So I just went through all of the SS and After Stories, and damn, I’m impressed! Like some of these are pretty fluffy and lack substance but they’re all very well written. But some of them are amazing and only improve upon the routes! Let’s go through each of them.
One day, fine day
This is one of the very few instances where we get to see how life was like at school before the main story begins, before Komari has really developed any relationship with Riki. I love getting in Komari’s head and seeing how she views the world, but I love even more the ways we get to learn about the characters. How Kurugaya is lonely and teasing people on a whim, how Haruka’s relationship with the class has been going for quite a long time, how Kud is trying so hard to fit in, how Mio is a lot nicer to Komari than Riki… It’s just a good enjoyable experience all around.
Little Busters Observation Diary
We’re in the thick of the common route now, and we get Kurugaya playing some pranks on Komari. This is all pretty standard stuff, but a fun read.
One Rainy Day
I love this. If there’s one thing I wanted more from LB’s common route, it’s examination of Riki’s trauma and how it affects his daily life. We get a good load of that here, where it’s revealed that rain is a trigger for Riki’s trauma, as he associates it with the period after his parents died. I never picked up on this in the main game, but it’s a nice detail I appreciate. Also really cool how Mio is able to soothe him by showing him the beauty of the clear weather after the rain. Great atmosphere in this one.
A Snowy Day
Aka the one that was so good they had to include it again in the Ecstasy stories. An epilogue to Mio route!!! Something I’ve always wanted! Ahhh this is so good I’m gonna cry. Here, Riki and Mio clearly both remember what happened in her route, and they both share a moment of bonding over their memory of Midori. They both reassure each other that there may be a world out there where she still exists. It’s very emotional and heartwarming in a sort of bittersweet way. I love it.
One Happiness and the Blue Bird
Not much to say about this one. At a glance it just seems to be more reinforcement of Komari’s Spiral of Happiness philosophy, something we can learn from.
Stars far away
Well damn. That was incredible. It really feels like Shirokiri put her heart and soul into writing for Little Busters, and this story feels like one last regret she had that she felt the need to put to paper. Turns out Kanata had a dream for becoming a lawyer, to mete out justice and save other children who had to experience what Haruka and Kanata experienced. This one is clearly after Refrain, and everyone’s memories of the dream world are hazy, but they do persist, just barely. We get to see Haruka’s struggles to talk to her sister, and Kud’s dilemma with what to call Kanata. We see how Kud has learned from her route not to throw away her regrets, but to accept them and let them help her move forward. And she then passes that wisdom on to Kanata, to stop her from throwing away her dreams. It’s all REALLY GOOD, and goes to show how well these routes flow together.
To him, who went on a journey for who knows why
Ahhhhh this a fantastic note to end on. A final crazy mission for the Little Busters, joined by Sasami and Kanata! This honestly feels like it’s even better than the Kick the Can scene for me. Everyone acknowledging Riki as their leader, and then all of them taking on Kyousuke as the final boss (who happens to be riding a Horse holy crap), it’s all beautiful! Even the way Kanata is so much more lax and fun about things, throwing Haruka her marbles to perform the final blow on Kyousuke, it’s, it’s really good guys
Honestly if you were expecting something of the level of CLANNAD Side Stories, fear not, these side stories are top quality. Only ones that are average to me would be One Happiness and the Blue Bird and Little Busters Observation Diary. The rest are great.
What a treat to finally get to reading these! Took me way too long.