First writen on MyAnimeList.com 19/01/12.
Well i failed. I tried so hard not to let the movie influence my views upon the TV series but unfortunately i couldn't avoid it. Regardless of this i did thoroughly enjoy the TV series, tho i do feel i might have had a better experience if i hadn't watch the film first. Despite their stories doing some very different things there are a lot of similarities that, when they pop up, make it hard not to compare the two.
Anyway onto my thoughts of it all (WARNING: May or may not contain spoilers!!!):
When it came to the first series (Clannad) it started off very well and just got stronger as it went on, tho there were a few early instances of things that i felt had been done better in the movie, ie. the student council defacing the posters that Nagisa had worked so hard on in the movie was much more powerful than how the series handled their opposition to the Drama Club.
As the series went on i was glad to have the opportunity get to know each of the individual characters much better, tho their backstories may be different, between the movie and the series, each character's personality was pretty much the same so it was a fulfilling and fun experience and i also found each of the individual story arcs to be interesting, gripping and touching, particularly Fuko's which end was the first weeping trigger for me.
Everything was going well and i was determined to give Clannad a score of 10/10 up until i hit episode 22, the one covering the play and Tomoya's confession of love to Nagisa. Tbh i wasn't happy with the play at all. In the movie the play itself, Nagisa's performance and Tomoya's reaction (both the realisation that they have shared this dream and that he loves her) all work together to make something incredibly powerful and touching. In the series it's made very corny and rather silly once Akio shows up, i'm sorry but that whole speech about how Nagisa's now their dream right in the middle of the theatre was just too tacky for me to handle (the play also raised another major problem for me but i'll leave that till later). Then afterwards we get a series of fast passing and hardly inspiring images followed by Tomoya's confession of love, which might have been really touching only the music they choose to play just didn't fit the mood at all imo and somewhat ruined it for me.
After episode 22 i decided to mark it down to 9/10 but i've reconsidered that now, i think the rest of the series stands up enough to keep it's top marks.
After Story now. At first i thought it started off rather quite slow. I wanted to get straight into Nagisa's and Tomoya's relationship but instead they took a back seat in two story arcs revolving around secondary characters. After a few episodes tho i found myself really enjoying these stories and i understand why they did them to finish rounding off the characters we hadn't fully explored yet as well as provide us with a bit of a buffer between the events in Clannad and the torrent of emotion After Story gives us later on.
Now if i were to compare the first half of the movie with Clannad then the movie wins out. After Story to the second half tho? There's no comparison as After Story provided everything that i felt the movie was missing. Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship leading up to and after their marriage is explore in far greater detail, this i loved! Nagisa struggling to cope with having to do her senior year a third time and her graduation show in far more detail, this i loved! Nagisa's pregnancy, the birth of Ushio and Nagisa's death was show in intimate detail, this i loved and was devastated by at the same time! All of these things were largely just glossed over in the movie to move onto the return of Tomoya's depression, which overall was much much darker in the movie than it was in the series, which i felt was a shame but the thing i wanted to see the most was where the movie ended: Ushio! I understood why the film ended with the two reuniting for the first time after 5 years but watching Tomoya become Ushio's father, turn his life around and the two of them living happily together in the series was incredibly rewarding!
After Story isn't entirely without problems tho, Ushio's death being one of them. Why? I really don't get that at all! Actually i do know why it happened but it's tied very much too my main problem with the whole of the TV version of Clannad: the supernatural elements.
Now as soon as Fuko was confirmed to be a ghost of a girl in a coma i knew exactly where this introduced supernatural plot line was going to take us and thruout both Clannad and After Story i was hoping that i was wrong, but i wasn't. It's only reason for existence was so they could resurrect both Nagisa and Ushio and it's a narrative ploy so bad it cheapens both of their deaths and the emotions we felt as we watched them go! I know why they did this, they wanted a happy ending for the series but i feel that could have been achieved just by keeping Ushio alive, showing the two get on and enjoy their lives together, but is suppose the problem with making a TV series is that you need some big twist when it comes towards the end otherwise it doesn't feel like you've progressed or achieved anything. Still i feel it's very wrong and it raises my other major problem with the whole of the TV series: The Dream. It barely has a connection to anything, while in the film it's a reflection of both Tomoya's and Nagisa's feelings of loneliness and the hope that they will find each other (without knowing who they're waiting for), in the series it's just a vehicle for the supernatural element to sweep in and do away with all the hardships Nagisa and Tomoya (and us the viewers) have been thru to provide them with their cheep happy ending. Having said all that tho... i was extremely happy with their happy ending as i found each of the characters very endearing and wanted nothing more than to see them all together with the promise of long and happy lives.
Overall i thoroughly enjoy my entire experience of Clannad, both the movie and the TV series. Few Animes have made me cry so much or touched me so deeply, as well as making me fall in love with it's entire cast and laugh so hard (i think at the moment it's only rivalled by Angel Beats! in having done all of those)! Both stand up in their own ways and while i did find a few problems none of those are significant enough to stop me from enjoying and loving this Anime, whatever it's format!
Still i wished had watched the series first tho. = p
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