcoming school trip, he doesn’t feel enthusiastic. As he is about to call Haruka, mysterious visions start flashing in his mind. What was that? Riki then sees a box next to the incinerator. Upon opening it, he sees all of Kud’s space models, books and a dog tag ID (sorry Masato, nothing you can eat here). Riki decides to take the box back and do a research. The dog tag ID’s name appears as one of the 13 dogs that went up to space. He thinks this is Kud’s mom’s ID. Later he returns the box to her seeing that he doesn’t want her to throw away her dreams. He realizes the cap and mantle she wears is from her mom. He tells her no matter how much she denies everything, she cannot extinguish her true feelings. She loves space from the bottom of her heart. She doesn’t need to be like her mom. She just needs to find what she can do. She can be her own gear and chase her own dream of space. It doesn’t matter if she is weak or worthless, she still loves her mom. Kud breaks down and blurts out how she wants to see her. On the day she is to leave, she tells her friends that she might not return to Japan as said by the embassy people. But Riki and the rest are confident she will. Kud says she was trying to be someone else when she was with her mom. No matter where she went, everyone laughed at her as weird. That’s why she was always alone. Now she has friends who accepted her for who she is. That’s why she’ll come back.

Episode 23
Watching the news has become a habit for Little Busters. But the situation gets worse in Tebwa. Armed rebel forces who opposed the launch have being their uprising since the government was too slow in responding to this incident. And there are casualties too! Oh sh*t! All they could do now is pray. Kud is taken to grandpa’s hideout. He tells her that her mom may be alive because the astronauts got off in time when they got the anomaly notice. She may have been injured in helping others. That night when word confirms that she is really alive and coming to see her, grandpa wants Kud to stay behind while he goes get her. But that joy turns into despair because Kud thinks mommy must hate her a lot for running away and can’t face her. Suddenly a rocket launcher rips the place open. Though Kud is alive, the rebels have found that woman’s daughter, the traitor who wasted the nation’s resources. Riki holds a space engine part of Kud’s. They can’t help continue worry but are confident she will keep her promise to return. Riki is devastated when he learns the good luck charm Kud made him say before her departure amounts to a curse so Kanata and Kurugaya explain that it is Russians’ tradition to sometimes wish the opposite as it is bad to be greedy because if you wish for everything, your wish won’t come true. Mio is confident she will come back because she believes in her smile and she is an important member of Little Busters. Kud is tied up in some dungeon cave. Despite being negative, thinking about Little Busters gave her the motivation to not give up as she tries to break free from her chains. She vows not to run away again.

Riki narrates if this world was a giant clock, it would be made of an infinite number of nameless gears. No matter how small a gear is, interacting with each other makes us move on. We can change the world through a compounding of little things. Kud is an important gear to them and without her they cannot move. Riki wishes so hard on the space engine that Kud thinks she has heard the voices of everyone even though it is an illusion. In a magical moment, the space engine disappears from Riki hands and into Kud’s! She uses it to break free. But while she does so, Riki feels the pain. Kud treks through the cave and comes out at the edge of the island whereby she sees the starry sky and the Southern Cross. It’s like she has gone into space. A few days later, the news report the situation in Tebwa has subsided and the rebellion has lost momentum. Life returns to normal although it will be a long way from full recovery. Little Busters happily practise baseball as Riki shows a mail from Kud saying she is alright. She met her mom and they talked about everything. Mommy said because she left her alone at a young age, she was the one who drove her to a corner. She was happy when Kud wanted to be a cosmonaut but she doesn’t want to force that dream onto her. She should live her own dream and become her own gear for what she holds dearest. Kud returns to school and to a very warm and emotional welcome by Little Busters. Welcome back!

