Here's the central problem with Clannad: it wants to tug your heartstrings, so it doesn't think about anything else. Unfortunately for this show, this means that it ends up being utterly contrived, unrealistic, and outright stupid.
This show expects us to believe that teenage girls act like five-year-olds. It expects us to care about these infantile, one-dimensional characters. It expects us to have genuine emotional reactions to the 'blossoming relationships' between our bland protagonist and these excuses for characters.
Is this too harsh? Let's look at the individual components that MAL expects us to rate anime by.
STORY: To be fair, the anime didn't have much to work
with, given that it was based on the original VN plot. Still, the outlandish (one word: Fuuko) and emotionally manipulative plot elements (most of the backstories that were explored) weakened what might otherwise have been a sweet, unpretentious slice-of-life drama/romance.
I mean: a story about a girl who is shy and has trouble making friends? Yeah, cool, you can watch Kimi no Todoke or something. A story about a girl with Mysterious Anime Disease who has the intellectual capacity of a child? Sorry, it's not working for me. [4/10]
ART: High budget, great production values and art direction. Squishy moe character designs may not be everyone's cup of tea (Sanae looks barely older than Nagisa), but again, that comes with the territory. If anything, this aspect of Clannad makes me despair, because I can think of a lot of better anime series that deserve to have this sort of budget. [8/10]
SOUND: Evocative without being overdramatic, for the most part. Unfortunately, all the female characters sound like babies. [6/10]
CHARACTER: This is probably the greatest problem I have with Clannad, and again, it's thanks to the source material. Few of the characters get much development. All of them (the female ones, anyway) exhibit some degree of fanboy-pandering. Kyou's tsundere-ness, Fuuko's quirkiness, Nagisa's unending sweetness, etc. - not to mention the fact that Fuuko, Kotomi and Nagisa, at least, sound at least half their age. Their childish and insecure natures (especially early in the series) make for unrealistic characters - and therefore compromise this show's unrelenting attempts at making us care about them.
It's also hard to understand Tomoya's motivations at the start of the series, i.e. why he even bothered with/cared about Nagisa et al. We get no insight into his motivations at all. Why would a so-called delinquent suddenly take up this project of helping a random girl he's never met before? Why does he find her interesting? What is the point? [3/10]
ENJOYMENT: Obviously higher if you're a moe fan, but those who derive little enjoyment from watching cute girls doing cute things might find this series rather trying.
Those who watch anime with their brain switched on will find this series trying.
Those who think that female characters should actually resemble, you know, real people... yeah, don't watch this show, it'll make you rage. [5/10]
If Clannad weren't so obviously manipulative, it might be a better series. Which is not to say that the series is obviously cynical - on the contrary, I think it exhibits a genuine warmth that lesser harem-type series lack. Yet the series ultimately feels contrived and heavy-handed, and its unrealistic characters undermine its would-be heart-warming nature.
"Poignant. Compelling. Heartbreaking. Clannad is one of the most cherished anime of all times."
The first time I watched Clannad was back in 2008, and I just finished re-watching it for the 3rd time this past few days. Now I realize that will take years before I watch something that does the same impact on me like this anime did. I was moved by it the first time I watched, and the third as well, but surprisingly in a different way. Throughout all anime history this is one of the most notorious series in the romance/drama genre, not only for the emotional load it carries but
also for the effects and different reactions it causes on the people who watched it.
The quote at the beginning of the review is from the description of the blu-ray edition. Of course they wouldn't bad-mouth their own release on the disc cover, but it's so honest and true that I couldn’t find a better way to introduce this review (I just removed the "and now it's available in HD!" part, obviously.)
I'd like to start this review, if I may, going straight to the point; the main reason why some people avoid Clannad.
"It's too cute."
Yes man, it is. I agree with you. There were times I thought to myself "this would never happen in the real world" but what is the problem? Appreciating these beautiful moments won't bruise you. "You'll cry" is also a sentence often read in reviews. I admit, I wrote it on my After Story review, but it's not mandatory! Nobody is obligated to cry or feel sad, it's just that the anime is so strong that it makes a lot of people cry. Even if you're not really into drama or romances, give it a try. If you dislike then drop the 2nd season, but complete this one! It's one in a lifetime experience, I dare to say you'll enjoy at least half of the show.
The Clannad collection is undoubtedly a well known anime. Even though, the After Story receive much more attention than the first season. Mostly because it's more "touching" than its predecessor, but it wouldn't be the same and wouldn't even exist without this prequel. It's the entire set that makes Clannad the masterpiece it is.
Some people end up watching After Story before the first series. The storyline is set in a way it's not necessary watch the first season to understand what is going on, the characters are introduced again and it's a different theme. However, I cannot guarantee that you will enjoy the show as much as someone who watched the 1st season before.
Clannad is something I would recommend even to a friend who have never watched any kind of anime. There is no need to have a "anime background" in order to enjoy it, it's something everyone, without exceptions, can watch. Despite the genre, age, tastes... There is no gore, violence, profanity, battles... it's just the classical slice-of-life humor mixed with a lovely romance, that proves how strong some stories can be by themselves without any kind of "attractive" or fan-service.
Do you know anyone who's a little depressed and is now reading some kind of self-help book trying to see the "beauty of life"? Recommend to him/her this anime.
If I were to define this series with one word, I'd say it's "charming". It's an anime to be enjoyed, appreciated. All the aspects of it, including art, soundtrack, characters but specially story.
When we were little, we used to find everything amazing, even the most stupid and simple thing was something amusing. We had a hell of a time with friends, laughing for no reason... But, suddenly it's all gone.
All those great mementos are now just vague memories and you're stuck in a boring and endless routine. This are the thoughts of our male protagonist, Tomoya Okazaki. And this little fragment from the first scene gives you already an idea of how the story will progress. However these are also thoughts we all have inside of us, and that's why Clannad's story becomes so realistic at some point, because it's close to reality, a reality some people have experienced themselves.
Don't worry, this sadness isn't the main focus of the story. Clannad is a heartwarming tale. Our protagonist will make many friends along the way, and with them new situations will appear, turning his lonely days into something much more enjoyable, happy, and also mysterious.
Jun Maeda and the screenwriters from Key did a marvelous job with the development of some points from the story, keeping some surprises hidden until the very end.
Clannad is a character-driven anime. Since it's based in a Visual Novel by Key, KyoAni decided to maintain the same setting, that's why it is divided into "arcs", each one focusing in a specific character.
When you say on a review that one series has these arcs, a lot of people usually interprets it with a prejudgment that it's bad because they think it will completely focus in one character during some episodes and leave the rest like if they were in "standby". This is not how it works with this series. Clannad was divided into arcs because that's how the Visual Novel was done, it was already like this, KyoAni just decided to follow the order. Even though, these arcs are all tight together and some 'themes' are continuously being developed, sometimes on the background but also taking the main stage at some episodes.
While talking about characters, I must praise those who imagined and designed them. From my standpoint, they're original, unique.
Nagisa, for example, has a strong personality but is easily turned down, she's caring but also very naive. It must seems incoherent but this is where things gets interesting. These characters' personalities aren't "fixed", and just like us, they change as the time passes by. Watching a character that's plain and you can predict its next action is boring. Stereotypes like the "tsundere friend" will always be present because in a way or another they're trademarks of slice-of-life. Even though, the way they're interpreted and the actions these characters take is what makes the difference between the average and the outstanding.
Kyoto Animation has always impressed me with the visuals and the details you can get from their animes. As expected from a high budget company they have in their hands the most recent software. That said, the artwork was also a joy. It's common to see wallpapers of Clannad around the internet, just another proof of it.
The placement and setting for the story was really well done, all the buildings and alleys seemed like a small countryside city. Same goes for the characters, they all have a clean and careful outline with that "moe" style KyoAni has. Like said before, KyoAni did an adaptation of the original story, so it means they had almost everything of the storyline done, this way they could focus on improving and include minor "spoilers" and visual jokes from the later chapters into the very first episodes which is great because when you finally get to those episodes, you have that déjà vu kind of feeling and remember they did hint you about that.
The soundtrack chosen and created for this series is something to give praise. I was astonished with the OST. They included some really emotional piano pieces for the strong scenes but also relaxing songs for the happy moments.
Although, they did a huge mistake with the ED. Not that it was the wrong song, Dango Daikazoku is addictive and a cute melody, however, there were lots of emotional endings throughout the anime, but after that heartbreaking scene, they throw the usual ending theme. Ok, Dango is a great melody but it isn't perfect for every moment. You can't have a happy and a sad ending with the same song! In some scenes, it ruined the entire emotional atmosphere that was built up. This would be one of the few reasons for me to remove some points from Clannad score.
I once read this marvelous anonymous quote:
-"Oh, now I understand why there are few doujinshi of this anime"
and a caption followed: "otaku after watching the complete Clannad series."
It's true! The story is perfect the way it is, nobody wants to mess with it.
It's a complicated thing to say "that series is the best anime of all times", this is something too relative. Even rankings like the one here on MAL aren't trustful. I'm not saying that it's wrong! It's just that these things are extremely relative since each website of anime has it own community and, as well, some differences in the rankings. Even though, there's one thing you can take as "absolute". If an anime is acclaimed by the majority of the critic during years it must mean it's good. I hope I was able to make a point, and at least convince some of you to watch it.
