I wrap my blog series on Kyoto Animation with the most recent series made my Kyoto, Clannad. Clannad, like AIR and Kanon, is based of of a visual novel by Key. It has excellent animation, the colors fit perfectly with the feeling of the show, and I believe it mixes perfectly raw drama, sadness, comedy, and happiness all together into one huge show full of greatness. It is my favorite out of all of the Key novels animated by Kyoto. If you liked AIR and Kanon then you will obviously like Clannad, and if you didn’t like AIR or Kanon there is still a slight chance you’ll like Clannad.
Clannad sticks to the basic formula that all Key shows have followed. The main character, in this case his name is Tomoya Okazaki, a third year high school student, who lives in a broken home. His mother is dead, and his father who’s in a downward spiral full of depression and alcohol, is unable to acknowledge Tomoya as his son. They are on very tense terms since in the past they had a fight which caused Tomoya’s father to injure him not allowing him to play basketball anymore.
He meets a girl named Nagisa Furukawa on the way to school, she is Clannad’s sickly girl, who is repeating her third year due to an illness last year. The story follows Tomoya as he progresses through the school year, meeting new faces, and helping the girls he meets along the way. The first part is a different story that is not fully explained in the first season. It follows a girl who is alone in a world where time does not past and she builds a robot to keep her company. There is implications throughout their screen time that this will play into the story later on in a major way but, has not been revealed yet.
Like Kanon, Clannad runs the series by focusing on one girl’s storyline at a time. Fortunately, it does not completely leave the other girls out by having all the girls present a good number of times even if they are not in that girls “arc”. This causes the show to feel much more realistic by not having the girls disappear into the mist for five episodes. There is also a main storyline interwoven within the girls arcs and it plays throughout the entire series. The main storyline is Tomoya helping Nagisa reform the drama club. The other members all graduated so it was abandoned at the beginning of the year. The story follows them as they work with the other girls to help return the club back to the school.
The first girl’s arc played through with the main story line is Fuuko Ibuki, a younger student at the school, who has an infatuation with starfish. Her arc is essentially the Makoto arc of Clannad. However, her arc is not near as depressing as Makoto’s arc, it still has its emotional parts though. The main differences that her arc although sad does have a happy ending to it. She is sometimes called the annoying character of Clannad, but I found her to be rather humorous. You find she is carving starfish as invitations to her sister’s wedding and giving them out to the students at the school. Tomoyo and everyone else help her distribute the starfish to everyone. They meet Fuuko’s sister who tells them something shocking. I will not go farther into her arc because I don’t exactly want to tell everyone what happens since I guess this is technically a review, and this show is still rather new.
The second girl’s arc played out is Kotomi Ichinose, a genius girl who is way smarter than her grade so she spends her time in the library reading books. Tomoya approaches her to see if she would be interesting in joining the drama club. She accepts in helping them, and her arc progresses as they listen to her play a violin recital even though she can’t play the violin at all she still enjoys trying. Everything goes well until one day on the way to school it is believed Kyou Fujibayashi’s sister Ryu, two girls in the group helping Nagisa reform the drama club, was in a terrible bus accident however, it turn out she was on the earlier bus. This leads to the resurfacing of memories of Kitomi’s past as it sends her into a mode of emotional panic and distress. She locks herself up in her home weeks.
This leads to Tomoya trying to help Kitomi which causes him to remember he had known her when she was younger, and the played together in the garden at her house. However, he finds out that her parents were killed in an accident when she was little. In her rage and sadness of trying to burn one of her father’s documents she lights the house on fire almost killing herself and Tomoya who had shown up to visit her because it was her birthday. Kitomi’s arc is my favorite arc of Clannad because it is pure drama, although it seems a little cliche it fits Kitiomi’s character so well. Eventually Kitomi is cheered back up by certain events that I will not spoil here.
The last arc is Nagisa’s arc, who is Clannad’s sickly child therefore you know she’ll go to the hospital or at least get very sick again at least once. Her arc is pretty predictable, although it does have some surprises along the way. I won’t really be going into detail here, but it’s the same she became really sick in her past once that she almost died. This caused her parents to stop their careers they were working on and open a bakery at home where they could watch Nagisa more closely. Her parents quitting their jobs plays into the arc later on, but I’m not going to spoil it. This is the final arc, and after this the series come to an end.
Clannad is a spectacular show, it is full of drama and raw emotion, but seems very able to pace itself. The storytelling in my opinion is some of the best. While to others it may seem like they left many things out it’s understandable since there is going to be a second season Clannad: After Story. I enjoyed this show more than Kanon because it seemed like it took the flaws of Kanon out, but kept all the good parts. In Clannad the focus is still on a certain girl, but there are two other story lines moving, the drama club, and the mysterious world with the lonely girl. It keeps the story from getting one dimensional. It still has a magical feel to it, note Fuuko’s arc, but it doesn’t seem so “over the top” as Kanon.
Episode 24 is more like an OAV, a big what if Tomoya and Tomoyo dated. Tomoyo (easily confused with the main male protagonist) is a part of the group but really not, she has her own objective of getting elected school president, however she makes an appearance in most episodes. She also plays out much of the comedy with fights between her and Tomoya’s best friend Sunohara. There are six main girls in Clannad and three of them have their arcs played out, four if you include Tomoyo’s side episode, so I assume that Ryu and Kyou will be a big part of she second season. I also assume they will finish the lonely girl with the robot story and reveal what part she plays in the story. I highly recommend checking out the first Season of Clannad especially if you have seen either or both of the other Kyoto Projects of Key Visual Novels.
This ends my blog series on Kyoto Animation I hope you enjoyed reading this series. I am currently looking at other series I am going to do, however, the new fall anime season starts next week, so I’ll be busy writing about that. But I will still have smaller posts mixed in with the Fall 2008 anime posts.