Anime Vice News

Watch & Learn: CLANNAD #1

John Hughes does an anime... with a video game controller.

 How could Tomoya ever choose between them?
 How could Tomoya ever choose between them?

Talk about your drastic tonal shifts. This shows starts likes it’s going to be the least self-conscious and most emo show you can imagine with its darkly poetic ruminations on cherry blossom and one’s place in the world. Then, it shifts gears into amiable high school wackiness like you’d see in a John Hughes movie. Then there's an out-of-nowhere injection of video game style super moves!

Perhaps it’s got teenager-ly hormonal mood swings?

As it would happen, I actually watched this episode once before (in the first incarnation of this column.) I probably made some joke about the title making me think of the Irish music group that Enya used to be part of, so I’ll lay off it here. This Tomoya dude’s probably the single most appealing lead I’ve seen in any anime show so far. He’s got Ferris Bueller's smoothness, Lloyd Dobbler’s charm and Max Fischer’s proactivity. He can get away with being a nice guy while still keeping some of that bad boy cool, and his voice actor’s seriously channeling Justing Long.

You know, continuing this show would actually be totally up my alley. It’d be nice to watch a show for this column that, just for once, doesn’t reach its high concept past the moon for some Earth-threatening conclusion where nothing’s really ever resolved. This looks like it’d just be about characters and their interactions, and I’d be totally into it for that were it not for the aforementioned bouts of maudlin monologues and the too-far-from-form slapstick super moves. I understand this was based on a video game, but I still prefer the more restrained humor of Tomoya’s butting heads with the rugby jocks, Nagisa’s borderline psychotic parents and the purple-haired chick who's way too interested in her lil’ sis’ business over any FMA-style non sequitor morphing/chibiness. We’ll see. This is certainly a contender.

And by the way… what girl tells fortunes with a playing card deck instead of the Tarot? Was something lost in translation here?

Watch this episode "On The Hillside Path Where The Cherry Blossoms Flutter" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk


Roldanon April 13, 2011 at 6:43 p.m.
I love Clannad but After Story's the one that makes this series brilliant. Clannad is a story about the highs school lives but After Story goes beyond that with having it go past the high school years. You get to see Tomoya start a family and trying to cope with life and the hardships we met when we start to live past high school.

I hope you pick this one up or you'll be sorry ..! xD Btw Tom, how many series are you gonna look in to before you decide on which ones you gonna watch & learn and how about having a show that's simulcasting right now also?
metalsnakezeroon April 13, 2011 at 6:45 p.m.
 Well the "video Game" is really a visual novel, which is more like a book with parts having different paths to take for the main character to go through. I do recommend watching this since it is very different from the other shows you been watching. That is if you're will to pay for membership to see all the episodes online.

Fortunes can be told in different ways, not just with Tarot cards.
EquitasInvictuson April 13, 2011 at 7:35 p.m.
If you're really into this I suggest you also look up Air or Kanon. They're basically the predecessors of Clannad in terms of both original visual novel (by the same company, Key) and anime series (by Kyoto Animation also). Their quality is just as outstanding. 

I also agree that Clannad After Story is really where the substance of the story is delivered, but you've got a long ways to go until then. Either way, I'm glad you're picking up one of the Key visual novel-based anime series for a Watch and Learn!
sotyfan16on April 13, 2011 at 7:47 p.m.
My friend has this series and loves it. However, I'm highly not interested in watching this. I also include Kanon, K-ON, and Air in the same boat. They may be good series but they are not up my alley despite the wonderful animation and music.
Daniel_Newton moderator on April 13, 2011 at 8:22 p.m.
Glad to hear your first impression is a good one Tom. I hope you pick this up, I'd gladly watch through it again so I can get the most out of these watch & learn articles. That reminds me, I better start on Code Geass soon so I can catch up with those articles.
The video game style super move stuff doesn't pop up too much, it's just part of the more comical, goofy side of Clannad and I guess if anything, only makes the tone of the more serious scenes more effective.

Oh, and I freaking love Nagisa's borderline psychotic parents! They're great.
Really hope users who've seen Clannad already don't spoil anything in the comments.
Dunchadon April 13, 2011 at 11:36 p.m.

Dango, dango, dango, dango...dango daikazoku.
sora_thekey moderator on April 14, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
I totally want to give this anime a try!
TWWKon April 14, 2011 at 6:41 a.m.
When I saw the first episode, I didn't think much of it.  I was coming off of the previous Key productio, Kanon (which I loved), and thought this show was much less appealing.  However, it gets stronger and stronger as it progresses.  And yes, Tomoya (not to be confused with TOMOYO) is a wonderful character - even more so as he becomes fleshed out.  For once in a series where there are lots of girls surrounding one guy, the guy is the best character of them all.
Chrison April 24, 2011 at 9:29 a.m.
This is my favorite anime of all time. This and the follow up Clannad: After Story are must watch animes.

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