Summer break is now over; the second semester has started for Tomoya, Nagisa and the others, and little has changed. Since Tomoya's relationship with his father is still troubled, he continues to live with Nagisa and her family, even if it means getting roped into organizing a baseball team for the family bakery. Life at school continues as normal with Sunohara as carefree as ever; however, when his sister Mei voices her concerns about him, the series of events that follow place a strain on Sunohara and Tomoya’s friendship. Whether it's saving a person from themselves or passing on a message from the past, one thing’s for sure: no matter how tough things get, good friends will always be there to help out.
StoryI have, with quite good reason, always been skeptical of anime sequels. Too often I find myself watching and enjoying a series, only to be disappointed by a sequel whose only redeeming quality lies in its use of the franchise name. This most certainly was the case with Clannad, as the series ended both poignantly and with a certain level of closure. Try as I might, I could not envision a follow-up being anything more than filler-driven fluff, especially at a twenty-four episode length, and thus stalled it for as long as I could. But then I actually sat down and watched After Story, and you can only imagine my surprise when it turned out to be not only on par with its predecessor, but better. Though still maintaining its triplex of comedy, drama, and romance, After Story places substantially more emphasis on the latter two categories, allowing for an emotional journey through the characters' ever-changing lives. As can be expected, it picks up where the first left off, and wastes no time in reacquainting the viewer with the original cast. Many of the classic antics resurface - such as those between Akio and Sanae - to usher in a fair bit of nostalgia, but are handled in such a way that feel different from their original context. Indeed, they end up carrying an almost bittersweet sensation, as the events which they parallel possess a more solemn tone than before. As the nature of their problems change, Tomoya and Nagisa's romance begins to evolve in a more realistic fashion, and paves the way for a beautiful story between the two. Despite maintaining a large cast of side characters, their importance is minimized or discarded whenever needed, and not once do they intrude on the series' elegant pacing. In many ways the number of relevant characters shrinks so substantially that the harem tag could be lost altogether, and from the get-go it becomes quite apparent that After Story's sole focus is to tell their heartwarming tale. There exists no extraneous fluff, and the end result is an anime whose many charms are all handled with equal mastery.AnimationAgain, as I mentioned in my Clannad review, the quality of Kyoto Animation's work is simply stunning. The detail simply blew me away, as After Story captures all the necessary visual subtleties to convey a strong emotional impact. From gorgeous midnight snows to soft, melancholy smiles, I can't really think of one place where it goes astray. Lavish color palettes and vivid contrast round out the score, highlighting an absolutely superb level of direction. I am left near speechless; Kyoto Animation continues to impress by not only maintaining a high level of quality, but by building upon their previous works to make each better than the last.SoundThough After Story only flaunts a few new insert songs of its own, the size of the original soundtrack makes this an almost trivial point. Utilizing some sixty tracks along with a handful from a remix album, the choice of music never feels overused or stagnant. All its uses sound perfectly appropriate and match their scenes with as much finesse as the visuals, leaving me with little argument against the reuse as a negative. Combined with absolutely stellar voice acting, the audible score breathes emotion from every angle, and is nothing short of wonderful. CharactersIn terms of the individual characters, it's hard to spell out much without leading too much into the details of the story; simply put, the main focus is on Tomoya and Nagisa. As for the rest, all the designs from Clannad are kept true, allowing After Story to play on their already-developed personalities without the need for further background. Perhaps my only complaint lies in the small tinge of lip-service paid to some of the side characters at the very beginning, but in retrospect I think their inclusion made perfect sense. While After Story certainly is not flawless, it hits all the important nails squarely on the head, and segues into a very satisfying character sequence for which I have only praise.OverallWhat else can I say? Of all the romance anime I've crossed throughout the years, Clannad After Story easily ranks among the best. It manages to convey touching drama, beautiful romance, and hilarious-yet-fitting comedy all in one measure, building magnificently on its predecessor to end with a wonderful overture.
