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This entry covers the closing episodes of Clannad After Story. I will probably do one last shorter entry for my overall thoughts and opinions, but first I need to set the story straight. I’ll give you a forewarning that this entry is extremely long. A PDF version is being prepared.
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I just recently got a solid connection to the net, so at last I can start catching up on all the anime I’ve missed the past two months. Obviously, the first thing I started catching up on was Clannad.
Clannad has taken quite a big turn from the standard visual novel genre, as I watch on it seems to be shifting towards those Korean dramas where peoples’ lives grow and fade intermittently. The characters and we, the audience, are caught between emotions. The coinciding uncertainty as to whether one should smile or cry is a very hazy emotion, yet Clannad is able to capture it spot on.
However, as accurately as Clannad captures these emotions, I find it harder and harder to sympathize with the characters—the transition from love story to life story is leaving me behind in my youth. Unrequited love is something I am familiar with (and surely most others, too) and in the situations they presented to me my mind jumped through my past experiences and absorbed itself into the Clannad world. But as the story progresses from unrequited love to mutual love, from mutual love to marriage, and from marriage to family, the situation drifts farther away and I no longer have a vantage point from which I can get a clear, close view of the situation. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Clannad’s cohesion with my own life that was so eminent in the former parts slides ahead of me. It seems like these closing episodes will be something I will learn to understand over time, as I progress forward in my own life and gain the experiences necessary to make the connection. As it stands now, Okazaki & Co. have grown up ahead of me and show me how much more I have to go through.
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I can’t decide which scene is better: Nagisa’s drunk scene in Clannad After Story 13 or Teletha Testarossa’s sleepwalking scene in the Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid OVA.
They’re both so adorably cute and out-of-character (which only adds to the cuteness!) Nagisa has turned into a very intimate tsundere and Tessa is off in her dream world where all there is is Sagara, Sagara, and maybe some more Sagara. You gotta love the facial panic of the men, too.
If you want to download the above videos for whatever reason, here are the links:
So it’s about time for me to catch up in my Clannad blogging, so here are some quick thoughts on the past four episodes. Just as a reminder, 09 was the graduation episode, 10 was the moving out episode, 11 was the work-related episode and 12 was the failed job transfer.
I think in Episode 09 was the first time we see Okazaki cry. Despite his poor academic performance he’s quite stable emotionally, so I was really quite surprised to see him cry because he graduated. That’s really awkward if you think about it that way, ne?
But, Tomoya and Nagisa’s characters have been changing a lot since they started dating, and everywhere we see hints of Tomoya finally maturing and taking responsibility for his own life. He doesn’t want to end up like his father, after all, so this character development is only natural.
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Misae’s arc has now concluded and we move on to the next supporting character Yukine Miyazawa. All the moonwalk-characters in the ED have now been introduced to us, and I take this as a sign that After Story will return to the original characters; Tomoya and Nagisa most importantly. I personally am getting a bit weary of these two-episode mini-arcs that, albeit being touching nonetheless, don’t really fit into the grander scheme. But back on topic:
Yukine is a no-bias humanitarian figure who will never fail to care for anyone regardless of their history. She is reputable between both dominating clans, and is seen as a mothering figure. If you haven’t noticed already, one of the biggest themes in Clannad is the need and result of having a family. Tomoya moved out because he was having problems with his father, Nagisa had that incident where her parents reformed themselves for her sake, Kotomi is orphaned, Tomoyo was on the verge of having a broken family, and now we find out that Yukine is assuming a parent-like role for her brother and his entire gang. The theatre club is just a family within the student body as a substitute or supplement to their blood family; the members aren’t there for the theatre but for each other.
Likewise, with a gang, they aren’t there for the fights or parties, but for each other. It’s natural for different groups of people to have disputes with each other regardless of whether we call them “gangs” or not; the Theatre Club had a conflict with the Music Club over the issue of the teacher-supervisor. Gangs are generally comprised of male members, and males are generally less sensitive and easily aggravated, so they are more prone to physical solutions. Regardless, disputes, physical or not, are the main reason why people join hands and team up, and the way these disputes are resolved is what strengthens or weakens the bonds between the members. With Yukine’s brother in the hospital, Yukine is the keystone for her brother’s gang as a primary caregiver and role model, much like how Tomoya was the key member to the theatre club during its founding days.
Currently, the theatre club has no particular figure of dominance, and judging by the next episode preview when Yukine’s monarchist gang runs into leadership issues we will learn why an even-authority status is best in family relationships. It’s my bet that Tomoyo Sakagami will play a big part in this arc due to her experience with gangs and family problems, and that she and Yukine will be on anything but good terms with each other.