I guess I needed to write this sooner or later… A big reason for the route order is because it maximises the number of special scenes you can get only by reading certain routes beforehand, but I can’t possibly remember all of those scenes myself and I didn’t write it all down. I’ll try to add them as I remember them, but here’s a bunch of reasons for the order. Full series spoilers ahead, proceed at your own discretion.
- Rin1 first should be fitting enough. It’s a sudden and abrupt ending to the daily life which really fits in thematically with the tone of Little Busters. The drama is meant to be shocking. It also builds a sense of interest in Rin’s scenario. And really, there’s no better time to do this than the first playthrough.
- Mio first instead of Komari has a few reasons. First, Komari’s route is kind of a poor introduction to the rest of Little Busters. It doesn’t really show off many of the series’ strengths, and it doesn’t build any sense of intrigue for the secret of the world. It’s the kind of first route that could cause a lot of people to lose interest. And also, putting Komari’s route first reduces any potential impact the reader may experience from noticing that her route doesn’t lock out. For the full effect of that to kick in, you need to have already played through a route that was locked out, otherwise you wouldn’t think there’s anything strange. As for why Mio specifcally, it’s a well-rounded route that doesn’t have any dependencies on other routes to unlock extra scenes, as far as I’m aware. It builds interest in the Secret of the World, and highlights some really cool storytelling of the series.
- Komari second for most of the reasons people would put her first.
- Kurugaya third because KURUGAYA ISN’T A PREQUEL TO REFRAIN DAMMIT. I want people to enjoy it on it’s own, and I want the impact to linger with people for the time it takes for them to get from there to Refrain. I want people to think about the implications of it all and take that with them when they enter say, Kud’s route.
- Haruka’s route fourth because…
Also it works nicely since we’ve interspersed more mundane routes with more supernatural ones.
- Kud last because, it’s very dramatic and serves as good preparation for the intensity of Refrain. It also has some scenes which you can only get from previous routes; I’m pretty sure you need to do Haruka before it to get something. But most importantly, it’s good to put this last because of all the routes, fully appreciating it requires a good understanding that the world of Little Busters is very mysterious and not all is as it seems.
As for EX routes…
- Saya next because everyone’s itching to meet that new character, and it’s also not really suitable for the final route for various reasons.
- Sasami is the salami of the EX sandwich.
- For Kanata, I’ve been told by those who’ve read it that it’s a very good final route for the series, so we’ll need to take their word for it.
But yeah, this was a group decision with a bunch of Busters and Staff I collaborated with many months ago. We’re all pretty happy with the result.