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: 9.141 (scored by 187000 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagscomedy drama romance slice of life
May 6, 2009
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
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
Mar 25, 2015
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
Feb 8, 2015
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 5, 2009
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 22, 2009
“… 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
Mar 1, 2015
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
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
Mar 19, 2015
Story is a continuation of the 1st season of Clannad, where it ends Tomoya and Nagisa finally being a couple. And it literally starts right there. Now that there near the end of their high school the wonder what's there to do now and what future are they willing to make. While doing so they pretty much do the same thing as the 1st season. At least the first half of Clannad where they meet a girl and they solve her problem. The second half is where instead of having everyone in the picture, it's more about the main couple. This is where it really pushes away and becomes something completely different. People might complain about the pace (being very slow sometimes) but I think that's the best part about it, it slow time down so you can feel like you're growing up with them.
And I will admit, I cried. Boy did I cry. This anime broke me down, just when I thought that I have no soul. And you know what? I'm kinda glad that happened to me. I've seen a few other "tear jerker" anime like "Angel Beats!, Anohana, Kanon (2006) etc. and yet none of them has ever reached as far as what Clannad: After Story did.
Music is great there as always, having a few songs from the previous season there. One of the songs will make you remember and it might hurt you.
The downside as many people have mention is the forced sad moments they have. I can see why they would dislike it and I can agree to some extent that sometimes they do. But I accept it either way.
The other is the ending, which honestly surprises me. Whether they call it a cop-out or confusing. The answer was in front of you since season 1. And you don't have to have any knowledge of the visual novel it was based on to understand it.
Overall this is not only of one of my favorite anime of all time, but also one of the greatest thing I've seen in my life read more
Feb 27, 2015
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
Jan 9, 2014
“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
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
Mar 31, 2014
Clannad: After Story is one of the highest rated and most beloved anime to ever be created; it's as simple as that. Rarely will you find a more passionate and dedicated group of fans who genuinely believe that an anime "changed their life". If that is the case, I am by no means trying to take that away from you; I would never tell someone that a show is meaningless if it legitimately meant something to them. However, I am going to be very harsh on this anime; I think I am very justified in giving it this rating. There are way, WAY too many perfect reviews for this series that refuse to acknowledge its flaws, so this review will focus primarily on the negatives of the series, even though there are many things that it does well. In other words: CLANNAD FANS, READ WITH CAUTION!
My main problem with the show is simply this: The first half of After Story is guilty of going down the worst possible road that a shoujo anime can go down: the dreaded road of "emotion porn", and some of it is absolutely unbearable. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, "emotion porn" refers any story/storyarc in a form of media that is incredibly shallow and uses gratuitous amounts of melodrama in order to get a cheap cry out of it's audience. "Emotion Porn" is directed at the emotionally immature and at those who are desperate for a cry, and unfortunately, After Story's first half is jam packed with it.
"How dare you!!!", cried the Clannad fans.
"There is nothing shallow about Clannad After Story!!! It's a masterpiece with tons of depth to it at ALL times!!!" they continued.
Well, stereotypical Clannad fanboy/girl, I beg to differ:
How about After Story's humiliatingly bad portrayal of gang violence? Is that "deep"? Or how about its unnecessary focus on characters that aren't even in the second half of the anime and had no reason to be in season two to begin with? Is that not shallow? Perhaps it's the lack on any real chemistry or development between the only two characters that actually matter until very late in the show?
I will eventually get to the good part of the anime (the last third), but for now, lets get through my negatives:
What do you think of when you hear the word "gang"? The Bloods? The Crips? The Pyros? Maybe the Mafia? What ever you think of, it should definitely involve brutal, merciless people. Basically, heartless thugs who settle their differences with guns and deal in shady businesses such drug dealing. Clannad After Story offers, well.... a "different" take on gang violence. Apparently, in Clannad-world, gangs are just a bunch of dudes who hang out together, sometimes beat each other up, and then run crying to a teenage girl to patch up their wounds. Oh, and the best part? If you deliver a nice, heart-felt speech to them, they all stop fighting and start being friends with each other! Isn't that nice?
Okay, honestly, who the hell could possibly take this arc seriously? Out of all the hilarious examples of Clannad, Kanon, and Air's horribly written, sappy melodrama, this one just might take the cake. THIS. IS. NOT. SAD. Only a complete sap who wants a mindless excuse to cry would be even slightly touched by this kind of emotion porn. Everything is exaggerated to be 10X more dramatic then it would be in real life, nothing about it is emotionally investing, and when you aren't laughing at how this crap is supposed to be sad, you will be bored out of your mind. Never have I seen such a laughable portrayal of something that is a real-life tragedy! Be prepared to deal with this for about 16 episodes before the show actually gets sad.
Contributing to the pointlessness and boredom of the first half of After Story: I give you the characters! There are only three characters that matter even slightly in the grand scheme of this anime: Tomoyo, Nagisa (oh god, we will get to her), and a someone I can't reveal due to spoilers (Nagisa's parents are plot devices more then they are characters). And guess what; NONE of them are focused on until about episode 12! The main characters are basically just bystanders or plot devices for story-arcs that revolve around pointless side characters that, as I mentioned before, aren't even in the second half of the anime! These side stories are pointless, forgotten by the plot right after they are completed, and do nothing but waste the time of the viewer.
