Top 20! Honestly when I was still figuring out how to do this I was just going to do a Top 20 (didn’t know there would be 40) but I’m glad I didn’t as Tomoyo and Kyou not even making a top heroines list when some of these characters did I would have to hide from the pitch forks. Anyway if you missed the rules BAM!:
1. They must contain a route that delves into their backstory, 2. They must be involved with the main character in someway, this doesn’t have to mean romantically but they have to at least become friends 3. They must be female (that is what heroine means) and 4. They must be of similar age to the main character. I will be making an exception for Angel Beats! as the characters are of all ages but they appear to be the same age. To decide the ranks I used how their route fits in with the story’s theme, their personality as well as how much I like them as a character. One last thing before I get started! I will be spoiling every work done by Key, this includes Kanon, Air, Clannad, planetarian, Little Busters!, Angel Beats!, and Rewrite. I won’t mention things done by Tactics such as One and Moon as I don’t have enough experience with those franchises.
Before we start I have yet to actually read the Little Busters VN as I’m waiting for Ecstasy but I have seen all the anime relating to it. I wanted to read all the VNs but who knows how long Ecstasy will take (Angel Beats VN might be out by then!). Now let’s get started!
#20: Yumemi Hoshino (planetarian: the reverie of a little planet)
planetarian is one of my favourite stories, in any medium, and Yumemi is the only heroine in it. I also love how she acts (due to not understanding the world has changed) and teared up so much at the end when the owners of the planetarium were trying to lie to her as they had to leave her and she believed they would be back (I was starting to tear up while writing it!) I guess when I love Yumemi and her route is literally the story, the rest must be amazing (they are).
#19: Yuri Nakamura (Angel Beats!)
I would write Yurippe as her name but I’ve always seen her name written as ” ゆり” not ” ゆりっぺ” and the Angel Beats! wiki says that’s a nickname so idk. Anyway I’m not sure who’s considered the main heroine of Angel Beats! but it appears to be shared between her and another character we’ll be getting to later. Her backstory is tragic (like we should expect from Key) with it basically being her fault all her siblings were killed (in front of her no less) however, she is the only main character of Angel Beats! (I consider the main characters Otonoshi, Hinata, Iwasawa, Yui, Yuri, Kanade and Naoi because we actually get backstory to them) that we never find out exactly how she died herself. Even when I first watched Angel Beats! I instantly liked her. She was somehow beat by 3 other Angel Beats! characters though!
#18: Hisako (Angel Beats!)
Even before I knew for sure she had a route I was planning on cheating her in. I don’t even know why but I really like Hisako (one of my favourite scenes is her, TK and a few others I can’t remember playing poker in class, being caught and jumping out the window) I also love how she clearly likes Iwasawa more than Yui yet just has to deal with it. Honestly if she actually had a route I think she’d easily break top 10 but she currently does not and her “passing on” in the anime was pretty anti-climactic with her and the other band members just being like “we’re ready to leave” and they leave. Hopefully her route is good or else I might have another situation of loving the character but hating the route we saw so much of earlier.
#17: Saya Tokido (Little Busters!)
Watch Little Busters! (or read the VN) and have no idea who she is? She’s a character that only exists in Little Busters! Ecstasy and its anime adaption, Little Busters!: EX. This route (and another one we’ll see later) are what made me decide to wait for the translation of Ecstasy to go through Little Busters!. She is actually kind of like Yuri put in the Little Busters! universe but her route with the constant looping was really cool (and far better done than Yuiko’s). Spies are also cool and I think she’s the only actual spy like character that Key has made, for either gender.
#16: Kagari (Rewrite)
I had trouble deciding if I should really count her or not. While she is the heroine Kotarou is going after in the Moon and Terra arcs I’d say those are more his route as we learn more about Kagari, but we also learn a ton about the world and Kotarou. I was leaning toward yes then I learned she got her own route in the Rewrite Harvest Festa fan disc (the above CG comes from there) and decided to count her. While I know nothing of that specific route, I do like Moon and Terra a lot, as well as her character. She also has the distinct trait of all the Rewrite heroines in that, she appears in every route. I guess she’d be considered Rewrite’s main heroine then? Wikipedia says so, so good enough for me!
#15: Minagi Tohno (Air)
For someone who is so open about Air being Key’s worst work I sure placed 2/3 of the heroines high up, didn’t I? The one thing I liked about Air was its characters (aside from Kano). I felt they were quite well done. Minagi’s route in the visual novel is pretty good as well. You’d be surprised how hard it was to find a decent quality picture of her that wasn’t tiny though! Anyway She’s probably the only character I liked right away in the anime (and the only heroine I liked at all until reading the VN) Since I watched Air after Clannad, Kanon and Angel Beats I think I like her so much because she reminds me of characters I liked from those series if they were combined into one.
#14: Makoto Sawatari (Kanon)
If you’ve only read the Kanon visual novel you’ll probably think Makoto has no business being this high (and you’d be right) as her character sucks and her route is kind of meh. Luckily I’m including their anime routes (which hinders someone higher up) and Makoto’s anime route was probably my favourite of Kanon (even though there is a character ranked higher than her). As I mentioned previously most of the sex scenes in Kanon were quite awkward and Makoto’s was one of them. Not much to say except I’m glad the writers of Kanon 2006 had so much free reign to change aspects of routes to help Makoto up so high.
#13: Nagisa Furukawa
My favourite Key work (not counting planetarian), I say Nagisa and Tomoya are my favourite anime couple, Nagisa is the main heroine of Clannad and the story pretty much relies on her. HOW IS SHE NOT TOP 10? Well I hate her School Arc route. After Story route? Perfect, love it! There’s something about her School Arc route I just don’t like for some reason. I love her character and After Story routes which stop her from falling too much and her route is pretty important to the story (in fact I’d say Little Busters! main heroine is the only one more important as it’s a similar case of the stop being impossible without her.) so that helps her out too.
#12: Kudryavka Noumi (Little Busters!)
I always think I’m the only one who likes poor old Kud, no one ever seems to talk about her and until Refrain she was my favourite heroine. Then I saw all the fan art people have drawn of her (and she got a spin-off like Tomoyo, however I think they’re still in school for hers) and she’s clearly quite popular. Kud’s story involves her being kidnapped by terrorists as she’s trying to visit her family in her native country and when all looks lost, friendship gives her the power to break locks and allows her to escape! It sounds kind of stupid but it was actually quite neat to watch. Her voice is also amazing, for some reason I love her stressed out voice.
#11: Kanade Tachibana (Angel Beats!)
Just barely not making it in the top 10 is Angel herself! Not putting her in the top 10 is painful for me but it’s what I ended up choosing (as you can tell I really love a lot of these heroines higher up!). Anyway I consider her and Yuri the main heroines of Angel Beats! and the reason she is so much higher than Yuri is the ending of Angel Beats!. Only one scene was better in my opinion (we’ll get to that next week!). I also liked Kanade from the start even though I think the intentions were for you to dislike her as she was set up as the antagonist.
Anyway that’s all we have time for this week! Tune in next week to find out the top 10! (or use process of elimination to see which characters made it and see if you can guess their orders!) I’ll see you then!