Posted by psgels on 20 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

I’ve been thinking about this series, and how to exactly review it, since Clannad’s after story contained some of the biggest highlights but also some of the biggest lowlights of the season. In the end, though, I decided to be positive about this series. Sure, the ending was terrible, I’m not going to sugarcoat that, but the episodes prior to that were utterly incredible.

Clannad already was a very good series, and its after story pretty much starts out similar, with a number of different arcs that are meant to flesh out the different members of the Clannad cast. Since Clannad already did the main characters, the first half of the After Story focuses more on the side-characters. while nothing amazing, the stories are consistently charming and interesting.

The goodness only really starts with the arrival of the second half, though. It’s here where most of the characters graduate high school and all go their own way, and this is where this series evolves into something completely unique. It’s a bit hard to describe this without any major spoilers, but the result is absolutely heart-wrenching, and yet incredibly realistic. Nearly every side character disappears from the screen in order to follow his or her dream, and we’re just left with the main couple of the series. It’s going to be very hard to find someone who wasn’t extremely positive about the turns that the series took at that point.

But yeah, it unfortunately ends in one of the biggest and most blatant Deus ex Machina endings out there, on the same level as Mai Hime. Whie the game this series is based on contains the explanation of what went on, anyone unfamiliar with the games will feel completely cheated. The series had been quite faithful to the original Visual Novel, but it did try to add in enough extra vits in order to spice up the story and make it more realistic and believable, but those two really did clash in that final episodes. And in the end the biggest flaws of this series is that it’s a bit too keen on pleasing the fans of original visual Novel. The ending just feels out of place, and Tomoyo’s After Story and Kyou’s story (which both got only one special episode) just feel like a big waste of potential. If the creators wanted to include those stories, they should have gone with a Higurashi-styled series: have different arcs focusing on all the important characters, which reset to the beginning at the end, and having each of these arcs deal with various of the side stories seen so far.

So no, I really wasn’t happy with that ending. Still in the end, Clannad has been a fantastic series, just like its predecessor Air. Both have taken the biggest heap of clichés imaginable, and went with such a harem setting to something completely daring and original with excellent and bittersweet results. Unlike Kanon, these two really helped the harem genre evolve, and with a genre that originally lived on seeing who could make the most generic heap of stereotypes, it really needed that.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

34 Responses

  1. cc says:

    Agreed. Ending was WTF kind of thing and really felt like it cheated the viewers out. Good series overall though.

  2. blkmage says:

    I agree that the ending wasn’t very well explained, but once you understand the ending, everything fits together and it makes complete sense. It’s called the true end for a good reason.

  3. Zetatrain says:

    I kinda of liked the ending, sure it was a deus ex machina, but at the same time the series did hint at something like this happening with the appearance of the light orbs in certain episodes so it wasn’t too much of a WTF moment for me. Even though I haven’t played the visual novel, I think I somewhat understand what happened in the final episode, however, it does require some suspension of disbelief. Overall, great series

  4. Snowolf says:

    yeah, the ending just kinda left me hanging with a little mingling of shock and angriness. It did so well at times, and I simply loved how they really fleshed out the characters rather than being one page people, but they could of stretched the game ending into a slighty more anticipating and better one. otherwise, it was a great “sequel” to watch! :D

  5. aegd says:

    This series has had supernatural things happen ever since the start. The ending made sense, since it’s been hinted since the first episode that there was things going around in that town that was way beyond belief. There were several stories in the series that was based pretty much solely on supernatural events.

    My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit abrupt, I would have liked another episode or two to see what all the side characters were up to. Maybe a 同窓会 10 years later. Just something to give a nice conclusion to the series. But hey… that would that would rule out “Clanned – After the after story” haha… :D

  6. man0warr says:

    Eh, the ending is word for word exactly like the game, including the fuuko ninja event at the end.

    Problem is they can’t really show replayability (the orbs you get from each route, needing all 13 to get the true end) like in the game so the ending is a bit wierd if you had zero knowledge of the visual novels mechanics.

    It makes even less sense if you skipped the illusionary world scenes throughout both seasons.

    It’s still a deus ex machina, but so is every Key game ending, it’s just something you have to accept going into watching/playing them.

  7. The only episodes that really did much for me in the end were the arc ends in the first season and episode 13-20 or so in After Story. That’s definitely over half the season leaving me hanging though. Also the comedy didn’t do anything for me, but the drama could be pretty good at times. Overall I’d probably give it about a 73/100 or so using your scoring method.

  8. Windspirit says:

    The ending ruined everything.

