Key, Key, Key. I like Key, a lot. I see a lot of debates on “Who is the best Clannad heroine?” or “Yuri vs Kanade” so I wanted to drop my own opinions on this matter. I thought rather than just saying who the best heroine is from each game I’d rank every single one, after that I decided, “why not compare them all to each other?” It took quite a bit of work but it’s finally done, and over the next 4 weeks I’ll be counting down 10 at a time (It just so happened that I did this at a time and a way we’d end with 40 so yay!) with a few rules. 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. Now that we’re finally done, onto the main section! (I have yet to read the Little Busters! visual novel, waiting for Ecstasy to finish for those extra routes, but I have seen the Little Busters!, Little Busters Refrain! and Little Busters EX anime so I’ll be going off those)
#40: Yusa, Miyuki Irie, Shiori Sekine (Angel Beats!)
Hey look! A 3-way tie for #40! This is the only tie and the reason they’re last is because currently they have almost no personality and have no route at all. I wouldn’t have counted any of them actually but that above screen comes from the Angel Beats First Beat preview while talking about routes so I assume they’ll be getting routes in one of the future volumes meaning they technically qualify but currently I know nothing about them. I do kind of like Miyuki and originally gave #40 to her but decided to just split it between the 3. Maybe I’ll redo this list once all the volumes are out (by that point I’ll have to add Harmonia and Charlotte characters too) but currently they’ll all share a spot here.
#39: Mio Nishizono (Little Busters!)
This was one of the hardest spots (The top 5 was the only thing harder) as I couldn’t decide who was the worst that I actually knew about and eventually I decided on Mio. Normally I like shy characters (as you’ll see as this list goes on) but I just found Mio to be a boring character. She’s the only one who joins the Little Busters but doesn’t play baseball, instead acting as a manager. In the anime she’s also introduced (and spends a lot of time) sitting under a tree reading a book. Her route also has a weird concept in that she regrets forgetting her imaginary friend Midori. In the fake world Midori is materializing from from Mio’s shadow (so she always has a parasol to hide the fact she doesn’t have one). It sounds cool in concept but I was a little confused as to why Midori takes over Mio (it might have been explained but I felt her route was a little boring too). I really hate the fact that she’s the lowest, and maybe once I play the visual novel I’ll like her more but from what I’ve seen from people who have read it, I kind of doubt it.
#38: Ryou Fujibayashi (Clannad)
I swear I like shy characters! My main problem with Ryou is she is a central focus of two routes with her route being a side route (more of a bad ending actually) to one of them. Ryou’s actual route is if you chose to continue dating her in Kyou’s route and it doesn’t count as completing a route when you complete her route (no orb of light and you don’t unlock the gallery if it was first). If you chose to date Kyou she really doesn’t do much. She gets sad, like anyone would, but she doesn’t start hating Kyou or being mad at her or anything. The other route she’s the focus of is Kappei’s (visual novel only character) which is probably the only reason she wasn’t #39. I really like the growth she goes through practically forcing Kappei to undergo a surgery that will save his life (even threatening to rape him so his legacy will continue through a child). I almost feel I’d like her a lot more if she didn’t get a route but then she technically wouldn’t qualify so I guess she needed it.
#37: Kano Kirishima (Air)
Yay not a shy character! In fact, the exact opposite. Kano is really loud and honestly, I found her quite annoying. She’s friendly but often just speaks whatever’s on her mind and often sounds kind of dumb doing it. She has a stray dog named Potato who technically isn’t hers, but he might as well be, and wears a yellow bandanna on her wrist because she was told she would be able to use magic once she was an adult if she didn’t take it off until then. Her route is a little interesting with her being possessed by a spirit of a mother who had her daughter killed as a religious sacrifice. Her route does help her a little bit but I just found her so annoying herself I couldn’t put her too high.
