Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Little Busters! VN Review
This post doesn't contain spoilers (at least not intentionally, if there are any). This post is quite lengthy by the way.
And so, I just finished Little Busters VN a few days ago. Took me almost two weeks to complete it. Now, here I am, just want to share my thoughts on this VN.
While the background and other things were good, I do have a huge complaint about the art: WHY COULDN'T THEY GET NA-GA TO DRAW ALL CHARACTERS!?
If you don't understand what I'm talking about, let me explain. Little Busters was drawn by two people, namely Na-Ga and Hinoue Itaru. Na-Ga took care of Rin, Kud, and Mio while Hinoue Itaru took care of Komari, Yuiko, and Haruka. I don't really know about the male characters, but my guess is that Na-Ga got Kengo and Riki and Itaru got Masato and Kyousuke
And well, basically, Itaru's drawings were terrible and she should just let Na-Ga to draw her portion. Thanks to that, Yuiko, Haruka, and Komari's route potential was not exploited optimally. I don't care how much she contributed to Key in the past, but Little Busters would be much better if she was replaced by a better artist (or maybe if she improved her skill a lot).
I don't have any real problem with the art other than that, so it was good overall I suppose.
Rating : A-
I won't get long with this one. The music is simply amazing. The OP and ED music especially, really captured my heart. However, I do think there are some instance in which the music doesn't really fit (or there is no music) in which chipped away its greatness a little.
Rating : S-
Just like any other VN, it has Save, Load, Skip Previously Read Text, Fast Forward, etc. The battle sequence is pretty fun but I got bored to it after finishing one route, same with the baseball game. However, the thing that captivated me the most is how the "New Game" changed into "Refrain", simple but really made an impact in my opinion.
Rating : A
Finally I get to the point! First, let me tell you the composition of the story in case you don't know.
The game started with common route, which is pretty much a needlessly very long fun high school life told in a boring way. It made me sleepy. Basically, they just want to show how peaceful and happy their ordinary life is. However, I think this is a necessary evil in order to make the later development create more impact.
Well, it's pretty much the same with any other Key's nakige, a fun ordinary lives in the first half, followed by a heart-warming romance, but ended with tragic separation, though they finally got a happy ending. Add a little magic to that equation and you got Clannad with a theme of friendship, that is Little Busters.
Then, after the common route, the story branch to each heroine route. Overall, the heroines' route is good at best. I will examine the heroines' route in the characters section after this, so let's move on.
After you finish a heroine route, her route will be blocked until you complete the game. And so you have no choice but to proceed and finish all route. I don't like this enforcement to read every heroine route in existence, but there's no other choice. Luckily, we have a very useful fast forward function embedded in button "Ctrl".
In case you managed to overcome that trial (with or without Ctrl), a second Rin route will spawn. And yes, Rin is the main heroine in case you haven't realize. And so, after you finish this second Rin route, the final route, Refrain, will be available.
Now, I want to talk about Refrain.
If Muv-Luv Alternative can be summarized as a tale of love and courage, Refrain is a tale of friendship. Little Busters' friendship.
Written by Jun Maeda, Refrain is the part that made Little Busters epic. It picture just how beautiful a great friendship can be. It shows just how noble a sacrifice can be. It enlighten your friendliness in an artistic way.
Refrain will make you depressed, sad, and cried. To be honest, it's been a while since I last cried that hard (more like, I don't believe your heart hasn't turned into stone if you didn't cry!).
It was awesome, really. I recommend you to play Refrain in one sit. That is, not going to toilet or eat or being cut off in the middle only to resume it again later. Just don't. The experience will be more wonderful that way, it's only about 6 hours anyway :)
However, it also has some flaws. Just like Clannad (anime), I'm having a hard time to understand how did they reach that ending. It's just.... confusing. Well, other than that, there's no other real flaw I guess, so it's still great overall.
