At long last, I finally decided to pick this one up. I've read so many great reviews about this series and practically see it everywhere (anime sites) I turn. So, after a few years of procrastinating, I finally decided to pick this one up and just see what's such a big deal about this series. And my thoughts?
Art, Animation & Character Designs
The first thing I noticed about this series is the breathtaking art and animation. The art was exceptionally done, and with vibrant colors and high details. The animation was very smooth and velvety. As good as it was, it's by no means an "EF" but pretty darn close. The one area I didn't care for was the characters.... mainly the girls. Their oversized eyes and a dot for a mouth just looked weird to me. I never did care for that style of character design. Nevertheless, putting the facial design aside, the character designs overall was good.... and animated really smooth as well. However, given a few episodes in, I quickly was able to overlook that matter. Lighting was another exceptional area in this series. Particularly noticeable in episode 7 where little "Fuuko" was poking a starfish. The lighting, ambient lighting, reflection and refraction made it look very realistic. Great stuff.
The OP was a nice beautiful slow piece with female vocals..... almost a lullaby. It lent well to the overall serenity of the series as a whole. There's some beautiful piano pieces in slow and quiet rhythms. Other times we can hear soft, strums of guitars, symbals, bass and various wind instruments. The overall melodic atmosphere lent a sense of serenity and placidness. You can also catch a bit of a xylophone piece here and there, which gives a sense of light jubilee.... most notible in episode 7, about mid-way through. The ED on the other hand was quite different. The "cute" song sung by Nagisa. Too childish for my tastes.
Series and Episode Story
So finally, I sat down and watched this through. What did I think of it? Hmmm...... over-rated. It's been done a few times before.... like "Kanon" as an example, and practically the same style of artwork. This series however, doesn't try to drown you in your own tears.... as much. It has a fair balance of humor, sorrowful story telling and drama. The plot itself was nothing special although you do have a couple of story arcs.... one near the beginning few episodes and one shortly following after that.
One thing to note is that, there are a handful of things unresolved. One of which is from the first story arc.... of Fuko. She basically vanishes (literally too), as a character with very minimal appearances here and there throughout the second half of the series.... and mainly there as comedy relief. Although it "does" conclude her arc... it seemed abrupt and left a few unanswered questions. Another unresolved issue is the frequent interjection of the toy robot and the little girl (who's portrayed by Nagisa). I wasn't quite sure where that was going or what it was trying to portray but the series didn't do much to further explain it aside from the brief (and disappointing) conclusion verbalized by Nagisa after her stage presentation. Which then, made it out as nothing more than a story she once heard. Darn.
Overall, this was a light entertainment that really didn't do much for me. The artwork and visuals were excellent, the soundtrack had some nice pieces but the story was a bit slow, bland and just mildly entertaining.
Last updated Friday, July 30 2010. Created Friday, July 30 2010.
review coming after I rewatch the anime...
Check out my award list to see some of the best anime titles in the world!
Never forget Xenosaga.
Last updated Monday, December 08 2008. Created Monday, December 08 2008.
Kanon and Air TV. Much like these two titles, this series features a male, sharp-mouthed hero (Tomoya) who helps several girls deal with their personal problems. However, the emotional angst of these two series is downplayed here in Clannad making a balanced use of comedy and drama to prevent things from getting too overly angsty.
Clannad is an anime that takes a light-hearted approach to earlier Key projects like
As a matter of fact, Clannad has gotten a rep from some fan circles for it's greater use of comedy in comparison to Kanon and Air. Many of the comedic gags I seen throughout Clannad have been seen in one form or another in past romantic comedies. The pummeling of Sunohara by tsundere gals as a hapless loser I seen with Keitaro and the Hinata Inn residents in Love Hina. Other noteworthy gags include the random appearances of Fuko (the same thing as Ayu from Kanon) and setting up situations to have one character question the sexuality of another one (Chika's friends with Tina Foster's breast-groping habits in Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ and an episode centered on the youngest Miyazawa sister, Kano from Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo). Some scenes did give me a chuckle, but there was nothing noteworthy that really stood out for me in the comedy department. One problem with the comedy gags though is that they do get overused as the series progresses and can get old quick.
