CLANNAD - Mei Sunohara Route & Character Discussion

Discussion topic for the Mei Sunohara’s route & character of CLANNAD. Feel free to discuss anything from the Mei route, but if you need to reference content from outside his arc or the common route, tag with [spoiler]. If you would like to discuss Sunohara’s character, visit his Character Discussion Topic.

This topic also hosted CLANNAD Bookclub discussion from this post onward, and was referenced in our Sunohara Route Podcast.

What would you rate this route?

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Clannad being the first VN I’ve read, my memories of it are slowly merging with memories of the anime, so I’m not sure about all of this, but I’ll try to recall some differences.

In order to awaken the “cool” side of her onii-chan, Mei tried to make Youhei to worry about her. Tomoya assisted her with that. In the VN, their means were more provocative than in the anime, which made Youhei’s reactions even more disappointing at first and more touching in the end.

First of all, Mei needed a place to stay while visiting the city (I believe she ended up staying at Nagisa’s place?) and Youhei didn’t know where she did. So Mei kept it a secret at first. He didn’t seem worried, though. She also told him that she’s visiting her boyfriend who lives in this city. Still no reaction.
Later on, she “revealed” that she’s actually staying at Tomoya’s home. She also said her boyfriend is in fact Tomoya. When the desired reaction didn’t occur, Tomoya went even farther and spouted some dirty-old-man-lines at Mei like “make sure to wash yourself thoroughly today”, but Youhei still didn’t get worried or mad (Youhei’s trust in Tomoya seems so boundless it’s touching).
I think it was around that time that Tomoya gave up on him. But Mei still persevered and dragged everyone into the whole soccer team thing

Additionally, over the time of her stay, Tomoya had several date-like events with Mei. Though there was no explicitly romantic development, the ‘mood’ of those events and the route itself could be interpreted in both ways.

Bookclub discussion begins from this post onward!

Out of order again, but oh well. The bookclub will get here eventually; might as well leave my piece.

This was my second route, after Tomoyo’s. I’m a sucker for imouto stories (though I generally prefer more family-intimacy-centric than romantic intimacy), so I enjoyed this one. To be honest, I was a bit confused at the end: I wasn’t sure if the Mei and sibling routes were the same, or if I missed a choice somewhere that would’ve let me have a Mei centered ending. From the looks of it, they’re the same, which makes sense. Mei’s four years younger. For a young high school kid, that’s a big age difference.

I’m glad Sunohara manned up by the end. Really, I was just throwing things at him until the fight. Then all ended well. yay

That’s basically my impression of the route. Liked it; enjoyed Mei a lot; comedy gold near the beginning, intense near the end, and a satisfying ending. I’d rate it less than Tomoyo’s route, but it was certainly fun.


This route kind of made me depressed at humanity for a bit. Between Sunohara acting like a completely conceited loser and the soccer team taking their anger at him out on Mei to the point of physical abuse made me beyond angry.

This was a really good route for Sanae. She kind of gets to be cool briefly in the Fuko route, and other than that she had a lot of comic relief scenes, but I really like the way her gentle manner and kind of crazy level of faith in people are the guiding posts for this route coming to a good close. It helped me read to the end having someone in there who represented the complexity behind people who make bad choices or do bad things and how they can still learn and do good things.

The scene where Sunohara yelled at Okazaki that he thought it was okay that Mei was dating someone who was older because that person was Okazaki made me a bit teary eyed. Nothing like two boys punching each other out while confessing their heartfelt feelings to solidify a friendship I guess.

But I did really like getting the story of how Tomoya and Sunohara came to be friends, and that deep down Sunohara is perceptive and caring. Sometimes it is just more deep down than others.


Ugh, this arc really made me hate Sunohara.

This arc really hammers home Sunohara’s preoccupation with appearances. The first portion of the arc is essentially Sunohara trying to come up with ways to seem like less of a loser to his sister than he actually is. Rather than trying to actually improve himself, he hunts for a fake girlfriend to make it seem like he’s got things together. Of course, this isn’t the first time we see this. In the common route leading up to this, we see Sunohara faking interest in guitar for Yoshino, and you can argue that the tough guy act he puts on around school is more of the same.

We also see how, when push comes to shove, Sunohara won’t do what’s right. He won’t stand up for the little girl getting bullied, he won’t step in when he thinks Tomoya is taking advantage of his little sister, and he doesn’t try to prevent Mei from getting beaten and humiliated by the soccer team. Yes, he does get in a fight in the end, but so far as I’m concerned, it’s too little too late.

