Thursday, December 28, 2000

Clanned After Story review

"Clannad" received an anime adaptation in 2007 with a total of 23-episodes and was released on DVD earlier this year in the US from Sentai Filmworks. The second season known "Clannad ~After Story~" (which takes place after the first season of Clannad and then ten years later) is now being released in the US. The anime series is directed by Tatsuya Ishihara ("Air", "Kanon", "Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya") and a screenplay by Fumihiko Shimo ("Full Metal Panic!", "Air", "Burst Angel", "Gravion", "Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"). The character design for the anime series is by Kazumi Ikeda ("Kanon") and is faithful to the original designs by Itaru Hinoue ("Air", "Kanon").

"Clannad" was an anime series that focused on high school students Tomoya Okazaki and a girl he meets his senior year named Nagisa Furukawa. Tomoya, who was a brash teenager who got into a lot of fights with his father and Nagisa, a frail teenager who has been out of school for periods of time due to an illness but somehow along the way, these two have found a special bond and love for one another.

As the first season of "Clannad" focuses on these two characters and their friends, the first part of "Clannad ~After Story~" continued with storyline of high school life and focusing on a storyline for each of the main and supporting characters and life for Tomoya and Nagisa after he has graduated from high school.

But with "Clannad ~After Story~ - Collection 2 , the final half of the series focuses primarily on the two as they now prepare for marriage and having a family life and the story moves forward ten years later. Needless to say, as the series has had its share of emotional episodes, the end of those story arc's have ended with happy endings. With this second collection, things grow much darker and tragic and if you thought the prior episodes were emotional, this final volume is much more deeper than ever.


So far, each anime series that were based off a Key video game such as "Kanon" and "Air" have both been fantastic anime series featuring vibrant animation, colorful backgrounds and just many settings that really make the series stand out. The same can be said about "Clannad ~After Story!", the animation and production is absolutely fantastic. Kyoto Animation has done a wonderful job with the artistic backgrounds. Also, the animation is solid and character designs are also done very well. "Clannad ~After Story~" is featured in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and picture quality for the anime series on DVD is wonderful! The OVA "Another World: Kyou Chapter" wasn't aired in Japan as part of the TV series but because its an OVA, has better production quality than the TV series with more detailed background art and more shading in the animation.

As for the audio, the audio of the series is in Japanese 2.0. Japanese voice acting is solid and a lot of well-known Seiyuu are involved in the series. Dialogue is understandable and clear. Personally, I chose to have my receiver play the series with "Stereo on All Channels" for a more improve soundscape. As for English dubs, there are no English dubbed dialogue available for "Clanand" or "Clannad ~After Story~".

Subtitles are featured in English.


"Clannad ~After Story~ - Collection 2 features the clean opening and closing animation and Sentai Filmworks trailers.


This is the part I have waited for and have heard so much about from fans of the series. "Clannad ~After Story~ Collection 2 becomes more real as Tomoya and Nagisa now live their adult lives as a married a couple and eventually wanting to start a family. We have received hints from the opening of the anime series with a girl and a robot but the storylines were vague until you reach this final half of the season.

The final half of "Clannad ~After Story~" is fantastic and emotional. I don't think I have cried this hard for an anime series since I have watched "Grave of the Fireflies", that is how depressing and emotional that "Clannad ~After Story~" has gotten and episode after episode, I couldn't stop, it was that captivating and suffice to say, you are pulled in as you have watched many episodes of Tomoya and Nagisa grow from their high school years and now to their married years and you have two bombshells dropped on you that is so emotionally hard to take in.

Also, knowing that those emotions and what you see, mirrors reality in knowing that there are fathers who have had to deal with a similar situation that Tomoya had to go through. The series does have a happy ending and of course, the realism of the storyline can be lost but in the context of what we experienced throughout this series, especially with the Fuko and Yukine storyline, there are magical things that happen in the world of "Clannad". The balls of light that we have seen in several episodes and the discussion of alternate universes (especially with the two OVA's), the screenplay plays off possibly like its video game counterpart that this is not a an anime series based on reality, it's a series based on possibilities and anything is possible.

For the realists, one can feel that with episode 21, the tragedy that unfolds is their true conclusion. For those who want that magical, happy ending... episode 22 and the final episode summary gives you that other option. It's interesting because typically, you don't get a choice in the matter at the end of an anime series. Pretty much at the end of a series, what is done is done (unless there is a movie or OVA version reimagining the series). Not for "Clannad ~After Story~", the series has always had its enjoyable happy moments and its emotional moments. As a viewer, part of me felt that episode 21 is how things should be, to capture that realism of the storyline. But knowing how things happened during the Fuko, Misae and Yukine storyline in "Clannad" and "Clannad ~After Story~", magical things happen in the town where Tomoya and Nagisa live which can't be explained and thus episode 22 and the summary episode is an ending that makes sense.

In the end and now watching this series from beginning to end and almost like a marathon, so captivated that I couldn't stop, I realize why this acclaimed series is loved by many.


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