As much as I enjoy Clannad (I’ve written more than a half-dozen articles on the series), it’s not my favorite Key anime. My very favorite series of theirs, and one my favorites period, is Kanon. As probably is the case for a lot of you and your top series, it’s difficult for me to explain why I love the show so much. I know I like the wintry setting. I like the “sad girls in snow” thing that’s going on. And most pronouncedly, I like angel-winged Ayu Tsukimiya, who stands as one of my favorite two or three characters in anime. Despite, or maybe cause of, her foibles (thief!), faults, and childishness, I find her character irresistible.
But the central character in Kanon, as with other Key anime, is not the girl – it’s a guy. Yuichi Aizawa, our hero, is a good lead – he’s kind and has a lot of personality. The story begins with him moving to a slightly mystical town to attend school and live with his aunt and cousin. He’d lived here as a child, but a traumatic event led him away (and caused him to lose part of his memory). As the story progresses, Yuichi meets (or reconnects) with a cast of characters, and one by one, he helps them with their sometimes supernatural issues. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead).
And that’s most of the show – Yuichi helping these girls with their problems. He’s compelled to aid them by a sense of kindness, and with maybe only Nayuki being an exception, he helps bring a modicum of healing to them all – physical, emotional, spiritual. Yuichi’s presence and instigation helps resolve these young ladies’ deep-seated problems.
Of course, the most dramatic path of all is the one that’s left for the end – Ayu’s story. As the pieces come together – little hints here and there that showed us Ayu wasn’t quite present – we find out that she and Yuichi are connected in the most painful of ways. Yuichi had forgotten a terrible memory from his youth of when Ayu, his treasured childhood friend, fell from a tree and passed away.
When these memories are recovered, both by Yuichi and the Ayu who has been with him all throughout the series, the characters can’t take it – they break down as they begin to realize what this all means. Ayu will again be taken away. This Ayu, whatever she is, had been drifting along, blind to reality.
We’re much the same way before we’re confronted by what Ayu is confronted with, which is this: we’re all dead. For humanity, we’re dead in our sins. When that reality really hits you, it’s not a pleasant feeling. I know that the moment I truly accepted it, my tears flowed – I came to realize the nature of my heart and more powerfully, the kind of love it would take to change it.
And so, the same could be said of Ayu. Her world crumbles in a dramatic and realistic display of how one might react to realization of death, but Yuichi is unwilling, unable to let go. He won’t give up. And so, by his love and through other means (perhaps best explained in FunBlog), Ayu is miraculously saved from death. Now, Yuichi discovers that the timeline has changed – Ayu is no longer dead, but rather in a coma.
In Kanon, it takes Yuichi’s determination and love, along with the supernatural, to save Ayu. He can’t do it by himself, but his remarkable affections for her pave the way for a resurrection story.
God, of course, did all the same for us, but in an even more compelling way.
While Yuichi cried tears of grief for Ayu, Christ did more – He went to the cross, betrayed by one of his disciples, abandoned by those with whom he was closest, and tortured and killed by the ones He came to save. He knew our hearts – he saw the worst of humanity as he poured himself out for us, and he did it anyway, out of a love we can only aspire to emulate.
But although Yuichi is a poor man’s Christ figure, the results of their love compare more favorably. Ayu eventually sits up in a hospital bed, awaking from her coma. She was literally dead, and then physically in years-long unconsciousness, but now, she is alive again.
You and I are alive, too, if you accept what Christ has done on your behalf – if you accept his love and mercy which bled from his body so that you could wake from your own coma, your spiritual stupor, your death. This Easter, I hope you’ll ponder upon Christ’s death and resurrection, and what it means for you, which simply and ultimately is this: once you were dead, and now you’re alive!