English: Clannad: After Story
Japanese: ＣＬＡＮＮＡＤ 〜ＡＦＴＥＲ ＳＴＯＲＹ〜 クラナド アフターストーリー
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 3, 2008 to Mar 27, 2009
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 9.131 (scored by 202299 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please not that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popular Tagscomedy drama romance slice of life
May 6, 2009 7:20 PM
I experienced something that changed my life...
In a nutshell, Clannad ~After Story~ influenced the way I will live for the rest of my life and not just in some half-assed way like any other show would. It legitimately moved me to make certain decisions, for better or for worse. In that sense, no other anime can compare, as no other anime has provided an equivalent reaction on my part.
Before you continue, you should know that Clannad ~After Story~ is a continuation of the story from Clannad and an adaptation from the original Visual Novel by KEY. Although knowledge of the first season is not necessary, it is highly recommended if you want to get the most out of ~After Story~ as well as this review. That being said, this review is tailored to all readers, and can be understood without knowledge of the first season. Note that there may be very minor spoilers. Now then, on to the meat and potatoes.
I won't spend much time on the individual components of Clannad ~After Story~ (or Clannad ~AS~ as I will call it now) like I have with my other reviews. At first glance, there is nothing notably outstanding about it as a whole. For those who are interested in the individual components, here they are and the reasons behind them are available at the end of the review:
Enjoyment (in this case influence): 10+/10
| Main Review |
It is difficult to convey the emotions that went through my mind as I watched Clannad ~AS~. For those of you who watched the first season and dropped the show, I urge you to pick up ~AS~ and give it a chance. The first few episodes run almost identically to those of the first season, but the true After Story part branches off in a manner that is unique only to ~AS~. What Clannad ~AS~ gives the viewer is a story of life. A story of despair. A story of forgiveness. A story of hope. Through this story, Clannad ~AS~ can powerfully change the way you perceive the world around you. I am well aware that not everyone enjoys Clannad and ~AS~, especially since the magical light orbs are outlandish to some, but for me it was a bit of a godsend among anime.
The concept of Clannad ~AS~ is neither truly unique nor breathtakingly wonderful. What the viewer gets when watching it is the story of a man. Nothing less and nothing more. What Clannad ~AS~ really excels at, however, is the way it tells the story of that man. While it may be classified as a romance or even a harem anime by some (at least the first season could be), I really classify Clannad ~AS~ as a slice of life. A slice out of the life of a delinquent who can’t seem to do anything right and struggles to protect what really matters to him as the world comes crashing down.
However, “slice of life” can be a deceptive term. As I watched Clannad ~AS~, it was not as much a slice out of Tomoya’s life but a slice out of mine. You see, what Kyoani succeeds in is hitting on the points that make life truly what it is. The continuation of time. The reality of truth. The genuine meaning of “life goes on.” Additionally, by extending over many years, the true significance of every event begins to emerge. Clannad ~AS~ takes the tale of the first season and shapes it around a single person. It is a respectable reflection of life and delves into what many shows do not, and cannot, represent: the story after the story.
While many of the situations may be overblown and excessively dramatized (at least in the opinion of some people), it is ultimately true that every facet of Clannad ~AS~ gives the audience some insight into life. Does it matter that there are miracles and magic orbs of light flying around? For me, no. For others, this could be the case. That is to say, not all aspects of Clannad ~AS~ are perfect, but the impact was enough for me.
If you are looking for a cheerful anime, turn away now. Kyoto Animation does many things with Clannad ~AS~ including some very effective humor in many places, but Clannad ~AS~ will make you cry and smile, often both in the same episode. I won’t lie, I cried at least 5 times throughout the season. Even when rewatching episodes, I cried again. Don’t get me wrong, Clannad ~AS~ really has some happy moments as well, but Kyoani tends to depress many, many times. Each sad moment is profound and beautiful, but nevertheless it is sad. The ending song, Torch, which is played in every episode, serves to alleviate this, for better or worse. Torch is very upbeat, but many people consider it unnecessary and I agree. Torch can be a real mood breaker at times.
The power that Clannad ~AS~ exerts comes from its characters. While the first season portrayed many main characters and their stories, ~AS~ focuses on the life of Tomoya and lightly on the lives of those who surround him. Tomoya is a failure in a cruel world. In a sense, he is a fatal hero. While he may not know it, he is destined to face pain and suffering through his life. There is a bit of controversy over the ending of ~AS~, but those who wish to have a “truer” ending can consider the second to last episode as such (don’t hate me for suggesting it). When seen in that light, Clannad ~AS~ effectively played out a story that neither catered to an audience nor skewed reality (except for the orbs of light, of course). What it presented was something that many people can relate to. The loss of a loved one. The pain of recovery. The neglect of a father. Rediscovering love and friendship. Coping with suffering. *SPOILER* The feeling of holding a daughter in your arms for the first time. The pains and joys of being a father. */SPOLER* What it ended with was a realistic ending and a message for the future. Additionally, if seen that way, the last episode can be portrayed as Kyoani staying true to the visual novel and respecting the source material.
*Unfortunately, more talk of the plot would undeniably lead to spoilers, which I am trying to keep free from this review, so please bear with me. Heck, if I’ve convinced you at this point, what are you waiting for? Go see for yourself what all the hype is about. Otherwise, read on!*
Ultimately, Clannad ~AS~ molded characters that I thought I was familiar with into something close to human. Their stories produced emotion that made me reconsider the situations of the people that I see every day. Through social commentary and moral struggles, the viewer can genuinely begin to respect Tomoya. I know I wouldn’t be able to withstand half of what he did, but I truly began to respect the fact that he kept going, despite him being a fictional character. Through his struggles, I began to learn about myself. Through the struggles of those around him, I began to respect those whom I had once hated. This may seem extreme, and you may think that I am crazy, but what I write is nothing but the truth. Every episode gripped me, and many episodes evoked tearful reactions, which I am not very prone to. As I continued to watch, I could hardly bear waiting a week for each new episode to come out. At the same time, however, I knew that each episode held a bomb - a flood of emotions that could affect the rest of my day. Clannad ~AS~ went way beyond enjoyment – it went into the realm of what I could call an “epiphany.”
Can the story of one man influence the lives of others? Is it still possible if that man is a fictional character? For me, I did not think it was possible for anime to extend its influence at such a level. Clannad ~AS~ proved me wrong time and time again. Look past the first season and the first few episodes, and perhaps you can begin to understand what I mean.
For those interested or who can relate after watching the show, this is the ultimate and most powerful result of the show as it applies to me. The following is the reason why I can’t keep my mind off of Clannad ~AS~ and the reason why it will remain as my #1 favorite for what I know will be many, many seasons: *SPOILER* Through Clannad ~AS~, I have basically committed to wanting to have a baby. Ushio love. */SPOILER*
| Analysis of components |
Clannad ~AS~ is unique in its storytelling, but the story itself is nothing special. The earlier episodes present almost unrelated stories just as the first season did, but Clannad ~AS~ takes a turn for the better with a focus on a single character and his ordeal. At this point, Clannad ~AS~ does nothing but follow the life of a young adult, Tomoya. Sure there is drama (oh, is there drama) and there is romance, in a sense, but in reality, there is no real plot to speak of. What there is, however, is the tale of a life experience that can change the way you live. A real deterrent might come from some of the magic that inexplicably finds its way into Clannad (both seasons), but that never really bothered me. The ending is also less-than-stellar and can be a bit confusing, but as stated before, there’s always the second to last episode to fall back on.
There is nothing blatantly wrong with the animation quality. Kyoto Animation produced Clannad ~AS~, so fans will know that there is nothing to fear. The character design is the same as that of Clannad and other KEY adaptations. The KEY character design is quite distinguishable, with its giant eyes. Personally, I am a fan, but other viewers might dislike the artwork. Other than that, Kyoani did another solid job with the animation, and there are no jerky movements that detract from the gorgeous lessons that unfold.
Kyoani had its ups and downs with the music for Clannad ~AS~. In many aspects, Clannad ~AS~ shoots beyond other KEY adaptations with its unique, unconventional plotline and incredibly well enacted scenes of what could very well be the life of an individual. In fact, many of the ordeals that Tomoya must face strike a particularly strong emotional chord among many people. Who knows, you might not be that certain type of person, but I definitely was. Anyways… back to the music. Clannad ~AS~’s opening sequence is a strong piano melody with deceptively deep lyrics. However, the ending sequence detracts from many of the spectacular moments, especially because Kyoani tends to end episodes on a sad note. As such, many would classify Torch (the ED) as an elaborate troll because it is too lively. Beyond the OP and ED, Clannad ~AS~ features tracks from the Visual Novel, which include very familiar tracks from the first season. Notable among these are the songs with lyrics, ie Ana. Certain parts of the OST mesh very well, and a powerful soundtrack can produce a powerful reaction. However, I don’t remember anything in particular clearly standing out to me, and as previously mentioned, Torch ruined quite a few strong moments.
While most of the other aspects of Clannad ~AS~ are very similar to their counterparts in the first season, character development in ~AS~ take a turn for the better. Kyoani successfully made me hate characters that I loved and love characters that I hated. Through a roller coaster complete with dips and turns, Clannad ~AS~ changed the way I perceive all type of people. From Tomoya’s seemingly disinterested, alcoholic father to Nagisa, a character who I actually deemed annoying in the first season, I came to understand what truly makes up a person. Every character really has a story behind their dejected or cheerful façade. Despite the usual “Clannad magic,” every character also turned out to be associable, adding to the personal level of the show. Even the more comical, secondary characters had their share of emotional moments, giving them real depth and giving the viewer a relatively accurate understanding of human nature. About half-way through the show, there is a certain character that changes many, many things. I won’t spoil it now, but her unique appearance is what truly brought Clannad ~AS~ to unmatchable levels.
