About Me

Newfoundland, Canada
I've been a big anime fan for about 10 years or so now. My five all-time favorite animes at this point are, in no particular order... Puella Magi Madoka Magica, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, Love Live!: School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. However, there are hundreds of anime shows that I like. The main purpose of this blog is to provide meta-commentary on anime, and the anime industry - to try to cast a critical, though appreciating, eye upon this entertainment genre that I believe has tremendous potential, but can also be easily wasted. I have always been a fan of animation in general - in the 80s, I grew up on western cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Through out the 90s, I was a hardcore comic book fan, for the most part. I'm also a big fan of Star Trek. Right now in my life, though, anime is my principal entertainment passion.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clannd Review: Part 2 - After Story

This blog entry is the second, and concluding part, of my Clannad review. This part of the two-part review will focus on Clannad: After Story.

Note: This review will include a lot of content spoilers. You have been warned! ;)

Since this part of the review won't include much background information on my own personal life as an anime fan in general, it will enable me to get into greater specifics. With Clannad: After Story, I'm going to have a couple sentences (or more) to say about each of the following sections:

Episode 1 Kick-off

Episodes 2 through 4 (Sunohara arc)

Episodes 5 and 6 (Misae two-parter)

Episodes 7 and 8 (Yukine two-parter)

Episode 9 turning point

Episode 10 through 12 (Tomoya becomes an adult arc)

Episode 13 turning point

Episode 14 through 16 (Pregnancy arc)

Episode 17 through 21 (Ushio arc)

Episode 22 Conclussion

However, before delving into the specifics of these ten tremendously
thought-provoking sections, I will make a few general observations, with the first alluding to the picture that I used above.

The "hidden world" underlying subplot involving the lonely girl and her lonely mechanical friend was handled exquisitely well by the Clannad writing team. The appearances of this disturbingly daunted duo were spaced apart between good intervals. They never felt like they were overly encroaching upon the main storyline, but they also maintained a frequent enough presence to foreshadow their eventual importance in that main storyline.

The Clannad: After Story opening is amongst the ten best anime openings I've ever seen, and is probably the best anime opening to be featured during 2009.

The background music was masterfully handled from start to finish. There's little doubt that the folks in charge of that would have made fine additions to Nagisa's Theater Club. ;)

With these general observations made, though... it's time for me to share my thoughts on the ten specific sections of Clannad: After Story!

Episode 1 made for an excellent launching episode for an anime sequel series, as it launched with all the force of a baseball struck soundly by Tomoya. It made for a seamless transition from the end of the original Clannad season to Clannad: After Story. The core cast was utilized well in this episode, and it gave fans of each of the key characters something to be happy about. It served its primary purpose, I think, of reminding fans of the original Clannad season of just why they loved this anime. All-told, I have no major criticism to make of this episode. Well... it might have been better if the celebration had happened after we see Tomoya bat in the winning run, but I can certainly appreciate the theatrical drive behind the plot direction of showing that celebration as a "flashforward" before showing the hit that made it possible.

Next is the Sunohara arc...

Episodes 2 through 4 went a long ways towards fleshing out the character of Youhei Sunohara. It took a character that had been used primarily for comedic relief during the original season, and helped to make him seem much more real, at least to me. While Sunohara certainly had his intense and meaningful moments in Season 1, he was so often used as the butt of the joke that it became hard for me to take him seriously at all. This arc changed all of that, all the while providing added insights to the characters of Mei Sunohara and Sanae Furukawa, as well as insights into the friendship dynamics between Youhei and Tomoya.

While After Story Episode 1 served the necessary purpose of seamless transition from the original season, this three-parter served the purpose of maturing the Clannad anime franchise, so to speak. It represented a bit of a break from the feel and style of the original season of Clannad, and it served notice to the viewer that the ultimately cheerful, happy, and victorious endings of arcs that typified Season 1 may not always be the case in After Story.

In a way, I was actually glad that all of the efforts of the protagonists continually backfired; especially the sports related idea of Mei's that was starting to represent a bit of a Clannad cliche. Some of the backfirings created splendid moments of hilarity, while other backfirings served to make the Clannad universe itself seem a bit more real to me. In real life, lasting solutions to important problems usually aren't as simple as playing a game of sports, or practicing with a sports teams. And here, Mei's idea, well-intentioned and understandable as it was, failed.

