Little Busters! Episode 21: 50 Nautical Miles of Sky
“One day, I’ll ride 50 nautical miles to the other side of the sky.”
With Riki’s help, Kud conducts a traditional ceremony performed once a year in Tevua, her hometown, telling Riki about her mother and the origins of her name. When Kud hears news of a rocket launch in Tevua with her mother as the cosmonaut flying into space, she refuses to watch the launch until Rin takes her to the school cafeteria, where Kud witnesses the worst possible outcome.
It looks like the Little Busters (as a baseball team) are really getting their game up – though their original goal of playing baseball is only skirted around the start or end of each episode at most, it’s becoming apparent that they’ve been improving in a slow and steady fashion, with Rin’s pitching in particular becoming very impressive now, with or without the cat abuse. Anyway, we’re back on course this episode with the continuation of Kud’s arc – and the appearance of that strange ritual Riki mentioned in last week’s preview. It turned out to be the Festival of the Stars, a ceremony performed once a year in Tevua, the place where Kud was born. Aside from making wishes, Kud’s also drawing a family crest over her body with a sort of cocoa mixture, which she needed Riki’s help for – I must say, it would NOT have been good if anyone had ended up witnessing that moment and naturally taken it out of context, upon which Riki’s reputation would disappear down the drain. Putting that aside, the whole ceremony had a really ethereal feel to it, and I felt a similar tranquillity to the time Komari took Riki up to the roof to watch the stars during her arc. It’s a pity we never got to hear Kud sing, but it’s nice to know that despite travelling around to many places throughout her life, she’s still trying to connect to her roots and keep up with the traditions followed by her hometown.
Kud’s namesake came from the first dog sent into space in 1957 by Russian cosmonauts – Laika, or Kudryavka as it was first known. Further dogs sent into space by the Russians, Strelka and Belka ended up being the names given to the two puppies following Kud around, who stuck by Kud wherever she went with her grandfather as they travelled. It’s a nice namesake to have for sure, but I can’t help but remember the fate that eventually befell Laika while in space – while Russia hid the truth until 2002, it was eventually revealed that Laika had died merely a few hours after launch from overheating, which serves as a bad bit of foreshadowing for Kud’s arc and the drama that everyone knows is inevitable.
Then we had the planned rocket launch by TASA, Tevua’s own aeronautics group (like how Japan has JAXA) and by then I already had this horrible gut feeling that something was going to go horribly, horribly wrong, especially as the news reporter outlined the risks that were a clear danger to the mission. It’d be different if everything was given the green signal, but the prospects of undergoing a rocket launch while fully knowing there are potential hazards must have been worrying to the cosmonaut – which turned out to be Kud’s mother. With the rocket named after the various dogs that went into space, as well as Kud’s grandfather expressing his uncertainty that the rocket would even fly, I can understand Kud not wanting to watch the launch. And she was right to not want to witness it first-hand – the impact on her would have been even worse if she’d watched the rocket explode live on air, carrying the mother she’s never really gotten to know inside. It’s just so tragic…and it always happens to be family issues in this show, doesn’t it? Komari and her onii-chan, Mio and Midori, Haruka and Kanata…and now Kud and her mother. Feels incoming next week.