Gotta love this route.
For such a short story, there’s so much I like in this route. It manages to combine ‘accepting your fate and still making the most of it’ and ‘don’t give up and accept a bad ending if there can be a good ending’ which are both themes I love to see in visual novels but don’t get along with each other well all that often. But this route did it wonderfully.
It was a foregone conclusion to Kappei that he would not get surgery because it would mean losing his legs. That train of thought prevented him from even looking further into surgery at first and realizing that he can get surgery without losing them after all. He was stuck in a strange position where he had honestly given getting surgery some deliberation and made the doubtlessly hard decision not to have it, which in turn was probably a major reason why he was able to enjoy his remaining life the way he did, but in the end it still ended up being a decision made on a basis of wrong information. Well now he can look back on the time he spent misinformed and be happy he didn’t waste it by moping around and instead ended up finding his partner for life!
(Little Busters! Spoilers) The whole new surgery type thing reminded me of “It’s not enough” in quite a few ways. To me they both represent how getting hung up on a bittersweet note even though a way better ending can still be achieved is a terrible idea.
(Tomoyo After Spoilers) It didn’t occur to me until Aspi asked whether or not Kappei died in the end, but if he did die I actually see quite a number of parallels between this route and Tomoyo After After. In both cases it’s the husband that dies and the wife that keeps on living a happy life with no regrets. At the very least the After route may have been inspired from this one. Crap, now I’m imagining Ryou going through the same three years Tomoyo went through. Good luck with that…
Ryou was great in this route. While we didn’t get to see a whole lot of their interactions I still felt Ryou and Kappei were a pretty cute couple, especially with the way they fell for each other instantly. Solidifying that she really just crushed on Tomoya for no big reason. TBH I wasn’t bothered by the whole rape threat thing just because Ryou was the one doing it. I couldn’t for the life of me see her go through with it. But it did serve as a powerful message to Kappei, conveying just how much she really wanted him to stay. Though I do agree with @kyuketsukimiyu on that if the lie that she was pregnant hadn’t been debunked so quickly, that’d have left a bitter taste. Generally, if the scene hadn’t been executed the way it was, my thoughts on it could easily be way in the other direction. As it was, it was just a hilarious moment.
The overall atmosphere of this route was just so pleasant, too. Kappei’s antics and Sunohara being a butt served as great comedy, but even in the less silly scenes Kappei just really kinda… brightened everything? I can very much empathize with Tomoya when he says (paraphrased) “the world looks more beautiful when I’m with you.”
On the subject of memorable lines I can’t forget the “with love even a lie can become the truth” line which pretty much made me squee. Yusuke’s appearance in this route is pretty damn amazing in general. Besides the wonderfully cheesy lines he still spouts in every scene he’s also the total MVP of this route. He’s the person thanks to whom Kappei first got extremely attached to running, and yet now he can look back and admonish himself and claim he said an irresponsible thing. And he actually manages to take responsibility for it, too, by giving Ryou the push she needs to be able to convince Kappei.
Unfortunately there’s one thing that’s hard to forgive this route on, and it doesn’t really come through in the way this bookclub is structured, but I had a couple of discussions about it with @Pepe: Getting the good end of this route if you don’t know how it’s done can be a total bitch. How in the world you’re supposed to know that you have to have met Yusuke way back near the beginning is anyone’s guess. I mean sure Kappei references him as his inspiration but it’s even very possible you don’t even know it’s Yusuke he’s talking about! And if you happened to not help Yusuke on that one Sunday, tough luck, Ryou and Tomoya just sit in the park, nobody came, Kappei went on to die, everything sucks.
It’s especially bad since most of the other route bad ends in this game are resolvable simply by going back a choice or two and picking something else. Not the case here. You mess up early, it has it’s ripple effects and there’s no way to make up for it so starting over from scratch it is.
Speaking of alternate endings, I do wonder how the whole surgery thing ends up in Kyou route. It seems pretty obvious Ryou still ends up with Kappei there, but the surgery issue is unresolved. Maybe Ryou’s experiences with love and relationships allows her to find the right words to convince him even without Yusuke’s help? I don’t know, but that’ll be my headcanon for now. What do our podcasters think?
Overall an easy 5/5. I really wish they had just put this route right inbetween the two seasons of the CLANNAD anime.
Huh. Y’know I love this route but Kappei is probably my least favorite male character in this game since the others are all just wonderful. I guess Koumura is barely below. But Tomoya, Akio, Yusuke, Naoyuki? Great stuff.
Pretty sure we would be getting one even if Kappei does die in the end.
Heh, I was the one who brought up the violin thing in Kotomi route and yet this didn’t bother me one bit this time around. To me this time it fit perfectly well into the story, for reasons I outlined above. And I don’t think it cheapened the impact because Kappei was still ready and would’ve accepted losing his legs. It just wasn’t necessary.