Clannad and Clannad: After Story

By tumour baby

Clannad is a fall 2007 anime produced by Kyoto Animation. It has a subsequent second season called “After Story” that aired in the following year. It is based on a visual novel developed by Key in 2004. Both seasons have a total of 24 episodes where 22 episodes would be regular, while the other two are extra episodes of different routes that go hand in hand with the game.

Clannad starts off with our unmotivated senior Tomoya Okazaki. He meets a strange girl on a hill one day on his way to school and suddenly his life was never the same. Nagisa Furukawa, though soft-spoken most of the time, drags Okazaki into the drama club and into a whole new perspective.
Clannad is one of the most acclaimed high school dramas in anime and its second season is pretty much in a word – cry-worthy.


Characters: 10/10

The characters in Clannad are all given some kind of depth after being exposed to our main two characters. We have mini story arcs for all the girls involved in the so-called ‘harem’, as well as minor characters that you think are just there for comedial relief. We see how each character is motivated in life and how their interactions have greatly affected them despite being short and could almost be seen as insignificant.

Our main lead Tomoya Okazaki also proves to be much more complex than he is initially seen. You learn about his past and you see him transform throughout the course of the two seasons. You see him learn and you see him fail and you see him get back up again. I feel like the struggles he faces, while not entirely relatable, give the viewers something to think about. He also serves as an inspiration in that aspect where even when you think you are stuck at one place forever, you can actually still move up and that you have much to experience.

Nagisa is first introduced as a sweet girl but she has so many more sides to her. She is determined and has strong ambition, not wanting to give up at all even when times are hard. She is super friendly and caring and her cheer is pretty much contagious. Despite being sick and physically weak, she is emotionally stronger than most of the characters.

Plot: 9/10

The plot starts off simple – boy meets girl and things change forever. For a harem anime, you see that Okazaki doesn’t really have any eyes for anyone but Nagisa. However, all the girls seen in this series all have rich backgrounds and their relationships with both Okazaki and Nagisa lead to great character development. It’s especially noteworthy on how, even as a supposed ‘harem’ anime, most of the girls really just regard Okazaki as a good male friend and companion whereas we’re usually used to dealing with all the girls being head over heels over the same guy.
The first season wraps up their love story after developing so slowly all through the 22 seconds. It ends a bit cheesily but in the way your heart melts for shoujo manga. 

There is also the mini-story that appears at the start of each episode. It initially comes off as a detached storyline and it all fits together so well by the end of the season – giving you additional insight on the characters.
The second season is incredibly painful. We start off with a series of episodes involving minor characters, giving each of them depth and mini-story arcs that just gets you. When we get to the major plotline of season 2, the tears start and they don’t stop. At this point, everyone is just invested in this whole love story that seemed so simple – and yet it’s not. It’s a bout pain, acceptance, and sacrifice. It’s about learning to move on despite everything and how to keep on going.

And yet, even with all the melodrama surrounding this series, it still is extremely humorous and manages to make you laugh at unexpected times.
The ending of the second season is not exactly the most realistic but everything that led up to that point makes you just wanna believe it – realistic or not. Clannad makes you want the happy ending because everything had just been heart-wrenching.

Music: 9/10

The music in Clannad just fits everything. The ending for the first season pretty much encompasses the light-heartedness of the characters in how Nagisa believes in the little things and how her love for something supposedly childish brings people together.

The second opening is pretty much Nagisa’s and Okazaki’s story. Its lyrics pretty much show all of Okazaki’s feelings and is partially a spoiler to what happens later on in the story. It goes so well with making you feel both nostalgic and sympathetic about everything in the series.

Voice Acting: 10/10

Even with everything else being quality, this could not be pulled off if the seiyuu were not as amazing as they were. The voices really fit each character, even to the smallest reactions.

Animation: 10/10

As with most Kyoto Animation works, Clannad is no exception to that. 

I do feel though that the choice of animation for the opening, while in theme with the story line, doesn’t wholly fit. The second season is more focused on Nagisa and Tomoya’s relationship, but its opening still introduces the girls part of the original ‘harem’

Personal Enjoyment: 11/10 (not included in the final rating)

Clannad is one of my favorite anime. I’ve watched it twice and I’ve cried numerous times over it. I am one of those people who start crying at one episode in season two and didn’t stop crying until the last episode was over. This series just gets me so much and the second time I watched it just made me feel so much more. Their love story is something that’s inspiring to me – they are an unlikely couple with odds just stacked against them and yet they survive, they deal, they live. 

Overall Rating (9.6/10)​