Before anything, let me tell you that if you haven’t watched Clannad, you are wasting your life. It’s not a matter of this show being ‘very good’, in fact, Clannad happens to be ‘one of the best’ there is. When I say ‘one of the best’, I not only compare it to other anime, but to other series and shows as well. The anime will make you cry your eyes out, laugh your heart out and make you pull your hair out in frustration. To put in two simple words, Clannad would be best called an ‘emotional masterpiece’, which will toy with your emotions in ways you didn’t even know existed.
Clannad/ Clannad After Story
Genre: Slice of life, Drama, Comedy, Tragedy, Fantasy
Episodes: 23/ 24
Directed by: Tatsuya Ichihara
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Developer (of the Visual Novel): Key
The anime of Clannad (Season 1) is based on the first route taken by the player in the visual novel. There were minor alternations made to the main story, but more or less everything is the same. ‘After Story’ (Season 2) is an alternative route of the visual novel, which focuses more on the main heroine Nagisa Furukawa than the other heroines.
Clannad being the confusing bundle of awesomeness that it is, let me be the one to warn you: Be especially analytic when watching the conclusion of this great anime. Also, if you truly want to understand each and every part of the story completely, I recommend playing the visual novel. This is one story that you can’t afford to ignore your comprehension on.
If anyone is wondering, the word ‘Clannad’ comes from the Irish word for ‘family’, which is undoubtedly a major theme of this series.
Tomoya Okazaki is a delinquent. He doesn’t care about his studies, his life or in fact, anything at all. However, once he meets up with Nagisa Furukawa, a timid and modest person very unlike Tomoya, and decides to help her out in re-creating the school’s Threater Club, he slowly realizes just how fun living a simple life can be. As the story progresses, Tomoya comes across a myriad of girls who ends up helping the revival of the Threater Club in one way or another. He too, ends up changing people’s lives for the better, even sometimes on a whim.
More or less, that’s Season 1 in a nutshell.
Season 2, aptly named ‘After Story’, focuses mainly on Tomoya’s life after his graduation from college. This is where this series gets better than it already was. Various real-life concepts are brought up to the limelight, and thus, the viewer gets a very vivid taste of just how awesome as well as awful life can be, all through Tomoya’s own eyes.
Concept/Main Idea – 10/10
Clannad is more than just a show. It is a piece of the viewer’s heart. When you watch Clannad, you will not only feel for the character, but for yourself as well. I doubt you can find any other show that you can connect your life with better than Clannad. The story, though containing impossible miracles, seems so real that it’s unreal. Containing concepts such as ‘friendship’, ‘growing up’, ‘relations’, ‘parenthood’, ‘moving on’, ‘changing’ and most importantly, ‘family’, you will start to ask yourself, “What really is life?”, and come up with answers you have never thought of before.
Plot – 9/10
Having such an extensive focus on displaying an array of thought-provoking concepts, you might expect the plot of this show to be at least a little shaky. Strangely, that isn’t the case. Seasons 1 is all about introducing the characters of the show, and have them help Nagisa in accomplishing her dream of performing her favourite play on stage. Even though the main focus is always on Tomoya and Nagisa, the plot progression never forgets to display the lives and problems of the other characters. Each character get their own individual arcs and slowly, characterization takes place, which goes at a slow and steady pace, making it perfectly fit for the viewer to accept and understand each and every scenes.
However, this pace is quickened at After Story. At one point of the story you would be surprised just how quickly the plot had advanced. Though that sounds bad, it is far from it. The acceleration of the plot progression will just make you glued to the series more, and make you reach for the next episode as soon as the one you are watching is over.
Characters 8/ 10
Too many to give individual attention to, but in the end, like every other anime series, the main characters, Tomoya and Nagisa, are the ones who truly shine. Throughout the course of the 45 episodes, Tomoya goes through a huge change in both mind and personality; the best characterization I have seen in any show. All the more, Clannad isn’t even a Shonen type series, so there is no Big Bad with an evil plan which will be halted by the protagonist. No, characterization in Clannad doesn’t happen that way. Clannad is true ‘slice of life’. The problems Tomoya and the other characters go through are not something created by an evil force, but created by their own lives and ways of living. Even under such a difficult genre, the characters, especially Tomoya, learns that the sun will keep on shining; that tomorrow is always there; and that you are never too late to truly exist the way you want to.
Overall Rating 9/ 10
A perfect 9! That’s a first!
It really is difficult to explain this without any spoilers, but I am sure that after watching Clannad, you will learn to respect your and others life more than ever, and be glad of the fact that you spent yet another day living in this mysteriously beautiful world.
(The following is an extraction of the first few scenes of the anime and the visual novel)
I hate this city. It’s full of all the memories I want to forget about. Go to school every day, chat with friends, and then go back to the home I don’t even want to go back to.
Will something eventually change, doing this? Will that day come?
Do you like this school? I really, really like it.
But nothing can stay unchanged.’
A girl I’ve never seen before.
The words weren’t directed at me. She must be talking to someone in her heart.
‘Fun things… Happy things… They can’t all possibly stay unchanged.
Even so, can you keep on loving this place?’
‘Just find them. Just find new fun and happy things.
C’mon, let’s get going.’
We start to walk up… …the long… long… uphill climb.