Personally I did not enjoy this route as much as I once used and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that irked me this time.
However one part I loved which stood out to me in retrospect (which admittedly I’ve probably over-thought a little) is in regards to Botan’s ‘back-story’ which is subsequently an important part of Kyou’s character, in another small piece of exposition which at first glance seems insignificant, but in my opinion provides some rich food for thought.
I mentioned the way Yukine’s route used a piece of exposition to clarify some of Clannad’s greater plot which was seemingly deeper than it came across. However it this case, the use of exposition does numbers for Kyou’s character in the long haul as well as her route.
Just so everyone knows what I’m talking about, I’ll copy paste the text of the section of the route I’m referring to;
Kyou speaking to Tomoya about how she found Botan:
"He was trembling here all by himself, his parents and siblings were nowhere to be found. It seems boars only take care of their children if they follow them. I don’t know if he got separated or lost but he ended up alone by himself, and so I took him home with me.
Boars actually forage for themselves even while young. Their mothers don’t give them anything other than milk. I guess in a way that’s how they teach them how harsh life is."
There’s a few things I want to talk about and some points dabble into spoiler territory for After Story which I’ll blank out so you can read at your own discretion.
Firstly it’s pretty weird that Kyou would take home a boar of all things, but this is part of her character which was quite nice to see. It demonstrated a maternal and caring side of her which contrasts her surface personality of being a nasty brute. Botan is in a way someone/thing that had a profound impact on her mentality after seeing what he went through and having to care for him as a pet.
This for me revealed another side to Kyou, because on the surface she’s a sassy son of a gun, but when it comes to something that she cares about (Ryou, or Botan) she becomes extremely protective in a kind of motherly way. Paralleled by the way she was deeply saddened from seeing Botan separated from his family.
Although I would have liked to see Kyou’s character be handled in a way that wasn’t just 2 extremes (tsundere fluff eh?) this piece of exposition also relates to her feelings for Tomoya in a way.
She loved Tomoya, but knew Ryou liked him too. But her primary response was to encourage Ryou to chase after Tomoya which created a nasty love triangle. The important part I want to draw here is the way that Kyou, despite being usually hostile for comedic effect, when it involves someone she cares about she feels the need to help them in anyway possible to make sure they are happy because she can’t stand to watch someone feel lonely.
But oh dear…
Situation where she cares deeply for 2 people with no options to make every party happy. Her inner conflict causes her to break down transitioning us in to a highly melodramatic ending.
I dont like the way the route was executed myself, but I respect the thought gone into the characterisation because it ultimately gives foresight to the reader of how she might progress in future.
And now spoiler territory!
After Story major spoilers The reveal of Kyou’s motherly personality and care giving attitude is kind of a subtle foreshadow of her untold aspirations of wanting to become a kindergarten teacher and caregiver to children. A lot people say that Kyou would have been the perfect step-mom for Ushio if Tomoya ever decided to remarry at some point after Nagisa’s death (in a hypothetical scenario where Ushio doesn’t die) and I can’t help but agree. Kyou’s route solidifies just how strong her feelings are for Tomoya. I can see it happening, definitely.
Overall I’ve grown to really respect Kyou’s character. Even if specifically her route was slightly… over-doing it on the drama side of things.