[...] adfghkjgfdssSorry, just sweeping my tears of the keyboard.
I have to thank "Clannad", for increasing my Japanese vocabulary and introducing me to a new word. While watching "Clannad" at my local anime soc, I could feel a certain something radiating from it. I'd encountered similar feelings before from other anime, but never quite so strongly. By the end of it, I picked up a new word to go with that feeling.
That word is "moe". I'd never come across the word before "Clannad", and but I sure as hell knew it's meaning afterwards. It describes a feeling that originates from the sweetness of the female characters. But it's not a charming kind of sweetness
that you get from, say, "Aria". It's an extreme kind of sweetness, the kind you get from gorging yourself on the icing from a cake, the kind of sweetness that makes your tooth ache and your stomach churn. I can't stand this kind of sweetness because it's artificial, arising from a cynical, calculated attempt on the makers part to portray the girls as cutely as possible. Taken to this kind of extremes, it has no real substance and serves only as an obstacle to good characterisation.
You can tell pretty quickly that "Clannad" is blatently based on a harem VN or a dating sim. The main protagonist doesn't waste much time hooking up with about 12 different girls. What's more, the character designs, with their various hair colour extracted from almost all major parts of the visible spectrum, are exactly what you'd expect from the source material. There's the Brown Haired Girl, the Blue Haired Girl (they don't even need names, and to be honest they don't deserve names), the Grey Haired Girl etc, and even a pair of Purple Haired Twins. In fact I'm surprised to see the roster is missing a Pink Haired Girl. Of course, a generically distinct personality is assigned to each girl. Now, "generically distinct" may sound like an oxymoron, but I assure you it is not. The girls' personalities are all distinct from one another, however they all conform to their own generic archetype that can be readily identified within about 20 seconds of their introduction. There's the Adorably-Childish Girl (aka Green Haired Girl), the Shy Girl (aka one half of the Purple Haired Twins), the Feisty Girl (aka the other half of the Purple Haired Twins) etc etc. Again, I'm surprised to see the roster missing a Ditzy Girl - maybe they deliberately missed one out in order to prevent the whole thing from becoming even more painfully transparent than it already is. It also soon becomes obvious that, though all the girls shows interest in the main character, for the purpose of the "Clannad" playthrough, er, I mean, storyline, the main character's "target" is Generically Sweet Girl (aka Brown Haired Girl).
Though I guess "Clannad" is technically not quite a harem, since there's another guy in the cast besides the main character, it may as well be one, because the other guy in question qualifies as a man only by technicalities. Practically, he's more like some sub-human creature, perhaps on about the same level as a worm, and is suitably treated as one too. Most of the girls treat him with distain and none of them are interested in him in the slightest. To be fair, the main character himself isn't quite your average harem lead, and for this reason, I've given him some more respect than the others characters by actually looking up his name for the purpose of this review (I'm bad with Japanese names and can never remember them): he's called Okazaki Tomoya. For some reason I keep thinking he's called Kyon... I think it's because like Kyon from "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu", he sticks out as the lone, sarcastic voice of relative reason amongst a sea of irrational madness. Anyway, I digress... as I was saying, what make Tomoya different from a typical harem lead is that although he is a bit of a good for nothing person, he's at least more charismatic and confident than that typical loser-but-nice stereotype that's recycled through most harems, and so you can at least kind of see why he's able to get on quite well with his, er, harem.
Other than the insane amount of moe, another thing that stood out about "Clannad" (in a bad way) is the insane amount of heavy handed emotional manipulation injected into the show. This show has more of it than "Saikano", and THAT is saying something. I bristle at the sight of the slice-of-life tag attached to this title, because this show completely sacrifices any sort of realism associated with that genre in favour of trying to artificially invoke more emotions from the viewer with unbelivable and outrageously melodramatic storylines. The "tragic" backstories for the various characters pasts are so contrived that at times it feels like a competition between them to see which one can be more ridiculous and unrealistic. It's a competition that is eventually won by Blue Haired Girl's (aka Nerd Girl) backstory involving a teddy bear. It's a story that is so "moving" that it had everyone in the room bursting into tears. Tears of laughter that is. Moreover, most of the girls - Blue Haired girl being a prime example - simply disappears into the background once their part of the story is over, and the shift in focus from one girl to the next is so swift and ruthless I found it kind of off putting. What's the point of spending an arc fleshing out these characters if they simply get swept under the carpet again once their part of the story is over? Brown Haired Girl is probably the only person who's presence can be felt throughout the series, and that's only because she's obviously the girl who's gonna hook up with Tomoya's eventually (but don't worry, if you don't like this ending, Kyoto Animation has rather helpfully made several "Clannad" OVA's that are basically alternative playthroughs where Tomoya picks someone else).
Only one of the supposedly tragic situations did not come off as overly melodramatic, and that's the one involving Tomoya's family situation with his dad. However, it's side story that's really jarringly integrated into the show. It comes into the show's focus randomly with little apparent purpose. It also feels out of place when placed against the cheesily cheerful parts, and what's more did not really come to any conclusion. It's almost as though when given this piece of material with genuine potential, the makers of "Clannad" didn't quite know what to do with it. As a result it feels like a bit of a tag on without much purpose.
I'm really glad that I watched this with my local anime society, because with my stubborness of finishing what I start, watching this whole thing through by myself probably would have killed me. I remember trying to catch up with the episodes on the weeks where I couldn't make it to the society showings, and I literally had to split each episode into two or three chunks to be able to complete it - I just couldn't stomach watching more than a few minutes of it at a time. And no wonder - with its sickeningly strong stench of moe, ludicrously contrived stories and array of cardboard template cut-outs masquerading as female characters, just what is there to like for someone who's not into moe or extremely sappy melodrama?
Clannad was an anime that didn't know what it wanted to be. It tried being a drama, romance, slice-of-life, and comedy all at the same time and just ended up becoming dumbed down.
As a romance, it was piss-poor with a mostly one dimensional cast of female characters with the exception of two that actually had personalities. For me, it failed as a drama. The first big arc is focused around a character that was extremely annoying. It made me not care at all about what happened and I had zero emotional connection to anything since that part. Clannad is primarily supposed to be a
romance/drama but it best aspect is its average comedy/slice-of-life aspects. That is not a good thing. It had it's moments, but all those moments were comedic.
The fucking eyes were so bad. Okazaki's eyes looked fine, but why only him?
It was okay.
The main love interest, Nagisa was one of the worst characters I've ever seen in anime. She's more one dimensional that a line. Throughout the whole anime Nagisa acts like a five year old child, never has any character development or changes. She is the biggest cause of Clannad's ruin. The only characters that make this anime watchable are the male characters Okazaki (main character) and Sunohara.The two female characters that have personality end up completely unimportant. Overall, over half the cast is useless.
I had to force myself through this. I'm not sure why Clannad is so praised. Yes, I've watched After Story. However this is isn't a review of After Story, it's a review of the first season (Not that After Story is much better). This season of Clannad fell flat is so many ways.
Clannad. Made as a visual novel by Key, made into an anime by Kyoto Animation. This combination has been seen twice before, in the series Air and Kanon. Both are well-known among anime fans, and mostly positively received. And anyone who has watched either or both of the two previously mentioned will definitely have their expetations of what Clannad will offer. These expectiations will probably, in a way, be fulfilled; yet Clannad is certain to sweep you along and astound it with its gripping tale.
The story itself is set to a small Japanese town, and a select few inhabitants of that town. The first
person to note is Okazaki Tomoya, a high school senior notorious at school for being a tardy delinquent; always late for classes, if he shows up at all, and he surely doesn't care for anything. And while that is true, he isn't the kind of person who goes looking for fights and has a foul mouth. The reason for his current life situation is a complex one, but can be summarized as such: He's simply bored. Of going to school. Classes. The town he lives in. His home and drunkard father.
That however, changes drastically one day, when walking to school. he hears a girl mutter the word 'anpan' to herself. This draws on his curiosity, and before long, the two of them are talking to each other. The girl, Nagisa Furukawa, evidently mutters names of foods she likes, to give her the confidence to get through the day. She is currently repeating her senior year due to illness, and she has one thing she absolutely must do: Re-establish the school's drama club.
To do this she needs members. And before long herself and Tomoya are looking around the school for new members. And here the somewhat-standard harem cast is built up. The soon-to-be drama club members are for the most part girls, each with their distinct personality and quirks which probably aren't unknown to someone slightly experienced with this kind of anime.
The route it takes from here is, at its bones and skeleton, a standard visual novel approach. There are several story arcs covering various amounts of episodes; each arc focusing on a specific girl. Of course, this means that the girls have their problems and issues which they have to deal with. And our main characters do just that, by valiant effort to help their newfound friends. And a little bit of Dr. Phil mixed in. One of my pet peeves with this anime.
But from what we now know, it sounds like any other anime of this type. So what is it that sets Clannad apart from the rest, and elevates it above them?
