Annotated Anime: Little Busters!: Refrain Ep. 6 and 7


Kud withdrawal

Kyousuke hasn't really been that prominent in Little Busters!, even though his leader status and relation to Rin would suggest otherwise. No, instead he's taken a back seat to Riki, and now that he's finally getting a lot of the attention in recent episodes, my view on him has taken a nosedive. While his actions have been pretty horrible, what's important is why he chose to do them- or at least, why I think he chose to do them.

But hey, crazy speculation is exactly why I'm here! Here's another double helping of the Little Busters! Refrain, with accompanying nonsense as I attempt to figure out what exactly is going on. No promises that it's coherent nonsense, as these episodes are pretty complicated.

Friendly Reminder: this series ends in five episodes time. I'm not sure about you guys, but I'm starting to wonder if this thing can wrap up in that amount of time...

After the overwhelming indecisiveness of the previous episode, it seems Rin really is leaving. As concerned as Riki seems about the prospect of losing her for a few months, he really doesn't make much effort at all to send her off, let alone stop it from happening. Nope, she's dumped in a car and driven away, all the while her friends offer one of the most depressingly dull farewells ever witnessed. For a group concerned about her well-being, they sure didn't seem to care much at that particular time. But hey, Kyousuke was nearby, and I'm willing to bet that his presence had something to do with it.

Seemingly guilt-ridden after some depressing texts from Rin, Riki finally decides that actually, he is wrong, and perhaps he should go and get her back. Not only is he stopped by Kyousuke (who seems to know exactly what he's planning), but he actually listens to the guy and resigns himself to seeing her only on weekends. Wait, really? You finally decide to do something about your girlfriend being in this terrifying situation, and you let Kyousuke-- who obviously has had a hand in this whole ordeal-- talk you down? Weak.

When Rin finally starts coming back for weekends, she's already a shell of her former self; it's utterly heartbreaking.

But enough is enough, right? It's obvious how damaging this has been to Rin, so why not end it there? Riki goes to Kyousuke to discuss exactly this...and now we're playing baseball? What? Whether this is Kyousuke being the manipulator that he is and getting his own way, or Riki just dodging conflict, I have no idea. A swift kick to the family jewels and a verbal lesson on how to be a big brother wouldn't have gone amiss, but hey, we can't have everything. Instead, we get Riki and Kengo (who also seems to agree that the Rin ordeal has gone on too long, yet didn't bother to act) having a home-run contest with Masato and Kyousuke. Why Masato? It's made out that it's because his competitiveness with Kengo has the better of him, but I don't buy it. Something's up, and Kyousuke is behind it again.

You know, as much as Kengo calls foul play during the baseball game, is it really? It could have easily been a horrid coincidence that Koshiki would walk by and trigger Kengo's pent up feelings when he needed to strike that ball. I mean, that totally doesn't sound like a coincidence, but just how coordinated do you need to be to pull that off and get Kengo to notice? But you know what, Kyousuke has done crazier, unexplained things. I just think that Kengo has some clue as to what it is he can do.

Riki, acting against Kyousuke for the first time in the whole episode, decides to run away with Rin. After quite some distance traveled and zero comment from Rin, they wind up back where they grew up together. Back where the Little Busters were formed. I can envy him trying to take Rin away from Kyousuke's control, as you've got to assume that if he'd gone back home that Rin wouldn't have been able to stay undiscovered. It's not long before they're discovered and taken in, which pretty much spells the end of the line for the duo's escape plan.

Wait a minute. Isn't this how the very first episode began? Episode seven kicks off with Kyousuke's "return" to school, though he's nowhere to be seen and a lot of the events that transpired in the very first episode are different this time around. Because Kyousuke isn't around to agree with Riki, the Masato and Kengo fight turns out very differently. It turns serious, with Kengo winding up with a broken arm for a completely different reason than it happened originally. What does this mean in the greater scheme of things, and what's going on? I feel we're on the verge of something major here.

But here is where it really starts getting confusing. Rin has become incredibly shy, even more so than she was when we first started the series. She refuses to be near anyone except Riki and children, and while it's not shown, I'm willing to bet that Kyousuke isn't welcome either. Which begs the question, is this a continuation of what happened before? Why has time restarted, and why does no one know what happened before? Rin doesn't seem to have any idea about the previous world, though this is exactly how she was becoming by going to the other school in the last episode. Even Kyousuke is a recluse now, and while Riki doesn't know why he would hole himself up in his room, is this perhaps self-punishment for essentially crushing Rin's soul?

Weirdly, Kengo seems to keep chirping on about finding a sport to bring everyone together. Both Rin and Riki comment on how familiar baseball feels, even though they shouldn't have played the sport since they were kids. You know, I think it's time to brace for the incoming 'eureka' moment.

Weirder still, both Masato and Kengo decline to play baseball with either of them, even when Rin seems to be making an effort to be a little social. They know something, that's for sure. In fact, I'd be willing to say that they know exactly what happened in the previous world, and Kyousuke too. What we don't know is why they can't go ahead and say it. What do they think Riki and Rin can do to rectify this situation? Is this really all about giving Rin confidence? I think it goes a bit deeper than that, and hey, we still haven't seen any of the other Little Busters members outside of flashbacks for a good while. 

Though I've been confused before, I think this is the first time that I can't even come up with something that might explain all of this, but hey-- all the more reason to eagerly await the next episode, right? Because eventually, this will all make sense, right? RIGHT?

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

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Chris Walden
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