AIR - General Discussion

AIR is an impressive Key work and is full of Maedaisms due to how interwoven everything is and how it’s both direct in its themes and broad in its ideas. These two things, alongside well thought out characters for the most part, certainly bring about a work that can be perceived in a multitude of ways and bare many many different messages that can mean different things to us all- So, what does it mean to me at this moment?

At any rate, my readings of AIR have left me with two very different interpretations. One was about forward thinking and fearlessness, and the other was something a bit different, whether it be how I feel lately or not, I’m not sure, but it’s what I’ll touch on here. I personally think it’s a more refined view than my previous one because they go hand in hand.


I’ve said the Romeo and Juliet thing many times, but I’m going to mention this again. Love. No, not just two people in love, but love in its awesome power- A more broad look at ‘Love’.

A parent loves a child, a person loves nature- The world they live in, a person loves another person romantically- The story of AIR brings in so many passionate bonds of people with… Anything, really, and it really puts its foot down with this love being the real deal. Love overcomes time and death. It overcomes adversity and a world that breeds so much destruction and hatred. Perhaps the romanticism in Minagi really got to me this time around or something but the continuous search for the beauty in all things really struck me this go around.

You shouldn’t fear adversity, inevitability, anxiousness- You should acknowledge it and aim to fight it to the possibly bittersweet end just for that sweetness alone because that’s life. We live for the precious moments we’re blessed enough to have available to us where some are less fortunate. Find your passion and expect and appreciate the passage of time, goodbyes and new and alien beginnings in pursuit of what you love- Even if it takes you your whole life up until the very end, riddled with bitterness- just to taste that sweetness.

Seek to be with those you love, do what you love, share what you love with others. It wouldn’t be real if you didn’t feel the pain when it goes away- It’s just another part of the greatness of it.

Expect a hopefully better rendition of this post in my recording that I should hopefully get done, with more examples ans things.


Yes, I know I’m late. But if I learned one thing from this novel, late is most certainly better than never.

I remember the first thing someone ever told me about AIR.

Bizkitdoh: “AIR’s a weird one…”

I now completely understand where he was coming from, and completely agree.

I’ll give AIR one thing: it completely defied my expectations. And in the end that made me very angry, though I guess I could say that makes it good writing in a way.

Let me say this: I thoroughly enjoyed most of this story.

  • The common route was hilarious, entertaining, got me engaged, and made me love the characters.
  • Minagi’s route dragged on way too long, but when it was good, it was very good; I was disappointed/frustrated with the ending, but I overall think fondly of the route.
  • Kano’s route felt out of place and I honestly liked Hijiri better than Kano herself, but it was fun, and told a neat story.
  • Misuzu’s route was brilliant, and gave me exactly what I wanted from the story and more importantly from the characters.
  • Summer, while I knew it was coming, was still a surprising change of pace and scenery. Excluding Yukito, I probably liked all of Summer’s character’s better than the rest of the story, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen to them and how it was relevant to AIR.
  • Most of AIR was enjoyable. I liked seeing things from Sora’s perspective, but I increasingly missed Yukito as the story continued. It was nice to finally see what Haruko and Misuzu were thinking, but I felt disconnected from the story.

And then this is where AIR shattered my expectations. So many things I was begging to happen never did. Instead, something terrifying happened, and then it was all over, ending with some vague symbolism about the sky and infinity, carrying some message which it was first foreshadowed that I might never come to understand when I finished Minagi.

And so the immediate effect was that it left me angry and disturbed. But after several days of contemplating, reading, and writing, I am left confused. Did I enjoy AIR, or not? Am I happy I read this, or do I kinda wish I had never started it in the first place…?

AIR did make me tear up. It’s a Key VN after all. But it was a different kind of ‘feels.’ When I first finished, I felt angry, and unsatisfied. Now I am sure that AIR ended, that there was no more for me to have possibly had, and it almost terrifies me.

I am not depressed. I am no longer angry. I may never know if I truly love AIR like I do with the rest of Key, but I believe that I now appreciate it.

All I can say is: “AIR’s a werid one…”


I believe it was @raiyan who said that something is good exactly because it can induce a reaction in you. If it were bad, it would leave you with nothing but indifference.

But I guess the key thing (heh) is that one shouldn’t go into a Key work with expectations in mind. I had that mindset while reading Rewrite and that made me pretty angry after I finished it. And that, I think, is something else to take away from this story, at the least.

Key doesn’t have a “magic formula”. It does what it does, and they can’t be expected to do the same thing all the time. I guess it just has that notion because its more popular works (Clannad, LB, AB!) have the same formula, whereas the more unique works don’t turn up so popular.

