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An Analysis on the miracles of Kanon and the idea of an True Route


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Hello all, I'm a first time poster here at Fuwanovels and I'm glad that you're taking the time to read this post of  mine.  As I have just finished the novel of Kanon, I really wanted to take some time to discuss some of my thoughts of general story and what I think can be considered to be the true end.  I'm looking forward to any and all comments due to my low expectations for a discussion because how old the source material is lol but I digress.


 
First off, I want to talk about the powers of miracles in Kanon.  Though the story never really goes in-depth on how or why they happen, we know that they do occur.  The most recognizable of these is Ayu Tsukimiya route where we find out that she's been in a coma all along yet she was able to talk to Yuuichi despite being so when he returned.  She's been dreaming seven long years awaiting his return and for someone to notice her.  In this case, the dream gave form to a miracle.
 

Outside her route, Ayu's dream can be considered the method that she delivers her last wish to Yuuichi to perform a miracle on his behalf.  In Nayuki's route it's for Nayuki's mom, whose in critical care in the hospital, and in Shiori's route; it's to save Shiori from dying from her terminal illness.  Its only in Mai's and Makoto route that her dream doesn't reach a conclusion and it might because these two are well capable of preforming their own miracles. 


 
Now as for the reason why I bring up the subject of miracles is because, I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe Ayu's dream/Miracle isn't because of her own innate power.  I think it's because of Mai that she's able to use a miracle.  The reason I say this is because of Mai's route.  In it, Mai is the only one who is proven to have a miraculous power and also shows it to affect another person outside of the main character influence or presence.  In the first case, its Mai's mom that is recipient of the miracle as she's practically brought back from the dead from Mai's wish.  Then the matter where she would show up on TV for that ESP/Psychic show.

 

Moving on, Mai power is shown to be understanding of Mai's inner desire to come to terms with her own abilities as it's a source of her sorrows yet also, the one thing that saved her mother's life.  As Mai moves away to a new town, her power/miracle prophesizes that there would be a one that will accept Mai for who she is as it's her greatest wish; that of hope.  I believe that because of this wish, the story as a whole is shaped by Mai's desire despite not being the main heroine.  In the context of Kanon,  the miracle/wish just does what it needs to do without explanation within the story on how it does so.

 

To give a precise example, I think Mai power may have intentionally brought Mai and Yuuichi together in that it made Yuuichi get lost in the first place and to find himself in the wheat field.  This is something though that can't be proven as Kanon is very vague on the full abilities of Mai's miracle.  An equally valid explanation could be that the power merely predicted where a person that could love Mai would be at in both location and time. Yet, I wouldn't believe such a thing to  be such a fateful encounter if Mai's power didn't have an active hand in joining them together.  A third explanation  would be a combination of the two: In that maybe knowing Yuuichi to be lost, Mai's power lead Yuuichi to Mai which to me as valid as the first explanation. 


 
Overall though, the most important part of this to consider is that Mai's and Yuuichi meeting occurs a full three years before Ayu's meeting with Yuuichi.  Yuuichi, having to leave because of Summer vacation being over, is called by a frantic Mai on the day of his departure about how Demons were going to destroy their cherished place and have to fight to keep them away.  As Yuuichi tells her that he can't, Mai says that she promises that'll she still be waiting for him as she hoped that this will make him stay.  Of course he doesn't; yet, her wish that he would still come still manifested itself because of her power.  The obvious result would be the "Demons" she now fights at the school that her cherished place used to be but, my question though is that, "Does the wish simply end there?"  


 
The "Demons" in this case provide a reason for Mai to stick around in Kanon for Yuuichi to find her at the school at night.  But that in itself is a passive way to look at things.  Thinking more abstractly, I think Mai's miracle works in a way that makes things be so.  I maybe misinterpreting the conversation Mai's power has with Yuuichi at the end of her route but, I remember her practically saying that her miracle is achieved through Yuuichi.  In order for Mai to again meet Yuuichi,  I feel that her power has to be a influence then on in his life after their meeting as he's Mai's hope.

 

This then comes apply to whenever he meets the other heroines and why miracles happen when he's around.  With Ayu, I believe her short meeting with Yuuichi was able to establish a connection with him and in the light of her tragic accident, her dream was able to form a bond with him.  Being that Yuuichi is linked to Mai's power, Ayu sincerest wishes may been given form because of this.  Basically, she's piggy backing on Mai's miracle as they both want Yuuichi.


 
I feel this to be a justifiable as Yuuichi is devastated with Ayu's tragedy.  I'm thinking that Mai's power may have been forced to help Yuuichi overcome his grief if he is able to help Mai.  Mai's power, in this case, may allowed Ayu  a chance to reconnect with Yuuichi and give him a sense of closure so he can be better equipped emotionally to help Mai.  This would also account for when Ayu's dream is able to save Akiko (Nayuki's Mom) and Shiori in routes outside her own.  She would be in those routes returning a borrowed power to make Yuuichi happy and would be in line with the objectives of Mai's wish. 

 

I'll admit though this a big stretch of the imagination and much simpler answer is that Ayu just has her own power limited to herself. What this doesn't account for is that during Ayu's time with Yuuichi, he gives her three wishes that are supposedly limited to what he's capable of doing.  Ayu only happens to uses two and provides the backdrop of miracle that would be the third wish.  What I would make argument for is that, "What if through Mai's power, Yuuichi is able to grant a miracle despite Ayu and even Yuuichi not knowing that?"

 

This in turn leads me back to bring the discussion back to Mai.  Where Ayu name may bring up the imagery of the moon with her last name being Tsuki, she's clearly the sun's warmth in the story with her cheery personality and happy go lucky attitude.  Mai, on the other hand, is clearly the opposite of Ayu with her quiet, stoic demeanor and taciturn personality.  She would be the cold darkness to the bright light that is Ayu.  This isn't so special in itself except that it provides thematically why Mai would be the true end of Kanon and the foundation of Ayu's miracles.  


