Everyone’s been wanting a LB! anime since god-knows-when, and it seems like they’re finally getting it. I’m pretty excited for this, although I’m waiting on more news since the animation studio wasn’t announced. Something like LB! is gonna be easy to screw up, so I’m keeping fingers crossed for KyoAni. It seems like each Key game has been playing more and more on the “multiple routes/playthroughs” mechanic of the visual novel medium and thus becoming harder to animate into one linear storyline suitable for an anime. I’m really interested in how they’ll handle the “secret of the world,” although at this point everybody interested in Little Busters has probably played the visual novel already.
It was exactly 1 year ago from today that I started this blog and made by first post. I feel so accomplished that I managed to regularly update this thing for an entire year lol. Every time I tried to start a blog I would ditch it after a few posts since no one came.
I got something like 17k views this year. It’s not much, but I’m not exactly feeling forever alone either. My most popular post is the Starry Sky in Spring walkthrough that I typed up, and I think the blog got a huge popularity boost after I started blogging Yu-Gi-Oh every week. My art blog had a much better start than this one, but this one has more fabulous memories (cry5D’sendedcry).
Anyways, the most fabulous things during the past blog year:
1) Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s (crycrycry)
2) Persona 3/4
3) TRAILS IN THE SKY/SORA NO KISEKI!!!!!!!
4) G-Senjou no Maou
5) Little Busters
I have 1 more exam and it’ll be summer vacation. I definitely will play a lot~~~~~(and learn to use RPG Maker VX).
(Little Busters has an all-ages and a non-h version for PC. Differences explained at the end of review)
I remember when I first started playing galge and Key was all I knew. I think these days in the English community, Key and Type-Moon are probably the first comapnies to come to mind. I guess Key is widely liked due to having moe moe characters and being a utsuge. Maeda isn’t afraid to make men cry XD Key is a pretty old company and all, dating back to Kanon in 1999 and even before that, the staff of Key were in Tactics, creating utsuge. I guess back when utsuge was new and rare, Key stood out and the popularity stuck. I don’t deny that Key does make good visual novels, but I guess they’re not the best to me (looseboy from Akabeisoft2 takes the cake). Still, Little Busters is a good VN. Certainly left an impression on me.
Back when Riki was little, his parents died and he became despressed. One day, Natsume Kyousuke reached out to him and invited him to join the “Little Busters,” a group of four kids who claimed to fight evil. Since then, the five of them have always been together, having fun. In Riki’s second year of high school, Kyousuke decides that he wants the Little Busters to play baseball (because it is the ultimate sport of burning passion and refreshing youth friendship!!!!). They’ve only got 5 people though, so they go out to seek members. Riki convinces 5 other girls to join, and thus beings our tale of beautiful friendship…
Fail summary aside, the theme of LB is friendship. I like friendship, so I ended up liking LB better than Clannad and Kanon. Beautiful friendship is indeed beautiful.
Little Busters! is also part mock fighting game, although that can be turned off. Basically a fight between two characters carry out based on their stats which are raised during the daily baseball training. Each character can also equip battle items that increase certain stats or recover HP. Furthermore, the weapon to be used in battle is randomly selected, so you can get things from paper airplanes to nailclippers. The battle outcome is dependent on the characters’ stats as you don’t actually control them. You can decide whether to practice baseball longer (to increase stats) or not.
It takes place in the usual high school setting. The entire damn VN takes place at school because it is a boarding school. You go out into town once or twice, go to the beach, and some specific buildings in certain routes, but 90% of game takes place in school. If you’re tired of school settings, stay far, far away. The plots starts out light-hearted and comedic, and the first part for any route is practically the same. You gather members, become friends with everyone, and play baseball for the first half. After the baseball match, you go into a girl’s route depending on choices you made previously. The choices aren’t exactly obvious either, as one of the important choices that determine what route is available comes in the form of “what donut flavor would you like?” I just followed a nice guide, which tells you all the choices and gives you a good idea of where to make a save to branch off. Saves much more time. After the light-hearted, comedic baseball practices, you go into a girls’ route. AKA where the depressing things starts, some more depressing than others. The heroine’s routes themselves range from mediocre to bawl-worthy, but you’ll have to go through all of them to unlock Refrain, which is the meat of the story that answers the secrets of the world in LB.
The heroines’ routes vary in quality and level of sadness. Rin’s route (not the mandatory bad end) is very different from the rest due to being the “true” route that unlocks Refrain. Haruka’s route is what I found most bawl-worthy, although saying why would be a spoiler. The level of romance is also very varying, with Kud getting lots of kiss scenes and Komari basically gets just a hug. LB is a friendship game, so there are no routes with intense action and mystery. Chances are, you’ll like LB if you like previous Key works. If you can’t stand simple school life and drama (and don’t care for FRIENDSHIP), LB probably isn’t for you at all.
The cast is colorful, and you’ll get attatched to them quite easily. They’re a group of good friends, after all.
