14 CommentsAnime Analysis, No Anime is Dropped Forever / By Scamp /

No anime is dropped forever: Clannad ~After Story~

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.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted February 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    The first 8 episodes helps go into the whole miracle thing, that you have to resolve every character path before the true afterstory opens up in the Visual Novel and the miracle can actually be possible—

    I grabbed an 100% savefile myself lol.

    But wow, you really don’t like side-character arcs huh. The rounded out circle of family and friends was part of what made the series beautiful for me.

  2. Posted February 22, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Though going through university is a good direction to go.

    It’s pretty cool you’ve had that experience with that character being a mirrored version of yourself, I can’t say I feel it’s happened to me, or even many people I know. I mean, I’ve run into characters that feel similar, but not to the extent you’re describing. Though I’m starting to get the vibe from Kida, but I think it’s more a special particular brand of crazy.

    I should watch Clannad someday…

  3. Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    I could’ve done without the first 13 episodes (I think it was 13). I pretty much stopped watching this for a month or two around episode 10 or so, but then I started watching it again and it got good.

  4. Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Beware of sequel bias. Most of the people who liked the first season watched the second season. Few of the people who disliked the first season watched the second season (except for critics like myself). With that said, there are some fantastic episodes later on.

  5. Scamp
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    @Aorii

    Well they did a pretty miserable job of explaining that part. In fact, I think the whole story was better off without it because boy is that a painfully corny way of solving the story. Even though that would’ve rendered the robot part of the story unnessesary. Mind you, I still liked the robot parts because it had thise weird uber-fluid animation that was pretty to watch and it was interesting to try draw comparisons between their story and the main one. But I’m just rambling now so my reply ends here…

    @Janette

    Yeah I’ve certainly never had someone like Tomoya to mirror my own life off. It hit me much harder this season than last season though

    @Baka-Raptor

    Your comment sounds like it’s directed towards someone who hasn’t watched the show yet, which I clearly have seeing as that is what this post is about, so I’m having trouble coming up with something to say in reply. So instead I’ll say that you over-rate lesbianism and lesbians are the most fucking boring thing anime ever focuses on.

  6. Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Concerning Clannad After Story:

    An adaption of a visual novel/dating sim game about a semi-depressed high schooler dating and eventually marrying a girl that is the very definition of the submissive Yamato Nadeshiko fetish; a game/anime that has countless similarities both superficial and deeply rooted to other games by it’s producer such that it can almost be accused of rehashing character arc ideas; an anime that focuses almost half of it’s run time on screwball slapstick and moe driven fetishistic comedy and much of the other half on consistently creating almost entirely circumstantial and sudden pathetic scenarios for it’s female characters in the interests of evoking a shock emotional response from viewers; an anime that even creates the exact same pathetic scenario twice and even back to back in a very short timespan only to just as suddenly alter events so that both scenarios never took place via the use of a very loosely defined Chekhov’s Gun plot device in it’s anime rendition; An anime that in doing so essentially corrupts the semi-moralistic theme of a widower overcoming the loss of his wife and his own self-pity in order to become a proper father to his daughter……is an anime that if we are to go by anime ranking polls is all but universally considered by today’s anime fandom to be the greatest anime to date.

    Glad I’m not the only one questioning Clannad After Story’s inflated place in the area of all time greatest anime. I’m pretty sure though that it’s ranking on MAL is largely caused by it’s die hard fans bumping other shows down so that it can “have the ranking it deserves”. I saw the former #1 series on that site in LOGH take a massive hit and drop off the top spot with Clannad After Story taking it’s place all in one night and I saw the same thing happen to Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal in one night on ANN as well. If it wasn’t already obvious I think things like this make it so…..you simply cannot trust the ranking and the hype on Kyoto Animation series as they find themselves in a special place where die hard fanboys are always going to support them in the same way that console fanboys do their favourites.

    While the same could be said of all series and studios to some degree I think it’s far more of an issue for Kyoto Animation than any other.

  7. Scamp
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    @Kaioshin_Sama

    ….do you read posts when you comment on them?

  8. Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    @Scamp: Errr…what am I supposed to be reading and addressing? Does everything have to directly coincide with how you think the commentary should be playing out? Don’t you think it’s okay for someone to express their opinion on a matter parallel to a blog post as opposed to always directly to it? Talk to me here, I’m sure we can come to an understanding. :/

  9. Scamp
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    @Kaioshin Sama

    Because your comment read like a copy-paste argument you use for every Clannad post. But expresseing a parralel opinion to a post…I’d never really thought about it but it does go quite a distance against how comments usually pan out and reads more like a forum post.