Enjoyment is really up to the beholder. My view of enjoyment may be somewhat different from others’. Clannad is not for everybody, but for those who dropped the first season, ~AS~ is truly on a league of its own and worth another shot. Every person has that one anime that leaps up above the rest and leaves a lasting impression. For me, that anime was Clannad ~AS~. No other words can describe the effect it had on me, and I hope that this review has at least made you, the reader, consider picking up this diamond in the rough.
| Final Thoughts |
Thank you for your time (I know the review was long), and I sincerely wish that you give Clannad ~AS~ a chance. Who knows, it may change your life. As always, comments about how effectively this review worked are welcome. Also, a helpful rating is always appreciated. read more
Aug 12, 2011 3:01 PM
As I said before, I started After Story expecting it to have the same light-hearted high school drama feel as the first season and, unfortunately, the first eight episodes did nothing to prove me wrong. The first eight episodes are Clannad at its storytelling worst, more specifically the Sunohara arc. Thankfully, Clannad at its storytelling worst is simply "okay". The Sunohara arc makes Youhei's younger sister, Mei, seem like a nosy and irrational little girl in contrast to the mature-beyond-her-years character that the writers seemed to be trying to present her as. The Yukine arc was better, but it pushes the boundaries of Tomoya's "good Samaritan" personality a bit too far. The Misae arc is good by itself, but has very little to do with the story or the characters that we care about. If it weren't for each arc each containing details that are vital to the enjoyment of understanding of the later part of the anime, I would recommend skipping the first eight episodes altogether to get straight to the real good stuff.
Thankfully, the latter part of After Story more than makes up for its mediocre first act with the absolute greatest storytelling in anime. After Story quickly gets back on its feet and shows what truly makes it great as we ride the greatest emotional rollercoaster in recent memory. The ending has caused some controversy for being too ambiguous to fully understand without having played the video game, but I feel otherwise. Granted, I had to see the anime twice before I truly understood it, but I was nonetheless able to figure out exactly what happened without any outside help. It's a tough one, but it's very possible.
While the main setting has its moments of visual awe, the artistic aspect of the anime truly shines in the beautiful and surreal "hidden world". The impact differs greatly from the main world, boasting beautiful lighting, animation, and colors. In the main world, colors do a great job of changing from bright to dull based on the situation and animation is polished to a shine.
I've always been a big fan of a musical score acting as a compliment to whats happening on screen rather than a mere accompaniment. Clannad: After Story masterfully pairs its score with each event to further the emotional impact of each scene. It is done so well, in fact, that one cannot hear the music on its own without feeling some kind of emotion attached to that song by a certain event from the anime. The OP is good and very versatile in setting the correct emotional tone for each episode. On the downside, the bouncy, poppy ED is often horribly inappropriate to the emotions that you are left with at the end of each episode and is almost guaranteed to ruin the mood if you aren't quick enough to stop it. I found myself sometimes ending the episode early when the scene seemed like an ending due to my fear of facing the buzzkill of an ED.
On the voice acting side, the English performances are top-notch. Each character is paired with a voice that fits their appearance and personality very well and that can easily be recognized among other voices. Luci Christian gives a flawless performance as both English Nagisa and Ushio, and Andrew Love does really great stuff with the situations he is put in as Akio.
The characters are without a doubt the strongest aspect of After Story. Each one is as incredibly human as they are likable, and their easiness to get attached to is one of the biggest reasons that the anime has such a great emotional impact. When the characters are suffering, it as if one of our friends is suffering, and when they are happy, we are happy for them. I have never felt such an attachment to a set of characters as I did in After Story. Each character plays so well off of each other, including Tomoya and Nagisa, who are without a doubt the greatest couple in anime. In most stories, be it in books, cinema, or television, the romance sub plot is almost always one of two things, the incredibly good-looking and nice alpha-male protagonist gets paired with the incredibly good-looking romantic interest, or the incredibly good-looking and nice but shy protagonist gets paired with the incredibly good-looking romantic interest. In both scenarios, the two characters are always blessed with the perfect personalities and that's why they go so well together. Tomoya and Nagisa are different. Neither of them have perfect personalities, but both of their personalities are able to compliment the other's. Tomoya's hot headedness is able to be cooled by Nagisa's quiet, strong demeanor. It's not perfect gets paired with perfect, it's human finds human.
After I finished Clannad: After Story for the first time, there was only one thing I wanted to do: watch the entire series again, so I did. I know that the word "experience" is overused in film and television, but that's exactly what After Story is. I don't cry during movies or anime. I've seen Elfen Lied, Old Yeller, My Dog Skip, Grave of the Fireflies, etc. You name it, I've seen it and didn't shed a tear. Clannad: After Story made me cry like a girl multiple times, and the reason it did is because it's different from anything else I've ever seen before in one way. It is able to appeal to the most human parts of you, whether it's Tomoya's responsibility as a man or Nagisa's inherent ability to remain positive for the sake of the people she loves, the one thing that makes this anime so emotionally powerful is the fact that you could see it happening to you. read more
Feb 8, 5:57 PM
After Story is quintessentially Japanese with no compromises. It both frames the world with elements of traditional culture (slightly patriarchal approach to relationship with fragile female protagonist, refusing money from parents for the sake of honor, immediate respect for grandparent) and shows the world with elements of modern life (changing city, new construction, environmental preservation, long working hours). (Also, there aren't yet cell phones, which itself is fascinating to think about for sociological purposes.) This is both refreshing and realistic in the world of anime: After Story doesn't seem like it's using a medium with fantasy elements only to escape reality. It takes life as it is and, overlooking a few contrived missteps, shows how the characters change the existing reality for themselves while being inextricably tied to it. Tomoya even considers running away from his problems by leaving the city with Nagisa (metaphorically escaping almost everything about his reality), but she reasons with him about the family he has in the city.
That said, I found myself quite able to interpret the story in my own way. Outside of the humor and occasional filler, there are many important moments available for reflection. This appreciation for stillness and reflection (even occasionally outside of slice of life), I think, is the strongest argument for why anime is a medium and not a genre, and why it appeals to certain types of people more than others. One of my highlights in the first season was Tomoyo's conversation at sunset with Tomoya, where they theorized about 'family'. The essence of 'family' further explored by After Story is complex and multithreaded, and remains the defining question and legacy of the whole series. If you personally identify with the series, the questions raised by the series may remain a part of your everyday reality no matter what stage of life you are in. They may even cause you to think about everyone else in your life in new ways.
The music of the series was the strongest aspect for me, both in After Story and the first series. It opened my mind up through emotions to consider the realities and struggles of the different characters. Consider all of the scenarios presented in the first season. What must life be like for Kotomi, studying all alone in the library those long hours, living a life completely different from the high schoolers around her? In the real world with degree inflation in Asia where university has become a safe haven for students who can't get jobs yet are quite intelligent, what will become of students like her? Will all her domain-specific scientific knowledge become obsolete thanks to databases and her inexperience with cutting-edge electronic equipment? Think about Tomoyo. In a world of big data and near-total destruction of privacy, there may be less chance to change who society believes you are. Think about Kyou's future role as providing familial comfort and understanding to all the primary schoolchildren who don't have a family life as both parents work long hours. Think about Nagisa's parents, who would have a tough or impossible time paying for Nagisa's college with their modest-income jobs after sacrificing their dream careers. Are such parents realistic in families of the future? And the future Yusukes in developed countries may need to sacrifice even more family time to their jobs to sustain services in societies with many retired seniors. On a level closer to the canon, how will changes in Nagisa and Tomoya's life impact the people and the city around them over the years? More abstractly, to what degree do changes in the family of the city affect the family of friends and actual families? In After Story, just as in the first season, the music encourages thoughtful, probing questions for imaginative types and shows how much change time can bring. Perhaps the music can become a part of your life as you associate a song with a certain time period. For me, "To the Same Heights" contains a wonderful mixture of hope, uncertainty, and wonder in facing the future.
Some people will not enjoy this anime. The moe art style may seem unsuited to the depth of the storyline (although for me, it seems merely an extreme case of the wonderful juxtaposition of innocence and hope against harsh realities in a similar vein as Madoka vs Kyubey, Akane vs Makishima and Sibyl, or even Honoka, Umi, and Kotori in front of an empty theater). The story arc before episode 9 in After Story is not realistic. The drama may be too intense for them, and the everyday dialogue too melodramatic. Yet starting with episode 9, I think what follows is the finest piece of storytelling that will exist in anime for a very long time.
Take all the happy and sad things and roll them up. Dango dango daikazoku~ read more
May 2, 12:08 AM
So, what makes AS stand out? Before answering this question, let us first discuss Japan's obsession with highschools. Anime, as a flexible medium, has constantly flooded the market with similar romantised adaptions of this particular period where adolescents, in the minds of the Japanese, live life to the fullest. Though seeing the heroine and the main of an anime confessing to each other under a moonlit night in the end is satisfying to watch to say the least, do we ever stop and think, what happens to their lives after highschool? What is their afterstory? To anime studios, its probably a dark hole, and to us viewers, something limited to our imagination. It seems to me that studios just want a 'happy ever after' ending and leave it at that, oblivious to the thoughts of those wanting more. AS takes that brazen leap of faith, perfectly encapsulating everything we have hoped for in an 'after-story', as we again, dive into the lives of Tomoya and Nagisa.
The start of AS continues the storytelling of its predecessor for around half its runtime, with arcs each around 1-3 episodes long focusing on issues surrounding its various characters. How it differs to the first season is its focus on Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship but more-so a slice out of Tomoya's life after highschool, therefore several girls from the previous season were cut from the cast. We're not here to watch a harem but rather Tomoya's gradual and motivational growth from a delinquent who doesn't really care about life after graduation, into a mature man who truly values and strives hard to take care of what is important to him, as he faces life's harsh trials and tribulations. Following episode 10, the famed second half of AS kicks off, as the 'feels train' blitzes past Heartwarm Station, and subsequently loses its brakes. The fame is well earned as the show's fully extrapolates its premise excelling in both dramatic storytelling and hitting home with its overarching theme of 'family' or 'Clannad' in Irish. Let's just say if you have cried before this point, you're not going to survive :D.
Whilst romance and drama are the forefront of AS, supernatural elements are still present, and the plot utilises this to solve many of its problems which may or may not affect your enjoyment. An additional aspect of the show that needs to be acknowledged and accepted would be the artwork and personality of its female characters. The adapters of AS stayed true to its VN roots meaning girls look 'Moe', easily distinguishable by their weird hair colour, large round faces and eyes. They also sound half their age and act clingy, so your enjoyment would depend on if you can accept an otaku's fantasy.
