AIR - AIR Arc Discussion

Well… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
AIR is definitely up there above most of the rest in terms of “emotional impact” to me, so yeah, it might just be more of an utsuge, as it was mostly utsuge that seems to do that to me, heh.

This route pissed me off. Legitimately I think it was a wonderful thing to end off with, I just was wondering when would it end. Truth be told, when Aozora started playing, I was heartbroken.

Haruko really stands out as the best character here. I’m more confused on what that ending was; who are those kids? I skimmed through this thread and didn’t really find an answer.

Misuzu doesn’t even have a happy ending as the happiest character ever T-T


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You found an answer? Please enlighten us XP

Sora and Kanna???

Go listen to the podcast lol.

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A compression/paraphrasing of my thoughts written specifically for the K.E.Y.:

The AIR route holds a ton of heart, and I feel Maeda wanted to convey something personal to him with Haruko and Misuzu’s struggle together. It stands apart from its sister routes in terms of both quality and emotion, and it taught me two important life lessons. First, it reminds me of how my mother is always there for me. She’s not a perfect soul, but I always look up to her, and even today she serves as the perfect role model for me. I think I’m pretty lucky to know someone like her, a woman who raised me with her delicate hands and forged me with her guidance.

Second, even after all I can do, even faith sometimes isn’t enough to make life-saving miracles happen. Everyone dies at some point in their lives, so the best I can do is make sure a dying loved one doesn’t regret living. Not only will it ease the passing of said loved one, it will change me for the better. My life doesn’t end at someone else’s death, so I must keep going knowing that they’ve passed on, and do everything I can to make sure they are not forgotten. Still, I believe in an afterlife, every day holding on tight to the belief that I will one day see a loved one again.


I’d generally tell you to just suck it up and read the VN, but I’m feeling generous today :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. No, the curse was never broken. It is heavily implied that Yukito, as Sora, would take to the skies in his new form to seek Kanna and free her from the curse, while the curse will continue for these sad humans. It is also implied that the curse will continue with those two children on the beach, but unlike the case of everyone before her, the girl on the beach has hope that she may still experience happiness despite this, thanks to the boy that is with her.
  2. Misuzu never really had wings. At least, not physically. Her “wings” are just manifestations of the memories of the winged beings pouring into her, those memories strongly attached to having wings. So while she does feel phantom pains over not having wings, she doesn’t actually physically have them. All the pictures of Misuzu with wings are simply artistic representations.
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It has been a super long time since I looked up the background of AIR, but I’ll see what I can remember.
The idea of AIR, and this is obvious, is that reincarnation is a thing. Not only that, but reincarnation doesn’t work hand-in-hand with the concept of time. Misuzu is one of many reincarnations, as is Yukito and every other character. The other reincarnations can exist in the past, in the future, and in the present. There’s nothing stopping the same “soul” from existing within two people at the same time. I believe there was a specific religious belief that went in line with this, but I don’t remember.

Yukito isn’t the direct son of any of Kanna’s companions. He is a long descendant, hence why his magical powers have faded so much. The magical bloodline of which he descends from has been diluted by the constant mixing of normal human dna. One of Yukito’s ancestors gave birth to a normal human’s child, so did the next one, and so did the next one. Yukito’s mother was just his mother. Dunno why that’s a question, but yeah, his mother taught Yukito about his ancestors’ traditions.

AIR is ultimately a small part of a larger story. These characters are effectively meaningless to the grand scheme of things, but it is the only link of an endless chain that we know about.

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Does that mean that the little girl that was walking at the beach with the little boy, is next in line for the reincarnation? And her soul will basically just fuse with the soul of Kanna? And if that story would have continued and the girl was miraculously cured, wouldn’t that mean that Yukito’s bloodline didn’t help at all, if the boy the next girl is with isn’t part of the main family ?

There’s no fusion, or any changes. The girl and the boy were there before Yukito even showed up in town, and they were both already on the same journey.

If that was the link to end the chain, then it’s all over. Yukito’s bloodline didn’t really help aside from sharing the story of the curse. Neither Yukito nor any of his relatives actually did anything, even with magic. I guess the lesson to be learned from the kids, if they did so happen to be the final link, is that a natural friendship beats searching for a specific person as a task. It could be possible that by simply being on the search for the angel, you are doomed to never break the curse.


