Slice-of-life. Comedy. Visual Novel. Romance. Reverse Harem. Drama. Fairytale. Clannad is many things. In the past I’d seen Air and Kanon 2006 and to be honest, I wasn’t really impressed by the stories that I was given. Yes, Kyoto Animation has some really great graphics and visuals but the characters just didn’t stand out to me and the two anime series just faded into the back of my mind. I put off watching Clannad for this reason. But boy was I wrong.
Clannad is one of those really great hit slice-of-life series that everyone should give a chance. You smile, you laugh, you tear up, you cry, and it makes you feel so many of all the emotions in between. The title Clannad is a reference to the word “clan” in Irish meaning “family. One of the main themes of the series is family, but also friendship, dreams and time.
The main character is Tomoya Okazaki. He’s a high school delinquent he meets Nagisa Furukawa, the main heroine, at the start of the story at the bottom of the hill from the school. Tomoya hates the school from the get-go and says so while Nagisa on the other hand, who’s always been an ill child, has just returned from her sick leave and actually loves the school. The form a strange friendship through their endeavour to reorganize the drama club and slowly grow closer and closer as the story goes on.
Aside from Tomoya’s somewhat annoying best friend Youhei Sunohara are all of Tomoya and Nagisa’s mutual friends who all end up secreting crushing on Tomoya. There’s Kotomi Ichinose, the girl genius who met Tomoya when they were kids. There’s the student body president Tomoyo Sakagami who has a violent past of beating up delinquents on the streets of the city. There are the Fujibayashi twins Kyou and Ryou. And the one who holds a special place in my heart till now, Fuko Ibuki, who’s touching story encompasses the first arc of the series. Other notable characters include Yukine Miyazawa, a second year student who hangs around the second library, giving and advice to those in need, Sanae and Akio Furukawa – Nagisa’s parents, Misae Sagara, the dorm mother of Youhei’s all boys house and Youhei’s adorable sister Mei Sunohara.
Not many of the characters develop three dimensionally as much as the main couple. Kotomi, Fuko, the Sunohara siblings and Tomoyo all get their own side stories beside the main plot. There’s even an extra episode that shows the Tomoyo arc with Tomoya. However, what I really love about the series is its ability to generate a slice-of-life paced but still consistently interesting plot with arcs that flow seamlessly into one another. There’s also the small snippet of philosophy that we get from glimpses of the Girl and the Robot from the world of lights which turns into the story/monologue for the drama club’s play at the school festival. The only thing that I wish they would have done better is the character design for some of the other students…. There’s just a lot of purple among the girls and to me, Tomoya and Yusuke Yoshino could be brothers but the characters are quite distinguishable despite the similar colour palette in character design.
The soundtrack is also really great and worth listening to. It lends such emphasis to the dramatic moments in the story and neither overshadows nor undermines the (for lack of a better word) action (because there really isn’t any “action” per se unless you count the beat-ups fights between Tomoyo and Sunohara.
If you’re like, a total girl and a total sap who just loves happily-ever-afters then Clannad is the anime for you. Even if you’re not usually into slice-of-life stories, I suggest you give Clannad a try. Many of my guy friends really love this anime and if you’re a gamer, go ahead and play the visual novel, you won’t regret it.
What are you pondering today?