"Why the hell are the writers trying to develop characters only to write them out of the show?" You might ask. To answer, they weren't trying to develop characters; they were just giving the viewers some classic Clannad emotion porn. The plot doesn't matter, the characters don't matter, all that matters is making the viewer cry in as cheap a way as possible. Emotionally mature people will see right through this. And as a consequence of ignoring the main characters for so long, there is no development between them what so ever until very late in the anime! After watching Clannad, you could start After Story at about episode 12 and miss nothing relevant, and that is NOT okay!
Oh, and that's not even mentioning that one of the only three important characters is an absolute JOKE! I thought they couldn't possibly be serious with this shit, but they certainly were. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Nagisa Furukawa; the anime girl who has single handedly re-written the term "mary-sue". They should just go ahead and change the name of the term to "Furukawa", because this is some unbelievable stuff right here. She is a shameless, misogynistic idealization of women to the extent of which I've never seen. She is kind, obedient, never questions anyone or anything, has stereotypical ambitions (having a family), and has no discernable personality what so ever. The only thing I can say about this character is that, well, she f*cking exists. Nagisa Furukawa is the most one-dimensional character I've ever had the misfortune of watching; she's an embodiment of an unrealistic idealization of a "perfect wife" rather then a portrayal of a realistic human being, which works against the point of the entire anime. NAGISA FURUKAWA IS AN AWFUL CHARACTER. JUST INDESCRIBABLY AWFUL.
Okay, now that the negatives are out of the way, here are the positives: The last few episodes of Clannad After Story are unique, well written, and offer an unspeakably rare take on high-school romance animes; "what happens after high school?" If Clannad has established anything up to this point, it is that Tomoya and Nagisa are in love with each other. It is at this point that the writing of the show takes a direction it should have had from the start: realism. It abandons all the bullsh*t side stories, supernatural elements, and emotion porn (until it blows it all with a deus-ex machina ending, but I digress). It finally does what I was waiting 1 2/3 seasons for it to do; tell a legitimate tragedy with relatable, heart-wrenching, elements. To give you an idea of how sad and tragic the last few episodes of After Story are, consider that at this point, I saw no way this anime could save itself. I don't even know why I kept watching, I was just looking forward to it to being over. Then, suddenly, I was completely emotionally invested in the characters and the environment to the point that I came damn close to crying. When I say this anime gets sad, I mean it! It took way too long, but After Story eventually developed into a tragic story that simply captures how unfair life really is, and it really is beautiful.
The last and only significant arc is a masterpiece, but the first half of the show is not cohesive and is unbearably sappy/boring for the most part.
Beautiful animation. The settings all look fantastic, but the character designs really bother me. Like I mentioned with Kanon 2006, the female characters have heads that are like 50% eye! Anime characters all have big eyes, but this is ridiculous! It's kind of creepy…
A decent opening and a good soundtrack, but it has the worst ending theme of any anime ever created. You will not understand why just by listening to it, but watch the show and you will see what I mean. The voice acting is pretty good in the sub, and it's pretty average in the dub.
The only important ones are not focused on nearly as much as they should be. All the pointless side characters spend so much time on screen in the first half of the show, and then they just leave at around the halfway point. I simply don't understand why that is considered okay. I like Tomoyo, but he is a bit bland at times. And Nagisa is AWFUL, as previously mentioned.
Overall, Clannad After Story does not get criticized the way is deserves to. People romanticize about this show as if it is the second coming of Jesus Christ, but the truth is that it's simply unworthy of such lofty praise. Is it still worth a watch? Probably, but certainly not with the expectations of it being one of the greatest anime masterpieces of all time, because it simply isn't in my opinion. I understand the appeal, but it simply wasn't for me. read more
May 9, 2013
FIRST: Do NOT watch this show or read my review without first watching season one of Clannad. Although it isn't "necessary," watching season one and experiencing the character development throughout it greatly helps you understand the story and value the characters. Plus, it was a pretty damn good show.
Really, the first 8 episodes of After Story are pretty much exactly like what the original Clannad series was like: school life and character arcs while slowly building up Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship. Although these arcs were well written and I enjoyed them thouroughly, they weren't deserving of a 10 rating. However, once you get past the great, but not truly spectacular first 8 eps, the show starts to focus solely on Tomoya and Nagisa. This is where the magic happens and the show began to become my favorite of all time. I was impressed that Clannad managed to make me cry during Fuko's arc (last time I cried was when my grandfather died a few years ago, and that was only a couple tears). But then in the homestretch of Clannad ~After Story~ I found myself bawling my eyes out on numerous occasions. The best word to describe this series is an emotional rollercoaster. It will having you laughing your ass off one minute, and crying like a baby the next. The writing in this anime is unbelievable and it's like the writers developed the perfect bow to pull on your heart strings, timing each event perfectly. The ending is controversial, but I personally loved it.
The art in After Story is beautiful. The settings are all beautiful, characters look great, and colors are vibrant. However, it is not up to par with some other, more recent, anime I have seen. If I were to review this back when it first came out, the art would get probably a 9, but with anime becoming more visually impressive each year, I just can't say it's distinctively good. It certainly is great though, and besides the fact that many of the characters don't seem to age physically even thou they are old (look the the furikawa family...), there is nothing to complain about.
