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. :)

17 comments:

  1. Very nice post and I can agree with nearly most of it.

    I liked the ending because in contrast to the other Key-Animes (Air / Kanon) they delivered a real happy end^^ and I think I really needed it for this story. The death of Nagisa and the whole Ushio-Arc is still able to touch me deeply when I just see certain scenes.

    I really missed a real (full) Kyou-Arc, so that I now started to play the game to get the whole picture.

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  2. Another good read. Pardon me while I decide to borrow this part at the end of your blog post again for my own purposes. Not like it's mattered much in the past.

    Personally, I felt that Yukine's storyline could've used another episode, and I'm in full agreement that they should've actually put forth some more effort into actually making the viewers want to see her brother. Of course, if they would've given her a third episode, they would've had to take it from somewhere else.

    Yoshino's extended role in After Story was certainly a welcome addition. From the moment he started giving his speech in the first episode(and got tagged out as a result), to his final appearance in the series, he is easily one of the better reasons to watch After Story.

    I actually agree that the ending seemingly came out of nowhere. Of course, I'm not entirely sure what happened there, so that might be why.

    Now, to wait for them to adapt Tomoyo After. Not like I'm actually expecting it to happen, but it would be nice for her to get a little more focus.

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

    You do realize that Word of God (AKA Key's official character bios) puts her at 160cm (5 foot 2.4 inches), right?

    I don't really have time to organize my thoughts much at the moment, but I will say After Story is a very confusing anime for me to judge... I like the characters, the general beauty of the show, and the fact the writers actually dared to include an After Story. But on the flip side the ending and pacing bugged me quite a bit. In the end I'd have to classify it as a strong entry in the genre but not one I'd put on a "top few" list.

    I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts again once you've seen a few more shows in the genre, but I suppose that will have to wait until you've seen said shows.

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  4. TMSIDR - True about Kyou. It's too bad that she didn't really get a full arc of her own at some point in the anime.

    tigermoon - I agree with you on Yoshino and on Yukine. Yukine's arc could have perhaps used one more episode, yeah.

    0utfoxZer0 - Actually, I haven't seen Key's official character bios. Wow... kind of hard to believe that Kotomi is that short. ^_^;;

    If you look at the group shot pic at the end of this blog review, Kotomi looks to be the tallest girl in the group (well, her and Tomoyo are the tallest girls, it looks like). I guess either the artist got the girls' heights wrong, or they're all 5'3'' or shorter... ^_^;;

    Anyway, it sounds like you and I kind of share a lot of the same critiques of the anime. Episodes 10,11,12,14, and 15 probably felt a bit dull to me because of pacing issues.


    Thanks to everyone for replying to the blog review! :)

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  5. Actually, I messed up my metric to imperial conversion there... Kotomi is pretty much exactly 5'3". But yes, none of the Clannad girls break 5'4". Tomoyo is the tallest, with Kotomi and Kyou tieing for second.

    And it's actually not so much that the Clannad girls are short, it's that Japanese girls are short... according to wikipedia, the average height of a 19 year old Japanese woman in 2006 was 158cm, or about 5'2" - which coincidentally is Haruhi's height.

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  6. A great read. It was nice to think over my own experience watching Clannad again while reading this.

    I have to say, though, I would have liked to see a greater emphasis on episodes 17-21. Really, those were the epispodes that made the series for me, driving the theme of family across--but not to the point of ad nauseam. It was subtle, touching, and deeply moving. The interaction between Ushio and Tomoya was just too sweet, I found myself almost wishing to see episodes devoted purely to seeing their lives play out.

    It just felt too short; in a few short episodes, we came to know and love the tyke, which makes her death just a few episodes later all the more heartwrenching--we just didn't have the time to really get to know her on a deeper level in this series, something which still causes me some disappointment in this series. But that's only slightly. After Story, overall, plays out beautifully.

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  7. i though they chose that ending because fans didn;t want nagisa dead.Again. '_'

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  8. I disagree with this.

    I'm not going to say Clannad outright sucks, but frankly, it fails as a romantic drama. The show merely represents everything in a fuzzy bunny outfit that I'd have to tear through to get the real essence of the situation, character or story at hand. The world of Clannad is a silly, chaste world where real strife doesn't exist.
    Nothing matters because everything will be fine in the end.

    Basically, Clannad is just not mature enough to be a serious romantic drama.

    Not a bad post, though.

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  9. Most Recent Anonymous - I don't think that romance, per se, is the main driving force of Clannad. It's mostly about the importance of family and friends and community; romance is a part of that, but not an over-riding part of that. At least not for the anime.

    Personally, I agree with that ethic (of family and friends coming first), which is why I disagree with you about this being a "silly, chaste" world. What's silly about girls being able to put aside a crush for a guy and going on to be just friends with him? Do you really think that never happens in really life?

    And as for chaste... there are plenty of people in real life who don't have a lot of sexual partners in life. Keep in mind that we're talking about a marriage between high-school sweethearts here, essentially. That itself may very well be rare, but it's not completely unheard of, and when it happens, it frequently means that the two only have each other as sexual partners during their lives.

    Clannad is plenty mature. It's a lot more mature than you give it credit for. It's more than mature enough to be taken seriously.

    Perhaps you're confusing mature with lots of sexual content, and sexual content alone does not make a work mature, in the truest sense of the word.

    Frankly, you're probably a moe hater who's allowing his or her dislike of moe to overly bias his take on this anime, and to judge it unfairly.

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  10. One more thing... "Nothing matters because everything will be fine in the end."

    Really? You really believe this, anon?

    So, unless a story has a sad or bittersweet ending, nothing in it matters?