The first answer would be the characters. Yes, they start out a bit cliché, in some ways, but that's not really a bad thing. Making totally original characters personality-wise nowadays isn't that easy after all. What Clannad does with the characters after their introduction, however, is amazing. Not only are their struggles portrayed excellently and grippingly, they develop into strong induvidials who are there for their friends, who can face the world and its hardships more openly.
The second answer lies in its themes. Here it completely blows everything else out of the water, because what the producers want to tell us through Clannad is realistic and believable what concerns both actual plot execution and message. What the characters do, I can belive. What they learn from their struggles, I can learn and take with me to real life. That's how strong Clannad's message is.
Mostly it's about family. What is a family? Who can be family? How important are bonds? What if you don't have proper family at home; only jerks with no right to call themselves your family? Clannad tells us that a family can be found anywhere; not only in our own home. The main characters of the show may just find their own little family together, as they work with the drama club.
A character which I think deserves extra mention is Sunohara. He is in many ways the comedic relief person; when you see him around you expect something funny to happen. Or well, at least that's what you're supposed to do. But Sunohara isn't just a blond, shallow klutz. At times he really shines through with his deep character, proving that he, too, can be a capable supporter among his friends.
As most would expect of Kyoto Animation, the animation budget is all but slim. One of the things which makes Clannad so lifelike is the animation itself, through sheer quality. Lucid, vivid and soft colours makes sure the eye is pleased through gentle contrasts and lifelike static and non-static objects on-screen, be that walls, characters, cityscapes or other such things. The detail level is exceptionally high, which again contributes to that feeling of the series being alive. Clothing, furniture, decorations, it's all there and looking truly neat. But what contributes most to this feeling of being alive lies in the character motions. Not only are they fluid and pleasant to watch, they're abundant. You've most likely watched a series only to find that the characters walk stiffly, and when they talk they remain static during the whole conversation, save for maybe one or two motions. In Clannad, they swing their arms to be dramatic and to prove their points. They aren't static when jsut standing upright speaking. They do things during conversations which ensures that they seem more like real humans standing there than 2d anime characters.
And what would a show be without its music? Just as the animation contributes to the series coming alive, the music does an outstanding job at amplifying the emotions portrayed. Many of the themes are dramatic, sad; this to reflect the overall sadness of Clannad. Yet there are other themes too which fit right in. The standard new day at school theme, some comedy-like themes, they are all there. And they are composed beautifully, making sure every mood swing and feeling sweeps your heart away, gripping at your innermost feelings of empathy and compasion for the characters. The opening theme, remixed from the game's counterpart, is a lovely upbeat theme mixing strings, a neat bass and percussion all mixed into an allegro which has interesting lyrics as the topping. The end theme is basically a metaphor for what goes on; the dango family representing Nagisa and the caring people around her. It is a very bittersweet tune, offering cuteness and melancholy all the same.
And parallelling all that happens is the story of a girl in a world that has ended. A strange, mysterious world, where she is alone. All alone, savefor a doll she built from scrap metal. What this symbolizes and means, you can watch for yourself. Though, this side-story's relevance to the main plot is not revealed properly before the second season.
All in all Clannad offered a very pleasant surprise to me; offering both enticing themes, a fresh plot and interesting, deep characters. Once during the season I also had to experience a tear making its way down my cheek. That's the kind of anime this is. If you haven't watched it, you should definitely give it a try.
"Key's 1st non-adult visual novel proved to be a success."
Unlike its two predecessors (Air and Kanon) that started out as H-Visual Novels, Clannad was released for all-ages and does not contain any fan service (although the selling point is still harem). Being Key's second longest work, Clannad is not a simple story that can be summarized in a mere 23 episodes TV series. As a result, Kyoto Animation released an additional 24 episodes in the sequel Clannad ~After Story~. As the third anime adaptations of Key visual novels, Clannad certainly is a must watch for all Air and Kanon fans.
The Clannad visual novel was split
into two segments, "School Life" and "After Story". Clannad features the "School Life" segment, while the "After Story" segment is in Clannad ~After Story~. Each segment is further subdivided into arcs about each heroine. Similar to Kanon, each heroines' arc describe something unique relating the heroine to the main male protagonist. The transition from arc to arc are often very smooth and does not leave the viewers with any confusion.
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, etc.) has a pretty good reputation for its high level animation. Simply put, one will be find nothing but beautifully drawn girls, dynamic backgrounds, and completely fluid movements in this touching anime.
The OP, Megumeru ~cuckool mix 2007~, is sang by Riya of the Eufonius band. To those who have played the visual novel, it should be familiar as the song is actually a remix of the original game OP. While the ED, Dango Daikazoku, is sung by Chata.
As with many major titles, Clannad also come with a great deal of seiyu talents. Some of these big names include: Mai Nakahara as CV of Nagisa Furukawa, the main female heroine. Mai is famous for her role as Mai, the female lead in Mai HiME, and Norah in Spice and Wolf. Mamiko Noto as CV for Kotomi Ichinose. Mamiko is famous for voicing as Hecate in Shakugan no Shana, Kouta in Kanokon, and Yuka in Elfen Lied. Houko Kuwashima as CV for Tomoyo Sakagami. Some of the more well known roles by Houko includes Clare in Claymore, Flay, Natarle, and Stella in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed / Destiny (yes THREE major roles, yet one can hardly tell they are voiced by the same person), and Quon in RahXephon. Yuichi Nakamura as CV for Tomoya Okazaki, the main male lead of the anime. His past roles include Alto in Macross Frontier, and Graham in Gundam 00.
The characters are highly likable with a large variety of "flavours" to choose from. There is the tsundere type, strong-willed type, gentle type, bookworm type ... basically you name it, they have it! Since only 2 of the girls' arc are really covered in detail in Clannad, one might get the feeling that certain girls seem more "developed" than others. It should also be noted that there are quite a few unresolved character relations at the end which might make certain viewers feel unsatisfied with the ending. But please keep in mind that this is only half the story, thus one should expect plenty more character developments in the latter half along with more complete, resolved relations.
Personally, Clannad was more enjoyable than Kanon (2006) largely due to the more obvious humours (ones where you will laugh when you see/hear it, rather than those that require thinking and laugh in the aftermath). Tomoya's encounter with the girls are also MUCH more natural (and believable) than Yuuichi's ... in Yuuichi's case, it is almost always "oo.. must be a girl he left behind in his childhood" and yet most girls remember him and he only forgets them all.
However, that is not to say there is nothing to complain about regarding Clannad. What really nags me is the occasional intrusion by Fuko into the scenes in later episodes. It really disturbs me and I find it absolutely unnecessary. Was it like that in the game too?
Lastly, I want to point out that there is an episode 24 (DVD only) named Clannad: Another World, Tomoyo Chapter where the focus is on Tomoya and Tomoyo (what a nice pair of names). Evidently as the name implies, it takes place in "another world" thus it does not directly relate to the TV series of Clannad nor Clannad ~After Story~. But Tomoya x Tomoyo supporters would not want to miss this rare opportunity to see them embracing each other!
CLANNAD is the most fabulous harem anime I have ever seen, mostly because it doesn't play out entirely like a harem anime.
The story is totally unique. An outcast, troubled boy tries to help a sickly, shy girl in forming a drama club. Why does he help her? Why does she want to do it? All sorts of great questions are asked, and the beauty of it is that some are not answered. Things just happen in life, don't they? Sometimes there's never an explanation. The story follows day-t-day school activity and home life. If you're into slice of life with romantic appeal, then you'd
like the story for CLANNAD.
The art was colourful and pretty, though it may be too moe for some people. There was some good use of bright colours, and it doesn't ever look dull or tired.
The sound was AMAZING. It created a wonderful mood and the ED makes me want to get teary.
Characters were all unique and awesome. They were bittersweet and touching, each and every one of them. And I must say, Nagisa and Tomoya make some excellent leads, and Sunohara wins hands-down as best supporting character ever.
I loved CLANNAD. It was beautiful. There were one or two unfabulous things, like when it got traditionally harem-like (boobs pressing against guy's back, a ton of girls who want him, misconstrued sexual situations) but the brilliance of it otherwise overshadowed that.
Clannad, Kyoto Animation's latest anime release, exhibits the meticulous and revered production quality of all the studio's previous releases. Based on a visual novel by Key, Clannad takes the viewer into a seemingly simple story of life at school, but the series soon develops mysteries and tales of wonder.
Each girl in Clannad (main and supporting cast) has her own personality quirk, one of which is bound to attract a fan. That kind of variety works to attract many viewers. But Clannad is not necessarily a "harem" by its general definition. While Tomoya's daily life is indeed surrounded by beautiful girls, he
is not interested in dating any of them. Instead, he becomes involved (accidentally or not) in their hopes and concerns, and the storytelling of the series becomes apparent through the dramatic character development.
In most episodes, the flow of the story involves each girl a little bit at a time, which I prefer since the drama feels more realistic. Character development occurs in parallel, and more drama can be drawn from the intertwining relationships among the characters. Some episodes do define their focus on a particular girl, but the overall immersive feel of the series is not lost.
The fact that Kyoto Animation produces this series has been a recent guarantee that the artwork is superb. Characters and backgrounds are brilliantly drawn. Motion of all kinds are captured smoothly -- not only characters walking but also the wind blowing on their clothes. Body language is also visible, which speaks louder than words most times.
