Annotated Anime: Little Busters!: Refrain Ep. 9


This Kud change everything

What do you all think about the supernatural and complex plot we've found ourselves in? You could say it was pretty obvious something like this would happen, what with Key's track record, but I'm not sure I've ever seen something so...hard to predict? It's not even that it's hard to see what's coming up in the short term, but rather it's the long-term plans in this alternate world that are hard to understand. I'm sure we're fast approaching the eureka moment, but my head is starting to hurt. Anyway!

With Masato re-recruited, it's time to try Kengo again. You know, it kind of makes sense that we'd have to deal with the problems of the original Little Busters members sooner or later. We spent a lot of time last season focused on the newer members, so it does provide a good opportunity for us to learn a little more about the guys we just expect to be around. That, and this show has been pretty good recently for throwing some 'feel good' moments our way.

I mean, I'm not entirely sure what I'm feeling good about, but it's something!

While Kengo was initially supportive of Riki trying to get the Little Busters back together, we saw his attitude change when baseball became the sport of choice. Riki shouldn't have any idea that they used to be part of a baseball club, having lost his memories of the 'original' world, and Kengo seems pretty adamant that things do not end up happening in the same way as last time. What does that even mean? I'm starting to wonder if the so called "secret of the world" is really the most complex surprise birthday party for Riki. Actually, I think I'd be fully on board if that's what happens after all of this drama.

Kengo seems pretty determined to avoid something bad happening to Riki, and Kyousuke seems to consider himself at fault if anything does happen to her. You know, it's really darn weird talking about the repercussions of an event we haven't even seen yet, but that's this show for you. Weirdly, the normally silent Kyousuke actually gives a tip to Riki when he pops by with some food. A sign that the leader of old is still there somewhere? I don't know, especially as this could be Kyousuke's hands-off approach to prepare Riki for leading the Little Busters. Gah, I don't know!

With a little bit of help, Riki susses out that Kengo didn't injure himself in the fight with Masato a few episodes ago, and that he's seemingly using it as an excuse to avoid playing baseball. Pretty reasonable if he's so determined to prevent the Little Busters from regrouping, at least as a baseball club. So of course, the best thing to do in such a situation is to agree to Riki's proposal of a baseball contest - the first one to hit a home run. Sound familiar? This is probably messing with both Kengo and Masato, knowing that this has already happened once before but under different circumstances. Kengo has already established himself as a very proud and strong character, and while he's definitely a kind-hearted chap, he isn't going to back down from a fight. Or a home run contest.

Now, I'm no baseball expert, but isn't there a limit to the number of foul balls that can occur for a single batter? Either way, Riki puts up a great fight against Kengo, using foul balls to his advantage while he slowly learns how to best hit the baseball. This scene is really corny, but I couldn't help but watch it with a huge grin on my face. Riki might not be setting precedents for new and interesting male protagonists, but his sheer determination and perseverance are an absolute joy to watch. Especially if you understand what is going on!

With Kengo's spectacular loss, we finally see him acknowledge in monologue that he was doing everything to protect Rin and Riki from...something. Not hugely informative, that's for sure, but it proves that he was acting with good intentions. However, I'm a little baffled by his tears at the end of the episode. It seems like, as he says himself, that they're tears of regret. He shouldn't have tried to stop Rin and Riki from having a fun childhood, just like his own father stopped him. Of course, the situation is different since Kengo's father seemed to be acting for selfish reasons; Kengo was only blocking Rin and Riki out of a desire to protect them.

So what really gets me is how, if this 'something' that will happen is so terrible, that Kengo is willing to cry tears of joy over losing in his bet? Masato must have been in the same position, and we know he retains his memories of the past since he references something that happened in the baseball club in the original timeline. With me? Because I'm not so sure I am! [Editor's Note: You know, I'm not watching this show, but I have a sneaking suspicion I wouldn't understand this any more if I were actually watching it.]

I guess what I'm concerned about is just how terrible this 'thing' is going to be, and if these guys are so adamant to not let it happen again, why would they buckle to Riki at all? Ah well, I think we're about to have the world reset again anyway, so perhaps we'll find out sometime before this show ends!

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

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Chris Walden
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