There have been a few more posts here that seem to dance around whether key’s magic is a deus ex machina or not that seem to not take into account my previous opinion but whatever, and I’ve thought pretty long about this and decided I wanted to approach this from a different perspective. Yes, I would like to convince all of you that none of what results from Key’s magic is deus ex machina.
I feel like the most contested matter is that of CLANNAD After Story, and Tomoya saving Nagisa’s life by collecting the light orbs. Not only is it contested on this forum, it seems to be the butt of jokes around the internet. But maybe we should step back and try to view this for what it really is. Most of Key’s works are visual novels, as we all know. However, one thing that I think that people constantly forget is that visual novels aren’t just static stories like movies or traditional novels are. Visual novels allow you, as the reader, to choose the ending to your story.
So, going back to CLANNAD, why is it that people can never accept the “true ending” when, in fact, you’re their the ones who sought out that ending? Why is it that people always have to go for the “true ending”, ignoring the fact that visual novels aren’t as static as that, and that multiple endings exist? Why must people always rely on walkthroughs, and not take the time to explore the world that these visual novels offer to us? I can go on and on with this topic, and it’s one of the things that I, as a person who “plays” visual novels, secretly has gripes with towards the rest of the community.
What I’m trying to say is that visual novels aren’t stories where the writer tells you what happens and you accept it; YOU have the power to choose which ending you want, and accepting only what is regarded as the “true” ending is what I think gets all you people so disappointed in it. I’m going to go into spoiler territory for another visual novel, but it’ll be minor so if you aren’t super iffy about it, I suggest you read this next paragraph. (Chaos;Head spoilers) Take for example, Chaos;Head’s endings. There are three endings to this visual novel, and yet none of these endings are really implied to be “true” endings. You, as the reader, have the choice to believe which of these endings are true. And, sure, while some of these are a lot more fucked up than the others, I think this power of choice is a great thing. If you can take that mindset and put it into every visual novel you play, then I think it’ll have a pretty big effect on your perception of these endings.
So when people say things such as:
Then my response is: isn’t that what you chose? (After story spoilers) Weren’t you the one who chose to be dissatisfied with the horrible ending of Tomoya and Ushio dying in the snow, and went ahead and sought out this new happy ending? You could have just stopped right there, and accepted that as the ending to the story, and it doesn’t lose any of its value whatsoever
Actually, I can bring that logic to other instances in Key:
- (Shiori route)If you don’t like the happy miracle ending of her route, then why not accept the bad ending where she doesn’t survive and Yuuichi moves on?
- (Little Busters Refrain)If you don’t like the ending where everyone survives the bus trip, then why not accept the bad ending where “it was enough”?
To name a few. So to end my long and slightly inebriated rant, I leave you with this question to ponder: In Key’s Visual Novels, what makes the bad endings any less valid than the good endings? Stop accepting the static nature of “true” endings and start realizing that visual novels, much like life itself, can change with simple choices, and none of these choices are any less valid than the others.