Saturday, 2 November 2013

Little Busters! Refrain - Episode 5

All that purportedly now sits between Rin, Riki and the secret of the world is a spot of volunteering at school - what could possibly go wrong here?

So, with this final task delivered by Lennon at hand, this new couple steps up to the plate and volunteers when required of them by their homeroom teacher.  It turns out that what they're volunteering for is the duty of escorting an inspector and his colleagues around the school - something which proves a little tricky for Rin given a combination of her shy nature and her tendency to be rather blunt.  Still, everything seems to go smoothly, and even Rin's happiness shines through her dour exterior sufficiently for the inspector to take note of it.

Unfortunately perhaps, Rin's personality proved to be a little too noticeable, as the next thing we know she's been selected to take part in a student exchange programme with a school currently reeling from a bus crash which killed a number of its pupils.  Although Rin has agreed to think the prospect of taking part in this exchange programme over, Naoe is dead set against it and initially gets Rin's agreement that it isn't a good idea.  However, racked by guilt that he's simply press-ganged Rin into her answer, Riki ends up shifting his stance and insists that Rin should go, making a mess of their relationship in the process.  With Rin all set to leave, Naoe starts to piece together the true purpose behinds all of the tasks brought by Lennon, and it leads to only one conclusion as to who was responsible... Kyousuke.

As keen as I am to get more purchase on Kyousuke's character as he moves slowly but surely towards becoming a focal point of this second season of Little Busters, the way this week's episode panned out with a view towards that goal isn't one that I can ignore... and by that I mean that it was almost willfully bad.  Having already felt like the sudden blossoming of Rin and Riki's relationship seemed forced, it was as of nothing compared to the story's attempts to force them apart - the whole "let's set up an exchange programme to cheer up the students of a school where a lot of pupils died" thing I can give a free pass to, but Naoe's monumentally stupid behaviour in trying to persuade Rin to go felt totally out of character.  Having said that he wants to let her make her own decision, why did he then go and effectively force her to made the decision to leave?  It makes no sense aside from as a necessity to progress the plot, and that really isn't good news for a series where creating believable characters and interactions between them should be the key.  Perhaps it can lead on to better things in the long-term, but boy was this a bad way of going about it.

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