But while it failed, it did lead into some powerfully pulsating punching processions that were an unexpected delight for the eyes. I never knew Kyoto Animation had it in them to show brutal physical combat that actually had some slight shades of Kazuma vs. Ryuho from the final episode of s-CRY-ed. Beyond even this, however, it forced Youhei Sunohara to be more honest to himself, more open to Tomoya, and more appreciatory once more to his sister.

While I found myself questioning many of the actions of many of the characters in the arc (specifically, I felt that Youhei took more of the blame for the sibling squabbles than what he should have given Mei's abyssmal treatment of him during her earlier appearances in the two Clannad seasons), I was still impressed in the overall effect of it.

After Story than moves from cries of sibling affection to cat/girl love... ;)

Episodes 5 and 6 presents such a blushing sight for sore feline eyes, does it not? ;)

After this two-parter, there can be little doubt that "Katsuki Shima" is the luckiest cat around, ha ha! :D

These two episodes made for a nice break in the action, and a colorful charming contrast to the much more angst-ridden Sunohara arc.

Misae Sagara had been one of the least featured characters of the original season of Clannad, and hence it was nice to see After Story provide a bit of an added focus to her here, especially in how it helped to show why Tomoyo admires Misae so much and the similarities between the past and present Student Council Presidents.

Younger Misae was very easy on the eyes, as vicious as she was to the poor limbs of "Katsuki Shima". ;) In many ways, younger Misae was like a mixture of all of the "other" girls of Clannad; the ones that "lost" the "competition for Tomoya" to Nagisa.

Misae's younger self looked a lot like Kotomi, had the skills of Tomoyo, had the terrifyingly tumultuous temper of Kyou, and she had a sweetness that could compare with Ryou.

There's not a whole lot, really, to say about this two-parter, aside from what I've already wrote. I will add that it was a very heartwarming and pleasing story; in many ways it was like a modern romance fable. It certainly puts the love between a pet and his owner in a whole new light, doesn't it? ;)

From here we move into the Yukine two-parter...

Yukine pretty much spent all of Clannad Season 1 being a cute human female Yoda to Tomoya's Luke Skywalker. And just as Yoda's wise words, but lack of action, had left Warsies wanting wanton wicked wallops being delivered from Yoda to a servent of the "Dark Side", Yukine's wise words but lack of action no doubt left many Clannad fans wanting to see what the girl could do when the focus shined on her and her own life. And much like Yoda vs. Dooku, Yukine didn't disappoint when it came her turn to hold the audience's attention in Episodes 7 and 8. ;)

I found it funny that the rough gangs of Tomoya's city where honorable and polite ladies and gentlemen compared to a certain scummy school soccer team, but nonetheless, their feud had a fever pitch, and many nice twists helped along by the usual deceptiveness and pranksterness of Sunohara and Tomoya. Getting back to that for a second, I liked how After Story really highlighted the problems that can arise from deliberate dishonesty. This was a subtly casted "moral of the story" for much of After Story, and it was nicely played by the Clannad team to say the least.

So was, once again, the fighting scenes that we have in this anime. It's good to see that Kyoto Animation can handle these at least decently well when the plot calls for it.

My only criticism of the Yukine two-parter is that it would have been nice to have seen a bit more of her brother, even if only in a short minute or two flashback scene.

Nonetheless, Clannad gets props for taking three characters that sometimes got lost in the crowd of romantic conflict in season one; namely, the characters of Youhei Sunohara, Misae Sakara, and Yukine Miyazawa; and doing yeoman work to make them greater than merely the sum of their respective odditities and quirks.

And with that character upgrading complete, we then move... quite shockingly to me at the time, but quite logically so in retrospect... to the major turning point of Episode 9. Here we see the graduation of all the key school-based characters, except Nagisa, Tomoyo, and Yukine.

The Episode 9 graduation episode was a startling turn of events for me on initial watch throw, and it had left me questioning the wisdom of it, to be honest... particularly given how it threatened to divide up the cast into several separate parts. There can be no question that Episodes 9, 13, and 16 were all very bold, decisive episodes on the part of Kyoto Animation. Either one of them could arguably have concluded an entire anime series, at least if altered slightly for that purpose.

Those three episodes, as well as the episodes between them, were a distinctively unconventional approach to a "school life" anime, for in their three broad strokes, this school life anime metamorphosized into a more mature "slice of life" anime, it could be argued.

