You know, every since I started this blog, I think I knew the day was going to come when we had talk about Clannad.
No, don’t cry! It’s okay! I promise! Everything is okay. You’re good, and I’m good, and everything is good. Really.
I know it doesn’t feel like it, but we can talk about Clannad without tears. I promise.
Please, don’t cry. It makes me feel like a bastard for bringing this up. I swear to you, the world is a beautiful place, full of love, and joy, and happiness. I know Clannad makes you doubt that, but it really, truly is. I promise.
We can do this. Come on. Dry those eyes. Hey, look. I’ve got a kitten!
Feel better? Yeah? Okay, good. Anytime you need, you just scroll back up, okay?
Okay. Here we go.
Clannad, with the second series Afterstory, is a 47 episode, 2007 series that holds the distinction of being one of the most beautifully depressing things ever made. Like, ever. It’s sadness put to film. It doesn’t so much jerk tears as it reaches into your eye sockets and forcibly removes them with the mercy of Darth Vader on a really bad day.
The story follows high school student Tomoyo, as he meets various people, and slowly falls in love with Nagisa Furukawa. Most of the people they interact with, and help, have painfully sad backstories, as do Tomoyo and Nagisa. Pretty much the entirely of the first season is just those two learning to work through their issues, by helping others work through theirs.
Afterstory is where things get rough, as Tomoyo and Nagisa get married, have a daughter, and then Nagisa dies. A few years later, their daughter dies in Tomoyo’s arms. Basically, there’s just a lot of a tragedy, and nothing is ever good, or happy, and the life sucks, and great, now you’ve made me cry, I hope you’re happy you bastards.
The true cleverness of Clannad, however, lies in the first season ED, where the entire story of both seasons is played out right in front of you, using the little Dango thingies Nagisa likes so much. While I was never sure just what the hell they are suppose to be, they are a thing in the show, and that’s enough.
“Dango Daikazoku”, performed by Chata, captures the simple, yet beautiful narrative of the series, as a slow growth into a chorus as we fal lin love, build families, and then fades back again, as we grow old. The imagery used tells the story of Tomoyo and Nagisa, all the way through to the end of Afterstory, and is bittersweet in its own simplicity.
It’s an incredibly effective ED, and deserves to be considered one of the better closing pieces ever made, even if it does unleash clans of onion ninjas to wage war on your eyes.
The thing about Clannad is that, while it is beautiful, and while it is sad, it is also one of the better animes about life, love, loss, and coping with it all. Trust me, they get it right for the most part. Especially with this amazing closing song, and all that it says.