Clannad After Story is the 24 episode sequel to the much loved serious drama serious, featuring quite a bit of comedy and ‘actual’ romance. I personally loved the original, I took my time to watch it, but I also know that some folks didn’t like how slice-of-life it was. I will say, this sequel has significantly more plot progression in an episodic format and even passage of time, something underused in anime IMO. Thus, due to my enjoyment of the original I may be biased and the fact that I must give an overall score won’t help. So take my words and scores with consideration. Even though nothing much happened in the original series, it was still able to invoke emotion and thought in me, the viewer. I love it when an anime can do that in addition to simply entertaining. Animation This anime is animated by Kyoto animation and the quality for a 2008 anime is marvellous. I watched it 1080p here, the visuals make good use of all of those extra pixels. Boy it looks so good, heck even at a distance, the visuals aren’t downgraded as bad as other anime do at distance. The backgrounds are very detailed too. Lovely stuff. The animation and movement is very fluid, one can tell that this anime has very high production values. I didn’t review the original season of Clannad since I watched it so long ago, but the animation there was just as good. Of course, it sticks with the tried and true Key animation style, much like it’s predecessor’s Air and Kanon. Some people may not like the designs of some of the characters eyes, they might be too big, but I was okay with it. Being such a prudent anime, weirdness is generally out of the question here, especially in terms of visuals. No pervy stuff to be found here, as is usual for a Key anime. Thank goodness, since it would ruin the pleasantry here. I will mention one small (and I do mean small, this anime is still getting a max score for animation) annoyance I have here, which is also depicted in other anime. A very annoying drinking scene. In other words, someone has a single drink and gets drunk from it and starts to act completely out of it. Actually, times that by 2, since there’s another character who does it. Nobody gets drunk from a single drink (heck, it’s just a single shot of Sake), no matter how lightweight they are and I hate how anime tries to mess with this. Sound The sound is as delicious as I remember from the original season of Clannad. The intro alone makes me feel like it could bring tears. The outro has been downgraded a bit, no more Dango song. I miss the big Dango family song :( But it’s still good. (except the non-vocal version of the song is still present in the actual background soundtrack) The music in the anime itself remains very similar, gentle and serious music for the most part, but also some more light hearted tunes to suit the comedy scenes. Just good sound design overall. No rock and roll or anything of the sort, but that’s a good thing since it wouldn’t fit in here. This anime is available in both English and Japanese audio, I watched the English version which was fine. Especially since I recognised the voices and got a bit nostalgic about the original series and the voice actors roles in various anime. I’ve gotten attached to some of these voices, especially as they feature quite a lot in anime that I’ve enjoyed. Luci Christian voices Nagisa, she’s also voiced Haruko Kamio in Air, Yui Kounagi in Yumekui (Dream Eater) Merry, Miyako in Ef - a Tale of…, Wrath in FMA, Mishiho Maeno in Mnemosyne, Medusa in Soul Eater, Elucia in The World God only Knows, Hikaru/Haiji in Tsukuyomi Moon Phase and Nakiami in Xam’d: Lost Memories (pretty much the last anime I watched). David Matranga voices Tomoya Okazaki, also the voice of Takaki Tohno in 5 Centimetres per Second, Hideki Hinata in Angel Beats, Yu Himura in Ef - a Tale of…and Furuichi Teraoka in Xam’d: Lost Memories. Akio is voiced by Andrew Love, who has voiced Fujimaki in Angel Beats, Tadashi Karino in Special A, Yuuya Daigo in Tokyo Majin and Raigyo Tsunomata in Xam’d: Lost Memories. Greg Ayres voices Youhei Sunohara, the voice of Ayato Naoi in Angel Beats, Koichi Sakakibara in Another, Kouta Tsuchiya in Baka to Test, Hiro Hirono in Ef - a Tale of…, Kensuke Aida in Evangelion, Keisaku Sato in Shakugan no Shana, Masayoshi in Tsubasa Chronicle and Kaoru Yamazaki in Welcome to the NHK. Illich Guardiola voices Yusuke Yoshino, who has voiced Matsunaga in Angel Beats, Shuichi Kuze in Ef - a Tale of… and Masato Kaibara in Ghost Hound. Emily Neves voices Kotomi, she was the voice of both Hitomi and Angel in Angel Beats, Takako Sugira in Another, Nazuna in Xam’d: Lost Memories and other characters in anime I’ve yet to watch. Shelley Calene-Black voices Kyou Fujibayashi, who is the voice of Shirakawa in Elfen Lied, Kei Yakushi in Ghost Hound, Mari Katsuragi in The World God Only Knows, Isshu Benikawa in Xam’d: Lost Memories and Saki Kirishima in Yumekui Merry. Brittney