  9. da_man says:

    psgels, you should watch Futakoi Alternative – the best harem anime ever (even though technically, it doesn’t qualify as a harem, but then again it does… just watch it).

    • 6@ says:

      No, shitface!! I have watched it and it’s shit. It’s just all about a little boy named ‘the man’ fucking around a town until he met a dude who was infact a girl who have other girl friends who fell for ‘the man’ and that’s it. It’s shit at its finest. My rating: 10/100. It couldn’t even kiss clannad’s feet.

  10. Houlgrave says:

    This ending was a rare instance where something overly happy/deus ex machina didn’t turn me off.

    As you all might have noticed, even though everything was reset due to all the lights Tomoya had collected, he still didn’t forget anything that had happened post-Nagisa’s death even after he went back to the night of Ushio’s birth. It was almost as if he had been seeing a terrible nightmare of what might have been…

  11. moonie says:

    I was very pleased that poor Tomoya got a happy end, so the deus ex machina thing didn’t bother me too much. It probably fit very well in the structure of the visual novel, getting the “true” end when you complete all the paths, but it didn’t translate too well in the anime adaptation. I’ll just consider that Tomoya was dreaming, as Houlgrave said, and that way I can just not mind it.

    Still, my only regret is that we didn’t get to see Tomoya, Nagisa and Ushio all happy together in an extra episode.

  12. supereece says:

    yes, yes, the ending was a little dissappointing, but they had to do it, if you deviate from the VN then it might as well have been an original series on its own. as for the Tomoyo and Kyou arcs, you really gotta give em a break, the main conflict of those two arcs is Tomoya deciding whether to date them or not, seeing as he’s going to be hooked up with Nagisa in the anime, those two storylines just have no place in the anime yet they were still able to adapt it in albiet a bit weakly.

  13. Garuda says:

    dude are you FUCKING stupid or something with ur UNLIKE KANON.

    you MUST be talking about Kanon 2002 because Kanon 2006 is even greater then Clannad and AIR.

    i LOVED Clannad but i was r ealy upset with the end, it COULD have become my nr1 wich is Kanon 2006.

    but the end just didnt do it for me like WHY fucking cry about all the things that happen when in the end they dont realy happen FUCK that shit, i wa planning to rewatch it soon to make myself cry again lol, BUT NOW THATS NOT EVEN POSSIBLE ANYMORE BECAUSE IT WAS SUCH A RUSHED WHY MAKE IT SO HAPPY end.

    Clannad After Story was Superb drama i LOVED it, they should have kept nagisa’s sacrifice and enden with just tomoya and ushi or something realy when the light appeared and suddenly he time warped 5 years back to ushios birth like some miracle had happend i felt SO cheated damnit, it was a PERFECT show realy but the end not at sad about it cause it was about to become my favorite but ah well.

    Beside the end Clannad was GREAT.

    But Kanon 2006 is still my nr1, not very complex and some things are not VRY original just like Clannad season 1 with some side stories but at least those side stories where deep and maked sense.

  14. Dante says:

    Hated everything about Clannad + the afterstory except for the gangstuh fight and tomoyo’s ova (and also the depressing 2nd half of afterstory, minus the actual ending ending).

    That ova took every bad aspect of Clannad, and polished it to the point where if it were developed, could have been such a wonderful piece. No more pungent cheese, no more cliche goodie goodie mushy moshy ness. Art was incredibly improved upon, showing all their emotions and squirms and whatnot, supporting the voices of their emotions. Good stuff, the rest of Clannad wasnt.

    But no, Clannad was at most, mediocre. However depressing the twist to afterstory was, it was ruined at the end when all reality mushed from a little dream.

  15. MMania says:

    I guess if you just ignored the globes of light granting wishes and the “other world” segments completely the ending would seem a bit deus ex machina, but that would be silly. The only way to “reset” was to have everything play out like it did, ending just good or just bad would only have been half of the story. Especially with anime endings being generally unsatisfying from a western perspective, I’m surprised there’s so much hate for an amazing ending.

    Well, enough ranting. Certainly there were things I would change if I could about this series, but overall I’d rate the full Clannad story 90/100.

  16. Zodiac Casino says:

    Personally, I’m glad they gave them a happy ending. It was soul-crushingly sad to see all the steps Tomoya made to find happiness, only to have it all snatched away repeatedly. Usually, I hope for a sad ending, but that was not the case this time. All the time spent having us get to know the characters, really helped strengthen my empathy for them, and as a result, I was really hoping for them to go the direction they did.