...There is one actually, I don't like how there was none of the new members show up. Meaning, Refrain is only about Riki, Rin, Masato, Kengo, and Kyousuke. Mio, Yuiko, Komari, Haruka, and Kud didn't show up at all. It'll much better if they showed up even for just a little. I mean, isn't it weird they just disappeared all of the sudden?
Common Route : D
Heroines Route : B
Refrain : S
Character - Mio
One of my favourite character. Her character and verbal banter is just.. funny. Love books. Always carrying around parasol for a spoiler reason.
Her scenario was written by Leo Kashida. And regretfully, I don't really like it on top it being very short compared to other heroine. As her route is the first story I entered, I felt like I was deceived. I mean, everyone said Little Busters is amazing, and I myself thought it would be a tear-jerking like Clannad's Fuuko route at least. Turned out I didn't feel sad even a little....
Character : A+
Scenario : B-
Character - Haruka
She's your troublemaker heroine. As simple as that. In a bad term with Futaki Kanata for spoiler reason.
Written by Chika Shirokiri, her scenario is just the opposite with Mio, it's ridiculously long! I mean, isn't she just an unimportant side heroine? It's not that I dislike her, but if they could make her route this long, why didn't they make Yuiko and Mio's route longer!? Those damn heretics!
Leaving that aside, her route is good I suppose, at least compared to Mio, Yuiko, and Rin.
Character : A-
Scenario : A-
Character - Kud
The loli heroine for those lolicons, that is what Kud basically is. And since I'm not a lolicon, in addition of disliking loli in general, on top of feeling like pedophile while playing her route, the conclusion is... I hate her.
Written by Chika Shirokiri, on the contrary of her character, her route look quite great. Why did I say 'look' you ask? Because I skipped through her route of course! I will just content myself with the anime for her route. By the way, the scale of the conflict in her route is greater than any other heroine, that's for sure. Which is the reason I wondered again, why didn't they make greater scenario for Yuiko and Mio!?
After pondering for a second, I came to a conclusion that's because the number of lolicon is simply overwhelming in Japan....
Character : C
Scenario : A+
Character - Komari
Your sunshine in this broken world. She's a very good person, and generally I great heroine. However, her voice is just so annoying, making it impossible for me to like her.
Written by Yuuto Tonokawa, her scenario is nice. I'm pretty sure I would've cried if only her voice is just not annoying, but since I already know her story in the anime, I just skipped through it.
Character : A+
Scenario : A+
Character - Rin
For a main heroine, Rin is somewhat inferior in my opinion. She's not interesting at all. She's shy, spoiled, and can't think for herself. I don't like her. They should choose someone other than her to be the main heroine (like Yuiko for example!). However, she still has some shining moments I suppose.
Written by Jun Maeda, her route is a huge letdown. I expected the main heroine's route to be terrific, but it's just mediocre in the end. Not to mention that Riki's behavior in her route is somewhat idiotic and unrealistic. Well, since her story is just a prologue for Refrain, maybe it's fine after all.
Character : B
Scenario : C
Character - Yuiko
Finally we got into my favourite character! Yeah! She's the best heroine in Little Busters. She's smart, strong, and mature. Not to mention, she likes cute things on top of acting like Onee-san. Simply put, she's perfect. How dare they make her as a side heroine!? May they be punished eternally for it!
Written by Yuuto Tonokawa, her scenario is mediocre actually, but since we get to see her dere side there, my final judgement is it was good! Seriously, her being dere is just....
Speaking of which, do you notice how I am calling her 'Yuiko' albeit no character actually call her that? Why? Because that name is cute of course!
By the way, her character is so superb that I think Riki doesn't deserve her at all. Someone like Kyousuke would be a better match.
Character : S
Scenario : B+
Your life is not complete before you play Little Busters at least once! Although it has some flaws, Refrain is more than compensating for it. Would be much better if Key used a better artist.
And I wonder when will I get to play Ecstasy... (primarily because I like Kanata, but Saya also seems very interesting)