Karbowski voices Ryou Fujibayashi, also the voice of Yuri in Angel Beats, Riful in Claymore, Kiki Kayanuma in Darker than Black, Kei Shindo in Ef - a Tale of…, Ayu Tsukimiya in Kanon (2006), Black Star in Soul Eater, Megumi Yamamoto in Special A, Kanon Nakagawa in The World God Only Knows and Isana Tachibana in Yumekui Merry. Hilary Haag is the voice of Fuuko Ibuki, her other roles include Akari Shinohara in 5 Centimetres per Second, Yui in Angel Beats, Mizuki Hayama in Ef - a Tale of…, Sakura Ushikubo in Special A, Mio Aoyama/Shiori Shiomiya in The World God Only Knows, Midori Nishimura in Xam’d: Lost Memories and Merry Nightmare in Yumekui Merry. Stephanie Wittels voices Kouko Ibuki, Kara Greenberg voices Sanae, Tomoyo is voiced by Kaytha Coker. Characters Of the main characters here the guy at the centre of it all is Tomoya Okazaki, a high-school boy (in his last year) who is currently living with the Furukawas after the events of season 1. His mother died when he was young and he seemed to be neglected by his father who fell into depression and drank a lot. He never forgot this and he remained bitter towards him. This hate towards his only surviving family is what drove him away from home and he moved in with the Furukawa’s before his relationship with Nagisa matured. A once delinquent who often skipped class and started fights, he met Youhei Sunohara and became good friends with him. Tomoya once had something going for him as he played in the basketball team, which is why he even got into this particular highschool. He injured his right arm permanently and hasn’t been able to play since, which added to his depression back in season 1. Since meeting Nagisa, he’s made many new friends and has become just a bit more positive about life. He’s still a realist at heart and a kind thoughtful person, even if he does sometimes let his emotions drive him, what with being mentally fragile. And it seems at the core of his happiness is Nagisa, he worries about her and about upsetting her a lot. Nagisa Furukawa is a high school girl retaking her final year after missing out due to illness the previous year. She lives happily with her parents and now Tomoya. Back in the first season, she started up the drama club to pursue her dream of acting out a play. She loves the big Dango family, though they make less of an appearance here. A cheery and bright girl, she helped raise Tomoya from the pits of his despair and has made many friends along with him. She has a tendency to overwork herself and try a bit too much, which coupled with her fragile health isn’t helpful. She is even more kind and caring the Tomoya and isn’t afraid to allow him to help others, even if it makes her feel uncomfortable slightly. She trusts him fully and knows he would never do anything to hurt her and he feels the same about her. Nagisa is just a very pleasant person, she looks after Tomoya as if she were his wife (!) and in normal instances where a normal girl would be offended or made to be upset, she smiles and says ‘no problem.’ She’s a very understanding person and her relationship with Tomoya is worryingly positive, instances where one would expect one to be upset with the other are just filled with apologetic and pleasant gestures. Thinking about it, I don’t think any woman in the real world is as kind and as understanding as Nagisa is. Their best friend and joker/dunce of this anime is Youhei Sunohara, Tomoya’s delinquent friend, who has bleached hair. He entered the school on a scholarship for football (soccer), an advantage for his living situation as he got a rent-free place in the student. Doesn’t sound like much of a delinquent? Well he got kicked off of the soccer team, thus dropped the scholarship. His family lives far away and he enjoys being independent. Of course the manager of the dorm, Misae Sagara isn’t taking any of his BS, and while she allows him to stay in the dorm, she’ll be violent if he does anything stupid. While he is more mischievous than Tomoya, he is a fair bit dumber and a whole lot more full of himself, resulting in a lack of popularity and the common occurrence if him getting beaten up by girls. His younger sister Mei worries about him a lot and often visits. While Youhei is a jerk, he’s the lovable type of jerk, behind the tough exterior and the BS, he’s really a nice person and cares about his friends. Even if he doesn’t show it much. Yusuke Yoshino, is often seen working for the electrical company with his white van and work overalls. In season 1 he got married to Kouko Ibuki, an art teach at Tomoya’s school who is Fuuko’s older sister. He’s strict and firm, but he’s experienced and just wants the best for others. He advises Tomoya, with work and even his life at home. He’s like a brother to Tomoya, looking after him in ways Tomoya doesn’t understand. He’s very helpful and he once followed his dreams of living off his music and getting his feelings out there. He wrote his music according to his own feelings and