Hello, everyone! Next review up is for Clannad, another well-known Kyoto Animation series. Note: This does not include Clannad: After Story, which I will follow up on sooner or later.
Okazaki Tomoya is a delinquent who finds life dull and believes he’ll never amount to anything. Along with his friend Sunohara, he skips school and plans to waste his high school days away.
One day while walking to school, Tomoya passes a young girl muttering quietly to herself. Without warning she exclaims “Anpan!” (a popular Japanese food) which catches Tomoya’s attention. He soon discovers the girl’s name is Furukawa Nagisa and that she exclaims things she likes in order to motivate herself. Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away passing the encounter off as nothing.
However, Tomoya finds he is noticing Nagisa more and more around school. Eventually he concedes and befriends her. Tomoya learns Nagisa has been held back a year due to a severe illness and that her dream is to revive the school’s drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, he decides to help her achieve this goal along with the help of four other girls.
As Tomoya spends more time with the girls, he learns more about them and their problems. As he attempts to help each girl overcome her respective obstacle, he begins to realise life isn’t as dull as he once thought.
So this is another Key visual novel, and a famous one it is. We have the typical harem romantic genres here, and each of the character are so adorable in their own way. Each of these characters’ interaction with the main character, Okazaki Tomoya, have won many fans’ hearts and also their tears as well. We have the weak, naive Furukawa Nagisa, the innocent, childish Ibuki Fuko, the airheaded genius Ichinose Kotomi, the aggressive tomboy Fujibayashi Kyou, and the strong popular Sakagami Tomoyo. There is also a fantasy element to this series, as we sometimes see recurring dreams of a girl and a robot in the middle of the plains with snow and evanescent lights rising from the ground. This lends itself to a different air of mystery to the plot, and it does intertwine with the main story in the series, as you’ll soon see from the sequel.
The first arc up is Ibuki Fuko’s arc. Fuko has a strange penchant for starfish (which I think are cute, actually, but I don’t get why people think they’re strange), and she has a childish personality fittingly of her short stature. She also has the habit of addressing herself in third-person as well, and is pretty weird in her own cute way, hehe. This arc was about Fuko attempting to get people to come to her dear sister’s wedding by handing out wooden-carved starfish. Fuko’s arc was actually very emotional and sad, and it did actually elicit some tears from me at the end…
The second arc features the shy genius, Ichinose Kotomi. One of my top favorite Clannad characters! Kotomi is a top genius, but she has an extremely shy nature and tends to keep to herself in the school library surrounded by books. She has a fondness with the violin, but unfortunately, whenever she plays the violin, she manages to make terrible, screeching sounds with it! So, this arc was about Kotomi learning to make friends and opening up to her new-found friends. This was such a nice arc, and the ending really got to me with the journey. Kotomi was also very cute the whole way!
The next girls up in the spotlight would be Fujibayashi Kyou and Sakagami Tomoyo. Now, the series had strange pacing; we had two arcs, then suddenly an arc for both Kyou and Tomoyo. After that was Nagisa’s arc. I don’t know why the creators did that, but the OVAs for both Tomoyo and Kyou made up for their character development and exposure. Anyway, Fujibayashi Kyou. She is an aggressive tomboy who is very friendly toward Nagisa and Kotomi. She mercilessly beats up Tomoya and his friend, Youhei Sunohara, the latter being beaten up the most for comedic relief. Sakagami Tomoyo is a cool beauty who is extremely strong, and of course, beats up Sunohara for his stupid, comedic acts. What Sunohara was thinking when he keeps going up against both girls is a mystery to me, hehe. So, their arc was mostly about Tomoyo’s quest to become student council president and Kyou’s relationship with her twin sister, Ryou, and Tomoya. It was sad seeing their realization of their love at the end of the arc, when they see Tomoya’s close relationship with Nagisa.
Now, we come to the last arc, Furukawa Nagisa’s. Well, to be honest, it’s more like the arc was the entire series from the very beginning as we see Nagisa and Tomoya both setting up the Theater Drama Club and recruiting new members and gaining new friends in the process. The climax of the arc happens near the end, when Nagisa is finally able to fulfill her dream. Anyway, Furukawa Nagisa is the main heroine, and she has a naive, kind personality. She is actually a year older than her classmates, having been held back due to her sickness. Nagisa is helped by the main character, Okazaki Tomoya, who is a former basketball player turned delinquent. Tomoya is actually a nice guy, unable to look away from Nagisa’s situation, and they both get close to each other over time throughout the series. The series end on a very happy, sweet note, but as it’ll turn out in the sequel, it would not last for long.
Clannad is a great romantic drama comedy with many famous events known to fans of this series. And, of course, it has a great supporting cast as well, starring Nagisa’s parents, Sanae and Akio, Sunohara’s little sister, Mei, Fuko’s elder sister, Kouko, Kouko’s fiance, Yoshino Yusuke, the charming strange Miyazawa Yukine, the dorm manager, Sagara Misae, Tomoya’s father, Naoyuki, and several more. Clannad has a large cast, and unfortunately, it feels like some characters did not get their background development, although this was later alleviated with OVAs and the sequel, Clannad: After Story. All in all, this is a great series for some funny and tear-jerking moments, and you’ll enjoy it not only from the moeness, but also from the great character interaction and story.
P.S. Here’s a picture of my top favorite Clannad character in all her glory: Sakagami Tomoyo.