[Min-Review] Clannad and Clannad: After Story

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[Min-Review] Clannad and Clannad: After Story

Postby MrDisco » August 16th, 2009, 11:19 pm

Just finished watching Clannad and its sequel After Story and wanted to post my thoughts on both series.

"Clannad's story revolves around Tomoya Okazaki, a third year high school student who hates life. Tomoya's mother (Atsuko) died when Tomoya was young, turning his father (Naoyuki) into a drunk and a gambling addict. One day, Naoyuki, again arguing with his son, slamms Tomoya against the wall, permanently injuring his shoulder. Since then, his father treats Tomoya nicely but as a stranger rather than a family, hurting Tomoya even more. The shoulder injury prevents Tomoya from participating in his basketball club, and pushes him to distance himself from his school and other activities. Thus his delinquent life begins. Tomoya's good friend Youhei Sunohara, who got thrown out of the soccer club for a dispute, is also a delinquent and often hangs out in his dorm room with Tomoya doing nothing much.

The story opens on Monday April 14, 2003 at the beginning of the school year, when Tomoya meets by chance Nagisa Furukawa, a soft-spoken girl one year older than him who is repeating her last year in high school due to being sick much of the previous year. Her goal is to join the drama club which she was unable to do due to her sickness, but they find that the drama club was disbanded after all the members graduated. Since Tomoya has a lot of time to kill, he starts to help Nagisa in reforming the drama club." [Wikipedia]

Clannad (irish for 'family' or 'clan') is a beautifully rendered anime with bright saturated colours. I didn't quite care for the overly exaggerated eyes on the characters but I think this is a common trat amongst Key licenses (Air, Kanon). The VAs were well cast and quite likable. The story is a bit of a cliche and some scenes look as though they were ripped directly from the PC game (from the change in BGM to the way characters would fill the frame and look directly at you, as though you were Tomoya - just like in the PC). As the story unfolds, Tomoya's harem expands and either directly, or indirectly, he helps solve their respective issues. All the character types are there, from the loli, to the bookworm, the brute athlete, to the cute but shy girl. The show revolves around Tomoya and Nagisa and their blossoming relationship.

Over all it was pretty enjoyable. The story arc between Tomoya and Kotomi (the bookworm) was the most intriguing part of the show. The plot with Fuku (the spirit of a girl in a coma) was emotional and had a reasonable ending. Tomoya and Nagisa have a fairly predictable end.

Clannad: After Story
If Clannad was a bit of a light weight in the drama department, After Story was an emotional rollercoaster. For a plot synopsis read the spoiler, but I strongly encourage you not to if you have any plans of watching this show! In fact stop reading the rest if you don't want to ruin it.

In the second part of the story, which starts immediately after the end of the first part but extends into the next ten years, Tomoya and Nagisa live together as a family. Tomoya has to endure several hardships that the family has been suffering from, mainly involving Nagisa's illness. Just after Nagisa gives birth to their daughter Ushio, Nagisa dies, leaving Tomoya to fall into a state of depression. This causes Nagisa's parents, Akio and Sanae to look after Ushio. Five years later, Tomoya meets Shino Okazaki, his grandmother on his father's side. Shino explains to Tomoya about his father's past and tragedy, similar to Tomoya's current situation after Nagisa's death. After hearing that, Tomoya decides to raise Ushio and acknowledge Naoyuki as his father. Shortly after Tomoya regains his purpose for living, Ushio is struck with the same disease as Nagisa. Tomoya, Sanae and Akio struggle to save Ushio, with Tomoya retiring from his job, but all efforts are futile. In the coming winter, wanting to do anything for Ushio, Tomoya decides to take Ushio on a trip, but Ushio falls unconscious and dies shortly after

After Story was much more mature and harder to watch compared to the first part. There is little humour, the side characters have faded into the background, and what we're left is Tomoya struggling with adulthood and sporting a family. Near the end of the series you almost want to strangle the writers for creating this bleak world for Tomoya. There's a little bit of "huh?" moments in both shows as it blends in spirituality (perhaps with a hint of quantum physics) with the side story of an Illusionary World. The Illusionary World and the real world blend together at the end with dramatic consquences (and if anyone can explain to me the significance of the very last scene please do so!).

Overall After Story was great, but only if you like having your heart torn out and the water works opened to full flow; in other words it was pretty emotional. If you're a fan of the genre I recommend it.

edit: forgot to mention, one odd aspect of both shows was that that they never show the characters kissing. also there are two OVAs (one from each part) that show an alternate ending where Tomoya hooks up with a different girl.
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