I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t take this opportunity to showcase Mio’s greatness, official entry or not (it’s not). But I guess I can make it short this time.
Nishizono Mio is Key’s best girl. Why? Because she’s Mio.
I’ve omitted a couple of steps, but surely you can understand, no? No?
Fine, I’ll explain.
First of all, she possesses a rare trait among Key’s heroines: She is an educated intellectual with a refined taste who also has common sense. I can only think of one other key heroine (namely Rewrite’s Akane), who is similar in that regard. Most key girls aren’t outstandingly smart, instead standing out thanks to their childlike, ditzy innocence and cuteness and the few intellectuals instead have some heavy handicaps that make them hard to deal with under normal circumstances. But Mio is someone you can long and profound, enriching talks with.
Speaking of taste and profoundness, Mio has a fine sense of humor and she is skilled with words. Just by talking, she can exert pressure and dominate the conversation. She also knows to choose her battles wisely and always finds the right moment to strike. If that’s not classy, I don’t know what is. Seriously, Mio can dish out some sick burns. If I were on the receiving side of those, I’d probably be too busy admiring her wit to get mad.
Mio’s appearance shines with simple beauty and elegance. Many overlook her qualities due to said simplicity - she doesn’t stand out in her class at all, earning her the nickname “no shadow”. But all you need to do is look closely and you’ll have found yourself a secret gem - and that applies to everything about her, not just her looks. If you pay attention during her route, you will realize that many of the initial impressions people have of Mio are in fact, false. For example, she does enjoy company, as long as it’s the right company. As you can see, Mio’s charm points are not all obvious. Rather, just as she wants it, you have to put effort into getting to know her first. But the search certainly is rewarding.
She loves fiction, which is the ultimate form of entertainment. This is where I’ll take the opportunity to mention my favorite Mio quote:
“The reason why people write novels and read them is to lament the fact that they can live their lives only once.”
She reads books, which people rarely do anymore. But as fellow VN readers, you all understand that both fiction and long texts are awesome, so we’re already on the same page. (Get it?)
But Mio does not remain a mere consumer. No, she shows growth throughout her route by not only creating something of her own and writing a tanka, but also by infusing it with her feelings and expressing her love through it.
Next is something I find even more important: Mio values and desires long-term relationships. She seeks something genuine - which she clearly communicates. In the common route, she reveals that the contents of her favorite book have a deep personal connection to her. She sees potential in Riki and makes it clear that one day, if he displays honest interest in getting to know her, she will open up to him more and explain those deep sentiments of hers. What she seeks is not superficial sympathy, but true understanding. And understanding is the key to her entire route. In a time when interpersonal relationships are mostly casual, where friendship equals a click on facebook and may shatter due to a single text message (or the lack of one), Mio’s standards resonate with me deeply.
Mio is also an empathetic person with a strong sense of responsibility. (Route) After remembering Midori and feeling guilty for abandoning her, she decides to take responsibility for something that wasn’t her fault and let her beloved sister take her place. This shows once again how much she values the people that are dear to her. And speaking of Midori, her very existence really shows how carefully crafted a character Mio is. After all, even after completely inverting Mio’s personality for a second character, you’ll still get an outstandingly charming, profound yet also frightening girl you’d rather not mess with.
For the reasons listed here, Mio is undoubtedly the best Key girl. She stands out among the others thanks to her unique qualities and she possesses a deep and interesting personality.