I'm reviewing the dubbed version if anyone is wondering. I found the voice acting to be superb, and can't find any week links in the cast. But what really makes the sound of this anime spectacular is the soundtrack. My only complaint is with the Ed "Torch" although it isn't a bad song, it is very upbeat and poppy, thus can easily kill the mood of the more serious episodes if you don't pause the show before the song starts. Overall, most of the tracks used in Clannad are reused in After Story. All the music is perfectly placed with each scene, and i never found myself annoyed with the song choices. Each track helps establish the setting and mood of the scene. By now, everyone should be familiar with the dango song, and thus Nagisas theme. The melody to those songs was stuck in my head since season one. I found it to be a really cute and catchy song. But after watching After Story, I can't help but feel emotional whenever I hear it. The melody is rearranged multiple times to make different variations of the song that fit their specific scenes perfectly. Really, if the only songs in the ost were rearrangements of Nagisas theme, I would still probably give the soundtrack an 8. It really is quite like the series as a whole, sometimes listening to it will make you smile, but other times it may make you tear up a bit. Other highlights are Roaring Tides, The Place Where Wishes Come True, Toki o Kizamu Uta, and Fantasy.
THE reason why this show is so great. Each character is unique, and although their arcs can sometimes fall into a cliche, the writing still keeps you caring about them. The character development of Tomoya is really the most intriguing aspect. How he deals with all the joys and hardships of life really makes you think about yourself as a person. Where Tomoya was a funny delinquent in Clannad, in After Story you see him mature into an adult, albeit, an adult with a cursed life. I have never been a sucker for romance, but Tomoya and Nagisa's relationship is unlike any I've ever seen. The writers did a brilliant job of making you fall in love with the characters, and feel their emotions as they experience them. I know that what I just wrote isnt very convincing, but that's because I honestly can't explain how this show makes you feel for the lead characters because it is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
The show made me laugh until my stomach hurt on numerous occasions. It later would flip my stomach upside down and make me depressed as I cried my eyes out. The few plot twists this show has hit you hard (I was spoiled for one of the key events already, and it still left me shocked when it happened). Btw, for your own good: DO NOT GOOGLE ANYTHING ON CLANNAD WHILE WATCHING THIS SHOW. Seriously, just typing in a characters name and looking at the suggestions on google or youtube can spoil major plot events. So now you have been warned. Anyways, this anime is the first to make me actually think about myself as a person, and my future life. The emotional ride the show takes you on is one you will never forget.
Watch this show. If you haven't already, watch Clannad before Clannad ~After Story~. In short, the emotions this show makes you feel are what set it apart from everything else. This show really can't be described in any other way than by watching it. If you don't think you can handle the emotions that come with this show, do not watch it. But if your someone who thinks anime is meant for action , and not something that can make you laugh, cry, and reflect on your own life, then watch this show, and see your perspective change completely. I have never seen anything like Clannad and After Story, and don't expect to ever again.
An experience unlike anything I've ever seen. An emotional rollercoaster like no other.
+ Toying with your emotions
+ Excellent character development
+ Beautiful story
+ Music is fantastic
+ So much crying...
+ Everything else
- Torch can really kill the mood
- Not enough cons for me to write about
If you liked Clannad, watch...
Anything by Jun Maeda belongs here because they are so emotional and high in the drama department. Although none of these shows are as good as Clannad, they all do have similar feels and are all good in their own right.
ef-Tale of Memories:
Drama filled sadness.
10/10 - Masterpiece read more
Dec 17, 2014
Character - The characters each hold their own distinct personalities, to the point they seem almost like real life people. As the world changes, they adapt to it, and they themselves change. One perfect example would be Tomoya Okazaki, our main protagonist. He experiences happiness, proceeds to suffer great loss, enters a period of denial and grieving, goes on to conquer his despair and make amends, yet is soon greeted with another loss. Then, the story takes a complete turn, effectively rewriting most of what you've watched, and all ends in a more or less happy ending. Through all of this, we see complex humane emotions exerted, to a degree of shocking realism.
Sound - Wonderful. The music fits the theme. The soundtrack is constructed masterfully, and is fitted into the story at appropriate parts perfectly.
Art - The only flaw in the art would be the character designs. They seem somewhat similar, lacking much uniqueness. The landscapes and backgrounds are another story entirely. They look amazing, to the point that each and every single one seems like a painting done by some artistic genius.
Clannad is an anime that is definitely worth a watch. It blends in a serious drama esque mood with lighthearted humor, jokes, and other aspects of traditional anime. Above all, it is unique. Whenever I see an anime that seems to stand apart from the rest, I typically hold high hopes for them. Clannad, despite pioneering in a direction scarcely taken, it has carved out success and a huge fan base. Once again, please give it a go! read more
Jun 28, 2014
I didn't, until I watched Clannad: After Story.
If you are familiar with anime, chances are high that you might have heard about Clannad and Clannad: After Story, two anime produced by Kyoto Animation and generally known as 'tearjerkers'. Both series are based on the Virtual Novel 'Clannad' that was originally produced by Key. So far I can also highly recommend the visual novel, but of course this review will describe the anime Clannad: After Story.