Naoe Riki – The protagonist who has the voice of a shota during the parts where he is voiced. It doesn’t help that he is physically frail, has narcolepsy, and isn’t much of a badass. He’s probably the exact opposite of Tomoya from Key’s famed Clannad. Riki is physically weak, but he is a good student and uses his intelligence well later on. He is also kind from the start and makes friends easily.
Natsume Rin – The heroine. She is quite the tsun around the original members of Little Busters! (all male aside from her), but immediately ducks behind Riki when facing someone she doesn’t know. She has no female friends at the beginning, doesn’t care much about school at all, and constantly skips duty to play with cats. Rin is extremely shy. I don’t know whether to classify her as a dandere or a tsundere…She’s tsun around her male friends, but drops the tsun immediately in her route. Rin is adorable.
Natsume Kyousuke – Rin’s older brother, and the leader of Little Busters. Always thinks of fun things to do, and is the one who decided to play baseball despite being in his final year in high school and in the middle of job hunting. He is a major character despite not being a heroine. Upon finishing the game, Kyousuke is my favorite character. Fabulous friendship is fabulous.
Inohara Masato – Riki’s muscle freak roomate who does nothing but muscle training. The only one who can match him in a fight is Kengo. He is a member of the Little Busters, and is also quite important in the big picture. More important than that though, Masato is comic relief to the max.
Miyazawa Kengo – The most serious of the Little Busters, he doesn’t participate in baseball training because he is busy with kendo practice. He is the only one strong enough to match Masato.
Kamikita Komari – A clumsy girl who likes to hang out at the rooftop that you’re not supposed to go to. She’s the slow speech character who is always clueless and speaks in a high-pitched voice. She has the ultimate cheerfulness and is everyone’s favorite teasing target.
Noumi Kudryavka – Just called Kud for short, she is a quarter Japanese. Her Japanese is perfectly fine–it’s her English that’s not. She constantly tries to speak English because it gives her a more foreign feel, but her Engrish is probably worse than my French. That’s saying a lot. She has a tendency to cry out “WAFU~!” and is ultra moe.
Kurugaya Yuiko – Mischevious big sis who likes to tease people and has ultra manry strength. In her route, Riki actually falls in love with her because she is manly. Kyousuke, Masato, and Kengo are all scared of her manly strength. Big sis is also very good at math and speaks more languages than I know how to say “hello” in (…I can’t say hello in a lot of languages, actually). Big sis is some kind of superwoman with the ability to shatter doors.
Nishizono Mio – A quiet, frail girl who is always reading books under the tree, carries a parasol, and is too weak to participate in sports. Thus, she becomes the manager instead. Also a deadpan snarker to the max, and likes to pair up Kyousuke and Riki (…I wouldn’t hesitate about doing that either…).
Saigusa Haruka – A noisy girl from another class who goes around causing trouble in the school and is constantly chased by the school disciplinary committee. She does things like scattering marbles across the hallways. Has a bad relationship with the leader of the disciplinary committee.
This being Key, a lot the the BGM is wonderful. There’s the heartwarming music played during the climax (all quality galge should have this!!!!), and the nice piece that plays during sad moments. Most of the other music is very atmospheric and the character themes suit each character nicely. There’s also quite a few vocal songs, the best of which is the vocal version of Song for Friends played during the climax of Refrain. Key has quality music indeed.
If you couldn’t tell, there were two artists for the characters. Hinoue Itaru (artist of previous Key games) designed Komari, Haruka and Kurugaya, whereas Na-Ga (usually a background artist) designed Rin, Kud, and Mio. Hinoue is the usual artist, but I like Na-Ga’s style better because the eyes are rounder. Plus, Kud is moe and Mio is pretty. I’m not fond of Hinoue’s more square-ish eyes.
The CGs are of varying quality. Sometimes the proportions look off and deformed, but certain CGs look really nice with great lighting (there’s 2 really great-looking Kyousuke CGs lol). Overall, the art isn’t outstanding, but not bad either. Hinoue improved a huge amount since Kanon and Air (oh god, look at the art then. The eyes are even more huge and square-ish, and the mouths are even smaller and higher up), but I still find her pretty mediocre. I thought the art in Clannad was nice back then because it was like my first visual novel and I obviously haven’t seen much else (not even fanart). Nowadays I’ve certainly seen much better.
I’d recommend Little Busters! if you’re a fan of previous Key works, or if you like friendship. Those who like school settings, comedy, and a generally light-hearted atmosphere with drama should play Little Busters. It’s more friendship-heavy than romance-heavy, be prepared to play through some routes where the confession happens at the end. The continuation of the main heroine’s route, Refrain, doesn’t have much romance at all (unless you save at a certain point, beat the game, reload, and a new choice pops up). I played the first edition of Little Busters which has no 18+ content. Ecstacy has added 18+ content with 3 extra routes. Fortunately, the PS2 and PSP versions are non-H versions of Ecstacy, which means it has the added 3 extra routes but no H-scenes. If your level of Japanese is high, go for Ecstacy or one of its all-ages ports. Otherwise, wait for the complete patch which only works on the original Little Busters or play the partial patch and AGTH/Translation Aggregator the rest of the way.