In fact, I’d say that the only time we see Sunohara willing to stand up for what he believes in is when he picks fights with Tomoyo just to satisfy his own sexist preconceptions about strength. It’s hard to have any respect for a guy when that’s the only thing he’s willing to fight for.

What’s crazy about this is how Tomoya is almost the exact opposite! Tomoya’s lack of concern for appearances borders on the pathological. Throughout multiple arcs we see that Tomoya’s really a very decent guy; he stands up for others, and is willing to help those in need. And yet, he’s perfectly happy to be seen as a delinquent and, in this arc, even willing to pretend that he’s a sexual predator.

I feel like I took the opposite journey of Tomoya on this route. Tomoya eventually comes to think of Sunohara as a real friend, but I came to see why Tomoya feigned non-involvement in the first place. This arc really lets us see just how spineless Sunohara is.


Ouch…but you are right. This route is basically a parade of the worst of Sunohara. One of the key parts though I think is how Sanae shows that normal and otherwise good people can kind of end up on track where they make bad choices - especially to maintain the status quo, but can be led back on path. Sunohara’s greed basically escalates to the point where he turns a blind eye to his sister’s predicament. I kind of wish we had eyes on Sunohara for when he made the clear choice he was more worried about Mei than was invested in Sanae. I kind of feel like he might have been skulking around for some time.

This is very much something you see repeatedly I feel. Tomoya is almost never really self motivated, and in fact is more than willing to do things that he knows people will misunderstand if he thinks it will help someone. And you know that he is aware of what other people think - you see him at times playing up the delinquent image to intimidate people - but he never really goes out of his way to be concerned about it.


I just finished this route today, and boy. This was a really really really really good route. I can definitely feel how the writing made you attached to Mei because she is just such a great character, and then having that attachment fuel your anger towards Sunohara as you watch her getting bullied by the soccer team. It genuinely made me feel the same way that Tomoya felt during the route. That in itself is a marker of the good writing of this route.

Lots of hate going to Sunohara for this route but hey, you know what? He totally deserves that hate. Time and time again, Sunohara has proven himself to be a fucking idiot. But no matter what he will be mei’s idiot brother. And he will be Tomoya’s idiot friend. And when push comes to shove, you know he will be there for them. Sunohara already proved that to Tomoya in all the other routes we’ve read (except Kotomi for some strange reason). He proved that to Mei once again right at the end of the route. So, no, he’s not really the best choice you could have to be involved with, but hey, he makes it all worth it in the end.


Okay so I also very much enjoyed this route! Mei is precious and a great character overall. I like how level-headed she is and how she can roll with the jokes or be serious depending on the situation.

I enjoyed the different scenes with the fake girlfriend prospects. I went with poor Fuko in the end, though, even though none of it worked out. He just ends up with Sanae regardless but it was cute to see the different scenes available leading up to that. Nagisa was super sweet. I was laughing way to hard when Tomoya was trolling Sunohara by getting him to proposition those poor girls.

Tomoya and his sleeping while eating describes all of my hopes and dreams~~ He was pretty cute with Mei overall, and I’m glad they became friends. I did a bit of an arm cross when they said boys game and girls don’t because I mean… I game like no one’s business.

I felt super bad for Mei when she was getting bullied. While I can see some of the Sunohara hate, I think he pulled through in the end, which was awesome. Overall a really strong route and I am SUPER PUMPED for Fuko next :smiley:


Something about this route hit me emotionally, though I can’t really pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it’s because I’m also a little sister, though my relationship with my brother is a bit more distant, especially now that we’re adults. That scene with the soccer club and the fight afterwards were what got me the most. It was a very emotionally charged scene, and I think the voice acting was solid in getting the feelings across.

Sunohara’s main faults in this route are his stubbornness and his cowardice, but I also feel like part of what leads to the drama is that he does care about his sister and he respects her independence despite how young she is. He doesn’t try to be a controlling big brother, telling her what he can and can’t do, probably because he knows that she’s responsible and mature for her age. He’s an interesting character because he is both an idiot, yet not an idiot. Self-aware yet oblivious. It kind of depends on the scenario.

Also, Sanae for best girl?


Technically speaking only the first half of this route is Mei’s route, and the second half is based on both of the Sunohara siblings according to save file route title :stuck_out_tongue:

Just thought I’d mention because the thread title is for Mei, but yeah.

Good route. I won’t spoil anything but I love how well the latter half connects with the upcoming Koumura route. Very clever integration.

But aside from that it was nice to see another dual route where 2 characters are the focus (Kyou/Ryou) Youhei has always been a personal favourite character of mine because of how much he reflects how I used to behave as a teen in school.

