The Clannad franchise began as a visual novel created by Key and released in Japan(2004); and has since generated a movie, light novel, manga, and two TV seasons called Clannad(2007-2008, S1 23EPS), and Clannad Afterstory(2008-2009, S2 24EPS). This review is only with regard to the two seasons of the TV series.
Clannad begins as your very typical Japanese HS Harem anime, and focuses on the single character of Tomoya Okazaki in the center of the Harem. But do not be taken in by this seemingly stereotypical plot line. Tomoya has substantial problems in his character, and attitudes, but as is shown, he has a very giving side, as he helps all those who surround him. But the eerie nature of this story has a parallel story line playing above the Tomoya Harem story, and this involves a very, obscure story about a robot and a girl in some sort of altered dimension, something like
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is a 1985 novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. The English translation by Alfred Birnbaum was released in 1991. A strange and dreamlike novel, its chapters alternate between two bizarre narratives — "Hard-Boiled Wonderland" and "The End of the World".More at Wikipedia
Original title:Sekai no owari to hādo-boirudo wandārando
The more or less realistic slice of the main story of Tomoya gives ground to the even more abstract story of “The girl and the robot” which plays much like
The Myth of Sisyphus
The Myth of Sisyphus is a 1942 philosophical essay by Albert Camus. The English translation by Justin O'Brien was first published in 1955.More at Wikipedia
but to explain here would involve major spoilers. If you experience Clannad, you will immediately understand what Murakami and Camus have to do with this seemingly simple little harem anime.
Make no mistake, Kyoto Animation is setting you up for what this reviewer considers, the most powerful mover of your feels, ever created! Many seem to ignore S1 as if it has nothing to bear for S2 but to miss S1 is to miss the very setup that the artists behind the TV series are about to drop onto you, and move your feels into new territory. Because they are developing their single character in Tomoya with enormous depth and insight, Clannad is in its hard-boiled, depth perception of a single character creating a condition where soon Tomoya becomes a person in your life, and the girl with her robot, are pushing the rock up the hill of life, which then rolls down on Tomoya with an emotional devastation rare in any story.
The rock hits in S2, EP18, “The Ends of the Earth”, where all the elements of the setup, connect and come together when Tomoya meets with his grandmother, and then meets his daughter in the Sunflower field with a setting sun of glowing gold. The feels of this scene are difficult to describe, because they are not words, but heart elements coming together in Tomoya which are also coming together in you.
The rock not only rolls over Tomoya, but also you, as your feels feel an amazing movement of being crushed, and wedged into a new emotional perspective.
You may think this an exaggeration, but many others have similar stories of their feels in the Sunflower field. Just remember, its only a story, but try telling that to your feels spattered across a multi-dimensional psychic space.
Eps 19-24 are then an extended coda, working out all the implications of what EP 18 has done.
But be very aware that while the Clannad artists now have you in a vulnerable condition, they turn up the feels into ungodly realms beyond endurance of any kind. You may think that the coda is resolving out as it plays, but they are just starting with you. You will need to steal your heart for how Clannad finishes. Pay very close attention to the girl and her robot and the currency of your payment will be the admission to a spiritual world beyond imagination.
Please do not attempt to even do Clannad unless you are willing to pay the price of
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is the debut studio album by the English rock band Pink Floyd, and the only one made under founding member Syd Barrett's leadership. The album, named after the title of chapter seven of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows and featuring a kaleidoscopic cover photo of the band taken by Vic Singh, was recorded from February to May 1967 and released on 5 August 1967.More at Wikipedia
Released:5 August 1967
Recorded:21 February – 21 May 1967
Studio:EMI Studios, London
Please be aware that the last episode is highly controversial with many for and against because it essentially negates everything that Clannad setup in the first place. How it does this, you will have to experience for yourself, and see how your feels feel about the ending.
For this reviewer, the ending feels like a drop-in. In the movie business, the suits (the people with the money paying the bills), will often come to the artists, and demand changes, usually with regard to a happy ending. So the artists create a drop-in coda to finish out, and get paid.
But this is seemingly, a minority opinion. The majority of Clannad fans seem happy with this ending, and that opinion is just as valid as the one here expressed. A drop-in is not necessarily bad for being such, and if it works for you, then it is good. For this reviewer, it did not work right with our feels, but that is neither here nor hair. And in any case, the ending does not affect, what Clannad is, and does, and the magic with with it stirs your pot of stew.
Needless to say, Clannad is a masterpiece.
Clannad is the most emotionally powerful story in the library.
Will rip your heart and all its feels, right out of your
body. Then stomp on it, slice it up, and stuff it back
into your chest! One of those few precious stories that
can actually change you, if you are open to be changed.
Folcwine P. Pywackett