Salutations, all you readers! Today we are reviewing one of the most “feels” heavy anime out there, Clannad. While sometimes overshadowed by its sequel, Clannad After Story, it still is a solid anime. Nonethless, as always, beware of minor SPOILERS in the review.
Now without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: Tomoya Okazaki is a third year high school student resentful of his life. His mother passed away from a car accident when he was younger, causing his father to resort to alcohol and gambling. This results in fights between the two until Tomoya’s shoulder is injured in a fight. Since then, Tomoya has had distant relationships with his father, causing him to become a delinquent over time. While on a walk to school, he meets a strange girl named Nagisa Furukawa who is a year older, but is repeating due to illness. Due to this, she is often alone as most of her friends have moved on. The two begin hanging out and slowly, as time goes by, Tomoya finds his life shifting in a new direction. -Anime News Network
Moving beyond the heavy emotional atmosphere, Clannad unfortunately has a fairly generic anime romance plot. The thing is, the romance plot is running more in the background until the very last episodes. The rest of the series feels like a meet and greet with the variety of female characters. The anime teeters very closely on the cliff of harem hell, but manages to avoid it with the last few episodes. The biggest issue with Clannad is by far the pacing of the entire show. It moves very slowly, and on top of being predictable, really hurts the emotional moments of the show somewhat.
The characters of Clannad are acceptable, to put it bluntly. They are not especially bland, but they are not really stand out either. Most of them are rather passive or mild characters, giving them a weak presence. This is part of the cause of the shows slow pacing, as the series is heavily character driven. There is decent character development with the characters introduced though, and it does a good job of balancing the larger cast.
The animation is pretty decent for the anime, but it is painfully obvious that a lot of focus went into making the girls designs look “moe.” To me this translated into a lot of the girls looking a little cookie cutter. Otherwise, the animation aged well, and is nice to look at overall.
To set the atmosphere of intense emotion, Clannad relies heavily on the soundtrack. It does a really good job of this, and is probably solely able to save some parts that would otherwise be unemotional. That being said, the soundtrack does overshadow a lot of what is happening in the action story at times, and the vocal tracks can feel out of place and distracting as well.
Clannad has a lot of powerful themes, and honestly, these were what caused the most feels for me. The show deals heavily with finding purpose and motivation in the otherwise mundane drivel of life. The show interlaces this finding of purpose with overcoming suffering, of which ever character endures during the course of the show. It reminded me of a personal mantra, “nobody gets through life unscathed.” It focuses also on the importance of building relationships, both friendly and romantic. All of these manifest themselves through Tomoya’s interaction through the variety of girls. The show also encourages loyalty and honesty, as he goes to great length to help and encourage the girls with their own struggles. Yet, Tomoya himself is suffering at the same time, alerting to the troubles of ignoring one’s own pains. The themes are pretty easy to recognize throughout the show, and while a bit cliche at times, are fairly powerful.
Final Score: 7.6/10
Final Grade: C
When I first thought about watching Clannad I ended up not doing so. I heard it was slow and hard to get into. That was the right decision for me. I was not a fan of this anime. It was very slow and even when it did progress it did not seem all that interesting. While the characters were not awful they still were lacking. This is probably do to the slowness of it causing a lack of interest for me though. It also lead to be not getting emotionally attached and just feeling nothing during sad parts. The ending was also very predictable, but I do have to give it credit for not falling into harem hell. Out of 10 I would give this anime a 6.5. I recommend this anime to anyone who likes romance and slice of life who get get through a very slow anime. – B-Ro
Clannad. I was quite excited to watch this show after hearing so much about it. Right from the start, I loved the presentation. Its soft and atmospheric music with a subtle but beautiful animation style. It took a little for me to get used to the characters (they act strangely childish at times for high schoolers), and it does get pretty melodramatic at some parts with some predictability. However, Clannad to me is all about execution, and wow is it capable of amazing execution (if you’re willing to play along with its story, and allow yourself to be emotionally invested). Watching this show was some of the most I have cried watching an anime. Clannad did an amazing job at getting me interested in the characters and situations through its more fun (and at times quite funny) parts, and then pulling off amazingly presented and directed emotional moments. One of the strongest parts of Clannad, and a huge component of its amazing execution, is its soundtrack. Jun Maeda and Shinji Orito deserve the utmost props for really bringing this show to life with the music. The keyboard tones they used are absolutely beautiful and full of depth, and the themes they use and rearrange throughout the series are nothing short of amazing. In those aforementioned emotional moments, I feel that the music really helped make them special for me. The instrumental OST may go down as one of my favorites. I must admit though, some of the songs with vocals did not work as well for me. I feel that they distracted me a bit from the scenes themselves. For the characters, I enjoyed pretty much all of them. There weren’t any I was annoyed by, and I liked seeing all of them develop and interact. I thought Tomoya was an interesting main character, I liked Nagisa’s character, Tomoyo and Youhei brought a lot of funny and interesting moments, and Fuko… Fuko may be one of my favorite anime characters! She was just so funny and really added to each scene she was in. I didn’t completely like the harem aspects of the show, but it felt like the show was fully aware of its use of them, and kind of made it into a joke at some points. The story ends up developing quite nicely into its conclusion. I’ll admit, the ending as a whole was a little underwhelming to me at first. Now that I think about it more, it is still quite beautiful. It’s a bit predictable, but again, the presentation and heart was there. It just wasn’t quite as emotional to me as some of the earlier parts, and left a lot of loose ends. If I did not know that there was a sequel made, I would be much more bummed. Overall, Clannad is a show filled with a lot of heart and great execution. I felt like it had flaws, but it really inspired me. One of my favorite parts of the show I haven’t mentioned is its overarching theme of finding purpose and making something out of life. Deciding to take even the smallest opportunities can forever change your life, and lead to new and amazing experiences. I had a great time watching Clannad, and I cannot wait to start After Story!!!
Final Comments: Emotionally crafted with strong themes and moving soundtrack, Clannad earned its title as one of the top cry anime easily. Yet, it is still painfully slow and the generic plot can make the show hard to enjoy for any other reasons than an emotional high.
Thank you all for reading the review! We will definitely be doing Clannad After Story in the future for a review. What are your thoughts on the anime? We hope to hear your thoughts! Our next review will be the anime Romantica Clock.