from the sounds of it, it seems Linkinpark-ey (some people hate that, I don’t since I used to listen to them). But something happened and now he’s working a normal job. He may seem like he knows all, but he has his very human past. Quick bit on the parents, Tomoya’s father doesn’t feature as much in this season of the anime as Tomoya isn’t living with him. While he was once depressed and neglected his son as a result, he realises his mistakes and tries his best to get along with his son. He doesn’t bother berating him or nagging him about anything, as he feels he owes his son and he thinks he deserves the hate he gets from his son. Nasgisa’s parents on the other hand are very different (they look very young and youthful for a start). They used to be theatrical actors, but when Nagisa was born they made the decision to focus on a family life (particularly because Nagisa has weak health) and gave up their dreams, in order to open up a bakery and live the comfortable family life. Nagisa’s mother, Sanae Furukawa, is absurdly kind and likes to have a bit of fun with her daughter and her friends, even if her husband wouldn’t approve. She is also a deadly chef when it comes to her baking, her bread is terrible but because of her loving husband and the fact that she’ll cry if someone tells her the truth, people lie about it and say it is great. The two get along very well and on occasion the kids are put off by how lovey-dovey they can be. Nagisa’s father, Akio Furukawa is a hilarious character who is overly protective of his family, can be scary but is really a nice guy and rather childish. He smokes and often plays baseball with the local children, he even buys toys and runs around chasing his wife after pranks and such, Tomoya jokingly calls him old man. He can be harsh at times, but he means well. Both the Furukawa’s are very kind and supportive of Tomoya and they are even letting him live with them. Kotomi Ichinose is the quiet blue haired girl in Tomoya’s year at school. In the first season it was discovered that Kotomi is living on her own as both her parents died when she was young. As such, she was depressed about it and felt alone, but with the help of Tomoya and friends, they managed to cheer her up and show her that life can still be enjoyable. Kotomi is a gentle girl, much like Nagisa, but she can be a bit of an airhead at times. She loves to play the violin and is a… deadly musician. Much like a deadly chef, her violin playing is so terrible and screechy it can make people temporarily deaf and by comedic coincidence, sometimes she misunderstands her friends into thinking that they like her violin playing. She’s unaware that they really don’t like it, in a funny sort of way. She also likes to read and is fairly smart. The next friend is Tomoyo Sakagami in the year below Okazaki, this girl with long grey hair is the student council president. But in addition to that, she is scarily good at beating people up, which she only does if heavily provoked. This is due to her past as a street brawler, she used to be a bit of a delinquent and get into fights often. Of course at the receiving ends of her moves are boys, girls don’t like to fight much, nor do they ever annoy her to the point where she would. Despite this violent capability, Tomoyo is actually a very sensible, smart and reserved individual. Her relationship with Youhei is funny, in season 1 he was always trying to pick fights with her and he is often getting wrecked by her. Nowadays he is generally ignored by her, she knows how to handle trouble a bit better. She was one of Tomoya’s potential romance options, as evidenced by the Clannad: Another World Tomoyo Chapter, but in this main series she doesn’t seem to have such feeling and is merely good friends with Tomoya and Nagisa. It’s also kinda annoying how similar her name is that of the male lead. Wrapping up the group of the most important school friends, we have the Fujibayashi twins Kyou and Ryou. While they both have purple hair, Kyou has kept her hair long while Ryou has it cut short and cute. The biggest difference of all is their personalities. Kyou is kinda cynical and mean, she will use violence on the boys if she feels like they are doing something necessary. She’s the type who playfully insults her (male) friends, while making it seem like she is serious. She is very protective of her sister and can be said to be very tsundere, especially as she had a crush on Tomoya. Ryou is the more sensitive of the two sisters, she can be made to cry very easily, is the shyest one of the group (despite Kotomi apparently being shy too) and seems to be a very emotional individual. She seems to be able to tell fortunes, though of course they are nonsense and appear to just say what people want to hear. Of course, much like her sister she had a crush on Tomoya, but this was noticed by Kyou who tried her best to help Ryou in her pursuit of love in the first season. The affection these two girls have for Tomoya is