Several months has passed since Hanabee Entertainment’s first collected release of Little Busters Season One and with collection two I can say that the wait was well worth it. The second half of Little Busters takes the strong foundation of its first half and builds upon it in highly intriguing and decidedly unexpected ways resulting in a very compelling second cour for Little Busters first season. As much as Little Busters appears to be a simple run of the mill slice of life high school comedy, it is so much more than that. This series embodies the notion of not judging a book by its cover as it ventures into some truly remarkable territory in this second cour, the kind of story-telling terrain that you would never expect from a simply slice of life comedy, but once again Little Busters proves that it is a ground-breaking anime series by redefining genres and tearing down walls that hold up what we once thought an anime like this was meant to be.
In my previous review of Little Busters I mentioned that it felt like we were barely scratching the surface of where this series was going dramatically and with this second cour I was proved right. Digging deeper into the dramatic side of the spectrum Little Busters somehow manages to still retain its slice of life style while revealing layers of a mystery that plays out on a psychological level dealing with the nature of memories and ultimately what it means to be alive. Through this existential exploration, Little Busters journeys into territory that a series like this rarely does, proving to be a thought-provoking series beneath its vibrant plucky exterior.
As the series progresses we come to get to know these characters in greater detail and the drama that surrounds them will likely have you reaching for the tissue box with the tragedy that surround them. Inversely the series balances those elements with a comedic flair that will garner more than a few laughs with ease. It is a testament to the rich characterization that has gone into the series when you can be in tears one moment and laughing up a lung the next.
In retrospect with how far the series has come it is crazy to think that this once began as a simple slice of life about a group of friends trying to form a baseball team. By the time that Little Busters reaches its climax, you’ll be left in amazement at the places this story ventured. Considering the place it all began, it is astonishing what topics the series covers.
Ultimately what makes Little Busters such an unforgettable journey is the fact that it never loses its heart in the darkness it explores. It always remains a warm and hopeful story filled with broken characters who overcome their individual trauma with the help of one another. Little Busters is in the end a story about friendship and the inherent desire for connection that lies in the heart of us all.
Visuals and Audio
The aesthetic work of J.C. Staff continues its winning streak with the second cour and even appears to improve in subtle ways as it progresses on. The animation is smooth and crisp with a sense of style that feels unique to Little Busters. The vibrant colour palette serves as a powerful juxtaposition to the series more darker elements and maintains a positive and hopeful tone even in the most tragic of scenes. It is a superb contrast that adds insurmountably to the series.
Audio-wise Little Busters’ soundtrack is a solid effort all around with a tonally appropriate set of tracks that add to the scenes in which they play. The opening and ending themes are likewise fitting and open and end each episode on the right note. Also featured on the release is dual language audio. The English dub continues to be a quality production from Sentai Filmworks and does justice to the original Japanese audio.
Much like the first collected release from Hanabee Entertainment, Part 2 comes jam-packed with bonus content that will delight fans of the series. Following suit of the first release Hanabee has included another batch of character stickers bundled with the DVD. It must be noted though that these stickers are exclusive to the first run of copies of the series so you will have to get in quick if you are hoping to nab the stickers with your copy. As for on disc content, there are the usual clean opening and ending themes as well as Japanese promos for the series. All of this amounts to a top-notch release with plenty on offer for fans of the series looking for a real gem of a release for Little Busters.
Little Busters is in a league of its own. It does everything you expect it not to do and its all the more exciting for it. Just when you think you’ve got an idea of what is going to happen next, the series takes a sharp turn in a direction you didn’t even know existed. While it appears to be a light-hearted comedic romp on the surface, Little Busters deals with subjects that this genre dares not touch. Yet somehow someway Little Busters manages to exhibit a broad range of emotions, making you laugh, cry and feel.
Little Busters concludes in grand fashion with this second collected release and with the knowledge that Little Busters Refrain exists, one can only hope that it makes its way to our shores soon. Little Busters is an innovator in a genre that has grown stagnant over the years and it is one series that must be seen to be believed. This is a special one no doubt about it and any right-minded anime fan would make it their mission to experience it.
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