Intense stuff! I’d always thought Riki’s narcolepsy was just a condition he’s had all along, instead of being induced through a traumatic event (waking up to the death of his parents). Given that his parents died in a car accident, I suppose I can’t exactly blame him for falling asleep when faced with a similar experience, especially as it this time it involved the lives of everyone he cares about. The rescue definitely had a really tense atmosphere – I was terrified that everything would just blow up while Riki and Rin were still carrying people out (and as they’d left them lying next to the bus all the survivors would catch fire and die anyway). While it was very relieving to see Komari be the first one carried to safety (being the epitome of innocence and all) I was pretty sure that at least one of them wouldn’t make it – and that it’d be our hero Kyousuke plugging up the gas leak. It was a wonderful moment watching him acknowledge Riki’s newfound strength… but the cynic in me is questioning whether they actually survived at all. Those flames were very real… and when you factor in Riki’s gasp, the colour change before the explosion and their distance from the bus, you’ve gotta wonder whether the three of them even made it out of the clearing.
We could then chalk up the final half of the episode to be some sort of surreal dream sequence for Riki (maybe Kyousuke’s time spent comatose fits into there somehow) but that would be far too depressing, so let’s maintain the idea that they’re all alive and well 😀 Of course, there’s no way I want Kyousuke to die after seeing how much of a bro he is, and I don’t want to desecrate all those adorable Mio moments either! I definitely missed seeing everyone just goof around together, which is something we’ve hardly seen this season; of course, the atmosphere wasn’t quite right for that. You’d think they’d all be a bit more cautious though – despite having just survived a heart wrenching bus accident, I love how everyone just decided to pile into a van and drive off to the beach for a second field trip! All those shots were amazing – there was a lovely one of Kurugaya and Komari, and J.C. Staff decided to indulge the both the bromance Riki x Kyousuke shippers as well as the (arguably canon) Riki x Rin pairing with that near kiss 😀 But yes, I thought Mio was kawaii as fuck.
Speaking as an anime-only viewer, I thought that was a great ending to the series. I had really high hopes for Refrain after J.C. Staff managed to hit the ground running with the pilot episode, and as a whole they satisfied my expectations. Unlike many of the sequels this season (and sequels in general) Refrain was definitely superior to its predecessor, in everything from its plot to its feels – although I suppose it’d be slightly unfair to compare them like that, given that this is supposed to be the “true” route to the series. Characters-wise, we had a fair bit of development for the original Little Busters group – even though lots of material was cut out of Rin’s route, I still liked watching her bond with Riki (though things were rather scant on the romantic side of things; I don’t recall a kiss for example). And even though I always found Kyousuke rather cool, I gained solid respect for him the night I watched Episode 10. Looking back, that scene plus the collapse of the dream world were probably the pinnacle of feels for me.
As some have suggested to me, my next step will be to explore the VN! I’m pretty hyped up for that; if I’ve got time I might even give it a go before the end of the Christmas break. Thanks for staying till the end – I’ll definitely be back for Little Busters! EX, when it airs in the near future.