Thoughts & Reviews

Clannad

Genres: Romance, comedy, drama, life

Setting: High school, Modern Japan

Length: 2 TV seasons, Clannad and Clannad After Story

Availability:

Blu-Ray logo Blu-Ray: No
DVD logo DVD: first season only, region 1 only, Sentai Filmworks
Bit Torrent LogoFansub:
  • Season 1: [SS-Eclipse], Semi-HD widescreen
  • Season 2: [SS-Eclipse], SD
The Landlady's cat.

Story & Characters

Clannad starts by introducing Tomoya Okazaki, a boy in his last year of high school. Tomoya hasn't had a good start in life - money isn't an issue, but his Mother is no longer around, and he doesn't get along with his Father. On top of that he has a bad rep at school for getting into fights and skipping class frequently, and so has very few friends. For Tomoya, daily life is just ticking the boxes : get up, go to school, avoid going home til late by staying out or hanging out at his best friend's place. He unconsciously longs for change but feels trapped in the city he was born and lives in, and lacks ambition.

Tomoya going to school, same as always Tomoya loitering
Tomoya going to school, same as always Tomoya loitering
And loitering some more
And loitering some more

Enter Furukawa Nagisa. Cursed with poor health, Nagisa is repeating her final year due to lack of attendence. Unlike Tomoya, Nagisa does have a dream to persue but lacks confidence and has a tendency to perceive herself as the cause of problems. On a whim Tomoya decides to help her, and this forms the premise for the first season.

Naturally this doesn't go smoothly. Early on they get side-tracked into helping their friends out with various issues, but these departures from the main premise actually add to the story instead of just becoming filler. They really help to flesh out the supporting characters and add perspective to the story.

Nagisa talking to herself Pink blossom
Nagisa talking to herself Pink blossom
Tomoya and Nagisa after school
Tomoya and Nagisa after school

Despite his inner melancholy, Tomoya still manages to act decently to others, and is a natural prankster. Clannad features regular anime-slapstick moments and Tomoya's jokes had me in stitches a few times, not least because they often backfire. The humour is well balanced by drama most of the time though, and it certainly kept me watching.

Clannad also has a metaphysical/supernatural side, in the form of another "world" or dimension inhabited by a single being, shown from the viewpoint of another being who comes into existence there. Every so often they show a scene from this other world, giving you just enough detail about it to make you think and theorise about how this other world is connected to the main one. At the same time they don't clumsily make it obvious, and make sure it doesn't get in the way of what's going on back in the normal world.

Season 1 essentially boils down to a great high school comedy-drama-romance (if that can be considered boiling down), but doesn't push the envelope - it does things that have been done before, but does a great job of it. It's a highly recommended watch by itself, but Season 2 kicks it up a gear. Keep the Kleenex handy because if you got choked up before, you'll be blubbing soon.

Sanae, Nagisa's cutsey-pie mum And Akkio, her dad
Sanae, Nagisa's cutesy-pie mum And Akkio, her dad
Dinner with the Furukawa family
Dinner with the Furukawa family


Page 2 : Clannad After Story >