By Steve Baltimore / May 13th, 2014
This time on Building Character, I would like to spotlight Kudryavka Noumi, better known as Kud, my favorite character from the visual novel and anime series Little Busters! This will contain many spoilers about her story arc, so if you haven’t seen the series or read the visual novel, you have been warned. As a note, this piece is based more on the visual novel than the anime, since it explains Kud’s character more in-depth.
Kud was born in the fictional former Soviet republic of Tebwa. Her grandfather, who loved Japanese culture, was married to a Japanese woman, making Kud one-quarter Japanese. Kud’s mother was a very important figure in the space program in her home country, which had bet its economic future on the success of this program.
Kud herself had traveled the world with her grandfather, never staying in any one country for long. Having spent so much time with her grandfather, she began to love Japanese culture as much as he did. She learned the Japanese language and could speak it very fluently, though she struggled with English. Hearing Kud struggle to speak English only for it to come out in broken Engrish is the cutest thing ever.
Kud’s love of all things Japanese makes some view her differently. They see a little foreign girl who speaks Japanese fluently and follows their traditions. They feel she’s trying to be Japanese, so they treat her very poorly, often making fun of her. Nothing could be further from the truth. She just simply and genuinely loves Japanese culture.
If you ever notice, Kud is often depicted wearing a bat hair clip and has a bat at the end of her pencil. The anime ignores this completely, which it shouldn’t have, since it is an important part of understanding her. In the visual novel, Riki (the main protagonist) finds a picture book with a story from Aesop’s Fables. The story is of two warring villages, one filled with birds, the other filled with beasts.
A duckbill (a platypus, I’m assuming) and a bat were holed up in a cave trying to figure out which side to join. They knew if they didn’t pick a side soon, they would be hated by both. The bat decided he could broker peace between the two sides, since he could fit in on either side. The bat succeeded in making peace, but in the end was hated by both sides and branded a traitor for visiting both villages and dealing with with both sides.
The duckbill, not knowing what had happened, found out the truth. The duckbill visited the bat in the cave and asked whether the bat was okay with the way things worked out. The bat said it was fine, since it loved dark places and everyone was happy. The duckbill then asked the Horned Owl King of the Night Birds if the the bat could fly with them at night, since the bat loved to fly and flying was in its nature.
This story explains a lot about how Kud feels. She is not accepted at home, since she never spent any extend time there, and is not accepted in Japan, since they see her as the strange foreign girl who wants to copy them. Much like the bat, Kud flies alone, just trying to find somewhere she belongs.
I think many of us can relate to this. We always seek people we can fit in with, and society can be very harsh on things not considered mainstream or normal. Many will never take the time to understand, just slap on a quick label and brush it aside. I hope all those seeking somewhere they belong, much like Kud, will find a group of people who will accept them for who they are. Be that group, and you may find yourself one of the greatest friends you’ve ever known.
In the visual novel, Kud asks Riki, “Would you fly with the bat?” Of course we would; I mean, the bat in this case is a cute, sweet, earnest girl who always tries her very best.
KeyKudryavka NoumiLittle Busters!Visual Art's