Kyoto Animation did what it does best: moe character designs, jaw dropping scenery and fluid animation. Whilst I felt the ED of the original Clannad 'Dango Daikazoku' was childish, after having it played at the end of AS, onion cutting ninjas started showing up at my door. Another aspect of AS that contributed to the 'feels' of the show would definitely be the OST; memorable and really struck a cord during the numerous dramatic scenes.
Clannad AS was an emotional rollercoaster ride. I found it quite astounding how a show with moe characters sprouting cheesy dialogue could influence me as much as it did, which leads me to believe that life altering magic not only works on the show. As many reviewers here have stated, 'manly tears' were shed and heartstrings have been hurt. After crying through multiple tissues, I had to rewatch JoJo's Bizarre Adventure to recuperate. Whilst there is no such thing as a perfect anime, this the closest you can get.
"If you feel like crying you shouldn’t hold back your tears. You should let it all out while you still can.. because when you get bigger sometimes you can’t cry even if you have something to cry about."
- Okazaki Tomoya read more
Apr 2, 1:47 AM
I don’t know where they are now, but I’d imagine they’ve entered the workforce. Maybe they fixed up their act and they’re working at some big company. Maybe they’re still working retail. Either way, I’m sure they’ve realised how silly their youth was, as well as how difficult their transition to adulthood must’ve been. They might’ve picked up drinking, and their temperament might’ve cost them a few jobs here and there, but I’d like to think they’re still making an effort.
I say this because this is how I feel about Clannad and Clannad: After Story.
This is a show that I truly, desperately wanted to like. This might be as well be KyoAni at their most naturally deft, because this is a show that combines some of the most powerful drama I’ve seen with breathtaking shot composition and clear mastery of subtlety, and spins it all together to reach some heights in animation that honestly make it hard for me to even try to compare.
It does so many things right, yet it does so many things so very, very wrong. Because this is a show that tried to build its skyscrapers on the most charred, desolate ground it could possibly find. When it wasn’t doing its magic, it was wasting itself on slice of life busywork that treated its women like robots filled with mashed potatoes programmed to spew out their mush whenever they were on-screen with actual human beings. I mean, yeah, it didn’t matter for Ushio because she was an actual child. And thank god Kyou existed – she was the only one of them who could keep up a remotely decent conversation.
But for everyone else? Absolutely disgusting.
And they weren’t just limited to being children: they were housewives, they were little sisters, they were “destined lovers”, and they were helpless figures to be protected. It was like a long, cruel joke on toxic gender roles. And it certainly wasn’t very funny.
No, show, Nagisa is not a strong person. A pile of talking mush overcoming the great hurdle of talking to other piles of mush is not, in fact, a significant feat. No, she is not just shy – she might as well not even be human – because she lives in a world where the notion that women can stray from their assigned one-note personalities like “clumsy” or “airhead” or “weak” does not exist. And no, combining those three traits together does not make a character any more complex.
But when it peaked, boy did it peak. This is a show that had me on the edge of my seat during an arc as pointless and arbitrary as Miyazawa’s . Even I could feel a little something as Tomoya desperately clung to Nagisa when she gave birth. And the stuff with his father and how it tied back to his relationship with his daughter? Yeah, I shed a few tears. Thinking back on all the good bits almost even makes me willing to forgive it for all its faults. I wasn’t kidding when I said this is a show that I truly, desperately wanted to like, because this is the stuff of KyoAni legends. This show knows how to emotionally charge a scene so well with all those shots and colours and subtle little movements it’s ridiculous. This is why I gave my undying love to KyoAni, and this is why I keep coming back to their stuff, no matter how empty and devoid of substance they may be.
So even after all I’ve said about it, I can’t say I regret my time spent. Because beneath all the terrible chemistry, the “fated lovers”, the infantilized women, the jokes about infantilized women, the “tough man’s world” talk, the pointless asides, the saviour complexes, the traditional housewives, and that ridiculous “everyone’s happy” asspull of an ending… there’s a heart. You can’t hear it very well, and sometimes it can seem like it just stops beating completely, but it’s there.
And it’s actually kinda big.
May 5, 2009 10:21 PM
How does one cope in a world that is always changing? And are we ever truly alone?
The above questions are foundational to the series of Clannad After Story, a story of love, loss, redemption, happiness, sadness, togetherness, and change.
I will start by commending Key, the brains behind this show. Like other works of theirs, (Notably Kanon, Air, and the first season of Clannad), it is beautifully written and incredibly aesthetically detailed, with well designed environments and a soundtrack that fits the context to a tee. Added to the compelling characters, this anime is in my somewhat biased opinion a masterpiece. I'll start with the story.
As a story by Key, I went into the anime with some expectations. Not only was I not disappointed, I was sent from small fits of laughter to open sobs and bawling more quickly than I would have liked (very manly, testosterone-charged sobs and bawling, of course).
The anime starts right near the end of the first season of Clannad and picks up quickly. Nearly all of those "minor" characters from the first season are given more time, their stories are displayed in a very accessible manner, and there is a feeling of very little "filler". Almost all of the characters have you caring about them (and feeling happy or sad for their situations,) by the time the story ends.
These stories play out against the backdrop of Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship, their trials and happy times, as Tomoya becomes a man of society. A distinct shift of the angle and scope of the anime is witnessed, as Tomoya moves into the "real world". One of my favorite parts of the story came from the implementation of Nagisa's parents, Akio and Sanae. I will discuss this implementation later.
During most of the story, I felt as if I was actually living the lives of the characters I was watching. Realistic scripting, well chosen voice actors (Mostly the same from the first season), and strong writing right from the beginning gave me the impression that this could actually be a real story, happening somewhere on the planet (with some minor exceptions that are related to the story).
The themes of change and family are expressed continuously, from the changing city to the powerful interconnectedness of family, friends, or larger communities. The OP and ED become more powerful as the story continues on, and the connections made to the first season are near perfect.
There is more than one climax to this story, and it is barely short of amazing how there can be so much emotion packed into 24 episodes (though the 24 of the first season play a role here).
The ending was very pretty, I especially liked the ending of the 24th "recap" episode (which I would consider a part of the After Story experience as it provides some final closure).
Overall, the story is so beautifully done that aside from one potentially confusing part near the end, the plot is watertight and expressed in a way that is easy to connect with. Next I will discuss the art and sound.
If the entire After Story anime consisted of just the OP and ED, I would have awarded it somewhere around an 8.5. The combination of theme song (Toki wo Kizamu Uta by Lia,) and stunning visuals sent shivers down my spine many of the times I watched it. Both the OP and ED gain more as the story goes on, as more subtle details are revealed in the plot.
I have always been a big fan of the Key visual style, but the visual style of this anime is very impressive. The characters as can be expected are very well detailed, but what is stunning about this anime is the amount of detail in the environments. Every building and nearly every person, near or far, important or not, is well detailed. Seeing the wood grain in a power pole when the pole is barely hanging in the scene. Or the swaying of each individual plant in a field during sunset, as the orangeish hue nearly matches that of a sunset in the real world. This and more all combines to produce a very appealing look and serves to immerse the viewer in a world that is not their own (though one might wish it were, for how pretty it is).
The soundtrack is impressive. Many of the songs come from the first season, but some less well used songs in the original get used more often in this season. The choice of where the soundtrack is implemented is pivotal, and this anime is very good at knowing when to emphasize the emotion or when to provide a contrast that might nudge the viewer, "Time still goes forward; life still goes on!"
Lastly, I will talk about what I believe is the most important portion of any story, and especially so for this one: the characters.
After Story provides an amazing level of character depth. None of the first season of Clannad is forgotten, and various past issues and memories are brought back.
The development of the "minor" characters plays a very important role in this anime. Though Tomoya is the main character, one gets the sense that there are no arbitrary characters in the anime at all. Everyone has a past, a story, and a place where they can fit into the extended family of Tomoya.
Tomoya is one of the most realistically portrayed anime characters I have seen in some time. Viewers will remember him as the slightly hot-headed but caring figure from the first season. Tomoya undergoes a remarkable transformation in this series, and the contrast (which is well-emphasized in After Story) is very well done. Finally, I want to take a quick second to recognize something I liked that Key did with this anime: the implementation of Nagisa's parents.
Though they had relatively brief appearances in the first season, Akio and Sanae play incredibly powerful roles in After Story. They are characterized as deeply caring parents that will do anything for the happiness of their family. They stand as a beacon of love and support for both Nagisa and Tomoya, and can be as funny as they are compassionate.Though not always on the front lines, viewers can expect any issues encountered by the characters to be thoughtfully and thoroughly dealt with by these two.
In conclusion, this anime is borderline phenomenal. In between moments of laughing and crying, there is a plethora of amazing characters, portrayed with the right music, detailed in beautiful environments, and built into a fantastic story that is very pretty, both in concept and implementation. I would heavily recommend this anime to anyone who is into Key stuff, who has seen Clannad, or just someone who wants to use a whole box of tissues from all of the happy/sad crying one is bound to do.
In response to the first quote of this (longer than I had expected) review in the words of Tomoya,
"Just find them; just find new fun and happy things. C'mon, let's get going."
Mar 25, 4:57 AM
Both Clannad and Clannad: After Story are amazing animes (and if you haven't watched Clannad and are planning to watch After Story first, make a U turn and rethink that... seriously), however none is flawless. For this review, I'll present, in the first place, the positive aspects of each category and then proceed to present the negative ones.
Clannad:After Story proceeds with Clannad's story and does a wonderful job at that. What makes this story so good is that it's a slice of life tale of forgiveness and hope which deals with important matters such as the responsibility one gains while growing up, recovering from something and moving on, etc. The story doesn't move forward at a fast pace, dedicating the needed time to each scene and not rushing everything.
Now, for the negatives aspects, the first episodes/arcs presented can be seen as instruments to diminish the anime's consistency and quality, since they're not essential to the outcome. I personally liked them a lot, though, and think that they're good to clear your head before getting to the heavy stuff (but that might be just my love for Sunohara talking). Additionally, the overly dramatized situations and the fantasy part might lead to the loss of the sense of reality that the anime plans to achieve.
The art in this anime is amazing. It's easy to understand what each character is feeling based on their expressions and the way the colors and lights are manipulated in the surreal world is very impressive.
The only downside to the art is that the characters don't seem to get older physically.