evident by Clannad: Another World Kyou Chapter. In this season, they have realised that there’s no point getting upset about him being taken so they seem to have moved on. The two twins also have an adorable pet piglet Botan, who is always running around, following them to school and hiding. He likes Kyou more for some reason and seems to be okay around Tomoya. He doesn’t like it when people discuss cooking or eating him and Kyou is also very protective of him in this regard. One of the less present friends is Yukine Miyazawa. She is always hanging about in the Library, reading books and drinking tea. She is a very hospitable and kind individual, she will make tea and her special dish: Paella for her friends. However it is apparent she is involved with some potentially bad folks, via her older brother who is friends with such folks. She is the type of person loved by all and she desires peace. Her older brother is apparently hospitalised and she is often found giving shelter to shady folks, likely her brother’s friends. Story While the sequel to Clannad does retain some slice-of-life aspect from the first Clannad, it also retains the episodic feel the original had. There’s a specific plot that every few episodes deal with, just like the first one and certain arcs take longer than others. The overarching narrative was a bit watered down in the previous season, but here it takes more of a prominent position. We continue to follow Tomoya and Nagisa through their life and see how that all progresses. As I mentioned before, this anime features passage of time, which wasn’t present in the previous season. While the first season only took place during Okazaki’s second year of high school, Clannad After Story goes from the last year of high-school through to Okazaki’s life as a young adult. And with that passage of time, a lot happens of course. It also takes the anime in a new direction, beyond the stale overused high-school setting. Taking an anime out of its comfort zone is a good way to test its foundation and Clannad After Story manages this with flying colours. Of course with passage of time, the good romance progressive is ever present in this anime, from the very start of this season the affection that Okazaki and Nagisa have for each other is clear and there’s no harem-like BS as all of the other characters recognise and respect their relationship. It’s a real benefit to the romance, since things can actually happen. The high-school setting is too limiting for a romantic story IMO, the normal adult life is pretty much a characteristic of good romance in stories. I think about the various other anime I’ve watched and the ones that stand out are the ones where the characters were adults (or there was passage of time), it allows more flexibility to the story and it also allows for things to be more relatable. It’s also surprisingly ballsy, I laughed when the anime went on to the subject of ‘where do babies come from?’ It does get a bit mind-fuck towards the very end and the ending in episode 22 made little sense to me. The last 3 episodes seem to just be extra, where the real story ends in episode 22. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of this anime is emotion and relationships, besides just the one between Tomoya and Nagisa. It deals with depression, loss and other difficulties of life and through this, it is capable of invoking thought and feeling in the viewer. Besides the small comedic and episodic events, it depicts some serious content. Any anime that manages to do these things is well designed and not many care capable. Clannad is one anime that many folks have claimed to have made them cry. It goes deeper into the tough questions about life, it can even be depressing. It notions at reality, life may be good, but only temporarily. Happiness doesn’t last and unlike fiction, miracles do not occur. I won’t mention much more since I’m running out of words and I don’t want to spoil it, but be this anime really shows what it is to be human, both for the characters and the viewer. Conclusion No doubt it’s a wonderful anime and like most good things in life, not everybody will appreciate it. Even with a masterpiece like this, there will still be cynical people who will ignore it. If you like good romance, good story and want something a bit different, if you can tolerate a very human and somewhat realistic story then give this a go, after having watched the first Clannad. Of course it improves in terms of the story and focus over the first season. I took my time here, because I enjoyed it. If you disagree, we just have different taste is all. It cheered me up and it’s also very capable of invoking feelings emotion, I’ve never been so close to crying so much. I may be overzealous with the scores, but this anime absolutely deserves it for how well each facet of it is. Family-friendliness Rating: 4/5 It was a 1, then some serious stuff happens later on, references to drugs, etc (lower is better) Overall Rating: 10/10 (higher is better)
