Sunday, 13 January 2013

Little Busters! - Episode 14

Mio's place in the world has now been taken over entirely by that of her "shadow", Midori, in this week's Persona 4... wait, I mean this week's Little Busters!

Naoe aside, it appears that everyone else has forgotten about the existence of the "old" Nishizono - even Kyousuke, who Naoe turns to for advice, doesn't really have anything particularly helpful to say on the matter as his own memories also seem to have waned.  Therefore, it's up to Naoe alone to somehow bring Mio back... but is it even possible?  Just as all hope seems to be lost, Naoe recalls one piece of physical evidence of Mio's life that might still exist - a poem she submitted to the school's tanka contest.  Indeed, the poem does exist, and its discovery gives even Midori second thoughts about keeping Mio's whereabouts hidden from our protagonist.

Once Naoe has found Mio hanging out at the local beach, we get the full story about her and her relationship with Midori - not so much a shadow as an imaginary friend brought to life by her willpower alone before the duo were torn apart by disbelieving adults who couldn't see said imaginary friend.  After seemingly vanishing completely, it's Mio's guilt that brings Midori back into being and beyond, leaving it up to Naoe to reconcile the feelings and desires of Mio and Midori to reach a conclusion that would make everybody happy.

Having set things up for an episode with a decent amount of emotional resonance, there's something weirdly unsatisfying about the second half of this week's instalment of Little Busters that I can't quite put a finger on - perhaps it simply feels too indistinct and wishy-washy to really make me care about its ultimate resolution, which also ends up being a little too convenient for my liking, and (much as I hate to keep harping on about it) it certainly shows how Key's works have improved over time in terms of satisfying storytelling.  It doesn't make Little Busters a bad series, but it certainly isn't all that it could have been at this point.

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