Little Busters! Refrain Anime Review

1Title: Little Busters! Refrain

(Season 2 of Little Busters)

Publisher: Sentai

North American Release Date: Jan 20, 2015

Format: Blu-ray or DVD / 13 Episodes / 325 minutes

Genre: mystery, drama,high school friendship

Age Rating: TV 14+

Overall Personal Rating: A-


Among the strange happenings and odd behavior of his friends, Riki finds himself in sort of a relationship with Kurugaya. Even worse is the troubling Deja vu he keeps feeling. But it’s not Kurugaya who is his girlfriend, it actually turns out to be Rin. What happened? This seems to be changing the group dynamic in the circle of friends.

Rin is struggling with her feelings of being scared. Riki wants to help draw her back out but his friends are being distant and saying things that don’t make sense. Riki hears the reference to “this world”, and seeks to find out the mystery. There is a sense that someone is orchestrating the events and their lives.

The Little Busters has fallen apart as a group, everyone seems to be in their own struggles, separating themselves. Riki focuses on Rin, but also decides that he will bring the Little Busters back together and take on the role of Kyousuke, who had previous been the leader of the group, who has now isolated himself in his darkened room.

Riki leads Rin through a series of difficulties, finally finding comfort and routine in playing catch, although they can’t remember ever playing the game before. As they work through the problems and find increasing inconsistencies in their lives, they become stronger and steadier.

As the finale of the story begins, the true purpose and meaning of all the events are exposed. But it doesn’t appear to be enough, and all is lost. Even so, Rin isn’t ready to give up.



Little Busters! Refrain really jumps into the story with all of the clues and strange incidents to ponder as Riki tries to live everyday life with his friends but somehow being left in a confused state. A pancake party and a night of fireworks seems like old times, however almost everyone else around him seems to know something is wrong and even what that might be.

Based on a visual novel, Little Busters! Refrain rather brilliantly brings the aspect of the game’s repeating format into the story, probably made easy by the otherworldly aspects of the plot.

Although this is Season 2, this is the third part, which is a bit confusing since the first 13 episodes is part one of season 1, the next 13 is part 2 of Season 1, and finally it is finished with “Refrain”. It would be best to seen the previous 26 episodes or played the game before watching. Having said that, I must admit this was my first exposure to Little Busters!  Not knowing any of the story, never hearing anyone talk about it and relying on the back of the box, I was expecting a comedy centered around baseball. Well, within a few episodes, I realized there wasn’t going to be much baseball and everything was going to be more on the side of serious and mysterious. To clarify things, I looked it all up to figure out what was going on. I ended up with some spoilers, but that was okay, it actually helped me to really look for clues along the way and anticipate the ending. Besides, I really wouldn’t have wanted to keep going, it was too out there and confusing, my fault for jumping in so late. I did stick it out, and was glad that I did.

Little Busters! Refrain was nicely animated, with beautiful settings, nice details and interesting visuals to tell the supernatural/mysterious side of things. The music and sound support help set the moods and situations without being forceful. Notable for me, was the uneasy melancholy it expressed for Riki.

Enthusiastic and dedicated characters, while over the top sometimes (it is anime after all), really propelled the story forward. They acted as an anchor which was quite important since the story was so interwoven and split into different and changing events, sometimes falling back into itself.  Viewers might miss the secondary characters from the first season because they often are forgotten, but don’t worry. They do get some screen time, but the finale really concentrates the theme of friendship and sacrifice, focusing on the original 5 of the Little Busters group. It is a dramatic and satisfying conclusion to the whole series.


Overall Grade: A-  


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