In terms of plot and characters, Clannad is separated into several arcs related to whichever character it has focus on, just like Kanon and Air. The Fuko and Kotomi arcs are standard setups for past Key titles as they play the role of helpless young girls who are waiting for their male hero to come in and help them out. To make a long story short without spoiling things, both gals follow similar archetypes found in storybook games which viewers will learn of as their respective arcs keep pressing forward.
Due to the limited time of the 22-episode format, the arcs for Kyou and Tomoyo were merged together following the resolution of the Kotomi arc. These two arcs merged together actually broke two conventional aspects of Key's earlier works. First, the characters of Tomoyo and Kyou are strong-willed gals (despite their tsundere archetype) who take the inititaive to drag Tomoya into their respective situations instead of having him make it his obligation to help them out. Second, the Kyou arc features an ending that would seem painfully realistic considering where Tomoya's focus is put towards as the series progresses. It isn't a happy one for her, but it is not to the point where it would be melodramatic.
Nagisa's arc, the main focus throughout Clannad, does feature her as the helpless heroine dependant on Tomoya's support much like Kotomi and Fuko as her character develops self-confidence and a potential romantic interest in Tomoya. Tomoya plays out much like Yukito of Air and Yuuichi from Kanon as he becomes a more sensible character as he helps out each of the girls in their respective arcs. A good thing about all the arcs is we still constantly get presence from the girls, with acception to Fuko's random cameos, who continue to help Nagisa with her goals without being reduced to cameo roles or being gone all together.
Clannad's ending is a bit abrupt since there are still some storylines that are left unresolved. We never learn what happens with Fuko and any resolution that comes to the strained relationship between Tomoya and his father.
Overall, Clannad is a decent watch that offers some different takes to the standard Key storybook game formula. It is more light-hearted with a greater balance on comedy and drama without making things too emotionally intense. But, overused comedy gags and an abrupt ending hinder its offerings a bit. Not to mention that those expecting the typical emotional intensity of Key's earlier works may not like this latest offering.
Last updated Saturday, March 22 2008. Created Saturday, March 22 2008.
Analysis : 17 Fansubs watched.
But after watching Episode 17 and the (Gym room incident) I couldn't stop laughing. Kyo has made this comedy GOLD (Taken from Random Curiosity). Episode 17 features all but one (The most important of course) and touches on almost ALL of the issues this anime has.
This show is extremely funny. It is also fairly sad. (Typical KEY) It is extremely interesting and the girls are drawn very nicely. I do notice that KyoAni still hasn't gotten away from that 'one face for all the girls' but the bodies are drawn differently enough that I don't notice.
The nice thing is that ADV is in financial straights right now so that I can d/l this without too much legal issues but they BETTER license this! I wonder how the ending plays out. Most KEY productions end with somebody dying (usually the main character).
Last updated Friday, February 08 2008. Created Friday, February 08 2008.
Still watching this series...
its good so far. The thing that caught my eye are the really kawaii girls and the animation is also very nice. i think im going to enjoy this series.
im liking the relationship of tomoya and nagisa.
more after i finish.
Last updated Tuesday, January 01 2008. Created Tuesday, January 01 2008.
After nine episodes:
I came to the conclusion that this might just be an epic of an anime...maybe. I was leaning towards an early "avoid" because I thought that the ninth episode was the last episode. It would have made my skull crack if that was the case. However, I was feeling much better that there going to be more episodes. Now, in past reviews, I have mentioned that I was a "harem" fan and stories that really go the distance with that theme. I'm not familiar with the novel (nor anything that deals with reading) so I'm basing on everything I see here. The protagonist, Okazaki Tomoya, is the atypical delinquent (but not as bad as some). His father is an alcoholic due to his mother dying in a car crash. He's has one friend who seems to get his kicks from picking fights and being a loudmouth. Okazaki meets this girl, Furakawa Nagisa, who left back due to illness. She has no friends because all of them graduated ahead of her. From this point, I thought that this was the main plot for this series. When I started watching the episodes, I saw a sudden shift from the main plot to some sub-plot story. When I reached the end of that particular arc, I thought the entire series was over. If felt like a slap in the face because I didn't realize that this was an ongoing series. These nine episodes were so drawn to the sub-plot that I thought that it was the main story to this series. Anyway, there's still more episodes and I'm going to pay close attention to series.
