Naoe Rikki is a shy, soft-spoken boy with four of the best friends he could hope for: Inohara Masato the muscle head, Miyazawa Kengo the kendo boy ( real creative name there), Rin the fiery girl with a penchant for adopting stray cats, and Natsume Kyousuke, the school heart-throb who acts like the group’s unofficial leader. Their gang name is Little Busters, and they saved Rikki from the worst depression of his life as a child when his parents died. They still hang out today, but  are in their penultimate high school year, with Natsume in his last. Knowing they won’t be together forever, they decide to spend this last year as a complete gang by doing something together – forming a baseball team. Called the Little Busters, of course.

Obviously, they need more than five members, but it looks like there’s plenty of visual novel-esque girls populating the school…

anyone who calls a cat ‘Einstein’ is a charming character in my book.

I probably need not mention how this is arguably the season’s most anticipated show, or how it’s a small wonder a Key game of its popularity took so long to get an anime, or even that there was some concern expressed about how decent it would be since the usual KyoAni wasnt handling it. But JC Staff have done an admirable job with the look and feel of the series, which is shaping up to be a high quality production. Here’s hoping they can maintain that level for the duration of the series.
My prior experience with the franchise was a small portion of a yonkoma manga that I read years and years ago, so long ago in fact that I totally forgot 4 of the lead characters in this are male. (looking at every piece of promotional art or figurine should tell you why it can be easy to forget this) The girls’ designs are suitably Key-cute, but I really like the guys too and I’m having a dim hope that the anime will make them more popular. I mean Rikki is voiced by Horie Yui, come on.
Little Busters was surprisingly enjoyable, proving that maybe I’m not sick of school anime after all. A good cast can go a longway, after all, and the little busters themselves can be hilarious. (Keisuke making quotes out of dumb crap Masato and Rin say is probably one of my favourite scenes from this new anime season so far) I’m not sure how much baseball is actually going to be featured – I honestly find sports incredibly boring and still don’t understand Japan’s fascination with this particular one and why it always bleeds into anime, but I’m sure the characters will be able to keep it interesting.
There’s a heavy Clannad vibe here; there’s moe without it being overly cloying, there’s decent male characters who aren’t blank slated for ronery otaku to project themselves onto (Rikki is freaking adorable actually) and they’re a lot of fun to watch together – so I’d definitely recommend this to any fans of Clannad (or Kanon, I guess, although I never did watch all of that myself).
I also like that JC Staff retained the original, now famous theme song from the game. The rest of the music, however, is far too MIDI-ish in my opinion, and I wouldnt be surprised if it actually was the game soundtrack.

So my running for what I’d like to blog for this season (There Can Only Be One with my schedule) is a battle between this, Chuunibyou and Shin Sekai, so let’s hope I can make up my mind soon.

Our first potential new Little Buster seems to be an airhead. Let’s hope there’s more to her personality next week.

Out of 5,