All the music is taken from the original game, which many fans praise, although it does not allow for too much creativity. Regardless, the original music is full of variety and is easy on the ears. Plus it was composed to fit the story for a reason; why not reuse it? The ED thing (at least the lyrics) is new, though, I believe.
While the storytelling is excellent, most of the enjoyment lies in the humor, which is mostly cute and/or slapstick stuff. Only in rare occasions does the humor detract from the story and drama, but it is mostly timed well and presented as a fun change of pace after a very emotional sequence (or before the next one). Speaking of emotional sequences, I found myself crying on more than one occasion. Clannad pulls at the heartstrings very effectively when the time is right.
Overall, the defining points of Clannad are the supernatural elements (gotta break the laws of physics a tiny bit to tell a unique story), the moe factor (cute girls are cute, but not totally unrealistic), and the emotionally gripping story (everyone is connected to the overall theme of the series -- family).
I regret that the series is about to end, but I have loved it every step of the way. Kyoto Animation has such amazing respect right now that I'll give all of its future Key adaptations a 10/10, before having seen any of the episodes or knowing anything about the series. They know how not to disappoint.
(Originally written 11/22/07 after episode 7. Last updated 02/09/08 after episode 17.)
Clannad is the 3rd in the line of Harem, Romance anime based of Key’s Visual Novel (dating sim) and with the bar set pretty high, this anime is able to reach the expectations of its fans.
The series begins as a usual high school anime, with no defined plot or storyline but just introduces the male protagonist and the girls that the series revolves around. From the first couple of episodes it is easy to pin point the obvious similarities it has with its predecessor (Kanon) but the major difference is the level of comedy. The comedy of Clannad is on a completely different level,
as it manages to turn anything to do with games (RPGs) or romance anime into a hilarious joke. However during the girl's various stories the comedy is somewhat replaced with some heartfelt drama, which adds depth to the series but it lacks a bit of substance. It doesn’t seem to matter much though, as this once again proves to be a winning combination.
The characters are an important aspect of this “winning combination”, as you will grow to care about some of the characters so much that you may even shed a tear. The girls are the major part of the story and even though their personalities are a little clichéd, they each get their own moment to shine. However the length of the series did negatively affect the girls during the 2nd half of the series. The male protagonist (Tomoya) is surprisingly well developed, as he intermingles between the girls various stories and of course, brings most of the comedy.
The quality of the animation is nothing short of wonderful, with beautifully drawn girls, dynamic backgrounds completely fluid movements that would put many shows to shame. I’ve probably said this same thing to a lot of other anime series but if you know anything about “Kyoto Animation” then you’ll know the sort of standard you are going to get, from watching this masterpiece.
Unlike the music in a lot of other KyoAni shows, the music plays an important role in Clannad and I’m not only talking about the catchy OP and ED theme (dango). Each of the main characters gets their own theme tunes that go well with their personalities, adding a sort of personal touch to the main girls. Nonetheless it does get a bit repetitive, listening to the same tunes over and over.
Overall Clannad has proven to be one of the best Harem, Romance anime of our time. It is really hard to find a flaw in this amazing series, because it has superb visuals, a great story and some of the best characters. Even with a lot of parallels with its predecessors, Clannad still manages to break free and become a show of its own. Of course it is riddled with clichés and cheesy moments but you wouldn’t mind, due to the many hilarious and touching moments.
You don’t need to be a harem anime fan to enjoy Clannad, you just need a heart.
I was randomly looking around for a new anime too watch, but at the time I were watching alot of action animes and never considered to watch any romance/drama animes. I joined a chat on an anime site and asked for a recommendation. Someone mentioned Clannad and alot of people supported the suggestion. In any case: I started too watch Clannad.
The first thing I noticed about Clannad was the art, it is probably one of the best elements in Clannad. I would often pause the anime for a minute just to watch the surroundings. I concluded that the sunsets were the most beautiful. Why? Because
the orange glow it emitted was just stunning. Never before had I seen anything similar in an anime. Well, we do got other animes from Kyoto Animation, like Air or Haruhi Suzumyia. But I still found Clannad's art more charming than any other anime. The character art is also brilliant, and can resemble Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon and even Lucky Star. A huge element which Kyoto Animation used was tears, you could for example often see Sunohara cry out of pleasure, pain or by being fooled by Okazaki. I can't find anything bad about the art in Clannad and therefore:
Another good thing about Clannad is the sound. From excellent voice actors like Yuichi Nakamura, Mai Nakahara, Ryō Hirohashi and Daisuke Sakaguchi too amazing situational music. Clannad soundtrack covers everything in a perfect manner: from spirited and happy moments too melancholy and sad moments. Jun Maeda, Magome Togoshi, and Shinji Orito who are the geniuses behind the music also made soundtracks for Air.
There are also soundtracks which fits each character. For example you have Sunohara which have uplifting and spirited music which fits too his personality. Nor in the sound can i find any flaws, and therefore:
One thing i simply loved about Clannad were the characters. How they were presented, their development and everything else about them. Each character had their past and views about things throughly explained throughout the anime, which was a first for me. And while watching Clannad, i felt like i were bonding with each character. Which made After Story a heart breaker, but lets save that for later.
Clannad's story is separated into several arcs. You have the very beginning of the anime were the main characters and some secondary characters are presented and also some relationships start to spin off. Then you have the Fuko Ibuki arc, the Kotomi Ichinose arc and after that Clannad keeps building the relationship between the characters. You often get a harem feel in Clannad, although it is not presented on a "ecchi" basis which we often witness in comedy/romance animes. Well, you have Sunohara of course, but the protagonist, Okazaki, isn't really the ecchi type. Of course, there are a few moments, but it is not the main basis of Clannad's humor. Which I think affected the story in an excellent way.
Clannad's humor is just flawless. It's not too ecchi and you never seem to get tired of Sunoharas stupidity or Okazakis pranks. You also have Kyou's anger and Tomoyo's grown up personality and her desire to be a student council president. These are of course just examples. But there are also sad parts in Clannad which I think were done really well. And it were all supported by excellent music.
What can I say? I loved everything about Clannad, and it is by far my favorite anime. I can recommend this anime to everyone, it is really worth taking a look at. Even if you don't like romance/drama/humor as much!
Please, why is it noone sees that this anime is a disgrace to anime? Look at it, look at it! Of course, I realize that saying that is wrong since, in truth, there are worse animes than Clannad, infact there are quite a few that are worse, but they are accordingly and consequently rated much lower than Clannad.
Ok, let's disregard everything and just take a look at the characters? I mean what are they? They have no personality whatsoever, they borderline characters that are in really, really bad harem animes and there are some really bad ones out there. Basically the only good harem
I've ever watched that outright called itself a harem is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.
But this is not about Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, it's about Clannad. An anime which has produced a sequel. Both the first one and its sequel have recieved much praise from many people. I don't see it at all and I must go back to my main points of criticism which are characters, character development and character interaction. Basically everything that had to do with characters in this anime downright sucked. The story isn't good either but atleast it had a few redeeming points, the characters did not. And what's more; there was no comic relief character, there was no funny guy, the funny guy was a complete drag and a pushover.
I'm not going to stop, you thought I was going to stop didn't you? I'm not going to stop. It is just too fake. Anime is perhaps not always supposed to depict real life events, occurances and scenarios, but come on, the interaction between the characters was just too fake. It felt like they weren't even in the same scene as eachother. Now I'm going to talk a little about the main character; he has no personality. I said that earlier didn't I? Well I can afford saying it again. Why is he even bothering showing up on screen? What is he saying? Does anyone care what he's saying? You know who's worse? Nagisa, the female main lead. She's like a dog, or a cat, or any other fluffy cute animal. The only difference is that Nagisa can speak, but just like cats and dogs she doesn't really have to speak because whenever she does say something it's completely meaningless and without any worth.
On the bright side, it had some decent art and animations, which is something that can only be expected from KyoAni. Yea that's about the only good thing I have to say about this anime, well apart from the fact that it's ranked much higher than many animes that are much better than this, an abomination in itself. But it's still a redeeming point that the anime possess I suppose.
Clannad revolves around a high schooler, Tomoya, who after befriending a young girl named Nagisa, makes new friends. Tomoya quickly discovers that there's more to these young girls than meets the eye and tries to help them with their problems while dealing with his own.
Story: What more is there to say about the story other than it's great? The word clannad means family. There are five girls, each with their own story to tell that somehow involves family. Although there are many comparsions to Kanon, they remain different because Kanon's overall story was about miracles, while Clannad is about the bond of family.
Art: As expected
of Kyoto Animation, the animation quality is superb. I don't think there's a single negative comment I can make about it. The character designs are great. The way the characters look and act line up perfectly with each other. The background isn't lacking of detail either.
Sound: The opening and ending songs fit well with the story. The opening shows the dramatic side and the ending shows the light-hearted side. Nagisa's voice is portayed very well. Her insecurities an naviety are very evident. Tomoya's funny antics shine brightly through his voice. The music played during comedic scenes and the music played for emotional scenes fit perfectly.