The voices of the characters match with their personality and are easily distinguished.
However, even though the opening theme is very versatile and helps setting the mood for every episode, the ending theme has the opposite effect.
Character : 8/10
The characters are very human, in other words, their personalities are compatible with the ones that the people we know have and it's easy to create a connection with them and like them.
The "Character" category is the one who has the lowest score because it sins in the development of Nagisa in contradiction to the development of Tomoya, which makes their relationship seem a bit immature. Even more, on the second half of the anime, the only secondary characters which are shown and which take any part in the action are Sanae and Akio, so if one of your favorite characters is from the "school gang", I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you won't be seeing them for a while.
I enjoyed watching this anime because it has a little bit of everything, it makes you think about your own future and makes you see people in a different way, which will make you try to understand their opinions and struggles.
If you love slice of life animes and are ready to have some strong feelings for fictional characters, this is the anime for you! read more
Mar 22, 2009 7:25 AM
“… an astounding series with a slightly less astounding conclusion.”
Due to the frequent references to Clannad (first season), from here on, the term “Clannad” will be used when referring to season 1 and “After Story” will be used for season 2 and the term “Clannad After Story” will be used when referring to the Clannad series as a whole. A few friendly reminders before we begin. After Story is a direct continuation of Clannad, thus it is not very “new audience-friendly”. Knowledge of certain key events and character relations are expected from viewers. Again, due to After Story being a direct continuation (in story) from Clannad, and the latter ended with a climax of sort, it is unreasonable for us to expect After Story to start off with the same level of intensity. In layman’s term, don’t expect the show to start with a bang.
What exactly is After Story? In short, it is an emotion evoking machine designed in such a way as to suck dry your tears. By combining music, dialogue, and animation (often from the facial expression), After Story has the ability to dominate even the mightiest cold blooded person on this planet. Crappy live drama should learn/adopt some of the plots/techniques used in the anime. They should be ashamed of themselves because some anime by the name of Clannad After Story can present a much better dramatic story as a whole. In addition, After Story can squeeze the deep down juicy emotions inside you that not much live drama (if there is any) can ever accomplish.
Those who are familiar with Clannad should have no difficulty identifying various strong points evident in After Story (such as high quality animation), but perhaps one may not be too familiar with the weaknesses of After Story. While some may claim the following “ugly” facts to be minor issues, it is only fair on my part to present both sides of an argument, so to speak.
Inappropriate ending theme. The MUSIC makes Clannad what it is (more into that later), but sadly there are occasions when the ending theme just ruins everything the episode worked so hard for. It is important to note that the ED song itself is not bad; it just does not fit in especially with the latter half of After Story.
“Clannad Magic”. The magic might work on some viewers, but for the rest of us who are looking for a more realistic story it was somewhat a let down to say the very least. I still recall people used to ask me the difference between Kanon and Clannad, and usually my reply will be the following, “… well Clannad is the more realistic version of Kanon as far as the main story between the protagonists is concerned … nothing too supernatural …” but the magical performance totally destroyed it.
As previously stated, the author of this review (ie. me) is simply presenting issues of what seem to be hindrances to After Story from achieving a perfect 10/10 masterpiece for some demanding viewers. In fact, After Story is a show overwhelmed with prettiness. Depending on your definition of prettiness it could mean any or all of the following but let me assure you that there is absolutely no exaggeration involved.
Lyrics, Music and BGM! Normally song lyrics are not a big factor in an anime, but After Story’s OP is just too fabulous to ignore. Slowly, I began to learn the meaning behind the song. If you read the lyrics in detail, it is clear that the song is a summary of the story of Clannad After Story. A particularly heart warming chunk of the song lyrics is provided below.
“The chilly days continue on, even though it’s already spring.
On the mornings I woke earlier than the alarm clock,
You, making breakfast for three,
Would be standing there.”
I would refrain myself from explaining the meanings behind the lyrics, but I hope you can have a rough picture of what kind of story Clannad is getting at just by that one simple verse. You can find the lyrics (in English and Japanese) from the link below.
As mentioned earlier, music is one of the key features making Clannad After Story a successful business. Music in Clannad After Story is not simply music. Likewise, BGM is not simply BGM either in the context of After Story. They blend in with the animation, characters, and story. They all compliment each other to bring out the maximum effect to each scene.
Animation! The animation quality is slightly better than previous Key adapations by Kyoto Animation. For those who are not familiar with the producer, Kyoto Animation (products include Kanon (2006), AIR, Full Metal Panic series, Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kiddy Grade, et cetera.) has a pretty good reputation for its high level animation. Simply put, one will be find nothing but beautifully drawn girls, dynamic backgrounds, silky smooth scenes transition, and completely fluid movements in this touching anime. There is, however, not much difference (if at all) in the quality between Clannad and After Story.
Characters! One great thing about the characters in Clannad After Story is no matter if they are main or supporting casts, they all seem to be part of a jigsaw puzzle. The show would not be the same without any one of them. What makes After Story superior from its predecessor is its focus on the main protagonists (ie. Nagisa and Tomoya) for the most part of the show. This is evidently lacking in season one because other heroines’ story had to be covered, thus leading to an ambiguous character relationships development between Tomoya and various heroines. Although not a major Nagisa fan myself, one should realize the importance of her character and how it all connect to the story’s main theme.
Story! After Story is all about the story! It is by far the prettiest of all the pretty traits that one can think of about Clannad After Story. On the whole, the Clannad series is an astounding series with a slightly less astounding ending. Slightly less astounding partly due to the magic, but could also be due to another reason. Assuming some of us has been paying attention to what Kotomi has been explaining regarding the works of her parents, then perhaps we can take a more scientific analytical approach to the ending via something known as the Omega Point Theory. Due to the lack of spoiler tags, further analysis of the ending will not be possible for this review. However, the following blog will prove to be extremely valuable.
Let us just say that the story for Clannad After Story is deep and “pretty”, and leave it at that.
***If you find the overall concept and plot of the Clannad series confusing, please visit the following link and it should clear things up.
--> thanks goes to fellow member Eternal-Dragon for providing me with the diagram.***
Simply put, Clannad is LIFE, period. It lets you experience a wide variety of emotions such as anger, jealousy, joy, love, sorrow, pain, hardship, friendship, and most importantly the care from your family. From the ridiculous comedies presented by Sunohara (or Fuko), to the naivety shown by Nagisa (or Fuko), one can always relate characters and/or events in Clannad to some direct/indirect personal experiences. Additionally, Clannad also teach you the meaning to LIFE. Next time when you are on the verge of starting an argument with your parents, just think about Tomoya and his dad. Think of all the hardships and difficulties your parents went through to feed you and raise you to make you become who you are. You will never know, maybe Clannad can really teach you a thing or two.
In an unrelated note, for those who enjoyed watching the Nagisa x Tomoya pairing and at the same time disliked the magical performances throughout the show (particularly the ending), then it is recommended that you give the Clannad movie a try. read more
May 5, 8:20 AM
For a while, I threw both Clannad seasons off because I didn't think it could interest me (and the first season almost confirmed that) but I stayed along because the amount of recommendations I received and I was not disappointed.
Personally, I believe that the stand out points for this anime are the sounds and characters. My God, the OST's! Just listening to them after watching the series will have you mentally reliving the scenes and all the emotions along with it, they're so damn perfect! And characters, I constantly found small connections with the MC here and there, and that added so much more to my viewing experience.
The story has moderate progression all the way up until the last 8 episodes or so, but it has some strange attraction that makes you want more and more. Following Okazaki through his life - from being a high school delinquent to finding his own feet as a man and a father, you really grow attached to it.
Then comes the parts which Clannad is known for - the sorrow. This is what everyone points out when they recommend After Story, and rightly so. You are in for a ride on the feel train with this series, whether you cry, shed a slight tear, or keep a poker face.
I gave this series a 9/10 rating because it was new to me, made me feel things I didn't expect, and was overall great. The reason for not gaining the extra marks to reach 10/10 was I feel they slightly overdid certain parts and paced some scenes poorly. It was like they milked certain situations too much, and that kind of ruined some moments for me.
But if you enjoy slice of life, romance, tear jerkers, and/or just an overall wonderful anime, I'd recommend this series 100% of the time.
P.S- This is my first time writing a review and I am not too confident in it. Most of it is based off my own experience and views, so it may not be the most helpful one, but I hope I helped in any sort of way. Thank you! read more
Mar 1, 11:32 PM
Clannad ~After Story~ is a sequel from Clannad and an adaptation from the original Visual Novel created by KEY. The anime often heard in my ear as one of the best anime. I always ask myself, ''Why? Why Clannad very famous? Is it really that good?". But now, i know something special is exist in this story.
If you looked Clannad AS, there is not much to say about the plot. It told us a tale of a man that suffer the difficulties of living, and how he pass through it. In the early episode the storytelling almost looks same like the first season described as not too essential. But after that the story run into one focused and unique storytelling.One of the other major fruitfulness is the story managed to wrap all of the mixed feelings that are not rigid and suitable with the story. There is various moral lessons we can learn,one of them is "even though you've had a painful past, you can overcome it by looking into the future with the ones you love", and many moral lessons includes in this story, it is the most powerful aspect of the story. The pacing it's relative slow but fit with this kind of settings. Next, the ending, the most widely criticized part of Clannad After Story is its deus ex machina ending, it still abstract to understandable if the viewers don't understand the mysteries that lurked, which can bring a little bit confusion to the viewers.
The animation is wonderful, set in a beautiful world, have a great background details and colorful art. Although i know there is many people disliked the character big eyes design, but it really needs praise for the breathtaking environment. The sound settings is well-matched with the feeling of the story, the OP theme song "Toki wo Kizamu Uta (時を刻む唄)" by Lia really represents the expression of the story. The seiyuu did a wonderful job in bringing such character to the screen.
I almost shocked and silent, It's just so perfect & unmatchable. The main character grow to more mature. Every characters have their proper development & plays their roles well. There is a process and the results come. It is one of the deepest and detail character development i've ever saw.
There goes Clannad After Story, a story that made almost all of its audience draw their tears in their eyes. If you looking an anime that suceed both in their perfect character development and deep plot, Clannad After Story is the answer.