I guess this is why I like Key now, because I get a certain type of variety when reading their works. They still haven’t gotten to the variety I am looking for that will make me consider one of their works above the rest, but I enjoyed every single one of the works that they have released.

Well that’s nonsense. You invest hours into AIR only to realize that it was garbage and that there was never really a moment that made time investment worthwhile.

I’d say Kanon-Litbus all use the same formula. There’s little that made AIR different from CLANNAD or LB.

Isn’t that how pretty much any literary work goes? You can’t really be sure if it would be good until you experience it for yourself

What, pray tell, is that formula you see? The similar formula I saw between, for instance, CLANNAD and LB was Both works involved having the main character working with other people (or other routes, in this case) in order to gain something that will help them resolve the final problem. AIR felt like it had a more introspective vibe to it, and it felt like there wasn’t really a problem they solved, rather, how they dealt with that problem, as human beings, and to make it all the better for the future.

Of course. That doesn’t stop things from being bad though.

The Key formula. You know, the one that everyone knows. The route progression of everything Key writes.
Some VNs add new mechanics to the VN as a whole, but every route follows the same pattern.

Uhhhh is that what is also known as the “nakige formula”? Because I feel that’s something that has transcended just Key and now applies to many other VNs (and stories) as well

Well sure, but it applying to other VNs doesn’t stop it from applying to Key VNs…

Please stay on topic guys. Thoughts on AIR as a whole.

My first exposure to AIR was in the 2005 Anime series by Kyoto Animation. I don’t know why, but my memory of watching it was very foggy. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mindset to watch it and fully absorb it after marathoning a bunch of other Key Anime. Maybe the step back in quality compared to Key’s other Anime hindered my enjoyment, or maybe it had something to do with the limited episode count. At any rate, AIR didn’t leave much of an impact on me after my first viewing.

That’s why with the AIR Bookclub, I was very eager to step back and take the time to fully appreciate what the story had to offer, and I wasn’t disappointed. AIR might not be perfect, what with its unusual route structure and disappointing Kano route, but overall I found it to be an amazing experience. Misuzu’s story is one the most well-crafted stories of any Key work, and I can now fully understand why it’s help in such high regard by the Japanese fans. It’s a story about weighing up the pursuit of one’s own happiness against making others happy. It’s a question Yukito is faced with throughout the entire Visual Novel, first presented to him by his mother and later confronted with as he decides what to do with his life in the Dream arc. And it’s a question every rebirth of Kanna is faced with as they decide on whether they should endure isolation in order to keep everyone else safe, or pursue relationships with others despite the pain it will cause. In the true ending, Yukito ultimately dedicates his life to making Misuzu smile, culminating in his final sacrifice at the end of Misuzu’s route. And Misuzu ultimately decides to pursue her own happiness in the time she has left, in order to make the sacrifices everyone has made for her mean something.

Ultimately, I think that’s the biggest message I received from AIR. Throughout all the routes, there are those dedicated to helping others find happiness, and those seeking their own happiness with the help of others. I feel that it’s very important that those who are choosing whether or not to pursue their own happiness carefully consider the sacrifices others have made in order for them to achieve their own happiness. Whether it be thanking your mother for giving birth to you despite dying shortly after as was the case with Kano, or Minagi choosing to awaken from her dream thanks to Michiru’s wishes, or fighting for your own happiness for the sake of everyone who fought to see your smile in the end, as was the case with Misuzu. AIR teaches us the importance of pursuing one’s own happiness, not only for oneself but for the sake of everyone who’s sacrificed something in order for that happiness to be realised. While sacrificing one’s own needs for the sake of others is important at times, it’s just as important to know when to be selfish and accept the kindness of others, so that their sacrifices won’t be in vain.

But that’s just one of the many messages I received from AIR. There aren’t many absolutes with AIR, which may be frustrating to some readers, but it’s also liberating in a way, as it allows readers to form their own unique interpretations of the story. I can certainly respect that openness of the narrative, and I’m sure there are as many messages to receive from AIR as there are people to read it.

At the very least, it’s my hope that the AIR Bookclub has helped people consider AIR in a new light than they otherwise would have had they read the visual novel alone. To all who have contributed to the AIR Bookclub in some way, thank you from the bottom of my heart. The Bookclub is the culmination of the efforts of all of the community, and it wouldn’t have been the amazing experience it was without each of your own unique contributions, so thank you! I look forward to working together with you all once again for the CLANNAD Bookclub in a few months’ time. To the end of infinity!


