Having taken a break from any real drama last week, we return to a proper story arc in this sixteenth episode of Little Busters, which finds Haruka Saigusa in her usual top-notch trouble-making form as she enjoys her usual round of practical jokes.
It isn't long before we get to see a different side of Haruka however, as she tells of her fondness for a particular school bench (I'm not making this up by the way) and the memories that it brings up, in particular the fact that Naoe was the first person to approach her with any sort of kindness. Kindness certainly isn't something that is on the school's "public moral committee" chairman's mind however, as Kanata Futaki decrees that the bench be destroyed immediately with no regard for Haruka's distraught reaction to their attempt to do so.
This is but the pre-cursor for Futaki throwing the book at Saigusa via a disciplinary hearing which rolls off all of the various "crimes" which Haruka has committed. Once Saigusa finds herself accused of one particular misdemeanour that she didn't even commit, her attitude changes from resignation to outright anger - in short, she flips her lid, and in takes the rest of the Little Busters to calm her down. Come the next day however, rumours are beginning to circulate of a most dark nature - namely, that Haruka's father is a convicted murder. It's a tale that is about to shed a whole lot more light on Saigusa's family history, as well as the overt antagonism shown towards her by Futaki.
Compared to a lot of Little Busters so far it wouldn't take all that much to constitute a major improvement in its story-telling abilities - unfortunately, it would be too much of a stretch even to call this episode a major step up over previous arcs, but it is at least a half-decent episode. Provided you can get over the coincidental of all of these bad things happening to Haruka one after another, and assuming you don't mind the soap opera-esque revelations about her family, I'm at least a little interested to see where the series runs with this story, especially given that aspects of it have been foreshadowed for quite some time now. I doubt it'll be enough to lift Little Busters out of its current "well, it's okay..." rut, but you have to take what you can get with this show at the moment.