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: 9.161 (scored by 124028 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
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
10/10 - Masterpiece 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
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
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
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
May 12, 2013
I watched this in the middle of 2012, during the summer. I had previously watched Clannad, the prequel to Clannad ~After Story~ and enjoyed it a lot, I thought that Key had made a pretty awesome story. Then I noticed there was a season 2, so I decided to watch it, but never in my life would I have expected to find something so life changing that day. Clannad ~After Story~, the one anime that has changed everyone's perspective of life as we know it. It was my absolute pleasure to watch this, and I probably haven't cried this hard in... well, ever. About everything in Clannad ~After Story~ was perfect, and when I say perfect, I mean flawless and extraordinary.
The story picks up off of Clannad. Nagisa and Tomoya are going out now, which was what everyone was wanting to see throughout the first season, and it was well worth the wait. Anyways, they're dating now, and they also seem to be helping more people with their problems, just like the first season. It wasn't until around episode 10 where the graduation starts where it started getting a lot more interesting, and a lot of stuff happens, some good things, some bad things, and then a few episodes later, the biggest, most heartbreaking thing occurs, and I can say that it hit me right in the feels. From there on out, I was constantly holding back tears from both happiness and sadness, no lie, it was hard for me not to cry while watching. In the end, I was a changed man. New perspective of life, new plan for my future, everything changed, and it was thanks to Clannad ~After Story~.
The artwork was flawless. Beautiful scenery, amazing character art, everything was spectacular, so colorful and amazing.
Voice acting, I'll tell you something, I'm guessing the voice acting won some awards somewhere on earth, it was filled with such realism. I loved everyone, they got some really good actors and actresses to take part in such a masterpiece, and I think that this may be what they're all most known for.
Nagisa, Tomoya, Sunohara, Akio, Sunai, everyone is in the show once again, and all of them are playing much larger roles. Out of all the characters in the show, my favorite would have been either Nagisa or (Spoiler, sorry, can't give you any names). Nagisa is the person everyone falls in love with, both friendship-wise and romance-wise. She's the perfect human being. Tomoya is wonderful, under all the depression he's lived with in his life, he's honestly an awesome person. He cares for others and always tries to help people. A wonderful role model. Sunohara is one of the bestest friends anyone could have, hilarious, he's pure awesome. Sunai and Akio are the parents everyone might find embarrassing at times, but they are the idle parents, caring for their children in every way possible. Wonderful cast of characters.
There are many words that can describe Clannad ~After Story~, but the word I choose is "Masterpiece". I've shown this to multiple friends, even those who want nothing to do with anime, and all of them have loved it. This is honestly one of the greatest animes in history, and if you don't even show a hint of sadness or joy on your face in this show, go to the doctor, you might be sick, maybe even have a minor concussion, this show should change your life no matter what.
I am asking those who have not seen this yet, please, watch it. You will not regret the time put into watching this, you have my word. read more
Aug 11, 2011
"oh shit is that piss? IS THAT PISS?"
No wait wrong situation, oh there comes a time in every anime fan's life where they find that 1 show that they know is better than the rest. They know it's the best they ever seen and that nothing will top it. I'm talking about the day where they find the best show they'v ever seen. To me that moment occurred after i finished watching clannad after story last year,
And you know what I've watched a large amount of shows almost all of them great since then, and still none of them have come close to topping this show.
Now first thing you should know is that this show is a sequel to a great not perfect but great show called clannad (duuuuuuurrrr) and the only thing people may be dissapointed about this sequel is that almost all the characters are pretty much absent in after story, they will be there in the start but the story focuses on tomoya and nagisa's lifes after school ends and goes as far in time for more than a decade
The serise(not to sound cliche and full of myself) the show is legitimately inspirational, after watching this show i find it much less than a coincidence that i started to work harder and enjoy life more.
The show really shows the hardships tomoya endures due to him being a flunk at school and you see how that affects him as his life goes on but you also see how he pushes through it thanks to the help of nagisa and how they as a couple push through for better or for worse. It's really handled beautifully, The characters of tomoya and nagisa are some of the best characters out here, not only are they likable and relate-able but you don't have a hard time believing there's people out there like them, they aren't perfect people either, like all humans they have flaws to them.