I think that’s one of my biggest takeaways from AIR. Chasing your “destiny” will just cause you to forget the smaller things in life. So showing the little girl innocently playing with the boy on the beach signifies that this reincarnation will, hopefully unlike the previous tens of reincarnations (however many they may be), will find happiness in their companionship which the previous iterations seemed to have failed to do.

But isn’t the fact that they’re together without the girl being in pain a sign that the curse is broken?

Sorry to bring this topic back up, but I’m a bit confused. The opening says the “1000th Summer”, yet it seems as though (Misuzu’s story/Yukito backstory/ summer arc) Misuzu is the only reincarnation of Kanna. So is this her reincarnation 1000 summers into the future? If that was the case, then why were we seeing the next incarnation of Kanna/Misuzu on the beach right during the 1000th summer? Wouldn’t we have to wait another thousand years? And why didn’t it focus on the next incarnation after Kanna if there was one before Misuzu?

I’m also confused because I thought Yukito was the son of the side characters in the Kanna storyline? But then that would have only been only around 30 summers since Kanna died? Wouldn’t that mean this isn’t the 1000th summer? And if Yukito isn’t the son of them, then who was that mother that taught him those powers?

I think I can explain some of it.

Misuzu may be the first incarnation or may she may not be, if there was one before then they’d die as young girls due to the human body being unable to host the winged soul.The focus is on Misuzu because Yukito caught up to her, and he’s possibly the reincarnation of Ryuya who finally breaks the curse and frees Kanna.
I’m not sure what the children represent, perhaps reincarnations can happen across time? The reason it took thousand years is because the curse would weaken overtime and would allow Kanna to reincarnate as a human. I don’t think Uraha is Yukito’s mother, but Yukit’s mother is a descendant of her, who generation after generation continued her mission to save Kanna.

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Give it time, it won’t last long :^)

Really though, I guess that’s a bit of a big question mark right there, as they never explained it further. Maybe she’s all better, and maybe the curse was actually broken! Or maybe it wasn’t. Either way, I don’t see that taking away from the message, at the very least.

Again, we don’t actually know if the curse is actually gone! It’s not explicitly shown to us that the curse is broken. Dangit, the ending to AIR Arc is so confusing, especially with its implies and everything else. Not only that, where are Kano and Minagi? Do they even show up in the final route/arc at all?

Heck, the AIR Route is basically a retelling of Misuzu’s route from the Dream Arc, up to the point that Yukito disappears into light(?) after making a wish to help her, but Sora was there when it happens! I don’t even know what’s happening. What about you, Pepe, anyone?

Well boys and girls, my personal journey through air has been completed at last. Looking at the chronology of the Key works is interesting for a number of reasons, a large one being the ability to observe how the core arc has developed throughout the years and watching the integration of the story and its arcs into a cohesive being. Kanon’s vn features mostly separate arcs with little overarching story, Air is incredibly interesting as a transitional piece between that style and Clannad, whose style would go on to become the staple for Key even if certain elements were expounded upon.

Air’s core story is amazing. That is to say, the story of Misuzu’s heroine arc, Summer, and AIR work together to form a fantastic overarching narrative. My main flaw with Air is, consequentially, how insubstantial the other two heroine arcs feel by comparison. Kano and Minagi are both entertaining, Kano’s personality and secondary cast making for easily digestible light hearted fun while Minagi told a much more classic emotional narrative about family and the difficulties of moving forward with one’s life–how easy it is to fall into a cycle of regret. However, when paired with the core content of the story, they can not help but feel a little auxiliary and disconnected. This is obviously a problem that would go on to be addressed in all Key works after, tying all of the heroines into the core plot instead of just one.

The absolute highlight, as I have detailed, of the novel was Summer. Summer tells such a complete and emotional narrative that is as filled with hope as it is with grief; it tells a mature story where every step forward is paid for with loss. This really gets at the heart of what I think makes Air such a unique story, esspecially for Key. It’s that element of bittersweetness, that boldness to not create a perfect happy ending. I am one of the heretics that believe Little Busters would have benefited from the less happy, more thematically sound, version of it’s conclusion. Clannad ends on a universally hopeful note and Rewrite, while ever slightly more grey, does mostly the same. Kanon is a bit different given it’s different means od constructing a narrative, but the anime is sure to construct the happy ending that is characteristic of Key’s works.