Character: Each character is very unique and different from each other. There's the strong-willed loud mouths and the insecure shy types and not to mention the two delinquents that provide the much needed comedic relief. They all have separate yet equally srong stories to tell.
Enjoyment: I definitely enjoyed this series. It has every aspect an interesting story needs: drama, comedy, and romance. The comedy scenes sit well with the series because they keep the story from being too emotional. The romance is also nice. Nagisa and Tomoya have such a cute relationship. It's interesting to watch their two different characters interact.
Overall I think this is a series that should not be missed. Regardless of what intrigues you, you're sure to find something you enjoy about this series.
I rarely go for so-called "slice of life" stories, but I heard a lot about this anime. I heard it was amazing. Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but by the end of it, my thoughts were quite the opposite.
I'll describe the given categories in order of importance, from least to greatest.
Lets start with the -sound-
I enjoyed the opening theme, "Megumeru", and ended up adding it to my playlist. The music overall is good. That's all I have to say about that.
Now for the -art-...
Unfortunately, I found it very annoying. When Tomoyo first met Nagisa on the street and she opened up those horrifically
huge eyes, I literally facedesked. What the hell is this? This pseudo-chibi, or moe style or whatever it is... it's not cute. It's not "kawaiidesu." It's extremely... I don't know how exactly to describe it. Let's just say that at first, the sight of them made me want to break things. By the end, I was desensitized, of course... but the point is: They look like extraterrestrials.
As for the -characters-...
This is the main reason I was turned off by this anime. I hated most of them, and I was quite disgruntled by their behavior. I will describe the mains in order from the ones I dislike the least to the most:
This is the one girl from this silly harem that I actually like. She is ambitious, and she knows exactly what she wants, unlike many women. Not only does she know how to fight, in every sense of the word, but she knows how to cook for and take care of her man - the complete package in a woman. -8/10-
I also like her little brother. "Hey mom, dad, I want to see the sakuras together every year!" "Oh honey I dont' know..." *takes out razor blade* "Oh there's some peach fuzz on my wrists. I'll shave it off a little" "OH WAIT DON'T DO THAT HONEY! OKAY WE'LL DO IT!" I was certainly intrigued by his persuasion techniques.
Youhei seems to be a comic relief character. I don't like those. But then again, he always seems to get thrashed verbally and physically by everyone. So I suppose I feel some sympathy for him. There was nothing special about him, but I couldn't find anything serious to dislike about him either - a fairly decent character overall. -6/10-
I don't like her simply because she's a jerk. She really doesn't do that much in the story other than being a loud obnoxious little jerk. And it's annoying. I don't have much else to say about her. -5/10-
Apparently she's a genius. But when we first met her, I got the impression that she was a retard. She does pitiful things like crying in a corner while her friends break their backs for her. I cannot appreciate that. -5/10-
Another ridiculous sob story. Probably the most ridiculous of all of them. Her obsession with wooden shuriken did not amuse me, nor did her cameo appearances. - 4/10-
Ah... the main character... His right arm can't shoot basketballs anymore, so instead of learning to use his left arm like any rational person, he becomes a "delinquent." And so he discovers poor little Nagisa-chan and randomly decides to dedicate his life to helping her realize her dream, because his own life no longer has any meaning. He also wants to help every stray girl he comes across, instead of focusing on his studies. I'm sorry but I can't admire or respect a person like that, because if you don't have any ambition and can only worry about others, what's going to happen to you? It's not like you're gonna get a huge prize at the end. You will still have to hope for the charity of others yourself... for the rest of your life. I cannot support such a lifestyle. And the part that irritates me the most is the situation with his father. The guy is apparently a bum and needs help. If Tomoya should be helping anyone, he should be helping him. The name of of this story, "Clannad," implies that this is supposed to be about "family" right? Well, there is no real reason Tomoya can't forgive his father for the greater good, for the sake of family. Yet somehow Tomoya would struggle to help random girls off the street over his own father. Regardless of what happened between them, I cannot respect that. All of this is only half the reason I hate this guy, but I can't say the rest without writing spoilers. So there you have it. -3/10-
And now the character I hate the most - the type of female I hate the most. She is the kind who is completely helpless on her own. She can't do anything for herself, and if Tomoya hadn't taken her in like a stray animal she would have sat alone in a corner eating bread for the rest of her life. She is the type of girl who has no self-esteem and at one point is even sorry for being born. She has great trouble calling Tomoya by his first name even after all they've been through, due to her obscene lack of self-confidence. By the way, when I go to Japan one day, I'm just gonna call all of them by their first name with no honorifics, just for teh lulz. Anyway, she relies solely on the help and sacrifice of others, and she wants to waste it by sulking and crying in a corner. Quite frankly, it's pathetic. I don't accept that she's "physically weak" as an excuse. I've seen autistic paraplegics with more independence and fiber of character. -2/10-
As for the -story-
All in all, it's all about Tomoya's life's mission to help stray girls, and how they all want him. I'll admit I was amused in some parts, and maybe a little sympathetic in others, but not enough to make up for everything else that bothered me. That's all I have to say about that.
And my -enjoyment-
I will simply repeat the word "decent." To be quite honest, the only reason I kept watching this show after the atrocious Fuuko arc was the same reason some people would vote for say... Sarah Palin: "morbid curiosity."
However, I don't know if my curiosity is enough for me to continue with the "After Story" ...maybe if I'm extremely bored one day. Well, whatever. Thanks for reading.
From what I've heard from many of my friends and reviews, generally Clannad is a heartwarming tearjerker with the very adorable characters. But based on viewing it, I say that people who do not prefer "moe" like me will have a different opinion.
What is "moe?"It is a terminology that takes on many forms in anime; I have no right to define it but for me the closest meaning to it is "cuteness"
Clannad's story is a slice of school life where the main characters encounter different people and situations alike. Each has their own conflict as a student, as a family member or as
an individual. In my opinion, the story is simple.
Personally, I find its arcs or stories not surprisingly new. Problems about self confidence, crushes and parental relationships are already common though the way the protagonists address those problems are certainly interesting to see. Some things will make you smile,some has surprising twists and some may break your heart. But in another prospective, Clannad may be truly intended to those that relate to it.
The pacing is slow; it does not jump right into the situation but rather introduces its featured characters and shows their personalities and comical sides; though some may find those tidbits insignificant. And also, I find each arc unique on its own. Though slow, development is gradual and very in-character.
The main problem is that many things are predictable or expected, or that some viewers might get irked with all the unnecessary crying.
But Clannad has some little elements as well that I can say...out of this world. It's interpretation differs from one to another and is a good connection to the individuality and emotions of a person.
Art is also very familiar to the eyes for many animes featured Clannad's style but it is certainly refreshing. The environment and its colors are pleasing to the eyes with their mild tones. Probably the greatest asset of its animation is the characters. Different"unique" hair colors and styles has successfully distinguished one character from the other...and the eyes are gorgeous!
Dango Dango Dango Dango Dango Dango Daikazoku...
The memorable thing about Clannad's music are its melodies and the ending song certainly makes it so. So my praise comes to "Dango Daikazoku" because it fits the series in a very cute and adorable; but the song somehow touches a different area and tells another meaning.
The opening song is appropriate though not entirely exceptional. And though I say Clannad's melodies are good, the background music every episode are almost the same, making it repetitive and predictable. They could have used different character themes.
Loving the series lies within loving its characters; and generally, all the protagonists are classic school characters:
a delinquent, yet helpful boy
a boy who's the punching bag of female characters
a girl with little self-confidence
a cute yet mysterious girl
a pair of contrasting sisters
a shy and intelligent girl
a tough and responsible girl
Though many don't find them new (they're classic!), they somehow shine with some unique characteristics and actions that leaves a smile at one's face. Their interaction greatly plays a role in the drama of the genre. Many of them has hidden pasts and secrets that are revealed differently along the way. However, they are arguably generic and lacks development. Cuteness for the sake of it being cute may irk some viewers.
Sadly, the central plot mover, Nagisa Furukawa is weak. The story is made predictable through her and what is accomplished in the whole series can be compressed in a few episodes or such. Everybody acts in an idealized fashion around her while her struggle simply lacks impact and nothing new.
Notably, every one of them is kind-hearted. And they settle everything through teamwork and will-power. Don't expect intense humanism nor psychology. Expec
Enjoyment is rather personal and its not the best basis in rating the series. However, I was not entertained by the countless "I'm sorry!" then "It's okay!" dialogues and the lack of faults in the characters.
If you're looking for an anime with dark themes, societal issues, intense drama, cool action and superb coolness Clannad is not for you. But if you want a relaxing anime with adorable characters that will make you reflect about your school life and the feelings of people then check this series out.
I think my review will be very unusual from the all of Clannad reviews. Actually I don't remember it good but... You know I haven't enjoyed the story at all. It was so silly, uninteresting, and so stereotyped that once I even have fallen asleep. Honestly, I was just so bored with the storyline and so annoyed with some of the main characters that I just wanted to drop it sometimes.