Nov 12, 2009 5:29 PM
This is a continuation of the previous series and opens up with the conclusion of Clannad: That Nagisa and Tomoya has finally started dating. But by no means does it stop here. Not many anime, or any stories even, tell a story where the couple are already together and go off from there. Most of the time it’s about how the two love interests get together and fall in love, which is all well and fine but what about after? Do they actually live happily ever after? Are their futures sure to be fine and dandy now that they are together?
I never thought highly of ‘slice of life’ anime. If I wanted to watch an anime about people’s lives I would just record myself, or better yet - watch Big Brother. Anime is all about the supernatural, fantasy, badass and beautiful characters, action, over the top romances and comedic situations -- the unreal!
Or so I thought.
Clannad ~After Story~ proves you don’t need any of these to make a great anime. There’s no world destruction, huge responsibility, convenient coincidences, twists of fate, gore, blood, lovey-dovey romance or any of the usual routine. It’s life. With heart-wrenching drama. With every day real life events that could happen to any of us. And with bittersweet moments.
It does have some supernatural elements though, but if anything, it adds a touch of realism rather than the opposite. Who’s to say these supernatural mysteries do not take place in real life after all?
The main cast remains the same, however unlike the first series, ~After Story~ concentrates more on Nagisa and Tomoya, especially in the second half of the series -- one of the many reasons why I enjoyed this. There are also many episodes which are dedicated to characters whom are important and dear to Tomoya and holds value in his life. I also found these a great joy and equally inspiring. The quality of content in these episodes are much higher than those in the prequel series and of faster pace. They don’t draw out one character’s story for five episodes, but instead packs one or two episodes with such inspiring stories that moves a person emotionally.
The series has a strong family theme, with Nagisa’s parents being central characters in the story. Tomoya’s father has a bigger part in this series, as we see a progression and revelation between Tomoya and his father. Rarely is there ever a family theme in anime. We hardly ever see parents being shown, never mind being main characters - they really do well in pulling off such a delicate theme.
What really made the anime for me was the animation and sound. The animation was so surreal, so vivid it simply made me stare in awe. Key’s animation really impressed me; at times they would they would do sweeping camera follow ups, follow the movement of a flying baseball in slow motion or even chase the movement of a little girl as she runs through a field. The sound was beautiful too. I usually never sit through every single episode’s opening however I could never resist ~After Story’s~ opening. It always sets the mood of the anime and prepares you for what’s to come. Even the opening could twinge your feelings a little. The other themes were wonderful as well. It could go from happy, joyful tunes to melancholic, depressing ones to uplifting and inspirational instrumentals. Nagisa’s Dango Song affected me the most as it would be soft and cute at first then go on to be so painfully uplifting with the use of percussions.
Another beautiful thing is Nagisa and Tomoya’s relationship. Not once in the entire show are they shown to kiss and even holding hands was a rare see. Yet, their relationship is truly on another level. What they have is a bond so strong and pure that those sort of actions do not need to be shown to tell us that they are undeniably close.
I disliked Clannad. This feeling I cannot change. But Clannad ~After Story~ is a whole other world in anime. It has the art of anime, but has the feel of an old time classic love story of happiness, tragedy and bittersweet revelations. I sought an anime that would make me cry. And sure enough it did. Even the most stone-hearted person would feel a heart aching twinge. Either that or bucket loads of tears. It’s simply beautiful. read more
Jun 8, 8:31 PM
***MILD, VAGUE SPOILERS***
Honestly, I'm particularly harsh when rating, and I vow to almost never give a ten to a show, but boy, I was an inch away to giving after story a ten, except for a few things. Firstly, as many others have said, the supernatural elements are the only things that have prevented the nine from transforming into a ten. It honestly ruined the ending, with an overstretched, "everything must be happy" kind of attitude, which is often so prevalent and overused in modern, western culture. Well, off with the pessimism. This show gets its high rating due to it's extremely relatable story line. I've never seen a show that has moved me so much, as After Story had done. Otherwise, this is a great sequal to the first season, with extremely amazing storytelling, symbolism (remember high school english lol?), and brilliant storytelling.
After Story, although a slightly dated show trumps modern animation, and can be pitted against things such as "No Game No Life". Great symbolism with the Sakura trees and really nothing else to be said here.
One of the best aspects of the show. Without the sound, the show would not have the emotional impact which it delivers. On the negative side, the ending theme kept ruining the mood.... It wasn't bad, but pretty annoying. Otherwise, the sound was executed almost perfectly. Never thought songs about dango would impact you so much ;)
This is where I disagree with some people. The character development is outstanding, getting you to feel as if you new the characters as close relatives. Some people seem to dislike Nagisa, but I found her to be a great motivater for Tomoya, as he underwent his growth into the mature world. Almost every character is well fleshed-out (in a non-morbid way), and characters such as the youthful Akio are easily appreciated for their maturity and strong spirits.
Other than the obnoxiously over-contrived, stereotypical ending, Clannad After Story was an extremely well done and relatable anime. I was deeply moved, due to how I could easily relate to the characters more than I ever have before. Very enjoyable, especially Tomoya's dealings with his father and other anonymous family member which you will see by episode 16.
As one of my highest rated anime, I highly recommend watching After Story. If you are one of the people who dislike slower-paced, character development-centered stories, this is not for you. Otherwise, a must watch for any anime lover, and something refreshing: e.g. not just high school life.
Thanks for bearing with my first review and I hope this review helped! This is probably one of the few nines I will ever give an anime, not that it matters :p.
ありがとうございました! read more
May 21, 8:53 AM
Clannad After Story is a direct continuation of Clannad, picking up shortly after that season ended. The first-half of After Story stays with the formula where it goes through the arc of one character before moving on to the next.
The main focus of After Story however is that of Tomoya as he grows up, going beyond just his school life. It's quite amazing to see this character who started out so distant and lacking of any motivation go through these trials, to see him so dedicated because he wants to accomplish something that is important to him.
The humor from Clannad remains for the most part in the first-half with the individual character arcs. It's after that where the show really starts to explore not just the potential sadness that comes with family life, but also what makes it so beautiful. As things occur, Tomoya often questions whether the choices he made in life were the right ones. Is all that happiness worth it, when the pain can be just as strong if not worse?
The only flaws with this season of the show is that some of the arcs in the first-half may not be that interesting even compared to those in Clannad. Also, the supernatural aspect is still there and plays a much larger role in the plot than before. Whatever you may feel about that though, it doesn't change what the characters(and you) had to endure. It's an experience that will most likely linger in your head for some time, and make you further appreciate the beautiful things in life.
Score: 9/10 read more
May 8, 10:08 PM
Why is Clannad After Story so highly rated? Why is it that anyone who watches this anime has to bring out the tissue box? There are certain feelings that regardless of age anyone will be able to understand. That feeling is the love from your mother and father. In any good parent, their love for their child is unconditional.
"Clann" comes from Irish that closely translates to "family." (Clannad is not a word as according to the results of my small internet scouring that I did) So, this anime is not necessarily focused on the love between Nagisa and Tomoya but rather more of what happens when they become a family. What's powerful about this anime is that it doesn't only illustrate the meaning of family to be between husband and wife but also family in the sense of friends and the extended family. I think this is the highlight of this anime. Unlike other high school anime where they only deal with the romantic love between boy and girl, Clannad: After Story steps out of those walls and gives us a heartwarming and touching story about what it feels to be in a family.
The story of After Story gets docked some marks because of the first 12 episodes. They are really fillers. The episodes give some insight into the side characters but they hardly develop the relationship between our two MCs Nagisa and Tomoya. If they were to remove those episodes, I think it would have no effect on the feelings in the second part of the anime. In hindsight, however, those episodes do not impede the enjoyment of the entire show.
But after those filler arcs, After Story really takes off. The story doesn't take off in the sense that we are sent on a bullet train but rather we board the easy-going steam locomotive as it passes through your favourite scenic route. Of course, without a problem a story can't head anywhere. Nagisa and Tomoya encounter a pretty big problem and we see how they cope and get through it. While the anime doesn't show extremely intimate moments between Nagisa and Tomoya, we know their love is there by how they support each other through thick and thin, just like how a husband and wife should do for each other. When the Ushio arc comes around, imagine it starts raining heavily on your scenic trip. The outside is blurry, someone is crying in the cabin beside you, and dinner is not coming around anytime soon. Things get gloomy in this arc and I'm not going to lie. Without spoiling too much, after the anime ended, I felt I needed to fight ten gorillas to get my manliness back. But at the end of the show, the clouds disperse, the sun rises, the raindrops glimmer in the sunshine, and you had the best meal of your life.
Unlike in Clannad where all the characters had some screen time, it's pretty lopsided in After Story. We do see some secondary character development but as soon as their arcs were finished, they faded out of the story. The main characters are Nagisa, Tomoya, Ushio, and Nagisa's parents, Sanae and Akio. If you have seen Clannad, the general character personalities are there. However, Nagisa takes the main spotlight and we see her become a very strong and caring woman while Tomoya puts most of his teenage years behind him and becomes a man with a lot of responsibilities. In contrast, Ushio is, in my opinion, one of the most touching characters ever put to the screen. It's pretty difficult not to like her. I want to talk a little bit more about Ushio so spoiler alert ahead! If you don't want to read it, skip down to the END SPOILER mark.
What makes me love Ushio so much is that she symbolizes the ultimate expression of the love between Tomoya and Nagisa. While we don't see any intimate moments between this couple, the writers provide us with Ushio as the representation of everything that Nagisa and Tomoya love about each other. Whenever she cries in her Daddy's arms, whenever she tells Tomoya "I love you Daddy," you can't help but cry knowing that she does not have a mother to whom she can also say "I love you Mommy." What also makes Ushio such a real character is that in reality, when a family welcomes a child to the world, that baby embodies the love between the mother and father, which is truly the most beautiful thing after the three words "I love you."
The art is very consistent with the first season and the artists didn't make many tweaks to the characters. Clannad and Clannad: After Story were my first anime where the characters had eyes that covered 2/3 of their face so it took me awhile adjusting to that but by After Story, I was comfortable with this unique character style. I enjoyed the nice and warm colours throughout the anime. The best animation probably was during the "dream sequences" where the robot had really crisp animation. In addition, I thought they captured the movements of Ushio very well.