Update: March 22, 2008
After completing the final episodes (except for the special) Clannad is a very charming and funny series. The last episode saw a complete 180 of Okazaki. For being a degenerate into an actual responsible young man. I was kinda dismayed about the ending because it was out of nowhere yet it was really something I would expect. It's not a typical harem series although labeled as such. Tomoyo has interests, but all of them are tied to him in some particular fashion, in love or adoration. The story in itself was the highlight of the series. Every little opening scene (if you pay attention) leads to the last episode. When you first watch it, it's confusing but later on it sheds light. Overall, an great story but if there wasn't so much innate sub plots, this would have been the only drama/fantasy series I would give a "Buy" to.
Last updated Saturday, March 22 2008. Created Friday, November 30 2007.
Clannad, being the latest KEY dating-simulation game to get animated, follows its predecessors Kanon, Kanon (2006), and Air TV (and their related movies, specials, and OVAs) by having a central male character with many female characters around with issues to be resolved and a girl to be chosen as "the one." So, how did this latest title do?
One thing that Clannad excelled at was the combination of humor with sadness. The story of Fuko-chan is the saddest of the lot, and yet Fuko-chan is the center of some of the funniest moments in the series. Coming in second place is Koyuki-chan with a sad tale, and yet some laughs, not at her, but with her. As such, while Clannad has some very sad moments, the writers never allow things to become so depressing that one wouldn't want to make a return visit to this world of thiers.
Another thing the series did well was not forget about girls who's story had completed. The writers did things to keep the girls in mind, mainly with the Theater Club. However, for non-Theater Club members like Tomoyo and Fuko-chan, other means were used to keep them in the mix. For Fuko-chan, this came off as very strange (though sometimes very funny) and indeed could be seen as lessening the impact of her story's resolution. I gather that what the anime writers did with Fuko-chan happened in the original game, so ultimately I didn't have a problem with it.
A third thing that the series does well is give the male lead (Tomoya) a male best friend (Sunohara). For the most part, Sunohara is comic relief, especially in his early conflicts with Tomoyo which lead to some of the funniest slapstick humor. However, he's not just there to play the fool as he also has moments where he plays an important part, such has helping Tomoyo's Student Council President election, Nagisa's Theater Club, and ultimately ensuring Tomoya does right by Nagisa. So that was cool.
Forth on the list of positives is how Tomoya isn't the sole fixer of problems as the male lead of Kanon was. Tomoya keys in on Nagisa early on and from then on out, she is at his side to help with other girls to one degree or other. She's an integral part of the Fuko-chan arc. She and the other girls are an important part of the Kotomi-chan arc. She has a reduced role when dealing with Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo, but she still has impact on things. I just loved that aspect of seeing Tomoya and Nagisa together, and with the upcoming sequel dealing with their continued story, I'm really looking forward to that.
On the negative front, while Fuko-chan and Kotomi-chan had lengthy, emotional arcs, Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo get rushed through, which was unfortunate. Its really a shame that the production company couldn't have made this series somewhat longer -- like four episodes longer and THEN still had a summer special and a DVD-only (OVA) release. With those extra episodes, at least a bit more time could have been devoted to those three girls, but alas it was not to be.
There are some unresolved things in the anime, though now that there will be a sequel, I guess these will be addressed. What I'd like to see is how Tomoya and Nagisa are connected to the Imaginary World. I'd like to see Kotomi-chan's parent's research on the Imaginary World brought back into play as part of this. And for sure, I want to see the implied event happen for Fuko-chan in the sequel.