    Hmmm…I’m not really sure now that you say it. It’s not like there’s a huge difference between me commenting saying ‘Well I think K-ON sucks’ instead of just saying ‘I think K-ON sucks’ when replying to a post about K-ONs quality. While I do feel a comment should reply directly or tangently to something in a blog post, that feels like an awfully silly thing to insist on.

    As for your original comment, it’s hit me recently at how many people actually genuinely love moe after seeing the comment reguarding the latest season preview (people saying ‘Angel Beats, K-ON 2, Black Rock Shooter and that’s it’ in a season so depraved of moecrap). Now after watching After Story I can see why it got rated so highly because it certainly had a lot more effort and thought put into it than pretty much every other moe show I’ve ever seen. Only moe fans will watch the show because of the sequel bias so it has the perfect combo from which to be rated highly but at the same time I can see why these people would love the show. Yes it’s manipulative but so are plenty of my favourite anime and if it entertains me then I couldn’t give a flying fuck what method it uses.

  10. Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    @Scamp: You have a good eye because it is indeed a notepad musing that I post when I feel it’s appropriate. I frequently say the unexpected so you’re getting caught off guard is perhaps not unexpected on my end.

    People do love moe, I have no issue with that myself, I just don’t think it should be pushed as the be all end all anymore than the next thing in the same way that I think people ought to not make it out to be a cancer that nobody in their right mind should like. I think a lot of the non-trolling hatred for it actually stems less from a direct and real hatred of it so much as from it’s sales dominating omnipresence and people (including myself at times) feeling that it threatens the green light for other types of animated shows with it being such a sure thing to profit these days. It could also be argued that there’s not much discretion anymore amongst the core otaku demographic between more commonly agreed upon high quality moe titles and the “moeblob” ones like K-On when it comes to the sales crunch. I think it’s fair to suggest that that opens the gateway to low quality moe titles becoming more common in favour of other types of series because they are a high profit-low risk return.

    As for Clannad After Story, I think it’s a fair point to say that if you only take into account moe and dating sim conversion anime as part of the pool of contenders then it has a fair edge at being called one of if not the best ever on account of it’s high production values and faithfulness to the source material…..albeit sometimes problematically so like with the ending. That sort of effort is sure to make fans of the dating sim happy with the anime adaptation.

    However like I said with regard to that one Jason article, limiting criteria can only take you so far. When people start saying it’s far and away the best anime ever and yet haven’t really experienced anything other than moe titles OR there is just no real way to compare high end moe/dating sim adaptations with high end titles of other interests that’s when I start throwing the tough questions out there.

    It’s always been my opinion that the safety word in these types of comparisons is “favourite” as opposed to “Best” or “greatest”. “Favourite” turns the issue into a subjective one and makes it difficult to contest the pick without looking like a total asshole (though I’m sure I manage to look like that anyway a lot of the time lol), but best invites nigh-undefendable objective arguments and will surely lead to a clusterfuck and argument from all sides who have any reason to disagree.

  11. Posted March 1, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    What I meant by my earlier comment is that sequels often have inflated ratings. A major reason is that negative reviewers from earlier seasons don’t bother to watch the later seasons. Therefore, the #1 rating on MAL should be taken with a grain of salt.

  12. luffyluffy
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    Just finished this earlier today! …

    God, I cried so much ;A; *shakes fist* Like, I cried when you werent supossed to cry. Like while watching the opening. God, it was so harsh </3

    Though, I have to agree. it would have been better if it ended after.. 18/19.

  13. Jen
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I have to say that the arcs in After Story were better than the entire first season altogether. I was not a fan of the first season at all. I was only entertained by Tomoya’s pranks but that was it. As much as of a great character Tomoya is, the whole first season had a lot of flaws and a lot of uneccessary fillers with a bad backstory. After Story on the other hand, handles this much better. The fillers may be useless to you but to most people (including me) they were portrayed in a more unique way rather than the cliche type they were in the first season i.e Fuko’s arc. I don’t know what your view of Kanon is but if you have the same problem for Kanon as you did for After Story then you’re a very indecisive individual because the arcs “are” meant to be there. I can definetely see why you dsiliked the ending of After Story but seriously, saying over half the series was utter crap is just way too harsh. There were a lot of enjoyable moments, particularly the first half of Sunohara’s arc (without Mei that is). But the visual novel was much better, I have to admit. Better detailed and you didn’t always get the cop-out ending.

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