To put it simply, Clannad: After Story influenced my life in a way I would have never expected. I know that this sounds rather lame, perhaps also because you have certainly read this very line in a million other reviews, but it is a blatant truth that has to be mentioned. Which leads me to the point that it was obviously better than I expected (even though my expectations were unreasonably high after watching its predecessor (Clannad) and after hearing that After Story is going to be a million times better). Besides, After Story obviously changed my perspective on a lot of things. Even though the basic principle of the story is rather simple, it manages to grip you like almost nothing else, in particular because it has this very ability. Aside from that, the series gives you many different kinds of inspiration for your every day life. It is something that – simply said – changes your perspective on the world. Though, my conclusion will be explained further by the end of this review.
As I've said before, the plot of the story is nothing special by itself, it is something you can basically describe as slice of life. The story is neither extraordinary, nor outstanding by itself. Only in combination with the characters and all their (painful) background stories, you are able to appreciate the series at its best. This is also why I recommend everyone to watch Clannad before watching Clannad: After Story: only after watching the first season you are certainly able to comprehend the characters and to appreciate their character development. That's the big point: you get in the roles of the characters, and this is where After Story truly shines.
Basically, the first half of the series is indeed nothing special in comparison to other series. We have a couple of small arcs about some of the supporting characters, which aren't really outstanding, even though these episodes are pretty well-written and in general enjoyable. Still, those parts of the story definitely aren't enough to understand my rating, also because these arcs are absolutely irrelevant for the main story. The main characters don't get any significant character development during these arcs, therefore these arcs can be only seen as useful in terms of the minor characters and the development they get.
But where After Story truly shines, is the latter half, the arcs of the story that are eventually relevant in terms of the main characters. Even though this part of the story 'just' describes all the ups and downs of the main character's life, it does it in a really astonishing way, and that's where the story shows its best side. Because of the well-proceeding character development (you can read more about that later), you can truly appreciate how the main character feels in all the phases of his life. Beside that, the whole set-up of the story was definitely great and the pace of the latter half was perfect, so the story never seemed rushed.
In a nutshell, the plot doesn't seem extraordinary or complex, but this is another aspect why I consider this series as something great. You don't expect something from a series that has such a seemingly monotonous plot, yet the story is absolutely unique, particularly in combination with all the plot twists. Some people assume that the plot is predictable (mainly because of its genre), but I honestly don't think that. You'll be positively surprised when you watch it.
If there is one thing that can be openly discussed by the community, it is obviously the ending. Some people like it, some people don't, mainly because it destroys some of the efforts the producers made in order to produce a realistic series (which can be seen as a little critique from my side). This is a question you have to answer for yourself, while it definitely depends on your personal preferences. On a positive note, there weren't any visible plot holes left after the final episode, even though the ending may seem a bit confusing if you don't know the Visual Novel.
Animation/Art style: 9/10
There are people who dislike Key's art style (in particular because of the big eyes of the female characters), but I actually grew to like it very much, also because it is really unique and since this style defines the characters in an appropriate way. Despite your personal preferences on this particular topic, it is generally known that KyoAni shows during After Story how truly beautiful an anime series can look. The animation is really well-made, in particular the scenes with Sakura trees are truly gorgeous, hence I can highly recommend the series to you if you like well-animated series. Beside those scenes, KyoAni's animation also shines in the 'Illusionary World' scenes. Those scenes are always animated in the ideal way to create a fitting atmosphere. In general the art style definitely fits the atmosphere of the series, also because of the appropriately used blurring effects. The art style was never misplaced throughout the whole series, even the backgrounds were usually memorable and breathtaking. In case you want to check it out for yourself, just watch the opening, since it manages to show perfectly how good the animation is.
As well I see no reason to complain about the character designs. Each character is designed in an unique way, so you can identify them easily. In addition to that, their characteristics are well-represented by their designs, no matter whether the character is rather shy or extrovert. The characters' designs usually didn't spoil the story, though.
I guess that I should start this part of the review with my opinion about the opening theme. A truly gorgeous song. I started to listen to it on a daily basis, since it motivates me like almost nothing else. It is nearly perfection, in particular since this opening fits rather sad scenes as well as times in which an episode starts on a rather positive note.
Other songs that appear during AS are great as well. Just take 'Small Palms' as an example. This song is always able to fit the atmosphere, so I'd likely give the sound a high rating.
You wonder why I didn't give the sound a 10/10? There is one simple reason.
Torch. (The ED)
As much as I like Torch as a rather motivating song, it often managed to destroy the atmosphere of a complete episode in less than 10 seconds. Including various ED's would have been better, considering that the upbeating atmosphere of Torch doesn't fit a couple of episodes at all. Still, I also grew to like this song.
Kudos to Jun Maeda for this one, he did a great job again.
About the character voices (attention: I only watched the English sub, which means that I only heard the Japanese voice actors and actresses): Each character definitely got the perfect voice actor/actress in the 'original' version. The character voices perfectly fit their characteristics, the quality of the sound is consistently good as well. Beside that, the voices are perfectly detachable, so you will never get confused by them. The voice actors definitely made a good job here.
I already enjoyed the characters (and the relationships between them) during Clannad, but After Story made me truly love them like my own children.
To start with, all the characters were really well-rounded. Each character has got many different flaws, but also many strengths, which were mainly connected to the painful background stories of them (you can read more about them later). Not a single character has been out-of-place, hence I grew to like them all.
Beside this aspect, the producers managed to keep all the characters realistic throughout the whole series. Not a single character has behaved in an inhuman way during the series. Their reactions were always comprehensible, in particular the actions and thoughts of the main character (Tomoya Okazaki) were always so realistic that it sometimes hurt a little inside my heart.
