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Little Busters! EX and OVA Review

Cover artwork at J.C. Staff

Promo video on YouTube by Vietnam Key FanClub

This third season of the anime series by VisualArt's, Key, Team Little Busters! EX and J.C. Staff as a coming-of-age drama with supernatural and romance continues at an unspecified time after the events in the previous season as a special series. In the previous 2 seasons, 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. Riki also has some knowledge and a better understanding of the school grounds the Little Busters are in and the people around him.

Riki encounters a secret agent posing as a schoolgirl Saya Tokido while trying to find his misplaced notebook at night. This leads him on an adventure through an underground maze complex beneath the school to help Saya locate a treasure inside as Saya's partner. After that, Riki will be approached by Sasami Sasasegawa, the captain of the girls' softball team to help her with a cat problem she is facing. Finally, Riki will also start to see a different side of Kanata Futaki, the chairman of the school's discipline committee, while doing volunteer service in order to save the Little Busters baseball team from being ordered to disband by the discipline committee.

In the original video animation (OVA) Sekai no Saitou ha Ore ga Mamoru!, during another unspecified time, Kyousuke was suddenly inspired after reading a particular manga and decides to start a special battle ranking series of matches which pit each Little Busters member against each other using randomly thrown items that is featured during certain episodes in the first season. Riki has to start from the bottom of the battle rank and climb to the top. Along the way, the female members of the Little Busters have some fun teasing each other while a mysterious participant enters the battle ranking matches and defeats each Little Busters member easily.

Cover artwork of OVA at MyAnimeList

Having played the visual novel Little Busters! English Edition and watched the first two seasons of the anime series, this anime series continues with the story arcs for Saya, Sasami and Kanata and brings back some of the main attractions in the first season which made it popular by introducing a remixed version of the theme song as Little Busters! EX in the opening theme, slapstick comedy, exaggerated humour and dialogue. This series also adds in the romance and supernatural themes explored in the previous season to produce a combination of slapstick comedy, romance, supernatural, mystery, thriller and a bit of fan service while also retaining the same sad moments that will be present in every story arc from the previous two seasons.

The voice acting and animation in this anime series helps to bring out the humour and also to give viewers a better understanding of the events in the visual novel where reading the text in the visual novel alone may not be able to show and highlight some events and scenes with full animation throughout. From the featured female characters expressing annoyance at Riki in varying degrees, the childhood past of each of them that is shown to viewers in a full re-enactment, the ending of each character arc to the slightly different opening theme during each story arc, these serve to introduce a new character to the cast of characters featured in the series and also to bring out the character backgrounds and personality of the characters that appeared in the first season.

Various funny moments in EX on YouTube by Wafudramon !

Opening and ending theme of EX on YouTube by Vietnam Key FanClub

In the OVA, the standalone episode attempts to bring back the battle ranking system which provided a lot of the slapstick comedy in the first season and in the visual novel. Yet when the main highlight of the episode is supposed to feature mainly the mystery man on the cover of the OVA and the battle ranking battles which brought out the humour in the first season, a large part of the episode focuses on the private moments among the female members of the Little Busters and fan service instead.

This results in significant omission and skipping of the battles Riki participated in, together with the mystery man's humorous antics. For those who own the visual novel and do not yet own this OVA, this OVA can be missed as the visual novel has considerably more lines of voiced dialogue with subtitles featuring the mystery man and each different Little Busters member, including Mio's augmented form (something which the OVA could have brought out further but ended up making it forgettable as a minor variation to Mio's non-athletic form).

Riki versus augmented Mio in OVA on YouTube by arief fathan

Riki versus Mask the Saito in OVA on YouTube by arief fathan (contain spoilers)

Ending theme of OVA on YouTube by Kun-Lin Jheng

Overall, this season of the anime series and the OVA is recommended only for those who like and enjoy any of the previous two seasons by combining slapstick comedy, parody, supernatural, mystery, thriller, romance and ecchi fan service while also introducing a new character to the series that is suitable for teenage audiences and above. The visual novel covers everything in the previous two seasons and the content in this season and the OVA, therefore for those who have difficulty obtaining EX and the OVA to watch where they are not available at Crunchyroll this time, the visual novel is a suitable alternative instead.

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