Refrain > Haruka > Rin > Kurugaya > Mio > Kud > Komari
Review gonna come soon. Probably on Friday because I’m busy on Thursdays. Anyways, I finally cleared it after straining myself to put together my limited knowledge of Japanese and what I could decipher from auto-translation programs. It was a difficult journey, but damn well worth it. Fabulous friendship is fabulous. LB! needs an anime. Also, this post will be full of spoilers. The review won’t have spoilers, so wait for that if only want my opinion.
In terms of love, I think I like LB more than Clannad. I also like it heaps more than Kanon, but I only watched the anime for that so I don’t know how the visual novel is. Either way, I like LB more than Key’s other big titles because friendship is fabulous. The romance is actually really light (Riki didn’t even kiss the girl in like half the routes), and I didn’t obsess over any girl like I usually do. By the end, I’ve pretty much taken a liking to everyone, although Rin and Mio especially stand out. I liked Mio’s route quite a bit, and Rin is just…Rin. Too adorable, and I certainly like her better than previous Key main heroines (never liked Nagisa much, Ayu was alright but she and Yuuichi didn’t really fit). Kurugaya is a fine onee-san full of win, and Kud is adorable to the extreme but I didn’t feel much for her route. Partly because it was difficult to understand through the translator. It was definitely the most romatic and fanservicey though, because Riki and Kud actually kissed (multiple times!!). I thought Haruka was annoying at first, but her route made me bawl like hell (same amount of tears as Touka’s chapter from Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo). Reuniting with Kanata was just so…*crycrycry*
The supporting cast is awesome, and unlike many galge out there, they are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Not just “I’ll be a bro in the climax and help you out,” but they’re more important than the heroines aside from Rin. Little Busters! is more of a friendship game than a romance (seriously I have no idea how they stuck the H-scenes into EX because most of the routes weren’t romace-heavy). There’s not one, but THREE male friends who are important. They’ve got hidden depths shown in Refrain, and Kyousuke is definitely my favorite character in this game. Going to such lengths to ensure that Rin and Riki become strong enough to face the fact that everyone else died…*tears* He certainly does not disappoint.
Riki starts off as a weak protagonist. He’s wimpy compared to most galge/eroge protagonists. I’m not talking about a comparison between him and Morita Kenichi (lol can’t top him), but Riki really is weaker than the average person. He has narcolepsy that causes him to faint/fall asleep frequently, he sucks at sports, has a baby face, and during the times where he is voiced (like in Refrain when told from other characters’ POVs), he is voiced by a woman. The guy sounds like a freaking shota, and it’s pretty hard to take him seriously. I like him unvoiced better. Riki is weak at the beginning, and I didn’t like him because I was used to Akabeisoft2’s badasses and Okazaki Tomoya. However, by the end, I do like Riki. He’s physically weak, but managed to defeat Masato in a fight using strategy and setting traps. He also managed to beat Kengo at baseball, and in Refrain when the Little Busters were broken up, it is Riki who brought everyone back together again. In the epilogue, Riki showed some extreme composure and MANRINESS by saving everyone who is about to die when the crashed bus explodes. Damn, if they made his voice lower and actually sound like a guy (innocent voice is alright, but please, at least try to sound like a boy), I would’ve liked him much more.
Fabulous friendship is fabulous and needs an anime. It would be easy to adapt, since the game is structured so that everyone becomes friends before you branch off into a heroine’s route. This is also not a romance-heavy game, which means most of the girls’ problems can be solved without going into romantic territory in the anime (except for Rin).
Now that I’ve finished Little Busters!, I kinda want to play Little Busters EX! for the 3 extra routes included. I’m especially interested in Kanata’s since Haruka’s route was one of my favorite. At the end, I cried in Haruka’s route and Refrain. The tears came rolling down at Kyousuke’s turn to say goodbye T_T I WILL NEVER STOP MY MANLY TEARS!!!! …Now, what eroge to play next? I’m looking at either Koihime Musou or Da Capo, but I’ve been eyeing the former for much longer.
This actually fits so damn well. Especially saddening since I just finished 5D’s and on the last route of Little Busters! And it fits so well because both the leader of Team Satisfaction and the Little Busters are called Kyousuke *w* Plus all that fabulous friendship…
FFFF– Team Satisfaction = Little Busters! IT’S PERFECT!
So adorable. Kud is so adorable. I’M NOT EVEN ON HER ROUTE YET AND I’VE ALREADY BEEN PULLED IN BY THE MOEEEEEEEE! Why, Key? Why? How did they do this to the me who usually likes senpais and onee-sans (BTW Kurugaya is a very good onee-san =D)?
Even though her route isn’t even finished being translated, I will push though the wall of kanji to get through to Kud, with only Google Translate as my ally–!
…Why do I suddenly want to play LB! Ecstasy now? R-Right, the 3 extra scenarios. T-That’s exactly it!