Ok, then lets start with the story:
The cute looking boy meets just awfully ugly girl with the strange things in her head. Then she starts saying some senseless things. In the school he sees
that she's very lonely and he feels pity for her so they become friends. In this moments she can say that he's her first and most precious friend. Ok. Then she starts fall for him and he for her, but they are too shy and there's many other girls around him so she can't say that she likes him. Then it's showing that none of them can't suit him more than the main girl and in the end they confess to each other and end up dating. Such a silly, stereotyped drama and harem. I give the story 4/10
Omg, I HATED the main girl Furukawa, Nagisa. You just can't imagine how annoying she was. Like an eyesore.
Other girls was ok. Especially Kyou. She was very cute and cool.
Tomoya is the best. I very liked his personality and you know he was the one of the reasons why I watched the anime untill the end. [fangirl] He looks so cute
I can already tell people are expecting a very trollish review but to me, this is my most unenjoyed and possibly most hated anime of all time. Lets just get into the review though shall we? Also this is for clannad not after story. after story was okay but I am treating it as its own thing.
I mean it was your normal slice of life anime but even for that the story was pretty bad. It never had a main girl besides attending school and for a slice of life, it made absolutely no sense since some paranormal stuff were happening like ghost girl
in the first arc. Not the worst story but it was basically go to school and lets try to tug on your hear strings while being funny which ultimately felt more like watamote to me than comic relief. Worst part of all is that everything was predictable for me right down to the smallest detail not because I am good at that it just felt like where else would they go with that. There are other problems but that would contain spoilers so I will cap it right here.
Now its fine if you thought the art was good, but I have seen clannad fans acting like the art was perfect and from what I have heard "should be put in a museum". Now comparing this to other animes made from kyoko animation, it is definitely the worst product I have seen from them animation wise. I have no idea why eyes were too big but that is just one thing. My biggest problem was that it all felt choppy. For the year 2007, if felt like so many other animes either brought something new to the table when it came to animation or were simply better so for the year 2007 it just fell short.
Now I do my research most of the time, but for this one thing I am about to say I did not. What I really disliked was the fact that they had one track play for about 25% of the time and it got really annoying to me. It was just unmemorable to me in general but at the end of the day its just music preferences. If you thought the music was better I understand why.
Finally I get to be salty. The majority of characters were flat out trash\generic and I will go over all of them individually. Going to go in no particular order though
Fuko Ibuki 1\10
every time she came up I just wanted to cringe. Throughout all episodes even after her arc she would appear for short periods of time with the same wooden starfish joke and it was just unfunny to eventually being cringey or I would flat want to skip it.Nothing really to that character besides a cheap trick to pull on your heart strings
Nothing really wrong with her besides being the generic shy girl\sickly one. She had her good moments nothing really to say besides I wish every other character was more like her so I can give a better score
The two purple hair girls in short, one was generic shy one and the other one was basically your hey look I can beat up our mc a few times I am a generic tsundere Just generic dating sim girls but worse which makes sense since this was a VN before an anime.
Basically your generic best friend comic relief who is a huge pervert and all girls hate him just the same old jokes for every upisode got very annoying.
Her arc was the least painful thing to sit on and after that they toss her away. she was the quiet library girl typical generic shit you would think with a sad backstory. Not a bad character but nothing really special besides one thing I really liked. She was the only girl not thirsty for our MC 100 percent of the time. I liked how she needed to be worked for and even than she likes him like every other girl but she is not slobbering all over him.
I can say I enjoyed this character the second least. Generic hey I can beat up everyone in the school and 1v50 rival gangs but inside I feel insecure. Just horrible character throughout everything.
Our main MC oh yea in a nutshell generic MC of any harem like anime with the hey look I am depressed. Nothing stands out with him and his backstory is nothing really but does explain how he became a delinquent.
Overall I just could not like most of the cast they all did not ever feel important to me.
Final judgment 1\10
First off even if you put this review as not helpful or hate em general since clannad fans a bit unrational at times. I like animes like this I usaully give most slice of lifes a 4-7 rating or if it has lots of emotion like anohana, or your lie in april, I give them very high scores 8-10. Point of all that was showing that its not because I dislike animes like this its just this particular anime I will never get why its popular. I believe just a theory here but it was good for its time and characters like that fit the bill for that time. I see most people who watch clannad now of days really hate it or simply could not get through it which I had the same problem but eventually did. Mostt fans are people who grew up with clannad so maybe its a generation thing and for some reason even though I watched it maybe 09 or something I just simply hated it.
Tomoya Okazaki is a Highschool student who lives with his farther. Their relationship has progressed to the point where they're both strangers to one another. One morning on his way to school he meets a girl Nagisa Furukawa. The two befriend one another and over time the two help each other along the way in various tasks as their relationship continues to grow.
It’s finally time to review this show after months of debating.
The story follows our main protagonist Tomoya Okazaki, a delinquent who is frequently late to school, has bad grades and consistently gets into fights with others. It just so happened to
be a spot of luck that he meets the main heroine who would help change his life, Nagisa Furukawa. This shy and reserved girl happened to be speaking to herself whilst on her way in to school was surprised to see Tomoya standing by offering words of comfort.
That was the pinnacle moment that set the relationship between the two in motion as well as the rest of the series. From there on Tomoya and Nagisa help each other and help other friends along the way which helps to further strengthen the bond between Nagisa and Tomoya.
Story arcs for characters like the Ibuki sisters, Nagisa and the drama club, Kotomi and her past and helping Tomoyo to become school president all contribute towards helping Tomoya become a better and happier person. I would get into more detail about each of the story arcs but that could create spoilers.
Tomoya at first is portrayed as a distant guy who seems out of touch with people. It’s only after being with Nagisa that we see the stark contrast as to what he is like before. His interactions with all of the characters are very interesting as you can see how he treats each individual and how he regards the people closest to him. For example his relationship with Youhei Sunohara is very relaxed and Tomoya often tends to tease him, however the two have a strong relationship which is later addressed in the second season. When you compare the relationship with Youhei to his relationship with Ryou Fujibayashi, it just appears to be very uncomfortable and often forced at times. It is very heart warming to see how Tomoya grows as a character and the selflessness of his acts always turns out to be worth the effort.
Nagisa Furukawa is a shy and introverted girl. Now since I’m a big fan of the show i always here people saying what a dull and boring character she is, but i disagree with that. Nagisa is a very kind and caring girl. She doesn't often get angry and when she does its just adorable. Her determination is very admirable. She is always empathetic of others and is a very selfless person. Nagisa is the sense of normality that Tomoya has been searching for and you can see his life approaching normal from the time they spend together.
The last mentionable character for me is Youhei Sunohara. Essentially the comic relief character Youhei is a constant presence of laughs for the show. He is similar to Tomoya because of their situations and that’s how the two became friends. He is a punching bag for a couple of the female characters in the show and he just can't seem to catch a break with woman.
I'd have to say that the art was the weak point of the show. The background wasn't done that well and you can notice this when looking at buildings various street items. The animation was exceptional, i couldn't find much to fault with it, but it wasn't by any means extravagant. The designs of the characters... well its Key animation so expect Moe looking characters with big eyes and who all have the same face essentially.
I enjoyed the soundtrack for this show and the softer tones frequently used in the opening scenes were very calming and nice. The opening for the show was very well done, but from time to time i skipped it. The ending sequence was a lullaby song called 'Dango Daikazuku, which was very peaceful and a highlight for the series for me. It was something i couldn't skip once.
To say I enjoyed this series would be very undermining. This show demonstrated to me the power of friendship, the bonds between people and how a lucky meeting with someone can change your life. This show brought out so many emotions in me which I didn’t think it was possible to have. I felt what the characters felt and while I’m always hoping for the show to give Youhei I break, I just fell in love with this. This isn’t by any means a perfect show, everything has its flaws, but perfection is only what you make of it and to me this show is perfect.
I give this show a well deserved 9/10 and a place in my heart forever. This show isn’t for everyone. Those who have seen shows like Air or Kanon 2006 may not regard this as a big deal. If you are not a fan of romance anime this also won’t be for you. I recommend this show to those looking for a sweet and heart warming romance anime with excellent character relationships.
Thanks for reading guys; I had a few tears well up in my eyes whilst writing this.I plan to review the second season soon. See you later and have a nice day!
Ok, so this is my first anime review. After hearing many people rave about this so-called "great" anime, I thought that I would give my input on what I personally thought of this show.
This anime is supposed to be really emotional and tear-jerking, but the only tears that I experienced were tears of boredom! I had to sit and suffer through the whole series at an anime club meeting because I really had no where else to go. I was trying hard to get into the series, but I just couldn't, and here's why:
Story: Story? What story?! There's no real story here! Just some dude
helping a bunch of girls with their emotional problems! You call that a story?! Although I suppose the question posed is which girl he will end up with in the end (By the way, I already know who he ends up with in the Afterstory just from reading the synopsis, but I won't spoil anything and I don't intend to watch Afterstory). It sounds like the synopsis to, oh, I dunno...pretty much every other harem out there! By the way, I hate harem with a burning passion and I'm sorry, but this anime is really no acception. The only difference is that this is harem makes a desperate attempt to try to be "meaningful" but fails horribly (I will explain why later).
Art: The colors are pleasing on the eyes and the scenery is well-lighted. Unfortunately, neither of those things can make up for the utterly generic designs of the characters. Every character basically looks the bloody same! The only real differences would be the hair and eye color! What's especially disturbing is how sickingly cutesy and moe everyone looks. There's no variety! I mean, C'MON, you need ugly characters to balance out the cute and pretty ones (at least that's how I see it).
