12 Moments of Anime #3: Life Goes On in the Big Dango Family

by eternal on December 23, 2009

I’ve said a lot about Clannad, to the point that I hardly feel like linking to a post. It was a spectacular show while it lasted – maybe not revolutionary, per se, but certainly a change of pace from the standard Key fare that we’ve grown accustomed to. Truth be told, my favourite moments in the series aired in 2008, while the relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa was developing until things unfolded the way that they did. The whole warm-and-fuzzy shoujo-esque bliss of the middle portion of After Story is something I’ll never forget, but it’s also a memory that falls awkwardly on the line between this year and the last.

Having said that, the show’s infamous finale is probably more worthy of discussion than anything else. Of course, the final episode was discussed to death when it first aired, but even though everyone chipped in, I don’t think any of our opinions were swayed. My own feelings of the show are that it was too perfect to be ruined by one slip, but in all honesty, it’s unfair to call the conclusion a “slip”. At the very least, it was a mistake made with confidence and not out of carelessness.

Unlike Key’s previous works, I believe Clannad‘s main draw lies in its themes, not in its characters. It feels almost like a perfected version of their original formula, combining the character-driven drama of Kanon and the overarching story of Air. All of Clannad‘s arcs and motifs, particularly the Dango Daikazoku song that matches the melody of the iconic theme “Nagisa”, point toward the message that it’s trying to put across.

The show challenges the darker side of life, complete with Key’s signature tragedies, but it cleverly contrasts them with the equally signatory blissful slife-of-life galge development, drawing an unexpectedly meaningful story out of a tired medium. Without trying to come off as revolutionary or otherwise preachy, it challenges the viewer’s perception of happiness and sadness, of the tear-jerking tragedies and the impossibly idealistic rewards. Clannad views life with selectively rose-tinted glasses, and Tomoya’s final decision to accept  pain in the name of love is symbolic of not only the show’s themes, but also of the ubiquitous visual novel dichotomy of perfect love and painful reality. In the end, it doesn’t matter if happiness wins over sadness: all that matters is the certainty that running from sadness will never earn you your Good End.

– – –

The stars accidentally aligned today to combine Clannad with something vague that I also wanted to talk about; something that can simply be summed up as life goes on.

In the same bittersweet vein as Clannad‘s story, nothing can stop the real world from turning, and that law of nature also affects the internet. Since this is my first full year in the community, I can look back and honestly say that it’s been an interesting year for us – new bloggers joined, old bloggers left, and I think we’re all one step closer to our goals, whatever they may be. I was originally going to go through the names one-by-one, but frankly, you know who you are. I feel comfortable enough to say that, knowing that you know if we’ve influenced each other in any way.

If there’s one good thing that happened this year to offset the retirement and semi-retirement of some friends and acquaintances, it’s that I managed to overcome the sphere’s “learning curve”, so to speak. It’s sad to know that Real Life is always lurking behind us, awaiting its chance to sweep us away into the world of professional work and study, but it’s relieving to know that we’re a tightly knit circle no matter what – both in the blogosphere and in anime fandom as a whole. Kudos to a year well done.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

kluxorious December 24, 2009 at 4:39 am

I fast-forwarded Clannad from episode 16 onwards when it was clear that Tomoya going to end up with Nagisa. I must say that this is probably the second show (first is True Tears) that I really hated the ending.


Ida March 17, 2010 at 8:05 am

Mee too :'(
Why should Nagisa die? !!


kluxorious July 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

she died?! Hallelujah!


xD July 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Donw worry guys Nagisa dont rly died :D because Tomoya collected enough lights to have his wish. So in the end, Nagisa, Ushio, and Tomoya lived happily ever after so dont be sad :)


edenhsc October 17, 2010 at 4:45 pm


he collected the lights so he had a wish!! i didnt know that…..

i was so happy in the end….because nagisa wasnt dead….^^


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