Thanks, I wanted to show how subjective everything is, and a slight shift of opinion and selecting different pieces of evidence can and will result in a different viewpoint. Which is why those endless moe arguments always make me lol (so shortsighted).
Well, I wasn't completely closed to Key. I liked the first Kyoani-Key production, Air, quite a bit and was rather disappointed Clannad and Kanon were so diffrent. Then again, now that I look back Air hasn't really aged that well compared to the other two. The thing that put me off about Clannad and Kanon is that they seemed cheesy and had too much cutesy stuff that didn't go anywhere. These days, I still can't take the first few episodes of Kanon that well. I also can't watch shows like K-on either. But at least I don't hate it.
I'm also a rather huge series tsundere. In fact, I've pretty much hated on my favorites at one point or another for some reason. But I end up liking them better, lol.
Of course, it's mainly because I've bypassed the "bitter anime watcher" stage. I realize that there's not only one way to make something great, and any trend you can attribute to anime can be found elsewhere. Sometimes, one needs to calm down more.
About the series themselves, it could be attributed to me finding about the energetic, clumsy, but ultimately kind and well meaning nature of the shows themselves. Much like the characters. =p And it is seriously funny once you stop raging.
I'd also say three of my favorite characters, Kotomi, Mai, and Fate would help the case of moe quite well. They were much involved in getting me to watch their associated shows.
I'm not a particularly big fan of Haruhi, so it probably didn't cross my mind too much past the beginning and thus probably wasn't looking out for references. But Haruhi does look a little better.
I also am more of a Key fan first, so actually I see more in common with their previous characters. For example, it'd be easy to associate Kanade with Yuki Nagato, but she actually has more in common with Mai Kawasumi from Kanon. Finding something for Yuri is a bit hard due to Key's choice of girls (tend to be more shy and moeblobby), but there's 2 distinct ones-- Tomoyo (Tragic past lead to a very goal oriented, confident and mature mindset) and Kyou (High energy, playful, and outgoing) that catch my attention. And they can fight and shiz.
Well, I'm sure that viewpoint is a bit different and more convoluted. =p But I sometimes just like to argue.
And while we're talking about Haruhi, do see the movie when you get the chance.
I agree with you on how their motivations are night and day. That's where the key differences lie between the two (that, plus Yurippe is a much more focused and militarily talented leader).
Anyway, your review was a good read, and very thorough. As a Haruhi fan, I've just had a bit of a different slant on all the Haruhi/Yurippe debate. Honestly, Yurippe looking like Haruhi was part of why I watched this show.