Episode 11 – “The End of the World”
So when people said that ~Refrain~ is sadder than Clannad: After Story, I eagerly waited around to see what they were talking about. Well, it took 11 episodes but I finally see what they were saying. And yes, I think I would have to agree because at least After Story has a happy ending thanks to a twist of fate and act of kindness by the very town itself. I suppose ~Refrain~ might have a deus ex machina moment too (I would love one), but it would be much more unexpected here.
In After Story, the entire two series builds up to a point where Tomoya is allowed to essentially rebuild the world and have a second chance. This is all foreshadowed by the scenes in the other world as well as other moments, so it’s not really that out of the blue. However, in ~Refrain~ it’s kind of the opposite. The entire two series builds up to destroying the world, along with the characters and memories, you’ve come to know and love. I know that wasn’t exactly Kyousuke’s intention, but man, just thinking about it pains me.
Basically, we finally learn the entire truth and the secret to the world. Kyousuke and the others were killed in a bus accident, and Riki and Rin were the only survivors. By uniting their spirits, they’re able to create this eternal world where they would help Riki and Rin become stronger people. Otherwise, they would fall into despair after waking to see everyone else dead. Of course, this eternal world can’t last forever and with the last of his strength, Kyousuke sends them off into the real world.
It’s definitely a remarkable story, and the setup is powerful (spanning over 30 episodes in anime form). It’s certainly powerful enough to have me here, staring blankly at my computer screen trying to think of something meaningful to say. I was actually worried that I wouldn’t be impressed by the story’s big climax. But for all of the shortcomings that may have existed with J.C. Staff’s adaptation, the source material was strong enough to carry through, along with all of its heart and emotion.
Just thinking about how Masato knew the secret of the world, yet put on the act of being stupid for the sake of everyone’s happiness, and seeing Kengo and Kyousuke, the normal pillars of strength, reduced to tears was enough to do the same to me. But, there are two more episodes. Where will Riki and Rin end up in the real world? Will it start from the bus wreck or maybe they’ll wake up in hospital beds? Regardless, I’m curious (i.e. dying to know) what kind of events will happen now that it’s just the two of them…
“And remember no matter what, you must not cry.” ~ Kyousuke Natsume
This episode…….wow. The wait for this episode was painful since I had a lot of schoolwork and some testing the week before, not to mention I had so much hype since I’d been told this was going to be the best episode of the series. After the suffering and waiting, I watched the episode and……..I was truly blown away. What a beautiful watch.
Refrain had been building everything up to this point and there was a lot of foreshadowing, yet it all hit me so hard once it was explained regardless. This was a really emotional episode and I was tearing up watching how everything unfolded. In particular, when Kyousuke started breaking down, that really showed just how heartbreaking the whole scenario was. I’d seen a bunch of people criticize the adaptation and talk about how it hadn’t done justice to the VN and whatnot, but…..after this episode, I don’t care. I CAN’T care. This episode was utterly amazing and my expectations were more than fulfilled. If the VN is truly that much better, all that means is I have such a glorious experience ahead of me once I do play it.
Yup, J.C. Staff definitely pulled out all the stops for this episode and it kind of releases every single emotion that’s been building up throughout the two seasons.
I’m curious as to what the VN version of this point is like, but at least I can say that I was able to experience a pretty great version by watching the anime.
I’m a visual novel reader. I read Little Busters.
Let me tell you this, this one was weak.
Firstly the comedy doesn’t click and the whole 26 episode of season 1 wasn’t that good so the build-up wasn’t as great as the visual novel(if it was a good build up for you then it’s good).
Secondly, they just didn’t show some key point and character development.. an example would be how Kurugaya’s route didn’t really explain well what it was really about, Rin route second half getting cut in a mere 2min..
Lastly, refrain in the anime(starting at episode 7) was a mess. It wasn’t near epic as in the visual novel. The essential build-up wasn’t there, Rin state wasn’t explained well enough.. the whole atmosphere of despair and melancholy wasn’t there in ALL of refrain.
Now for the character arc in refrain..
Masato one wasn’t good. I’m sorry but it was not even the same thing. Masato struggle wasn’t explained, a lot of his despair in the fight with Riki was omitted, the music background was stupid…(fighting OST while in the visual novel you thought your life was in danger..) and his words at the end of his arc was totally summarized.
Kengo wasn’t as bad as Masato but it lacked the proper build-up refrain gives you. You didn’t even saw Rin getting more and more lively…
Kyousuke. Wow. No. It wasn’t as tragic as in the novel, actually they rewrote the script of it in the anime.. I won’t spoil but it wasn’t explained well what he did in that “other world”.
Now the end of the anime. Episode 11 wasn’t as emotional as the anime, the insert song was inserted akwardly and Masato goodbye was so stupid while in the novel it was serious…
Kengo one was alright but Kyousuke one was good.
Episode 12 and 13 are where refrain was supposed to give a good despair then finish it happy but here it was just.. anticlimatic with bad OST choices…
All in all, the anime was an OKAY adaptation. It could have been way better enough to forge it into your mind for a LONG time but it just became average after all.