 
With Ayu, you are presented with an idealized version of her that’s basically a "what if she never fell into a coma?"  The results of this is that you find a very enjoyable and lovely heroine that makes for a sweet romance with the main character.  If you dig further into her character though,  you'll start to realize that her biggest emotional draws are the ones that are tied down to the past she shares with Yuuichi. Thinking more about, you see Ayu's existence binds Yuuichi to a cruel history if one was to observe her pragmatically as she would serve as a specter of what could have been and, a sad reminder of his powerlessness to do anything to save her.  I suppose though one could make the argument that Ayu's route is the first and truest example of what Shiori says in her route, "Maybe people made fiction so that they can write happy stories (paraphrasing now: because life is often too cruel)." Ayu's route can be then basically summed up as using a miracle to overturn a painful tragedy.

 

This is fine and all but let's compare that to Mai's story.  She's clearly been hurting for ten long years and solely living on a wish she made to see again the only boy that accepted her.  Where's Mai dilemma is nowhere near as tragic as Ayu basically dying; one has to consider because of this that Ayu, for all intents and purposes, to be of the dead barely holding on to the dream of being alive; while with Mai, she is slowly killing herself metaphorically in her pursuit of her made up demons and literally as she slowly dies bit by bit as she slays each demon.  Where Ayu is the sad story of life cut short, Mai story is that of a promise that's both keeping her alive and yet what will eventually kill her if things are to continue. 

 

Now, If you were to play all the routes prior to Mai's, you see that the this is subversion of the single most important theme in Kanon;  that of how dreams become the foundation from which miracles are made.  The tragedy here then in Mai's story isn't one of broken promises or cruel circumstances (cancer for shiori and short life for Makoto and Ayu) but of how the dream in its desperation became twisted and hope turn into despair.

 
 I would compare this to the contract system of Madoka Magica.  The problem doesn't lie in the wish itself or even sacrificing  to obtain a miracle; it's when the system destroys the point of which the wish is made.  Where in Madoka Magica it’s becoming a witch that goes everything against a magical girl stands for that is the problem, Mai's miracle becomes the vehicle to which she denies the world as she only needs her hope and the memory of the one that understood her.  This is a counterpoint to Ayu's wishing to reintegrate herself the world and the biggest embracer of a miracle to make things right.


 
So in nutshell, Mai's route is most fundamentally at odds with Kanon key themes and I would say the most deserving of being corrected.  To further drive this point, Mai even uses Yuuichi's confession, that he delivers in Nayuki route to Nayuki, to Yuuichi himself and shortly attempts suicide. With this Iin mind, nature abhors a vaccum and in the case of Mai's route;  I feel the majority of the narrative force in Kanon goes to making things right with Mai as to bring it in line in the rest of Kanon.  Because of this, I feel Mai's route to be the de facto Heaven Feels true route to reference Fate/Stay Night in this case.

 

But as to further reinforce my points as to why I think Mai's route has the making of being the true route,  there's an lack of the "Remnants of a Dream" theme that is the marquee song of Kanon.  You hear it in the prologue and at the climax of all heroines route EXCEPT Mai's.  What you do hear instead is the theme, "Girl's Prison" for Mai whenever you see her.  This plays throughout all her major scenes; starting with her appearances at night in the school and all her major school events like the Dance ball and her breakdown after Sayuri is hurt.


 
I take this to be an admission from Kanon that it's indirectly telling the reader Mai's story is unfolding in real time and there is no past for the main character to be tied down to.  The past being referred to here is Ayu as her only remaining part of her in the world is the dream she has to be with Yuuichi.  Moving on back to Yuuichi, he learns at the final fight with the demons that he has met Mai long before his return; yet, he only feels responsibility in seeing Mai become like that happy girl she was once before as he loves her now.  This is unlike in Ayu's route where Yuuichi feels he needs to make things right because of the feeling that it was wrong of him to have forgotten her.  To elaborate, Yuuichi's goal in Ayu's route is about reconciling with the past; with Mai's, he is striving to build a future with Mai.

 

I find this to be important in the scope of Kanon as the narrative lends itself to living in the now and having a future based on hope.  You see it with Makoto's route where he promises Amano that he will remain cheerful; in Shiori's , Yuuichi tells her that miracles do happen and makes Shiori promise if that one does happen she owes him lunch; and finally, Yuuichi in Nayuki's route, that in his acknowledging he can't make a miracle, promises he will do all that he can do in being her strength and always being there.  What makes Mai's route special above all the rest, however, is that combines all the other routes themes into one narrative.  I'll admit though that I don't remember what's Ayu climax narrative point was other than than I care for you.  Then again, it could be proof Ayu's route is just the intro route to set you up with the true route that is Mai's but digress.

 
 Other than that, I have one more thing to mention in why I think Mai's route could be the true route.  I believe Mai to be the true inheritor of the thematic themes of Key's Visual creative team previous work at Nexton in "One: To the radiant Season."  In "One", there is a plot device called  "The Eternal World" where in course of the story the main character ends up in due to a wish he makes as a child after his sister passes away.  Where the details of what "The Eternal World" are vague, the wiki for ONE sums it up as, "an alternative space that Kouhei created out of his want for a place which nothing ever changes." 


 
In Mai's route, you see that Mai's power brings him to that place ten years ago that he meets Mai and there he meets the current hurt Mai as her ten year old self.  This seal spaced, where they meet, was created out of Mai's wish to be with Yuuichi in their cherished place and is quite similar to the eternal world of One except that, the uses here in Kanon are a lot more noble and romantic as it brings two people together rather than separating them.  Still, the original intention for the creation of this seal place was out of grief and angst of Mai's supposed thoughts of being abandoned by the only person that understood her. What makes this concept  works so beautifully in Kanon though is that, from this place of bittersweet memories, Yuuichi is able to bring back Mai to the present.

