It seems that a seminar hosted by President Baba/Vava of Visual Arts’ has evaded my knowledge up until today.
The topic discussed is simple:
Why isn’t Little Busters! being animated?
This question has dogged fans of Key for a long time. Let’s see why this is the case.
Kanon – animated 2002.1 by Toei Animation, again in 2006.10 by Kyoto Animation.
AIR – animated 2005.1 by Kyoto Animation.
CLANNAD – animated 2007.10 by Kyoto Animation.
CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – animated 2008.10 by Kyoto Animation.
It doesn’t take long to realize that out of Key’s major visual novels, only Little Busters! has not yet become animated (ignoring Rewrite, which was only recently released on 2011.6).
This question “where is a Little Busters! anime?” is a years-old one, and up until now Key has not provided a very clear answer – other than stating that there isn’t a definitive plan to animate Little Busters!.
That was the case, until today.
Today, President Vava and others from the animation industry held a seminar at Kyoto University on this topic.
Here are the reasons as to why animating Little Busters! would be difficult.
1. Unique scenario of Little Busters! – a world that repeats in a cycle, with the protagonists growing and maturing each cycle.
This is actually a relatively obvious issue that many foresaw, and it turns out this is one of the major stumbling blocks in constructing the storyline for a Little Busters! anime. Though, according to President Vava, there are ways to solve this – however it’s a secret.
2. Negotiations with Kyoto Animation never progresses.
For quality control purposes, Kyoto Animation only has one production line. Which means excellent quality anime as we see with works such as CLANNAD, AIR, KANON and K-ON!.
But at the same time, this means that the studio is only working on one anime at a certain time. Which makes discussions difficult if not impossible due to Kyoto Animation’s overwhelming popularity and the presumably huge backlog they have.
3. Cost and animation quality concerns.
This ties in with Point 2 in some aspects. Key has traditionally employed Kyoto Animation; to use another studio would be unlikely, but not entirely out of the question. President Vava himself says:
I don’t think it’s absolutely required to employ Kyoto Animation. There are other good animation companies out there. It’s also important to raise the skill of our own company as well.
The cost is also a big factor. To make an anime series, it would cost approx. 300-400 million yen. That’s about $4 million CAD – not a small amount of money by any standards.
In the end however, President Vava does recognize that 30% of Key’s sales have been from Little Busters! alone – and certain characters from the series are hugely popular inside & outside of the industry, such as Noumi Kudryavka. So he does see a big market for a Little Busters! anime if these issues are resolved.
Lastly, President Vava leaves behind these words:
In conclusion, we’re currently negotiating. There are a lot of issues and problems to solve, but I think our desire to see Little Busters! animated is strong. With that said, it all hinges on support [from the fans].
That statement above has given me hope that one day, just one day, we’ll see Little Busters! play out on the TV and LCD monitors worldwide.