Episode 24
There is another letter tied to the cat and this time it wants Rin to do a puppet show. Of course Riki is starting to doubt if getting the tasks done will ever yield the secrets of the world. Nearby, they hear several kids quarrel. Seems the boys deliberately destroyed a panda puppet. The girl wanted to do a puppet show for her friend tomorrow and now it is destroyed. Rin says she will fix it up and to the show. They go back and tell Komari who has written lots of stories with her sketchbook. Take your pick. Riki notices one about a boy and a girl with 8 dwarves. They will solve each of the dwarves’ worries one by one and after they solve them, the dwarves will disappear. Soon the rest of Little Busters heard about the puppet show and decide to join in. But writing a story is no easy task since we have Kurugaya whose story starts off with a scary mystery, Masato and his dumbbell friendship (really!), Kyousuke with his traditional story that turns into some super action power and finally Mio doing a sci-fi action (newlyweds against aliens? She even demonstrated with her action figures!). However Kanata breaks them up seeing it is past their curfew. Komari assures Riki that she will help Rin out. Komari shows her one of her stories that involves a penguin riding a star flying through the sky. Because Rin doesn’t know how to sew, Komari teaches her. Rin couldn’t stay up and falls asleep. She realized everything is late when morning comes but saw Komari already done most of it. Rin finishes up what she can and heads off. At the river bank, Rin puts on the puppet show to the kids as promised. They are amazed with her story and leave satisfied. Rin goes off to tell Komari about her success. This leaves Riki to wonder how the person who wrote the letter knows what is going to happen. He felt something strange. Even when seeing Komari’s dwarves story, he has a feeling he has seen it before. Rin returns but couldn’t find Komari. Fear that she is missing (as told in the dwarves’ story), she rushes to look her and eventually finds her staring at the sky on the rooftop. She was making a wish on a star for Rin’s success. Because she has 2 hairpins resembling a wishing star, she decides to give one to Rin. But Rin will leave it to her to decide that wish.

Episode 25
Shortly after Rin left, Riki fell into narcolepsy. When he wakes up, he once more thinks about that dwarves’ story. He is certain he has seen it somewhere before. It was like he was forgetting something important. Kyousuke surprises everyone that Little Busters will play their first match soon. It is against an all-star team that consists of captains from different clubs like football, basketball, judo, swimming, tracks and even an ex-baseball captain! Oh sh*t… However Little Busters is still short of a member! Riki will go find the last one but Kyousuke says he has done enough. It is a matter of time the last one will join. Seems he has a particular person on his mind. Riki isn’t sure who that person is because it can’t be Kengo as he wouldn’t change his mind. Speaking of him, they see him talking to Miyuki Koshiki of the archery club. She is the daughter of a famous line of professional archers but a disease took her right eye. Masato thinks they are flirting. But suddenly she starts crying. They leave them alone. During recess, Kyousuke introduces Little Busters to some of the captains of the all-star team. Way to go. Trying to demoralize your own team, huh? Well, Rin is certainly afraid already. Kengo advises her to control her feelings because if she feels anxious before the enemy even before the match, she has already lost. Masato then runs his mouth that he wouldn’t believe it coming from the mouth of a guy who flirts with a girl. Immediately the entire cafeteria is abuzz with this. Masato and Kengo were about to fight but Koshiki butts in and apologize. She was just asking Kengo for advice. He was just comforting her like anyone would. Koshiki is sad that she practised archery her entire life and now it amounts to nothing. Kengo tells her she can find another way of life but she chides him for not understanding as he is a strong person who never once lost hope.

Suddenly an announcement is made that all students are to stay in their classroom. It is Koshiki and she is planning to jump from the roof. Riki, Kyousuke and Masato rush over. They see her shaking and know she doesn’t want to die. The teachers are trying to persuade her to come back but Riki notes they do not understand her. When the teachers rush to grab her, the guys move in to restrain them but was threatened they could be punished. Koshiki slips and Kengo is seen running and diving down to save her. The trees break their fall. The only small price paid was Kengo’s fractured left arm. Also, because he pushed a teacher out of the way to save her, he has been suspended from all practice sessions with his kendo team. Koshiki is sad she has taken his dream away and can’t participate in the tournament but to Kengo that is all it means. He wants her to promise never to do something like that again. Since he saved her, she will not throw away her life easily. To prove he can do other things than kendo and find another way to live, Kengo surprises everyone by trying out baseball. He wants Rin to pitch her hardest. No one believes he can hit with one arm or even run in that condition. He doesn’t care. The first few pitches Kengo might miss, but when Rin starts getting serious, Kengo gets serious and with all his might hits a homerun! And so Kyousuke welcomes the final and ninth member of Little Busters. Now they’re complete! Hooray! Yeah, who would have thought Kengo would change his mind and play baseball. This is what bugs Riki. Was Kengo the person Kyousuke had in mind when he said it was just a matter of time the last member joins? Something that nobody could have predicted but Kyousuke did. There is something important Riki must have forgotten… Kyousuke then makes another important announcement. The captain of Little Busters will be Riki! Kyousuke will no longer lead this team and from this moment Riki will be the leader. Bet you didn’t predict this either, eh?