 

Now as for the visual side of things, child Mai brings up more the imagery that kid Nagamori (the Mascot Heroine of One) did more so than Ayu who can be considered the expy of Nagamori for Kanon.  I find this to be an important distinction as the child guide in One was symbolic of the wish and miracles of the story.  In cases of Kanon, Mai's power served in this capacity as a guide for Yuuichi to reconnect with the Mai that wished to love herself and be loved by someone that would accept everything about her.  No other character, with the possible exception of Nayuki's with imagery of her kid confession, can boast that in their route. 

 

This gives further credence to me that Mai's route has the at the spiritual blessings of being the successor to One and therefore, more weight in the eyes of creators as they would have to spend much more intricate time in crafting the narrative either intentionally or subconsciously.    My point in making this statement is that, why go to such lengths in the route you're setting apart if not because you feel the strongest for it?  My conclusion would be because this would be the defining route or at least the most conceptually purest form of the narrative they tried to create.  Everything of which I find to be the recipe behind most "True Routes" for stories.


 
In the end however, all of what I say may be just a whole lot of conjecture and ultimately, reading too deep into Mai's route.  If I were to be more modest in my analysis, I would compromise to say that Mai's route is the most in-depth and complex of all the routes as opposed to a "True End or Heroine".  Furthermore, the anime of Kanon combines all the routes so that all the girls can be happy therefore rendering moot the idea of a true route.  Still though, my point in all this is that Kanon, in all its themes, paints Mai as the one most needing to be saved and, the development of the story, outside of Nayuki's unrequited love, can be seen logically progressed in attempting to achieve this. 


 
In conclusion though, all of Kanon is up to interpretation and the happiest of endings would probably be the anime like I said before. Another point to consider too is to pull a Fate/Stay/Night and say all the routes are Canon (which I find to be totally fraudulent on Nasu part to give us that weak excuse as to make everyone happy but I digress).  But whatever the case,   I just wanted to share with all of you what my personal take would be the conclusion of Kanon with my reasoning on why so.  I hope you all enjoy this massively long read which took me over 6 to 7 hours to composed.  I look forward to any comments and discussions as to why you would agree or disagree with me. Thanks again for your time.


 
P.S.  I didn't know where to fit this in but I had wanted to make some point in the story that Ayu had her chance at life again and it be far sadder to me if Mai was to either die fighting the demons or live the rest of her life tearing herself apart in exchange for Ayu being able to come out of her Coma.  Part of me says this as a Fan of Mai's character but also just personal beliefs in that the present belongs to the living and not the dead.  Ayu is pretty much dead or at least on the border of it.  If I were Yuuichi, I would reconcile myself to learn from my mistakes of Ayu to not repeat them with Mai.  In this bittersweet case for Ayu, I would say just be happy with the miracle that you could live again if only for short while. Just my thoughts on that. 

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I seen the anime no less than five times and I mention that the anime combines everyone's story for a happy end. 

My problem with using the anime is that its a adaptation crafted to fit all of the routes of Kanon.  Like for example, I found it jarring as a experience to have Mai's route be concluded second even before I read the book.  What I'm getting at is that the Anime in trying to placate both anime only viewers and novel readers who want to see their girls route are treated to what I feel is a out of order sequence of routes.

In this case,  Ayu I feel is definitively the route one should play through first as to a customize themselves to the type of book Kanon is and the themes it will be presenting you from then on.  I also feel several routes bank on you having playing through Ayu's route first.

 

To be exact, it's Nayuki's and Shiori's route as you wouldn't get the full of their stories without comparing it with Ayu.  In Nayuki's case, it's the story of unrequited love that Ayu tradegy interfered with and ruin her chances seven years ago.  With Shiori, you have someone that's powerless in stopping her eventual death so she lives to fullest in the meantime.  This supposed to serve in contrast with Ayu as there was sense it as could have been prevented but also having no time to have react unlike the weeks Shirori has.

Mai's, on the other hand, I feel is best experienced playing everyone elses first and having everything turn on its head when it comes to her.  By having Ayu be the last route,  you intentionally make both Heroines weaker as the audiences noticed Mai is much more complex character yet she gets second billing and makes Ayu story look sappy as the audience compares it to Mai's story.

So as to the anime being the definitively take, I quite disagree with that despite how much I liked what the creative team did to make the plot work together.  

 

Its like having Kohaku story in Tsukihime be shown midway  in its entirety and then shown Arcueid arc at the end.  There would be a weird, uncomfortable disconnect as Kohaku's story is that of the behind the scenes happenings yet they would be missing their impact as you didn't have the feeling of a vampire princess taking you on a wild ride beforehand.

 

Overall,  I stand by my analysis but I appreciate your time taken to respond 

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I don't have much time now, but I will read this and comment my thoughts when I do. I am a huge kanon fan also, and wrote an analysis on Mai's route 2 to 3 years ago now and had it posted on this site (should be linked in my sig). I'm glad that even 17 years later Kanon is still having a power effect on people. It truly is a VN classic. Anyway, I look forward to reading this soon.

Edit: Fascinating post, you mentioned lots of interesting things and I have lots of thoughts on them. I really enjoyed reading this and thanks for writing your thoughts down. Please give me a day, or possibly even 2 days, and I'll finally have a proper response to the specific points you brought up. (I'm really sleepy now and have a busy day tomorrow :S)

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We'd have to go into detail (of actual dialogue) to see whether Ayu is the true heroine or not, i. e. the girl that Yuuichi truly loved. Due to format quirks, the VN presents each girl as a full-blown love interest, whereas the anime downplays them in favour of Ayu

(who goes on to share her life with Yuuichi).

The VN doesn't have a true route because it probably predates that concept.

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You might be right about Kanon predating the idea of true routes yet Tsukihime was only released a year after and it has one.

If anything though,  I'm pretty sure that all of Kanon's routes are all Canon just like the way Fate Stay Night is.   

