Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara
Featuring Voices by Mai Nakahara, Yuuichi Nakamura
The Clannad series is adapted from a visual novel video game series of the same name. This collection is the second half of the second season and wraps up the story between the male lead Tomoya Okazaki and his girlfriend Nagisa Furukawa.
Up until this point, the show is a generic high school romance. Now it’s time to grow up. This is still a romantic drama. There’s comedy here and there, but this part of the series deals with some pretty heavy issues that would be kind of hard to put a comedic spin on. While the first few episodes still deal with the young lovers, the series then changes towards a father-daughter relationship between Tomoya and his new daughter Ushio.
This is where the series gets interesting, dealing with the pregnancy and raising of Ushio. Oddly though, they have a baby but don’t allude to any “baby making.” Despite Nagisa saying they have sex, I didn’t see any sign and actually wondered if they did at all. Still, the focus moves from Tomoya and Nagisa’s cavity-inducing romance towards deeper issues like complicated pregnancies and estranged parents and even urbanization of small towns, the show gains some depth and actually becomes interesting.
Two things ruin this in different ways. Firstly, the pacing is slow. The show loves its long conversations after getting the point across and its silent pauses. Every two episodes couple probably be compressed into one. It starts to really gnaw on the viewer.
Secondly, the finale. Someone hit the deus ex machine to fix certain issues. Problem is that this negates the best story and character development in this collection.
The finale, however, isn’t really the end, as it happens in episode 22 with three still to go. Episode 23 is a prequel of Tomoya and Nagisa in high school before meeting. Episode 24 is an alternate story pairing Tomoya with another girl in his high school. Episode 25 is a freaking clip show, with Tomoya telling his daughter the story of him and his wife Nagisa (consequently the story of the entire series).
A clip show epilogue can work, but not after the series has already moved on with a prequel and an alternate story. Had the clip show taken place before the other two, it may have meshed better. In fact, episodes 23 and 24 should have been left unnumbered and simply made extra episodes, but of course, that means slightly more work in Photoshop for the menu designer.
Ultimately, the show has a cliché relationship that does develop into something with emotional depth, something that is actually kind of entertaining, but then it rewinds itself back to mediocrity. It could have stopped the whole series several time along the way and be more satisfying than where it actually ended.
The series is in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen. The animation is nothing special. The character designs are forgettable. Some actual pictures of a small town make it into a couple of montages in blurred and black and white (and an occasional color), but they come off as a cheap gimmick that doesn’t add anything to the show.
The subtitles could be a bit higher on the screen. Also, could use without music subtitles during dialog. Background music is to provide ambiance. We don’t need to know what it says as long as it sounds ok. Speaking of which…
There’s only Japanese language in stereo, which is ok, but that’s about it. The music is pretty forgettable (even with telling us what it means).
The Packaging and Bonus Features
It’s a standard case with the series split between two DVDs. The jacket looks decent enough.
The first disc starts off with a skippable commercial for The Anime Network. Under Special Features, it has a clean opening and ending. Also under Special Features are the DVD credits, because crediting the people who actually made the DVD should be relegated to special features.
The second disc holds trailers for other Sentai Filmwork series, some seemingly more entertaining than this one.
Even if you like those mushy dramatic high school romances, this series may not hold your interest. If it does, it’ll be gone by the end. Not the most fulfilling ending to a series by a long shot.
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10
The Series 4/10
The Video 4.5/10
The Audio 4.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10