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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  • Firechick
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 03:00 PM)
    Uhhh…I wasn’t impersonating Bam. I don’t even know who he or she is.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 10:48 AM)
    This is a fairly minor complaint but in some older anime I always noticed “flashing light syndrome” and “Epilepsy visuals” , “Animes equivalent to flash photography”, it can sometimes bother me alot/hurt my eyes watching old shows, then again I am susceptible to epilepsy…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:14 AM)
    @Bam: Emotional involvement and rewatch value are very important to me in a film, which is my preference for synecdoche over birdman.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 04:05 AM)
    “Firechick, answer: Hell no. And don’t impersonate Bam. You suck at it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 03:05 AM)
    Yeah guys! Why aren’t you reviewing Go! Princess Precure?
  • Firechick
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 02:51 AM)
    Is anyone gonna review Go! Princess Precure? I hear it just aired.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.

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