Clannad After Story — Final Thoughts

Clannad ~After Story~

After having enjoyed Clannad so much, it is no surprise that I would be looking forward to the sequel, Clannad ~After Story~. Fortunately, it pretty much lived up to the Key standards for these visual novel adaptations by Kyoto Animation.

The story picks up where Clannad leaves off and follows the same pattern as before, showing school life for Tomoya, Nagisa, and their circle of friends. Mei-chan’s story started out humorous enough with Youhei failing to get any of the girls to pretend to date him and him settling for Sanae-san and even falling for her. However, Mei-chan’s attempts to help her “oniichan” by trying to get him to play soccer fell flat to me. 沉默的吟游诗人 pointed out to me that she’s only 13 which is very true. However, Tomoya and Nagisa aren’t 13 so why did they go along with this hideous plan and take all that verbal and physical abuse from the soccer club? I will admit that I did like seeing Youhei eventually stand up for his little sister.

Then we have the Misae arc, which provided some interesting information about wishes and the mini light globes we see floating around. As a story, it worked pretty well for the most part. Actually, Misae turns out to be a pretty interesting character and funny to boot.

This was followed by the Yukine arc. This was a mixed bag for me as I like Yukine, but the story of the two rival gangs and her older brother just didn’t quite work. I can see why in the original visual novel (game), she was dropped as a main girl and left as a secondary one since her story is kind of weak.

After Tomoya graduates, the anime kind of shifts a bit. With Nagisa having to repeat her 3rd year of high school again and Tomoya on his own and working a job, things start feeling a bit more mature. Their high school friends are reduced to cameo roles from here on out as the anime then focuses on Nagisa and Tomoya’s life together. Nagisa’s father, Akito-san, takes over Youhei’s role as comic relief (“M.C. Akito” just made me laugh out loud), but unlike Youhei, Akito-san also provides serious guidance to Tomoya.

While I liked that the anime eventually shows Nagisa “graduate” in a mock ceremony (complete with all of their friends and helpers), I was sad that Nagisa and Tomoya didn’t get a proper wedding, only an official registration with the government. From this point on, the anime moves through time rather rapidly with Nagisa getting a part time job, then getting pregnant, having Ushio, and dying. I swear the anime writers all but telegraph the notion that Nagisa will die and despite this, her death is major tissue time. I cried like a baby.

Then the anime skips five years to pick up Tomoya and portray him as a scum who’s basically abandoned his child to her grandparents for them to raise. I just can’t imagine any parent doing such a thing and yet the real tragedy is that there are parents who do just that — abandon their children. However, a convenient father-daughter trip arranged by Sanae-san where he and the ultra (and heartbreakingly) cute Ushio end up visiting Tomoya’s grandmother turn that around but also turn on some lights.

Up until this point, the ongoing Mystery Girl and Garbage Bot story had made no sense to me. We’d had some clues of course but nothing solid — just a bunch of teasers. However, after seeing Ushio absolutely love the day with her father in the field of flowers and the robot doll he bought for her (which she lost), suddenly I realized that the Mystery Girl was somehow Ushio and that the Garbage Bot was her way of trying to recreate the robot doll her father bought for her. That meant that for Garbage Bot to be alive combined with Tomoya having somehow known the story of the Mystery Girl and Garbage Bot, Garbage Bot somehow had to be Tomoya.

What I couldn’t quite figure out was the entire “how” as I speculated that Tomoya had gone in to rescue Ushio from this place and had taken the form of the Garbage Bot to do so. I was wrong on that count but I appear to have been right about Ushio’s Illusion World being her attempt to recreate the happiest day of her life when she went on the trip with her father and it ending in snow much as her life ended in the snow in the real world.

BTW, what were those sheep things anyway? A representation of the Dango plushies is all I can think of.

Because of the limitations of the anime’s method of storytelling, the whole connection of the Mystery World and Tomoya’s trips back aren’t clear. Also not clear is the hospital’s connection with Nagisa and Ushio’s illness. I’ve since read a banished Wikipedia article on the characters (they were banished because some wiki-god decided that Wikipedia didn’t need that much character information) and I can see how the visual novel’s platform made telling the story in a way that is much more understandable when it comes to Tomoya and Nagisa knowing the story of the Illusion World. To further help us understand, some anonymous commenter provided me with an image which diagrams how things worked. I share it with you all here (Click image to see the full 504KB image).


I was disappointed that Kotomi didn’t play a role in the ending of Clannad ~After Story~ since it was established in Clannad that her parents were researching the Illusionary World and that she also picked up their research after college.

I was not disappointed by the return of Fuuko-chan, though unfortunately, the “miracle” of her recovery isn’t really explained in the anime. You really need to have either played the game or read the additional materials.

That leads me to the final point — the ending at episode 22. I know some people were really put off by the dues ex machina ending in how Tomoya made everything right and gets to live happily ever after. However, going back through Clannad and Clannad ~After Story~ combined with the other materials, I can see how this end was actually foreshadowed going back to episode 1 of Clannad. Its just that because we had so few pieces of the puzzle back then combined with the length of time the two series cover, it is easy to forget little details. However, they were there and so the ending doesn’t bother me.

In the end, Clannad ~After Story~ provides much of the same stuff as Clannad, then takes things to another level by having Nagisa and Tomoya marry. From here, the troubles of high school are long forgotten in favor of the troubles of adulthood. For that alone, I could easily give this a 4.0 out of 5 but factor in some really nice comedic moments to keep things from being too depressing and I’ll give it a 4.5 out of 5.

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5 Responses to “Clannad After Story — Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a sweet anime through and through. Both seasons rock.

  2. Ultimaniac says:

    Lol, I remember seeing this diagram on Sankaku Complex. I don’t know why I never finished this series. I think I saw up to the first 3 eps of AS and then lost interest. I’ll have to pick it up again someday.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Someone sent me a link to a copy of it in a previous comment, which is what I uploaded here. I’m not surprised that others had it as well.

  4. Blogima says:

    At least, I’m happy with the “deus ex machina” miraculous ending. I’d never like Nagisa so much as a character, but she was very important to Tomoya’s development (after all, he is the mais character). I liked her role in After Story. Well, I’d like if Tomoyo had have some development as well, but whatever (at least, we all know Tomoya’s sad ending in Tomoyo after, so, yay for After Story ending!).

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I like Nagisa best in “After Story.” Oddly enough, she looks pretty hot as a mother. *lol*

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