Having just finished the route, gotta say, I really enjoyed it! I have a lot to say about it; how I felt it was really well structured, how it works as a common after and how it has references to almost every other route, but I don’t really have the time right now. Just a quick question.
A lot of people are dismissing the rules of the world as “convenient plot device for romance”, but the story goes out of it’s way to explicitly state that the world is intelligently designed and we should be thinking about why it is the way it is. Don’t you think it’s plausible that Kuro wanted to push Sasami and Riki together?
EDIT: Nobody wants to tackle that? Whatever, I’ll let someone get to it later. For now, here’s my thoughts.
Aaaaah, it’s the Common After I always wanted!! Well, kind of. One big limitation of Little Busters is that we saw very little of the aftermath of the events of the story. This route fulfils that need by giving every character a moment in the spotlight. In a first for LB routes, every character has a role! Let’s go through them one by one.
Kyousuke is mostly absent, and his inclusion near the end is kinda spotty, so I guess he’s the worst example lol. Moving on.
Masato plays a central role in the early portion of the route. Pushing forward the comedy, having more fun with Kud, muscle dancing and his friendship with Riki, it’s common route Masato being common route Masato and it’s great.
Kengo hoo boy. Did anyone notice that he’s very different from any iteration we’ve seen thus far? He’s like a combination of the early common Kengo and the later crazy Kengo. He wears his Kendo uniform with the LB logo on the back. (Why have I never seen fanart of this??) He acts and shows expressions that he never would have. He’s serious and calm, but also a lot more innocent and fun loving than the old Kengo. Just look at the final image in the tweet below! Kengo has never shown us a face like that before. And if you just listen to the voice acting, you can tell Kengo was given very specific instructions in how to present himself. It’s really fascinating to look at. Also yeah, he was a bro, and it was quite amusing to learn the reason Sasami fell for him…
Kud doesn’t get that much screentime, but she has some fun with Masato and we also get a scene that strongly hints she still has feelings for Riki. When Riki asks her about love advice, she says something along the lines of “that’s unfair…” (sorry I didn’t get a screen for it). Everyone has memories of what happened in their routes, very cool.
Rin gets some very cool development in this route too! It opens with her finally stopping the pointless fighting with Sasami’s underlings and making an honest attempt to make friends. (even if some of it happens when she’s a cat…) Rin demonstrates tremendous growth from her previous self in this route.
Haruka and Kanata share a moment if you ask for love advice where they are ACTUALLY TREATING EACH OTHER LIKE REAL SISTERS. I’m sure I’m going to see more of this in Kanata’s route I hope, but this is so fun to see. They’re having fun jabbing each other without it being malicious. It’s really heartwarming.
Komari is revealed to be Sasami’s friend and classmate, and it really feels like Komari brings out a different side of Sasami than many others see. She has her own nickname for Sasami that she isn’t allowed to say in public, and Komari also made sure to keep their friendship secret from the other Busters so as not to aggravate Rin. It’s unclear who decided on that, but it shows that Sasami really is just a pure, misunderstood girl. A few people here have already talked about that, Sasami is actually a really cool character, with many layers under the superficial stereotypical façade. And yeah, she remembers the dream world too, and still has her picture book about it, now completed.
Mio gets quite a lot of spotlight in this route. For some reason she’s everywhere! Riki is borrowing books off her, she figured out Sasami’s circumstances on her own by observing her shadow, and lots of references to the conversations they had about mystery novels. I guess that’s because, this route is in fact a traditional mystery, moreso than any other route in Little Busters. We’re presented with strange circumstances and a bunch of clues, and reasoning allows us to figure out the rules and reach the culprit, who was in fact presented at the start of the story. I was so impressed when I saw Riki reasoning out that the world wasn’t real because of Sasami’s transformation being unrealistic. At that point I was uncertain if this really was a solvable mystery, but that bit of insight, that proof that the writers put that much thought into it, was all I needed to reason out the rest. So I challenge you guys to continue thinking about the motive of Kuro in this route; there’s still a lot we haven’t uncovered.
But there’s one I saved for last, because she’s extra special.
Kurugaya doesn’t show up at all until the end of the route, and it’s extra strange. Kyousuke had the excuse of being job hunting, but we’re never explained why Kurugaya didn’t appear. But I believe she was around in some capacity, working to help behind the scenes. Why do I think this? At the end of the route where Riki is finding his way back to the world (I think this might be limited by choices), there’s a scene where he’s working through the fading world and, what would you know, ‘A Capriccio Played by an Awakening Love’ starts playing out of nowhere, and most importantly, RIKI HEARS IT.
There is no way this line was included for no reason. I can’t see it as anything other than Kurugaya using her influence to help Riki reach Sasami and Kuro. Blink and you’ll miss it, but really cool to see our favourite anego continuing to manipulate the strings behind the curtain. Shame we couldn’t see more of her.
For all of these reasons, Sasami’s route makes me really happy. It’s like a dessert to end the banquet of the series, really satisfying. That said I still have one more route to read!
If I think of more to add, I’ll post it here, but I just wanted to draw attention the role all the other Busters play in this route.