Beyond that, the most notable element of Episode 9 is how it put the focus squarely on the blossoming romance between Tomoya and Nagisa...

For me, personally, Nagisa Furukawa was the main strength of these "middle third" After Story episodes. Of the Episode 9 through 16 run. Of course, this meant that the events of episode 16 were that much more jarring, shocking, and heartwrenching...

The romance between her and Tomoya was one of sincerely sweet serenity, and I heartily approve of its every aspect, facet, and nuance... with one slight exception. Although, even this lone exception can perhaps be excused due to how Clannad might have had to err on the side of pure innocent love in order for Tomoya and Nagisa's romance to come off as brilliantly as it did.

That exception is that... it might have been nice to have seen a bit more sexual chemistry between the two. However, that may have taken away some of the romance's charm, and Tomoya's romance with Nagisa is still lightyears ahead of where most anime roamnces are. The key reason being that it is a romance that progressed at a healthy and natural pace, involving mutual feelings of caring and love that are gradually made more open over time in a believable manner. I also have to admit that Nagisa's amused and/or shy giggling at some of the softer moments between her and Tomoya is absolutely awesomely adorable... ^_^

Also, and to be brutally frank, it's nice to see a major anime romance where neither half is a tsundere, and where neither half needs a major attitude adjustment.

Another strength of the "middle third" was this guy...

Having Tomoya end up working alongside Yoshino was a stroke of genius on the part of Clannad's writers. It helped set the stage for Yoshino's bodacious bombastic backstory performance, and there was a lot of great content that the viewer could glean from that.

However... here is where my most controversial critiques of Clannad: After Story begin. This is the first of two parts of my review that I expect will meet with the most disapproval.

As wonderful as episodes 9, 13, and 16 were, I found most of the episodes inbetween them to be, well... a bit dull, to be frank. Part of it is purely an issue of taste, I'm sure. There wasn't much wrong with the actual execution of the plotline. In fact, if anything, it was too realistic; which is a disconcertingly odd criticism for me to be making, as I tend to love realism in my animes.

But Clannad: After Story showed me that perhaps anime needs its oddities and quirks as much as it needs realism, if not moreso.

For in episodes 10, 11, 12, 14, and 15, I found myself missing much of the primary and supporting cast a great deal. I missed Kotomi, Kyou, Ryou, Sunohara, and Tomoya.

After Story turned into the Furukawa family story, and while the Furukawa family are all groovy characters, with the amusing Akio antics and the sensuous Sanae sweetness and the nicely neat Nagisa, they still couldn't quite make up for the complete absense of most of the rest of cast.

Simply put, I wanted my Kotomi back... :(

Aaawwww... isn't she so tall and voluptuous, yet so huggably moe? ^_^

Clannad: After Story may have been even better if it had taken an episode or two to focus on the other members of the cast. It might have been nice to see a few scenes of Kotomi adjusting to life in America, or of Kyou beginning her teaching career, or of Tomoyo saving all the trees. ;)

Still... if mature realism and thoughtful execution were the main goals for the makers of Clannad: After Story episodes 9 through 16, I can't criticisize them too much... because it met those goals in flying colors.

Needless to say, though, I was greatly enthused with much of the primary cast returning, en masse, for episodes 13 and 16.

Nagisa's special surprise graduation ceremony, and her ensuing speech, were wonderfully wrapped like a gift under the Christmas tree. It was serious sentimentality that made me think a bit about my own life, and my own high school graduation slightly over a decade ago. Clannad: After Story certainly succeeded in causing feelings of school nostalgia to rise up from within me.

And then there is the utter masterpiece that is Episode 16. Episode 16 was one of the very best anime episodes that I've ever seen. It was flawlessly presented from start to finish, with every scene and scene transition just feeling right to me. It brought the "hidden" or "illusionary" world subplot back into center-stage, and Kotomi did a great job of linking that world to the actual world through exposition.

And the ending... and the drama... and the suspense... and the timing... of episode 16. It was a perfect effort shown from start to finish. Clannad: After Story kept me guessing at the actual fate of Nagisa right to the oh-so-bitter end. Tomoya's emotional displays throughout the entire birth sequence were clear and raw, yet so appropriate. It never felt overdone, or underdone. It was just right, in every respect.

Except, of course, that Nagisa died...