Beyond that, I didn't have any problems with this anime series. Indeed, while a series like Kanon or Air could get so heavy as to make me hesitant to return to that world to rewatch events, I don't have that same reservation with Clannad. Then again, the Clannad story does not end with this series, so who knows how I'll feel after Clannad: After Story is told.
Bottom line: A very nice mix of comedy and tragedy at times, with a nice cast of characters and a sweet male and female lead make this my favorite of the Key games brought to life as an anime. The shortened 22-episode run is certainly a negative (despite the summer special and the DVD OVA) but not enough for me to not rate this a Buy.
Last updated Sunday, March 30 2008. Created Wednesday, October 10 2007.
(All episodes watched):
For once I did some research about the upcoming new shows this fall season, but "Clannad" wasn't among the ones I was on the lookout for. Somehow I jumped to the conclusion that a show with a title like this would probably be about medieval Japanese "Clans" beating on each other, which, it turned out, couldn't have been more wrong (although there is a bit of "beating" involved here). Anyway, after watching the first episode I still had very little idea what was going on here. Would this be a slice-of-life sort of show, or might there be a supernatural element? The strange way in which the show shifted from a black-and-white to a color format aroused my suspicions. For awhile I suspected that Nagisa might be the "ghost girl" that some students talked about, but that doesn't seem to be so. That girl who beat up the punks on motorbikes certainly seemed to possess otherworldly strength, or was that all a joke? Tomoya definitely speaks his mind without hesitation in a manner which must be very rare, especially in Japan; it makes him interesting. The comedy was fairly funny, consisting largely of witty verbal humor. OP and ED songs were satisfactory but haven't remained in my head (actually I got into the habit of fast-forwarding through the "Dango" song before long). But my first impressions were that Clannad would be one of the fall series which I would watch loyally.
Dating-sim spinoff series like this one and Kanon 2006 aren't really my favorite genre; it seems to me that weird stuff happens with little explanation, and the several different plot arcs don't have all that much to do with each other. There seems to be a trend in these shows that an arc starts out with a silly, funny mood, then gets steadily more serious, then, when it's finished, the cycle starts over again. I enjoyed the comic phases but the more dramatic ones didn't hold my attention all that firmly. One possible exception would be the final arc, dealing with Nagisa herself; perhaps this was because there were no spirits or anything like that involved. I thought the climactic episode 22 was handled well. A special bonus was episode 23, which was great fun; I'd love to see an entire series done like this, as sort of a "Fumoffu" Clannad. Okazaki was an interesting character, though his precious sarcasm seemed to wear off with time (not that I got tired of it--it just seemed to stop happening). There were so many girls (plus I was also watching so many other shows with numerous girls) that it was hard to keep track of them all. All-in-all, a fun show, but I feel little motivation to rewatch it--there's too much bewildering stuff which I'd have to sift through in order to get to the jokes again.
Last updated Monday, June 02 2008. Created Monday, October 08 2007.
Video Girl Ai, Kanon, Chobits, Shuffle!, To Heart]
[Score: 84% = Buy-. Other recommended Romance/Fantasy Drama animes:
My "focus anime" of early 2008 - and this series in fact managed to be on par with both Kanon versions despite certain problems of its own. The key to this story is the word "family" (just like in Ai Yori Aoshi), symbolized by the ending song whose importance will become obvious only late in the series.
Let's begin with the element that made me downgrade Series Story by three points: Timing. While the individual arcs are both plausible and well-connected, the Fuko arc dragged along painfully for quite a while whereas other arcs lacked time: According to the Opening scenes Kyou was considered to be a major character but didn't play that much of a role, Tomoyo basically told her story all by herself in a couple of minutes, and the presentation of the ending of the main arc felt a bit rushed (the story conclusion works great though and the "Summer Special" partially makes up for that deficit, at the expense of slapstick humor with some perverted ideas) and the crucial scene felt overly embarrassing. A lot of stuff from the game (where the story goes on for another ten years or so!) is missing as well.