#36: Sayuri Kurata (Kanon)
I was spending some time debating if I should count her as her route is just an add-on to Mai’s (it’s not even a full route as one choice let’s you go down it then once you’re done, right back to Mai’s as if nothing happened) and Yuuichi doesn’t get any closer to Sayuri in her route than he does in Mai’s route but I suppose she technically does qualify so I’m listing her. We learn she comes from a rich family and her parents didn’t treat her very well. and when she gets a younger brother, she wants him to be like her so she treats him poorly. He is hospitalized (not sure if it ever mentions why) and Sayuri sneaks into the hospital and plays with him on what happens to be his last day. I personally like her but I didn’t like the idea of putting her very high when she doesn’t have a full route (as her end doesn’t lead to title screen but right back to Mai’s)
#35: Komari Kamikita (Little Busters!)
Komari is rare for me as I hate the character but love the route. I just find everything about her annoying (including her voice which is something I don’t actually have issue with most other Key characters). Her weird obsession with Rin, Riki and Kud also confuses me. Her route involves her being traumatized by seeing her brother die (wow pattern here?) and she’s basically blocked him out of her mind to the point she forgets she even has one. Seeing a dead cat reminds her and makes her think Riki is her brother. It sounds kind of stupid try to condense it but watching, I actually really liked it. It was one of my favourite routes in the show and it really sucks I have to put it so low but her character is just so annoying it sucks having to put her higher than #41 so lose-lose I guess.
#34: Shiina (Angel Beats!)
I hate putting Shiina this low but we know nothing of her route. She has a personality and we know a bit of her backstory (she’s a ninja from Feudal Japan). I really like her but the lack of a route just makes it impossible to put her higher.
#33: Chihaya Ohtori (Rewrite)
Every Key work (aside from planetarian, but it only has one character qualified) has now been listed! Chihaya is one of Gaia’s best summoners but they don’t like using her as she’s an idiot. She’s super strong (because of her contract with Sakuya), had a crush on Kotarou since she met him and wears childish panties. That’s pretty much her entire character in 1 sentence. Her route was good but outclassed by almost ever other route in Rewrite and she’s the only character besides Komari that I can’t stand the voice of. I think she has a few problems that could easily be solved if Rewrite gets an anime that would make me like her a lot more.
#32: Nayuki Minase (Kanon)
I liked Nayuki at first but I started liking her less and less as Kanon went on. I’m not really sure if she’d be considered shy or outgoing as she somehow has traits from both types. She’s a hard worker and sleeps way too much. I think I found her a little annoying with the sleep walking gags and how she knows she has a cat allergy yet can’t stay away from them. I also hate how when Akiko gets hospitalized because she was hit by a car coming home Nayuki completely blames herself refusing to eat and locking herself in her room. I’ve never been in the position she was in but to me that seems like an overreaction when she was going out anyway, whether Nayuki asked for a cake for dinner or not.
#31: Mei Sunohara (Clannad)
I don’t hate Mei, as a supporting character. The problem is she basically gets 2 arcs in the anime (1 in each season) and her own route in the visual novel (obviously or she wouldn’t be here) which makes me think of her more as a main character. The best friend’s sister is in no way a new thing but in this case they’re high school seniors and she’s in middle school. While her route doesn’t actually involve any romance with Tomoya (the anime added a gag for some reason) I don’t like the fact she got a route. I wish it was a Sunohara route (as Sunohara didn’t really get a route) that she was just featured in. Her route basically involves her being worried about her brother and sacrificing her own school life which I’d like to know what kind of parents she has to be able to do that. She isn’t a bad character which is why she’s at 31 but I don’t like her route much or how she was pushed for some reason in the anime and getting her own route in the visual novel.
As I mentioned this is already getting pretty long and we’ve barely started! Check back next Wednesday for #’s 30-21 and leave your opinions bellow if you think anyone here should be higher, should anyone who hasn’t appeared yet have been down here? I’d like to know what you think!