It seems really unlikely that you don’t already know what Clannad is about but just in case, the story mostly follows Tomoya who runs into Nagisa on her way to school talking to herself. Seems she is a bit worried because she’s had to repeat a year due to ill health and she’s worried she won’t know anyone. Tomoya isn’t exactly the most reliable assistant given his own personal traumas but the two of them are going to try to make it.
This is going to be fairly short because my overall feeling with Clannad is that while it was fun to watch not much of it sticks afterward. Almost instantly my memory becomes hazy. I know there are plenty of female characters that Tomoya helps along the way during the first season, but other than Nagisa and Fuuka none of them really left any kind of impression (other than the genius who can kill people with the sound of her violin – okay they don’t die but they look like they wish they could die).
After Story has a far more lasting impression but that is because the story focusses on what happens after they are done with school and is pretty much about Tomoya and Nagisa’s relationship which then leads to Tomoya building a relationship with his child and finally facing his own issues with his father. It is a far more focussed story and while the other characters all make appearances, it is clear who owns the story and it has far more emotional strength as a result. Still, After Story only works because of the ground work Clannad did in the first place so it isn’t as though we don’t learn about these characters as they go about fixing everything.
I often wonder why male anime protagonists feel that they have to help every sad anime girl that they encounter but clearly it is a necessity as is the girl then following said guy around like they have no existence outside of said guy and guys other rescued girls. Even when it is clear the guy is with or going to end up with one of the other girls. Just keep hanging around and maybe you’ll get your screen time.
Tomoya’s one male friend fares a little better because at least you remember him, even if it is only because he gets beaten up almost every time he appears. It is a running gag, and like many of the comedy moments in the series, one I wasn’t so fond of. And yet, for all that they literally use this character as a punching bag, Sunohara’s existence is kind of essential to the series and his few actually dramatic moments work well.
The story does take a fairly serious look at a range of high school and life issues. Some of these are quite moving and relatable and others are recognisable even if you don’t have any personal experience. This focus on real drama kind of lifts this show from just being another generic high school harem thing.
Basically if you like slow high school stories that have a lot of drama but are peppered with the usual kind of comedy moments and scenarios than Clannad is quality viewing. While watching it, the show draws you in with its visuals and music, and while none of the other things really stuck with me, while watching I didn’t have any criticisms other than the fact that it felt like I’d seen pretty much all of this before. After Story made me cry but it was working really hard to achieve that so full credit for them succeeding at their goals.
As for me, I liked this well enough while watching but not enough that I’d go for another round any time soon. Definitely a case of having experienced it, enjoyed it, and now moving on.
Thanks for reading.
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