Posted by psgels on 21 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews

Wha! Another series I had no idea ended so soon. The series of the past two seasons have followed an interesting trend of breaking away from the usual 26/24/13/12-episode-formats, with more series than ever with just 10 (Hatenkou Yuugi), 11 (Hakaba Kitarou) or 22 (Shion no Ou, Ghost Hound, this one) episodes, and I think that it’s a great trend, better than including a bunch of random fillers to fill time.

In any case, on with the review. Let me start by saying that before Clannad started, I hated Kyoani with passion. One of the reasons for that was simple bias, unfortunately. The first ten episodes that I saw of Kanon were nothing special, and the same goes for the four episodes of Haruhi Suzumiya that I saw. Especially Lucky Star bored the heck out of me, every time I watched an episode of it, and yet people were praising these guys as if they’re were some kind of living incarnation of God. At that time, I just saw Kyoani as a bunch of reasonably good animators who rely way and way too much moe and stereotypes, and couldn’t write an engaging script, even if their lives depended on it.

And then Clannad came, and somehow it succeeded in entirely changing this opinion. Amongst all the visual novel and hentai-game adaptations, Clannad most definitely stands out for me as the best. Even if you hate the genre, this series is still worth checking out, simply because it’s so delightfully different, and it breaks so many stereotypes.

For once, the male main character has an actual personality and his own story. He actually has weaknesses, and isn’t a huge stereotype. The male side-character that you usually see around him (supposedly, to show the difference between guys who get lots of girls and guys who have no chance at them), may be an idiot at times, but he’s actually not as annoying as you might think he’d be, and he often brightens up the situation.

Then there are the female characters in the series. Their characters aren’t as special as some of the other ones, but they do their jobs. What’s especially notable is that this is one series that realizes who its female main character is, and so it never delves into pointless love-triangles. Because of this, this series has much more slice-of-life elements than it has romance-elements.

In Clannad, the main character isn’t the one who magically solves all the problems of his female companions on his own. Sure, he plays an important role, but every time, it’s either a different side-character who ends up saving the girl in question, or the combination of all the side-characters together. The level of friendship that wouldn’t be out of place in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai is quite astounding and gives a nice perspective to this series.

This series isn’t perfect; nearly every female character does fall in love with the main character at one point or another, for very weak reasons. Luckily, they quickly realize that the guy is already occupied. This series also tends to have a few plot-twists that are a tad too coincidental and convenient. Thankfully, it knows how to build up well enough, and everything comes together in the final episode like a charm. I must congratulate Kyoani for delivering a solid series, away from any stereotypes. But seriously, please make their next series take place at a place away from a high school.

15 Responses

  1. RmX says:

    But it’s clearly not over yet. You’ve posted this review too soon. =D

  2. psgels psgels says:

    I never count dvd-specials with my reviews, and officially, episode 22 was the final episode for this series. This is just a habit I developed after Red Garden and its sequel Dead Girls (which STILL hasn’t gotten subbed). :P

  3. RmX says:

    The special next week and the DVD-only episode hardly count towards the plot I admit. But the story itself has only been half told. Will we revisit Clannad when the After Story finally comes along? And yes, I say that with a certain degree of faith in KyoAni’s habit of meticulously adapting everything that needs to be told.

  4. Jim Kitchnen says:

    “nearly every female character does fall in love with the main character at one point or another, for very weak reasons.”

    It’s a testament to how much I dislike this idea that its inclusion in Clannad would be the sole reason why I haven’t been interested enough to watch it yet.

  5. RmX says:

    “nearly every female character does fall in love with the main character at one point or another, for very weak reasons.”

    I have to disagree. Tomoya’s a really likable male lead, unlike the weak shit you’ve seen in other series.

  6. Windspirit says:

    I loved Kanon. Especially past episode 10, where the series didn’t stop amazing me (Mai’s ball dance, Mai’s demons’ real identity, Shiori’s disease and finally, Ayu’s real story). And I thought Lucky Star was a good comedy (nothing more). And I hated Clannad. Haha.

    I recommend you watch the movie, psgels, if you liked the series, I think you’d like it too.

  7. panzerfan says:

    The irony here is that the next series is the continuation of this, and exactly as you want, out of high school and into the poorest years in peoples’ lives… the 20s.

  8. Yougen says:

    Although Clannad was good it did let me down compared with Kanon and Air. Air was amazing and Kanon was very good whilst Clannad was just good. I hope that this isn’t a sign that with every new series the quality will decline. I do agree that it was nice to see a male main character in a harem anime with some personality. If you haven’t seen Air I would recommend that one. Maybe the rumored after-series will change my opinion.

  9. Cos says:

    Have you watched the Clannad movie? I think it’s quite nice and still different enought from the tv series, plus there are no girls who falls in love with the main character and it’s even more focused on family.

  10. RmX says:

    After Story second season announced.

    *insert I-told-you-so comment here*

  11. Z.N. Singer says:

    After seeing your opinion of Bakemonogatari, I’d hoped you’d share my opinion of Clannad as well. Oh well. Me, I literally despised it. And may I say that after all your fuss in various reviews about little details and coincidences unexplained (I say little because they were usually secondary to the focus), to see you make almost no comment of arc 2 (the parents and the teddy bear and all) is just plain hypocritical. I’ve never seen such a sad conglomeration of entirely implausible psuedo-tearjerker moments and gimmicks in my life. I snorted, groaned, and skipped my way through it wondering how it was possible for a director to possess enough remaining consciousness to successfully find his way into the studio and still produce that final episode at the same time. Yeesh. And you complained that we’re not consistent about liking happy endings in the Phantom review.

  12. Bat says:

    I have to say, I really hated this series. I don’t think anyone in this show even remotely resembled anyone I know in real life. The main characters especially.

  13. Ashley says:

    I think your review is good, I bet you also feel glad that the second series went away from the school scene :) Although this series is just a shadow of “Clannad: After Story”.

  14. Ryan Zimmerman says:

    Unfortunately, the main reason why I DISLIKE the anime is because they broke away from that H-Game element, and didn’t make it a guess as to who the MC will end up with. Which kind of annoyed me, because they were showing all of these arcs that didn’t end properly, which is what Kanon did RIGHT compared to Clannad

  15. Victor Yang says:

    “Clannad” was good. Not the best out there but it was good. Fuko’s arc was too long for me though. Fuko’s arc felt like it was dragging on too long. After her arc ended the story line went pretty smoothly. However the “Clannad:Afterstory” was AMAZING! definitely a well worth the watch series.
    “Clannad”: 7/10
    “Clannad:Afterstory” 9/10

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:23 AM)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah, even tho it was his highest grossing movie it managed to brought his career to a stand-still. His next film Gods of Egypt looks like it could be fun, albeit it’s just as much as a CGIfest as I, Robot. Egyptian stuff is admittedly rather intriguing, I remember a 2004 French film Immortel ad vitam that blended that with modern themes that became popular for a while.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    *remove second and
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:50 AM)
    @Bam: Regarding dark city, such a shame the director of that followed up dark city and the crow and with Irobot.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 04:41 AM)
    @Kaiser: oh The Celebration- I actually seen that as well, great movie. Didn’t know it was the same director, but thinking back now I can see the similar touches despite the difference in tone.

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