Though, one of the most important points is definitely the fact that you will certainly relate to the characters in a lot of different ways. You can easily identify with the characters in a variety of occasions, which makes you feel even stronger for the characters. This can be considered as one of the big advantages of Clannad. All the joy and the pain the characters feel, will be also certainly felt by you. Which leads me to another enormous advantage of After Story: the ingenious character development.
Throughout the whole series we are able to see how the characters grow because of all the hardships they experience. It is truly unique to see such a well character development through the whole series. In particular the main character, Tomoya, visibly grows because of all the hardships in his life. There will also appear another certain character halfway through the series, who will likely change your personal view on your own life.
Though, not only the main characters have got a good character development, but also the supporting ones. I honestly didn't expect to see a series with such a great character development, even for the supporting characters. None of them were flat or unnecessary; everybody has got the ideal place in the story as a whole, so the amount of supporting characters also can't be considered as too high.
Take Youhei Sunohara as the best example. He is already well-known from the first series, during which I honestly disliked him. But, given all the development he has got during After Story, I also grew to love him as a character. We can perfectly see how even such a 'sidekick' can get a good development and grow to a loyal, sharp-minded human.
In a nutshell, I'll remember all the characters (even the supporting ones) of Clannad even in the distant future. Their sad, painful background stories in combination with all the hardships they experienced were enough to make me remember them for a long time. Each character is really unique, but also perfectly outlined.
Enjoyment/Influence on my life: 11/10
Before I start to talk about other aspects, I would also like to emphasize all the humorous elements of the story, obviously since they are one of the aspects because of which I really enjoyed After Story. Despite being overly emotional and something you can call a 'tearjerker', the series also managed to make me laugh uncontrollably a couple of times. Even though the first season had a couple more running gags, several moments of After Story were hilarious as well. (SPOILER) Just take 'Drunk Nagisa' as an example. To see how such a lovely character gets drunk is something totally hilarious and unexpected. To such moments I'd also count the moment Nagisa tells her father something about her private life with Tomoya, or in general almost each interaction between Tomoya and Akio. Hell, these two are so similar that my sides almost broke a couple of times. (/SPOILER) All the humorous elements were a the perfect compensation to all the emotional moments.
Okay, but now back to the main topic...
Clannad: After Story is definitely one of the view anime I can recommend to everyone. Even non-anime fans will certainly be touched by it, which can be great if you intend to watch such a series. Besides, you needn't know anything about anime if you want to understand it; you can just watch it and be entertained.
Aside from that, I would re-watch it definitely as soon as possible. The series also contains a couple of hidden teases (which make every single re-watch a great experience), but I'd rather re-watch it because of all the lessons it taught me. The whole season is almost perfect as a whole, so I would definitely re-watch only both series as a whole.
Now about my rating... Some of you may be irritated by my rating, but I'm fully serious here. This may sound stupid, but AS definitely changed my life in such a positive way that I can only give it such a high rating. Because of it I now tend to pay more attention to the point of view other people have, in fact, I started to think more about other people and their opinions at all.
Sadly, the improvement it made on me can be hardly put into words, but I'll try to do it. Basically, the way After Story portrayed what a human being can withstand (and what it obviously can't), showed a whole new side of life to me. While the story seems rather simple, it made a huge influence on my life by directly showing to me what can go right, what can go wrong, and how everything influences our mind and our life as a whole. After all, After Story shows a whole new side of life to its viewers: a dark side that everyone tries to ignore. While a couple of other series try to ignore this rather dark side of life, After Story directly puts a finger on it, showing what really matters in life: family, friendships and ultimately love, no matter whether to your family or to your precious friend. It gives you a lot of inspirations for your life, no matter how you used to live before watching it. And because of the huge impact the series makes on you, you will certainly remember it even in the far future. Blatantly said, it certainly makes you a better person.
Though, there is another important point that makes the series so memorable. While the story itself is already memorable (also because of its simplicity), the characters play an important role as well. No matter whether it's Nagisa's shyness in combination with her ability to remain always positive for all the people she loves, Tomoya's (almost) incomprehensible ability to keep on living after everything or Ushio's innocence that ultimately portrays the view of a little child on the difficulties of life in a perfect way: Clannad: After Story is a memorable series that lives not only by the story, but also of the realistic way the characters deal with the struggles in their life.
Final Rating: 10/10
In a nutshell, After Story is something you can describe – blatantly said – as life. It shows you all the ups and downs of a life, which isn't extraordinary, but it does that in such an astonishing way that you may be blown away, just as I am. All the emotions that were both shown and felt from the characters (and from the viewer) throughout the whole series, such as anger, envy, grief and depression, but also faith, fortitude, charity and – most of all – hope, make the series perfect as it is. All the emotions are portrayed in such a realistic way that they sometimes even become real, the viewer can really feel all the pain the characters have inside them. And that's why I consider After Story as a true masterpiece. Thus, just by showing you all the difficulties and hardships one can experience in his own life, it can certainly change your view on what life is about. This series definitely gives you a lot to think about.
