Typing this on my tablet is probably the worst way of going about this, but I have a lot to talk about here.
I feel bad for making more comparisons to Kanon, but it is more prevalent here than in any of the other routes. Minagi’s character feels like a cross between Mai’s introversion and Sayuri’s innocent benevolence. Considering that the two were good friends, I wouldn’t be surprised if Minagi was related to them in some way. She is very quiet and soft-spoken, but she is also very kind and nurturing. She is the very definition of a yamato nadeshiko, which I think made her relationship with Michiru and, to an extent, Yukito that much more heartwarming.
She and Michiru are friends, but I saw them more as a mother teaching and nurturing her daughter. To reference Kanon again, this reminds me of the relationship Akiko and Ayu had in the later part of Ayu’s route. Whenever the child knew that the mother was in trouble, she would do everything she could to save her, even if she was overplaying the situation a bit. While that certainly happens here in some respects, Michiru leaves it to Yukito to help Minagi instead, which leads me to believe that she either trusts Yukito enough to help Minagi with her problem, or she has no choice but to trust Yukito in this situation because she knows she is too powerless to help Minagi herself.
From that point in the route onward, Minagi and Michiru begin to change roles. Minagi becomes a tortured, lost soul who refuses to accept her sister’s death, and Michiru takes a page from (this spoiler is not from Kanon, it’s from Little Busters)Kyousuke, giving Yukito assistance in helping Minagi and, at the end, moving her to accept her sister’s death and move on with Yukito. The good ending is beautiful at resolving this issue, as well as being beautiful in general. Who knew Michiru looked so cute without her pigtails? XD
Although Michiru has a huge presence in the route and is integral to the story, this thread is not about her. It’s about Minagi, and she comes with a lot of luggage. Minagi suffers from a sorrow shared by many people: a damaged family. With her sister dead (by her own word, even), her mother mentally disturbed, and her father away with another woman, she’s got it hard. If I were placed in that situation, I would think it was all my fault, too. She does absurd things to make up for it, and even after all this, she still maintains a straight face and acts calm when talking to her friends. She’s a very strong girl, but even so, she is weak without others, which is why she becomes emotionally crushed in the bad ending and gives herself up to Yukito.
Many people complain about the length in this route, and while this is the longest of the Dream arc’s three routes, I can give credit to the writers for remembering what was wrong about Mai’s route in Kanon (absolutely nothing happening for consecutive days) and trying to fix it. I wouldn’t say it was a complete success, but at least every day had something of importance happen, which I can applaud.
In the end, there really is nothing too harmful in this route. Out of the routes I’ve played so far at the time of this writing, this is the most tried-and-true, but both the journey and the destination of both endings (surprisingly) are rather enjoyable. Michiru is still somewhat annoying, but at least she’s less so than that squeaky plush toy Kano calls a dog.