Well I’ve gone and finished Mai’s route, bad ending and all. Still haven’t gotten to Sayuri’s mini-route so I should do that while I still have time before the podcast.
Now then, what surprises me the most is that we have so few people talking about this route! This route brought up so many questions and so many points that we can discuss, and it’s sad to not see more people discussing it. Well, here’s hoping I can push this discussion a bit further~
Now, while it was a very interesting route, I can’t quite say that I found it well-written. There is a sort of duality in this route, where, in the first part, Yuuichi makes faulty assumptions about Mai and her relationship with Sayuri and slowly learns that they have it pretty good and he doesn’t need to interfere with what they already have; but he sure as hell should join them in doing it!
But as we reach the climax of the story, we are suddenly put through an infodump of Yuuichi and his past with Mai, giving an explanation to those “demons” that we have been trying to figure out ever since the common route. Thus I agree with what was said in that
It very much did so. The only foreshadowing we have is that of the demons being more restless after Yuuichi appeared, but that was barely anything. Anyway, because of this lack of foreshadowing, the impact of many of the scenes by the end fell flat, and thus I feel there was a lot of wasted potential in the qualities of this route.
Now then, let’s head to the question and answer portion of this route. One question brought up is:
which, honestly, I thought to be a more physical problem than an emotional one. I always thought that she did this because she realized that she was indeed the source of the demons around the school, but no longer had the ability to control them consciously, probably because she willed them to be that way. She willed for there to be demons she had to fight, and those demons wouldn’t be all that convincing if she could just will them away in a heartbeat.
So what do you do when you have just one more demon left, one that you can’t just let roaming around the school lest it hurt somebody else again, and one that you are too injured to be strong enough to destroy? Well of course, cut it out from the roots. I believe that Mai sacrificed herself not because of her lack of willingness to continue living and not because of her own guilt at realizing she was hurting other people, but because she probably thought that that was literally the only way to destroy the demons once and for all. Did it do that? Perhaps, but at this point, we will never know. It actually ties into her very caring personality, now that I think about it, and shows her willingness to sacrifice her own comfort and well-being for the sake of others (mostly animals, but hey, people are animals too).
So yeah, I honestly thought that answer came pretty obviously to me, but I guess I could still be wrong! A much, much bigger question is, of course:
The vagueness of the answer increases when you look at one dialog in the epilogue clearly stating "“If at the end of the dream, there is something that would make me feel brave enough to return to reality, it would be a new beginning for that innocent young girl […]”. That kind of implies that what Yuuichi is seeing at that moment in time is actually a dream. A continuation of the dream he had while holding Mai in his arms… But is it, really?
I’ll leave you guys to post your own thoughts, and save my own for the podcast (and for when I give that ending scene a good re-read over).
Now then, one last question I would like you guys to answer is : What do you think is the theme of the latter half of the route? Specifically, everything after Sayuri gets into her little accident. While I think the themes before that are pretty apparent, I feel everything after it is a bit more complicated; is it about hope? Sacrifice? Acceptance? If you can connect both parts of the story, that’d be great too, as I haven’t even managed to do that myself