Notice: This review covers both seasons. No reason to make separate ones.One thing is certain, Kyoto Animation knows how to press the audience’s proper emotional buttons. As if they are remote controlled robots, it can make them laugh, cry, angry, scared, as easy as flipping a switch. And it’s not like it is new at this; the whole studio has dedicated its body and soul at making only emotional shows. It is the only thing they do and, boy, are they good at it. Its top brass director, Ishihara Tatsuya, after progressively improving his style through highly acclaimed shows such as Air, Kanon, Suzumiya Haruhi, and the first season of Clannad he now takes romances to the next level with Clannad AF.First of all let me clarify that I am a type A fan, meaning that I care far more about the technicals and the directing of a show than I do for how vivid emotions I had while watching it. So don’t go expecting me to write how much I cried while watching this show because I simply didn’t. And yes, this is definitely not a show aiming for cynical people like me and I almost always don’t watch them, much less bother to write a review about them. In this particular case though I will do an exception, since this season is not just another fluffy generic school romance. And yet at the same time it is. Confused? Well, let me just say that Ishihara played it smart enough to present things as serious and silly at the same time by constantly playing us for fools. Read on to see what I mean. As far as the first season goes, I find extremely few things to say about it. It is almost entirely just another high school romcom with rather stereotypical characters, lots of dumb moe-moe, and a plot that could easily be summed up in a few episodes. What I give it a credit is the finale, which unlike most of its genre has the protagonist choosing a girl instead of leaving it open. You see, most developers don’t want to aggravate the fans that favoured other girls and wanted their girl to be chosen in the end. Or even worse, not be chosen because they want her remaining pure and their own waifu. Well, whatever, the developers in this case had the guts to offer a solid decision … Ishihara presses emotion button No.1 … but still played it safe, just to satisfy everybody. You see, they eventually made more OVAs that work as alternative sequels where the protagonist chose a different girl. They didn’t have the duration and complexity of this series but it was better than nothing for those annoying shippers. Anyways, what makes this season interesting is how it escapes the tired to death high school setting. The characters have now graduated and we get to see them trying to cope with adult life by having to find a job and support a family instead of just going to school and having carefree fun. So all of you who got fed up with the usual school romances will definitely get kicks with this far more mature premise. As for those of you who still dig nothing more than school romances … Ishihara presses emotion button No.2 … worry not, as the heroine is still there because she failed to pass the last class because of her illness. And she is so pretty and frail and moe, you just want to protect her UGUUU! There see, it is still fluff despite the seemingly more serious story. But hey, if you can shoehorn even more moe somehow, why stop there? At one point the heroine wants to help bring in some money to the house by working as a waitress. This is again attempting to show a mature side of how even she needs to work and make money. And in no case should you wonder how the hell she did that if she is frail enough to faint while reading for school, much less work hard for 8 hours a day. Just focus on … Ishihara presses emotion button No.3 … her, looking all sexy in that maid suit as she serves customers. Yeah, it is still business as usual. And let’s not talk about how useless women are treated in this show, always frail and in need of a man to run after them all the time.Another interesting part is how both the main characters are now married and have a happy life together. And of course that means they also have sex, like all married couples do, so we are talking about far more than just platonic romances here. Those of you who got fed up with people just holding hands and blushing, you will definitely love this relationship. As for those of you who still like dumb platonic school romances … Ishihara presses emotion button No.4 … worry not, as we never see them doing anything. I mean, really, all they are doing is the same old crap we get in romances without the tiniest scene of sex. Just look at how they are sleeping, in separate futons, with separate colours in pyjamas and sheets, and are just holding hands. Yeah, so hot and steamy … So midway though the show the heroine gets pregnant. This is supposed to again offer a more mature approach to the relationship, since now the protagonist will be a father with even more responsibilities. Yeah, how