As is prevalent in the scenarios Maeda has written for visual novels, there are recurring themes related to the concept of a family and the bonds that hold it together. Most prevalent are the maternal bonds felt between a mother and daughter relationship, as can be seen strongly in Kanon, Air, and Clannad. However, in one of his earliest works, Moon., there was a conflict between the female protagonist and her late mother. On the other hand, Maeda rarely includes detailed descriptions of a paternal relationship in his works, and only in Clannad did he explore such a relationship in any depth. Another recurring theme is that of magical realism, or adding fantastical elements into a story that would appear otherwise to be normal, such as with the concept of the illusionary world in Clannad, or the use of magic in Air. Similarly, the concept of the switching between a real-life setting and the mystical Eternal World from One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e has been compared to Haruki Murakami's novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which uses a similar dichotomy between reality and fantasy.
After the production of Moon. with its melancholic storylines, Maeda decided to shoot for what has later become known as a "crying game", starting with One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e. A crying game in this sense is a type of bishōjo game which can make the player cry for the characters, and thus give a more profound impact on the players. When working on Kanon with a similar goal, Maeda worked in depressing elements to the two heroines' stories he wrote for: Makoto Sawatari, and Mai Kawasumi.
Read more about this topic: Jun Maeda
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