To see last month’s feature article on Clannad, click here.
One of the problems with some romantic fiction is how far the actual romance goes. Sometimes they spend so long getting their characters to kiss, the show comes to an end as soon as it happens and we never see more beyond that. This is where, however, After Story becomes the best part of Clannad.
After Story is quite literal in the title as it takes place after the usual story. Most of the main characters graduate from high school and we see them face the trials of adulthood and life after high school, bringing Tomoya and Nagisa to move in together and get jobs. It’s partly because they move these characters away from high school that makes it special, as the setting for most animes is here and we rarely see anything outside.
Everything goes well for Tomoya and Nagisa for the most part, but all of this helps to tie into one of the saddest second halves of any anime. Like I said before, sadness in Key’s work is to be expected but unlike other examples, such as Angel Beats where it has moments here and there to tug at your heartstrings, After Story doesn’t stop being heavily tear jerking for five episodes straight because of what happens to Tomoya and Nagisa respectively.
The Girl in the Illusionary World gets its resolution here, also allowing you to finally see how this side story actually ties into the main plot, but you won’t know how until the very last episode. Unfortunately, this plays into the ending of Clannad and some people have found issues with it as it affects some of the emotional moments. Personally, I think that it offers a satisfying ending after all the emotional heartache that had to be endured to get there.
As said before, most of the main characters in Clannad are no longer focused on, with After Story focusing primarily on Tomoya and Nagisa. Their relationship is one of the best romantic relationships to be seen in anime and if you don’t become invested in it then most of the emotional moments won’t hit you as hard as they should do. You see how these two have made each other better people and how much they support and love each other without even showing a kiss; it’s really heart-warming and impressive.
Tomoya, in particular, goes through a lot in After Story, with most of the raw emotion involving him. Whilst Nagisa may not be involved in the raw part, she too definitely creates emotion just through the attachment you develop to her. Luci Christian and David Matranga are worth mentioning for the emotional weight they help create by playing Tomoya and Nagisa in the English dub. If they didn’t, it would be recommended to watch the show in sub.
The adult characters are the ones who get most screen time as Tomoya and Nagisa are becoming adults themselves. Therefore, we see much more of Nagisa’s parents and other adults who weren’t in Clannad as much as they could have been. We learn more about their backstories too, and some of them prove to be emotional in their own right.
The animation and character design is still the same as Clannad but that’s to be expected, although you can see how the characters change in subtle ways as time passes in After Story. Kyoto Animation is still at their best with After Story and that’s what matters in the long run.
After Story‘s soundtrack is the same as Clannad’s for the most part. What After Story does that’s different, however, is demonstrate emotion through music. The Dango Family song is a key example of this as it goes from childlike and innocent to a heartbreaking, emotional piece of music. Another song worth noting is the song in episode 22 entitled The Palm of a Tiny Hand. This song helps to create some of the most heart-warming and happy moments in all of Clannad.
Clannad and Clannad: After Story make a great romantic drama, all whilst ripping your heart out and putting it back in continually. If you want a completely realistic show, you’re not looking in the right place but if this is what you enjoy, remember to have the tissues nearby. Though I’d evidently recommend After Story to anime fans, I’d even go as far to recommend it to fans of romantic fiction too.
What did you think of Clannad: After Story?
Comment with your thoughts.