While I’m waiting for the fast forward button on our favorite mahjong manga, I’m working through my steam backlog. Currently, I’m playing a famous visual novel – the one and only – Clannad! I’m sure you’ve heard of it and its infamous ability to draw tears to your eyes.
There will be spoilers within this post, so kindly push the back button if you don’t want to be spoiled.
First stop, Miyazawa Yukine!
You might be wondering why Yukine’s route first?
Most of the guides you’ve probably looked over have this as the recommended order:
Minase –> Tomoyo –> Yukine –> Ryou –> Kyou –> Kappei –> Sunohara –> Kotomi –> Fuko –> Toshio –> Nagisa –> After Story
No mistake, this is a good recommendation. Thematically, putting Tomoyo and Yukine’s route side by side makes good sense since they both tackle the perception of delinquents in society from differing points of view. Yukine’s route is also a nice change of pace from the turbulent Tomoyo’s route.
So why am I deviating from it?
Mostly because I’m a lazy bastard. Tomoyo’s route have obtainable cutscenes that can only be done near the end. Thus, I’m putting off Tomoyo’s route until I unlocked them. And since, Minase and Tomoyo’s route are almost a package deal regarding storytelling, I’m putting that off as well.
More than that though, Yukine’s route answer a very important plot element that is present in almost all the routes – the light orb and I want to tackle that.
According to the Visual Novel
… the light balls came to be associated with happiness. Apparently, many of them were seen when something good happened. When they found something happy, the light ball would float around as if to watch over it.
The scenery back then was the exactly the symbol of Miyazawa’s current happiness.
td:lr = Light Orbs = True Happiness = Good End
Which I think is an important topic to talk about as we move into the other routes especially when we discuss the lack of it in certain routes and what that may or may not imply.
Finally, there are a lot of good truism scattered around this route that sometimes I wonder if I’m reading a moral handbook (in a good way).
So what can I say about Yukine?
I’ll let her theme speak for me.
While there is the occasional woodwind chumming in and blending with the melody – softening it and adding wistfulness -like someone looking at the past with rose colored glasses. Which is fitting, a lot of Yukine’s action was driven by her late brother’s memory. The core of Yukine’s OST is calm and unhurried – STEADY with not much variation to its notes which is what Yukine have came to symbolize to her friends – a safe place wherein they can just be themselves. Day in Day out, Tomoya and Sunohara can go to the reference room and they would find Yukine with a welcoming smile and a cup of coffee to offer.
Is it no wonder that Tomoya fell in love with Yukine?
While it it isn’t tackled in this route, we know that Tomoya is doesn’t feel his house to be a home preferring to avoid his father and bumming with Sunohara as much as possible. Tomoya also doesn’t feel accepted by his peers, most of the school think he is a delinquent.
Yukine wordlessly sooth most of Tomoya’s unspoken insecurity. The reference provides him a home and Yukine’s complete acceptance of delinquents such as her brother’s friend show Tomoya that to Yukine the word delinquent doesn’t matter.
Even Tomoya’s dilemma of being seen as Yukine’s brother isn’t as much as a dilemma, which makes this route the most conflict-free route of Clannad (except the joke and common routes). This could be a good or bad thing depending on the reader.
Now, let’s talk about why Yukine fell for Tomoya.
We’re walking side by side. The girl beside me is only as tall as my shoulder. Yet, so many people out there are trying to find support from her. Where can that tiny body of hers find the strength to hold up everything? She doesn’t have a single person to support her in this school.
Is it all right for me to become… a person she can depend on?
If it’s possible, I would want to become that person for her.
I understand that you like the way you are now…but when you feel down or tired, come find me.
It’s not too much to ask for me to become a person you can depend on, isn’t it? When there’s no one around, I don’t mind lending you my lap or shoulder … just tell me… Actually, if I think you’re pushing yourself too hard, I’ll come to your place to make you borrow my lap…. Or my shoulder sometimes.
Constant empathy/support is hard. I think even Mother Theresa would like to lean on another person sometimes. I believe that Yukine’s pov of Tomoya changed in this scene, because Tomoya offered to be the pillar that Yukine can depend on. From Yukine’s reaction its something that no one has done before. Then, Tomoya proved those words true when even suspended he still continued visiting the reference room.
Sometimes romance isn’t exciting.
Sometimes being there for someone is enough.
Which others might find a bit boring but then again the romantic aspect took a backseat on this route.
We can see this on the time when the light orb appeared. It didn’t happen when Tomoya kissed Yukine. It happened when Yukine is surrounded everyone – her brother friends that she found scary at first and was now her friends in turn. When she was able to say her piece and was able to be understood and supported in turn.
In some way, I think, Yukine’s route epitomize the belonging and acceptance. That even the strangest people can be family.