When I finished watching Clannad: After Story episode 16, I was deeply saddened for Tomoya and Nagisa's family, but I was simply too impressed with the sheer showmanship put on display by Kyoto Animation to be brought to tears. I couldn't help but think of the expertise of the craftsman even while the picture perfect craft itself tore at my heart strings.

Oddly enough, though, After Story episode 18 actually did bring me to tears. It brought me to tears for this reason...

Clannad: After Story made me feel... really, truly feel... for Ushio. She was born under the most regrettable of circumstances, and hence she was born to a father that, in some ways, resented her for something that was not her fault. I felt so badly for Ushio... and while I also felt very sorry for Tomoya, I was also angry at him for how he had neglected his daughter for a full five years.

Against this backdrop, I just couldn't help but cry when Ushio confirmed to her father how lonely she had been during those first five years, and how she had missed him. It was so tempestuously touching and monumentally moving.

Here I want to point out that I don't cry easily.

For example, touching as it was in the end of its second season, Higurashi did not bring me to tears. Akasaka brought me goosebumps, but that's a different matter... ;)

Only two or three times previous to Clannad: After Story had an anime managed to move me to tears... and that's with me having watched, in total, dozens upon dozens of animes from three different decades. For After Story to accomplish the feat, then, speaks volumes to just how immersive the anime could be, and how likeable these characters are.

Since Clannad: After Story speaks volumes for itself with the general quality of its content, then, I should try to end this blog entry, which I fear is growing voluminous, as soon as possible.

Let me just say, then, that I liked watching Tomoya make peace with his father, I liked the neat reunion between him and his daughter's sensei, and I particularly liked the return of Starfish Girl! :D

YES! FUKO-CHAN IS BACK, BABY!!! Welcome back, she who uses the third person even more humorously than Dr. Doom does. ;) :D

Fuko's Episode 19 return was very unexpected. It was a nice feel good story after Nagisa's passing.

So, all told, I liked episodes 17 through 21 more than I thought I would. They were all handled well, with Fuko's return coming at just the right spot.

But what I'm not sure I like... is the conclussion.

All through out Clannad: After Story, I detected a grand theme of life emerging. That theme is that change in life is inevitable, and that growth through life depends on adapting to those changes, and making the most of what comes your way; through all the tragedies, toils, and troubles.

The value of family is immeasurable in this grand theme of life that I felt that Clannad: After Story was trying to convey. And, ironically, part of that value of family comes from realizing how the lost of one family member, as painful as that is, doesn't mean that you should ignore other family members.

This is what Tomoya learned from his father, and his father's mother. This is what Akio and Sanae displayed in caring for Ushio after their precious daughter passed on.

But then... Nagisa is... retroactively ressurected, I guess you could say. That is the conclussion of Clannad. And while it is certainly a very happy one, I can't help but feel that it takes a great deal away from the grand theme of life that I felt that Clannad: After Story had been developing.

It also makes me feel like Episodes 17 through 21 are lessened considerably in their value by the turn of events. Do the events of these episodes even exist anymore, outside of the mind of Tomoya?

Overall, Clannad: After Story was an exceptional anime, but I can't help but wonder a lot if it's ending was the right one for it...

It does a reflect a trend in anime, though - a trend of pulling last minute switches that seem to go totally against overarching themes. I saw it in Gurren Lagann, and I saw it in Mai HiME. And, in fairness, those are two of my all-time favorite animes.

So, if nothing else, Clannad: After Story is in good company here... ;)

I hope, though, that one day, an anime will stay true to its grand theme to the very end - be it a happy ending where Nia actually lives, or a sad ending where Tomoya learns to live on with out Nagisa by his side.

And yet... if Clannad's most passionate fans were to argue that After Story actually managed to eat its cake, and have it too, I would be hard-pressed to argue the point with them. Clannad: After Story gives you the bold bitter ending of episode 16... the controversial ending that could have been... and it also gives you the completely happy ending of episode 22.

If there's one final positive note that I can make about Clannad: After Story it's that it's boldness is matched only by the character of its cast; a cast that was admirably kept to a manageable and well developed number of characters; something that the shounen animes of the day could take a lesson from. ;)

And hence, with this one final Clannad picture, I pay a tribute to that cast. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Clannad... and what it says about anime: Part 1

Don't worry, I'll get back to my Top 10 Countdown soon.

