Anime of Tomorrow
Little Busters Ep. 1
Autumn 2012 to winter 2013 (26 episodes) (more info)
Over the past ten years, Key has released quite a few anime all to broad critical acclaim (with the exception of Kanon 2002, but I overlook that since they made up for their miss with Kanon 2006). With their fantastic list of well-written titles accompanied by gorgeous music including Air, Kanon, Clannad and Angel Beats, at this stage, the maker of these terrific series can pretty much do no wrong by me.
Now that I’ve established my fanboy tendencies from a time before I’d even heard of this anime, where on the spectrum does Key’s latest release lie? It seems that Little Busters looks set to take the prize for “most lighthearted story” so far with a starting cast composed of a compassionate group of five childhood friends who have all been assigned some excitingly nontypical roles. There is Kyousuke the contemplative and caring big brother, Masato the musclebound hothead who always gets into trouble, Rin the cute and smart-mouthed tomboy, Kengo the serious athlete and main character Riki whose calm and soft spoken personality voiced by Yui Horie binds everyone together.
While I can’t begin to guess what interesting traits the other members of the Little Busters baseball team in potential might possess, so far the setting is grounded firmly in reality even more than Kanon or Clannad. With so many important male characters already established and a tone that is fun and playful, while—so far at least—devoid of anything supernatural, Little Busters has already done a fantastic job of setting itself apart from the rest of Key’s anime in a very distinct way. Even the music has a very different feel compared to Key’s other works. There’s a certain spunk to it that gives me a big, happy smile whenever I listen to the soundtrack that’s all its own.
Really, I can’t believe it took so long for this game to be made into an anime. Teaming up with J.C. Staff to help animate Little Busters is different from how things usually go, but now that it’s here and I’ve seen its strong start, I know my six-year-long anticipation was well worth the wait.