Air dares to say otherwise. Summer is a perfect tragedy within hope. Kanna is racked with grief and is fated to be cursed while Ryuuya slowly dies and Uraha faces the weight of being the one left behind. However, this is coupled with the persisting hope the Ryuuya and Uraha carry with them until their final breaths that one day the tragedy will end. Air’s ending is beautiful in how it does not wipe away the suffering of the characters thus; it doesn’t invalidate their loss. In the end, Misuzu and Yukito will not, and can not, have a happy ending. However, it is because of their mutual sacrifice that Kanna and Ryuuya can finally find peace, that the cycle can be broken. The suffering of the leads is the price that creates the future. This kind of message, I fear, is not something that we will ever get to see again in a Key work, not since Clannad, Little Busters, and Rewrite have all taken the path of unilateral happiness. Which only goes to make this ending all the more special.

This narrative would, however, be nothing without it’s fantastic thematic backbone. Air is about family, togetherness, and love–specifically maternal love. While Clannad’s text is more explicitly about family, all of the arcs revolve around the struggles within a family, Air does a much better job at constructing a family. By this I mean that the groups introduced in Air go further to replicate the warmth of family. Kano’s arc suffers a lot from lacking a strong thematic backbone, but where it excels is in it’s ability to create that sense of union between Hijiri, Yukito, Kano, and Potato. Minagi does something similar with Minagi and Michoru, albeit not as deftly executed. That said, Minagi’s route was driven with a clear purpose and idea behind it. There was no fluff whatsoever, where Kano’s route was almost all fluff. All of these stories feature a maternal character, be that Hijiri filling in for the memory of the Kirishima mother or Minagi’s actual mother which she must make amends with.

To actually discuss AIR explicitly, Haruko’s growth as a mother herself was the best thing about the route. AIR suffers a bit from repetition bringing down the pace of the story, but AIR is certainly worth it for the last third of the narrative in which Haruko becomes the focus and we get to see the relationship between parent and daughter blossom beautifully. Interesting is how this is not the same kind of thing we later see in Tomoya, even tohugh they may seem similar. By the end it is Haruko’s love, the depth of her devotion for Misuzu, that was powerful enough to draw tears. The beach scene with Keisuke and the scene in which Misuzu walks are fantastic tearjerkers. Keisuke himself is interesting as her seems to serve as a beta Tomoya in terms of his struggle. He isn’t very complex and is honestly kinda shotily written, but he does have moments which resonate for the same reasons that they do in Tomoya.

But this is all besides the point. The best thing about Air and one of the best things I’ve read period is the familial dynamic and love between Kanna, Uraha, and Ryuuya. Nothing has felt more real and natural, developed cleanly over the flow of time, like the bond between those three. It is really sad that Uraha does not get reincarnated as well in the end, but even so the tribulations and sacrifices of these three in the Summer arc are some of my favorite things that Key has ever put out and alone do much to elevate Air to being a fantastic part of the Key legacy.

Ultimately Air is about finding a place to cultivate your happiness, allowing yourself to pursue it. Even if Misuzu and Yukito do not make it through to the end of the story Haruko finds the resolve to move her life forward. Her smiling at the end is exactly what the story needed, the resolve to make the future better.

The story of 1,000 summers has finally come to a close and I am certainly glad I got to experience it.


Hello everyone!
As I can see, this route has been discussed and analyzed quite thoroughly, that is why I will not discuss about the route itself but about what it could have been.

I just finished AIR but mind that I have read the novel only once and that I might have missed a few elements but I understood this route quite well and I really liked it.
Yet there is something that felt missing. We were told again and again of Yukito’s goal but we never got to see him (or sora) achieve it.

Now, I was pretty confused at the last scene with the two childrens because we can see Misuzu and Yukito together at the beach even though they both disappeared in the previous events of AIR. Is it from the past? are they really here?

Sora finally happened to fly to the sky before this scene appeared and then we saw Kanna flying in the sky as well.
What I thought of what had (or could have) happened is that Sora (which would be Yukito) finally got to reach the sky and meet Kanna. But Kanna herself wasn’t the girl Yukito was looking for, she was the girl Ryuuya wanted to save.
Yet Yukito has the same physical traits as Ryuuya (grey hair and amber eyes alongside a mean look) so I could safely say that Key wanted us to believe that Yukito is related to blood with Ryuuya. Like a Mirror, Kanna was to Ryuuya what Misuzu was to Yukito.