The soundtrack is absolutely incredible. After the main characters that I listed earlier, the soundtrack is the final main character. Combined with the sequences in the show, the music will move you. Every time I listen to the OST, all the feels from the anime come rushing right back at me. It's a very endearing and beautiful soundtrack.
I absolutely enjoyed Clannad: After Story. The feels and the messages that this anime sends you are absolutely outstanding. The potential flaw that may inhibit the enjoyment of the anime may be the ending. There are mixed opinions about it but I thought it nicely tied the first season with the second season. At first, I was confused but after thinking about it, I connected a few dots and it made much more sense. The ending also offers a lot of room for interpretation, which a great story should be able to do.
Clannad: After Story is one for the ages. After watching Clannad: After Story, I think I have a better understanding of the meaning of "family." The anime made me feel really blessed to have a wonderful and caring mother and father. The themes and messages resonate with so many people. No wonder it is one of the most endearing anime of all time.
P.S. Little Spoiler right here so you've been warned!
My favourite quote in the anime comes from Ushio when she was unable to find the toy robot, "The first thing from Daddy," Tomoya bought for her:
"Daddy… You know… Sanae-san told me places I can cry are in the bathroom and in Daddy's arms."
Even as I wrote that, tears came streaming down my eyes.
---END SPOILER--- read more
Mar 28, 2014 12:16 PM
This is the principal question faced when attempting to reach a verdict on Clannad: After Story, a work of fiction which has a compelling power to manipulate the emotions of its audience: to make them laugh, to bring them to tears, and to leave their hearts warm with joy. Exploring themes such as redemption and heartbreak, it does many of these things wonderfully, but in desperation to end with a certain tone, it destroys everything it achieves in a single moment.
After Story is the continuation of the first series of Clannad, a harem anime which distinguished itself from its contemporaries by treating its subject tactfully and managing to be amusing along the way. This is largely because of the strength of the main protagonist Tomoya Okazaki. In a genre which is infamous for bland main characters with no purpose other than being a body the audience can insert themselves into, Okazaki is a breath of fresh air. He had a back-story, a personality, and a sharp wit. That he spent so much time around women was not surprising, because his character was charismatic and interesting. His relationship with best friend Sunohara was also like a comedy double act, and was genuinely funny to watch.
The female cast, while based on familiar archetypes and not as strong characters as Okazaki, also had more depth than their contemporaries in the genre. They had their own interesting stories and subplots, and most of these were entertaining to watch. It was pretty clear from the offset that Okazaki would end up with Nagisa, and yet these diversions from the main storyline did not feel like distractions. Those characters were important to the story as a whole and their subplots helped to develop them. Afterstory takes things to another level. While the myriad of female characters are still present, it progresses from a harem story to a pure romance. Those female characters from the previous series are retained but they become less like groupies and more like a community. Their relationships with Okazaki and Nagisa are not just on good terms, but they behave like real friends. There is no underlying sense of competition among them for Tomoya’s attention and they interact with the couple cordially.
Similarly, the presentation in Afterstory is up to the high standards of the first series, with excellent animation and a quality soundtrack. While the art style is primarily a question of taste (though I question the legitimacy of the ‘bug eye’ critique) there is no doubt that the animation is consistently smooth and polished. It’s not daring or experimental, but it is highly articulate. The soundtrack fits the series wonderfully too, tugging at your heart strings at the appropriate moment, and easing you into laughter when Okazaki and Sunohara are up to their antics. It never errs and even if the same melodies are used time and time again, they never feel repetitive, and they linger on in memory long after the series is over.
In short much of the original series’ qualities are retained; the most striking difference between the two is the storyline, which in After Story develops into something far grander than its predecessor. While the first series of Clannad works as a piece of entertainment, in Afterstory the saga evolves into a work of art that explores complex themes, principally the theme of redemption. It does not do so with religious imagery or symbolism, but by masterfully crafting a story around the principle itself. Okazaki, as is known from the first series, is dealt a fairly bad hand early in life. Despite these difficulties he strives to help others and eventually manages to take some control of his existence and improve his situation. After Story does this without coming across as moralising or feeling contrived, a difficult task for a story with such themes. The series also contains a fair amount of tragedy, and this executed masterfully. In one key scene, a blissful moment is thwarted suddenly, quickly spiralling downwards into sorrow. One cannot help but shed a tear for poor Tomoya, whom life had finally begun shining upon. The theme of redemption resurfaces later in the story, where it is played to even greater effect. After reaching a catastrophic low, Okazaki is eventually able to reconcile his relationship with a character he earlier abandoned, in a climactic and touching scene which frames the rest of the series beautifully. This scene is balanced perfectly with the tragic scene mentioned earlier, and the emotional swing between misery and bliss leaves the audience with a feeling bittersweet happiness that every work of fiction strives to instil in its audience accomplished with finesse. Then, in front of our eyes, the beauty of everything before us unravels into something unspeakably ugly.
In a decision which can only be described as madness, the story incorporates another tragedy into the storyline- one which serves no greater artistic purpose or develops Okazaki’s character further. It is merely a tragedy for tragedy’s sake. And at that point, After Story enters into the void of sentimentality and emotional exploitation. One cannot empathise any further with the characters or feel any sorrow. In fact, the most appropriate response is anger. Anger that creating something interesting or making any kind of statement was never the intention of the creators, only to toy with our emotions in the hope it would provide us with some kind of masochistic pleasure.
It is a plot development from which no story could recover; any meaning one had found in the story until that point is completely lost, and we find ourselves unable to care in the slightest what else might happen to Okazaki. It is perhaps only the desire to get the damned thing over with that compels us to continue with the rest of the series. But continuing the series is an even greater mistake, because the rest of the story serves no purpose other than to add insult to injury.
While the second tragedy is nothing more than emotional blackmail, we could say that at least it doesn’t betray the emotions we had felt prior to it. To end on another low point seems meaningless but one still has the beautiful journey reaching it to reflect upon and the opportunity to ponder over its significance. One could satisfy oneself with the fact that while the narrative was obliterated, that such unfortunate double tragedies do occur and that the story is at least ‘real’.
Yet even this is desecrated by the conclusion, in which everything preceding it is rendered moot. We are inexplicably transported to a world where all the terrible events of the story do not occur and Okazaki is able to experience the happy life he had always longed for. This is completely unforgivable.
If you read any book on writing fiction, there will invariably be a chapter on ‘bad endings’ and the most prominent of these is ‘it was all a dream’. The reason being that such endings mean any inconsistencies do not need to be explained, that no real development occurs, and that anything that did occur is now meaningless. Afterstory’s ending is more or less equivalent to this. As the story had been cohesive and logical until this point, it is unlikely they did so to cover up for any errors made previously or to escape any inconsistencies. Clannad’s underlying supernatural themes go some way into explaining how the series ends the way it does, but does nothing to justify why it should end that way.
Such an ending does have one use though, and that is making a happy ending possible despite the previous plot developments. But why do we necessarily need such a conclusion? There is an implicit point being made that the audience would be unable to cope with a sad ending, making it necessary to conjure a happy ending by any means, even at the expense of the rest of the story. This is nothing less than an insult to the intelligence of the viewer. It is disgraceful. To take the audience into their emotional depths under the pretence that there will be a message or something meaningful behind it, only to betray their sense of empathy by providing an escape no-one who faces such tragedies in the real world shall ever have. Such abuse of emotions in works of fiction can only cause harm. It only leads one to refrain from investing too much feeling into fictional characters, making them hesitant to do so in the future. Worse still, while the audience is able to take in the sadness of the situation the characters experience, the opportunity for contemplation of its wider significance is severed. The consequences mean nothing because the problem has ceased to be a problem.
In works of fiction, the conclusions you reach are not as important as the journey taken to reach them, since the journey itself is what should lead one to reach those conclusions. In the case of Clannad Afterstory this process has been, not even reversed, but completely ignored. There is no connection between the two events. The journey exists, and it is a wonderful experience. It exhibits a kaleidoscope of human emotions on a powerful level, and does so beautifully. But that journey has no bearing on the conclusions reached either by the plot, or in the mind of the audience.
Hence the dilemma posed in reaching a verdict on this series. Does one simply praise the series for what it does well, criticise its faults and attempt to find a balance between the two? This is the approach one would usually take, but when the conclusion is not only disconnected from the journey but contradicts it entirely, that is something which cannot simply be forgotten. It obliterates all meaning, it excavates all depth, it makes the whole damned thing sum up to nought. Take your wish fulfilment and intellectual depravity if you wish, but I would rather be left in the depths of hell. read more
Apr 5, 9:01 PM
Disclaimer 1: Please excuse some colorful language that may or may not have found its way into this review.
Disclaimer 2: This review is NOT free of spoilers, so read at your own risk.
CLANNAD: Afterstory Review
-The animation is still great. Yeah.
-Extra focus on characterization. For some people. For the rest, it kind of sucks, but for Akio, Sanae, Yoshino, Tomoya and Nagisa it's great.
-More Tomoya! Afterstory builds up on Tomoya's development from the first season and kicks it into overdrive. We see him struggle to grow up, enter society, become a man, care for his family, etc etc. His character progression is solid and moves at a good pace. By the end he looks and acts like an adult(except when he kind of kills his kid, but yeah), albeit a unique one forged by his circumstances. He and his journey are the main reason the story holds up as well it does.
-Nagisa is a person! Not really, but kinda. Over the sacrifices of literally ALL of the supporting cast excluding her parents, Nagisa is given some actual characterization and even, dare I say it, growth. Even her death, perhaps meant to be nothing more than a tearjerker, was an important milestone in Tomoya's development. It's a shame and yet not that she died. On one hand, she was just beginning to feel like a real person. On the other, the show should not have waited until episode 16 of the second season to give their female lead a personality.
-Ignore stuff, it helps. I have found that I cannot remember much before episode 9 or so. That's fine, because what I do remember of them isn't amazing. They weren't bad (except the whole cat/boy thing, WTF) but they didn't really add much as the show was picking up speed.
Similarly, I found that my view of the show rose by several orders of magnitude if I ignored the last couple episodes. I will talk about those in the cons section, but the point is that if the show ended on episode 21-22, it would be fucking amazing.
