Welcome one and all to the greatest show on earth! Well, at least for someone that is!! This is the newest installment in the series now. I dub it: Anime we Love! This is simple in idea and execution. I find a wonderful person on the interwebs and just simply interview them about their favorite anime. I feel like the culture and fandoms we see so often are just a distorted and ugly place most of the time. I’m tired of all the perverse and mean behavior. People insulting things just because, and then in turn insulting the person for having unique tastes. It’s awful and needs to stop. So, I am here to spread the love.
In mid 2000’s a new anime studio emerged as a juggernaut that changed the medium in a big way. This was of course Kyoto Animation with their works such as: Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, and what this interview is on, Clannad. Clannad and its sequel season dubbed After Story came out in 2007-09 as an adaptation of a visual novel by the company KEY. The first season primarily focused on introducing the world to the viewer, and working through several smaller story arcs to build to the second season. Then you have After Story that is completely dedicated to the relationship started between the two main characters. It is a series about many things that we all come across in our daily lives, and today we talk to a fan who loves it dearly.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains spoilers for the series Clannad & Clannad After Story. If you have not seen the series, and want to avoid spoilers, I recommend coming back to this post afterwards. Thank you so much for your time, and now on to the interview!
Do you recall when you first saw the series? Was it something you already had planned to watch or was it on a whim of sorts?
VJ: I first saw Clannad in December of 2012, and it was something I planned to watch since late October of that year thanks to seeing a video by a YouTube anime reviewer by the name of ShadowACS. His video was basically a countdown of his Top Ten Saddest Anime Deaths and in that video, he put Nagisa’s death at #1, mentioned how sad that moment was for him, and how the series was a tearjerker. After seeing that video, I was curious to find out why that moment was really sad and how sad the show could be. What also helped was that I liked the character designs from the clips I’ve seen in his videos. It was very cute and quite different from the designs I was used to seeing in anime back then, as I was used to the designs of Inuyasha, Dragon Ball Z, Detective Conan/Case Closed, etc.
So I decided to watch the first episode during Thanksgiving break and I liked what I saw. However because it was during the tail end of my high school fall semester, I decided to officially start watching Clannad in December during winter break, as I would have more time then and I thought it would make for a good winter show. When I finished the series during the second week of January 2013, it left me in quite a void as I really wanted to see more, and it wasn’t something I felt in a while at the time.
Doaki: Well that is quite a new one for this segment! I didn’t expect you to have discovered your favorite anime through the means of a random Youtube list! I can tell it really was something that caught your attention though. How long did the void last for Clannad? I imagine it must have been a pretty good one with how impactful the show has become to you.
VJ: I want to say it lasted for maybe about 1-2 weeks. I did remember thinking about the music and some of the scenes in the show during the school.
So now for the fun part. Tell me a little bit about what makes this anime stick out so much for you. Why do you love it so much?
VJ: Well the reason why I love Clannad so much is that it showed me a different side of anime. It showed me how beautiful anime as a media could be in terms of story, animation, and music. Another reason why I love the series is that it was one of the first at the time to make me feel for the characters, sympathize with what they were going through and make me want to see them get through their dilemmas, while also laughing at the comedic moments between them, and being happy when something happy happens or when a character gets through a dilemma. What also helped was the time frame when I watched the series for the first time, as I first watched it during my high school senior year. So it gave me kind of an idea of what to expect after high school and it did change me in some ways. It made me more conscious about my future and taught me that life is not sunshine and roses but at the same time it’s not full of misery. Additionally, it made me re-realize the love my parents have for me and taught me to accept them for who they are even if we don’t get along at times.
Doaki: Those are a great selection of reasons for the series to have landed a special place in your heart. I think relatability is easily one of the largest factors in the anime medium that causes us to grow so attached to specific series. Clannad had similar real life similarities to my own(and continues to do so), and that is why I too hold it dearly. The small and big moments of life can be captured so beautifully in a single scene of animation. That sort of breathtaking connection is hardly one to ignore.
The series has a fairly large cast but I assume you have a favorite of the bunch. Who is it and why are they the personal favy?
VJ: This is very hard as I love almost every character but if I had to choose just one, it would probably be Kotomi. Not only do I find Kotomi adorable, but she’s very innocent, very sweet and very smart. Plus she makes puns just like I do so it was meant to be. Not to mention, her story arc was very good and I could sympathize with what she was going through and wanted to see her get through her dilemmas. Plus her violin recitals were hilarious.
