Monday, 18 March 2013

Little Busters! - Episode 23

Kudryavka may have returned to her homeland of Tebwa, but she certainly hasn't left the hearts of her friends back in Japan, who find themselves unable to tear themselves from the developing news of the country.

Unfortunately, it's far from good news - in the wake of the shuttle launch explosion, rebel forces have sensed an opportunity to lay claim to the land, sparking riots and violence as Tebwa spirals into chaos - a chaos into which Kud has just walked.  Although she manages to be reunited with her grandfather, and good news about her mother's condition soon springs forth, the diminutive girl still finds herself torn when it comes to meeting her mother again out of fear she'll be disowned or despised having not made good on her promise to become a cosmonaut.

While her grandfather goes to pick up Kud's mother for their big reunion, events conspire to keep them apart yet again as rebels attack the home where Kud is hiding out, taking her prisoner as the daughter of the cosmonaut who has become a symbol of what the rebels see as wrong with their country.  Meanwhile, the rest of the Little Busters fret more and more about whether they were right to let her go as they worry about her well-being, despite knowing that there's nothing they can do at this point.  Or is there?  The world of Key visual novels works in mysterious ways, and it's ultimately the power of her friends wishes for Kud's well-being that rescue her from captivity and set everything upon the right path for Kud's happiness.

I don't think I've been able to say this of any of its previous installments with any kind of assured tone, but this was a great episode of Little Busters - I didn't think that its continuing focus on Kud and its increased scope would work, but I was proved wrong in spades as we served easily the most potent and dramatically raw material of the series so far, which build wonderfully to its admittedly absurd yet still satisfying crescendo before giving us a happy ending that, for once, felt fully justified.  If only Little Busters had managed to polish off its other story arcs with this kind of majesty, I might have had a very different view of the series - still, at least this episode has brought me at least one fond memory of watching the show, for which I can only be thankful.

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