When his dream career as a basketball player is shattered due to a severed tendon, Okazaki Tomoya believes that his already depressing life has lost all purpose. To make matters worse, he is plagued by dreams in which he wanders through a land of nothingness. Attending school only through force of habit, Tomoya one day meets a girl called Furukawa Nagisa; and over time, while helping her to reform the school's drama club, Tomoya learns to smile and have fun once more. His dreams have become less dark, as though a ray of hope has appeared; but could there be more to these dreams than there appears to be?
StoryThe timing of the Clannad series is a bane for Toei's movie version of the popular Key game. If this had aired a year or two before KyoAni decided to release its own version in 23-episode series form, then this would have undoubtedly had more interest than it received. As it is, I'm acutely aware that even my own experience of this movie is tainted by KyoAni's superior interpretation. Though, despite that, it's clear that Toei's version has major flaws in its storytelling.The first thing you notice is how disjointed the movie seems. One scene in particular jumps into the future without any warning and because of this, makes absolutely no sense with the other scenes before and after it. The dream sequences, while being artistically realised in themselves, build up to a somewhat disappointing conclusion, bordering on deus ex machina.However, the most unerring aspect of the Clannad Movie is that it seems to be split into two completely separate halves. The first half follows Okazaki's integration into a society that has abandoned him, using his growing relationship with Nagisa as the driving point -- but after an amazing plot twist, the tone suddenly gets a lot darker. Without giving too much away, an event that happens offscreen changes the disposition of the main characters altogether and the depression that descends is reminiscent of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. In itself, the scenes are acted out well, but the odd severance of tone from the first section of the movie is a difficult stepping stone for the viewers -- especially when the second half takes place five years after the important life-changing event. When the flashback to the event and the immediate aftermath finally comes, it's too late to save the movie.AnimationCompeting with KyoAni again affects Toei here, though admittedly, they justify their decision to make this into a cinematic release sufficiently. The animation, in parts, is stunning, especially the cherry blossoms at the beginning, which are only a few notches lower than Makoto Shinkai's 5cm Per Second.Where it falls down though, is character design and some rather static, unconvincing scenes. While KyoAni have made the school scenery their own, Toei still struggles with amateur-looking classrooms, endless reused corridors and overused settings, such as train crossings and small unidentifiable appartments. The characters are inconsistently drawn, and the differences between the high school characters in the first section of the movie and their older counterparts in the second section are noticeable but never explained. The motive of Sunohara's change of hair colour can only be guessed at, yet it's never explicitly remarked upon.SoundThe first thing you notice when listening to the soundtrack of this movie (if you've watched the KyoAni series) is that the opening theme is the same. I've already explained my distaste for this particular song in my Clannad review, but in spite of that, this is the best piece of music in the movie. That will probably set the tone for this section, I'm afraid.Everything is so flat and lifeless in the Clannad Movie -- even the music and sound effects used for Nagisa's play (one of the high points of the movie) is dull and uninspiring, lacking any kind of depth that you'd expect for such an important scene. I also found the segments where the characters sing to be out of tune and horrible to listen to.CharactersMovies aren't greatly known for their character development admittedly, but I feel that Toei can't even blame the format for the utter lack of realistic development. Part of this comes from Toei's unwillingness to lose some of Key's huge cast of characters from the game. Notably, Fuuko, Ryo and Kotomi are missing from the movie version, but I felt that getting rid of Kyo and Tomoyo would have been a move in the right direction as well, as their characters are so amazingly undeveloped that they give the idea that they're merely cardboard cutouts with no real reason to be in the movie.This is frustrating in itself, but doubly frustrating when compared to KyoAni's character development. My other quibble with Toei's interpretation of the Clannad characters is their portrayal of Okazaki. A much more brash and monosyllabic Okazaki takes to the screen than fans of the game or the TV series may be used to, and while this is an odd experience to start with, it seems to work for the first few minutes. After that, however, the holes in the character development show through. His personality is never fully realised and he seems to be far too unpredictable to be real. Coupled with his descent into emo in the second half, and all I can say is that this character has been slaughtered in adaptation.Having said that, some of the Okazaki and Nagisa interactions are touching and I particularly liked how Okazaki warms to Nagisa gradually, though the climax of their relationship is ridiculous and spoils everything that comes before it.OverallI'd like to say that I'd recommend this for new Key fans, or that this is a good stepping stone into KyoAni's version, but it really isn't. This movie has flaws on too many levels, with too many plot details that just aren't explained, or are explained too late to make any impact on the viewer. Having been a fan of the original Kanon and Toei's interpretation of the characters and their situations, I was expecting a lot more from this movie than I got. Unfortunately, it seems that Toei have been undone by the restrictive movie format, highlighting the problems this studio has in stepping out of the shadows of other more successful animation studios. If Toei wishes to adapt any more Key titles, they have to improve every area a great deal to match the kind of quality that KyoAni is putting out.In conclusion, forget this title unless you're a serious fan of Key -- and even then, I'd think twice before watching this again. Thoroughly disappointing, even for a fan of both studio and subject matter.
