Ah, Yoshino. I really love this guy, and it’s not just because he’s voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa. He seems like the kind of guy Midorikawa would voice, acting all cool and collected when inside he’s rather emotionally burdened. Yoshino certainly fits the bill, and he’s not afraid to be goofy about it either, like he would later do as Kyousuke in Little Busters. He’s easily one of my favorite side characters in CLANNAD, here and from what I remember of the anime.
Yoshino’s dilemma feels rather personal, and yet at the same time rather distant. He talks of his past in the third person and seems to not want anything to do with his past self. It hurts him enough that he used to be a true delinquent and attention-seeker, it was when he got the attention he sought that he started to crumble. Yoshino’s story is very grim, almost hopeless. But his one light, Kouko Ibuki, was what kept him going in the end. In this sense, his story draws an interesting parallel with that of TomoyaDango and his relationship with Nagisa. It’s sweet and heartwarming watching Yoshino return to what he wanted to do with their help.
Interestingly, I speculate that Yoshino’s story is also very personal to Maeda. I’ve seen glimmers of his relationship with music in his other works (Angel Beats, Charlotte, Hikikomori no Uta, etc.), but here it feels like, if not Maeda himself, someone very close to Maeda inspired this story. Perhaps Maeda had a teacher or idol that he looked up to (if not befriended), and wrote this route and Yoshino’s character based around him/her/it/whatever. Whatever the case, this story just feels really personal to me.
Looks like I have…nine lights now? After Story is getting really interesting so far, and I look forward to seeing how Dango will handle the troubles of the next person in line for a light…