However, for the time being, I wanted to talk about an anime that may have altered my Top 10 list if I had watched it before I compiled that Top 10 list. That anime is Clannad.

Thanks to the recommendations of my good friend and fellow Anime Suki poster Kogetsu Shirogane, I recently watched Clannad, an anime that I had not bothered with when it first came out due to how action-oriented anime is what dominated my watching habits before I became more involved in Anime Suki's poster community.

With this in mind, I probably should provide some background information on my history as an anime fan before I get into my review of Clannad, to help those who read this blog understand where I'm coming from here.

A few years ago, a close cousin of mine, helped along by frequent discussions on animes and anime characters on the Comic Book Resources site, managed to get me interested in anime. I had watched bits and pieces of various anime shows before then... mainly the big three of Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon... but it was only at this point that I began to watch anime as a somewhat consistent entertainment hobby.

The first ten or so animes I saw, after I became interested in anime, was directly determined by my cousin (and, by extension, by his best internet friends). Those animes were, in no particular order...

1) El Hazard: The Magnificent World
2) El Hazard: The Wanderers
3) Excel Saga
4) Ranma ½
5) Tenchi Muyo!

6) Negima!
7) Full Metal Alchemi
st (the original anime)
8) Neon Genesis Evangelion
9) Azumanga Daioh

10) InuYasha

So, even though I only became a big anime fan during this decade, my introduction to the world of anime included a significant number of 90s animes. Also,
for those familiar with most or all of the anime above, you can probably see how most of the anime I watched in the early going were of a predominantly zany and action-packed nature... with Azumanga Daioh probably being the one closest to "regular" school life, or slice of life in general.

The KyoAni titles, as such, are largely ones that were a bit d
ifferent from the animes that I had cut my teeth on.

In fact, as big a fan of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya as I am now... I honestly found the anime more than a bit weird in the beginning. Episode 00 honestly didn't help matters when I first saw it, although I n
ow look back on it fondly. However, Haruhi had just enough of the sorts of elements that many of my favorite early animes had to hook me in... and it particularly helped that Haruhi herself slowly grew on me after an early disliking of the character (yes, amazing, isn't it? ;) ), and in fact I now love the character.

Haruhi was likely the ideal anime to introduce me to the KyoAni style of anime... I suspect that the genre transition into Clannad was made easier because of it.

So, in any event, my knowledge of Clannad before the past
two months or so was very, very nil. I was aware of it, of course, but only through its presence on Anime Suki, and also through occassional allusions to it. So, I went in watching it with out hype playing much of a role. I will admit that part of the reason why I took Kogetsu up on his recommendation is that Clannad is one of the more... relevant animes, shall we say... of the ones I have yet to see, but I read no comprehensive reviews on it before I watched it, and basically went into watching it with no preconceptions whatsoever and an entirely open mind.

So... in this blog post I will look at Clannad's original season. In Part 2, I will look at After Story, as I feel that After Story warrants its own posting.

So... with all of this regrettable exposition out of the way (sorry about that ^_^;; ), what do I think of Clannad? What were my first impressions of it? What do I think of its cast of characters, and what do I think it says about modern anime?

Well, first of all, and to get strait to the point... I very much liked the original season of Clannad. In particular, the Fuko and Kotomi arcs (basically constituting episodes 5 through 14, IIRC) were two of the best anime arcs I've ever seen, and certainly the best signal character-focused anime arcs I've ever seen. This ten episode run was one of the best anime runs that I've seen, at least as far as characterization, emotional involvement, and plot cohesion are concerned.

It helps, of course, that I al
most instantly fell in love with the actual characters of Fuko and Kotomi. Fuko's mannerisms and style of speech are too adorable for words, while Kotomi is one of the most endearing and lovable characters I've ever seen.

Kotomi, to me, is like a mixture of some of the best elements of Mikuru Asahina with some of the best elements of Yuki Nagato. However, raising Mikuru here helps to get to a key point pertaining to Clannad.

While Fuko and Kotomi are incredibly moe, irressistably cute, and sweeter than Nagisa's favorite bean bread, they are not helpless or hopeless characters... unlike, well, Mikuru Asahina, to be frank. Don't get me wrong, Mikuru has her appealing qualities as well, but it's nonetheless very refreshing to see a moe girl that can pick up for herself, take the iniat
itive, and gain accomplishments of worth.