The only problem that would arise from this I see is if Key ever would make a sequel with the setting.  If there ever was one,  I'm sure it would keep the details of One vague kind of the way White Album Two did about One yet,  I think there would be the pressure to give some background details of what happened with the original cast.

 

Other than that,  I had omitted by accident a key paragraph in my paper.  I edited it in now and it's:

I'll admit though this a big stretch of the imagination and much simpler answer is that Ayu just has her own power limited to herself. What this doesn't account for is that during Ayu's time with Yuuichi, he gives her three wishes that are supposedly limited to what he's capable of doing.  Ayu only happens to uses two and provides the backdrop of miracle that would be the third wish.  What I would make argument for is that, "What if through Mai's power, Yuuichi is able to grant a miracle despite Ayu and even Yuuichi not knowing that?"

 

Please read it in context of the paper 

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On 6/3/2016 at 7:09 AM, Yoyo said:

In the end however, all of what I say may be just a whole lot of conjecture and ultimately, reading too deep into Mai's route.  If I were to be more modest in my analysis, I would compromise to say that Mai's route is the most in-depth and complex of all the routes as opposed to a "True End or Heroine".

Haha, I can totally relate in reading perhaps too deeply into Mai's route. And while I do disagree with you on your "True route argument", I definitely agree with you when you said "Mai's route is the most in-depth and complex of all the routes". This is certainly true, and Mai's route has fascinated me for quite a while. 

Mai's route is certainly isolated from the other routes. That fact that you could never even meet with Mai once if you read the other routes only emphasizes this. As you pointed out, she is a precursor to Ayu. But I do not see how the two are connected at all. Furthermore, if there were a "True Route", I don't see why it would not be Ayu's. Most of the endings in the VN are connected to the last miracle she grants (Nayuki, Shiori, and of course Ayu herself). 

However, while I can't buy the argument that Mai's is the "true route", I don't feel it matters whether her route is or not the "true one". What is true, and what we both agree on, is that hers is the most interesting and has the most complexity to it. And I would agree that while Mai is an incredibly tragic character, Sayuri is even sadder (If you are curious about why I think this, I elaborate in my analysis of Mai and Sayuri). At least Mai can get a happy ending, even in Sayuri's side route, she has no happy ending if you think about it. But what I find even more fascinating than that, is that both Sayuri and Mai are fundamentally intertwined.  

What is most tragic about Mai, is how she is destroying herself. She fights the Demon's out of denial, and more than anything, self-denial. She hates herself, and feels that she is irredeemable. And it is in this horrid depression that she and Sayuri are fundimently connected. They both hate themselves, but love the other. But neither can make the other truly happy, as they are sub-consciously connected by their self-loathing. Only with Yuuichi's intervention can Mai ever attain happiness again. And only with Yuuichi's involvement will Sayuri even begin hating herself less.

 

Back on point to what you were arguing. If I understood it correctly, you were saying that Mai wanted Yuuichi to achieve a sense of closure with Ayu so that he can then emotionally dedicate himself to Mai. At least, that is how I understood this sentence that you wrote

" Mai's power, in this case, may allowed Ayu  a chance to reconnect with Yuuichi and give him a sense of closure so he can be better equipped emotionally to help Mai. "

But I think this is forgetting that Mai is completely self-involved. She would never think of something so elaborate like that, because she is too busy self-loathing to involve herself with other people. Infact, that is the very essence of the tragedy of Mai. That she is too busy hating, and destroying herself, to involve herself with anybody (and this includes Ayu or any of the other heroines). The only person (other than Yuuichi) that she is capable of involving herself with, is another individual who hates herself just as much. 

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On 6/6/2016 at 8:07 AM, Zalor said:

Haha, I can totally relate in reading perhaps too deeply into Mai's route. And while I do disagree with you on your "True route argument", I definitely agree with you when you said "Mai's route is the most in-depth and complex of all the routes". This is certainly true, and Mai's route has fascinated me for quite a while. 

Mai's route is certainly isolated from the other routes. That fact that you could never even meet with Mai once if you read the other routes only emphasizes this. As you pointed out, she is a precursor to Ayu. But I do not see how the two are connected at all. Furthermore, if there were a "True Route", I don't see why it would not be Ayu's. Most of the endings in the VN are connected to the last miracle she grants (Nayuki, Shiori, and of course Ayu herself). 

However, while I can't buy the argument that Mai's is the "true route", I don't feel it matters whether her route is or not the "true one". What is true, and what we both agree on, is that hers is the most interesting and has the most complexity to it. And I would agree that while Mai is an incredibly tragic character, Sayuri is even sadder (If you are curious about why I think this, I elaborate in my analysis of Mai and Sayuri). At least Mai can get a happy ending, even in Sayuri's side route, she has no happy ending if you think about it. But what I find even more fascinating than that, is that both Sayuri and Mai are fundamentally intertwined.  

What is most tragic about Mai, is how she is destroying herself. She fights the Demon's out of denial, and more than anything, self-denial. She hates herself, and feels that she is irredeemable. And it is in this horrid depression that she and Sayuri are fundimently connected. They both hate themselves, but love the other. But neither can make the other truly happy, as they are sub-consciously connected by their self-loathing. Only with Yuuichi's intervention can Mai ever attain happiness again. And only with Yuuichi's involvement will Sayuri even begin hating herself less.

 

Back on point to what you were arguing. If I understood it correctly, you were saying that Mai wanted Yuuichi to achieve a sense of closure with Ayu so that he can then emotionally dedicate himself to Mai. At least, that is how I understood this sentence that you wrote

" Mai's power, in this case, may allowed Ayu  a chance to reconnect with Yuuichi and give him a sense of closure so he can be better equipped emotionally to help Mai. "

But I think this is forgetting that Mai is completely self-involved. She would never think of something so elaborate like that, because she is too busy self-loathing to involve herself with other people. Infact, that is the very essence of the tragedy of Mai. That she is too busy hating, and destroying herself, to involve herself with anybody (and this includes Ayu or any of the other heroines). The only person (other than Yuuichi) that she is capable of involving herself with, is another individual who hates herself just as much. 

