So after what’s equivalent to a billion internet years, i’ve FINALLY finished the fall season with Little Busters Refrain. And even with my complaints, this route left me satisfied in so many ways. 🙂
That being said, there are some MAJOR problems with this route. Apart from a jarring transition at the very start, it suffers from overreliance of what I call “the magic of Jun Maeda”. What I mean by this is that the resolution to EVERYTHING is powered by love, friendship, and the will to not give up(aka an army of deus ex machinas). It also doesn’t help that the major twist to this story, while properly foreshadowed, is both completely nonsensical and overly convenient(SPOILER: Kyousuke is Rika from higurashi).
So why do I feel satisfied with it? Well despite how “magical” the ending seems, it actually manages to resolve all the questions in the story. Ironically, focusing on just the original little busters brings the theme of friendship further than all the previous routes. Sure this means Masato and Kengo get much needed backstory, but it’s when it focuses on Kyousuke’s desperation or Rin and Riki’s relationship that it really shines. Seeing how these two and the girls affected each other, how both had grown through their constant hardship, and just how much Kyousuke had done behind the scenes so that Riki’s final growth feels that much more effective.
If I had to sum up all of that in one word, it’s fulfillment. Fulfillment in seeing Rin have hope for friendship even when all of it may dissappear. Fulfillment in seeing Riki finally being confident in his own abilities and using it to save everyone during despair. Fulfillment in seeing the secret of the world, how tragic things were behind the events of season 1, and finally giving a reason for Kyousuke’s actions. But more importantly, seeing these characters go through this 39 ep journey and succeeding against all odds, leaving me and them with big smiles.
This may seem fairly biased for an impression, but I inititally hated this franchise. I pushed myself to finish the first season of Little Busters, and even the tearjerker scenes weren’t enough to excuse the massive plot holes, unfunny jokes, and overall boredom I went through for 26 episodes. So I came into this season hoping for any improvements. And while the flaws are still visible, I’m happy with what we’ve got. It’s a fitting conclusion, a decent payoff, and ultimately making me a fan. Can’t wait for Little Buster EX.