Episode 26
While Riki contemplates if Kyousuke is joking as usual, here comes in Kengo the most enthusiastic person in the world about playing baseball! He loves the game! He loves Little Busters! What gives?! He even made a jacket of Little Busters of his own! Wow! He just elevated himself to a bigger idiot on par with Masato! So it is true that Kyousuke has handed the leadership to him and wants Riki to make his first order. Riki is not sure if everyone is okay but they assure him he has their support even if he looks less reliable. After the disastrous roll call (guess who the enthusiastic one was?), Riki makes his first order with field play. However Kanata reminds him that he has been sent a message they can’t use it today as it is closed for maintenance. Bummer. First order failed. So while Riki gets his head together, once more he remembers about his past. How Kyousuke introduced him to a world of fun and brought him out of despair. Riki tells Kyousuke how he his worries and sadness disappear when he is with him. He wants to always follow him. But Kyousuke says he can’t do that forever. He is not as small as he think and is just unaware of the scale of things he has done. He has observed him helped others and overcome their hardship to save them. The Little Busters are here today because of the people he gathered. That’s why he can’t follow him forever and wants him to grow stronger. When Riki is doing more thinking, he is surprised Haruka visits him (actually she is hiding in the locker to surprise him). Since he is pessimistic about taking over Kyousuke’s role, Haruka mentions without him, she would still be full of hate and would be crushed by it. Now she believes this world can be filled with light after watching him make everyone happy. That’s why she’ll always support him.

Then Mio comes in to hand him a data of the players of the all-star team. He can use this to strategize. It is her way of being useful to him. If not for him, she would have resigned to her fate to forever be alone that no one would remember. To her, he is her miracle. Riki is then invited for a snack break on the rooftop. It’s Komari’s turn to be grateful to him and how he taught her never to run away from sad and painful things. She shows him the hen and egg picture book in which she drew the Little Busters as the chicks. Everyone is happy because the place is sunny. And that place is sunny is because of Riki. He gathered them all here. He has helped them so much so now it is their turn to help him back. He might not realize this but his kindness is his strength. That kindness that drew them all together. Riki is much confident now and is going to tell his team the batting order and fielding positions. He tells Kyousuke he might be need now but wants to become stronger to support others. Kyousuke adds in that they had their fair share of fun. Every story must come to an end. Time passes, things change, people grow up. There will come a day they won’t be together anymore. Kyousuke is graduating a year ahead of them, the reason Riki thinks he told him not to rely on him. Kyousuke is confident even without him, Riki will keep going. Little Busters take the field as Riki rallies his team to do their best. It’s not about winning or losing. Give everything you’ve got and have a great game. Their first match with the all-star team begins. I think they can get by since the guys are distracted by the moe and cute girls! Oh yeah… But well, all-star team may have captains in several filed but that doesn’t mean they are good in baseball, right? In the end, Little Busters win! Everyone takes a commemorative photo as Riki wishes how fun times like these would last forever.

Little Wonders! Mission, Continue!
Seeing the rate at which things are going, it wasn’t surprising that it was just begging to warrant another season. True enough, we get such announcement right at the end of the final episode. Besides, there are a few things which are unsolved. Like as we all would want to know, who keeps sending those mysterious task messages. Are there really secrets behind this world? What about Riki’s narcolepsy that he reminds us from time to time? His memories? That dwarves’ story? Komari’s wishes? Feels like there is more to that than meets the eye. Especially when Riki keeps reminding us from time to time about this mysterious coma of his and his tragic past. Despite with many of the issues of the girls from Little Busters solve, I’m sure you have noticed that Kurugaya and Rin have not had theirs. So perhaps this is why the need for another season. I am sure that everyone in Little Busters will have their own issues and personal demons to confront to and Riki will have to work his magic in pulling them out. Also, the end teaser for the next season seems to be grimmer. Little Busters fighting among themselves? That’s a surprise. It won’t be all fun and games like we mostly see this season and hence an indication where the puzzle will fall into place and the big picture complete.

