- Alt. Name
- Release Date
- Fall 2007
- No. of Episodes
- Kyoto Animations
- Visual Novel
Clannad is a 2007 Romance Comedy-drama anime series from one of the most beloved Japanese animation studios, Kyoto Animation. While one can look on any top ten list for best Kyoto Animation creations, this series is usually always there. Though for being a series from the mid to late 2000s and having so much time pass brings the question, “Is Clannad still as good as everyone says it is?” While most series from the past usually tend not to age well, if they were outside of our childhoods, or simply terrible. For whatever reason, a series that many viewers from all different ages call this series a “classic,” which makes that question from before even more significant since the word classic is hugely subjective.
Tomoya Okazaki is a high school delinquent who finds his life dull and believes that he’ll never amount to anything in his lifetime. So, along with his friend Youhei Sunohara, he skips school and plans to waste his high school days away doing whatever he wants whenever he wants.
One day while walking to school, Tomoya passes a young girl muttering quietly to herself. Without warning, she exclaims, “Anpan!” which catches Tomoya’s attention. He soon discovers the girl’s name is Nagisa Furukawa and that she exclaims things she likes to motivate herself. Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away, passing the encounter off as nothing.
However, Tomoya starts finding himself noticing Nagisa more and more around the school. Eventually, he concedes and befriends her. Tomoya learns Nagisa has been held back a year due to a severe illness and that her dream is to revive the school’s drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, he decides to help her achieve this goal along with the help of four other girls.
As Tomoya spends more time with the girls, he learns more about them and their problems. As he attempts to help each girl overcome her respective obstacle, he begins to realize life isn’t as dull as he once thought.
While this series seems like it’s high on the dramatics, which sometimes it is. The best part is that Clannad doesn’t overstep the fine line between being too romantic and overly dramatic. Anyone who enjoys their anime with spoonsful of emotion given to them. Another positive that this narrative had was that it aged very well. For a series that is over a decade old, it doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of age – regarding the story. The characters feel well connected and part of the overall story, not just objects placed into it.
While this may seem unimportant, it’s essential to understand that many series have a hard time connecting many characters to their potential audience during any genre-specific series. Having that mixed with the decent pacing and well-executed dramatic elements puts this story into a rather splendid engagement.
Now for the negatives of Clannad’s story, there are some major ones that this series had more than the average amount. The biggest one is that this series doesn’t know what it wants to be. It starts as a romantic series, then a few episodes in it swiftly changes to an arc that lasts for nearly half of the series. There is some character development within this arc, but the viewers question what type of series Clannad is genuine by the end. Another negative this series had is that it’s relatively slow when changing from one thing to another.
When it picks the genre, then it’s okay, but the process the viewer must endure to get to that point is somewhat grueling at times. Though these were the only two significant problems within the series, the biggest was the high level of commitment within the story.
This type of story is one of those that must be watched regularly, partly due to its high emotional impact. Thus making this series a poor choice for a casual viewer, one who doesn’t want to watch an anime series within a week. Outside of that, the most prominent problem within this story is that it’s somewhat repetitive, meaning the same gimmicks and comedy are used multiple times throughout the series twenty-six episode run. So if it wasn’t funny for the viewers the first time, get ready cause there are hundreds more of the same unfunny jokes.
When it comes to Clannad’s art style throughout the series is relatively positive. Though the designs are a little dated, they still are as beautiful and upholding as they were when they first premiered. The bright and colorful backgrounds mixed with the cheery and gloomy atmosphere are lovely combinations and will treat any viewer’s eyes. While it’s no surprise that Kyoto Animations has created a series with beautiful artwork and has plenty of others that have just the same. But what sets this series apart from the pack is its charm, the warmth of the orange when the sun is setting truly makes this series art style beautiful.
Though the bigger picture of the series comes from the Animation Production, which had some slight hiccups, the most significant part of the animation production that was a terrible choice even at its premiere was the PowerPoint transitions; they’re just ugly and unneeded. Outside of that, the production was okay, the opening theme song was very fitting, and the animation was just as good, if not better. Though the ending theme was a little overused, which isn’t a terrible thing, some may find this rather charming. However, the ending animation had potentially missed an ample opportunity to have a more enormous impact on its audience than going for a more cute ending.
While Clannad had a vast number of characters, some better than others but overall pretty decent, Tomoya Okazaki is the main protagonist labeled as his high school delinquent. Despite having a bad temper and a reputation as a bad boy, he mainly shows up to school late and skips class. His relationship with his father is not the best, with whom he constantly argues. Though he is a terrible student, he tends to think deeply about his own life. This causes him to be a little more critical towards others, especially ones he finds having a better future than he does – in a good way.
Nagisa Furukawa is the main female of the series and is very nonconfrontational compared to Tomoya. She’s very polite and is sensitive, easily hurt, and insulted. One weird quirk that she has is that she tends to shout the names of food that she plans to eat to motivate herself. She loves the drama club and wants to revive it, but she doesn’t think she can with her poor image of herself.
Kyou Fujibayashi is another female character who is best described as the strong independent type. She is the older sister of Ryou and is the meaner one of the two. She is strong and loud but does what’s suitable for her friends and family whenever needed. Though her character type is best described as a Tsundere, she is ultimately nothing like her sister.
Kotomi Ichinose is another friend of Tomoya, but like Kyou, she is in the same year and a separate class from him. She is an airhead and is very shy, where she hides behind Tomoya when meeting new people. Though she is described as an airhead, she is brilliant and is often found reading books in the library, ignoring anything and everything around her.
Tomoyo Sakagami is the transfer tomboy character within the series. She is strong and often gets into fights with thugs from outside of school and wins every time! Unlike Kyou, she is a Kuudere as, on the outside, she’s stoic and emotionless, but inside, she’s raging with emotions. She is also the only group not to show Tomoya his due respect as being her senior.
Overall the most notable negative within this series is that too many characters look the same. If it was changed to a black and white series, no one could tell the difference between one character and the next. Though this was a problem, most of the series was very good and easily rewatchable. Having a series focus on fixing one’s issues with the help of a group of misfit friends is rather entertaining and unwavering in this case. While this series is from the mid to late 2000s, this is one hell of an anime to watch. If one has not watched this, then they should. It has the right amount of romance, drama, and turmoil that everyone needs in their lives.
Though some may find this series a classic, the overall emotional impact that this series can give is what makes this series so good. With its hard level of punches and very well-written character development, this series deserves the title of “classic” anime. This proving the point that some anime series are just as good no matter when they premiered.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.