I do also want to talk about another character and that would be Tomoya. What I love about Tomoya is not only how much I could relate with him in terms of his relationship with his father, but also how he changed his viewpoint about the town and life in general. In the beginning, he was very apathetic and cynical about the town and school life due to bitter memories that happened in his life, specifically with his father. But through meeting and bonding with Nagisa, Fuko, Kotomi, Tomoyo, etc., you see him slowly change his viewpoint on life and school to the point that when he graduates from school without Nagisa, he feels heartbroken and starts to cry because he wants the days that he spent with Nagisa and the rest of the drama club at school to last forever. Plus he starts to appreciate the town and you feel his anguish when he finds out that something in the town is about to change and he feels it’s for the worse. Plus as I mentioned before I could relate a lot with his father dilemma, and the way he comes to terms with that, forgives his father and accepts him for who he is was well done, and it taught me that despite the differences I have, I should love my father and accept him for who he is for he loves me as well. Lastly, Tomoya’s a quite the quirky snarker haha.
Doaki: Haha What a great closing line for that one! I can easily see why Kotomi is your particularly favorite. She has a lot of strong qualities within her that are hard to ignore. That make her completely endearing. I love to shout out Nagisa a lot as well due to her lovable pure hearted nature that is hard to not blush at. I am in line with you on the strained relationship with the father as well. I actually didn’t get the chance the actively fix that relationship in my time with him before he passed so I’ve had to bury that hatchet alone. It is a very important thing to accept and love your family and see the world from their perspective once in a while. Most especially in regards to your parents. These sort of narrative’s in a show like Clannad make them irreplaceable in terms of how much I can sympathize.
Are there any particular scenes in the series that really exemplifies your love for it?
VJ: Yup, a lot of them actually. The end of episode 1 where Nagisa recites “the place where wishes come true” to Tomoya, the beginning of that episode when Tomoya meets Nagisa for the first time and you see the color change from blue to full color along with the sakura flowers fluttering in the background, the end of Kotomi’s story arc which has one of my favorite quotes, the graduation scene, Tomoya’s confession to Nagisa, the scene where Nagisa’s speech during her graduation, the scene where Nagisa stops Tomoya from hurting himself, the sunflower field scene, the scene where Tomoya forgives his father and accepts him for who he is, and the scene where Nagisa tells Tomoya that meeting him was the best thing in her life and that he shouldn’t regret what got him this far. The list goes on haha.
Doaki: Got me on that one that you did! If it is your favorite series, the ever expanding list of what scenes are the best is hard to pick just one out of. I love the majority of those selections as well. I think those last two you mentioned are huge favorites of mine as well! If I had to choose one other that you didn’t, I would go with the train sequence where Tomoya finally lets go and starts to move forward again. I love the sunflower scene, but this one always gets me even more.
VJ: Yeah, I agree that’s a really powerful scene, as you can see Tomoya finally come to terms and say to Nagisa in spirit that he finally found something to protect.
Are there any particular episodes in the series that stand out to you as being particularly important to your love for it?
VJ: Well there’s episode 18 of After Story which is the episode everybody remembers and loves and for good reasons as it’s a very well-crafted and emotional episode with some beautiful music, visuals, and it’s Tomoya basically coming to terms with Nagisa’s death, along with truly embracing Ushio as his daughter and accepting his responsibility as a father. Another episode that’s important is the episode where Tomoya graduates from high school, as it shows him Nagisa and everyone spending their last months in high school along with the celebrating both Christmas and Nagisa’s birthday, and the graduation scene that I mentioned before. Then there’s the episode which deals with the last part of Kotomi’s story arc and it has one of my favorite quotes from the series “Even if your life is full of tears and sadness, the world is still a beautiful place. Open your eyes and see it for yourself”. Finally, the final episodes of both season 1 and After Story.
Doaki: I think I expected episode 18 of After Story to be the biggest mention in this one haha. This is a tough pick indeed since the series has several arcs within it, and pretty much each and every one of them has a fantastic closing episode. Key knows how to close an arc if anything. I won’t disagree with the other honorable mentions you dropped since the series has a lot of good ones. Also, yes that quote is one I find to be a fine one indeed. It easily could be on a motivational poster somewhere.
Music always plays a large part of a show. It’s rarely an exception. What musical tracks were your favorite and why?