Granted I wasn’t a delinquent who skipped school, but I was very hot headed and arrogant in that I didn’t like to open up and show my emotions even when it involved something/someone I care about.
I’ve always found Youhei to be a relatable character for me on a personal level.

Saying he was spineless, and showed a huge level of cowardice in this route would be 100% correct. But to me that was the selling point of this character here, by how much he genuinely reflects a lot of male high school students.

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Well this was a lot better than I remembered.

First off, this was probably the route that made me laugh the most so far. The comedy was absolutely excellent, from the finding a fake girlfriend part through the meeting Mei part all the way over to the date sequences. Absolutely hilarious through and through.

The way the top of the window says ‘Mei’ and the Tomoya x Mei ship is continuously pushed throughout the first half made me feel like they wanted to make the player think this was actually going to be a romantic route with a 13-year-old. But then the shipping ends pretty abruptly when things get more serious. Which I’m pretty fine with tbh ^^

I’d say this route shows us both the best and worst sides of Sunohara. On the one hand he’s an idiot, he easily gets caught up in his own fantasies, neglecting important realities, and he’s a coward. But he’s a damn good friend. I’d like to have his direct perspective on the latter half on the route, really. He knows Tomoya well enough to know he definitely wouldn’t harm Mei, but the way they act seems to go in the other direction which is probably what leaves him in his confused state when he’s out of sight for a longer period of time near the end. But he’s not leaving Mei alone because he’s a terrible brother. He’s leaving her alone because to the best of his knowledge Tomoya is with her, and he trusts Tomoya more than anyone. And he’s not wrong either! Tomoya certainly isn’t the kind of person he’s acting out to be. Sunohara just doesn’t get Tomoya and Mei’s intentions in their act, that they want him to interfere.

And that’s ultimately the conflict and drama of this route, isn’t it? Tomoya and Mei try putting on an act to force Sunohara to care, but Sunohara isn’t easily convinced by a bad act (because he’s actually damn perceptive and knows both Tomoya and Mei very well) but also too caught up in his fantasy with Sanae to read deeper into it and realize what’s going on with them. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

Many characters got a chance to shine in this route. Obviously there’s Mei who’s more or less the focal character of the route. She’s so damn likable and I don’t think I even need to go into detail about that. What stood out was seeing her try to interact with Yusuke. Seeing her trying to wish him all the best while having inevitably brought up a part of his life he’d rather leave behind was endearing. And Yusuke is the best anyways so he genuinely thanks her. Yeah I really liked that scene.

Then there’s Sanae who has some standout moments as well. She’s incredibly kind-hearted and positive and exhibits several traits I admire. Every scene with her in it was just pleasant. Not to mention the scene where Tomoya talks to her about Sunohara’s poor priorities and how he’s getting carried away made me appreciate her even more. She’s not just blindly supporting Sunohara with being his fake girlfriend; she’s actively thinking about how to support him best and what should be done. Major props to her.

Finally we have the butt monkey himself, the male Sunohara. He’s an idiot. He lazes around all day every day. But when it comes down to it, his days with Tomoya are filled with those small joys that add up to a fun school life neither of the two could’ve had otherwise. And while there’s not much he can get invested in, when he does care about something he sticks with it to the bitter end. Lest I forget he still has quite a keen eye for others’ feelings (although that didn’t shine much this route). Overall he’s a good guy and quite the bro. Not on the Little Busters’ level in that regard, but right behind them.

I didn’t remember this route being quite as good as it ended up being for me, but ultimately I ended up giving it a 5/5.


So, let’s have a quick discussion about theming. Throughout this entire arc there’s this recurring motif with the Sunohara siblings pretending to be something they’re not. Moreover, we have this contrast between the siblings of faking for the wrong reasons (personal gain) and faking for the right reasons (in the interest of others).

Before the proper route begins Sunohara tries to fake being a guitar player for Yoshino Yusuke. Sunohara’s aim is simple, he wants to trick Yoshino into revealing his past as a famous musician so he can get an autograph or something else out of him. While he ostensibly wants this for his little sister, it’s pretty clear that Sunohara is doing this all for himself. Unfortunately, it falls apart almost immediately. Not only is Sunohara too much of an idiot to fake knowledge beyond the most nascent guitarist, his fingers lack callouses, a sure sign that he’s never actually played guitar.