For this season, I guess the flow of the story was pretty good. At least it kept my interests afloat. Whether it is one of those girl’s arc or a standalone fun filler episode, each episode is nevertheless fun to watch and enjoyable in its own right. Sometimes I thought that the few supernatural elements may make it seem a little unrealistic like how the space engine in Riki’s hand vanished into Kud’s palm or when Mio had no shadow. I have to remember that I am watching a Key production and just like in Air, Kanon and Clannad, there are some supernatural elements as well and this makes it part of the magic and mystery. That’s why when I was watching this series, I somewhat felt that kind of familiar feel like when I watched those other Key animes. The kind of drama that was being played out and the kind of emotions evoked during such scenes. All too familiar. Although I thought that some of the arcs ended a little rushed. For example when Kud’s arc came to a close, it felt that the dying down of rebellion and the Tebwa situation returning to normal were rushed. What happened to her kidnappers? Not important, eh? For Haruka’s arc, when Kanata left her household, can I really believe that they would really just let her go like that? Or maybe they will since they never really fully trusted her in the first place. But it goes to show that the more important focus is on the girl and not the source of her problem. I kinda noticed something too. During the arcs when it gets grim, the sky will always be raining especially in the initial parts when the issue is climaxing. It’s like their heart is crying and is reflected in the sky. Except for Kud’s arc and the most was a cloudy sky. Maybe she has shed so much loli tears that it is unbearable to turn the sky into such. Heh. Just kidding.

Whatever has about Riki, his strengths and weaknesses have already been said in the anime by his friends so if I am to say it here, I would just probably be repeating them. What Riki wants is just simple. For others to be happy. If one of your friends is sad, wouldn’t it affect you and feel sad too? Happiness and sadness are infectious so why not do the former instead? As someone who has been through hell and back, he definitely doesn’t want to see another soul in such torment. So you can say that one good deed deserves another. What Kyousuke did to bring him out of despair has borne fruits because now he is guiding others out with his hand. And in turn, perhaps those girls in the future will repay such kindness by helping someone else in trouble. So you see, it is a never ending cycle. Just like how when evil can work in such way, Riki chose to bring good via this method. As said, he might seem like the weakest among the boys but it is his incredible gentle touch that serves as the glue that binds the gang together. However Riki isn’t solely to be credited for what makes up Little Busters. Everyone has a role to play and they are an important member of the team, no matter big or small. It is their individuality that makes up Little Busters and why the gang is dynamic.

Kyousuke acts like the big brother and despite looking like the leader, he is one of the most mysterious characters of Little Busters. What I can see is that he always observes his team especially Riki. He gives lots of good advice when the time calls for it. From the start, it feels like Kyousuke has been grooming Riki to take over his place in Little Busters. This is highly speculative but I suspect he may be the one behind those mysterious task letters. So why a baseball team? Maybe it has the most number of players in a team so this in turns means more people gathered at Riki’s fingertips. How many can you gather for a team sport like basketball? Hmm… Maybe he should’ve gone for assembling a football team… Masato is the biggest idiot in the series since all he got in his head is muscles. Yeah, he loves his entire body filled with muscles. That’s what you call being a muscle brain. He really loves them. Sometimes I feel, no wait, a big majority of the time I feel his role is to be the series’ whipping boy and comic relief. But when it comes down to his friends, he still cares for them in a big way too although there is nothing much he can do. Kengo I thought he was some cool guy like Kyousuke and even if he was an idiot, he was much calmer and reserve. Then when he joined Little Busters, he became another big idiot. Like the team needs another idiot. Is it big enough for the 2 of them? Well, nobody seems to mind. Kengo’s case is like the unpredicted. You think that somebody is never going to change or do something. Then all of a sudden, a little event makes that person u-turn. I guess the moral of the story is to predict the unpredictable and to always keep your options open. The person who is most likely to oppose something at the beginning usually ends up joining its cause. Also, it is good to try things out because like in Kengo’s case, he was cocksure that baseball wasn’t going to suit him till he had a little taste of it. Now he is singing heaps of praises about it. Talk about a sudden change in personality. Is this really the Kengo we know?