VJ: For music, let’s first start with “Town, Flow of Time, People” which is the first track you hear in the anime and it sets the tone of the show perfectly; mystical and beautiful yet sad and melancholic at the same time. I love that track, it’s beautiful yet melancholic at the same time, and brings a soothing feeling to my mind when I hear it. Then there’s “Nagisa” which is a very innocent, beautiful, and poignant piano piece which fits well for the character the track is named after. There’s also “Tea in the Reference Room” which is theme for Yukine; I love the relaxing and soothing nature for that track. What also helps is that I’m a sucker for synthesizers and the synthesizers for that track is so good. Then you have “Distant Years” which starts off with a sad choir like string arrangement but then it transforms into a heartwarming and beautiful piano piece and I love listening to it. Then you have Fantasy (Illusion), The Girl’s Fantasy, The Place Where Wishes Come True (Part 1 & 2), Roaring Tides, Country Lane, To The Same Heights, and so many more. That’s not even counting the OPs and EDs, which are great; the OP for After Story being not only one of my favorite Anime Ops and Anime songs, but one of my favorite songs period and it’s a funny story cause initially I actually preferred the OP for season 1 over the After Story OP when I first saw the series, but over time I grew to love After Story’s OP and now it’s one of my favorites. The singing, the music and the visuals too really set the tone for the show. Then there’s Dango Daikazoku, which is essentially a vocal version of “Nagisa” and it’s wonderful. Heartwarming and happy yet sad and poignant, and I actually didn’t mind Torch the ED for After Story though I agree that they should have played a different song for the sadder episodes. Lastly, we have “A Palm of a Tiny Hand” which is a beautiful song and a well-fitting as a finale song for the series. Overall, I love the soundtrack and I find myself listening to it when I’m studying or doing my homework.
Doaki: Welp I suppose I should have expected a musical master like yourself to give me a huge list of them. I don’t have much to add since I agree 100% on all your mentions. So, enjoy some music everyone!
If you had to say one reason that is the definite reason you would recommend this show to someone, what would it be?
VJ: Well that reason would be that it is life in all of its essence. You always hear stuff like “Clannad is love, Clannad is life” and well that is very much true. It shows life and love in its happy and heartwarming moments while also not sugar coding the sad, depressing and stressful moments. Plus, it might leave an impact on you as it has on many people who watched and fell in love with it, myself included. Not to mention for the most part there’s a bit of something for everybody. The people who love comedy can get into the gags with Sunohara, Akio, and the rest of the cast; the people who love romance can get into the romance with Tomoya and Nagisa; the people who love fantasy/supernatural stuff can get into the stuff going on in the illusionary world; the people who love drama can get sucked into the drama with the characters and see how they develop from dealing with their dilemmas; the people who love great animation can fall in love with the visuals, art style, and overall animation that still looks great even after about 9-10 years; the people who love music can fall in love with the soundtrack; and even those who like action can probably get into the stuff going on in Yukine’s arc.
Doaki: You are oh so right my friend. Many a person(both of us included) has come to grow very personally attached to this series. There is a lot of factors that this could boil down to since the series covers a bevy of real life ideas that most of us have seen or experienced in some fashion. For me the thing that Clannad does on a level that few other series do it how it tackles the feelings of how important it is to love life, your family, and most importantly yourself. I think I got a real life Nagisa in my own partner so the series continues to stay relevant in new ways for myself. And if that isn’t special then what is?
VJ: Yeah for sure. I find myself learning new things from Clannad every now and then, like how the idea to change habits or make a change to oneself is up to them. So yeah, even today I feel that the series is relevant for me.
Describe your perfect day together with Tomoya and Nagisa!
VJ: I would first politely introduce myself to them and have a friendly conversation. Then I would probably give Tomoya some advice to make bad puns related to Dangos as a way to tease Nagisa, and maybe create some more romantic moments for both of them. Then we might play at the arcade or do something fun in the town, visit the high school that they went to and see what it looks like, meet up with Nagisa’s parents and ham it up with Akio, and try Sanae’s bread to see whether its infamous reputation is true or not.
Doaki: Quite the adorable answer there my friend. I know for a fact if it were my I would have to play baseball with Akio and Tomoya at some point and then just chill with them other wise haha.
Describe Clannad to someone who hasn’t seen it in 10 words or less!
VJ: Clannad is the life – in all of its essence – of the place where wishes come true.
That is it folks! Thank you so much VJ for your contribution. This could not have been done without you! So, there isn’t much I want to say in regards to closing this article. I just want everyone who has seen Clannad, and those who haven’t, to see why someone could love it so much. Why do you love your favorite anime? It’s a great question that people don’t take the time to ask. Why would that be so important? I think it is good to step back and appreciate what you love and why you love it. Enough of this world of criticism and judgement! I want a place where we all sit down and learn to love why someone else loves their favorite anime. Spread the love ❤ ! That is all my friends.
Until next time, See you around my little wanderers!