The Clannad Movie, a drama with some comedy, romance and something else. I wasn’t originally intending on watching it, since I thought it was just a lazy cut-down recap of the anime, which I’ve only watched the original first season of. I was wrong, this movie seems to be something else entirely, built new from the ground up with a slightly different cast of characters and story. I will note that a lot of the criticism of this movie stems from the kinda unrelated (made by a different studio) main anime series. Especially as this movie has its differences and leaves certain things out. Unlike others, I will give this movie a fair review, I’ll look at it on its own as a movie, ignoring the anime series. But I might refer to small changes here and there. I’m a fan of serious to-the-heart stories and this is no different. Should you watch it? Forget this review, just watch it. Unless you’re young or cynical and don’t appreciate a serious and beautiful story. In which case, this movie doesn’t need your cold hate. Animation The animation quality for a 2007 movie should be good, it’s a movie for heaven’s sake. Maybe it was my burning desire not to have it in anything but dual-audio, but I only managed to get it in 480p, thus I was disappointed. But the actual animation in the movie itself seemed to scream for higher resolution, perhaps it was in HD and I just couldn’t find it. There were few glitches with the animation. The animation style was a surprise, the Clannad series usually has the distinctive style of Key, but it was less pronounced here. Not a bad thing, it was a good compromise between that and a more generic style. It made good use of a variety of styles actually, some bits were drawn in a way that the original series never did, adding to the ambiance of the scenes. One bit that stood out was when Youhei was climbing on the fence at the school roof. There’s even adept use of atypical camera shots, there are a few scenes where the screen is split into two, each side showing a different character. This almost makes up for the disappointing lack of resolution. Sound In an anime movie like this, sound is important to get a point across. Being a movie, there’s no intro music, but the music during the credits just heightened the feelings from the end of the anime. The Dango song returns, but slightly different. The sound design in the anime is good, music is used well, especially during the play scene where music was a part of the scene itself. It reflected the feelings of the characters during that scene well. This movie 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 now type-casted some of these voices with serious anime like this, not a bad thing but I do know they’ve had roles in less savoury anime (which I won’t mention). 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 Memories, Wrath in FMA, Medusa in Soul Eater, and Elucia in The World God only Knows. David Matranga voices Tomoya Okazaki, also the voice of Takaki Tohno in 5 Centimetres per Second, Hideki Hinata in Angel Beats and Yu Himura in Ef – a Tale of Memories. I’ll keep this short since this is a movie and I don’t have too much time. Akio is voiced by Andrew Love, Greg Ayres voices Youhei, Illich Guardiola voices Yusuke Yoshino, Emily Neves voices Kotomi, Stephanie Wittels voices Kouko Ibuki, Shelley Calene-Black voices Kyou Fujibayashi, Kara Greenberg voices Sanae, Tomoyo is voiced by Kaytha Coker. Characters The main character Tomoya Okazaki is in his last year of highschool. He suffers from nightmares where he is all alone in a desolate place and hasn’t led a positive life. He lost his mother when he was a child, he lost his ability to play basketball (he was the ace on the team) after he permanently injured his arm. This ties in with his dislike of his father, who tries his best to be helpful and care for his son. He doesn’t care for anything, he lives on convenience store food and hangs out with his delinquent friend Youhei. Tomoya is a depressed individual, but that all changes when he meets a certain girl. Nagisa Furukawa is a girl in the same year as Tomoya, but because she got held back, she’s a year older than him. She’s a sickly girl, which is the reason why she was unable to attend school the previous year. But despite all that, she’s a completely positive individual (something that differs from the Clannad anime series) and tries her best to smile her way through even the toughest of times. She loves the Big Dango family and wants to revive the drama club, to honour her parents who were actors, before giving up their dream and opening a family shop so they could spend time together as a family with their often sickly daughter. Akio and Sanae Furukawa get along so well together that Tomoya finds it off putting. Akio smokes and plays baseball with the local kids, but is also very protective of his daughter. He likes to joke and mess about with Tomoya. Youhei Sunohara is Tomoya’s best friend, a