Obligatory slowpoke picture for super slow anime finishing powers. Also, mandatory spoiler warning:
To be honest (like the 900,000 other raging fanboys out there) I actually enjoyed this series. Even through it’s horrible deus ex machina troll arc endings (spirit fuko, spirit cat, dead brother who we’ve been hiding, lulz universe reset, etc) I still found myself filling buckets with my tears and having my heart wrenched and destroyed over and over again.
But, even though it’s cliche and leaves me with a horrible feeling of being used like some cheap sock, I can’t feel anything but love for this series. I think what won me over was the excellent voice acting and emotional deliverance of the scenes, the music and gut-wrenching heartaches, as well as the overall story of how “life will give you lemons, and then shove them in your ass”. Alto-hime’s voice acting was exceptional to say the least, and I can fully say that KyoAni really knows how to pull off characterful emotions.
Despite its flaws, I would recommend Clannad to everyone I meet to say the least. It holds very good life values, except for the ending.
This is probably the only thing I cannot accept. Now, before you flame proceed to encourage me, I do know about the visual novel and how all the lights from all the other arcs create this sweet story of Nagisa coming back to life, but to be honest, I don’t think it flies with an anime setting. The ending was too abrupt, our emotions too scarred, and “lulz parallel world” deus ex was not welcome in the slightest. If I could write horrible fan-fiction (which I most certainly do don’t) I would probably have preferred it if they didn’t go with this ending.
Actually, I can probably narrow down the exact point in time where I literally flung my hands up in the air, banged them against my desk table and screamed “WTF”. And it would probably be here:
I mean, to be honest, c’mon! Surprise sickness? Healthy 5 year old girl with surprise chronic illness? Please. This has got to be the most bogus deus ex ever. Why do they need to do this? Why? So they can universe reset? Because that’s all I’m getting out of it.
After showing that Tomoya had the guts to show that it’s better to “Live and have loved, rather than love and not live” with an extremely touching (and baw worthy) make-up scene with Ushio in ep 18, and then showing that he has finally accepted his Dad’s guidance in the next, we could’ve ended there. Instead it goes on to show that all of Tomoya’s hard work was for nothing because life shoved lemons into Ushio’s body. That all our previous heart wrenching moments were for a “dream world” that never existed (as in “Lulz, u were crying over nothing”). And that you can easily solve problems using a bit of parallel universe time warping and “miracle lights”.
Ok, I’m rewriting what I said earlier.
I felt that, as the story progressed, we’re taken to the absolute pits of despair (Nagisa and Ushio dying), having some hand-wavy explanation, and then having a ridiculously happy ending. There’s nothing wrong with any single part of the story, just that it doesn’t flow at all. I thought it was just “discontinuous”.
I also felt it was quite removed from reality (yeah….alternate universes), but more in the sense that I couldn’t anymore relate with Tomoya’s happy ending. Up until that point I thought it was very sad (and very touching) that Tomoya learned to love Ushio and forgive his father. But when Tomoya’s ‘wish’ of a happy end was granted, it felt that, while Tomoya had a happy end, I was left behind in despair because I could only relate to Tomoya up to that point. We all can relate to death, but we can’t all relate to having a happy universe-reset. So in that sense, it was quite superficial. I had the same experience when I watched Eureka Seven; while I couldn’t express it at the time, I felt like I was being left ‘out of the loop’ when Renton and Eureka’s love was rescued by an inexplicable mecha-upgrade of the Nirvash.
So yeah, while the ending was quite happy and relieving, it left me with a bitter feeling of unfulfillment, as if Tomoya’s wish was satisfied, but, that if I were ever in that kind of despair, I wouldn’t have any kind of rescue. Still, Clannad was a wonderful emotional ride, and I commend it for being able to, in the span of less than 20 episodes, go from a carefree high-school mood (i.e. “Onii-chan~~” scene) to a extremely emotional one (i.e. “There are only two places to cry…”).