It goes without saying that the girls of this series have undergone the most change. Of course not without Riki’s intervention. Komari is able to let go of her past and face reality head on. Mio realizes that there is much more to life than being alone. Even if nobody else remembers her, she can always count on Little Busters for that. Haruka does not hate and despise the world and especially her twin sister. This affects Kanata who is no longer being the strict ice queen, though she still has to enforce her rules as part of her duty. Kud maybe clumsy and silly but she can stop pretending trying to live up to the expectations of others and be her true self. I just wonder her case about being a genius. She seems to know lots about the stars and space but if she is going to pen her thoughts down, she becomes scatterbrain. Rin who was once afraid of even talking to the same girl members of Little Busters is now more open up and can freely talk to them without having the need to cower behind Riki or Kyousuke. However Rin is funny in a way because sometimes she can be pretty blunt with her words. She doesn’t hold back words or mince them so you might feel a tinge of ouch in your heat when she tells it straight to your face. I believe a cool beauty like Kurugaya has her own set of problems too but we’ll leave that for next time. Just like Kyousuke, she has this mysterious feel around her. Perhaps it is because she has no arc of her own so we do not really know much about her. Except the fact that she is ‘dangerous’ and a ‘pervert’ to a certain extent. Don’t ever leave cute young girls alone with her! To sum it up for these girls, life has gotten much more interesting ever since they joined Little Busters. A whole new world of happiness just opened up before them. Even though Sasami isn’t part of the gang, I have feeling that we might run into her next season. She is funny because she is arrogant and loggerheads with Rin, who can never pronounce her full name correctly except that one time. Yeah, it’s practically like a tongue twister.

One of my favourite funny moments is the spontaneous fights among the Little Busters. Well, Masato certainly has participated in all of them since he is the one initiating it. It is amusing to see people throwing in ‘weapons’ that could range from sports equipment to everyday equipment like dice, harmonica, pen and eraser. It is fun to pause and watch what kind of items they throw. Sometimes it makes me got WTF because of the items they throw in. I saw somebody throw in a bomb amidst all that mess!!! For real?! Hope it’s a dud. Yeah, anything goes. Would you believe it, a love letter caught my eye too! It just makes me laugh on the thought of what happens if they picked up one of those. I’m sure it will be a hilarious moment to see them improvise how they will be using it. But of course Masato will always ‘lose’ because you can’t have cute girls losing to him, right? Even when Kurugaya forfeited her victory, it was actually her who won, right? Oh, and speaking about baseball, the real match was only at the end, right? So it dispels my fear at the beginning that it would be a baseball focused series. Even so, they were just snippets of the game. The other funny moment when Masato gets a new insulting nickname or Rin masters some type of pitching. An onscreen announcement will be made as though they have levelled up to it.

I’m not sure if there are romance stuff here because unlike Kanon and Clannad whereby the series has the main guy choosing one of the heroines to be his girlfriend in the end, there doesn’t seem to be any such sort of chemistry between the members of Little Busters. Not that I can see or sense. It feels more like everyone is happy being good friends and teammates with each other. It is definite that all the girls love Riki because of his kindness and support but you don’t see them having dilemma or problems about the feelings of their heart when it comes to Riki. Not the kind where it aches so bad with just a thought of him. So it avoids the show falling into the harem pitfall. Which is a good thing because I personally feel that Riki himself won’t be able to choose or even make a decision if he is in such position. The closest for this type of romance is I guess Aikawa’s love for Sasami even though as for now it seems unrequited. I hope there is nothing going on for those who would love to see the Kyousuke x Riki pairing. Despite Mio seemingly like an ardent fan of this, let’s just hope it is just a joke. I know that single episode may have hinted something but I would like to brush it off as one of Kyousuke’s pranks. I hope. Now that Kengo is very much in sync with Masato after he turned into Little Busters biggest enthusiast, I hope there won’t be such a pairing either. The world is doomed if they are to. But I am assured with Masato being a muscle brained guy, he won’t really understand about love and all. I hope.

