While the plot implications last episode take a curve route this time around the pattern remains consistent in its slice of life aspects as it introduces yet another new character.
This is something that can be said to be a factor in any Key series but more so in the first Clannad series and now Little Busters! and that would be the repetition of events in different forms while proceeding with a slice of life theme in the introduction of characters. For example the “fights” that is based on humor with Masato always getting the short end reminds me a bit of Sunohara consistently getting beat up by Tomoyo in which each time she beat the crap out of him with kicks but simply in different manners and always the same result.
While one could say that patterns lead to predictable results and in turn become cliche, people should note that there are blueprints to series like slice of lifes so repetition in said blueprints is only reasonable, as not everything can be original. As long as the plot comes together as the comedy ensues i have no problem, especially considering that heavy twists are even more effective than usual if the mood of a series is laid back, after all which is more surprising? A dark twist in a Seinen series or a dark twist in a slice of life series?
This episode takes a slight step back on the ominous implications that the ending of the last episode gave and simply brushed it off as a common occurrence, Though to say it will be brought up again is of course a safe bet as such things don’t simply go away in reasonable estimation. Something that was briefly noted upon though among all the laid back comedy was the aspect of setting. The school slice of life setting is a common known one, however the slight difference is the emphasis on selecting ones future, particularly in relation to Kyousuke who is one year older. Since he is older he should have more focus on finding a job or studying for college which he is obviously not giving special attention to either one. This series has already established themes of letting go and moving on from the get go, its the very reason that has been given for the current activities, to have fun together now since they may not be able to later, so it was a nice touch to add background pressure on a already known theme.
As letting go is a known theme it is only obvious to touch upon what one is letting go, and if one currently has anything even worth hanging on to in the first place. Riki appears to be the only one who is absolutely sure of what he wants to hang on to while the rest seem to waver in what they desire, it may be a bit cliche but i see them finding a different aspect of themselves as the activities go on. The group in general has long time connections, thus to say that they are comfortable in each others company is a fair statement but to say one truly belongs to something is entirely different, it can become exceedingly difficult to find ones place in the world as more often than not one can feel left behind by not finding it quick enough, so even if one is successful and talented like the new member they can still feel off balance by the consistent moving of time which throws them off pace.
While its already been known that the Little Busters! stand out more than you average crowd and that Kyousuke in particular is extremely popular as he is the school idol, it shows its influence particularly in this episode. One could simply say Kurugaya approached Riki because he is the MC and that’s how it goes, but another way to look at it is because she knew that he was from an eccentric group and that one of its members could relive her of her boredom. Though it should be noted that she took a more serious approach to Kyousuke than Riki but that may just be me looking to much into it.
The one who is good at everything, the do all girl which many series tend to have. However life is meant to be difficult so when things come to easily, one can feel indifference or boredom at the lack of entertainment in absence of struggle. One who struggles daily would jump at the opportunity to kick back and relax but to have no struggling at all would have the opposite effect which shows in Kurugaya’s desire for entertainment.
So when the Little Busters! caught her eye it was only natural that she would join to amuse herself. While her character may be expanded afterwards i see her playing the part of the stability in a group which is based off of impulse thanks to Kyousuke’s habits. One girl in class referred to her as Anego which means older sister and this symbolizes what i see her role playing out to be, especially considering the way she treats the rest of them, like toying with Riki then calling him boy despite likely being the same age.
The episode didn’t hold as many plot implications as the last episode nor did it feature much development in characters outside of Riki and Kurugaya but it was still enjoyable and considering these character introductions are to be expected it was done well. The comedy used old patterns but it was still enjoyable, Masato in particular does a good job at managing the comedy. I think its safe to say from the preview that the next character and likely the next member will show up next episode, i look forward to it.