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Posts Tagged ‘Little Busters!’

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When Little Busters!: Refrain started airing, I was torn. After having been so sorely disappointed by [the first series], would it really be worth my time to pick up the sequel? JC Staff botched the adaptation of Little Busters! in a fundamental way; the direction, the pacing, the production values and anything else you could care to mention that wasn’t the music were all a bit crap. Determining whether the issues were entirely their fault or if the source material just wasn’t that good was difficult, considering I had never played the visual novel. I had plenty of good reasons to consider Refrain a waste of time and could justifiably give it a skip. But I picked it up regardless.

Why? Many people who played the visual novel had nothing but fantastic things to say about the Refrain arc(s), even going so far as to describe it as being to Little Busters! what After Story was to Clannad. I have seen Clannad: After Story – and I utterly adored it – so hearing that from people I trust piqued my interest to say the least. And on top of that, I still caught glimpses of the Key magic that made Air, Kanon and Clannad so enjoyable for me in Little Busters!, albeit only briefly and rarely. While I didn’t have much, I still nurtured some hope that Little Busters!: Refrain could be good; it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to at least be better.

All I’ll say for now is that I am so fucking glad I picked it up.

Yeah, I think I was about this excited

Yeah, I think I was about this excited

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Compared to this, Symphogear’s rise in quality is nothing.

So the first season of Little Busters! was crap. I said as much in my actually quite generous review, and the disappointment I felt at JC Staff handling it actually made one my 12 days posts last year. It was poorly directed, poorly animated, had crap writing and far too absurd premises for its arcs. Everything that I liked about KyoAni’s Key adaptations was not there at all. So picking up Little Busters!: Refrain was not necessarily an easy decision. Why bother watching more of a series when it had already burned you so badly once before?

I guess I picked up Refrain out of what I believe at the time to be a misplaced hope. “The refrain arc is the best in the entire visual novel!” I had been told on more than one occasion. “Jun Maeda describes it as the best thing he’s written!” is something else I had heard. It began to sound like the equivalent of Clannad: After Story, with the exception that Clannad itself was good. So yeah, I gave it a shot. My expectations were low – I was thinking it’d just be a bit better than the first series – but upon watching the first episode, it… turned out to be more of the same. Hmm.

The pacing was far too fast; the drama was forced and piled on without time for build-up; Kuragaya’s characterisation veered wildly; it was all a bit of a mess really. Better than most of the first season (and actually animated in 720p!), but still not great. Still, I was feeling generous and optimistic and so gave Refrain another chance, and was pleasantly surprised at episode 2! It was fun, it was sentimental, it was emotional, and it was just rather lovely. A little bittersweet, but in a gratifying way. It was actually beginning to resemble what I had hoped the series to be from the very start!

And then episode 3 happened…

Would you have ever expected to see something like this in Little Busters!?

Would you have ever expected to see something like this in Little Busters!?

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Ah, Key. Purveyor of visual novels created with the singular goal of making you cry like a little child, their works – both the visual novels and anime adaptations of them – are generally highly received amongst anime fans (except in anime blogging circles, where they’re far more divisive). Well, at least the adaptations by KyoAni. Those are quite highly regarded, capturing the atmosphere and magic in the stories quite effectively (Air was a bit iffy, but that was very early in the studio’s lifetime), but the adaptations by other studios? Far more mixed.

Prior to 2012, the only Key works to be animated were Air, Kanon and Clannad, all handled by KyoAni (and some other studios doing separate adaptations). Missing was Little Busters!, one of the most highly regarded from their repertoire, and one fans had been wanting to see tackled for years. So naturally, when Key announced that it was being animated, there was much rejoicing. This immediately turned to speculation, and to concern. Everyone wanted KyoAni to adapt it. They had spent so much time establishing themselves as the de facto Key adaptation studio! But KyoAni already had a series ready for the season Little Busters! had been announced for, so it quickly became apparent that their treatment was unlikely. So who was going to be working on it? Most every studio was considered and evaluated, but the actual studio who were handling it… nobody was expecting it. Nobody wanted it. Very few studios could have elicited more groans of despair.

JC Staff were adapting Little Busters!.

OH. And Yamakawa, the director chosen? He previously directed Kill Me Baby.

Well, fuck.

 Jun Maeda feeds off the tears of his fans – although they’re crying about something quite different this time

Jun Maeda feeds off the tears of his fans – although they’re crying about something quite different this time

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So this should have been done a day or two ago but whatever, I was busy. Everything’s coming to an end though, and the next season ain’t that promising. A shame, I guess. Oh, and a bunch of subs were delayed.

Merry JoJomas!

Merry JoJomas!

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Yay back home for Christmas yay time to do lots of uni work yaaaaaaay.

You're in for a wild ride this week hahahahaugh

You’re in for a wild ride this week hahahahaugh

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And on the third day, I feel it necessary to admit I am something of a Key fan. To some of you few reading this, that’s no big deal. The Key adaptations – at least, the ones handled by KyoAni – are generally highly praised, for many reasons. I absolutely loved Clannad, After Story even more so; Kanon could be inconsistent at times, but came together really nicely by the end; Air wasn’t as good, but it had some great ideas that simply needed a bit more time to really flesh out and develop (and besides, it was one of KyoAni’s earliest efforts, so the result is at least understandable considering their inexperience). But for a certain subset of anibloggers, the works of Jun Maeda are… not well-received, to put it mildly.

This year would prove to be one that would put my relationship with Key on the rocks somewhat, and make me believe that maybe, just maybe, they don’t actually know what they’re doing.

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This was certainly not kawaii uguu~

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Uuuuurgh looming deadlines means I can’t really spend much time on this.

emotou

emotou

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