Sound: Nothing too memorable here either. I only found the "Dango" ending mildly amuzing, but's that's about it.
Character: They say you can have best and most original storyline in the world, but without good characters to move the story along, you've got NOTHING. And this especially rings true with me. See, this is the major problem I have with the series: the CAST! Most of them failed to impress me and draw my interest. For one, the main character Tomoya has no personality whatsoever! He's nothing more than a vessel for his female classmates to dump all of their emotional baggage onto. And the other characters are pretty much card-board cutouts of character archetypes from other harem shows like Air and Kanon. There's really nothing special about them. Most of them are dull and flat. The only somewhat interesting one was Tomoyo, after I've seen her beat up that gang of boys. I thought that was pretty badass and was pretty much the highlight of the show for me.
Enjoyment: As I was saying earlier, this show was obviously created to be an emotional tear-jerker and, therefore, "meaningful". I, however, wasn't moved one bit. The characters emotions just seemed so fake and artificial that it was really hard for me to care about them, especially since most of the characters don't appeal to me in the first place. The creators' attempt at trying to create pathos just failed for me. I found this show to be pretentious, contrived, and boring. Sure, there were a few comedic moments, but they were too few in number and couldn't compensate for all the sappy, corny melodrama of sob backstories in this show. If the show had a better cast, more comedy, and real raw emotions instead of the characters just simply sitting perfectly still telling their stories, I probably would have enjoyed the series a lot more.
Overall: If you're a drama fanatic and you like moe and emo characters, then this is the show for you! As for me, I wish I'd have gotten all those hours of my time back because I thought it was pointless, sacarine, moe fluff and I really don't get all the hype behind it! As I see it, it's really no different than anything else out there.
Visual novel adaptations are something that I'm not particularly fond of, especially slice-of-life romance visual novel adaptations. Why? Well... more often than not, a harem ends up inadvertently forming due to the fact that the adaptation in question is trying to cover so many stories at once to the point where it sends off some rather bizarre messages and implications. You want a good example of what I'm talking about? Let's take a look at Clannad: one of the most popular visual novel adaptations of recent years and one that has left me with some SERIOUSLY mixed feelings.
Before I go any further, I just want
to take the time to explain the nuances of visual novels to those of you who aren't familiar. If you're a VN addict, you can just skip this paragraph. Basically, visual novels make you play through the story and based on the choices you make, you go down a specific "route." If you go down one "route," you cannot go down the others unless you start from square one again. This is especially the case with slice-of-life romance visual novels like Clannad, where you're introduced to multiple girls but you can only pick one girl at the end of it all.
Slice-of-life romance visual novel adaptations end up trying to cover all of the girls' stories throughout the course of the show. Key word: trying. The biggest problem that visual novel adaptations have is the fact that anime as a medium does NOT have an answer to certain visual novel nuances. Because visual novels work in such a way where you're supposed to play through the story and you end up going down routes, it's only natural for characters and such to be thrown to the wayside since it's expected for you to play through the other routes if you want the full story. This nuance does NOT translate over to an anime context at all, and it's the biggest reason as to why I can't get on with Clannad.
Clannad focuses on Tomoya Okazaki who is a delinquent high school student who hates the town he lives in. Over the course of the story, he happens across the various girls that he attends school with and ends up helping them through various issues and problems that they face. All things considered, the set-up we have here is average but it's still a workable premise. However, Clannad's visual novel roots REALLY affect the story in quite a few negative ways. For starters: Tomoya meets a girl named Nagisa in the beginning of the story and their interactions in the beginning of the first episode make it obvious that these two will have a thing going on.
The only problem with that is the fact that Nagisa gets shafted to the side so that KyoAni can adapt the other girls' stories from the visual novel. Why is this an issue? Well... it shouldn't come off as a surprise that all of the girls in the visual novel will inevitably have some romantic involvement with the player character, so whenever KyoAni is adapting one girl's story, all the other girls get thrown to the wayside JUST to adapt that specific girl's story. More often than not, Nagisa ends up getting relegated to a side character role for half the series. Keep in mind: she's supposed to be Tomoya's main love interest... at least, that's what's implied.
It's not even like the events that transpired previously are even kept in memory throughout the show. I wouldn't mind it so much if that was the case. Tomoya literally moves from girl to girl without so much as a second thought and seemingly without remembering what just transpired previously. So right off the bat, I'm not particularly fond of him. What's more is that it's never explicitly mentioned whether or not what just went down was purely platonic or not. I wouldn't mind it so much if I at least knew that Tomoya had no romantic interest with the girl he was currently helping or whatever. But no, there's always gotta be some damn romantic subtext going on in each girl's arc... despite the fact that it's so painfully obvious that Nagisa is the one who Tomoya really likes.
Taking a break from inadvertent harems caused by visual novel roots, there are quite a few other problems that Clannad has on the whole. The comedic relief in Clannad is akin to what you'd find in Kanon mixed with a small dash of what you'd find in Love Hina. Essentially, we have one character who can't catch a break and is always on the receiving end of physical abuse from various girls (Sunohara), the wise yet obnoxious guy (Akio), the airhead girl with an irritating running gag/quirk (Sanae/Fuko), and so on and so forth. It was charming for the first 5-6 episodes, but it just got REALLY annoying and repetitive after that point. It doesn't help that the comedy keeps popping up to such a large degree to the point where it would interfere with any sort of drama that this show would have.
Another thing that drives me up a wall with Clannad is the moe. I know that moe is Kyoto Animation's signature, but I swear... EVERY SINGLE FEMALE CHARACTER IS MOE. Big eyes that take up 50% of their heads and also stare into your soul, tiny noses/mouths, high-pitched voices, certain character quirks and the like are commonplace across the Kyoto/KEY trilogy and it never ceases to leave me with some horrendously mixed feelings. On the one hand: KyoAni was simply translating the character designs from the Clannad visual novels, and seem to have done more than a fair job at it judging by the screenshots I've seen. On the other hand, I can't take any of these girls seriously BECAUSE of the moe. They're cute and endearing, yes but they're cute and endearing like beagle puppies and not actual humans to me. Is that horribly sexist of me to say? Possibly. But then again, I tend to overthink these things so maybe I'm just making a mountain out of a moehill (get the joke?).
I could tolerate this however, were it not for the fact that Clannad semi-regularly brings drama into the picture without any sense of foreshadowing whatsoever. This is most prominent with Kotomi and Nagisa's arcs. Now, Kotomi and Nagisa are relatively silly characters with quirky yet endearing personalities. However, their arcs dive into their back-story and as it turns out, the circumstances of their childhoods aren't all sunshine and rainbows. The only problem is the fact that last episode, we saw them being all moe, jovial and shit. You get where I'm going with this? These moments were specifically designed to be emotionally manipulative in the worst possible ways. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't feel something, but it wasn't because I found myself truly invested with the characters. It was because these moments were specifically designed to tug at my heart strings in the most shallow and manipulative ways possible.
Let's compare this to a moment from one of my all-time favourite animated films that actually DID leave me tearing up because I was invested with the characters, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This movie follows Bruce Wayne's life shortly before he became Batman and how he almost completely abandons his plan of becoming a crime fighter when he meets a woman named Andrea Beaumont and falls in love. At one point in the film, he's torn between his plans of becoming a crime fighter and actually living a happy life to the point where he actually visits his parents' graves and apologises for not going through with the plan because he "didn't count on being happy."
I was actually invested with what Bruce was going through for four reasons: First off, feeling guilty for being happy is incredibly commonplace to people who've gone through a lot of strife in their lives. Second, this is the first time we ever see Bruce expressing any emotion that isn't anger or frustration which he rarely did in Batman TAS. Third, the inflections in Kevin Conroy's voice as he was delivering his lines actually did capture the guilt that Bruce feels. Fourth (and the reason why Kotomi partially escapes my ire): I actually have lost a parent so I know full well how Bruce feels. Say what you will about Batman being some childish superhero, but Bruce Timm, Paul Dini et al did their best to portray Bruce in a realistic manner, which they successfully did.
Was there ANY moment in this season of Clannad where I remotely felt anything similar? The answer is a resounding "NO." Even Kotomi's arc which I can vaguely relate to was done in such a way where she wasn't painted as a real human being. She was portrayed as a moeblob in need of someone to hold her and console her during those moments of drama/tragedy. As someone who actually has lost a parent, I can safely say that Kotomi's portrayal was nothing short of insulting. I don't take umbrage with Kotomi herself since her various quirks and such (i.e. introverted behaviour, lacklustre social skills) are within the realm of probability for someone with her predicament.
HOWEVER, when you take such a character, say she went through a massive tragedy like that, try to resolve all of that shit within the span of 4-5 episodes AND have the audacity to throw such a character to the wayside and not make her a bigger player in the events that happen on screen after that point, THAT'S where I draw the line. Nagisa's arc was SLIGHTLY more tolerable because of how Akio handled everything, but it's still not something I'm quick to endorse because of how Nagisa was characterised (which I'll get to in the next section).