For a show that really gets drama down perfectly the show can also be very funny and even kinda crazy at times, mainly between the relationship between akio-san and tomoya, when they are both onscreen at once you can expect things to get funny but the bets part is that the relationship is more than comedy. Their relationship really builds and they do seem like father and son as things become much more bleaker as the series goes on(without spoiling it, 3/3 part of the show GET TISSUES)
now i've talked about all the things that make the 2nd and 3rd part of this show so amazing but the 1st part also is handled very nicely, its still in school from the first season and they end up at least giving a episode to each character and you learn that these side charecters really have stories to tell. You see exactly why sunahora and tomoya were friends and stuff like that, none of them have any big twists like the first season did but they are handled very well and these characters which you may have not cared to much for turn out to be extremely likable characters
So if your still reading this show you should be able to tell by now, I LOVE THIS SHOW, everyone needs to see it, You didn't like the 1st season? Watch it, don't like moe? still watch this. This is a show you need to see. Saying i highly recommend this is a understatement. I'm not ordering you, i'm begging you to go watch this cause everyone should feel the same feeling i got while watching this show. I feel bad when i see someone who hasn't given this show a try, regardless of how meh the show seems initially don't pass this up. This show is one of a kind. As i stated before i BEG you to watch it read more
Jan 27, 2012
Clannad [After Story], shows that everything comes to an end; I know that all things will come to an end, normally they would. But Clannad [After Story], shows it upon a persons certain point of view. Or what he thought of these “end” and “endings”.
Clannad [After Story] was the one who changed my whole viewing about Drama and Slice of Life genre anime. Clannad changed me for a while there while I was watching it. I didn′t even held a tear while the most saddest parts were playing right before my very eyes. After Story had a huge changes from the first season, but the story is still revolving around Okazaki Tomoya, who always thought that nothing would and could never change, until a certain girl entered through his path - Furukawa Nagisa, whom Tomoya confessed his loved to in the final episode of the first season. It′s not like some other anime, which when the guy confesses and the girl accepted, it′ll just end there -- no. After Story continues from where it left off; continuing the path where Okazaki Tomoya is walking at.
They then had a relationship, where the both of them vowed that they will, no matter what, share every sorrow and happiness each one have. That both of them would help each other. After Story can actually be seated beside a real life; After Story is not some mediocre story, After Story shows us how life can be full of happiness, how having a family feels, how sad and full of grief life can be. After Story can teach you a one or two, life is not that easy, and that doing nothing would do you any good.
People who haven′t watched After Story might think that, this last season would be exactly the same as the first season. No, they aren′t the same. Yes, I agree that the characters are still the same, but as soon as the story of After Story in the beginning part whereas it only centered around Okazaki Tomoya, his friends, who were special to him, also changed and had their own path which they walk through while Tomoya′s path is still growing.
- The plot of After Story, is hugely different from the prequel, whereas the story runs along with Tomoya′s companions and acquaintances. After Story had it′s plot viewing only around Okazaki Tomoya, from him, being just a highschool student at first, and now he is a man who works for his family, who shreds blood and sweat.
Every now and then, After Story′s plot is still one of the best that one can ever line up with. Changing ones point of view in life, how many changes can happen, how many tears might fall down on your cheeks without you, noticing it.
After Story had a huge impact at me, the prequel, who had some comedy and funny scenes, changed to full drama in After Story. Where I wasn′t able to hold back my tears on the sad parts; though After Story had a little bonding moment, to change the atmosphere a bit, but then again, changed to a tear-jerking one.
At first, After Story′s part give′s you a light and normal feeling; how former friends can reunite, have fun, and think of the good old times. Think of it as like a trailer, because when you′ve watched the full storyline, prepare your tissues and try to hold back your tears. After Story emphasizes many standards of life. Also showing us some things that aren′t meant to be.
After Story teaches us a lot of things of what you might stumble upon at when you grow up. It teaches us how having a family can be fun, how having someone to help you, or you can rely on can be like. It′s not all about smiles and happiness. Every now and then, you need to have some waterfall dashing out from your eyes. Grief and sorrow, are the things that Tomoya changed his life, again, after the one dearest to him, was taken. Tomoya didn′t know what to do, or how is life is going to be after all what happened.
People who had lost their dearest to them, must not let sadness take you with them, even if someone was taken from you, stand up and be strong. No matter how hurtful the things were that was given and bestowed upon you, always think of the good things that might come once again. After Story, on the other hand, had an alternate and one you can call, a true ending. (It′ll be much of a spoiler to post it here.) But that might only happen, if the person really can′t take living by himself, or God might even wake you up from your nightmare. Tomoya had a dream, where she first met Nagisa, but, it was an alternate one, daresay. She kept calling out Nagisa′s name. And that′s when she knew, how important she was to him.