But other than that, I'm quite pleased with the series. After the somehow slow start I considered the Fuko arc way better than the Makoto arc of Kanon (2006); Kotomi's arc wasn't exactly able to beat the fabulous Mai story in Kanon but the main couple's incremental progress made up for this in the end. Unlike Kanon (2006) or Air TV, Clannad has a strong element of school harem during the middle section, and it worked quite well for me.
At first the large number of new characters were a problem (even more so because of their similar faces and even similar hair colors), many of them specified by exactly one attribute character-wise: The martial experts girl beating up boys who are two years her senior and trying to behave like a normal girl, the genius girl who lives in her own world in the library, the tomboy who carelessly runs Tomoya over with her bike, the absent-minded freshman carving wooden starfish day and night, and so on. Nagisa's parents look like slapstick material as well, and the blond sidekick is almost too stupid to be amusing, believing every nonsense Tomoya will tell him. But over time each of those characters gets a lot more depth and enough time to grow (maybe with the exception of Ryou). Most notably, both main characters were strong and interesting throughout the show, and this alone made this anime a success for me.
And there's a lot more goodness in this series: The "big dango family" ending song ("let's roll up all the happy and sad things") with its children tune is charming (while I began to hate the tekkno OP song over time), a number of nice jokes about computer games made me laugh, Tomoya permanent urge to tease people or give them a runaround is always amusing, and the opening scenes with that lonely girl and her friend made of metal junk pieces makes you think what's real and what's unreal of this show (with a surprisingly simple yet plausible explanation in the end). I love how this series credibly combines witty dialogs, puns and jokes with dead serious drama and even tragedy stuff - 10 points for Episode Story because of this.
All in all one more great school drama show based on another KEY game. I just happen to like the one anime not based on a game from the same group, sola (with more fantasy/horror elements though), a bit better because it doesn't have to cope with the issue of glueing arcs together.
Given how much from the original game's story is missing in this anime (I had to read up that from secondary sources) I can understand if fans of the game might be disappointed but as standalone work I consider this series really fine.
And while I'm at it, I'd like to give a pointer to some anime telling a comedy/ecchi version of Nagisa's story, Tsuyokiss Cool X Sweet, that doesn't get much credit usually but might be worth a try as well.
Last updated Wednesday, June 11 2008. Created Sunday, October 07 2007.
sola and Kanon. Too early to tell where the story's going, but I really like the dialog and voice acting so far, and how the characters' actions fit the voices so well. I just wish this studio would put some more differentiation in the girls' faces -- if it weren't for variations in eye and hair color, hair length, accessories, etc., it would be impossible to visually tell one from another.
Looks like another "mystery girl" story from the makers of
The good thing about Clannad is that it has so many great characters. And the bad thing about Clannad is that it has so many great characters, but we're only learning about a couple of them. Fuko-chan's story is interesting, but the entire series seems to be coming down to being all about her. I also want to find out more about the girl that kicks ass, or the one who spends all day in the library, or the twins. Even Nagisa and Okazaki's story, like his relationship with his father, is getting neglected. And while I thought the introduction of so many good male characters, like the cable guy/DJ or Nagisa's father, meant this wasn't going to be another romance with just one guy we know anything about, all those men seem to have dwindled away to insignificance, and even Sunohara is becoming just a comic side-kick. And the characters in the dream, what's happened to them? Maybe I'm expecting too much, but if all those great characters end up as just backdrop for Fuko's story because they didn't fit in the show's format, I'm going to be very disappointed.
I don't know what a family of dumplings has to do with the story, but I love the ED.
Last updated Saturday, November 17 2007. Created Saturday, October 06 2007.
|Clannad page at the Tokyo Broadcasting System channel
|Airing dates, DVD release dates etc. (japanese) - this is the channel where Clannad is shown first
|Key's product page for the Clannad console game