Well, after a brief but enlightening discussion with @Pepe about this particular thread, I can’t condone the absence of the “It’s enough” legion, which I know that exists in Kazamatsuri.
I’ll start by addressing some ideas that just don’t work in my mind from other posts and then I’ll proceed to explain my view on the matter. However, my ultimate goal is for the people hiding out there to come out and defend the points that I’ll present and introduce more about why “It’s enough” is the superior option.
Please tell me where in all the routes and common Riki learns how to properly drag people out of a burning bus. Sure, without all of the events pre-refrain, Riki wouldn’t be able to do shit but he would’ve still tried because he loves the Little Busters. However, his probabilities of saving everyone remain almost unchanged, because he never received training in those situations. If anything, after all the pre-refrain events, he now has the ability to choose between it’s enough or it’s not enough. Because let’s face it, without his development, Riki would have rushed in there without thinking.
So all in all, Riki is doomed no matter what if he tries to save everyone. The fact that he manages to do so in Refrain is sheer luck (or retrying if you think of him as the reader), and by the same sheer luck, he might have managed to pull it off before the events. And I know the counter-argument to this is going to be the almighty narcolepsy, which I’ll save for later on.
Also, this part in particular:
The whole process is also absolutely necessary for the other choice, so what’s your point with that statement?
Yup, it would totally not fit Komari’s theme of accepting death as a part of life.
But what if “It’s enough” is also a story about friendship? Because I don’t see how choosing to follow Kyosuke’s instructions eliminates friendship as a theme or a message.
On the “It’s enough” ending
So let’s get back to what ignited these last posts.
Sure some people might think that, but in my eyes, the reason is more fundamental one. It’s not about recognizing the efforts. It’s about making the message of the VN consistent. Yes, Riki could’ve mindlessly done what Kyousuke told him to honor his and the rest of the busters’ deaths, but, there’s something that no one seems to realize. Riki, after learning all that he’s learned, might actually be able to choose “It’s enough” by himself without Kyousuke asking him to do so.
All the heroine routes have various messages but in their endings, they all share a common thing: accepting something undesired or simply accepting reality as is. Kurugaya reminds about the loop and how her pursuing her dream is selfish, Komari accepting her brother’s death, Kud accepting the catastrophe with her mother’s launch and how the fact that she failed in the past (when trying to become a cosmonaut) isn’t that big of a deal, Mio accepting Midori as some kind of double that doesn’t actually hate her, so that Mio doesn’t actually have to disappear herself…
So with all of this, Riki maybe would have taken a hint and decided that the wise choice is to accept the accident and not risk their own lives as well. Regarding @MagusVerborum’s concern about the message of friendship, it’s still there: their friendship was so strong as to accept each other’s desires of leaving things at where they are; their friendship made Kyousuke create a fucking parallel world to prepare Riki for the journey (because let’s face it, Rin makes some progress, but she kinda just tags along); their friendship allows them to wish for those days to never have ended. Their friendship is fucking everywhere regardless of the choice.
However, if you choose that it’s not enough, you essentially saying that you don’t want to accept death. Right, the message changes, and it becomes one of doing the impossible and where the power of friendship makes you save the day. I won’t argue about whether that’s good or bad in itself, but if you think of it including the rest of the route’s themes, you’re making the message of accepting the cruelty of life useless.
Komari, Riki (and I want to think that the reader as well) learn that accepting death is part of everyone’s life. What’s the point of this message if you ignore it when you have to best opportunity to put it in practice?
So to sum it up, my main issue is theme and message inconsistency. It’s building up, shaping and making characters grow to throw their progress out the window with an unbelievably lucky ending when the alternative is validating all of the themes exposed by the VN up to that point.
On Narcolepsy and its relation to both endings
The use of Narcolepsy throughout LB is sloppy at best. It is presented during the very first part of common, disregarded in pretty much all of the routes and then suddenly becomes the angular stone of the story in Refrain. There’s no buildup, no attention. It gets presented as something important at the beginning only to get to the end and be “Oh yeah, our main character had this condition, I don’t know, let’s make it a metaphor, a trauma or something that makes our character show his growth”.
After disregarding the issue of Narcolepsy for so much time, when we suddenly get it in the bus scene I can’t help but think “Oh for fuck’s sake what does this have to do with the problem at hand?” Then we see Riki getting over his trauma and stuff, so yeah, he overcame his trauma and, in turn, narcolepsy, but now what? How does that enable him to reliably save everyone? (This is mainly an addendum to the response to @machelmore).
Before I proceed, let’s make some different things clear:
Up to the infamous choice, Riki had the same development.
Riki making one choice or the other isn’t something to be regarded as significant development when it comes to overcoming Narcolepsy.
Riki losing the Little Busters is comparable to Riki losing his parents.
Many times I’ve seen that Riki overcoming narcolepsy is the pinnacle of his development, and I agree with that. But why have I never heard that Riki overcoming narcolepsy is guaranteed if he chooses “It’s enough”? According to the points above (and in fact, the second one isn’t even needed), Narcolepsy already has all that he needs and even more than with the other choice to overcome his trauma: He has exactly the same development and he has accepted the death of the Little Busters, something of the same caliber of his own parents’ death. There’s no way he can’t look at what happened to his parents and think “Hey, isn’t this exactly the same that happened with the Little Busters? Why am I still suppressing those memories with narcolepsy?”
Conclusion and final thoughts
I understand why many people love the “it’s not enough” ending. It presents a strong message and saves the characters that they love. As Magus said:
But come on guys, don’t tell me that the “It’s enough” ending can’t be good too? I’m not telling you that it should appear to be better than “it’s not enough” on your eyes, but at least try to understand how the other ending is a completely valid alternative to your favorite one.
And to the ones that I know that like the “It’s enough” ending the most and haven’t said anything so far: SPEAK UP. Sure, this discussion has been had many times in the recent years and it’s always ended with it being just a matter of subjective tastes, but isn’t that the beauty of it? Both endings can be both argued for and against and still be valid. Don’t let the bookclub end with just my post defending the inherent beauty of Riki’s development in this ending.