nice, too bad this pregnancy came out of thin air since they never did anything …But, alas, things didn’t turn out to be so good and tragedy befalls this happy family. The show turns suddenly to a tragedy and … Ishihara presses emotion button No.5 … tens of thousands of viewers start to cry like their own mother just died. I mean, seriously, nobody expected such a turnaround and it was just soul-crashing. The protagonist also doesn’t scrub it off like it was something minor; he is devastated. He loses the meaning of his life and he succumbs deeper and deeper to despair, and worse things keep on happening to him. Oh, and don’t mind how his friends and family don’t seem to be trying to help him recover for five years; we are just supposed to accept that they are not important enough to try. Or how he is crying over one loving person but is ignoring another loving one entirely. These seemable plot continuity errors are done deliberately … Ishihara presses emotion button No.6 … in order to keep the drama fresh and the fans crying. So the show reaches its final episodes where things can’t possibly get any worse. Tens of thousands of people are pulling out their own hair, shake in agony, and can’t stop crying from how awfully cruel this show turned out to be. They are ready to deem this show as the worse romance of all times for being so evil. They are ready to run back to those ridiculous school romances where the characters never graduate, never kiss, never mature, and in generally nothing ever happens. Others are so devastated to the point they are ready to cut their wrists or jump out of a window to their doom instead of having to spend the rest of their lives feeling so horrible for watching this show. But then all of a sudden … Ishihara presses emotion button No.7 … a miracle happens and we get a most ideal happy ending. And everybody rejoices and deems this show the best romance of all times because everything resets and all the evils in the world magically went away. I tell you, if the show remained mature and realistic, it wouldn’t be so famous. If it was about the protagonist having to slowly recover from his depression and having his friends being next to him for support, accepting the tragegy as part of the past and moving ahead with his life, finding a new purpose, a new meaning, maybe a new woman to love, a new family to make, to put together the pieces of his life and move on stronger than ever before … they would hate it. But instead … Ishihara presses emotion button No.8 … we get this cop-out finale where the scriptwriter says “FU reality” and renders everything that happened before as irrelevant, since all it takes is to have some magical power that resurrects dead people and turns shit to chocolate mousse. This is an escapism show, remember? You are watching it to cry and you expect a fairy tale ending JUST BECAUSE. Well, there you go B types; you got what you wanted. Me? I found all that to be COMPLETE BS! But I got to admit it, Ishihara you little bastard, you know very well how to manipulate peoples’ emotions. Dance puppets! Dance to the rhythm of his strings! And cry at every asspull and forced event that he throws at your face!… ok, bullshit aside, it still has lots of good things going in it. The production values are amazing for their time and help the viewer to better get into the mood. The characters are fleshed out on a basic level and especially the protagonist changes a lot after he gets emotionally devastated. It is also very interesting to see how he interacts with his father at this point, a person he hates and wanted to be nothing alike, yet ends up repeating the same mistakes. It is nice to see the irony in trying to be different … Ishihara presses emotion button No.9 … yet still being the same. If there is something really weak in this show, that would be the pacing. Half the time it is extremely slow and full of pointless events and filler episodes that serve nothing in the longrun. And the other half the story has constant time skips just for the sake of bomparding you with constant tragic events. Ishihara presses emotion button No.10 … Yet even that is supposed to mirror a real life, where most of what we are doing is unimportant and forgettable. Plus, it makes you feel like all you end up remembering are the most tragic events in your life and not all the rest of the passable ones. Damn Ishihara, you sure know your shit. So in all, although I am a cynical bastard who didn’t shed a single tear and found the ending to be complete bollocks, seeing what almost any other romance show has done with its own premise I must agree than Clannad AF is indeed great at messing with the stereotypes … Ishihara presses emotion button No.9 … without never truly changing them. If that is not the proof of brilliance, I don’t know what is. Feels almost like professional trolling. You know it’s coming but you are still going to fall for it.
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