   I first want to first off discuss the ending routes miracles a bit more in detail in relation to Ayu.  It's Shiori route that she gives a genre-savy and slight 4th wall breaking dialogue to Yuuichi about how the life they can be living is a dream of someone. To quote her, "Like, somebody's dreaming about me, about us,  and they can have one wish granted, anything.  Only within the dream, obviously.  Well, of course she couldn't just have a wish granted for no reason.  Like, when she first started living in the dream world,  she couldn't do anything but cry.  But if she kept waiting in the dream, forever and ever… Then maybe she'd have a chance.  Maybe it would be given to her, kind of like a present, after she'd been waiting so long.  So she can have any wish she wants granted.  Absolutely anything.  Like, say… Maybe she could help someone who was really seriously ill with her one single wish."
 
   In this quote, Shiori doesn't say anything about the power being Ayu's but rather, something given to her.  Ayu's small miracle, if we used this also for the basis of Nayuki's route ending, is only within the dream to ask for a wish to be granted opposed to granting a final wish.  This is very much in line with the third wish that was promised to her by Yuuichi.  I find this to be an important distinction as it doesn't make Ayu particularly important other than sharing a fateful encounter with Yuuichi.  At least, not special the way Mai and Yuuichi (which I will explain coming up later why so).  

 

  Moving on, we know that all the heroines have a concurrent history with each other.  This means that everything prior to Yuuichi return did happen like Ayu's accident and Makoto being a fox he took care of.  The divergence point though is when he does arrive and Kanon becomes a bit like Schrodinger's Cat.  I figure all the routes are all legitimate ends and they all do happen but, it's how the player makes the choices that it proceeds to arrive at a heroines end.  If this is really the case, the chances of Key setting apart a true route and leaving it to the player to delve deeper into the story to realize one look slim.  Yet, there are some things to keep in mind why the possibility remains.
 
  For this example, I'll use Tsukihime as it's a contemporary VN, to Kanon, that was released just a year after Kanon's release.  Tsukihiime has five heroines just like Kanon and has a main character, Arcueid, whose route is the true end.  Yet, we find all the major background information of why the events of Tsukihime happen the way they do in the last route. In this case, Tsukihime and Kanon share the same in common in that their last route you can gleam why there stories evolve the way they did. 
 
     In the case of Tsukihime, it's in Kohaku's route that you find she's responsible for releasing the main villain from his imprisonment and corrupting his thoughts so that she can gain her revenge on the Tohno family.  Yet, you're not able though to reach her route and find this out until you played through all the other heroines route.  The way I find the two similar, Kohaku's and Mai's route, is in how relatively isolated Mai's route is from the other girls along with, being the route that is thematic opposite of the main girl.  Very much like the same way Kohaku's arc goes about a different direction from Arcueid the Vampire Princess action story,  Mai's route differentiate itself by being a moody, thriller compared to the slice of life, fantasy of Ayu's.  The point being here is that the routes accomplish different goals from the main route by being thematically different.  

 

   To return the story back to Kanon, Mai's route show's miracles happening.  Because all the stories are concurrent, we know that the world of Kanon is a miraculous place though I suppose you can learn the same from Makoto's route.   The difference here though from Makoto's is that Mai's power explains what Mai's miracle really is to Yuuichi.  The conversation goes as followed with the [----] areas being where Yuuichi says lines.
 
  Mai's power Sat. 30 January:  [Is that your answer or that of the Mai right now?]  Both, we've always needed you [Why, even though it was such a short period of time] … That's her power. [Power?] … Yes, Mai's true power.  Her ability to say, 'He's the one' and trust in him.  [….And that's me…?]  …Yes.  That's why you came back, Yuuichi… To the place we can no longer visit… Yuuichi, you were called, I'm sure of it, because of Mai's power… I was born on that day, from her, an honest prayer…  Since, I couldn't stay with Mai no matter what...  Her hope… The hope that somewhere in the world there would be a person who could teach her to like herself. [But everything had started here….Now, everything is over…isn't it?...] … But we can start over from that time… Even ten years of time can be taken back… because Mai is still the little girl  from back then… So, Please take care of future Mai.  If you meet her again, she'll think the same thing. That you are the one.  Okay? [Yeah]  Then. Let's introduce ourselves. [To whom?]   And promise.

 

  Mai's power here reveals to him that the power behind her miracle is that of how earnestly she can believe.  This would also back up in the flashback her statement about believing her mother wouldn't die/will not die as she cites herself as wishing it with all her heart.  Furthermore, this establishes as a past event the creation of a wish resulting from Mai.  This in turn shows that it’s a concurrent happening with the rest of Kanon and that it co-exist with Ayu history with Yuuichi.  
 
  Thinking deeper, I want to bring up is that, if we are to take Mai's power literally where she says, " 'He's the one" and trust in him"; then, Yuuichi had all along Mai's blessing ever since their meeting in the wheat field.  I feel this to be true in a broad sense but the lines immediately after can only be taken in the context of Yuuichi being summoned to Mai's cherished place.  The point remains however that Mai had always believed in Yuuichi despite denying her power.  And just by believing, Mai is known to create miracles.  These phenomena shouldn't stop just because she's denying her power.
 
  Moving the conversation back to Yuuichi, this would set him apart not only just in Mai's eyes but as someone special within Kanon.  I wouldn't though say that he can actively tap into a miracle the way Mai can.  I feel it's more that he's the one that can make thing happens.  In the case of Ayu, he makes a promise to play with her again and the miracle is that it does happen.  I feel Ayu is only in the dream as to make true on the promise Yuuichi made.  Furthermore, the third wish is only important as "who Ayu knows." 
 
