Let me make this perfectly clear: the first season of Little Busters made me fall asleep. While not a bad series per say, it was plagued with repetitive gags, abysmally slow pacing, one-dimensional issues and a lack of chemistry between characters. I admit that I enjoyed it once it came to the routes, but even these had their case of overused melodrama or deus ex machinas. So I had very little expectations for Refrain when I started the first 3 ep. What did I get? Well…it’s a more consistent experience so far.
Unlike in season 1, they’ve decided to stop goofing off and get straight into the routes, and I really like that. Sure it’s skipping over some character interaction and goofy antics, but the first season made a huge mistake of prioritizing on that. And while the dramatic moments were still given time to shine, about half the eps in the first season were completely uneventful. So even if it gets rushed, this season would lose my interest if they repeated the pacing of the previous one.
I also like the fact that we get to see Kurugaya’s sensitive side. For a while she’s been the onee-san character that always keeps her cool unless she’s teasing the other girls(Riki included?). But there’s a sense of honest feelings in her teasing toward Riki during these ep, and she manages to give enough emotional detail to make me care by the time she left. She even showed how badass she can be when angry.
But…I have to admit that none of this really changes my opinion of Little Busters as a whole. It’s still plagued by most of the problems I mentioned when it came to the first season. One-dimensional bullies, unfunny gags that lead nowhere, and it has the classic issue of many VN adaptations: Emotions explain all, so f#ck Logic up the ass. And while the fast-pace keeps things more engaging than the first one, it does end up feeling rushed when certain details on both the plot and characters seem pushed to the side.
Having said that, I’m still glad that this turned out to be just 13 ep. This may cause Refrain to lose the impact a properly developed story could do, but the first season was such a drag that I don’t really care. My expectations are low, so all Refrain needs to do is give me more routes and a proper conclusion.