Sunday, 7 October 2012

Little Busters! - Episode 1

Kyousuke is back!  I have no idea what that means!  It must be important though, because it's followed by an exclamation mark!  Just like the title to the series!  Little Busters!

Anyhow, after a long, long wait, Little Busters is here in animated form (albeit produced by J.C. Staff rather than Kyoto Animation who tend to tackle Key visual novel adaptations), and it seems that the return of Kyousuke from job-hunting in Tokyo has caused a fair bit of chaos around his school, the kind of thing which his mere presence seems to introduce.  It isn't Kyousuke who is our protagonist however but a boy named  Riki Naoe, whose connection to Kyousuke we learn via flashback - after losing his parents, Riki was plucked from his depression by a group of kids which called themselves the "Little Busters", a group headed up by Kyousuke and with a notable (although not entirely accurate) goal of vanquishing evil and fighting for justice.

While reminiscing about those days, Riki suggests that the gang should do something to celebrate those old times - a sentiment that Kyousuke agrees with, suggesting that the group sets up a baseball team for no readily apparent reason beyond his idiosyncratic whims.  Thus, the stage is set for the group - to find the additional people (girls of course, this is a visual novel adaptation after all!) required to form a team.  Can they find them?  Of course they can, but expect some comedy and heart-felt back stories along the way.

It's always difficult to tell exactly where any Key adaptation is going earlier on; as per the visual novel formula, everything starts off as full-blown comedy before we get to the heart-wrenching emotional stuff later on.  As a result, this is a pretty solid opener for Little Busters - uneven animation admittedly (that slideshow of a flashback was painful to watch), but a decent core of comedy even if it didn't land a hit with every gag and a quick and easy way of laying out the characteristics of its main group of characters without having to work too hard to do so.  We'll be able to fathom more about the series once it introduces its female cast properly no doubt, which could well be the first of Little Buster's "sink or swim" moments - at least there's no immediate threat of drowning at this juncture though.

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