-Tomoya(again). Continuing from the previous point, I like to think that the show ended on episode 21-22 because it is by that point that Tomoya has gone full circle, he has grown beyond a teenager, beyond a boy struggling to be a man, has grown past most of his grief, and is ready to live his life for his daughter despite his major fuck-up earlier. That right there, was a perfect moment to end it. The show's focus on the importance of family would have been perfectly encapsulated.
But of course, more tearjerkers were needed so Ushio dies in what has to be the most retarded and forced way in history but waaaaait it doesn't matter because magical power of happiness double time travel happens. Yay for finales.
So yeah, ignoring the last episode actually makes me think that the show ended on a great way that surprised me a lot, and managed to pass on a real world message through an entertaining medium and likable characters.
-Akio is awesome. Well, he is.
-Disappearance of the supporting cast. I get what Afterstory was going for. The focus on Nagisa and Tomoya's family was actually pretty good, all things considered, but all other characters that were in every episode of CLANNAD literally dissapeared and are seen maybe twice (if at all) throughout all of Afterstory. Sunohara's absence was especially jarring, considering he was (supposed to be) Okazaki's best friend.
-The first 8-9 episodes. As I said earlier, they weren't bad, they felt really separate from the rest of the show, and not in a good way. Oh, that reminds me:
-The cat-boy bestiality case. Seriously. Misae is hot and if I were a cat turned into a boy I'd wanna bang her too but what the actual f-.
Which leads me to:
-The supernatural elements/other world storyline. F- this. F- this sideways with a rusty spoon. Whoever decided it was a good idea to add the supernatural stuff and then give exactly fuckall explanation for them, just so he could undo two seasons' worth of character development should go eat a pile of dog shit and then apologize to every single CLANNAD fan in existence, personally.
The supernatural elements were stupid as f-, the other world storyline was boring and it was time/money that could have been invested better, and the final episode fucking ruins fucking everything by undoing anything of note that ever happened, BUT ONLY THE SAD STUFF, so that the perfect happy ending can be achieved in a show that was poised to show that even though life and reality are both bitches, happiness can be achieved if you try your best for the people closest to you.
All the better, then, that the last episode doesn't exist for me. Boy, I'd be mad as balls if it did.
-The copout regarding Tomoya's dad. Now, I'll admit that I kinda sorta liked the resolution of Tomoya and his dad seeing eye to eye and his dad finally returning home as a bent but not completely broken man, but I didn't like how it came to be.
It was one convenient thing after another, in a series of forced coincidences that only make me roll my eyes.
Moreover, it felt like a total waste of the subtle tension that the first season had created. It felt like the first season wove a silk thread, and then the second season came and beat it to death with a hammer, yelling all the while "IT'S FINE BECAUSE HE DID IT ALL FOR YOU AND YOU'RE THE SAME SO YOU SHOULD GET IT, RIGHT? RIGHT?!? I CAN'T HEAR OVER HOW NOTHING IN THE PAST MATTERS, SPEAK UP."
It's all incredibly convenient and in such a way as to dissolve the rift in the least confrontational way possible. Which can work, I suppose, but it's an incredible waste.
Having said that, I will have to disagree with people on this site (and the show itself) who think that Tomoya and his dad are the same. True, both are understandable in their actions considering the loves of their lives died, and I don't think you people are giving enough credit to the pits of despair such a sudden loss can lead some people to.
Still, Tomoya gave Ushio to Akio and Sanae for five years. While a terrible thing to do as a father, it was actually the better choice. Akio and Sanae are both model, loving parents who did a great job raising Ushio for her first 5 years, much better than a grief stricken Tomoya would have done. Tomoya's father tried to do it, he tried his best to go at it alone, and he failed. Even unconsciously, Tomoya took the best possible decision in those circumstances.
Btw, while I can buy the reconciliation once Tomoya knows what his father went through, I can't quite buy him thinking that Okazaki senior was a great father. We're seeing flashes of him being a great father through Tomoya's memories from when he was little but CLANNAD and Afterstory have no such examples, and in fact it is heavily implied that this has been the case for years.
So no, I'm not quite sold there. It was a very dissapointing copout.
-I think there were more, but I can't remember them right now.
My rating depends on what I choose to do with the final episode.
If I ignore it, it is a successful tale of a boy growing into a man that showcases the importance of family and learning to look at the positives in one's life. Yes it could have been better and it did several things wrong, but in the end Tomoya's journey is too well-crafted to be dragged down, and the supporting cast of Afterstory are all solid. Well worth an 8/10 rating.
If I don't ignore the final episode, it is all of the above, only smashed into pieces and then pissed upon for the sake of a classic happy ending whose avoidance was exactly the reason the show was any good through the use of unexplained, retarded plot devices.
In which case, not even Tomoya's journey could save the rating since it is basically invalidated (IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU LEARN IN LIFE, KIDS. ALL SAD THINGS GO AWAY THROUGH HAPPINESS LIGHT MAGIC TIME TRAVEL). In which case, a 5/10 would be generous.
For the sake of rating, I will just give it a 6.
tl;dr: CLANNAD/CLANNAD Afterstory are well worth a watch, though far, far from perfect. read more
Jan 9, 2014 10:20 PM
“After Story” takes place right after the first season of Clannad and chronicles the lives of certain characters from the first season, primarily focusing on Tomoya, his relationship with Nagisa and more importantly, himself. It attempts to bring a sense of realism to its viewer through the joys and hardships that Tomoya goes through and accomplishes that for a while. It also eliminates the harem aspect of season one and adopts a much more serious tone.
The series spans 24-episodes with the first 10-episodes composed of various arcs dealing with other characters and their corresponding dilemmas while the rest of the show focuses on the primary protagonists. This brings up the problem of structure and inconsistency. The initial problem with “After Story” is the characters that are focused on for the first 10 episodes. With the exception of the Misae arc as it LOOSELY connects to the magical component of the show, the other arcs have no direct relevance to the overarching story nor do they serve any function in moving the plot, but are just thrown in there, forcing unnecessary drama. This also causes a huge gap in consistency between the first part of the show and the rest, especially in regards to quality. However, the next few episodes are a pleasure to watch as they highlight Tomoya’s evolution as a character along with his relationship with Nagisa. Structurally, “After Story” fell short, consequently causing a gap in quality and consistency.
Substantially, “After Story” has its share of delightful moments, but those are restricted to a very limited amount of episodes. The story is unoriginal, but imbues concepts and themes that are very real and relatable such as: imploring responsibility and growing up, the innateness of hardships, the importance of relationships, moving on, and many others that are close to home. Yet, “After Story” manages to ruin the very thing it tries to achieve. The show spends a great deal of time trying to evoke “realism” through manifesting the aforementioned themes, but subsequently destroys that with its detachment from reality and deus ex machina resolve. For example, one of the arcs in the earlier part of the series shows how two supposedly bitter and rival gangs end up being bros4lyfe via some [extraneous] female side-character. I may not have a proper grasp on gang psychology, but I’m fairly certain that the odds of something like a dudefest and “understanding” blossoming between two rival gangs are astronomical. This notion of “bonds of friendships overcoming everything” is extremely over exaggerated deeming many of the earlier arcs unrealistic, effectively leaving me in a state of overwhelming ennui.
For a series that tries to emphasize real life, especially while trying to deal with issues such as loss, acceptance, etc., it negates all validity by embracing a faux idealism grounded in wish fulfillment. The realism juxtaposed with magical idealism/wish fulfillment really disintegrates the show by the end. However, that is probably one of the overarching reasons the show is as popular it is, because instead of staying true to its realistic core, it defaults into fantasy, idealism, and wish fulfillment. It’s successful but at the cost of complete contradiction therefore making After Story somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory. It should be noted that there is nothing wrong with having a plot based on supernatural/metaphysical notions, however, when the show is simultaneously trying to bring a strong sense of realism to the front, it becomes counter-productive and contradictory. I can’t even incorporate this under efficient “magical realism” because of how badly the two are handled when looked at as a pair.
Essentially, where “After Story” excels at is deception. It does an excellent job serenading its viewer into a false lull making it seem exponentially better than it actually is by manipulating sympathetic themes and completely over exaggerating them, however, when dissected the story offers nothing unique, let alone life altering. It’s a good effort, but that’s all it is, an effort, that has its comely yet ephemeral moments. Conclusively, "After Story" ends up stumbling within its own narrative and resolution.
“After Story” gets a ridiculous amount of praise for having “human-like” characters, however, the series lacks greatly in terms of balanced characterization. Tomoya is well developed and one can partly empathize with his struggles as he tries to shuffle through the various challenges he encounters. Tomoya’s progression is probably the most realistic part of the show and is fairly well-executed. While the show gives us a dynamic Tomoya, we are left face-palming in deep regret and resentment with the lack of attention given to Nagisa. There is nothing memorable about her; struck with some unknown illness, we often see her washing dishes for like three continuous episodes. I felt no sort of attachment, relation, or even empathy towards Nagisa, rather her lack of progression had the opposite effect. Her static, ingénue personality got unbearable. Oh and she can’t hold her liquor. That just heightened my insouciance even further. The futility of Nagisa truly is a burden on “After Story”.
The over-development of one protagonist and under-development of the other did not have a neutralizing effect, but a detrimental one. Their relationship is the foundation of “After Story” but it remains immature, mainly due to Nagisa’s incomplete characterization. Instead of spending the initial 10 episodes on completely useless characters, the series could have utilized the same time to construct Nagisa into a character with dimension, personality, and purpose. The show spent so much time trying to build this false delusion about how “friendship solves everything” that essential aspects got completely disregarded. Tomoya along with an unmentioned character carry the weight of “After Story”. In hopes of keeping this review spoiler free, only the two main protagonists (Tomoya x Nagisa) are discussed.
There are plenty of supporting/side characters in the show, some making cameos (from season one), others for reasons I have yet to understand. The only notable side characters are Nagisa’s parents who provide some comedic relief (which is the same recycled humor of the first season) but they still manage to maintain their likability.
