Key Story References in Non-Key Works

I brought this particular one up a long time ago in the General Visual Novels discussion but I now wonder if others have also found clear or cryptic references to Key stories in non Key VNs or anime?

This is from Steins;Gate


Somewhat recently a very obvious Clannad reference was in the show Gamers, and it was also used in Saekano early on.

Go back to the mid to late '2000s and it’ll be a common one. Here’s one of my favorites. This showed up in the ef anime back when the Clannad anime was airing.

I also remember it cropping up in Ichizon, Zetsubou Sensei (Kanon is in that one too) and TWGOK.


When you say TWGOK, are you referring to Yokkyun? I’ve always been wondering if she was supposed to be a jab at the art of the Toei Kanon adaption.

TWGOK Yokkyun mini

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Oh, close. I do think Yokkyun is a jab at that “moe” Hinoue/Toei art style, but the direct reference is in the song that Keima sings for the insert of the Yokkyun focused episode. It’s called Happy End, and the lyrics of it quickly devolve into a mashup of Bishoujoge references.

The line in particular is:

Fate with you 暗い夜など

And it shows up at 1:19 in the song.

There’s also a couple references, one to Key directly, and one to… ONE. (Key to Heart 輝く季節へ)


In Lucky Star, Konata’s excuse for being late to class was that she was being dragged around town by a girl who had stolen taiyaki.


From one of the hidden/extra routes in Da Capo, the mc and his friend are talking about ‘encounters’:

Case 1 is from One ~To The Radiant Season~
Case 2 is from Kanon
Case 3 is from Air


So I tried out Subarashiki Hibi for a bit and…

Yeah :yahaha:

Also, if these twins aren’t a reference to another set of twins, then I don’t even know


In the online Webcomic “Megatokyo”, reference to Kanon and Ayu

(images are copyrighted, so I won’t post them here)

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Surprised no one has mentioned this one yet, especially since to people who’ve read both the reference is obvious and darkly humorous as soon as you see both titles.

[Grisaia series and Little Busters spoilers]

A tragic bus accident in which there are only two survivors. Unfortunately in Grisaia, there’s no Key magic through the eternal bonds of friendship to save this disaster. The suffering and death is way more drawn out and is quite dark. Amane barely managed to become stronger after she escaped. Oh that reminds me, I’ve seen a fic where Riki and Rin are treated like how Amane was by others for being the only survivors.


I feel like that’s less of a reference and more of similar setting for one particular event of each story…

Ah, well it’s still pretty funny isn’t it? You gotta laugh at these things when you’re not either bawling your eyes out or shivering in horror and disgust. It also makes for good crossover ideas.

Recently started Wonderful Everyday, well this is a giveaway I agree!

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I’m going to be the devil’s advocate and say you’re all reading too much into the Wonderful Everyday twins. They’re supposed to reference Kyou and Ryou right? While they are twins with the duality of one being a stereotypical tsundere who loves her sister and the other the shy one, they’re actually quite different from Kyou and Ryou. Case being that I love the Subahibi twins but dislike the Clannad ones. And late in-game the reason for them being this kind of tropey twins is revealed.

That said, Steins;Gate has another Clannad reference, this time in the fan translation of Linear Bounded Phenogram.


I haven’t laughed this much since i read Clannad

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I don’t know how I missed that reference in LBP!

You may be right about the twins in Wonderful Everyday…, but how about this…?



I’m not sure if it’s a reference or a parody / pastiche but, I went back to play a certain route in Da Capo that I skipped before and read…

*Da Capo and Kanon spoiler*

About a girl (Miharu) who fell while climbing a tree, was in a coma and replaced by a robot, who trying to regain the memories of real Miharu dug up a time capsule and after the robot expired the girl recovered from her coma…

Some of that sound familiar?


Quite a long time ago, I learned about a reference to Clannad in Toradora, one of the anime that helped with the void after watching After Story for the first time and also an anime I hold dear to my heart, making the existence of this reference doubly sweet.

The following is copied and pasted from the Toradora Trivia section on ANN, and I added a pic to the reference:

In episode 4 around the 13 minute mark, the shop next to Sudohbucks (play on Starbucks) is called Furukawa Panya (bakery). This is a reference to Clannad, in which the bread shop is owned by the furukawa family.

(They didn’t really mention this but the couple under the bakery also look similar to a certain pair in Clannad!)


As I was rewatching Seto no Hanayome, I’ve stumbled upon the weirdest Kanon reference yet.

Episode 20, where grown men act like galge characters in a desperate attempt to understand children.


“Uguu” and Taiyaki are the only Key references here as they seem to just reference galge and moe characters at random. One could argue that one heroine might be a jab at Haruhi, while another bears close resemblance to Lucky Star’s Tsukasa.


I gather Lucky Star is full of references to all sorts of Anime, including AIR:

In episode 5 at 13:50, Konata blows into an electric fan at the Hiiragi house. Kagami says she knew Konata would do that. This is likely a reference to episode 3 of the AIR anime (also produced by Kyoto Animation) where Yukito Kunisaki does the same thing.

At the end of episode 20, Akira calling Daisuke a crow and Daisuke calling Akira a dog is a reference to Air(TV) in that Daisuke Ono is the seiyuu of Yukito and that Hiromi Konno, the seiyuu of Akira, is also the seiyuu of Potato.

At the end of the Lucky Channel segment of ep. 20, Akira says “Piko Piko” which is a reference to Potato, the dog in Air (TV) , a character voiced by the same seiyuu . At the end of Episode 21, during the previews for the next episode, there is a direct reference to Air (TV) when the animes talk (particularly the dog that says “piko” and the bird).