Annotated Anime: Little Busters!: Refrain Ep. 3 and 4


How do I girlfriend?

Oh, the irony of not being able to find the time to write about a show that has too much of it. That's right, it's back to that wacky time loop that our main man Riki can't seem to escape, while his school buddies carry on with their lives seemingly unaware of what's going on. Ooh, how mysterious. 

Crazy cliché storylines aside, Little Busters! does continue to inject some much needed sci-fi into my current anime line-up. You know, something to offset what is soon to be a lovey-dovey romance in Golden Time

Wait, what do you mean Riki went and got a girlfriend? Fine. Be like that, show. If you just want to steal themes from the other shows I'm watching, how about we throw in some of Hunter x Hunter's chimera ants for good measure?

When we left Riki last episode, he was kind of losing his mind due to experiencing many of the same events over and over again, never moving from June 20th. There are a few differences on each pass, such as changes in the weather, but not nearly enough to stop Riki from slowly going insane. Hardly surprising when he has to go through the same conversations again and again, without anyone else knowing that they're repeating time. I guess it would be a little difficult to convince people that they're in the middle of a temporal loop.

Luckily for us, he's not stupid and goes to bug Kurugaya, since he largely suspects she is responsible for the time oddities. She's saddened to see that he's noticed something is up, but rather than acknowledge that anything is happening at all, she just chooses to hold him. On the floor, in an awkward position. Riki you goofball, you don't leave it at that! Don't go back to your place after she essentially explains that it's happening because of the happy day she spent with you at the fireworks display. Here we go for another round on the time-loop mobile.

But alas, he does eventually get Kurugaya to explain what's going on, and lo and behold it was all a dream-- Kurugaya's dream, to be precise. It seems that she has been causing Riki to stay in her dream world so that they may relive that day together forever, but she's smart and quickly realizes that she has to give it up. However, she does inform Riki that he will have no memory of the time loop when he wakes up.

Kurugaya explained that this was her "last wish," that she wanted to learn how to love, and that Riki should "take care of Rin-chan." Man,what a bummer of an ending. Quite rightly, Riki questions her about what exactly is going on, but she promptly vanishes. Her last wish? Damn it show, don't go and kill her off or something. Take care of Rin? That could mean any number of things, and I think the obvious answer probably isn't the correct one. Playing that emotional insert song over the credits? Sure-fire way to get me teary-eyed when I'm not even sure what's going on. Bah, next episode!

Sure enough, Riki doesn't remember anything that happened while he was in Kurugaya's dream, but he does feel like he's forgotten something. Better than nothing, I suppose, but it's awfully worrying to hear that no one has seen Kurugaya recently. Not only that, but she's not mentioned again in this episode. Here I am, sitting at my PC, worrying about a fictional characters' well-being. I feel like I've landed on a slippery slope, but I digress. 

Remember the girl from the first episode? If that incredible description isn't good enough for you, I mean the quiet, shy girl who was tagging along with the two bullies who wound up traumatized by Kurugaya's door-busting action. Well, it seems she's turned into a stalker and developed an addiction to staring at Riki from behind small shrubs. Not bad, Riki! Standing next to Kurugaya while she dealt with the bullies must have really made her fall for you! While the girl's confession flops stupendously, it does cause Riki to start thinking about love in general. And, apparently by association, Rin. 

While Riki is quizzing himself as to whether to tell Rin his feelings, she just comes out and announces without even blushing that they should go out. She's a cutie, but this does worry me slightly, because how long will this relationship last? This isn't to say that Rin doesn't have feelings for him-- in fact I think she has those in excess-- but there's just something about how she seems to be treating this romance like a title. But that may just be due to her inexperience with romance, so we shall see. 

Personally, I think the duo are quite a good fit, but I can't help but feel bad on Kurugaya's behalf. Who knows where she is and in what condition, and I believe she truly loved Riki, even though it's probably for the simple that he let her join the Little Busters. We're not done with her arc, that's for sure, so hopefully we'll see what's going on soon enough.

Besides that, there were more odd scenes involving Kyousuke, with little explanation for them. We saw him staring up at the dorm building Riki is in while sitting on a bench in the pouring rain, during the time when Riki was stuck in Kurugaya's dream world. I don't know about you, but something tells me Kyousuke knew exactly what was going on, and apparently decided not to do anything about it. He also stayed in the club room with the rest of the Little Busters when Riki and Rin left early in the most recent episode, then promptly begun glowing gold while other members of the club began to leave the building. I mean, what? Super confusing, but all will be revealed in due course. I hope. 

[Don't refrain from watching this show! Catch the latest episode on Crunchyroll.]

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Chris Walden
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