Alright now that I have the time, time to put in my thoughts about Minagi’s route. Sorry in advance, this is gonna be loooong…
Okay, first and foremost, lets get things out of the way. Yeah, it was draggy. A lot of scenes could have been cut. I get that and will agree to that. Now, on to the bright side. The ending of Minagi’s route was very very uplifting. As such, I honestly feel that the route is one that did not and cannot make me cry. The only emotion I felt at the end was this strange sense of happiness (which was proved by the grin on my face). After all, we promised Michiru, didn’t we? We have to keep on smiling~
Minagi’s route was something that I feel is multi-faceted. It deals with so many issues in one story. To name a few:
- Sacrificing your own wishes to satisfy those of the ones you care for (Minagi sacrificing her identity for her mother’s sake)
- Getting over the loss of a loved one (and somehow blaming yourself for this)
- The overall value of friendship and their impact on our lives even after we leave
And some others that can be applied. All-in-all the route deals with these issues fairly well. However, because of the unique combination of these themes, I feel that it makes it a story that is unique to Minagi. In many other stories, we can find ways to relate our own experiences. However, and this is just an opinion, I find Minagi’s story to be a lot less relatable, but more driven by the characters and what specifically happens to them.
Minagi and Michiru are the main driving characters, what with Minagi’s selfish desire coinciding with Michiru’s selfish desire, yet having to face the reality. Yukito serves as the one being level headed and, much like the common route, gives the absolute best advice. From the “All three of us sharing the burden” speech to the “why does our heart need to be purified” speech, he gives both characters a healthy does of reality. I guess we can chalk it up to his experience with traveling. One thing’s for sure, Yukito is a realist, living in a world plagued by fantasy, and serves as the perfect foil for it.
Now, onto the next, and probably most important point of my analysis: The “wings” and the "dream"
Arguably, the most important phrase in Minagi’s route is “Is there meaning in wings that can’t fly?” What, then, are these wings.
When we are first introduced to the allegory of flying, it is right after Minagi explains what happened to her mother. She then asks that question, and at first, I found it relatable to the situation with her own mother. Minagi states that she is stuck in between the sky and the ground and her wings cannot fly. The way I understood that is that her own desire (to fly) is to be recognized by her own mother as “Minagi” and not “Michiru.” However, she is stuck to the ground because of her mother’s situation, i.e. her mental illness. Because Minagi cares about her mother, and because she feels guilty about what happened, Thus, I understood it more literally as “What is the use of wanting to be recognized when it will sacrifice the happiness of my mother” and I was satisfied with that…
But then, she says that she herself is still dreaming! We are then put into the second main inner conflict with Minagi: Her own desire to have a little sister. Similarly, her own desire to remain with Michiru. I think it is heavily enough implied that Minagi knows who Michiru really is. We can then imply that her dream is to remain with Michiru, who shouldn’t really be there in the first place. What, now, are the meaning of the wings that can’t fly in this context. Yukito states that “They’re precious memories of when you used to fly to the sky.” This goes hand-in-hand with Minagi’s own dream. Her “flying in the sky” is contrasted to her “dream” and being able to spend time with Michiru.
If you think of them separately, they each make sense. However, if you try and apply the same context, it just… doesn’t work. Is Minagi currently flying, because she is enjoying her time with michiru, and she will lose her wings when Michiru leaves? Or is she currently stuck to the ground because she cannot fulfill her desire of being recognized as Minagi by her mother? Of course the latter is eventually answered once she decides to go back home, however…
It gets even more confusing when we take the normal end into account. Yukito says to her “The day when you can fly will definitely come” and Minagi says some time later on “Please let me fly away” and the very last line of the end is “We’re still in the wind.” It heavily implies that she wants to fly but can’t. What, then, will make her fly? Being able to get over Michiru? But that contradicts the wings being “memories of when you used to fly to the sky.” Perhaps the normal end only takes into account her flying as being accepted in the world as Minagi. She yearns for that acceptance from Yukito and requests him to be able to make her fly
And this is where I am left stumped. In the end, I’m left with the question: was Minagi able to fly? Or did she stay on the ground and kept her broken wings as precious memories? I guess it can go both ways. She said goodbye to Michiru and kept her wings as memories of her time with her, but the moment she met her real half-sister, she was able to fly again. At the same time, her dream of being accepted as Mingi came true as well (which was resolved pretty early). So perhaps they really are two separate things that should be kept separate. After all, like I said, her route is very multi-faceted, and perhaps the wings remain similarly multi-faceted
A lot of this is rambling, yes and perhaps I am overthinking things. In the end Minagi was happy, Michiru was happy, and everything turns out for the best! But what use is a bookclub if we simply sit here accepting it
I still have more thoughts, but since there is a Michiru thread, I think I should put it there instead.