Episode 04 – “Riki and Rin”
I honestly didn’t expect this series to hook me as it has. For me, the first series was just a nice little thing to watch on the weekends with some drama attached to the characters. I liked the characters and the friendly clubhouse atmosphere, but it wasn’t anything that blew me away (except for maybe Haruka’s arc). Actually, I went back and watched a few episodes recently and found that I enjoy them a lot more now. So maybe the change happened with me and not so much the transition to the second season.
Still, I think many of us can agree that the source material for Refrain is fantastic, regardless of what you may think about J.C. Staff’s adaptation of it. Since I haven’t played the visual novel, I feel like I can’t make proper judgment concerning that issue. What I can say though is that the story is engrossed me in such a way that I literally can’t wait for each week for the new episode. It’s a feeling that I love and hate, for obvious reasons, and I don’t really remember the last time I’ve felt like this. There have been fantastic series this year, but none really pulled at me in the same way Refrain has.
For all of the Rin and Riki shippers out there (me included), we get vindication as they begin dating this episode. It’s a very cute and awkward transition into relationship status, and I think it does a good job of representing what most high school couples are like (the cute ones, anyway). Plus, they play this amazing track! It’s very rare and refreshing to see romance so delicately handled, without being overly cliche and predictable. So I guess it’s not that I don’t like romance, I’m just rarely impressed or moved by it. It’s a plot element that’s so ubiquitous that it’s become incredibly stale and meaningless.
Personally, I don’t believe that’s the case for Little Busters. Here, the romance seems to play into a much bigger plot, something that I can’t seem to fathom at the moment, and I think same held true with Clannad as well. Must be a Key thing. Also, why does everyone keep disappearing?! I thought it was just a Kurugaya thing, but it seems that she was just the first to go. The worst part is that Riki doesn’t even know that this is going on.
I have a few theories about what might be going on, and I really don’t like any of them. I really want a happy ending out of all of this, but I can’t see how it’ll be possible. My theory right now is that Riki is in a narcoleptic coma, and Kyousuke is somehow altering Riki’s memory so that he can have happy memories, like To the Moon or Eternal Sonata. I just want everyone to be friends forever, is that so much to ask for?!