Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Summary: Tomoya Okazaki is a third year high school student resentful of his life. His mother passed away from a car accident when he was younger, causing his father to resort to alcohol and gambling. This results in fights between the two until Tomoya’s shoulder is injured in a fight. Since then, Tomoya has had distant relationships with his father, causing him to become a delinquent over time. While on a walk to school, he meets a strange girl named Nagisa Furukawa who is a year older, but is repeating due to illness. Due to this, she is often alone as most of her friends have moved on. The two begin hanging out and slowly, as time goes by, Tomoya finds his life shifting in a new direction.
Review: First comes first, this anime is not one you generally watch with other people. Why? Well because you will probably fight each other for the tissue box because this is quite the heartwrencher. Clannad is one of the best romance animes I have seen, and I couldn’t stop watching until I literally collapsed from exhaustion. It is one of the longer romance animes (54 episodes including the second season “After Story”), but it really helped get you attached to the different characters. The first season introduces the main and support characters very well. Quite a few of the episodes actually show where each individual came from, some being quite surprising. I have to admit though, no one seemed to have a happy past. In fact, most of the pasts either had to deal with deaths or injuries. The anime is leaned heavily toward the drama side, which is very rare for me to like, but it is the hopeful stories and endings that really kept it bearable. The characters are hard to hate considering each has their own faults and pluses. Like most romances you tend to see where it is leading, seeing people get hurt while others are happy. Clannad really brought the moral of friendship into play so you don’t get the uncontrollable urge to punch a wall when something doesn’t go perfectly. As I said before, the characters are all likable and the drama was very well done. Even if you find yourself feeling the lowest of the low the anime still gives you that beacon of hope that you can hang on to. This anime really brought out a very real life feeling, but kept you distant enough with a couple fantasy events. Character relationships develop gradually and nothing is quite “out of the blue”.
I could rave about the characters all day long, but alas I don’t want to make this too long. The art work was beautifully done, giving captivating backgrounds and scenery, but focusing on the characters by having them stand out. The soundtrack unfortunately wasn’t great, but the times they set up background music fit well and brought out the emotions of the characters and viewers.
Season two really deserves its own review, but I figure most people who watch Clannad season one will definitely want more. The second season, After Story, focuses more on the two main characters: Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa. Although I did enjoy second season for all the same reasons as season one there was a bit of a “problem” (not sure if I want to really call it that). After Story is the poster child of emotional rollercoasters. Throughout the season the director really hits you hard with overly joyful scenes to the most melancholy situations. Although you have a feeling of satisfaction in the end, I warn you that it is a tough struggle to keep trucking on episode after episodes. In all honesty, I wish they ended season two a little sooner than they had. This isn’t to say that the ending wasn’t well done, but I feel that it could use a bit of altering. However, when it comes to endings I want to leave it up to you, the viewers, to decide good or bad.
Final statements: Combining seasons one and two of Clannad I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good romance anime. I could see Clannad easily becoming a classic of its genre. If you don’t want to sit through an endless river of tears then this anime probably isn’t for you. All things considered this anime is very well done and overall a high priority watch.