Alright so I finally finished AIR yesterday, and since the daily points were pretty long, I just put them in a paste instead! For anyone interested, you can find it here: http://p.pomf.se/7348
Now then, what were my thoughts on this route? I thought it was quite the experience. Usually a powerful Key route would have one scene that would make me cry for a long time, and I’ll be okay from there on. AIR was different. It made me cry 5, maybe nearly 10 times. There was just so many things happening where you feel extremely happy or extremely sad, and all of those scenes were powerful. So if I could describe the writing in one word, it would definitely be that: powerful. There’s no surprise why this is the game that practically made it for Key and Jun Maeda back then.
It definitely gives us a better insight to Haruko and Misuzu. Back in the Dream route, we would only see things from Yukito’s eyes, and people tend to hide things from other people. But they aren’t so secretive when talking to an animal, and we get to learn how Misuzu and Haruko really feel. For one, we find out exactly why Haruko left on her sudden “Hot Springs trip”.
At the end of the game, we see how Haruko truly transforms from becoming just her Aunt into becoming her mother. Even the final scene, I believe, points to this so heavily. Misuzu is trying desperately to walk to Haruko, and Haruko is encouraging her, much like a mother would teach a very young child how to walk. That is one of the experiences of being a parent, and Haruko, now being able to experience it, can truly call herself Misuzu’s mother.
Now then, I think the question we are really aching to find out more than anything is… how the heck was all that able to fix the curse? I think the two key points (pun not intended) can be taken from the narration of the mother (likely Kanna’s mother) at the end of AIR, and Uraha’s description of her “plan” back in Summer. The narration of the mother (which seems to be what was the narration in the very beginning of the dream) is that she is aware that one day, the winged beings will be gone. Since the winged beings inherit memories, they carry the memories of the earth. That said, her only wish is that, when they are gone, the memories that they leave will be happy ones. Now, since we were told back in Summer route that the winged beings inherit memories, I think that can expand to include inheriting wishes as well. Kanna’s mother’s wish became her wish: that the legacy of the winged beings be ended with good memories.
Now then, how does Uraha’s plan come into this? She describes, back then, that there is no way to save her, but after some time, Kanna’s “soul” will transmigrate back into earth. See, she specifically mentions Kanna’s soul, like it was something that is separate from her body. So I think that the way we should see Kanna was, well, something of a wandering soul. And I think one common reason for why souls wander the earth is because they haven’t solved one of their regrets in life. Which ties into what I said earlier, with Kanna’s wish becoming wanting to have good memories before passing on the legacy of the winged beings.
So that’s what I think Kanna was. She wasn’t literally flying around in the sky. Rather her soul was wandering earth “in the sky” and the only memories she could see was her nightmare, until she was reincarnated. However, because of the curse, the girl who she was reincarnated into was totally doomed into having absolutely no good memories. They can’t make friends, they will hurt anybody who comes close to them, and they will die early. This actually builds up to a keypoint of mine: Do you think that Misuzu’s real mother died as a result of the curse?
Since the reincarnated forms are always doomed to have bad memories, Kanna’s soul never reaches her wish of finishing with good memories… Until Haruko comes along. She finally accepts Misuzu as her child, and gives her happy memories. That is why Misuzu was the last reincarnation of Kanna. Because she finally got good memories, allowing Kanna’s soul to “pass on” and, as she says in the end, “report to the sky her happy memories”.
This might be jumping to a lot of conclusions, and I don’t know the first thing about how shintoism or buddhism or however the mechanics of transmigration work in the world of AIR, so it’s just a theory for now. Feel free to discuss and point out any flaws you guys might see.
Despite that, this thought, in a way, gives me a new insight as to what the real “message” of AIR is. We all know that the message of AIR is all about mothers and appreciating our relationship with them, but I think another message is not being so caught up with things and learn to fight for our own happiness. Haruko eventually learned to stop being scared of losing Misuzu, and fought for her happiness to be with Misuzu. Yukito fought for his own happiness til the end because he realized that his true happiness lied in making other people happy. Minagi fought for her happiness to stop living a false life, and to move on over the loss of her sister. Kano fought for her happiness despite having a curse, and she found it in Yukito. And, finally, Misuzu. Misuzu was the strongest of them all. She was just a victim of circumstance, having to live with this unfair curse. But she fought so hard, because she wanted to be happy. Even if she was all alone, she found her happiness in mundane things, like weird juice and petting crows. Even if she was in pain, she continued fighting, for the sake of her happiness with her mother. Misuzu, you da real MVP.
We are even told at the end that “our wings should hold our own happiness”, and I think that’s a message we can all learn from.