As far as characters are concerned, there isn't a lot in the way of originality. Like I said before, we're dealing with an SOL romance visual novel adaptation, and the characters end up falling into a great many clichés because of said visual novel roots. First up, we have Tomoya Okazaki. If you've watched Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon 2006, Chu-2, or pretty much anything else produced by Kyoto Animation that has a lead male protagonist, you'll know his general disposition: he's sarcastic, snarky, and has to put up with a bunch of crap from moeblobs. Similarly, we have Sunohara: his best friend who takes it upon himself to act like a complete and total moron in the most ridiculous ways possible.
As far as Tomoya goes, I don't really care much for him in this season of Clannad. Now, Tomoya on his own is fairly likeable albeit generic but where his characterisation really falters is when he's helping another girl. At first, I didn't really have much of a problem with this because I was ignorant of the fact that Clannad was a visual novel adaptation and I really didn't find out about that until I was half-way through After Story. HOWEVER... the more that I dwell upon Tomoya's behaviour in this season of Clannad, the less I find myself liking him.
Knowing the fact that the girl that Tomoya is interacting with would've inevitably had some romantic involvement in the source material something that really just drives me up a wall. Thankfully Clannad wasn't adapted from an eroge visual novel like Air or Kanon so the implications aren't TOO severe but at the same time... I just can't ignore that fact. It's like, I know that Nagisa is the one he'll ultimately choose but seeing him move from girl to girl is something that I take umbrage with on so many levels.
As for the other girls, well... I already covered how the moe affects my opinion of them, so I won't go into too much detail about that. However, there are quite a few problems that the girls have with their characterisations that don't pertain to the moe. For instance, Clannad's visual novel roots end up shafting various characters to the side so that a particular girl's story can be covered which I've stated earlier. However, the amount of time each girl receives varies quite a bit. For example, the twins Kyo and Ryo were relegated to the roles of side characters for the vast majority of the season and it wasn't until the Kyo/Ryo OVA at the end of After Story where they finally received some time in the spotlight (similar situation with Tomoyo, but she actually received more screen time). Say what you will about Kanon, but at least each girl barring Nayuki received roughly the same amount of screentime (4-5 episodes each).
Another problem is the fact that certain characters feel rather... familiar, to say the least if you've watched one of the other Kyoto/KEY series beforehand. For example, Nagisa and Fuko are quite literally expies of Shiori and Ayu from Kanon. Much like Shiori, Nagisa is a sickly character who misses quite a lot of school due to her illness with a segment of out-of-place drama, came close to dying, and were saved by a bullshit happy ending. As for Fuko's resemblance to Ayu, let's see: there's a verbal tic (Fuko refers to herself in the third person while Ayu tends to say uguu while sad/frustrated) and astral projections involved. I'll just let you experience both if you want to validate my claims.
Now we come to Akio and Sanae, Nagisa's parents. As far as they go, Akio is passable but Sanae just gets under my skin. She has this running gag where she can't bake for shit and whenever someone insults her baked goods, she runs out crying only for Akio to shove a bunch of bread in his mouth and chase after her. Sanae doesn't really have a lot in the way of a purpose other than to be a MILF/running gag machine and it isn't until after Episode 16 of After Story where she actually has a worthwhile purpose, but I'll get into THAT can of worms when I review After Story.
As far as Akio goes, he's likeable yet annoying. That's as best as I can phrase it. He's loud, hammy, and obnoxious like someone such as Tamaki-senpai from Ouran HSHC, but that's kind of the reason why I like him. Some of the dialogue and interactions between him, Tomoya, and everyone else was more than enough to make me smile and just seeing him on-screen was more than enough to make me briefly forget what just transpired a few minutes ago, if only for an instant. What I also like about Akio is the fact that he knows when to cut the bullshit and take things seriously like in Nagisa's arc and for that, I applaud him.
Moving away from all of the ranting/babbling about the story and characters, let's take a look at Clannad's production. This was made by Kyoto Animation, and the production values of Clannad really do reflect that quite a bit. Can you really go wrong with a company that has brought us visual treats like the entire Haruhi franchise and Chu-2? All of the backgrounds have an amazing amount of detail put into them and everything is animated with no stutters/jitters and very few drops in qualilty.
Where the art direction and animation really shine is where we see segments of a little girl who's the only human left in the world that also builds a robot made out of scrap metal. Yes, it is just as bizarre as it sounds and these segments are pretty much pointless until the end of After Story. But that's beside the point, we're talking about the art/animation in these segments. Basically, everything is rendered entirely in CG and for what it does, these segments are amazing to look at and are animated beautifully.
HOWEVER... there are three things that keep Clannad from being a masterpiece in the visual department: First, the moe (which I already covered). Second, the usage of CG (which I'll cover in a minute or two) causes the animation quality to drop in certain places to preserve the budget. Third, some character designs were actually recycled from Kanon. For example, Tomoya and Sunohara are quite literally palette swaps of Yuichi and Kitagawa from Kanon. Don't even get me started on how Akio is basically an older-looking version of Yuichi/Tomoya but with a deeper voice.
As for the CG, well it works amazingly well for the segments with the girl and the scrap robot. However, Kyoto Animation decided to shoehorn in some CG in the actual show every now and then, and sometimes it just gets rather... off-putting, to say the least. Like there are moments where I'm wondering "how much money did you guys save by rendering a table fan in CG rather than just using plain old digital animation?" CG is pretty expensive stuff, so guess what? The animation quality ends up dropping for a minute or two just to preserve the budget for the CG. Thankfully, Kyoto Animation isn't like Gonzo and they do actually prioritise what's important and what isn't, but I can't help but feel that they were being a bit too frivolous.
Unlike the art/animation, I don't really have as much praise for the OST. While there were quite a few BGM tracks I liked, it really just served as a complement to what was going on and didn't stand out on its own in any way possible which is quite a shame since a memorable OST is necessary for a romance story to truly shine. The OP theme was something that grated on my ears somewhat, but the ED theme, "Dango Daikozaku" was something that I was quite fond of, if only because of the fact that I was grinning like a lunatic whenever Nagisa was singing it in the show because it was so adorable.
As for the voice-acting, I can't comment on the Japanese voice-acting so much because I was watching the show subbed so the voices faded into the background but I will say this: Tomoya's VA sounds suspiciously similar to Yuichi's VA in Kanon. The English dub for Clannad is fair enough I guess. Sentai isn't exactly known for making mind-blowingly amazing dubs like Funimation is but at least we've got a few voice actors/actresses outside the realm of Funimation which is always a nice treat. On another note, we also have have the almighty queen of emoting, Luci Christian voicing Nagisa. If you're debating sub or dub, I'd suggest trying the first episode dubbed and see if it works for you. If Luci Christian's performance isn't enough for you, watch it subbed. If it is, dub all the way.
So... would I say that I enjoyed Clannad? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that it was idle entertainment for whenever I was bored and I wanted to kill an hour or two and there were quite a few moments that I genuinely did enjoy. No in the sense that the more I think about Clannad, the less I like the series as a whole. I genuinely do enjoy After Story but in order for me to truly "appreciate" it, I need to take THIS series into account, which leaves me with all kinds of mixed feelings. Maybe if I don't overthink these things, I'd like Clannad as much as everyone else does, but unfortunately... I am an overthinker.
On the whole, Clannad is a par-for-the-course SOL romance visual novel adaptation which doesn't exactly have a lot to stand on. If you're expecting something to make you cry or whatever, that shit happens in After Story. So why shouldn't you skip this season and start with the arguably superior After Story? Eh... I can't think of any reason other than having more context for the events that go on in After Story and also the fact that if you get attached to the characters in the first season, the shit that goes down in After Story will be even more intense (spoiler: I couldn't get attached to the characters here, so After Story was a swing and a miss for me). High scores in art/animation in sound and average scores in story, characters, and enjoyment bring this series out to an even 6.2, which is pretty fair given all of the shit I said so far. With that, I'm out. Peace.
At the time of this review, Clannad is licensed by Sentai Filmworks. There are two releases available if I'm not mistaken, sub-only (which Sentai has stopped printing) and sub+dub (what is currently available). The only problem is the fact that the subtitles on the official Clannad DVDs (and the Hulu version if I'm not mistaken) fucking suck. They're rife with spelling/grammar errors and I do believe there was a mistranslation or two as well (don't get me started on how the subtitles are also big, yellow, and ugly). For something that you have to pay money for... it's pretty fucking shit.
There's also the matter of the way Sentai used to package the discs. They used to come in one of those spindle cases where all the discs are stacked together on one side of the box and a rectangular wad of styrofoam on the other (presumably to prevent the case from sagging or something). If you're not marathoning it, you have to actually take each individual disc out to reach the one you want which seriously risks damaging the discs.
I am aware that Sentai has since re-released it on Blu-ray and the case is MUCH better where each disc comes on its own slot in the case, so I highly recommend getting the new release if you're planning on buying Clannad. I also ended up re-watching Clannad on Amazon Prime, and the subtitles are noticeably better than what I had to put up with on the DVDs but again... not too sure if Amazon Prime was using the Blu-ray release or if that's just something Prime came up with on their own. Whatever, I digress. On with the review!