Many people has their own point of view in After Story, smile, happiness, sadness, grief, and love. That′s what all the things you′ll be stumbling upon while reminiscing through After Story.
Who knows? It might be just a dream, and you might soon wake up from it.
After Story shows deep emotions and strong points all through out the series. Don′t think that nothing would change, everything and everyone undergoes changes. And experiences something they didn′t imagine to happen to them.
~ Will add more later; 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.
Oct 23, 2013
Clannad: After Story is a direct sequel to Clannad, if we can even call it a sequel. The story takes place right after the ending moments and scenes from the first season. The only bigger differences are that in After Story, the story focuses more on Tomoya and Nagisa as they proceed through their relationship, as well as the comedy being replaced with heavy drama, which greatly effects the one watching.
While getting to know each others' wishes and desires, Tomoya and Nagisa face quite a lot of issues through the story, as they face off and begin their life as adults. That includes getting a job, paying for daily expenses, focusing on a specific interest, as well as many other factors. The slice of life genre plays a big role here. While fantasy is indeed an official genre of the series as well, I would like to point out that the show itself does not focus on it that much - it is more or less there only for the biggest turn around of the whole story. Although the turn around happens at the end of the series, the power for it to happen is shown to us multiple times through the scenes in the episodes, mostly in the beginning of each one. Keeping it short and sweet, slice of life brings the setting, drama brings the peak and sets the series apart from others in quality, fantasy brings the grand finish and reveals the power of a true wish and desire.
The art is amazing. The emotions in various scenes are shown wonderfully, squeezing out all the effect possible to tear down on the watcher. I couldn't say less about the rest of the art, either. The sunsets, rain, snow, actions, hip & happening, and so on, is displayed on the way that we could almost feel ourselves being pulled to the series themselves, and into the character's shoes. All in all, the art helps big time towards the overall effect, with that either displaying funny scenes, or extremely dramatic ones.
Next to the art, there is the sound. The two combined bring such a powerful combo, it is hard to resist but show your emotions out loud. I would especially want to point out the OSTs. They are extremely beautiful and deep, and in my humble opinion, play one of the biggest roles if not the biggest when triggering the tears in the eyes of the watcher. Slow, calm, but so strong. With the smooth melody they bring, I think it is only natural for them to be called the "Masterpiece Sad Soundtracks" by many. Alongside with the wonderful job the voice actors managed to pull off, I can safely say that Clannad is one of the best series around when it comes down to emphasizing the emotions through the sound.
In the first season, the characters were all shown to be quite quirky and unique, each bringing enjoyment in their own way. We could see Youhei's stupidity, Kyou's short temper, Tomoyo's elegant combat resolves, Kotomi's moeness and dedication, Tomoya's laziness, Nagisa's shyness and quietness, as well as many other. All of those brought a smile on our face, but that's a little bit different in the second season. In After Story, we focus mostly on Tomoya and Nagisa, and the emotions that are mostly emphasized are hardships, as well as finding the ways and solution in order to either work them out, or try to escape them. We connect with the characters way more in the After Story as we did in the first season, and while we lightly sympathized with them in the first season, it is all about that and that alone in the After Story. We could say that the gear was switched to the top in character development and turn around. While including quite a lot of real life situations that are maxed out with drama and emotions, we only hope for the best to happen between Tomoya and Nagisa, as ultimate borders in life take action - birth, marriage, death.
The Clannad series hit me really hard, and I'm proud to say that they are the best I've seen up until now. From the laughs I had, the tears I shed... even the times when I looked inside myself and thought, does this somehow resemble my life? Could I learn something from it? Should I change my point of view on various things I might regret doing, and then missing in the end? It turned out that doing so is not bad one bit, since the series display one of the most powerful changes one might experience in life, as well as show the right path to take in the very end. Do not expect any emotional mercy if you give Clannad a try, since what you're going to get is some heavy drama and deepness, as well as tight sympathizing and rooting for the characters involved.