As said that Little Busters is one of the many visual novel games created by Key, the drawing and art seem to differ very much to Air, Kanon and Clannad. That is because the latter trio were produced by the production studio Kyoto Animation. The visuals and style in Little Busters resemble more like Angel Beats, the only other show that Key was directly involved in its production. Key collaborated with J.C. Staff for this series. So you have lots of cute girls, good looking guys and even cute boys (Riki?!) in their style. Loli Kud is so moe that you can die so many times by nose bleeding to death over and over again. Even hearing her trademark squeal of “Wafu!” may send you into some moe ecstasy. So moe that she has her own spin-off game in which she is the main heroine, Kud Wafter. Wafu! On a side note, I suppose this series is so popular that there has been lots of spin-offs manga.

I do not remember about Yui Horie’s other roles voicing young boys but as Riki, I felt it was kinda odd. Not to say that she sounds bad and as usual I got used to her in Riki’s role. But the thought of Yui Horie, the one whom I often hear voicing sweet girl roles, if not mainly female roles ranging from emotionless to villainous, to voice a young boy’s part just feels odd. I won’t go so far to say it doesn’t match but I just can’t bring myself to just accept it wholesomely and settle in with her voice completely. It’s like hearing Yu Kobayashi voicing Clain in Fractale. It just feels weird. The rest of the casts include Hikari Midorikawa as Kyousuke (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Tomoe Tamiyasu (Futami in Recorder To Randoseru), Nobutoshi Canna as Masato (Makoto Waltz Seiga in Guilty Crown), Katsuaki Arima as Kengo (Deep Snow in Rave), Ryouko Tanaka as Kurugaya (Hikari in School Days), Natsumi Yanase as Komari (Chihiro in ef series), Naomi Wakabayashi as Kud (Ritsuko in The IdolMaster) and Sora Tokui as Sasami (Nero in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes). Yuiko Tatsumi (Riko in KissxSis) did double roles as Mio and Midori just like how Keiko Suzuki (Kanako in Clannad) did hers as Haruka and Kanata. All the opening and ending themes are sung by Rita. The opening theme is the same name of this series and the lively rock pace fits well with the theme of the series. The main ending theme is also another lively piece entitled Alicemagic. Both these songs as I found out were taken from the visual novel game and remixed. The other ending theme is Ame Nochi Hare, which is a much slower ballad. I noticed that many of the background music in this series have this Air, Kanon and Clannad-like feel. It invokes some sort of emotion just hearing them. Sometimes I thought I would be mistaken myself if I am not watching Little Busters but those shows.

There are many underlying themes to learn while watching this series. Like the importance of friendship and relying on your friends for help (not all the time of course. That makes you a leech). There is a reason why humans were made imperfect it is so that they could communicate and help each other out and to improve themselves to get better. If men were so perfect, we wouldn’t have to put up with all these issues in the first place. Riki’s tragic past is regrettable but it was also a blessing in disguise because it turned him into a better person. It tells us that by helping others, the goodness and happiness have a multiplier effect. You can see the magnitude and end results of Riki’s help. When you are down in your darkest moments, it tells us not to give up hope even if everything seems hopeless. Even if you have given up believing in God, don’t believe in your friends or those who believe in you. Because certainly they have not given up on you. We see how the girls with support from Riki gave themselves a second chance and in turn they become better people themselves. There is more to life than just wallowing in negativity.

Perhaps the secret to this world is to stay happy. It isn’t about completing the task to find the answer. The answer perhaps lies within the task that is currently being done. Notice how the tasks are for the betterment of something? You don’t need to pray so hard for a miracle. Little miracles of joy are happening every day if you open your eyes and take a good look around. Maybe if I had such fine friends in the first place, I wouldn’t have turned into a useless anime otaku addict. Or maybe I’m still waiting for that prince (or princess as I prefer) to extend that helping hand to reach out to me. In the mean time I will just watch more animes, the only thing that I can do while waiting for that person to come. If he/she ever does. Hope that person then would be a maid… ;p.

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