Don’t hold your breath expecting anything aesthetically orgasmic. The girls are molded with “moe” in mind at all times: Unrealistic character designs for a “realistic” anime. In terms of the actual art, “After Story” does a fairly good job. Bright colors are often used to accompany the magical atmosphere and vibrancy of life that the show is grounded upon. There are instances of visually striking scenes scattered here and there, especially with some of the natural backgrounds. There is always light illuminating from somewhere, even in the darker scenes. The one place where the animation did shine is while depicting the “illusionary” world. The background, colors, and overall depiction of that world is nicely done as it provides a very surreal atmosphere to the viewer. However, don’t expect gorgeous animation akin to something like “5 centimeter”. It’s nice, but nothing exceptional.
“After Story” has a viable soundtrack that fit its purposes. Composed of subtle, soft, and sometimes melancholic piano music, the OST is pleasant, but conventional. It wasn't something that compelled me to go download or re-listen to. The same applies to the OP/ED selections. They are very imminent and “of-the-moment” in the sense that they are enjoyable and appropriate at the time they played. However, I almost always forwarded the OP and rarely listened to ED. The voice actors are fitting in regards to their respective roles.
Undoubtedly, “After Story” is at the forefront its genre because of its inherent ability to capitalize on emotions and “feels” to the point where many “manly” tears are shed and lives are changed. However, I could not relate; as the anime defied all levels of logic with convenient plot devices, contradicted its own pursuit of realism, over-dramatized situations, wasted 11 episodes of my time with frankly fatuous arcs, and underestimated the importance of complete characterization--emotions no longer mattered. After all, feels and impact are evanescent, quality is what remains.
"After Story” therefore didn’t really leave a strong impact on me nor did I learn some particularly significant lesson about life nor did I put my feels on suicide watch. Nevertheless, the four or five episodes towards the middle/end are truly poignant and laudable—if “After Story” could have maintained that level of quality throughout and refrained from committing some of the aforementioned blunders, the series would have lived up to its hype. Alas, I cannot rate a 24-episode series any higher based on my enjoyment of five episodes. My “After Story” experience is a step away from the norm and that’s the reason I spewed all of this—to offer some solace to those who couldn’t cry those manly tears or indulge in wish fulfillment, while also providing another perspective to those who have yet to watch it that isn’t soaked in sheer “feels”.
Jan 30, 2010 2:18 AM
I just spent the last 4 days re-watching Clannad and Clannad ~After Story~.
It made me recall that the first season was actually good. The first time I saw it, it just paled in comparison to the ending of After Story, giving me false memories of it being bad when I thought back to it.
After Story was still even better. The second time through made me admire the pacing the script writers had to go through to achieve this amount of emotional connection that other movies and shows can only dream of achieving.
It took multiple revisions of the same plot until they achieved this precipice. It went through a visual story video game, a manga, and a movie, which I'm sure all went through many revisions of the plot themselves, until they carefully produced this gem of a masterpiece. That's the only thing I can call it. I can't say it's any lower than that. All the extra episodes that aren't necessarily vital to the plot are all needed. It's pacing. You can't attach to characters at such an emotional level in a short amount of time.
I loved After Story. Even though re-watching something will never give me the same experience as the original time, it still was great. I look forward to 30 years in the future, when I probably have all forgotten part of the plot (though, no amount of time will ever make me forget the possibly life changing experience) that I re-watch it again.
I've never experienced anything that touched me like this anime has. People have told me of all kinds of animes that were sad, like Grave of the Fireflies, and such. None of them affected me. I just laughed, and assumed maybe I didn't have a heart since I didn't find anything sad. I mean everything too. Never a movie, book, nor show ever make me feel pity for their real or fictional characters. Everything until Clannad ~After Story~. To be able to create something that can do this deserves a Masterpiece title, because nothing I have encountered has ever done it before.
I also seriously doubt there will anything in a long time that will top After Story's presence. In fact, I doubt that it can ever even be rivaled as an equal in terms of character development.
The art is simply amazing. If you actually pay attention to some scenes, you'll notice the very high quality background scenery, along with very fluid character animations with great shadow detail.
The sound is also one of the strongest points of the anime. The music is amazing and creates the atmosphere in numerous scenes. The ONLY thing I don't like is the happy, cheerful ending song. It only fits a handful of episodes, and completely destroys all mood created in the other episodes. If anything, they should have brought back the Ending of the 1st season for certain episodes. They have songs for everything, for all occasions.
To say this anime isn't a 10 makes me question someone's soul. Though, I can possibly understand why they might give it a 8 or 9, since everyone is different. Though to give it anything less is probably a troll attempt, or they just didn't finish the series.
The story is fantastic. It's not a brain twisting mystery, nor a plot twist filled thrill ride. It instead shows the roots of human mentality. It shows how a person develops.
Clannad ~After Story~ is not an anime you should skip on. I watched the anime through a 2nd time with a friend, since he had not seen it before. Mistake. This is best viewed by yourself, or possibly a loved one. Not a buddy. read more
Apr 25, 8:42 PM
No seriously, it made me think for a long time. It influenced how I do things in this world right now. I watched this in 2012 and that was the last time I cried over an anime. This is just a pure masterpiece.
Story: 10. The first season had a good story too, but my god the story in the sequel had me speechless. It starts off as a comedy at first and than it becomes deeper and deeper until you reached the Rock Bottom of feels. The symbolism is the best thing about this. So many symbols and illusions, its like a Ray Bradbury book.
Art: 10. For an anime in 2008, it is FANTASTIC. The colors and brightness really come out.
Sound: 9. The voice acting is great here too. When they scream or cry, it moves others. Although I've heard better, still is pretty good.
Character: 10. Character development is BY FAR the thing that the first season doesn't have. A fantastic job for Tomoya. Him and Nagisa are the greatest couple in anime. Plus, the new characters are fantastic too.
Enjoyment:10. I watched this in 2 days. I was that hooked on it. I couldn't stop watching for my life. This anime and Anohana were the only two animes that made me cry.
Final Thoughts: This has the evidence to make itself the greatest anime of all time. I'm not that big of a fan of Slice of Life or Romance anime, but its by far the greatest of those genres. Be sure to grab a couple of tissues while you're at it. read more
Feb 27, 12:06 PM
It carries a beautiful message, though everyone might interpret it their own way. To some it is a love story, to some it teaches the value of family. I learned a little something about life from it.
Note : This review might start going along the lines of my own philosophical interpretation of it. Now, some of you might think its pretentious bullshit.(Maybe it is) But hey, that's what I felt. Though I would still recommend you to watch this anime because it is an experience you must have.
I always had a problem with the usual love stories. How they always end at the confession or the altar and they just tell you that "they lived happily ever after." I think that is where the real journey begins. Clannad : After Story shows you the story of how they get to the altar and "the happily ever after" or if there is always a "happily ever after" or not. The problems that come afterwards when two people decide to be independent and make their own family. The struggle of life.
I heard a story once where a King once asked his wise Vizier to tell him something that would make him happy in sad times and sad in happy times. And the Vizier said, "It'll Pass."
The anime portrays this beautifully. You watch Tomoya and Nagisa being happy in love but soon enough, something happens and sadness creeps over. But then, that sadness passes too. You see them holding on, fighting in the tough times and being happy, cherishing the good times. This whole cycle brings a certain warmth to your heart. It might even make some of you cry.
You will see them grow up from being highschool kids to graduating and getting married and having a baby. This is where I think your interpretation of the anime will differ depending on your age. Because the anime deals with some very real problems that you will face in your life as you grow up. Now, you might be 14 or say 16 right now and still in school, so you may not think of it as a big deal. But if you are 21, like me, the whole perspective changes. A whole world of problems comes knocking at your door. Now, I'm not gonna talk about all that because I'm sure we all have plenty of problems no matter how old we are. What I mean is, there is a lot to learn from this anime. Trust me, the more experience you have with life, the more relatable and touching this anime is.
The anime shows how much people change as they go through life. You will see Tomoya change from being a highschool delinquent who skips classes and doesn't think about his future to being a responsible adult, a husband and finally a father. That is a lot of character development. And it is done in a very subtle way. It makes him a very relatable character and you can't help but feel for him when he goes through some rough times. Even though I am in a little disagreement with how it ended, I am glad it ended on a happy note because I was on the verge of crying from experiencing all that sadness towards the end. Still, the ending could be interpreted in a way that makes it fit in and all the more beautiful though explaining it would spoil it.
Another important thing that you will learn/experience is the importance of family and a little something about parenting. It will make you realise how important a child is to its parents. You'll also see how many sacrifices parents make just for the sake of their children to the very end. And sometimes we forget that and think they don't care about us, though we never should. I think it was the best part.
I won't say this anime is perfect. I mean, you can go in with the intention of bashing it because of its hype and you will find a lot of things wrong with it like how slow it starts and the first few episodes aren't so good. But you'll miss all the good stuff.
Now, about the animation. They could not have done it better than this. It wasn't so spectacular, but it is just what this anime needed. The characters are fluid most of the time and the changing scenery throughout the seasons makes for some memorable moments. The animation throughout has a warm and calming feel to it. The lonely girl and her robot in their different world are still here and the animation for that part is just as gorgeous as it was in Clannad.
About the sound. The ending song, Big Dango Family or Dango Daikazou is just etched into my heart. I will probably listen to it for years. Not to mention the soundtrack for this anime is just beautiful. It really helps give you most of the emotional impact as possible. There are pieces that I had to look up and listen to after I finished, so that should tell you how much I loved it.
The characters are the best part about this anime. Every single one of them is handled with perfection and seems very real and likeable.
I already mentioned Tomoya above and how he becomes a grown man from a highschool kid.
None of the main characters are stereotypical. There is Nagisa, who started off as the shy, sick girl back in Clannad. And now she ends up being a very strong, sensitive, likeable character and a supporting wife and mother. The way she holds on to the little dream she has just pulls at your heartstrings.
As the name suggests, the whole focus here is : "family". How Tomoya deals with the issues between him and his father. How their relationship turns out in the end. The relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa's family, between Tomoya and his daughter. All of it is just beautiful and heart-warming to watch.
Overall, this anime takes on a very mature approach towards the relationship between two lovers Tomoya and Nagisa and how the real world problems come into the equation after they graduate highschool. Also, how Tomoya deals with his father and supports a family, will make you tear up. This is just beautiful.
So, get ready kids, we are going on a feels trip. 10/10 must watch. An experience you MUST have in your life. You can return 4-5 years later, rewatch it, and still learn a lot from it and maybe still cry. read more