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:

    Haha.
    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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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

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