Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anime Review: Clannad

CLANNAD: Slow start, but gets better further

Clannad is one of the more popular Slice of Life anime titles. I couldn’t help but be curious of its recognition in the anime scene, so I gave it a watch. Its story revolves around Tomoya Okazaki, a lazy high school student who is bored with his life. But everything changes when she meets Nagisa Furikawa, a soft-spoken girl who has low self-esteem.

I must admit that I can’t see the reason for this show’s popularity in the first half of the series. I find it to be very boring, in fact. There are so much establishing points that I find to be unnecessary. The story is so slow and nothing really interesting is happening. It tries to make up by cracking a joke once in a while, but these jokes are not at all funny and appear to be a little forced.

As for the characters, they are fairly interesting. They are distinct enough to leave an impression. However, the problem with these characters, or at least for me this is a problem, for some might find this okay, is that most of them are MOE archetypes. Instead of making me sympathize with them, their innocence and overwhelming sense of emotion have the opposite effect on me. They seem to be too exaggerated for my liking.

When I was beginning to lose hope for this series, for Fuko’s story arc was excruciatingly slow, it suddenly became interesting. The redeeming factor for Clannad, perhaps, is the ending of Fuko’s story arc. Even though the arc is really slow, the ending gives it a lot of justice.

After this arc, the story starts to be relatively interesting, as I discover that the establishing points that I thought are random are not random at all, as they resurface again to contribute to the overall story. There is also a huge change in pace. The story turns from slow into okay. Aside from this, the comedic scenes are much funnier compared to those in the first half of the series. In fact, I remember laughing aloud to some of them.

I also feel that the depth of the characters is slightly altered, but not so much to create inconsistency. Their MOE tendencies are reduced dramatically, and so I actually start to sympathize with them. I must also admit that their interactions in the second half of the series are much more meaningful, as their beliefs and motivations become more prominent. What make them even more interesting are the hints of rising romance. They add more emotion to the overall series.

I must say that the last episodes are really emotional, and they got me really good. All the establishing and building up have paid off, despite the fact that they slowed the series down. I’m just so glad that I didn’t give up on this series. In the end, it redeems itself from the mediocre first half. Now I know why Clannad is a very popular title. It stirs so much emotion to the viewers that, sometimes, they will find themselves teary-eyed.

I actually heard from different people in the internet that Clannad: After Story is much better than Clannad, and it is the one that really makes the franchise popular. This just rouses my interest to the story further. No doubt, after feeling a sense of attachment to the characters of Clannad, I will watch Clannad: After Story and be blown away by subtle emotions once again.

            Related posts:
            Anime Review: Clannad: After Story


  1. To my surprise, I found the series rather impressive. Considering that slice-of-life is not something that I thought I would enjoy, I enjoyed Clannad a lot. For whatever reason actually found the first part entertaining for the most part, it wasn't amazing or anything, but I felt satisfied after most episodes. Although, the slower start was lessened by the fact that I probably watched Clannad faster than any 20ish episode anime since Code Geass R2, but that has more to do with the fact that I happened to have a little more time last week. Also the the moe archetypes did not bother me as much as it did you, but that probably has to do with the English Dub, which is not as overtly moe as the Japanese for a couple of the characters, but I agree, sometimes they were exaggerated.
    While I am generally immune to cuteness, I have to admit that Fuko is one of most adorable anime characters I have seen. I agree that her story arc turned out well in the end, even if the setup was a little slow.
    In general though, the characters were my favorite part of the series. Most are well developed and they are very likable. I felt a strong attachment to characters. Another one of my favorite parts is that the characters and interactions felt surprising real despite some of the more fantastical elements of the show.

    I have already started After Story yesterday, and I am about half through the series, and it is definitely better than Clannad. I will have to read your review of After Story after I finish it.


    1. I watched the Japanese dub, and I must say that the moe tendencies of the characters were kind of irritating for me -- well, at least in the first half. Also, I don't like moe characters in general. They're too unnatural for me.

      I don't know. For some reason, the second half just feels entirely different than the first. The moe characters don't feel annoying for some reason, and there a lot of golden comedy moments. And this half is where everything just falls right into place, especially the last episodes involving Tomoya and Nagisa.

      Also, I'm not really into Slice of Life. Even the Slice of Life titles I see have some fantastic elements in them, like Angel Beats, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and stuff.

      And yes, After Story is definitely better than Clannad, and it has so many heart-wrenching moments.

    2. After watching some of the Japanese dub, I agree, the moe tendencies are irritating, which is why I try to watch dub on the rare occasion I watch moe. I agree, they look unnatural and strange, although Clannad was on the borderline for being annoying moe, but again, the dub lowers the "moe-ness."

      I also, those comedy moments, especially with Youhei, and with Akio and Sanae, were so funny! Again, I agree, the final episodes of the series are the best.

      Angel Beats and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are the closest series I have seen to Slice of Life, and I enjoyed especially Haruhi but that was more for the great comedy and fun situations than any of the Slice of Life elements.