Maeda’s stories in this short story collection so far haven’t fared well compared to Kai’s, but here we get a firm winner. Of course, this is Tomoyo we’re talking about, who I’m sure Maeda fantasizes about even during his fairly-recent hospitalization. Joking aside, this is easily his best contribution to the Side Stories so far, with great writing, fight scenes and a nice bit of fanservice.
Kinda hard to point out exactly when this story takes place, but I assume it’s before Tomoyo’s route in CLANNAD. Anyway, Tomoya and Tomoyo are on a date, and Tomoya asks about her past. She recounts a story about how she ‘lost’ a fight and discovered her reason for fighting. Perhaps it’s because I’m expecting a lot from Umineko at the time of this writing (since I am reading both that and this in tandem), but I really enjoyed the fight scene in this story. I guess that says a lot.
Anyway, another thing I liked about this route is that not only does it tie in to Tomoyo’s development in her own route, but it’s also linked to Yukine’s route in some way. Kazuto Miyazawa himself shows up midway through the fight scene Tomoyo recounts, giving her assistance and apologizing for his gang’s incompetence. It helps illustrate what a good guy Kazuto is (I mean, it’s something I already know from everyone who talks about it in Yukine’s route), as well as drive in the moral this story seems to go for: that although most people act in a way that’s disagreeable to others, it doesn’t make them inherently evil, just misunderstood. Everyone has their goals and means of achieving them, even though some will oppose them because it conflicts with their own goals and values. I think the ending helps drive this point even further, showing that Tomoyo has found what she was looking for her entire life in her relationship with Tomoya, and the girl who was once her opponent shows her approval.
Can’t wait for episode 6!