Next on the list to review is another Maeda Jun/Key work, Clannad. I’d debated whether or not to include the second series, Clannad After Story, and whether or not to do a really spoileriffic review since there’s some stuff about the ending and later events that I want to talk about. I wound up deciding to just do two reviews; this one for the first series without spoilers and one for After Story giving away everything.
So. It’s a romance-themed series, which for a show aimed at a male audience these days basically means a harem. But it’s not your typical harem show, for a number of reasons. For a start, the relationship with the “main” heroine is a lot more definite than most. Then there’s the major theme of the series; family. The stories of each of the major characters are all ultimately about their family relationships. For the male lead, Okazaki Tomoya, it’s (initially, at least) mainly about his strained relationship with his father.
For the main heroine, Furukawa Nagisa, it’s (initially) mainly about her relationship with her parents. With Ibuki Fuuko, it’s about her relationship with her older sister. With the Fujibayashi twins, Kyou and Ryou, well… it’s each other. With Sakagami Tomoyo, there’s other stuff involved, but it ultimately comes down to her younger brother. For Ichinose Kotomi, again there are other factors, but it’s ultimately down to her relationship with her parents. Even Tomoya’s friend Sunohara Youhei, it’s largely about his relationship with his little sister.
Tomoya’s a bit of a delinquent, and a tremendous smartarse. It’s mostly the latter quality that makes him an interesting character, and drives most of the humour in the show – primarily with him pulling various pranks on people. But he’s not really happy with his life, or the town he lives in. But this changes when he meets Nagisa on the way to school one morning. It’s not an immediate change; these things do take time, but this is the start of it.
Nagisa, meanwhile, has been absent from school a lot due to illness and is repeating her last year of high school. She’s feeling a bit melancholy because all of her friends have moved on and everything she liked is changing, when Tomoya gives her some words of encouragement.
There’s also a sequence throughout involving an unnamed girl and a junk robot in a mysterious world, which initially doesn’t seem connected to anything or make much sense overall, but it does become important later.
Like Angel Beats, the show does both humour and tragedy, though less of the latter than Angel Beats. It also has a supernatural element all throughout, but fairly subtly so. It’s also thankfully far less of a storytelling mess than other Maeda works such as Air or Angel Beats. And it’s very, very pretty. Not just the characters either, there’s some very nice scenery porn on display.
It’s a very good show, which I highly recommend, but the sadder elements do put many people off.