There’s no point in running these ‘No anime is dropped forever’ posts if I never actually go back and watch some of these dropped anime again when given sufficient evidence that it will be worth my time. And so after getting plenty of recommendations to pick up Clannad ~After Story~ again, that’s exactly what I did.
Picked up on: Episode 8
Why I picked it up again: Because those first 8 episodes are apparently a load of crap. There’s also the fact that I kinda wanted to see what happened to Tomoya in the future, seeing as he’s one of my all-time favourite characters. Then there’s that elephant in the room that the After Story is rated number 1 on MAL. Mainly though it’s because I liked the first season and figured that somewhere along the line it should recapture the magic of the previous season.
Review: Starting on episode 8 reminded me why I dropped this show. It was some stupid continuation of the gangland war I had conveniently forgotten about and was yet another episode that had nothing to do with Tomoya and therefore was utter crap. It felt nothing like the rest of Clannad and felt like it was there to please fans of the side characters. Seeing as the side-characters are just a bunch of moeblobs (aka: not Tomoya) these episodes were boring. Not hopelessly boring mind you. It did have Tomoya in a punch up, but that was its only saving grace.
Then the After Story actually started and it hit me again: How scarily similar Tomoya was to me. It was just Tomoya going about his daily life, trying to get a job and everything, but it hit me in such a scary way I got chills down my spine. But this feeling was different from the one I got watching the first season. It was the effect of the break I had from watching season 1 and this season, which must be about a 2 year gap. Watching the first season was seeing someone who was similar to me as I was right at that moment in time. After Story Tomoya was me if I had taken a different path in life.
Rather fitting considering this is based off a choose-your-own-path style game. It was eerie seeing what was effectively me if I had taken a different direction in life (I’d prefer to keep how my personal life panned out but considering how I’m sitting here in university writing a blog about foreign cartoons I’m sure you can do some educational guesswork of your own). For the first time in my life I honestly felt the urge to play an eroge, simply to see whatever other path my/Tomoya’s life could have taken, although I doubt they have a version where Tomoya becomes an otaku.
It did lose it’s appeal as the newlywed life began but mainly from a personal perspective. As expected, it never mirrored how the first season felt and it went down the path of human drama. Now generally I despise human drama (it ruined the second season of Honey and Clover for me) but Clannad was, for the most part anyway, quite a bit better and more subtly powerful than its counterparts. I though the B~I~G~S~P~O~I~L~E~R of episode 16 would be the most eye-rolling scene in existence but it was actually done very well. It never made me cry or anything, seeing as I’m incapable of doing that to anything other than Grave of the Fireflies, but it was excellently done. Episode 18 though, which was meant to be even more powerful an episode, was Clannad sticking two fat middle fingers in the face of subtlety and ploughing on with as much tears and lipservice as possible. I’d always thought the relationship with Tomoya’s father was one of the best played parts of Clannad and to deconstruct that in such a painfully blatant way was awfully disappointing but it did offer a well-rounded end to the entire series.
Apparently there were more episodes after that. I must have forgotten about them because of how awful they were. Then I have vague memories of some sort of fudged mystical ending, but not before pointlessly killing a little child. Yup, the After Story started at episode 9 and finished on episode 18. So over half of this series was utter crap? Why aren’t people taking that into account when they all go ga-ga over this series? Then again, this is coming from someone who rates Death Note as the greatest anime of all time so take that statement with a pinch of salt.
Was it worth picking up again: Yes, I suppose. I really could’ve done without those first 8 episodes though.