Aside from that, there is also another important aspect why I highly recommend Clannad: After Story to everyone. Whenever I think about a life decision, I started to remember what the characters of After Story experienced. Unlike many other series, Clannad: After Story isn't something you'll easily forget the day after you finish it. It is something that will certainly burn itself deeply into your mind, not because of the tears you may shed, but rather because it shows life from a different angle. Remember what you would have done in Yukine's place, after everything that she has experienced in her life. Or think about all the hardships Tomoya went through. This series is extremely unique because of its ability to show you how the human mind certainly reacts to life-changing events and everything that follows them. Besides, the series shows you what can go right in your life, and what certainly can't go always right. Whenever you'll think about them while making an important decision, you'll likely pay more attention on the view of other people (just as I do), and that's why Clannad: After Story made such a huge impact on my life and why I can highly recommend it to you.
Dango Daikazoku! read more
Dec 27, 2011
Clannad After Story, sequel to another brilliant project of Key visual arts, brings you the magic of what a story can hold. It has the old high school romance, the friends, the drama, but it's not afraid and most certainly not attempting to hide it's supernatural aspect. You won't feel intact with the beauty of what Clannad has to offer if you don't realize the 'magic' behind it all. It brings life, and wonders to what life itself actually is.
Story: 10/10 - Proceeding from Clannad's last season, we have our beloved Nagisa and Tomoya, who are now thankfully a couple to die for. Once the first portion of the show is over, it enters into what we've been waiting for, the focus on the two MC's, and how they're now involved with each others futures, and the events, or drama that happens within it. Friends seem almost non-existent when you are in love, all your mind can think about are images of that person's face, the one you know you can't live without. Okazaki and Nagisa went one way, and all of their fellow classmates soon depart another. Whether you were a Nagisa fan from the beginning or not the story almost twists you into having a bit of sympathy in the least, and I feel if a writer is able to do something like that, then round up the applauses because damn am I impressed!
It's a vast universe, when you lock souls with that other, it almost seems like a miracle.
Art: 9/10 - From the unique visuals used for the toy robot and the Illusionary girl, to the mere fluidity in Tomoyo's 1,000 kick combo! I have never been less than impressed when it comes to a Key production. The opening songs are beautiful in both art and sound and I can't get enough of the foreshadowing. Kyoto's visual arts know when to emphasize a scene of significance; the baseball soaring through the air, it turns into a close-up, spinning ever so slowly, and then we return to the story of the Illusionary girl, and the field which constantly emits these orbs of light, floating, as if the world they're in, has it's own sort of weather. The atmosphere of Clannad is what pulls one into the anime, almost like you're experiencing it all as well.
Sound: 8/10 - Again, the opening songs for the prequel and Clannad AS itself were both very pleasing to the ears, but had a kind of melancholic tone, this only grows stronger as you progress through the series because you then are able to reflect on all the characters as you see the images pass by. The sound effects for everything else aren't much to write home about but the soundtrack is quite amazing! The synchronization of the bgm and the scene at hand could be the reason you find yourself bawling or tearing up on the side because of how heavy it all feels at once. I have no words for how sad one single soundtrack could make you feel.
Characters: 9/10 - The idiot, the genius, the tsundere, the tomboy, the shy girl, the airhead, the goofball. All of these generic characters in one show, but how do they manage to be so entertaining and get them spot-on? Because it's just done well, and isn't boring, or frustrating and repititive. The characters mingle with each other like how they're suppose to and nothing seems out of place, or unordinary. Aside from Fuko. Now that relationships have developed and it's almost time for graduation, the 'friends' almost seem like a family.
Dango Dai kazoku!
Enjoyment: 10/10 - Never will I forget such a series, and I will continue to recommend it as long as I keep interest in anime, and I don't plan on abandoning it anytime soon. Let's hope it sticks, but Clannad can and WILL teach you a few things about life, it isn't easy but miracles do happen, so don't let go of that strand of hope, and keep on pushing for what it is you seek. It'll all be worth it! Just like an alternate world, there are always alternative options, don't fret, keep your eyes on the prize! As they say.
Jan 13, 2011
“He loves her. She loves him. They accept each other. And so they lived happily ever after…”
“And so they lived happily ever after…”
What really happened to them “after”? How long did they stay together? What happened to them when they were together?
No movie or show, let alone an anime, has ever answered these questions.
Instead of presenting a brief five minute epilogue with a J-ballad playing in the background at the end of the first season, Kyoto Animation has given us a 24 episode masterpiece, which is not only a highly satisfactory epilogue, but also a heart wrenching story by itself.
Clannad: AS is a direct sequel to the first season, Clannad. Although Clannad: AS is extremely good just as a stand-alone, watching the prequel provides better understanding of their characters and their backgrounds. If you still want to go ahead and watch Clannad: AS directly (although I wouldn’t), then I suggest you give the MAL synopsis for Clannad a quick read before heading onto this one. You follow, Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa, two people who who have vowed to spend their lives together. What you get is the "after" of their relationship from Clannad.
Clannad: After Story is split into two parts - the side-characters part and the main-characters part. It starts off with three arcs (which make up the first part of the series), lasting a total of eight episodes, dedicated to three of the first season’s recurring characters – Sunohara, Misae and Yukine. Although these episodes seem to be fan service and lack depth compared to the rest of the series at first glance, they are not. They are there for a purpose and that is to provide us with the characters’ final days in school. Because in this anime, just like real life, their friends move on and the plot provides its absolute and undivided attention to probably my favorite on-screen couple of all time – Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa.