After a year or so passes from the time you've seen the series, do pay a visit to YouTube and listen to some of the Clannad OSTs. The feeling that flows through you at that spot is indescribable. read more
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
Oct 14, 2013
Story (10/10): The story of Clannad: Afterstory is very different from its prequel, Clannad. While Clannad revolves around the life of Tomoya in his 3rd year in high school, helping out various girls with various sorts of problems, this anime focuses solely on the relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa with their life transitioning from teenage life into adulthood. The reason why this anime could be praised highly on its story is due to its far reaching, beyond the anime realm of high school where it originates from. It focuses on the main character Tomoya in a way that creates incredible development in his character, while keeping its mystical supernatural theme in play. Note, you cannot under any circumstances understand what is happening in this anime without watching the original Clannad.
Characters (10/10): The characters of afterstory has dwindled greatly from Clannad itself, throwing out almost all of the other characters that were there previously. Tomoya, as the main protagonist, is his usual cynical, but funny self with his attitude towards life. As the story progresses, Tomoya becomes more self-aware of his actions and takes responsibility for them. Any more explanation is considered as a spoiler. Next is Nagisa. As the main female protagonist, Nagisa returns as her usual cheerful self in trying to make the people around her happy, especially her boyfriend, Tomoya. As the series goes on, Nagisa thinks more about her future with Tomoya, ultimately influencing Tomoya as well, changing him even further. Next are Nagisa's parents Akio and Sanae. As a comical duo, the general gags that run with them return as well. These 2 have incredible importance due to their parental guidance to Tomoya, influencing him as well. Apart from them, there is one little character that deserves mentioning, but revealing it would be a very big spoiler.
Art and Sound (9/10): With the art, the art stays with its original Clannad look with highly moe-infected characters with eyes that to me resemble galaxies, and well done scenery and shades. For the sound, a new set of music that sounds great for Clannad's storyline and is something to behold. With its OP sounding at a high level rivaling its prequel's OP, it definitely is something to praise upon.
Personal Enjoyment (10/10): When I look at Clannad, I see my own personal morals. The importance of family, the trials and tribulations of various life situations, and the hilarious moments that life can provide. When I watched this, I just felt at home watching because of how close it touched me, especially in the second half. (For some reason, I'm shedding tears just writing this.) Just watching the characters interact and watching Tomoya especially, it just made me feel like I was part of that world. Kyoto ani are dicks for making this one of the biggest tearjerkers I have ever watched. (Seriously, I brought a tissue box with me, it was empty after the marathoning.) Because this anime touched my heart in a way that no other anime was able to, this is by far one of my top 3. Unless you have a heart of pure stone or don't give a damn about your family, you will cry when watching this. It made me appreciate my family more then I have ever done before. I highly recommend this to anyone. Even if you're a fan of random action and high intensity thrillers where everyone dies, I HIGHLY recommend this. It's that good. And one more thing, Dango. :) read more
Apr 6, 2013
Clannad: After Story. Enough said.
Despite being one of the highest ranked anime on MyAnimeList, and despite it being probably my most favorite anime to date, it still has a major flaw. That flaw caused many people to drop it early, and not finish this compelling series. I know a lot of people that aren't satisfied with the ending at all as well.
Story: This series immediately follows the events that happened in Clannad. If you can't remember; Nagisa and Tomoya are now in a relationship. For an anime that you can easily give a 10, I have to say, the story is probably an 8 or 9 at best. Why? The first half of the season was like hell for most people. They heard many things about this anime, how it makes you cry and all, but what they get for the first couple of episodes is definitely not that. The first half of the series can be very identical to the first Clannad, it just runs really slow, but one good thing about it is it sets you up for the drama will hit you unexpectedly. The second half of Clannad: AS is really what makes After Story. The drama can be very, very, sad to the viewer, and you will tear up numerous times. Another thing that makes Clannad: AS really good for someone or really bad is the ending. I must say, the ending can go either way for you, however for the most part, I have to say it was probably one of the best endings that I have seen (if you don't mind Deus ex machina of course).
Character: To have an anime make 95% of the viewers cry, is really outstanding. I have asked all my friends who watched this, and they didn't deny that they teared up at least once. How did Clannad: AS do it? Good character development. Clannad didn't really have that much compared to AS. Once again, the first few episodes or so doesn't have that much development, but there is so much in the last half. Each character is given a lot of detail and information, and they are all really likable and you can easily relate to them.
Art: The art is just beautiful. Everything is just crystal clear and vivid. Whether you're watching Tomoya at school or watching the little girl and the robot, everything is just a sight to see.