   This is an important distinction as Ayu never meets Mai or Makoto in any route.  Where I said before it could be because they're capable of their own miracle, it may just be that she doesn't know them to think on their behalf to make a wish. In all the other cases, she made friends with Nayuki, Akiko, and Shiori to justify in making one last wish for them.  Had she known Mai, she may have wished that she doesn't die from bleeding out and with Makoto, make a wish that she could stay a human with Yuuichi.  In this case, I feel it's Ayu that's a selfless and kind person to think of others before herself.  That's why in the other routes, she doesn't think of using that last wish to leave the dream.    
 
  When it comes to Ayu's own route,  Yuuichi makes a surprising statement saying, "No matter what miracle it was from, Ayu and I met in this city." This is, by the way, said after he realizes that Ayu shouldn't been able to meet him because of past circumstances but still did anyways.  Continuing on, I find this to be of interest because of the background wish Mai has about Yuuichi.  Where I'm not so sure now how much active influence this actually has on Yuuichi, I feel that Yuuichi himself is special person even without it.  After all, Mai's power sets apart Yuuichi as someone capable of accepting her.  This could be because he may be unique in a way similar to Mai and Kanon, as a story, down plays it lest it takes away from the heroines stories.
 
  With that Yuuichi's statement in mind, I feel that the story is acknowledging that the miracle responsible for Ayu could be anything or anyone, not just Ayu herself.  I also feel it becomes more profound when you think of them in context of some Ayu's last words, right before she disappears, of, "I wanted to be with you longer, Yuuichi…  Is it mean of me to make a wish like this?" There's no mentions after these lines that Ayu is focusing on making them come true.  She's just confiding, albeit very heartbreakingly in a very feels worthy tender moment, what her wish would be and how much she wants to be with Yuuichi.
 
  On another note, Ayu breakdown there reminds me of the situation Shiori has when she confesses to Yuuichi how scare she was.  They're remarkably similar circumstances brings me to think again that Ayu is not responsible for the miracle as in her own route because she's desperate for one herself.  The one thing they do share in common is that Yuuichi is the one they confide in.  
 
  Now to bring everything I discussed together, I feel that Ayu is not responsible for the miracles and it's not necessarily Mai's power either.  Where I do think Mai's blessing has influence on Yuuichi,  I feel now that it's because of Yuuichi that miracles happen.  At the very least, it would knock out  Ayu as being a definitive true route book wise and goes to reinforcing my original point that she's not responsible for the miracles in Kanon.  It’s a shame though that my further discussion of the matter near extinguishes Mai's route possibility of being a true route based on just in-text evidence.  I suppose though that the biggest winner is the protagonist and he doesn't even realize it except for in Mai's route.
 
  Other than that, I mention this in your analysis but I think you undersell Sayuri's catharsis and inner qualities the same way she does about herself  lol.  I feel the subtext to her route is that Sayuri is stronger than she lets on to others and herself.  She also says in-game to Yuuichi that she finds it surprising that she even harbored such self-loathing back then.  This shows by the time Yuuichi shows up and her friendship cemented with Sayuri, she has progressively moved away from just being defined by her depression.   I find though your thoughts to be accurate about Mai.
 
  In the end though, that's just my opinions on both matters. What stands out clearly however is that I care too much about proving my points and I doubt the time spent researching/discussing my points was justified lol.  I hope at the very least you see some merit in what I had to say and reconsider some things from my PoV about Kanon.  If failing that, at least be thoroughly entertained by this analysis.  
 
Some Afterwords: While  I do eagerly await any response, though its Zalor that I wrote this for in expectation of his return thoughts,  I feel that I'm very near in reaching my closing chapter of my life with Kanon lol.  I really want to move on to something new and I actually had been binge watching Code Geass R2 to serve as a palate cleansor.  The change of pace that show provides gave me the motivation to stick a little longer with Kanon lol but I can't wait to return to Moon, the other pre-Key novel.  I feel that book is their most psychological and in-depth story.  It makes wonder if they will ever make another story like it.   Anyways, I'm looking to the comments.

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On 6/9/2016 at 8:25 PM, Yoyo said:

  I feel now that it's because of Yuuichi that miracles happen.  At the very least, it would knock out  Ayu as being a definitive true route book wise and goes to reinforcing my original point that she's not responsible for the miracles in Kanon.  It’s a shame though that my further discussion of the matter near extinguishes Mai's route possibility of being a true route based on just in-text evidence.  I suppose though that the biggest winner is the protagonist and he doesn't even realize it except for in Mai's route.
 
  In the end though, that's just my opinions on both matters. What stands out clearly however is that I care too much about proving my points and I doubt the time spent researching/discussing my points was justified lol.  I hope at the very least you see some merit in what I had to say and reconsider some things from my PoV about Kanon.  If failing that, at least be thoroughly entertained by this analysis.  
 
Some Afterwords: While  I do eagerly await any response, though its Zalor that I wrote this for in expectation of his return thoughts,  I feel that I'm very near in reaching my closing chapter of my life with Kanon lol.  I really want to move on to something new and I actually had been binge watching Code Geass R2 to serve as a palate cleansor.  The change of pace that show provides gave me the motivation to stick a little longer with Kanon lol but I can't wait to return to Moon, the other pre-Key novel.  I feel that book is their most psychological and in-depth story.  It makes wonder if they will ever make another story like it.   Anyways, I'm looking to the comments.

Sorry it took so long to respond. But don't worry, I haven't forgotten. 

I think your point about Ayu never having met Makoto and Mai, was very interesting. I always assumed that because both Mai and Makoto possess miraculous powers of their own, that Ayu's was not needed. But the fact that they never even met Ayu is another good reason why her miracle wasn't used on them. And I think this is an interesting deviation that the VN has from the 2006 anime. The 2006 anime seems to imply that Ayu's last wish, was Yuuichi's last wish. So what ever he wished for, is what would happen. But in the VN, the wish is more clearly based on Ayu's desire. Hence why it only happens to people she met.