It’s been years since I watched the show, but the world mechanics of Air are pretty focused around love. Dunno how Misuzu’s story would work without it.

I’m curious about the Air TV ENDING, since I didn’t read the VN.

In the movie during the last part, it’s shown that Yukito and Haruko were waiting, standing, and Misuzu is walking towards her goal. Then she dies in Haruko’s arms

And in the 13 Episode TV series, it’s shown that Misuzu is walking towards Sora and Haruko and dies in Haruko’s arms

Does this mean that the ending is the same whether Yukito Turns into Sora or not ?

It’s interesting that you bring this up, because the anime ending is largely the same as the VN ending. The movie, being completely different from the source material, has an almost completely different ending sequence. Sure, Misuzu’s death is pretty much the same in both, but what happens after is completely different and carries very different meanings.

We discuss the VN/anime ending quite a bit in the AIR route podcast, so it might be good to check that out for reference. I hope that answers your question in some way.

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Okay, thanks ! I’ll make sure to check it out !
Air had a lot of symbolism that I didn’t quite understand, even with the threads I was reading when watching the anime.


I don’t care what people say about the animation for the anime. I found it gorgeous. I prefer 2005 AIR animation over Animation from 2016 Anime’s


Was thinking of comparing ratings for the AIR routes, but we don’t have enough data! Everyone who’s read the VN, please go and rate each of the routes so we can build GRAPHS!

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2 posts were merged into an existing topic: AIR - AIR Arc Discussion

As I’ve discussed on Discord, I’ve now seen the AIR anime ( Funimation 12 eps + 2 OVA edition). I really liked it although it is sad and very rushed to fit such a short run. TBH the two mini stories - one good, one so-so - just felt like slightly meaningless asides although I’m sure they are important in the VN to prepare you for the ending. At first I wasn’t sure about the Summer story, with the jump back and new characters but quickly grew to like it a good deal. I’ve seen comments elsewhere about AIR anime being depressing but I didn’t find it so. Best thing for me from this box set is the 2 OVAs which are just wonderful, the character interactions are right up with the best I have seen in a Key work.

Enthused by this I’ve managed to get the VN working ( hopefully! ) with the English patch (Gao Gao as couldn’t get Winter Confetti to work ) so it’ll be interesting to see how the two versions compare. May take me a while to complete it though.

The AIR visual novel is a blessing to this green earth. If you liked the anime at all the visual novel will be quite the experience.


I just watched the AIR movie although unfortunately I could find only the English dub. Given a 90 minute runtime it makes a heck of a better attempt at the main story than the butchery that is the Clannad Motion Picture. It does lack subtlety in a few places but that may be down to the English voice acting/dub?

Of course there are parts of the story that simply have to told differently because of the time constraint, so the background of ‘Summer’ is woven throughout rather than having its own segment.

Advice has to be don’t go into it thinking that it’s simply a shortened version of the VN or anime with the same structure and try and look at it with a fresh viewpoint. In that respect it makes for a decent enough 90 minutes viewing ( though I greatly prefer the anime as a version).

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AIR is my favorite story. I originally wanted to talk about it in the favorite Key topic but my thoughts became too long so I’ve decided to put them here instead. Sorry if my writing isn’t the best here but I have not really the time to do better :uguu: :ahaha:

AIR was an improvement over nearly everything compared to Kanon for me.
Kanon totally changed my life and I absolutely loved it but it was still a flawed game and much of the routes were not that good for me. AIR has a main story that is cut in 3 routes which becomes better and better and Minagi’s route is one of the best Key routes I’ve read, so the only bad part from it is Kano’s route (and even then it’s still not the worst Key route I’ve seen).

Kanon had a wonderful wintery atmosphere and AIR succeded to have a great atmosphere as well in a totally different way (summery and isolated ambiance). AIR is extremely poetic, it has a seaside town, dreams, sunflowers, a girl in the sky, angels, traditional japan, the moon (Summer), the starry sky (Minagi), … Just compare the arts/fanarts of AIR and CLANNAD, you’ll see that the arts of CLANNAD are really plain compared to the arts of AIR that are absolutely beautiful, AIR has many elements of beauty and the artists love that.

AIR is extremely original and has a lot of good ideas. It is not a traditional high school slice of lice like Kanon and CLANNAD, the MC is a vagrant that tries to gain is life on the street and not a high schooler having a fairly easy life. AIR really has a main story (instead of a cover girl route) divided into 3 parts, which was a novelty at the time, and the second part takes place 1000 years before the first one (it blew my mind how the changes of musics, interfaces, way of talking, … felt like reading a totally different VN all of a sudden). And there were also things like the uses of the map to move around the town or the beginning of AIR where we live the story again through the point of view of a bird (I’ve seen that better done in other stories since then but it’s still really original).

