Since I have been fangirling over LB so intensely, one of my fine readers and twitter followers suggested I make a spoiler-free post explaining the characters etc.While I am absolutely in love with LB and have read over both the game and this post for accuracy, please keep in mind I am not fluent in Japanese.
This is also a complimentary piece to my Little Busters review on Sleepless Nights.
For those unaware, Little Busters! (official website is Japanese-only) is an all-ages (realistically 16+) pure-love adventure game (visual novel) by the famous studio Key (makers of Kanon, Air, & Clannad). There is a translation project in process but I know little about it (and am not really interested in it). I admit this post is somewhat paradoxical as those who it is meant for cannot play the game. So rather than as a promotional tool, this is provided more as a spoiler-free alternative to Wikipedia for those who want to know more about it for any reason.
Plot and Setting
"Little Busters!" takes place at a co-ed boarding school (a "gakuen") in some small city in Japan and revolves around a group of childhood friends at the cusp of graduation. Wanting to have exciting memories of their school time, they decide to start playing grasslot baseball and search for classmates to join their team, the "Little Busters".
Characters: Location in picture is noted by area and hair color
Riki Naoe (center, black hair) : Riki is our protagonist He is a slender quiet boy with narcolepsy who is hesitant to assert himself. His parents died when he was young and he seems to have grown up without a family (he refers to a legal guardian at one point, suggesting he may be a ward of the state). After Riki's parents died he was invited to join Kyousuke's group, the "Little Busters!" which came to serve as a surrogate family for him. He is a second year student at the boarding school and likely 19 years old.
Kyousuke Natsume (top, brown hair) : Kyousuke is in some ways Riki's opposite. He is the optimistic and confident leader of the group, always coming up with outlandish activities that were likely inspired by manga (which he loves and collects). Probably 20 years old (the age of majority in Japan), Kyousuke is older than the other members and as a 3rd year student, in the midst of job hunting. It was his idea to start the baseball team. He is Rin's older brother and feels responsible for her.
Masato Inohara (top, black hair) : Masato is a cheerful bodybuilding fanatic and Riki's roommate. He joined the Little Busters before Riki and has been with him since childhood. Masato is not particularly smart and can be quite simple minded but he has a protective spirit and cares deeply about his friends. He has a rivalry with Kengo over who is stronger. He is a 2nd year student.
Kengo Miyazawa (top, gray hair) : Kengo is a serious minded member of the kendo club and also a 2nd year student. Though he is a close friend to the other original Busters members he is resistant to the idea of a baseball team, preferring to focus on his club activities. His looks make him quite popular with female students.
Komari Kamikita (middle, blonde hair) : Komari is a cheerful second year student and one of the first to join the new Busters. She is a typical girly girl who enjoys sweets, picture books, and frilly clothing. Komari isn't very good at baseball but she works hard and enjoys the team. She is the best english speaker of the group. Komari is featured prominently in the promotional materials of the game.
Rin Natsume (center, brown hair) : Rin is Kyousuke's younger sister (by one year) and a member of the original Busters. Rin loves and talks to cats but is extremely socially awkward, she doesn't have any friend outside the original Busters when the game begins. It is this which lead Kyousuke to ask Riki to find female members for the baseball team. She can get quite loud and violent especially with Masato; Riki thought she was a boy at first because of her rough manner. Rin has many of the typical symptoms of Asperger's syndrome but any diagnosis is unmentioned. She is the main heroine.
Haruka Saigusa (middle, purple hair) : Haruka is a second year student from a different class. She is a prank-loving trouble maker and often running away from the Public Morals Committee (lead by Kanata). Haruka joins the team easily and always jokes around with the other members.
Kudryavka Noumi (bottom, white hair) : Kudryavka (Kud or Kudo for short) is a 1/4 Japanese (3/4th intentionally unspecified country with a space program and civil unrest) new student who has returned from living abroad. She is a year younger than the others (likely 18) but has joined the second year class due to transfer credits. She is close to the guard dogs on campus and is quite goofy (often exclaiming "wa-fu!". Kudo loves Japanese culture and is quite knowledgeable about it, she also loves English but she is terrible at it. Kudo is the fan favorite character (because she is the loli >.>) and is getting her own spin-off "Kud Wafter".
Mio Nishizono(bottom, blue hair) : Mio is a quiet, serious girl who prefers to sit in the courtyard and read books. She always carries a parasol and joins the team only as the manager. Despite her reserved manner, Mio has a sharp tongue and can be quite clever. She is a second year student.
Yuiko Kurugaya (middle, black hair) : Yuiko is a mature but eccentric second year student. She is smart and outgoing, happily sharing in Kyousuke's visions of grand adventure. Yuiko often makes sexually suggestive comments towards Riki or the other girls but she also has a gentle side.
Side Characters (promoted to heroines in EX)
Kanata Futaki : Kanata is the leader of the public morals committee and has a difficult relationship with Haruka. She thinks the Little Busters are trouble makers.
Sasami Sasasegawa : Sasami is the captain of the girl's softball team and is worshiped by her team members. She is Rin's rival and they fight almost daily. She objects to the Little Busters using the school's field. She acts and speaks like a rich ojousama-type but has a crush on Kengo.