“Hey…is it fun?
Being alone and chasing after Maria?
Is it fun?”
-Saki Watanabe to Mamoru Itou, Shin Sekai Yori Episode Eight
Category Archives: Colloquia
ajthefourth: A sneaking suspicion has been building for some time that not all is right with the Little Busters! universe. Well beyond the fact that Komari was allowed to grow up without understanding death – something that anyone who could pass for a parent would explain to their child at a very young age – it wafts through every interaction like a bad stench. Something stinks in Little Busters!.
otou-san: I feel like I really denied everyone the opportunity to witness me foaming at the mouth when it comes to last week’s Literary Bus (awful twitter joke ahoy). But as AJ4 mentioned last time, it turns out I do value the arrival of my firstborn slightly more than Key-shaming. Thanks to our guest Myst for holding down the fort.
As the cast of Little Busters! builds, so does my irritation. The arrival of new characters is always welcome in a harem setup, and an element of contrivance is to be expected just to make it happen. But honestly, I don’t think it’d be that difficult to pump a cast full of girls without resorting to “awful ojousama character just appears and forces herself upon Riki and the Busters while laughing.”
vucubcaquix: There’s a thematic contradiction brewing in Shin Sekai Yori. Last week we teased out how the show means to comment on the nature of conflict in humanity, and of burgeoning sexuality, through allusions and comparisons to dystopian literature and Buddhist dogma. The opening moments of the first episode showed a nameless child with psychokinetic (PK) powers lashing out violently and indiscriminately; the ensuing episodes seemed to reinforce the commentary that this type of power is corrupting. But whether its influence damns humanity into violence, or humanity as a whole is unworthy of this power to begin with remains to be seen. Either scenario is like some take on original sin, but with a different inherent perspective/locus on the Fall of Man.
“With his new, heightened feelings, he was overwhelmed by sadness at the way the others had laughed and shouted, playing at war. But he knew that they could not understand why, without the memories. He felt such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories. And he could not give them those.”
-The Giver, Lois Lowry
ajthefourth: One cannot go through life, as much as it may pain one’s perfectionist heart to admit, without being inferior to others in various ways. The inverse is also the case and, when comparing one’s self to others, one will always find something that they can best another in. Cliché though it may be, it is our differences that allow us to function as a society. It is the conflicts that arise from these differences that allow growth and eventual prosperity. Dystopian fiction is nothing new, and often aims to depict a state of humanity that has failed to navigate the treacherous balance between prosperity and self-indulgence through the presentation of a controlled, formulaic society. Shin Sekai Yori adds its own spice through the introduction of psychokinetic powers as the next step granted humans in their evolutionary process. Of course, this brings about its own bloody consequences, where select “PK users” abuse their powers, eventually resulting in the destruction and inevitable reconstruction of the current society that the series introduces its audience to.
ajthefourth: First, a housekeeping announcement. Otou-san will not be here this week due to the fact that he has become a real-life dad, as opposed to a figurative one to all of us in the anime blogging community. He will be back in due time. What this means for this week is decidedly less vitriol, unfortunately, and a mystery guest that I dragged in here, kicking and screaming, who will be introduced in a few moments.
*Myst catches a rubber ducky* “What am I supposed to do with this!?”
*AJ catches a longsword* “Where did this come from? Ah well, let’s go with it.”
ajthefourth: As mentioned last week, Little Busters introduces a different set-up scenario than previously-adapted Key works by having a main group of five pre-established friends. What this means for our hero, Riki Naoe, is that he’s not isolated due to a recent relocation (Yukito, Air, Yuichi, Kanon) or lacks friends due to his perceived delinquency (Tomoya, Clannad), which already makes him very different from his predecessors. What this means for our story is that there are existing relationships to build upon, ones that will contrast with the developing relationships that Riki is sure to establish with the to-be future haremettes, or baseball team members.
However, the most interesting study in Little Busters, both from a literal and construction standpoint, is the character of Rin Natsume. The fact that she has been included as a “member” from the get-go makes her unique, simply because of her gender. This is no watery childhood friendship, a promise to be lost to memory and the whispering wind, Rin is already well within Riki’s radar because she’s already his actual friend.