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Little Busters! Refrain Review

Cover artwork at J.C. Staff

Promo video on YouTube by Ble Tro

Opening theme on YouTube by dator elucci

This second season of the anime series by VisualArt's, Key, Team Little Busters! Refrain and J.C. Staff as a coming-of-age drama with supernatural and romance continues immediately from the last episode of the previous season. In the previous season, the members of the Little Busters! as a group of students formed and became an amateur baseball team consisting of Riki Naoe, Kyousuke Natsume, Rin Natsume, Masato Inohara, Kengo Miyazawa, Komari Kamikita, Yuiko Kurugaya, Haruka Saigusa, Kudryavka Noumi and Mio Nishizono where they form close friendships and share many different moments together with Riki as the protagonist.

Following Riki's promotion to leader of the Little Busters, the baseball match against the school's All-Stars Team and the Little Busters having a commemorative group photo together, Riki starts to develop feelings of attachment to Yuiko, followed by Rin. Riki also starts to notice something is amiss regarding the sender of the mysterious messages which would always get Rin excited and determined to carry out the instructions in the messages.

As Riki tries to find out the meaning behind the messages, he will come to a realization that the existence of the Little Busters is not as it appears to him and he will need all the willpower, strength, resourcefulness and leadership he can muster to overcome the numerous challenges life throws at him.

Having played the visual novel Little Busters! English Edition and the first season of the anime series, this anime series starts with the story arcs for Yuiko and Rin before continuing the rest of the series with the Refrain storyline. This season's plot and storyline have more sad moments with hardly any slapstick comedy now that the Little Busters are no longer a full team who used to enjoy many happy moments together. Yet by bringing out more of the supernatural elements featured throughout many episodes in this season and giving special emphasis to it, it continues to make the storyline believable and consistent while also bringing out the growth, maturity, independent thought and leadership in both Riki and Rin as they both struggle to overcome their dependence on Kyousuke who is the founder and leader of the Little Busters while also coming to a realization that they both need one another in order to succeed in their goals.

The voice acting, animation, background sound, songs and music are the main highlight of this anime series by being top-notch which really raises the quality of this anime series to become a masterpiece as a significant improvement over the series' previous season. From the multiple instances of baseball bats clattering onto the ground, baseballs flying right into the gloves of a catcher or hitting a shrub, cries of agony to emotional outbursts, these combined with equally top-notch voice acting where the viewer can actually hear the voice actors and actresses of the main characters sniff and choke as the characters burst into a tearful exchange or express their determination to do anything for their friends. This combined with a very fitting song Faraway and Song for Friends which are both sung by Rita serve to make this anime series truly unique and memorable as a nakige.

Song for Friends ending theme on YouTube by Tora (Contain spoilers)

Face-off with Kengo on YouTube.

Instrumental version of Faraway on 1:15

Song for Friends at 6:11

(Contain spoilers)

Parting moments with Faraway at 7:50 segment on YouTube by Sanyo 1.0 (Contain spoilers)

Ending theme on YouTube by Snowical: Fall 2013-A -Inactive-

Overall, this anime series is highly recommended to watch after watching the first season of the series as a coming-of-age drama with parody, supernatural and mystery that is suitable for teenage audiences and above. For those who have an existing subscription at Crunchyroll or a similar anime streaming website, own or plan to get this season's DVD or Blu-Ray set, this anime series with both season 1 and 2 combined is an excellent choice to introduce to anyone new to the series, looking to try out an anime series for the first time or would like to try one of VisualArt's and Key's anime series before trying out the visual novel.

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