Title: Clannad: After Story Part 1
Published By: Siren Visual in Australia and Sentai Filmworks in the US
Based on: Visual Novel by KEY
Audio: English and Japanese Dubs
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Runtime: 300 Minutes Approximately
Classification: This title has been rated PG for Mild violence, themes, drug references and coarse language.
Previous Reviews: Clannad: Part 1 and Part 2
Blurb: Welcome to the second season of Clannad. The first part of this season finishes up the plot backstory that were not covered in the first season, and then follows the life of Tomoya and Nagisa as they continue their relationship outside of the school environment, where they no longer have the support of their friends to keep them going, and as Tomoya tries to find his place in life. The storyline focuses on minor characters at the start and both Tomoya and Nagisa, with the other main characters taking a side, however there is some creative storytelling. Graphics and music remain of a high quality.
For those who are expecting a series completely based around the life of Nagisa and Tomoya, which was the full extent of After Story in the Visual Novel, then you will be disappointed, but for a good reason! This season focuses on both the conclusion of the school arc in the first couple of episodes with the more minor characters getting their moment to shine, then proceeds with the actual After Story plotline. If you have read my previous Clannad reviews then you should know my normal pre-review comments, and if you haven’t watched season one of Clannad yet, then you should watch it before reading this review. Anyway, after the jump is my review of Clannad: After Story.
The previous part of this four part series ended with Tomoya finally confessing his love for Nagisa, however didn’t end with the conclusion of school year. As stated above, this first part is dedicated to concluding the school life arc and then beginning the after story arc, in which Tomoya endures many struggles with finding work to dealing with his feelings with Nagisa. Going back to the school storyline, four primary characters are focused on: Youhei and Mei and their struggles with each others personalities and ideals and relationships, Yukine who has a rather different backstory to what one would expect a person who serves tea in a library to have and a smaller plotline behind Sunohara’s dorm’s manager Misae and the rather detailed storyline behind her cat.
Whilst Misae’s is more or less a boring way of giving her character some backstory, Yukine’s and the Sunohara siblings storylines are actually pretty well done, and they achieved some interesting backstories which otherwise would have left viewers wondering why they had such considerable roles in the series. A concept that is also used as a plot device at the end of the series, the light orbs are also introduced briefly, making me question if it will remain a plot event in the final episodes as it was the visual novel.
The second part, although not taking as much precedence in this part is the actual After Story component of the story, that leads on into the fourth and final part of the series. The plotline generally moves at a much faster pace, and seems to travel through the years quicker then in the school life arc which was primarily a year long. All of the usual characters you got accustomed to watching have been pushed back as minor characters and only appear once every few episodes, if only. Instead, more minor characters have become supporting characters, such as Nagisa’s parents Akio and Sanae who become a main source of support for Tomoya and Yusuke, the over the top rock musician becomes his work colleague and acts as another source of support. This storyline more or less focuses on Tomoya, and you even get the impression that Nagisa becomes a secondary character at some points. The storyline however is moving, if not a bit dry at points without the antics of the normal cast of characters, but should not disappoint.
As this is not a new series, I will refrain from going into great detail into the design and music quality of the series. Instead, I will refer you to my previous review (Click Here). Initially I was curious to if the design quality would be of better or lesser quality in comparison to the previous season, however from my observations, After Story has just as good a quality design as Clannad. That being said, whilst the quality was up to the same standard, their use of lighting, which I noticed was used rather well in the first season (Example) was not utilized, which is a shame, as it did add to the scene playing out. In terms of music quality, they are all tracks either lifted or remixed from the Visual Novel, and was primarily the same tracks used in the previous season. However, there were some new Opening and Ending themes for the viewers to enjoy:
Toki wo Kizamu Uta by Lia
As good as this opening theme is, it has one trait that lets it down….. it is not Mag Mell (Megumeru), which has been the opening theme to both the initial visual novel series and the first anime season. Putting that aside, it is an above average song that switches between softer and stronger tones. For the animation, as I said at the start I cannot confirm if the content is from the second part of the anime, however for the most part, looks unique to the opening, however focuses on the school life arc characters more then the main characters of After Story.
TORCH by Lia
With the number of times Dango Daikazoku has been used in the series, including several times in this part alone, it is nice to have a different song at the end of the episode. The song is still softer then I would like, however the lyrics are appropriate and there is something enjoyable about the song, especially with the little elements they add to the animation to go with the song. On the mention of the animation, it is simply backdrops of environments around town with characters walking across the screen. However (and I didn’t watch this more then a few times at the start), there were a few characters missing so I assume once Tomoya unlocks their “Light Orb” or finishes their plot with a GOOD END, they will appear in the ending, which if so, is a nice little feature.
Personally, I am sort of disappointed that they have reduced a majority of the characters from Season 1 to simply cameo characters, as for the most part, Clannad was developed as a dating simulation Visual Novel with supernatural elements added to it. However despite this, I think the new “After School” storyline, which will involve into a big plot twist next part, offers a greater level of maturity and seriousness that adds to the storyline quite well. Whilst I own, and have already gone through the visual novel so I know the conclusion to this series, I eagerly await the fourth and final part to see how this anime adaptation compares, and how they choose to end the tale of the happiness and tragedy in Tomoya and Nagisa’s lives.
Character Development: A-
Voice Acting: A
Personal Opinion: B
Overall Score: A