Now, since Kanna could fly in the sky, I assume she has been freed from her curse, this is why I think that Yukito was able to meet her, then Kanna would have been able to lead Yukito (as Sora) to the girl he is looking for, that would be Misuzu.
Yukito said himself in Dream that he felt like Misuzu was the girl he was seeking.
Misuzu and Yukito would have been able to meet again and that could be the reason we see them together on the beach in the last scene.

But this is just a possibility.
I think that Key made this route, as well as their other games in a lesser extent, mysterious so that we can contribute to their story in our own way.
For me, AIR is one of the saddest, yet one of the most interesting visual novel by Key and I truly loved my read. Hands down to them and their games which never ceased to surprise me as well as making me feel all kind of emotions.

What do you think of AIR? For you, what could have happened between Yukito and Misuzu at the end? I would like to know what you think about it!

I am glad I was able to write down my feelings here, because finishing a game isn’t something you do often and is quite inspiring, and I hope to discuss more about key games with all of you in the near future!
Finally, let’s enjoy some ramenset :ramenset:


It’s been a while since I’ve finished AIR, but it’s dawned on me over the course of the last four years just how much I love the ending. The AIR arc, coming hot off the heels of Summer, is at once melancholy, peaceful, and conclusive in a way that only G-Senjou no Maou’s epilogue is. This is my second favorite ending in fiction, period.

As the curse slowly takes Misuzu’s life, we see Haruko grow as a person and the dichotomy between her and Misuzu. I’m definitely not a fan of how Misuzu becomes infantilized because of the curse, but I’m willing to forgive that flaw because of how Haruko’s character is handled by law of equal exchange. Haruko has had shades of being a subtle Nasu-esque character, portrayed as a cold drunkard who pushes her niece away for seemingly no reason. This is just a porcelain mask that cracks, revealing the caring mother figure who doesn’t want to be hurt we come to know here. Haruko is very much a hero to me in the way she develops, in that she grows as a character but half of that is her revealing her true self. That’s how I saw it anyway.

The ending, however, is where the true beauty and masterful execution of AIR lies. Misuzu dies. That’s what happens. I thought it was sad too, when I was a young lad who didn’t know what sat behind this curtain of sunset-colored tears. Falling into Haruko’s arms and calling her mom; I thought this was a sad thing. It is not. Rather, this is an extremely happy ending. Yes, a life is lost, but what is this life that was led? Misuzu found what her meaning of life is. Who we are and why we exist is to forge bonds with others. People are weak when they are alone, and that’s why we come to love each other. Even if it kills us, even if we die because of it, I’d certainly die young with those I love at my side than to call a life alone living. You won’t know the reason you were born until the day you die, and Misuzu found peace at the end of her journey. This ending is incredibly happy to me. It took me four years to realize this, and when I did I found an inner peace myself.


Well first I am going to go with

I’m putting it down to wibbly-wobbly Timey-Wimey. So, the beginning we see in Dream isn’t really the beginning but the beginning of the end…?

I’m not going to pretend I have a complete comprehension of how Dream and AIR timelines correlate - all that I can say for now is that AIR is a wonderful and fitting final act to the story. It’s heart rending to see Misuzu’s decline and demise, unusual to see our protagonist take a back set; but I am very glad that the writers made many brave creative choices and didn’t give us a Hollywood ending.

Ultimately the story is as much about Haruko’s own rebirth and this is what helps to make it truly three-dimensional. Is it just a little corny? Well maybe but the exploration of what it means to be a mother repays it in droves - of course a birth mother is going to love her children unconditionally but it’s very rewarding to see Haruko eventually realises her true maternal feelings for her niece.

The themes of loneliness and happiness intertwine throughout and for me it’s pleasing to see that here one does not necessarily preclude the other, as we see in early on in Misuzu most notably who resolutely keeps her chin up despite constant setbacks “Misuzu-chin, Fight-O!”.

There is much sadness in the story and tears flowed yet on reaching the end I found it quite life-affirming.

5/5 for me and AIR as a whole definitely in my elite group of top VNs.