  17. orb says:

    lol if you guys dislike the ending because you don’t understand it, well that just shows how inexperienced you guys are, compare to other animes that i watched this isn’t even a mindf*ck, just try watching boogiepop phantom, lain and see what i mean

  18. littlecrow says:

    I’ve finished it today and loved most of it, although i will admit that I did’nt enjoy the ending as much as I hoped I would. it disapointed me some, although it was a happy ending for the most part, it just seemed as though the writers wrote themselfs into a corner with the way thing were going. I’m a big softy and this show did get me teary eyed and I loved it for that but once that episode hit all emotions were gone, damn if I wasn’t starting to cry for Tomoya up to that point, and after that episode it seemed to hit the brakes until the season ended, but I would recammend this show to anybody.

  19. Zerp says:

    I agree that the ending was not as good as it could have been, but I’m glad it ended in a positive note. I feel that, if it had not, I would have been left feeling utterly devastated and depressed, they did a good job keeping this from happening, and that’s a plus for me.

    I also really liked the small stories, Misae’s one had me crying at the end. Clannad After Story is just such an amazing series, it’s a contender for my favorite show now!

  20. NorybiaK says:

    Well, We all of different opinions about Clannad. The series is awesome and I too cried a lot during the sad parts. The whole series is meant to be about Tomoya and his surrounding friends, but what you all missed is that Tomoya and Nagisa started this series off and they ended it together. During after story, they build us up with joy and happiness that Nagisa and Tomoya are married and love each other very much. During the pregnancy episodes, they hinted that something was going to happen and we all new it, but I would have enjoyed it better if Nagisa never died. Instead of watching the pain and putting me through the sorrow and misery, they should have made it completely happy and have episodes 16-22 show Nagisa, Tomoya, and Ushio living a happy life. I’m not big on sad, tragedy stories because it leaves me feeling empty and sad, especially after watching Nagisa and friends grow in a strong relationship and becoming family. To be honest, when Nagisa died I didn’t want to continue the rest of the story. The only thing that made me continue is that I looked up what happens prior to watching and I saw that something happened and they all lived happily. The way it ends is too quick and sudden. I wanted to see more. I wanted more to get the sad and empty feelings out of me….but it wasn’t enough. For those who think the ending sucked and Nagisa should have remained dead and whatever this Deus Ex Machina is, you’re wrong. It was something that wants me to continue watching, if there was more to watch. If there is another sequel I will be a happy person. 100000/100.

  21. Anne-marie Webster says:

    I thought the “other world” put things off track a bit. But although that con, it was rather realistic. when nagisa died of child birth it was to be expected but not wanted. even though she passed on, it seemed as if they made her child resemble her so nagisa’s husband could keep his promise in protecting her. All in all, it was one of the best anime’s I have ever laid eyes on. I also seemed pulled to not only the main characters but the others as well. (certainly the chrismatic, and optomistic blonde hair blue eyed one)

  22. Beholder says:

    Her passing away was just a dream or a “flash forward” if you will, but as told earlier in the story your future can change. the lights are just from the drugs he used! =D

  23. Ferdinand says:

    Nice review, this is the saddest anime i have ever seen really, if anybody know any other animes that sad like this let me know =D.. The only animes that the sad feeling comparable to after story only kanon 2006 and kimi ga nozomu eien so far..

  24. Aapjuh says:

    all this ending fuss is about nagisa being alive after all?

    seriously that was one of the best parts,
    when nagisa died, i watched 1 more episode to confirm and then i rage quit, i was totaly bummed, all that this show is about is 2 ppl finding happyness in their live, so when she died before/at the peak of her happyness i was so pissed i quit watching.

    after i read a review and found out it was sort of a dream, i quickly rushed to watch it.

    clannad is one of the greatest anime’s i ever seen

    MY list of anime’s i seen:

  25. Drummerm4n says:

    I agree with Zetatrain and Aapjuh, although the ending was very sudden, i dont think i could take much more after episode 21 (those who have watched it will know what im on about)

    im not a very emotional guy, but this anime really drilled into my heart :) one of the greatest things iv ever seen.

    I personally loved the ending, simply the fact that everyone and everything turned out ok after a train wreck of events was such a relief to me.

    And they did hint throughout the series that the “lights could grant wishes” :) although i did have to look up the ending for the visual novel to FULLY understand what happened.

  26. Robert says:

    Greatest anime ever created!!!!!! I honestly loved the ending, if you didnt quite understand it then i recomend watching the last 10 or so episodes over again. You couldnt possibly appreciate this beautiful story without completely undertanding what happened at the end of this story.