Mei gets a similar moment in one of her optional scenes. When she finds out that Sunohara wasn’t lying about meeting Yoshino Yusuke, she immediately wants to tail him. When Mei and Tomoya catch up with Yoshino, she pretends not to know anything about his past as a musician, but ultimately fails. While Yoshino’s initial response is very negative (he’s ready to just walk out on the conversation), Mei’s heartfelt desire to show her appreciation for his music and see that he’s doing okay keep him there to give her his blessing. We see that for Mei, pretending not to know of Yoshino’s past was at least partly driven by a desire not to bother him, and to check on his well being without being intrusive.

The theme also carries to the primary plot. Sunohara’s fake relationship with Sanae is largely predicated on his desire to not worry his sister. Not necessarily because he doesn’t want to see his beloved sister worry for him, but because it would be a bother to him if she stuck around for too long. Mei doesn’t really fall for it. She thinks that Sanae is too good for her brother (harsh), and his act doesn’t really convince her that he’s doing well or living his life correctly.

Mei also carries on a fake relationship, this time with Tomoya. But where Youhei was trying to deceive his sister for his sake, Mei is trying to force her brother to better himself, or at least reveal his more admirable side. This doesn’t work. When confronted with Tomoya pretending to be using Mei, Youhei doesn’t do a damned thing, and even worse he abdicates some of his responsibility to protect his sister on the pretense that it’s Tomoya’s problem now. Ultimately, it’s Mei’s sincere actions to help her brother (shown by her interactions with the soccer club) that end up getting Youhei to reveal that small part of him that isn’t scum.

Something I find interesting about this theme is that lying never works. The only lie that isn’t immediately seen through is Mei’s fake relationship with Tomoya, but even that doesn’t achieve the desired effect of making Youhei stand up for his sister. In the end, things only work out when honest feelings are shown, and are shown to be noble. An interesting point is that the difference between the siblings here is shown in their character design. Where Sunohara’s hair is dyed an unnatural blonde (commented on a few times), Mei’s hair is still its natural color. Sunohara is fake, all the way down to his character design.


I was pretty disconnected from this route; I couldn’t really get behind what was happening. The reason for this being Mei. Her main issue with the situation at hand seems to be that Sunohara isn’t her onii-chan anymore. Not that I approve of Sunohara’s life choices, but people change. While reading, I just kept thinking that she was being stupid and stubborn. I guess my real problem with this is how the route paints the issue as black and white when I think there’s more to it. They also don’t really address Sunohara’s position in life which is where the whole mess starts. Mei’s epilogue does go into how she wanted Sunohara to come home but now accepts his living in Hikarizaka, but that doesn’t really change how I experience the whole route up until that point. The route felt like the search for an answer to a problem that I don’t understand why it exists, also there was an awesome Yoshino scene in there.

Don’t you think it would be a good thing if Sunohara straightened up?

Yes, but in the epilogue, Mei seemed fine with him being an idiot that fails school. As I said, they don’t address that issue in any way. Sunohara is just as likely to get a job in this route as any other.

Another way to interpret this is that Mei has a larger context for Sunohara’s behavior. Mei has known Sunohara for her entire life, and everyone at school has known him for a little over two years. So far as everyone else is concerned, Sunohara has always been a feckless troublemaking poser. But Mei has seen that while Sunohara has always been a bit of a troublemaker and a fool, he used to have an earnest noble side to him. She saw that he used to be a confident (maybe even hard-working) soccer player, but now he’s lost all ambition and just lazes about his room reading manga.

I’m going to be honest, that sounds less like an organic change in personality, and more like the onset of depression. Mei isn’t concerned because her brother grew up, but because he’s stuck in an emotional rut that no one else recognizes because they think he’s always been that way.

Maybe I need to revise my earlier negative statements about Sunohara, because I’ve just realized this entire arc is about an intervention for a person suffering from a psychological disorder.


This is how I took her concern too. While I am sure there is some little sister nostalgia going on too, I think Mei just really thought that he was stuck, spiraling down, and wanted to help. When she saw that even if he was not living what most would consider a respectable life, but he was moving forward and enjoying life in his own way and should be left to that.

As a real aside, there was a crazy fandub that I think came from 4Chan for the date scene between Okazaki and Mei that was amazing in that it is terrible but you want to watch it again anyway. I was unable to dig this up on YouTube and wondered if anyone was familiar and new where I could watch it. (hopefully referencing this is not too out of line, I just cant look at Mei with the fandub version of Mei yelling about strawberries going through my head)

In the epilogue, Mei has seen Sunohara be the kind of brother she’s used to seeing. One that stands up for her and cares for her. One that isn’t exactly the total miscreant that you normally see him as.That combined with the fact that she now knows that he has a good friend in Okazaki is probably why she can accept Sunohara’s existence here.