Sound: The soundtrack really compliments the art and story. The soundtrack is probably the most memorable one for me, as the tracks speak a story of it's own. Either you hear Spring Wind (Piano) in the background, or even just Nagisa's theme, each track provides many emotions throughout the series. The background music won't really affect you that much at first, but when you reach the second half, the music will just speak to you, and pairing it up with the story, can be too much for some people. After finishing the series, I think I couldn't listen to the soundtrack for a while, because whenever a specific track would come up, I would start tearing up. Yeah, it's that powerful. The voice cast really did a great job. You can tell they they all worked really hard and put a lot of emotion into these characters. As for the OP, it is a really nice song and I think is perfect for this series. For the ED? No. I think it just ruins some episodes, especially if it was a sad one. Overall, the sound was really good, and plays a role just as important as the story itself.
Enjoyment: I enjoyed Clannad: AS very much. I enjoyed myself crying for 7 episodes straight. I never thought that I would enjoy a Romance-Drama so much, until I finished After Story. This anime is probably too much to describe in words, and I think my tears could describe even more. If you want to know why it is rated so high, then watch and the second half of the season will answer that. Seriously, if you're looking for an anime with good romance, nice amount of comedy, tragic drama, feeling of depression, feeling of sorrow that makes you shed gallons of tears, and a extremely satisfying ending, then look nowhere else. You found it.
Overall Rating: 10
"Nagisa I've found it. I finally found it." - Tomoya Okazaki read more
Mar 13, 2009
Like the first season, Clannad After Story still showcases the same brilliant art and music. Here we can see KyoAni has realy grasped a hold of their Key-style character designs, having come a long way from when they did Air back in 2005. The designs are aesthetically pleasing while still being a very enhanced degree of cute. The backgrounds, likewise, are very detailed though not meticulously enough that it would come off as gaudy. The town looks like an actual town, with construction sites and familiar pathways, which is excellent as the town itself is a key theme to the story.
Music provided from the game's original score continues to fit every scene perfectly, and vocal performance quality has skyrocketed with the growing characterization of Nagisa and Tomoya. Akio and Sanae are also well-cast and add to a good lot of scenes and episodes. Unfortunately, this second season has a penchant for insert songs, especially when they're not really called for. In addition, the ending theme "Torch" is wholly inappropriate for the gross amount of the episodes. Clannad After Story does top the previous season in making the opening theme even better, a very moving piece, "Toki wo Kizamu Uta" sung by Lia, who also sang the OP for Air TV. The accompanying graphics to the opening sequence only heighten the emotional value of the lyrics and the melody. It's easily one of After Story's more notable features.
With a more emotional opening though, comes a more emotional story. After Story begins by moving beyond the main characters to focus on arcs for smaller roles. These short arcs are actually just as moving as the longer arcs of the first season, providing a surprisingly hefty amount of character development from what were previously background characters and actually invoking a connection to them, which I really have to applaud this series for. Plus, these mini-arcs buffer well into the main part of the series.
The actual After Story itself, when it's finally reached, is quite possibly one of the most well-written and developed arcs of any anime I have ever seen. The story moves to a more linear format, focusing on Nagisa and Tomoya. For two characters who got the shaft for development in the first season, they get their development here and in spades. I dare say Tomoya may be the most multi-faceted harem male to ever grace anime.
Every episode flows smoothly into the next in a very consistent format, and every episode brings a new turn or twist, sad or happy, but always dramatic and leaving you wanting more... that is until the last two episodes of the storyline.
In this final stretch, After Story hits the wall. Following several episodes of dramatic, moving, top-tier material, the storyline, dialogue and characterization all take a major downturn in the form of an unresolved loose end that has followed the series from the start. It feels so incredibly forced when its resolved, and takes away everything gained from the previous episodes, that it feels like a sucker punch both when they tie it up and in how they do it. This is only emphasized by the fact that they had two whole episode spaces to explain the story, but instead decided to end it with a non-consequential side story and a recap.
As the old saying goes, its not about the destination but the journey. The destination has left a very sour taste in my mouth, leaving me to reflect on how some of Key/Visual Art's more signature elements have only hindered this otherwise phenomenal slice-of-life romance, but it should not discredit from the phenomenal work that the rest of this series was. Trust me, it's worth the ride to swallow the end.
Overall, Clannad After Story gets a 9 out of 10.
