I touched on her introduction over in the common route thread, and what a wonderful introduction it is.
Shoujo no Ori still going strong, it’s not a song that should go with daytime scenes by all means, but since we know nothing about Mai and she’s all alone, it manages to continue the air of mystery.
Course I said she’s all alone just now, but Sayuri comes along to change that fact and Shoujo no Ori is banished back to the night, the otherworldly nature of Mai takes a backseat and Yuichi launches bullygirl.exe for her almost immediately. While she says almost nothing herself, her very presence completely changes the atmosphere and allows Yuichi to see Mai as more human.
Interestingly enough, Mai pats Makoto’s head to comfort her this day, stating she thought it would calm her down (Makoto Spoiler)Amano did the same thing to the deteriorated Makoto to good effect, considering Makoto’s true nature, this deepens the mystery of Mai even moreso. Although the routes are, ultimately, different writers so it might not mean a thing.
We begin the day with Yuichi talking about Mai’s shit infront of the ladies eating because he a crass barbarian. I feel like Yuichi’s teasing of Mai is a lot more juvenile than the other girls, with them he aims to make himself seem better than them, but with Mai he just fucks around. We also get some nice hints at Sayuri’s miniroute.
Here we see the route really start to kick in, Yuichi being all like ‘why should Mai be here alone all night that sucks’. It’s also the last time we see Shoujo no Ori for quite some time, as the mysterious atmosphere of Mai begins to melt away as Yuichi gets more and more comfortable around her.
Here’s where the demons/evil spirits(I’ll be calling them demons) really make a scene, you have a scene that is completely unfathomable for any other part of the VN, where Yuichi is running for his life and Mai’s dinner from actual monsters, the Mai route is W E I R D, and this day cements that fact as real.
dates are dropped from now on
For a solid week it just becomes Yuichi hanging out with Mai and Sayuri, as I said a bit earlier, Shoujo no Ori vanishes for this period, this period where the strange and bizarre Mai becomes a normal girl, the effect is fantastic. The strong chemistry of Kanon doesn’t seem to make it’s appearance, Yuichi doesn’t fuck with Mai in the same ways he fucks with the other girls because he knows he won’t get a reaction and he’s downright POLITE to Sayuri, so even in the ordinary everyday life, Mai’s route is completely different to the rest, this is not a bad thing to say the least, but it’s certainly curious.
The ball is some great stuff, Shoujo no Ori finally shows up again to help give it a fairytail atmosphere while Mai guzzles sausages. While the scene is a nice departure it’s not in itself a huge deal, the consequences of it are the good stuff and you see something very important about Mai and Sayuri’s personalities, namely that they themselves are nothing, the other is everything. Mai intimidating the student council president was some cool shit.
It’s pretty neat how the demons are strong, they don’t go down easy, Yuichi adamantly talks about how fucked up he’ll get if they hit him even once, vomits when he is hit, rather than some trash for Mai to cut down to look cool, they’re a real deal.
OH NO H-SCENE. Naturally the only fitting music for this is The Only Thing I Know For Real, due to it’s associate with another sword wielder like Mai. It’s as amusing as ever, but not quite as cumsniffingly funny as Makoto.
Following that however we get a very good scene, Mai flipping shit, and Yuichi running into her sword to grab her face and get that thing he’s been offhandedly mentioning he doesn’t get thoughout the entire route, eye contact, he forces Mai to look at him and listen to him while she acts completely not Mai
(sidenote: anime version of this scene gets my dick rock hard, in which it happens at the dead of night after leaving the hospital, having her wait a day and doing it in school just seems completely off to me). Regardless it’s good shit and a nice beginning to the big finale.
The big finale which is super cool for reasons that basically boil down to Mai jumping off the roof to kill a demon holy shit just typing that sentence is cool. I feel the impossibility to visualize the demons make the fight scenes of Kanon someone dubious, but there is nothing vague about Mai jumping off the roof.
But then the route takes it’s strange turn, with ZE PLOT TWIST, Mai being the demons, it’s kind of huge really, it’s not really important to the entire rest of the route, the route would have been perfectly coherent without it and don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad thing, but it’s kind of odd how something so huge can have so little impact on the entire story as a whole. As stated in my earlier post, I don’t think it was entirely necessary to have her have known Yuichi, their relationship stands perfectly fine without that, but everything else is good stuff. Writing, music, atmosphere, cheesy fucking writing, emotional impact, it’s really good. Especially the flashback with Mai’s mother.
2 straight minutes of Mai chopping people and I love it.
Why this is optional I have no idea, Sayuri is very important part of the route, there is no reason to pass over her because the route ‘belongs’ to Mai. Her backstory is straight fucked up, but the main draw of the miniroute is seeing laid bare how utterly pits Sayuri’s self esteem is, this is important, because Mai’s is the same, the two girls and their complete devotion to each other stems from their shared lack of single solitary shit given about themselves.
This is pretty good, it’s very constant in it’s quality, it doesn’t take any dips and really peaks into an emotional climax at the end. The route stands out in how utterly bizarre it is, in an otherwise fairly normal setting with a slight magical feeling lingering in the air, Mai’s route comes along with demons and swordplay and the mysterious atmosphere of Mai herself in general. It’s constant, it’s unusual, and it’s worth a read. I route like this wouldn’t work in say, Clannad or Little Busters, it embodies the melancholic feel of Kanon with it’s heavy use of blues and terrible Maeda shitposting.
Mai, Sayuri, and Yuichi
Yuichi doesn’t treat Mai like any other girl, his teasing is more subtle, and Sayuri joins in on it too, of course, this works well, these characters, like most of Kanon depend on each other to shine, both in universe and in the writing, if that isn’t an example of good stuff I don’t know what is. Mai is about as good as you can do with the silent character type, her personality, her likes, dislikes, thoughts, even though she says nothing, these things are displayed clearly, a lot of media try and use this character type but rarely do they succeed in making it as great as Mai is.
I feel like I’ve said a lot of my thoughts already, the route is extremely solid with a fantastic climax, but I feel it’s perhaps a little too solid, remaining good if stagnant for quite a while. It’s definitely a good read but I’m just getting this nagging feeling I could be better but that makes it sound like I DIDN’T enjoy the entire thing which is wrong ahhhhh.