This is not only true of Fuko and Kotomi, but also of Nagisa. It also holds true of Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo, albeit to lesser extents in my opinion.

So, for me, this is one of the unique charms of Clannad... competent, and hence a touch more realistic, moe girls. And yet, while they are competent, they are still rather good-natured and sweet.

Another one of Clannad's strengths is Tomoya.

Tomoya is one of the most well-rounded anime main male protagonists I've ever seen.

There's an outside chance that him and/or Kotomi would have cracked my Top 10 list if I had watched this anime before I began making it.

Tomoya is like a softer (and hence a bit more relatable, for me) version of Kyon... but at the same time he avoids the dreaded Doormaticus Suckitosis disease that so many anime harem leads seem to be afflicted with. ;)

Tomoya's prankster side combined with Sunohara's principal comedic relief role provides Clannad with moments of humor to compliment its subli
me sentimental spectacle.

While I felt that this humor was sometimes a bit excessive and overplayed, it was probably better to have it there than to have Clannad be a deadly serious show at all times.

What I like about Tomoya, and what I like about most (if not all) of the cast, is how they feel like real people to me. The slapstick comedy moments aside, it's not hard to imagine real life people living lives, and exuding behaviors, much like those of the characters of Clannad. Oh, the characters of Clannad all of their quirks and eccentricities, but these quirks and eccentricities merely add flavour to the characters rather than outright defining them. They're like a real life best friend with an unusual hobby, or a peculiar interes
t, or an atypical talent.

One other strength of the original season of Clannad that I wish to note (and this particular strength is even more readily apparent in After Story) is the overall presentation style. By that, I mean, the OP, the ED, the artwork, the animation, and the background music. All of these synergistically synthesize superbly to help create an anime that's not too polished, but is also very clean and emotionally impactful.

All of the above being said... the original season of C
lannad is not with out its flaws. My first impressions of it were actually a bit mixed, as it felt very much like Azumanga Daioh Light to me in the first few episode. However, the Fuko and Kotomi arcs really kicked this anime into high gear, and done loads to set it apart from other school-life focused animes.

However, I don't consider Clannad the "greatest anime ever", as I've read its widely considered to be by a strong majority of its fanbase. In fairness, though, I should point out that this is coming from an action-oriented anime fan. I tend to like epic struggles and flashy fight scenes, and that is simply not a selling point for Clannad.

Nonetheless, Clannad's major selling point is an uniquely good one, precisely because its unique.

While Clannad is not my all-time favorite anime, it is now one of my favorites, and there is something that I can say for Clannad...

Clannad is definitive anime.

By that, I mean, if I wanted to point to the sorts of characters and narratives that best represent anime as a distinguished entertainment genre with its own characteristic cultural background and flair... I would point to Clannad.

You know the old saying of "A man's man?", which has been extended upon to include sayings like "A player's player", "A warrior's warrior", and "A politician's politician"?

Well, Clannad is an anime's anime. It has almost all of the elements that differentiate anime from western cartoons... and almost none of the elements that western cartoons share with anime.

If anime was to ever die out completely, the first particular anime show I would think of... would be Clannad. And then I would feel very sad over the death of anime given how there's nothing in western entertainment that is even remotely like Clanna
d. If anime was to ever completely disappear, shows like Clannad, and characters like the cast of Clannad, would quite likely completely disappear with it.

And so, somewhat paradoxically I'll admit, I'd like to see anime become a bit more mainstream and hence very vibrant and commercially successful. Because I'd like to see more people become acquainted with shows like Clannad, and I'd hate to see shows like Clannad to die out completely or be thoroughly buried in obscurity.

In its own way, Clannad is actually wholesome family ent
ertainment, with a predominant theme of the value of family and interpersonal connections and relations. It is a story of growth, both on a personal level, and on a community level.

And yet, Clannad does this with out ever seeming overly simplistic or condescendingly cold. It is a warm, friendly, and inviting anime, and I hope that there will be more anime like it in the future... however, I also hope that there may be more mainstream action-oriented fare as well.

Perhaps such mainstream animes could help som
ebody else find their way to their Clannad like I found my way to the Clannad.

In Part 2 of this 2-part review of Clannad, I will look at After Story. I hope that folks who enjoyed this review will come back for that one as well. :)

For now, though... Here's a toast to Clannad Season 1!!!