As you seemed to conclude, Yuuichi really is the catalyst for all the miracles in Kanon. And what makes this so significant, is that he is unaware of this. Not only is he unaware, but he is very much presented to the reader as a normal guy (almost a self-insert). But if we take Mai's words to heart, there is something special about Yuuichi. But it seems that only the Heroines are able to see this. And because the story is in first person, we, much like Yuuichi himself, do not see what is so special about him. To us, it seems that these miraculous things happen around him. But perhaps there is something miraculous about him.

In fact, the miracle of Ayu's ghost did not manifest until Yuuichi returned to the town. Ayu may have been desperately waiting for Yuuichi for years, but it was not until Yuuichi physically returned to the town that her ghost appeared. Theoretically, if the power for her to create a ghost of herself sub-consciously was all hers, then she could have done so at anytime. She could have had the ghost manifest and wander around the town for years, waiting for Yuuichi in the real world. But it is only when Yuuichi returns, that she is able to create this ghost. There are only two possible explanations. The most common interpretation (the one the anime implies), is that her desire to meet Yuuichi again was so strong, that she could sense his presence. Thus subconsciously she knew that Yuuichi was not in the town, so she didn't put the effort to create a manifestation of herself to search for him. That is, until she sensed his return.

But the other possibility, is that she was unable to create a manifestation of herself to search for Yuuichi, until he returned. This reading suggests that Yuuichi carries some sort of miraculous aura around him, that gives birth for the opportunity for these miracles. Or if I were to further define what I mean, I think Yuuichi is like a conductor (like an electronic conductor) for miracles. He is incapable of creating any himself, but he has the ability to enhance the power of those who are capable. 

In the case of Ayu, she clearly holds the power of the miracles that relate to her. The Ayu that everybody sees is clearly a projection of her subconscious. But the ability to project such a realistic version of herself, may have to do with Yuuichi's presence enhancing her power to do so.

In Mai's case, it is established that she has the power to save life, and to even create demons. But she is only able to unlock the ability to use her power to save herself through Yuuichi's presence.

And lastly, regarding Makoto. Makoto's power was to create a temporary human form. But through her own raw power, she could only create a form of herself that would get weaker, die, and disappear. But because of Yuuichi's presence, her power is made strong enough where she can be reborn.

So to conclude, I think there is something miraculous about Yuuichi. And I think this subtly is overlooked in the 2006 anime adaptation.

Once again, I am so sorry that it took this long to respond. Simply put, I did not have the mental energy until now to write a thought out and articulate response to your response. I hope that the wait has not been in vain.

PS: Code Geass is a really fun ride, hope you enjoyed it ( you have probably finished it by now).     

 

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On 6/14/2016 at 9:26 AM, Zalor said:

Sorry it took so long to respond. But don't worry, I haven't forgotten. 

I think your point about Ayu never having met Makoto and Mai, was very interesting. I always assumed that because both Mai and Makoto possess miraculous powers of their own, that Ayu's was not needed. But the fact that they never even met Ayu is another good reason why her miracle wasn't used on them. And I think this is an interesting deviation that the VN has from the 2006 anime. The 2006 anime seems to imply that Ayu's last wish, was Yuuichi's last wish. So what ever he wished for, is what would happen. But in the VN, the wish is more clearly based on Ayu's desire. Hence why it only happens to people she met.

As you seemed to conclude, Yuuichi really is the catalyst for all the miracles in Kanon. And what makes this so significant, is that he is unaware of this. Not only is he unaware, but he is very much presented to the reader as a normal guy (almost a self-insert). But if we take Mai's words to heart, there is something special about Yuuichi. But it seems that only the Heroines are able to see this. And because the story is in first person, we, much like Yuuichi himself, do not see what is so special about him. To us, it seems that these miraculous things happen around him. But perhaps there is something miraculous about him.

In fact, the miracle of Ayu's ghost did not manifest until Yuuichi returned to the town. Ayu may have been desperately waiting for Yuuichi for years, but it was not until Yuuichi physically returned to the town that her ghost appeared. Theoretically, if the power for her to create a ghost of herself sub-consciously was all hers, then she could have done so at anytime. She could have had the ghost manifest and wander around the town for years, waiting for Yuuichi in the real world. But it is only when Yuuichi returns, that she is able to create this ghost. There are only two possible explanations. The most common interpretation (the one the anime implies), is that her desire to meet Yuuichi again was so strong, that she could sense his presence. Thus subconsciously she knew that Yuuichi was not in the town, so she didn't put the effort to create a manifestation of herself to search for him. That is, until she sensed his return.

But the other possibility, is that she was unable to create a manifestation of herself to search for Yuuichi, until he returned. This reading suggests that Yuuichi carries some sort of miraculous aura around him, that gives birth for the opportunity for these miracles. Or if I were to further define what I mean, I think Yuuichi is like a conductor (like an electronic conductor) for miracles. He is incapable of creating any himself, but he has the ability to enhance the power of those who are capable. 

In the case of Ayu, she clearly holds the power of the miracles that relate to her. The Ayu that everybody sees is clearly a projection of her subconscious. But the ability to project such a realistic version of herself, may have to do with Yuuichi's presence enhancing her power to do so.

In Mai's case, it is established that she has the power to save life, and to even create demons. But she is only able to unlock the ability to use her power to save herself through Yuuichi's presence.

And lastly, regarding Makoto. Makoto's power was to create a temporary human form. But through her own raw power, she could only create a form of herself that would get weaker, die, and disappear. But because of Yuuichi's presence, her power is made strong enough where she can be reborn.

So to conclude, I think there is something miraculous about Yuuichi. And I think this subtly is overlooked in the 2006 anime adaptation.

Once again, I am so sorry that it took this long to respond. Simply put, I did not have the mental energy until now to write a thought out and articulate response to your response. I hope that the wait has not been in vain.