  27. Michael Lau says:

    For those of u guys who doesn’t understand the ending, I advise u NOT TO SKIP ANY PART in the anime (both orig. and afts.)
    “SPOILER WARNING!!!” anyway, continue…
    So in after story and the game it mentions that the “orb of light” can give a wish each, in the anime, kotomi, fukko and Miyzawa’s orbs of light is being used for the transition at ep.22, Nagisa and Ushio don’t die.

    Proves on orb of lights for ushio:
    on After Story extra episode 2 (ep. 24)
    Tomoya mentioned that “Ushio never recovered in the other world” which means that Ushio DOES get the disease but she recovered.

  28. widowmaker says:

    First off, I will have to say that this anime is not for the faint of heart. Secondly let me establish one thing, I am a guy and I cried like a little baby when I first saw this. This has to be the most grounded and down to earth animes that I have ever seen. It tells a story that can actually happen in life, so it can really hit home when you watch it. Now I have read a lot of reviews for this anime, mainly of people talking about how they hated the ending, but I have to disagree. This story holds a very important message in it. Cherish the people that you love in life, because they can be taken away from you at any point in time. What happens to Nagisa is tragic, and what Tomoya does as a result is more than understandable. He put his hopes and dreams behind her and then fate intervenes and Tomoyo is crushed. Nagisa was everything to Tomoya, she was his life. Like I said, what happens in the story is something that can and actually does happen in real life. Now what happens to Ushio is equally tragic. Tomoya now has Ushio living with him and has recovered emotionally. He devotes himself fully to Ushio. But again, these things happen in real life, so the fact that you can relate will pull and tug on your emotions until you feel the lump in your throat is about to burst. But thankfully, time is reversed and Tomoya and Ushio are found to be fine. Tomoya is given a second chance, but still retains the memories of the tragedies from the alternate reality that he once lived. Like I said, this anime is not for the faint of heart, but if you want to see a truly great anime, then I would definitely recommend Clannad and Clannad After Story. It is truly a great work of art!

  29. esca says:

    I agree with widowmaker, Heart wrenching story i’m a dude and cried like a baby during the 2nd season. If you saw it you know what i’m talking about. The “after Story” really made this anime great, without it, it would have been mediocre.

    Been watching anime a long time, I usually don’t get into the drama stuff but came accross this by chance and it’s now in my top three.

    Awesome story, like other’s here I thought a couple more happy episodes at the end would have helped ease my soul after all the drama they put me through starting the 2nd half of the after story season.

    99/100, would have been 100/100 with a couple more feel good episodes at the end.

    Great job writers and animators. Story was amazing.

  30. tiffac says:

    As someone who just finished both seasons of Clannad I have to say this is one of the most inspiring Anime I have seen in a long time. I always expected a magical ending since Air and Kanon had them, although the ending did confuse me a bit but looking back at the story as a whole it was setup to be that way.

    I’m glad I was able to watch this Anime. I thought Kanon 2006 was great but Clannad and especially After Story was even greater and I usually hate harem Anime.

  31. Mex says:

    idk i think it was great i got every thing it was all great and sad parts made you wanna cry best anime i watched…

  32. HOKKAIDO says:

    After all the tragic scenes, I don’t think I can accept a crueler ending. So I’m quite pleased with the ending. And I don’t think the ending was a Deus Ex Machina. If you had fully enjoyed every episode, it would be very easy to understand that.

  33. Katie says:

    I loved Clannad After Story so much but honestly,the ending ruined everything. It was one of those really tense animes and you had a feeling something bad was going to happen.. and it did. Only it didn’t last like that. I hate it when people despise something just because it’s “predictable” I mean come on you idiots, you tell me any show that has NEVER been predictable. Clannad did try not to be predictable but that’s what happens with mystery/romance animes. They ARE predictable. So get over yourselves! I have to say that Kanon didn’t hareally have a great ending either, it was VERY close to having a great ending but again, they added something irrelevant at the end which wasn’t that good but it was better than Clannad AS’s ending. Clannad AS would have surpassed Kanon as my favourite Key anime if it wasn’t for that goddamn ending. I may sound souless but I hope they’ll remake the ending, even if it’s sad, it’s just so much more fitting.

Leave a Reply


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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 07:30 PM)
    Oh lol the Symphogear guy teased the idea of a fourth season for it, you mad mad bastard.
  • Masky
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 08:03 AM)
    @Bam: Yeah, but simulating reality applies to certain types of games. Judging EVERY game by how realistic it is is silly xD
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them

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