Jul 21, 2008
Chag (All reviews)
Set in an alternate Clannad universe, Another World presents viewers with a love story between Okazaki Tomoya and Sakagami Tomoyo. Though it suffers from a number of problems, Another World nevertheless still achieves the emotional drama viewers would expect from an extension of the Clannad series.

With the run time of an ordinary episode, Another World inevitably suffers from a shortage of story development. The usual buffer time for viewers to get attached to the characters is heavily truncated -- the process of Tomoyo and Tomoya falling in love is not included in the episode, for obvious reasons concerning time. However, the fact that it detracts from the potential emotional impact from the climax of the story cannot be ignored.

That aside, the story that is present in the OVA is solid. Unlike other Key stories, Another World is low on moe fetishism and comedy, but rather it offers a more feasible romance story without over-the-top characters (though Sunohara's antics are still present, which is a good thing). The challenge faced by the lovers in the story strongly highlights Okazaki's strength of character, making him very admirable in the viewer's eyes. The increased focus on Tomoyo in the OVA also makes her charm all the more pronounced. The dramatic moments also bring out fragments of Tomoyo's personality that were not revealed in the TV series.

The story itself is laced with thick but effective melodrama, as expected from Key's works. The ending will not surprise anyone, as it is quite cliche. However, despite the lack of creativity, Another World continues to do what the TV story does best: tug at your heartstrings. Even though the background story is not present, the climax of Another Story should at least give viewers a lump in the throat, while some may get watery-eyed and perhaps even cry. It begs the question of how much more potent the impact might have been if extra episodes were allocated to narrate the entire story -- it's almost a scary thought.

The presentation value remains mostly consistent with the TV series -- the colors are vibrant, the character designs are clean, the background art is above average, the animation is good, the voice acting is superb, and the soundtrack continues to add to the mood and drama, etc, etc. However, there are two notable faults in the sound department, the first being an absolutely HORRID segment of engrish. Not only is the accent thick enough to deflect cannonballs, the actual content is so laughably ridiculous that one cannot help be to be distracted by it, which completely derails the mood of the scene. You'd think Kyoto Animation would have the funds to pay a starving exchange student somewhere for a few lines of coherent English script, jeez. The second fault also pertains to the problem of bad English, this time in the song played during the climax of the OVA. While the tune is good and the pronunciation is somewhat passable, the lyrics are only a little better than an attempt at throwing absolutely arbitrary phrases in a blender, which once again results in distracting noise. Therefore, unfortunately for English-speaking viewers, they'll have to make an effort to drown it out. However, don't be discouraged from the criticisms in the sound department, as the overall quality of Another World's presentation is still very commendable.

If you're a Clannad fan, then you shouldn't need my persuasion to watch Another World -- it's good, VERY good, especially considering its limited length. It may not have the same amount of emotional buildup as the other stories in the TV series, but the delicious melodrama will still hit you like a brick in the end. If you haven't watched Clannad, know that Another Story is yet one more reason to check out the great series, since it relies on some background information provided in the original.