You see, the problem with how it was received was more likely due to the things built around it, rather than the product itself in terms of which one gave more tension to people. The product itself only made people hate it more because of what things surrounded the title.
The Little Busters! Anime was in line for “Key’s next feels anime” with hype surrounding the show. The problem is, when you’re literally riding behind the CLANNAD anime series, and the Angel Beats! Series --Which both became a phenomenon in the anime industry-- you have a lot of hype surrounding you, since those 2 series literally caused more fans to recognize the Key brand, during, and even after the time it aired.
When going into the anime, people weren’t even fond of J.C. Staff handling the show itself, which causes a negative outcome (such as with the Rewrite anime being done by 8-Bit), and when it actually aired, people were disappointed. We were introduced to a bland male character who compares nothing to previous Key title protagonists, along with forced comedy that just didn’t work, and art & animation that couldn’t help save it from a negative response.
The problem with Little Busters! is the very fact that it was riding popular and well-received works, only to be a disappointment. When you compare it to other Key anime series, there’s an obvious quality drop that can be noticed straight from episode 1.
The problem after that (in my opinion) was the idea of going into Komari’s route, which wasn’t strong because it just felt very forced because of how it was handled. Then we go into Mio’s route, which is boring to say the least. I get that they were going route-to-route, but they had to choose 2 of the weakest routes in the visual novel, and couldn’t have tried to change it to make it at least more appealing. The romance being cut is also bad, since Riki never got close to any of the heroines, so when their routes were latched onto him in the anime, it just felt as though they were trying to force a Key story out of an actual Key story.
I partly blame the original source material for some of the route flaws.
Season 2 I’d say, is better, but overall makes Season 1 seem even worse. We are now going into the darkness that is Little Busters!, and get into the beef that is the drama. After a certain someone’s route that left a lingering feeling, we go into the actual Refrain segment. You see, the problem with Refrain is that you have to actually care about the characters, which, the anime failed to achieve in season 1. They were busy with the forced routes and corny jokes to give development to the Little Busters! gang as a whole. They couldn’t achieve showing the “heart” of what being in a part of the Little Busters! meant, well-enough.
Also, this is probably just me, but we got introduced to Rin, who is the most utterly worst Key heroine in existence. All anime-heroines from previous Key works have had such a significance to their respective franchises, and now, we are introduced to Key’s downfall of a heroine who gives ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the story and is only used so that there could be a romantic relationship in the show (not that the romance was good either. It was by far the worst Key has ever done in the anime-medium. That’s saying a lot because there was no romance in Planetarian). She is a useless, unappealing Key heroine who I am glad is in a story that focuses about Friendship instead of romance, because there are clearly better heroines in the story who deserve that Key-heroine pedestal.
And another thing. The music was WAY OVERUSED. Do you know how many times they used “Melancholy of a Noisy Girl”, “Tick Tock Routine”, and “Race” in season 1? They even used “Song For Friends” around 4 times in Season 2.
(Refrain ending) The ending also didn’t help Little Busters! have any significance to the Key brand in the anime industry. It was expected, and basically told viewers “Thanks for watching this anime. Buy this anime because you know you loved how we ended it. Who cares about the story, let’s just care that everyone survived this Key story out of Key magic.” Thanks for absolutely nothing. Instead of giving us an ending that will leave feelings that we can carry on into the future, you give us an ending that is always expected in the anime-medium because you don’t care for the story but only the sales and how satisfied fans will be.
People always say you need to see the first season of CLANNAD to understand After Story, since it ultimately builds up (even if After Story is what makes the series shine).
But with Little Busters!, I’d rather just tell people to watch Refrain and skip season 1. Because of the outcome of Season 2, it basically makes season 1 pointless and not needed. It would be needed if we got character development that would help Refrain, but we didn’t in the slightest.
Little Busters!, is what I would consider, the start of Key’s anime downfall (aside from Planetarian since it was excellent). It’s also what I look to when I tell people “Something can have many episodes but can still turn out mediocre if not done well. 1-Course series can do well if done right.” I’d also consider Little Busters! (like Rewrite and Charlotte), wasted Key potential. It’s clear Key has stories that can become a phenomenal in the industry, but just aren’t getting the right staff, studio, budget, nor schedule to create it. Maybe Charlotte probably wouldn’t have become that much of a phenomenon, but Little Busters! and Rewrite for sure had the chance.
And to answer your question
The Little Busters! anime can be enjoyed if you view it as its own thing, and not as another Key-anime masterpiece. Though everyone is different, so you may enjoy this a lot, even if many people might not enjoy it. I know people who like the Rewrite anime a lot for example, and it wasn’t the most well-received Key anime.