Summer is a huge perspective shift from Dream, and it kind of threw me off as to what was going on initially. Even the music’s different (although, thankfully, just as good as the stuff in Dream). Thankfully, it becomes easier to understand as the story progresses, and I’ve been able to quickly relate to the characters. I’m not really going to go into too much detail on the characters, since that’s what the character threads are for, so I’ll just mainly focus on the story.
Anyway, the story mainly centers around three characters: Ryuuya, a samurai assigned to protect one of the last ‘winged ones’ in existence; Kanna, the winged one in question who desires to find her mother; and Uraha, Kanna’s loving maidservant and, as we see later, an ancestor of Yukito. These three depend on each other in order to reach their goals, despite the circumstances that lay before them.
This is probably the most confusing route in AIR, mainly because it becomes a tad hard to understand the ancient Japanese culture that ties in to all this and because of the complex interpersonal relationships between the three main characters. There are a lot of Buddhist and pagan references in this one and not as many Christian references, probably because this was set during a time when Christianity had not reached Japan yet. The idea of reincarnation is touched upon, and pagan magic is used to explain Houjutsu.
Learning more about the winged ones in this route, we find out three things: Kanna is the girl in the sky Yukito is looking for, which means that Misuzu is her reincarnation in a way; the reason Kanna is stuck in the sky is because a strong curse was placed upon her, which kind of kills her and kind of puts her in an eternal nightmare (it’s too complicated for me to even explain at the moment); and finally, the only way to save her is through a rough, half-baked plan that requires passing down Houjutsu from one generation to the next until someone, anyone, finds Kanna’s reincarnation and ‘saves’ her.
The romance in this route is all over the place. It’s definitely focused on Ryuuya and Kanna, but unfortunately Kanna ‘dies’ near the end of the route, so Ryuuya has to get together with the closest girl. Okay, that’s fine, but unfortunately even Kanna’s romance feels a tad forced, especially when she goes full on nude. XP
On to the Key Points:
Misuzu and Kanna have very different personalities and value very different things. If Misuzu is supposed to be the reincarnation of Kanna, why does she act differently from her?
Throughout the novel, we hear about the ‘winged ones’ being cursed beings, demons even. They bring about sickness, war and sorrow, yet somehow Kanna is different. Is this really their fault, or are humans really the people that make them that way?
It seems to me that Houjutsu weakens after several centuries of being passed down. Why is this? Is it because some of the later generations never got the chance to learn anything or refused to learn anything, or does it deliberately weaken since very few people can fully master Houjutsu like Uraha? Could this be symbolic of the decline of paganism in Japan and the rise of Christianity and other religions?
Now that the 1000th Summer has passed, it’s time to see if everything these characters have done paid off…