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.