Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anime review: Clannad & Clannad After Story

I remember watching this anime a lifetime ago called Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. It wasn't a Dragonball shounen manga wannabe or a trying to be cute Fruits Basket shoujo anime. The storyline was soapish with memory loss as its set up but the execution was interesting and more towards reality than fantasy. It was basically anime style jdorama story and to my surprise it was actually based on an eroge!

Over the years, I have always heard about how good Clannad was. How the story was awesome and that it was a famous eroge without and ero in it which makes it uuh an adventure game. Finally decided to give it a go and Clannad feels like watching someone playing an eroge with the happy endings for all the characters. Its basically a harem anime with our main generic character Tomoya befriending all the girls who of course are variations of your harem anime cliched characters.

All the female characters look exactly the same with different hair colour and length. The main girl, Nagisa is the ultimate girl next door. Innocent, dojikko (clumsy), weak, kind, honest blah blah blah. The kind of idealist female that only exists in 2D. So I just skimmed past Clannad and decided, what the hell, I'll try out After Story which is part 2.


Luckily, After Story is no longer a a harem anime and goes into the relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa. Lots of realistic elements like Tomoya's dad being an abusive drunk who gets caught for selling drugs and that causes him to lose a promotion or Tomoya struggling with his work. Great stuff. 

Then Nagisa gets pregnant in dies during childbirth which gave me more of an ehhhhh response instead of WTF because I wasn't sure she was died. My first thought was that she was just too tired and fell asleep. It was not as if the midwife told Tomoya Nagisa was dying or he was checking his breathing to make sure. Clannad could not have received so much praise for this boring death scene?

Story moves five years ahead and the child Ushio is being raised by Nagisa's parents who have access to the fountain of youth. Tomoya is a wreck and the story is about him connecting with his daughter and the best part of the series is Tomoya realising that he is going through what his father went through and is doing a worse job at it.

Finally, the writers decide to kill Ushio. WTF. I didn't care about Nagisa dying since she was an impossibly perfect anime character but not Ushio!!!!! This is uber tragedy anime. Is this like the Eva ending of all eroges? Just to mindfuck the audience? Magically we get out story reset and an explanation of the mysterious vignettes we see at the start of every episode.


I've watched 46 episodes of this anime and I still can't tell you which characters are which cause they all look the same.

I think as a game, the story works. You have good endings and you have bad endings. Its supposed to encourage the player to replay the game. As an anime, Clannad was a bloody chore to watch cause every single girl's story arc was shown. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien went the main story arc and had me wanting to play to game to try other story arcs.

However, the game probably does allow the player to see every character's story. For a game, that's fine for pacing but not for anime. I would assume the ending works in the game because it is something to be achieved rather than being a cop out in the anime. Kind of wish I had one of those MIB memory stuff to forget the anime and play the game.


ainoviere said...

I remember watching Kimi ga Nozomu Eien - it surprised me as well because it seemed more like a jdorama rather than an anime. I remember it being particularly depressing, although the ending was good.

Anonymous said...

omg clannad is boring!!! you should watch welcome to the nhk! It's bloody interesting. I'm sure you can relate to the anime a lot or not relate lol. I really think you'll love NHK.

Anonymous said...

lol I found this

Akiramike said...

I've watched NHK twice and it is just a most wondrous series.

Thanks for the link. I'm going to steal that idea for the next crap jdorama I come across.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

After Story's ending is very unfortunate, since it's otherwise an excellent series.

The deus ex machina ending is a solution to a problem that never needed to exist. That is, Ushio never needed to die. Her death is pointlessly cruel and contributes nothing to the story. Hitting the reset button only makes sense if Tomoya has learned some kind of lesson and is desperate for a second chance (as in the Adam Sandler movie Click!, for example), but nothing of the sort happens. Or rather, it had already happened earlier in the story. Nagisa's death should have been more than enough.

Do you remember Nagisa's father telling Tomoya about how Nagisa almost died as a child, but recovered when he prayed for her (I think it was something like that)? I was certain the exact same thing would happen with Ushio, so I was very surprised when she simply died. Why tell that story and make it seem like obvious foreshadowing when it's not going to lead anywhere? It's almost like another writer hijacked the story (and I use "writer" in the loosest sense of the word).

By the way, I finally got around to watching Madoka not long ago. It's about as good as people say it is, but I think the lesser known Red Garden is better.

Anonymous said...

i totally can fully relate to welcome to the nhk. that show is good. and how can i forget the music. haha..

Anonymous said...

i found this person's post about clannad hilarious...

I've only seen 8 eps or somtehing before i dropped but i totally totally agree.