TLDR: decent route with likable characters but not without a lot of bumps yet somehow managed to land safely at the end.
Can't believe I have not touched a single Visual Novel since the beginning of the year. (well, Baldr Sky kinda doesn't count since I started reading it at the end of 2020 😂)
Anyhow, though the journey has only just begun and there's a long way ahead, I still decided to write something about Little Busters!, or to be more specific, it's the Haruka route that piqued my interest.
To be extremely blunt, Haruka's route has some intriguing concepts and tries to be different with a daring approach compared to Key's usual works
(or maybe I just haven't spent enough time on their other titles).
I mean, there is some good ol' fashioned twin sister debacle which pretty much is a specialty of Key and something that I tend to have a soft spot for (Muv-luv, Higurashi, etc.).
Moreover, they even went as far as digging deep into the "ugly" side of certain characters, which I find rather compelling as substances for a story.
That said, the elephant in the room is undoubtedly the poorly structured plot device regarding the stupid family tradition crap that can't be taken seriously, whether from a practical or fictional standpoint.
For once, it's downright abused to incite melodrama and make way for the "nobody's in the wrong" card, which can get rather annoying or cringe-worthy even.
On top of that, I can't stress enough how awfully convenient and dumb the double husband fuckery is lol.
In short, it's a very stereotypical forced drama. And have I mentioned the "BaLaNcE bEtWeEn HaPiNeSs AnD MiSfOrTuNe" propaganda bs lmao.
Despite the resounding complaints, I don't mean to say it completely ruined my experience for this route or LB as a whole, for even amidst that chaos, they did bring up some nice themes such as:
- Learning to be
- A bootleg version of "Without love, it cannot be seen" (Umineko)
- Being considerate isn't always a good thing
- Twin-ish dilemma
Speaking of twins, the key characters (no pun intended) involved in this route are also well polished with sufficient development throughout the ride.
Yet again, thanks to the not-so wholesome plot, they, as the center of this route, were responsible for some seriously unbearable segments full of cringe and retardism.
Sorry for being a broken record, but man...both Haruka and Kanata have quite a lot of issues that considerably dampened the flow of the story to me.
At first, Haruka struck me as a fun and easy-going person, which is the main reason why I got invested in this route in the first place, but boi, I almost regretted that during the ride 😂. I mean, she can be a comedic factor to a group, but I can hardly take her random charade seriously.
Meanwhile, Kanata has a total disaster of an introduction because I lost count of the time I literally wanted to punch her to the face, but again, who could have seen that for real, and the table turned ridiculously fast as a result (which will be elaborated in a bit).
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is as everything slowly unveiled, it all added up and kinda justify their behaviors (I'm still a bit mad about the plot device though), so I guess they are not too bad as characters overall.
Like damn, the late-game interaction is just something pleasingly cathartic I'd say. Apart from that, the self-conflict within each of them was pretty well put, be it in a directed manner or saturated with nuances.
Now, I'm aware that my reactions to the characters and story appear to be rather extreme, but those were my honest feelings for them.
Nonetheless, do keep in mind that my opinion regarding the subjects in question did change in the end, and I see them in a more positive light now, at least for the characters that is.
I mean yeah, they can be absolutely annoying or dumb or whatever negative term you wanna use, but for some reason, I got used to that in time and even grew to like them more.
It was 12 am while I marathoned my way through to climax, and the finish line was crossed at roughly 3 am. This is but a rare occurrence, even back in my most active days of binge-reading VN.
Regardless, the resolution near the end feels a bit rushed and convoluted, but given Haruka's position in the heroine hierarchy (you get the idea), I guess it can't be helped.
Lastly, a funny thing is that while Haruka was the one thing that got me curious the most in the beginning, at the end of her route, Kanata easily took up that mantle, and I think I'm going to have a pretty rough time carving my path through LB till her route is unlocked 😭 (4 more routes + Refrain to finish bruh).
Of course, I'm not saying that Haruka or the other girls are bad (at least for now), but damn Kanata is really just something. She basically ticks most of the box for me when it comes to this kind of story, so welp.