20 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Little Busters episode 1 – Keyjerker on hold…for now

One of the reasons I brought in new writers was so I’d have a broader taste-base on this blog. Inushinde likes those anime in which a bunch of girls sit around doing nothing beyond being insufferably nice to each other, so I leave him cover stuff like Hidamari Stench (dohoho see what I did there). Shinmaru is a self-confessed fan of Key bawwwfests, so really I should be leaving this Little Busters post to him. But he stole everything I was going to say about how glorious Jojo’s was, so I’m going to jump in and shit all over his new favourite anime yeah!

…although it would have helped if Little Busters had held up its end of the bargain and actually had a shit first episode.

I’d forgotten that, for as much as I dislike the Keyjerker parts of Jun Maeda’s stories, I usually like the opening episodes. There’s something about the sense of humour I’ve always enjoyed. Picking up a kitten as a weapon of choice, even though one of the items thrown over their heads was a grenade. Dropping dramatic readings of dumb phrases as though they have been etched onto stone tablets. It works because each of these characters have this sense of gravitas to their actions, bathing in their own hubris as though the world is watching and waiting for them too make history. It’s not what I’d call particularly intelligent humour. It lies on the Seto no Hanayome or Sexy Commando end of the humour spectrum. But hey, those are both shows I like because of their rather dumb humour. I genuinely liked Angel Beats style of humour too, before the show tried to explain its plot and move to Keyjerker territory.

I quite like the setup too. The basic gist of events is these teenagers are all growing up and going to leave each other soon, so to put off thinking about that they try recapture their youths by setting up a baseball team. I tend to have an issue with Japanese idealisation of the past and their youths, but Little Busters has a slightly different tone to it. It’s not about going back to that time and staying there. It’s more about getting it out of your system so you can move on and grow up. The girly-boy main character’s desperation in his voice when he suggested the baseball team had the real sign of one who doesn’t want to grow up and move on. It gave all the goofyness this air of melancholy to it. I’d actually quite like the show to continue with that tone, where the melancholic tone stays in the background. It won’t, because Key do subtlety like a fish does the Tour de France. But hey, a man can hope.

I like the three big muscled dudes, each with their own over-dramatic way of interacting with each other. It gives the show a Daily Lives of Manly Boys feel to it. Not so keen on the girly-boy, primarily because he doesn’t appear to have much of a personality just yet. He’s mainly there to provide irritating narration on events. I think the first episode of K has ruined me, because after that I’m now wondering why the hell I’ve put up with this stupid narration style for so long when most of the time it adds nothing to proceedings. He does work well as foil to the main 3 though, and he helps add to the mood the show is setting. Can’t really say the same about the female characters though, who all appear to have mental disabilities. Particularly the girl who appeared at the end of the episode. Clutching her head, going ooooh, eating sweeties, and then smiling at the main character as if to say “why yes, my brain quite literally hasn’t developed beyond the age of 3”.

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  1. Adamar
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I give it a few episodes (6? 8?) before you jump off board this one, but it should be fun until then.

    And yeah, Komari is “special”.

  2. Lanf
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I came here expecting (wanting) a J.C. staff rant.


    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been fairly hate-free this season so far. Although I suppose it helps that I didn’t write about Busou Shinki or Monster-kun

  3. Chipp12
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I give this 3-5 episode before JC run of budget and show’s “animation” become like it was in that flashback part.

    • Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, come on!

      J.C. Staff has made AnoNatsu, Toradora, Ookami-san, and Shana. You might call their animation lower-average, and the plots that they usually pick up mediocre, but they are entirely capable of making characters move, and generally make a series without bringing any spectacularly subpar animation to light.

  4. Aerxes
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m sort of going out on a limb here, bt from what you said about this episode (and if JC STAFF do it properly), you may actually enjoy the series up to the end. It keeps with most of the themes you mentioned, and it only tries to keyjerk once. I was laughing up til the end of the VN.

    Also, Komari is completely unbearable. Even Kud has more intelligence and depth than her.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      This is my sceptical face

      • Aerxes
        Posted October 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Crazier things have happened ヽ(´ー`)┌. I probably wouldn’t bet on it, though.

    • leokiko
      Posted October 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      You won’t like it. Specially Komari and Kud’s route.

  5. Embok
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    “I genuinely liked Angel Beats style of humour too, before the show tried to explain its plot and move to Keyjerker territory.”

    You mean in the second episode? But yeah I too find the super skilled ninja chick dying because she jumped off a cliff after a kitten to be hilarious.

  6. Posted October 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure what it is with Key and how they seem to favor making their male characters interesting over their female characters (aka the characters we’re supposed to care about the most because they’re the ones with the sad stories). Starting with Clannad, they seem to have realized that they needed to focus on the males too, but since the girls outnumber the guys, that means their story screen time outweighs the males by a large margin.

    So regarding Little Busters, hopefully those guys stay on screen for a large amount of time.

    • Posted October 8, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry, the guys get a lot more focus in Little Busters than they do in other KEY stuff. It’s slightly apparent early on, they fade away a little bit in each of the girls’ arcs, and then they’re essentially the main focus towards the end.

  7. luffyluffy
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Oh boy, wait until Kud shows up. Wafuu!

  8. Posted October 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I found the main guy pretty unbearable. His narration managed to turn a scene about a guy doused in honey being eaten by wasps, only to be set on fire by his friends, into something incredibly sappy and nostalgic.

    I find that misappropriation of awesome violence morally reprehensible.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it the opposite though? That the kid thought such a ridiculously painful scene was the highlight of his youth was fucking hilarious

      • Posted October 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Well, it was not HIM being in pain, but Masato.

        About 90% of my happy childhood memories are related to my peers screaming in agony, so I can totally relate to that.

  9. Posted October 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    A Key series without a sarcastic main character.

    I wonder how it will go.

  10. Posted October 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    While thousands of Key fans would probably disagree, I believe that one of Key’s main fortes is easily the comedy. Even though I strongly disapproved of Angel Beats!’s writing, especially towards the end, I can’t really deny that I thought it was oftentimes completely hilarious.

    Still though, I heard a lot of people calling this particular novel a piece of shit. We’ll see how it goes.

    • Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      I would say, that it’s quite obvious that it is the comedy that makes Key great. There is only one way to write tragedy: “The protagonist, or his/her loved ones, are dead or dying.” And that’s sad, because dying is sad.

      But it is comedy that first makes us care about the characters, and that’s what the nakige genre exploits: Other methods of making tragic characters relatable might become recognized as clichés, but with nakige, as long as the comedy is well done, it doesn’t matter if we recognize it’s purpose, we still can’t help but feel attached to the characters.

      I think it also explains part of the genre’s bad reputation. A year or so after watching a show, the dozens and hundreds of quips and gags in it’s first 80% are becoming a blur, the only thing that remains is the dramatic climax, so we come to believe that we must have been manipulated by a cheap formula, and forgetting the details of the buildup that made it possible.

  11. DarkEnergy
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Give it a few episodes and then tell me if I should watch this. Thank you.

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