Alright, time for something mushy. Clannad is…well, a love story. Originally a visual novel from Key (they make really good love stories to be honest), Clannad tells the story of Tomoya Okazaki,a delinquent that hates his town and especially his school, and Nagisa Furukawa, a more shy girl who is a bit sickly and loves drama. They meet and hang out and…well, you can probably guess. Although, there are some weird things that happen, like astral projection and just miracles in general, most of the things that happen in this story aren’t crazy. It’s just a calm sort of school life anime that would probably put any girl in tears after watching. The story also switches between the world of Tomoya and Nagisa to depictions of an empty world with a robot and a strange girl. I think where the story kind of falls a bit is in the second season, where it takes a turn towards tragedy. I think that it turns some people away. Although they do manage to turn it around before it ends, I don’t think that anyone could see it coming (which was cool, but only if you stuck with the series to the end).
Story: Score 9/10
As introduced before, the main characters are Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa. Tomoya lives with his father, who is kind of a drunk. Although, he used to play basketball, he was forced to stop when his father injured his shoulder in a drunken fight, preventing him from ever playing again. On the way to school one day, he notices Nagisa, who is trying to pep talk herself into going to school. Nagisa is repeating a year of school because she missed most of her last semester in the last year due to an illness. However, she’s determined to keep going and restart the drama club, which is on hiatus. For some reason, Tomoya feels obligated to help her. As they find new members, they meet new people like Fuko Ibuki, who’s trying to get people to go to her sister’s wedding, Kotomi Ichinose, the quiet girl in the library, and Tomoyo Sakagami, a former gangster who’s trying to become student council president. They also try to recruit Tomoya’s friends, Youhei Sunohara, an obnoxious delinquent who hangs with Tomoya and tries pretty hard to be popular with the girls, Kyou Fujibayashi, a pretty violent girl who tends to beat the crap out of Tomoya and Youhei, and Ryou, Kyou’s twin sister who has a crush on Tomoya. These are just the heroines (minus Ryou and Youhei). There are multiple support characters, but their stories are explored more in the second season than in the first season. I think the character designs are well done, and after watching the other Key series, I’d say they’re not in any way copies of characters from any of the others (except for Youhei, but he’s not that important). Some of them are a bit archetypal, but that’s not a big deal. In the visual novel, you could pick any of the heroines, but in the anime, the choice is pretty set in stone.
Characters: Score 8/10
The animations in this series are pretty spectacular. Everything seems very fluid and there’s nothing that seems out of place. There are a few fights in the series, and I think they were done pretty well too.
Animation: Score 9/10
The music of this anime was pretty amazing. Most of the music is copied over from the visual novel, but that doesn’t make it any worse. They fit the situations perfectly and are pretty memorable. The opening of the second season is probably one of my favorite songs, with the ending of the first season being pretty high up there as well.
Music: Score 10/10
So, I was kind of curious about this series when a friend of mine told me that his friends were crazy about it. I’m usually not into the whole romance genre, but this series kind of marked my entry into it. It’s also fun for the whole family (if your family’s into anime). I’d also say it’s a great way to convince a girl to watch anime. That aside, I think that despite how mushy the story is, the series is very well done and enjoyable. If you’re not familiar with Key’s style, Tomoya has to go through each heroine’s side stories before he can finally get to the main heroine. If you’re like hardcore about action anime, then this one isn’t for you, but if you’re open to a little romance or slice of life, then this one’s…just watch it.
Final Score 9/10