Sep 23, 2013
Sep 13, 2013
To put it bluntly, Clannad: After Story is arguably one of the best pieces of work that you could possibly hope to find out on the anime market right now. After Story is the sequel to the original Clannad series and boasts a large development in several aspects; it's execution of visual, audio codes and conventions are used masterfully to produce an outstanding masterpiece.
After Story puts forth a story with no questionable comparison, the story is largely unique and cliches are uncommon it's also simple and incredibly easy to relate to. Resistance is remarkably futile and the phrase "just one more episode" will be frequently used, in fact you'll find yourself moving on to the next episode almost subconsciously. An element that makes the story so wonderful is it's connection that it makes to the audience almost subliminally, the viewer becomes immersed almost instantaneously and it's very easy to become attached to the story and how the events turn out.
The art in Clannad is brilliant, marvelous, extraordinary, wunderbar, spettacolare! I could use every countless artsy expression to enunciate how wonderful the art is in this anime. Every animation is executed perfectly especially at critical and intimate times, this compliments the story beautifully and adds to the atmosphere and mood the anime gives off to the viewer. Art in this anime is at it's strongest during the most pensive of times which offsets strong emotions.
Sound is an indispensable convention when it comes to producing visual texts, Clannad utilizes sound in the most phenomenal way I have (personally) witnessed ever. Every emotion, every moment is complimented lovingly by a suitably congruent soundtrack that assaults your emotional resistance with no mercy. The sound illustrates and accounts for almost every emotion and mood the anime looks to convey, there are happy tracks and then of course there are sad tracks (which I personally prefer) that really hit nerves. Even after watching and completing the anime you will find yourself regressing back to listen to the OST and you will love it.
There is no doubt that some of that tracks combined with the melancholia of some scenes made me irrefutably upset and I did cry at several points within this anime sheerly because of the power of the music. In fact I would have been able to hold tears back if it weren't for the music. Making it an essential part to the powerful emotions this anime trajects.
Another factor that contributes to the brilliant success of this anime is the characters; of course if there were no characters there would be no story but what makes the characters of Clannad so good is the fact there's really something really extraordinary about them in inconceivable ways. Each character, both major and minor have broad and complex personalities and background stories which are shown to you throughout the prequel as well as the rest of them in After Story. The connection that is drawn between the characters and the viewer is strong, there are no "extras", you know and understand every character in and out, how they feel, what they desire and what they've been through. And more importantly, you begin to feel that any moment where their life or happiness throughout the series could be jeopardised that it readily affects you just as much as them, in a sense this almost allows you to feel the same emotions as the character is feeling. This creates an extreme immersion for the viewer.
CONCLUSION (SUBTLE SPOILERS)
Clannad: After Story is a masterpiece that will indefinitely change your perspectives on life, it encourages the viewer to understand that even though life can be full of never ending tragedies and that we may lose the ones we love forever, that these tragedies shouldn't pull you down further. Although the ending and the morals of Clannad have been interpreted in several different ways, the actual uncertainty of the events allows for wide scope on how different viewers critique their interpretation of the anime and thus allows for wider scopes on how people see and understand it's message, this elaboration makes for a wonderful conflagration of analysis and interesting morals.
To sum it up, we've all been through many different things and perhaps most of us can relate to extreme misfortune of Tomoya but because of those experiences Clannad spoke to us differently and that's what makes this anime great, that there isn't one moral, one explanation, it's what you've experienced beforehand and feel afterwards that defines how you feel about this anime
NOTE: Keep a box of Kleenex's handy, you'll need them. read more
Jul 18, 2013
Please excuse my British spelling and potential blabbering :}
Being relatively new to anime compared to some, having only "gotten into" this scene in the past year or so, I had inevitably been advised to delve straight into more mainstream anime; Cowboy Bebop, Elfen Lied, The Melancholy of Whatserface.. Those sorts of things, all of which I enjoyed to different extents. I then decided to veer off into more obscure and lesser known titles, just to broaden my horizon. Unfortunately, this experience wasn't great; there's probably a solid reason why the things I watched actually are lesser known; either they possess a 50% chance of developing a wonderfully creepy incestuous relationship, or they're pretty much just complete and utter tripe. Or both. Gotta love Japan sometimes.
Following this less-than-stellar experience, I decided to treat myself to couple of much loved modern classics: Clannad.. And then Clannad: After Story.