PS: Code Geass is a really fun ride, hope you enjoyed it ( you have probably finished it by now).     

 

Before I start, I'd like to offer my own apologies in replying late too.  In the meantime between your two posts (which I will reply to in the other thread in due time) I have written actually two analysis but just posted for Facebook.  I wrote one for Nisekoi as at the time rumored to been ending soon and Code Geass which I had just finished.  I haven't posted them here as it was more for my friends on Facebook to read but I plan to repost my Code Geass one here with some touch up.  It was a great show btw and I wonder if you would read my analysis on that.
 
  The other reason for my delay has been that I been trying to read Air despite saying I was going to finish Moon.  I figured because its summer that it would be an appropriate book to read but I've been making slow progress as its been WAY TOO HOT lately to want to have a laptop resting on me to read it.  I will say though I really do love Misuzu,  based from what little I had read, as she reminds me of a much more interesting Nayuki and on a visual level, I just love the long bangs she has like Mai did in Kanon.  I plan to write a analysis once I finish it but that may be a long way off.
 
  Now going back to the subject of Kanon, I like how you refined my observations on Yuuichi to liken him to be a conductor for miracles.  While I can approve of that, I feel that it's written in a way that still supportive of Ayu being source of miracles.   I still find myself rejecting that notion on the basis because of the circumstances Ayu and Mai has with Yuuichi.
 
  For example, Ayu throughout much of Kanon is the one that meets and departs Yuuichi.  You see this in the first flashback Yuuuichi has where she bumps into him crying and in the present time line where she's running away with the Taiyaki.  This is the complete opposite when it comes to Mai as Yuuichi is the one that always visit's her and then leaves after their night is over.  I find this important as its Ayu always involving herself in Yuuichi's life while with Mai, Yuuichi makes it his business to be by Mai's side.  To clarify, Ayu's fate is one of being drawn to Yuuichi and its Yuuichi's fate to be involved with Mai.   If there was to be a miracle for Ayu, I would think it has to be one where she comes to be with Yuuichi than having a power for herself. 

 

  Furthermore, Ayu has a remarkable circumstance that is near exactly the same as Mai.  The reason she even meets Yuuichi is because she's crying in grief over her mother's passing away and is roaming the town.  If we were to take this event literally, Ayu failed, unlike Mai, to use her power to save her own mother's life.  Looking at it another way, Ayu may not have a power of a miracle to save lives or change fate.  Kanon may not give us specific details on miracles but I find it odd that Ayu isn't shown to be special like either Makoto or Mai through her own backstory.  If there was a time to sow the seeds of her being unique, I think it would had been during this time.  
 
  Continuing on, we know that Yuuichi, Before moving away for seven years, that he makes a promise with Ayu to play again.  The scene following that in the flashback talks in detail how he purposely made an illusion of being able to give a gift to his first love and how happy she was in receiving it.  He then goes on to say that he chose to reject reality and accept this story as to not damage his heart even more.  What I find amazing, in his monologue to himself, is that Yuuichi here reminds me REMARKABLY similar to Mai's rejection of her powers.  I find myself here, because of this, believing that maybe's Ayu's dream is Yuuichi's hope he had seal himself in his heart.   This isn't any stretch of the imagination either as Mai was able to make a seal space also for her power and cherished place.  I can see this easily being the case with Yuuichi too with Ayu. 
 
  Talking of comparing Yuuichi to Mai, I can see similarities of Mai's dilemma in Ayu's route but with Yuuichi facing the problems Mai has.  In this case, it's Yuuichi the one struck with a tragedy and rejecting a part of himself.  It just comes to be that, for Yuuichi, there's someone else that convinces that part of himself to come to terms.  This makes me believe even more that Ayu is really a normal girl and that for the other routes ending such as Nayuki and Shiori, the other major correlation is that YUUICHI himself is very much invested In those two people.  For Nayuki happiness, it's for her sake that Akiko recovers from the accident and with Shiori, that she is able to overcome her illness so they can spend their lives together.  
 
  Overall, I suppose my argument here is that Yuuichi is more than a conductor miracle but rather, a source of miracles himself.  In Ayu's case, it would the make sense that her wish would come to be as Yuuichi also wants to be with Ayu.  This would then also support the implication in the anime that Ayu's last wish is Yuuichi's wish too.  Furthermore, it would explain why Ayu goes away In the other routes as Yuuichi heart goes to focus on a new love and is no longer bounded to Ayu.  Ayu's then last wish then can be explained literally by Shiori's ending statement, of her route, that Ayu's last wish really was a gift for staying that long within the dream because of Yuuich's power keeping her there.
 
   In the end though, I might just be in the mindset of denying Ayu's power but I rather believe that it's because Yuuichi making his own miracles.  The story makes Yuuichi to be a special person and all the developments relating to Ayu can be traced back to him.  Where at first I was thinking it was because of Mai's power helping him, I think Yuuichi always had a power like Mai and IT COULD BE THE REASON that Mai's power mark him as someone capable of accepting her.  In this case, Yuuichi is Mai's boy counterpart that uses his power to protect himself rather than self-destructive means.  Regardless though, his potential for miracles could be the reason why he can accept Mai to begin with as he's unique like her.  
 
  So now to bring things to conclusion, its Yuuichi potential for a miracle that Ayu is able to tap into one and make herself reconnect with him.  I could be distracting myself though with analogies with Mai and that Ayu just has her own different miracle but,  the events in the story always has Yuuichi playing some part in her miracle.  Even the third wish, the one that is used to change a cruel fate, is based on the promise that he makes to her that's limited to what he's capable of.  I would find it to be a major problem story wise if its because of a supposed Ayu's innate power that a wish is granted when it should be Yuuichi doing so.  With that said, I find it easier to believe that Ayu was blessed with Yuuichi to be in her life and there lies the miracle that becomes the foundation for everything else that follows.

 

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