You get a visual running commentary of every single event of this seemingly perfect couple, as they struggle, hobble and claw at life to remain together. What you get is the complete journal of events that happen in this couple’s lives, told from Tomoya’s point of view.
You watch as he tries to overcome whatever life throws at him, in order to be happy, even for just a minute.
You watch as he bears the brunt of life upon his shoulders and as he shifts through the yin and yang of life.
You watch as his soul tries to escape the darkness that stalks him like his own shadow.
You watch as he tries to understand the complexities of the world we live in, during the defining moments of his life.
You watch, a boy becoming a man.
I will try to condense the analysis of the animation and audio department so as to maximize the space available for story and character analysis.
The animation is just as gorgeous as ever. Movements have been refined and are now much more fluid. The one thing that had improved majorly in this area was the art involved on the characters’ faces. Their emotions are brought out so subtly, but yet so significantly, that it makes you wonder how long they spent trying to get these tiny factors right. For example, when you see Okazaki being calmed down by Nagisa, you can actually watch how his reactions slowly transform from angry to annoyed to a calm state within a couple of seconds. Perfect.
As far as the soundtrack does, there have been no major additions except for the OP and the ED. The OP, Toki wo Kizamu Uta, is one of the best there is and has cemented its position in my favorite OPs of all time at number four. The ED,Torch, is, for the most of the series, a complete misfit. Just when you are about to burst into tears after a devastating episode, the sight of a girl doing high knees followed by the rest of the characters moonwalking across the screen totally ruins the mood.Hard to believe that this inappropriate ED comes from the same singer of the incredible OP, Lia.
Calling this anime an emotional rollercoaster might very well be the understatement of the year. Now, the best way to describe the story's impact is to describe my emotional reactions when I watched the anime. I am a 17 year old guy, with below average sensitivity. Never in my life have I ever shed a tear while watching a show or a move in the theater or on TV. But, this anime wiped the slate clean. I can say, without any regrets or feeling embarrassed that I cried while watching Clannad: AS. This anime tugs at your heartstrings so hard, that it’s almost inhumane not to tear up. Clannad: AS will rip your heart out and then mend it with sweet words of love and then rip it out again. During some scenes, I could almost feel my heart crumble inside my chest. That is not to say that this anime contains only sadness. Just when the show pushes you so hard into the well, it pulls you back up just as fast. This series is just raw emotion packed in the form of animated characters.
The story continues its tie-ins between the real world and the Illusionary World and the supernatural aspect of it plays a much bigger role in Clannad: AS. I won't be going too deep into this as it contains too many spoilers.
The characters are crafted to perfection. Thanks to the super job by the animation department, you are now able to completely feel all of the characters' thoughts and feelings, blurring the line between anime and reality. For almost the entire series, I felt exactly how Okazaki felt and thought how Okazaki thought. The innocent and simple way they think was also one of the reasons people love the characters so much. The characters, although grown up, were so gentle at heart. This content and caring way of living lays further emphasis on the purity of the two protagonists. I felt their pain, their sorrow, their despair, their happiness, their pleasures and their excitement. The characters made sure of that. One particular new character bowled me over with his/her charm. The introduction of this soulful, innocent and sincere character was one of the main reasons why I was so moved by this anime.The characters are what strengthened the anime and made a simple tale interesting to watch.
The voice acting is very well done. The casting was perfect and none were out of place. It was all so believable. The entire cast deserves a standing ovation for their power packed performance. The subbing by StaticSubs Eclipse was very neat.
When I write a review, I do my best to be unbiased. But sometimes, it's hard not to let your emotions flow when you see an anime that mixes the genres of slice of life, drama and romance so well, that I simply cannot emphasize enough on its ability to make full use of its potential and deliver a story that is sure to make fans of any genre fall in love with this anime.
Overall, Clannad: After Story is a piece of art and will go down in history as one of the best ever. Even with a near-perfect ending, you’ll be wishing for an After Story to this After Story as it’s really hard to let to let go of the characters that you’ve come to love so much. That’s how hard-hitting and beautiful this anime is. The MAL rating of 10 does not mean an anime is perfect, but it means that the anime is a masterpiece. And that, Clannad: After Story is.
[ THE WRAP-UP ]
Clannad: After Story is a an intricately carved insight into the life of characters whose stories “ended” last season. The trials and tribulations of the characters successfully bring your emotions to the surface. This emotional bond is further strengthened with a heartbreaking, yet uplifting story, which is guaranteed to drop to your knees and make you jump for joy at the same time. The anime infuses the key elements of its genres (romance, drama, slice of life) and serves a dish that is bound to please even the most stringent of otaku. The animation and soundtrack are exactly what you would expect from KyoAni - inch perfect. While the initial episodes might cause an eyebrow or to raise, rest assured, all suspicions are laid to rest once the series settles down about quarter of the series in. And from then on, the atmosphere of this anime is simply enchanting. This is just one of those rare anime out there that you don't want to miss out on, even if you're not a fan of the genre. Clannad: After Story is a magical journey that will leave you with a lot of memories which will leave you wondering on how YOUR After Story would be. read more
Sep 11, 2009
Clannad has grown on me more than I ever thought possible when I played that first episode. Sakura trees, overdramatic (though fabulous) music, deep thoughts, cynical male protagonist right at the start of the anime? I knew it was really popular and loved, but back then I thought I knew just why and my presumptions weren't bright at all.
