Little Busters! (First Impressions)

It has been two years since Key graced us with yet another anime masterpiece in the form of Angel Beats!, so when news came afloat that the company was having another one of its visual novels (if you are not sure what a visual novel is, check here) adapted into an anime (the others being Kanon, Air and Clannad, while Angel Beats! was created as a standalone anime) excitement levels were high, especially among some of us at the Alt:Mag HQ. Kanon (2006) is without a doubt, my all time favourite anime, and the others follow closely behind. There is just something about Key anime that you cannot find anywhere else. The animation and character design is always spectacular, the music always kicks butt and the stories always whisk you away to a brand new comfort zone.

Little Busters! is one episode in and it is already hinting that it has the potential to do that exact thing, but it is definitely not beating around the bush. The first episode was more of an introduction of what to expect in later episodes than a full on episode. If you asked me what happened in that episode, I'd probably answer you with "well, not much happened."

Remember that this post is nothing more than an account of my first impressions, not a review or anything. Okay, so the episode starts off with a fellow standing on a hill and announcing that he has returned. This is a guy called Kyousuke, a member of the Little Busters!, who are simply a group of friends who as kids used to defeat evil (when I say evil, I mean simply stuff like knocking down wasp nests and things like that). Just when I thought this Kyousuke was going to be the main protagonist (he fits the height and voice test for a Key protagonist), this younger looking guy called Riki (who is voiced by a chick) starts telling his life story about how his parents died and how the Little Busters! came and let him into their group and eventually his grief faded away. However, during Riki's re-telling of his past, you notice something amazing - the music. The music that is played during this segment fits the mood perfectly. I honestly felt like Riki was sat there telling his story to me in person. The music continued to be the highlight of the first episode, and I even think there was some chiptune sounding stuff thrown in there too?

You meet each of the Little Busters! and a lot of funny scenes happen. Each member of the group has their own distinct personality. There are two other guys I need to mention, who at the moment seem to function as comic relief characters. They are Masato, the cringy body-builder dude and Kengo, the cynical swordsman. Most of the first episode focuses on Riki looking back at his past and this bizarre idea that Kyousuke has to make a baseball team.  There is a lot of funny happenings that take place because of this, such as Rin (the only female member of the Little Busters!) going in to the girl's dorm to recruit members for the baseball team, but failing because of awful instructions being given to her over headset by the rest of the team. That scene made me laugh a lot. There is also a lot of visual effects that are used to add further hilarity to the comedy, which I hear are similar to the actual visual novel.

The episode ends with Riki running to the rooftop of the boarding school in which the anime takes place to go ask a girl to sign up for their baseball team, who is obviously going to have a high importance in the story. The episode ended literally as she was shown and I am really excited to find out who this girl is. I have never played the visual novel of Little Busters! so everything here is new to me, just like it was when watching the other Key anime series. But I like that the anime isn't just squeezing everything into one episode and making everything happen too fast. I like the way that the anime is holding back and relaxing when it comes to plot development. It gives me more to look forward to next week when the second episode comes out.

So as a fan of everything Key does, what are my first impressions? Well, there are hints that Little Busters! has the potential to be the best anime of this season. The animation and music (so far) is fantastic, the characters are all hilarious and deep (depending on their use in the story) and the story seems to be going somewhere incredibly interesting. I am going to re-watch the first episode today so I can understand it a little better (if I need to) and notice things that I may have missed. But I definitely think that Key may have a winner with this one.

What did you think of the Little Busters! first episode? Let us know in the comments section below, or drop us a line on our Facebook page or give us a tweet, we'd love to hear your thoughts!

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