Yukito is an awesome protagonist, it just feels good to incarnate him and I don’t know a lot of Key MCs that would have the balls to sacrifice themselves to save the heroine. This is my favorite scene of the anime by the way, Misuzu and Yukito are such a great couple and we can feel all the love that they have for each other in the last scene of Yukito. After that, Yukito reincarnates as a bird and he still tries pathetically to help as much as he can the girl he loves. What he has done is essential to the story, he prolonged the life of Misuzu enough for her to live the AIR part of the story and he weakened the curse enough for Haruko to not be affected by it and for it to be broken at the end of the story (even if Haruko played an important role too to break the curse, as an old character of the Key writers said “Miracles always stem from the bonds you share with others”).

I’ve talked a lot about Yukito but the whole main cast is amazing too and I think it’s interesting to point out that the 3 special top 3 of the last Key popularity contest included a character from AIR (for best MC, best mom and best mascot). I’ve seen some people arguing that Sanae is the best Key mom and it’s true that it would be a dream to have her as a mom, however as a mom character, Haruko is far better since she has way way more character development, she’s the protagonist of the AIR route with Sora. I think Haruko is close to Yukito, she’s basically the opposite of the perfect mom (that we can find with archetypes such as Akiko or Sanae), I’d love to have her as a mom though, it would be a lot of fun to drink with her.

And I can’t talk about my love for AIR without mentioning Misuzu.
Yukito and Haruko are amazing characters in their own departement but I don’t think Misuzu is necessarily the best Key heroine (although I’ve no idea who would be the best objectively). However she’s still an amazing character. Her courage and her determination are admirable, no matter how crappy her life gets, she never gives up. We can see that right in the beginning of the game where she tries her utmost to be friend with Yukito. After that, things don’t go well to say the least, but at the end she still managed to do the final steps in order to achieve her goal. The things I live with a character in a Key story are an important part of my appreciation for them (see Makoto in Kanon) and boy, it was really a ride with Misuzu. If I was with her I’d try my utmost to make her happy during her whole life in order to slightly compensate for all the suffering she has experienced during her whole existence.

It’s through the common efforts of everyone (Haruko, Yukito, Uraha, Ryuuya, dozens of generations of people searching the girl in the sky,…) that Kanna/Misuzu was finally released from her eternal torment. I think, Maeda wanted to show this message of bonds more explicitly with the final scene where the two kids at the beach are being able to go to the future as long as they’re together (and the final picture/logo where a girl holds her hand with someone). Unfortunately, people didn’t like this abstract ending (which is even worse in the anime) and Maeda will say that way more clearly in CLANNAD.
Another important thing that says AIR for me is YOLO (it’s not technically true in AIR because reincarnation but that’s not the point :ahaha:). Even if Misuzu had a terrible curse that condemned her to be alone, the characters didn’t care at all, Yukito and Haruko both leaved MIsuzu but they both came back to be with her despite the circumstances. In the end, Misuzu lived a really short life but she died in pure happiness, surrounded by her loved ones and that was way better than having lived a long and sad life alone.

While I’m at it, I can also talk about the MInagi and Summer routes.
Minagi’s route reminds me how much the supernatural aspect of Key stories can be good and creative. It just makes me sick when I think about all the crappy drama, in various popular media, that try their best to make us cry and fail miserably while Key uses way more original formulas and makes the saddest stories I’ve ever seen.
Yuuichi Suzumoto made an extremely clever and well made story with the Summer route as usual. Usually, most stories tend to have a very good beginning and end but a meh middle, that’s not the case at all with AIR because of Summer, the main story just gets better and better thanks to it. Summer is really a breath of fresh AIR (damn, someone already made this pun here) in the VN, it gives a lot of background to the story and a modest but still interesting universe (contrary to Kanon that was 100% focused on the characters), thanks to it, there are a lot of interesting things to say about the influences of Buddhism on the story.

So yeah AIR is awesome and the only thing I regret is its poor popularity in occident due to the anime which could have been better to say the least. Hopefully, one day we will have an English release of the game on Steam and on console in HD (and with the bonus route translated please) and everyone will see how great this story is :ohhh:
Now that I think about it, I forgot to talk about best doggo, so to finish, I’ll just say PIKO PIKOOOOOOOO!!