Considering I didn’t talk about Kurugaya and her route last year when I read the visual novel, I may as well talk about both now since I finished watching her arc in the anime yesterday.
So Kurugaya; um I personally like her. She’s a funny, smart and mischievous girl but also very calm and collective when she needs to be. Plus I think Haruka calling her “Anego/Big Sister” is quite accurate because she really is the big sister in the group. One of the criticisms I hear about Kurugaya’s character is that she’s a Mary Sue but personally I didn’t really see that in her. Plus she does have her character flaw, which is that she’s unable to produce emotions or make friends due to her vast interest in studying and excelling. Because of that, she was shunned by a lot of her classmates for being a “robot” or a “monster”. Hence why she joined the Little Busters because she wanted to experience emotions and become a more human character. And honestly, I can relate and sympathize with her dilemma as there was a time when I the had same problem of experiencing human emotions due to being isolated from society. So overall, I do like Kurugaya as a character. She’s not my favorite in the LB heroine cast; that honor goes to Komari and I’ll talk about her when I finish the Refrain anime but I do like Kurugaya.
As for her route, Kurugaya’s route/story arc is one of those arcs which I liked and appreciated more after reading Refrain and especially after watching the anime. When I read it the first time, I wasn’t a fan of her route. I didn’t think it was terrible mind you but the abstract and confusing nature of it just didn’t do it for me and by the end, I was left with a lot of questions like " Were the events leading to the baseball match just a dream? " " Is this entire world just a dream? " .By the time I read Refrain and went back to reread her route for the good ending, the route started to make more sense in the context but I was still a bit underwhelmed because I was used to the backstory- resolve - dilemma formula of the other heroine story arcs so having a straight up romance route was disappointing. However after watching the Refrain anime, I started to not only appreciate but really like Kurugaya’s story arc and I think it was a good thing on the anime’s part to adapt Kurugaya’s arc second last because it does a good job in foreshadowing the events of Refrain without giving too much away. I felt that the relationship between Riki and Kurugaya was done really well and I like the fact that unlike the other routes, it is Riki who falls in love with the heroine and not the other way around. Plus Kurugaya does what she does best in providing some really quirky moments and teasing jokes that still made me laugh when watching the anime. Plus the Fireworks scene was amazing. <3
As for the themes, Kurugaya’s story route deals with theme of “all good things must come to an end” and that nothing can last forever. Kurugaya wants to stay with Riki and the Little Busters forever because she still wants to experience more emotions and cherish them. However, she realizes that she needs to leave the secret world because it’s going haywire due to her desire to stay. Additionally, she knew that the world needs to continue existing until Riki and Rin become stronger to cope with the fact that their friends (including Kurugaya herself) are dying due to the bus accident that occurred. I really like that bittersweet aspect of her route because it’s quite true that nothing can last forever and that you have to move on in life. To me, I felt that the route illustrated those themes well. Now you could argue that the latter moral was thrown off the window with Refrain’s ending but my counterargument to that is put yourself in Kurugaya’s shoes. Could you have predicted that Riki and Rin would become strong enough to save everybody? No. The situation was bleak and as far Kurugaya or the rest of the Little Busters were concerned, they were dying and they had to whatever they can so that Riki and Rin won’t fall into desperation even if the journey to that goal (i.e becoming stronger) is bittersweet. So overall, I liked Kurugaya’s arc.
Last note: Song of Friends is amazing yet heartbreaking.