    The Lord of the Rings had an extremely happy ending overall (as is well-displayed in the movie adaptation of it). Are you seriously going to say that this massively influential and critically acclaimed high fantasy literature doesn't matter simply because "everything will be fine in the end"?

    Bad endings don't necessarily mean a good story, and a happy ending certainly doesn't necessarily mean a bad (or unimportant) story, either.

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  11. "The world of Clannad is a silly, chaste world where real strife doesn't exist."

    I'm sorry, but... how on earth is a -GANG WAR- not "real strife"?! I'll admit the soccer team may have been a bit over-the-top in the villainy department(doesn't mean they aren't complete jerks, though), but to make an accusation like that of something that focused a character's entire story around gangs fighting over the city is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

    I can understand the complaint if you've only seen the original, but I wouldn't understand why you'd be commenting on -this- post if that were the case. ^^;;

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  12. >I don't think that romance, per se, is the main driving force of Clannad. It's mostly about the importance of family and friends and community; romance is a part of that, but not an over-riding part of that. At least not for the anime.<

    I agree about the romance, though the family themes seem pretty vague to me. Clannad was waffling between two points. One being that family is whatever you want it to be and the people around you that you care for, are family. The other is that family is important and shouldn't be taken for granted. Which of these is what matters?

    These "family themes" should be given a real evaluation rather than being vaguely cited as a strength of Clannad.

    >Personally, I agree with that ethic (of family and friends coming first), which is why I disagree with you about this being a "silly, chaste" world. What's silly about girls being able to put aside a crush for a guy and going on to be just friends with him? Do you really think that never happens in really life?

    And as for chaste... there are plenty of people in real life who don't have a lot of sexual partners in life. Keep in mind that we're talking about a marriage between high-school sweethearts here, essentially. That itself may very well be rare, but it's not completely unheard of, and when it happens, it frequently means that the two only have each other as sexual partners during their lives.<

    It's no single event in Clannad that I find silly, it's the show as a whole that is silly. As I said, I feel that Clannad encases everything in a thick fluffy coating that I'd have to remove in order to reach the real essence. I know that unfortunate events can happen in Clannad, but none of it bothers me, I don't feel that anything truly matters because real strife just doesn't exist for these people. Basically, it's drama for kids.

    You took the word chaste too literally. I'm not just talking about sexual matters, the show as a whole was too innocent for reasons I just stated.

    >Perhaps you're confusing mature with lots of sexual content, and sexual content alone does not make a work mature, in the truest sense of the word.

    Frankly, you're probably a moe hater who's allowing his or her dislike of moe to overly bias his take on this anime, and to judge it unfairly.<

    You're being presumptuous. It didn't bother me that Clannad has no sexual content. Neither of my favorite animes have substantial amounts of sexual content. As for moe, I don't hate it, as a matter of fact, several of my favorite characters have moe traits. Characters that are defined entirely by moe suck though.

    >One more thing... "Nothing matters because everything will be fine in the end."

    Really? You really believe this, anon?

    So, unless a story has a sad or bittersweet ending, nothing in it matters?<

    No. Like I said, I feel that nothing in Clannad truly matters to begin with, the ending merely reinforced that notion.

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  13. Anon - Well, in fairness, your criticisms might be pretty valid for the original season. I can certainly see your points as it pertains to the original season.

    After Story, though, had certain elements to it that made it feel a bit more mature, imo.

    Even with After Story, though, I can see why some people might find it too soft, bubbly, and cloying for their tastes. I know some darker "badass" animes that are generally well-regarded but they're just not to my tastes (Black Lagoon, for example), but I recognize that some anime fans like that.

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  14. Well I wouldn't say Clannad was too soft, bubbly and cloying for me. The same could be said about Aria, which is one of my top 5 animes.

    I just feel that Clannad is toying around and never gets serious with the dramatic elements. Animes like Honey and Clover are more towards the mature end of the spectrum, not because they're dark and angsty, but because of how the characters and situations are presented and is much better for it.

    I also didn't really care for the characters. They aren't bad, just.. serviceable at best and the majority of them don't go beyond their archetype. It's all well and good to start off with characters that conform to archetypes, but they need to end up as something more to be memorable. I also felt the relationships between the characters were manufactured, scripted and they appeared more like acquaintances than friends. No matter what happens betweens close friends, the emotions between them are strong, the cast of Clannad lack this sort of feeling. Characters that go beyond their archetypes and genuinely feel like friends are why animes like Aria and Toradora as good as they are.

    Anyway they're my final thoughts on Clannad. I'm glad you didn't spew any bullshit like "You're watching it wrong" and you're able to hold a rational, logical and coherent discussion.

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  15. However.. I will say I liked Tomoya and Kotomi. It sucked that she wasn't in much of After Story. I imagine I'd genuinely care if she died or something.

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  16. It would make more sense if you renamed the arcs like episodes 10-12 were Yoshino's arc. 14-16 were Tomoya and Nagisa's arc. 10 and 11 were the most dull episodes to me but episode 12 was pretty touchhing and eventful. We finally get to see what happened to Yoshino and how he became for what he was. To me that was an interesting episode. I would only say 10 and 11 were dull. 13-16 were the biggest build up to the story so I would scratch those off the list. I enjoyed most of After Story but season 1 had a lot of boring moments. I only really liked Kotomi's arc. Would have fitted better in AS than Clannad to be honest. Great reviewe noneless.

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  17. As for the idiot who said Clannad is a drama for kids, how stupid and pathetic are you??! This is actually something that kids WON'T understand! This is a drama aimed for mature audience and adults so obviously kids would have NO idea what they would have to do in the adult world! Take your pathetic shallow comments elsewhere since you have no idea how the real world works!

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