It's fair to say that this outstandingly crafted piece of work has had a telling impact on pretty much most people who have had the pleasure of watching it, some people have even gone as far to say that the emotion of the events in this series have changed the way that they will live their lives in the future. That really doesn't surprise me. So, why is this?
Story: I've seen Clannad: After Story sometimes labelled "anime's greatest love story", which I would like to agree with. (However: I, and other people that claim such a thing may not have seen every love story going, so take it with a pinch of salt). The amazing thing is, however: it isn't solely about the love story between just two characters, it is about something more; the individual side characters' hardships and their underlying meanings, the friendships that develop (and the unforgettable one that was already developed: Tomoya and Youhei). And in the end, the show's main theme, "the importance of family" ultimately pulls through. The pacing of the story itself is quite odd - the first half of the series, which is dedicated to it's supporting character arcs, is quite slow and gradual, whereas the second half focus on the two main characters: Tomoya and Nagisa, accelerates from the deliberate and slow moving start with much faster-paced intent. The rapid change in pace is welcome and the slow start is most definitely NOT off putting in any way, though.
Art: Kyoto Animation, what more can I say? The animation is typically great by their own high standard, with a special mention to the animation in particular in the scenes that take place with "the girl in the alternate world", which is probably the most compelling and beautifully put together animation I've ever seen and will see in quite a while. The rest of the scenery is a slight step down from that, but still provides plenty of eye-candy. As much as I personally liked the character designs, I have seen some minor complaints about the possible "unnecessary" moe elements that were present, especially in Nagisa - who possesses the typical features of a "kawaii~desu" (or whatever) character, with her prominently large eyes and small, fragile demeanor. I think the "unnecessary" claim is somewhat invalid though, as her fragile body becomes a more important plot element than you might think. The rest of the character designs are refreshingly simple and just.. Pretty.
Sound: The OP wasn't as good or memorable for me as OPs by other Key influenced works, such as Air and Angel Beats (I haven't seen Kanon as of this review), but that doesn't mean to say I didn't like it at all. It kicks off with a little bit of melodic piano work, and is then taken forward with a more full, poppy sound accompanied by powerful vocals sung by the ever talented Lia. Like many others, I was slightly disappointed with the abolition of the infectiously cute "Dango Daikazoku" ED from the first season. The ED for this season though was a good, more uplifting listen. One problem with the more uplifting nature of this ED was that it ranged from being slightly unfitting to infuriatingly inappropriate after the more intensely emotional episodes. The BGM in general perfectly fit the situations, and again, a special mention to the BGM in the scenes involving "the girl from the alternate world". Mystifying and wondrous.
Characters: This is another aspect where Clannad: After Story shines. I believe there is at least one extremely likable and relatable character on show for even the most cynical of people. Firstly the main characters: the insecure, soft spoken and adorable Nagisa Furukawa and the brutally honest yet caring Tomoya Okazaki, who in my opinion is one of the best developed male leads I've seen in a while. The development of these mains couldn't have come about with the help it's great cast of supporting characters; especially the Furukawa family. Nagisa's mother, Sanae, who is beautiful and often mistaken for her older sister, is caring, constantly cheerful and the perfect mother figure. She also makes some notoriously ass-bad bread. My personal favourite character from the entire series is Akio, Nagisa's father. He is a big-talker and is playful, he's also often the main source of silly comic-relief (taking the place of Youhei from the first season). But he is dynamic: kind, sympathetic and deep down is a serious family man. He also plays baseball with the neighborhood kids in his spare time. What a man.
Overall enjoyment/conclusion: For many people, the term "enjoyment" of this series can be easily translated to "emotional impact" or "effect" on those individuals, as many have shed at least a tear (or 50) experiencing this anime at it's dramatic peak, and only the most skeptical of souls will avoid developing any emotional feelings towards any of the characters; and what a great cast of characters it was. The series delivered for me in pretty much every single way, and even when I wasn't fully expecting it. After about episode 17, I was thinking to myself "this is great, but I'd love to know more about Tomoya's father...". Guess what? Delivered. Little things like that helped make it an almost perfect watch for me, and it's undoubted high prestige among anime fans isn't decieving. Clannad: After Story gives you just about everything: sporting a solid, developed story, the outstanding cast of characters, typically great animation, emotional impact and above all: entertaiment. This is why Clannad: After Story will be a fondly remembered and loved future classic for years to come.