Little Busters! Episode 13: Where the End Begins
“…What are you?”
Riki realizes that something isn’t quite right, with many members of the Little Busters forgetting Mio’s existence temporarily. After Mio returns only to give him her book of poems and take him to the sea, Riki meets the ominous smiling figure, a girl named Nishizono Midori, who reveals Mio’s supernatural secret behind her parasol, taking her place within the school and replacing her existence.
“It felt like the world itself was dreaming.”
Where do I start? I suppose I should begin chronologically, when Mio first fell ill and strange happenings occurred – rather, when Riki questioned Masato about her and Masato didn’t remember until prompted enough. I mean, Masato isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but it’s beneath his nature to willingly forget about his friends. The same applies to Rin, Komari and Kud, who all forgot Mio during the time she fell ill. That goes beyond her classmates usually blanking her, and Riki immediately caught on to the fact that something wasn’t right, which fell exactly in line with the creepy smiling figure that Riki saw in town and during the storm at school. Then we had Mio’s request for Riki to tell her more about his childhood, as well as Riki receiving the book she treasures so much, which immediately rings alarm bells that there’s some kind of seperation involved, as if Mio was going somewhere far, far away. Mio’s resolve of being a solitary person is probably linked to this, which is why she’d rather not get too involved with a circle of friends as she’ll have to leave eventually.
I’ve been told about the show’s biggest reveal (in Refrain) but nothing about many of the individual routes, so I was honestly surprised to see a supernatural aspect being seriously introduced to the show for the first time in Mio’s route, if you discount the apparent ghosts in the office from that ghost busting episode. Mio hiding her lack of a shadow -making her literally “shadowless”- with her parasol would indicate that she isn’t…fully human, which opens up a lot of questions about who or what she is, or rather who Nishizono Midori is, who has the exact same appearance as her. That brings up the possibility that Mio and Midori are, for lack of a better phrase, two halves of one whole, as they both have no shadow. What a crappy time for Riki’s narcolepsy to act up as well, as we have no idea what happened to Mio after that.
What was more significant than Midori’s revelation was that Midori’s taken over Mio’s persona completely, and not even Riki notices the paradigm shift until he finds Mio’s book by chance, and suddenly realizes that she’s gone. But at the same time, she isn’t – Midori has become Mio, and the entire class has no memory of Mio’s old personality, and now accept Midori as a classmate. She’s friendly, but not in a “nice” way – more in that predatory, ulterior motive way where she knows that everyone has completely forgotten about Mio. She’s also hot, which gives me mixed feelings on this development. Riki’s shock faces mirrored many of mine this episode, as he realizes himself that he’s starting to forget too – and it must be horrible to be the only one that can’t remember. After all, if you’re the only sane person in the entire world, then who’s to say you’re not the insane one instead?
I felt it rather apt that Riki asked Midori what she was, rather than who she was, enforcing the idea that something supernatural is going on here, a new twist for Little Busters! that I’m really enjoying. Since Komari’s breakdown last season, she show has edged more towards its comedy side, and I’m impressed to see what it can churn out after slipping back into a drama-based storyline, something any Key work is characterised with.