hot-headed and immature delinquent with bleached hair. He was once a star player for the football (soccer) team, but he got kicked out of the team for an incident where he just flipped and went violent on everyone there. Unlike the original series, he doesn’t seem to have a sister, coming from a poor family and he’s supposed to be evicted from his room in student dorms reserved for sports scholarship recipients. Despite being very childish, annoying and a bit pervy, he’s a good friend and he turns out to actually be a pleasant individual. Once one looks past his many faults that is. Kouko Ibuki takes on a more prominent role in this movie. Fuuko Ibuki doesn’t seem to exist here. Kouko is a teacher, but is also the supervising teacher of the drama club. She helps Nagisa out quite a lot and is very good at interpreting what’s needed for her play. She’s also capable of being tough when she needs to, she can easily handle and put down an enraged, rampaging Youhei. Later on, it’s discovered that she’s well acquainted with Yusuke Yoshino, the man who owns his own small electrician business. He’s also a big help, particularly to the guys and Tomoya. Kyou Fujibayashi and Tomoyo Sakagami are more like acquaintances in this movie, their roles being demoted from the original series. Tomoyo is still running for student president and Kyou is backing her up as her best friend. Kyou’s twin sister seems to be non-existent and both characters appear less in general. Neither seem to have feelings for Tomoya. Story The story differs slightly from that of the Clannad anime series. It’s shorter, packed more tightly and devoid of any irrelevant scenes. Despite having watched the first season of the anime series, it wasn’t too predictable. All I can say about it is that Tomoya feels desolate and that all changes when he meets the girl who wants to revive the drama club: Nagisa Furukawa. The story also has a solid conclusion. Due to the short length I can’t spoil more. I realise many folks will be disappointed by how it lacks certain things is and the small changes made to fit everything in. But one must realise that this is the limitation of a movie, this form of media can’t afford to do certain things. On its own it’s still good and I thought it would be terrible due to all the negativity surrounding it (including reviews). It is not a simple contraction of the contents of the anime series by Kyoto animation, it’s just a bit different. And what a beautiful story. I anticipated picking up my phone and messing about during it, but that never happened since I was so gripped. This anime is capable of invoking emotion in the viewer. There have been movies and anime I’ve watched before that made me want to cry, which I ended up with a lump in my throat for. So far nothing has come close until now. I felt like this was the longest time I had a lump in my throat. The ending of the second season, and this movie by extension, was inferred and thus spoiled for me over a year ago. But even so, seeing it first hand as something else. Conclusion Thinking about the recent reviews I’ve done and the anime I’m watching right now, I’m reminded how much I hate overall scores. They are very much subject to opinion and aren’t helpful, since there are anime of all sorts and viewers with a variety of tastes and opinions on anime. Some folks like opinion to weigh in heavily on their reviews and while opinion can’t entirely be eliminated, we should do our best to cater for others too. Thus, I will recommend this anime to fans of serious and/or romance anime. It makes you think and can invoke emotion. Yet people other than those I described might enjoy the Clannad series. If you plan on watching either this movie or the main series, I’d recommend watching this first, even though it’s a condensed, slightly changed version of the story. If you’ve watched both seasons of the anime, then don’t bother. It appears to me that most folks who watched the 2 seasons first, really disliked this movie for the departure from what they know. But me personally, despite having watched the first season of 24 episodes, I enjoyed this a lot. Family-friendliness Rating: 2/5 Minor references (lower is better) Overall Rating: 8.5/10 (higher is better)
Horrible don't watch This was not needed and really porley executed by the creators. For those that read this the movie was just an extended version of the final episode of 'after story'. That was an ending, that was the movie. This movie was supposed to sow the entire two seasons in an hour long episode, but the last episode of afterstory does that and does it brilliantly after the emotional rollersoaseter you have just been through, this was not needed. If you want to judge the show, judge it on the actual series and not this, just cut this out of your TO WATCH list and move on. P.S. I wanted to give this a zero but that isn't a valid score
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