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Reviews Comments: A Standard Setting Made Excellent Through Its Characters Little Busters game review by Psycho Normal 91

This is one of my favorite visual novels, and one of my favorite works of fiction in general. The setting is a school and the plot starts as a slice-of-life comedy. Even when the story gets more serious, it\'s still more character driven than plot driven, so I wouldn\'t suggest this visual novel to someone wanting an elaborate, complex plot.

The characters, however, are not as simplistic as the plot. It\'s easy to label each character as some stereotypical archetype, but each character gets enough limelight to go beyond the stereotypes people will associate them with at the beginning. The protagonist Riki is a Nice Guy, but we also learn he has dependency issues that stem from his parents\' deaths. Rin is a quick-tempered Tsundere, but is also very shy around strangers, and her behavior is not treated as though it would be acceptable in the outside world. Everyone\'s behavior has some justification, like the two examples I mentioned, which makes them all feel very human despite being fictional.

Whenever a character received focus, either through their route or Refrain episode, that\'s usually when they broke free of their stereotypes, and although some characters left bad first impressions at the start, they all eventually ended up being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. That being said, there are some pet peeves with some of the girls\' routes that bugged me. One example that comes to mind would be Kurugaya\'s route, where they treat her like an Emotionless Girl. The problem here is that she\'s established as a perverted tease in the common route, so it felt inconsistent with her previous characterization and that the writers just added on this aspect to her character at the last second because otherwise, there wouldn\'t be any drama to her character.

The humor usually managed to get me laughing. In fact, I feel Little Busters! had the best sense of humor of any Key work I\'ve seen so far. The dramatic moments worked because you got to know the characters in the common route before their tragedies were revealed. If the story started out by force-feeding the player everyone\'s issues, then it would succumb to Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. The only character whose past we learn about at the start is Riki\'s, which makes sense because he\'s the main character.

If there\'s one thing I have to call out on the story structure, it\'s how the ending invalidates a huge part of the story, similar to CLANNAD\'s ending. However, unlike CLANNAD, I felt Little Busters! was open to Alternate Aesop Interpretation. I had two different possibilities for aesops, one which fits the ending, and another which feels like a Broken Aesop because of the ending, which I\'ll refrain from spoiling. I suggest checking out the Perfect Edition once it hits Steam.

Comments

  • pointless233
  • 20th Apr 17
I really liked this anime. It\'s a great show that has a good mix of comedy and drama..
  • PsychoNormal91
  • 2nd Jun 17
I better elaborate on what I meant by Alternate Aesop Interpretation with respect to the ending. The reason I didn't mention it in the review was because I was getting too close to the maximum character count. Because this will discuss the ending, I am now warning everyone who hasn't read the visual novel or watched the anime to beware of UNMARKED SPOILERS:

My first interpretation is about developing a sense of independence, which Riki and Rin both experience throughout the story. In this case, them saving everyone makes more sense than the Downer Ending that has them accepting everyone died and trying to move on. Before the artificial world vanished, Kyousuke ordered Riki to never look back, and to remain strong for Rin's sake. In this case, the two of them accepting their deaths doesn't make sense with the above mentioned aesop. The whole point was for Riki to be able to think for himself, without relying on his friends to be there for him or advise him, so him doing something because it's what Kyousuke ordered him to do would result in a Broken Aesop and would've made Kyousuke look like a Hypocrite for encouraging Riki to think for himself, only to say he has to follow his final orders.

My second interpretation for an aesop is the acceptance of death and being able to move on when a loved one dies, as this is also very important with Riki, given his fear of losing people close to him originates from the time his parents died. I could understand why someone would think the idea of him and Rin saving everyone invalidates the whole point of this interpretation. However, I also think there's more to accepting death than just acknowledging when a loved one dies. It's also about being able to live your life without the fear of death crippling you. As Riki tells Kyousuke when he's saving him from the gas leak, he taught him how to live, so I think Key's intended aesop was about accepting death and was intended to have more nuance to it than just saying "move on" after a loved one dies, and reminds me of how Persona 3 handled the theme of accepting death.

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