Saturday, 14 December 2013

Little Busters! Refrain - Episode 11

The core of the Little Busters have been reunited, but time is running out as the truth threatens to encroach upon Rin and Riki's world.

With the rest of the school's populace gone and even the sky no longer moving, there's one last thing to be done - to play some baseball, of course.  For Naoe and Rin this is just another opportunity to play with their friends, but for the other trio this is an opportunity to say a last goodbye with a smile upon their faces.

Once Masato vanishes right in front of Riki, there's nothing for it but for Kyousuke to tell him the truth - the horrific bus crash on a school trip wasn't a disaster that befell another nearby school, it was a tragedy that befell them.  As their dying wish, Kyousuke and his friends desperately hoped for a way to allow their two most fragile friends to grow and mature enough to cope with the aftermath of an accident from which only they will survive, with their sheer will creating the world they now reside in - an endlessly looping semester which enabled Kyousuke to try and outfit Riki and Rin with everything that they needed to get along in the world in spite of the horror they have to face.  With the truth out, it's time to say goodbye to Kengo, then Kyousuke, as the world around the group finally crumbles entirely.

I don't think I have to elaborate on how many times my patience has worn thin with Little Busters as a whole, but I have to give it credit where it's due for this strong, emotional pay-off - an eye-catching twist and some heart-rending goodbyes ensures that it has no shortage of ways of pulling at the viewer's heart strings.  Whether this is enough to justify a lot of the less compelling content that came before is another matter entirely, but if the final couple of episodes can further build on the core of the story now that it's finally been delivered in an impressive fashion, at least Refrain has a good opportunity to claim a strong ending for itself.

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