"I realize why some people might like this stuff but me? Nah...this is too corny for me...oh well, now that I've started, I'll give it a shot with a few more episodes."
But how the hell could I have known?
It's a 10, the biggest freakin' 10 I've ever given to anything in my entire life. This is what animes are basically all about. Granted, there are animes that are different, unusual and branch out pretty far from their origin. But essentially what makes them anime, not cartoons or tv shows, a medium that has attracted so many people lately is more or less the same. And Clannad is a conventional anime in that regard. Except it took all that emotion, tranquil slice-of-lifeness, seemingly naive but in fact deep story and made it feel REAL. Every character, every moment, everything that might have put me off at first - though it seemed bland at times - has converted into a great memory, a profound feeling of love. Clannad has stripped off the defense mechanisms I have implanted into my brain as I grew up, thinking I have toughened up, grown smarter, more experienced, when in reality all I did was block off those simple, yet beautiful things and emotions that make life. Because it was easier that way, it left me less vulnerable, rid of any great expectations, making it harder for me to get hurt.
Friendship, falling-in-love, the simple quirks and talents that make us special, the dreams of our childhood and adolescence, all that seems to be labeled as a stupid ideal or taboo today. Should we trivialize those things, take them for granted and treat those moments as such? (This is exactly what Ryou was talking about in Kyou's arc, Alernate World episode) No, instead we should hold them as precious memories, even though they might not be "Clannad" for everyone. I was a bit like Nagisa in those years and I regret what I have missed. When I think about it, those years will always hold a special place in my heart even though my childhood and adolescence was short of practically any happy moments. If I had a chance to redo things, I definitely would have acted more like Tomoya, I would've stayed true to some things even when I was ridiculed and insulted by others.
Clannad is all too simple. If I tried to describe it, I certainly wouldn't do it any justice. Every aspect of it is combined in a perfect way to create a masterpiece, making it all seem believable. I cried plenty of times, I smiled like I haven't since childhood (I mean those truly happy, altruistic, empathic smiles) because the characters felt completely real. No real way to describe it other than watch it; this is what makes animes great - to an outsider all this would seem pathetic but rather than using complex dialogues or situations to build up characters and explain their morality like in the real movies or TV shows, in animes it's done in a way that's almost magical. Not only that, this anime makes you rethink your life priorities and thus changes it. Yes, this anime is life-changing.
There, my impression of Clannad. It's the best thing I've watched in my life. Rewatching an anime seemed like a ridiculous thing to do when there are so many good ones around, but I am positive I will rewatch Clannad one day and rejoice as I have on my first watching. read more
Jul 31, 2009
Then there is Clannad After Story, which seams together these two extremely emotional qualities flawlessly and presents us with something truly unique and amazing. It is a very real story, beautiful in its simplicity yet powerful with its bold emotions. It will send chills down your spine in the way it is able to show the biggest wonders within the smallest events. Clannad After Story is truly a treat, one that you will never forget.
I do not want to spoil a moment of this compelling story for you, but essentially this is the story of the beginnings and life of a family. So simple, yet the slow and emotional way in which it is presented is truly amazing to watch. The characters and music combine with the story and make its presentation even more astounding and emotional.
I absolutely love this art style. The animators will take their time to highlight specific things in a scene, perhaps the wind carrying sakura petals or the gaze of a robot lost in a desolate world. I am big on eye styles if you know me well, and Clannad does not fail to deliver. The eyes are unique and refreshing, yet they completely work for the characters.
I will say that the Clannad team does tend to "recycle" their clips a lot, and they re-use many scenes that have already been used. It was never a problem for me however, and I never seemed to notice during each episode. Each clip of animation has a visible amount of dedication put into it, and it pays off.
I would say this is where Clannad truly shines, but to be honest, it shines everywhere, and the soundtrack is no exception. Honestly, this is one of the most amazing anime soundtracks I have ever heard. Shinji Orito and gang have created a moving soundtrack to match the emotions of the anime perfectly. Without these songs, the anime would only be half as good as I believe it is. I urge you to listen to the songs carefully and let yourself be absorbed into the emotions of the anime, and listening to these songs later will immediately bring to mind these emotions that our characters were feeling at the time. Fabulous, fabulous job to the music team.
Another 10, yes, but I am sure you will agree with me on this one. There is Tomoya, the main character, who changes dramatically over the course of After Story. There is Nagisa, Tomoya's wife, who is kind, gentle, and sometimes a bit incapable of handling things herself. There is Kyou (yay Kyou fanboy here), the aggresive tsundere of the group who is outgoing, kind, and well... intolerable of stupidity. There is Tomoyo, very similar to Kyou but with ambitions and a steady path she sees for herself.
These and many other characters make this story a must-see. There is a character for everyone to love and be attached to; in fact I find myself loving every single character. (Except Fuuko, who I must add, was put in this anime a bit too much.) Overall, amazing cast, and voice acting is also very solid.
I always hate to give a review all 10's, because it seriously looks like I'm a fanboy of Clannad. But thinking back on the series, it deserves nothing less. All the elements that make up an anime mesh perfectly for Clannad After Story, and it is truly a treat to watch. I enjoyed every second of this anime, and came close to crying (which I have never done watching an anime).
I knew then that Clannad After Story was something special, something that draws the emotion from everyone's hearts and connects you to the story in one way or another. This is something you cannot miss. read more