Well Hello again Anime Vice. It’s M again here to bring you the last in my newest campaign of anime domination. Today’s target is the last Anime related piece of the wildly successful Clannad Franchise. Before the very revered Anime (that I have grown to like very much despite my distaste for much of it) the Series first hit the big screen with Clannad: The motion picture. Feeling like my exposure to the franchise wasn’t truly complete I headed over and took a on the movie that first brought Clannad to the TV screen.
The movie as did the show follows the main route of Clannad the visual novel, dealing with the relationship between Tomoya, a high school delinquent with father issues and Nagisa, a medically ill girl with a loving family to support her. It follows through their Friendship onto eventual love and adult lives and the tragedy that can come from them. Mostly the story is told in flashback by Tomoya and the end is hinted throughout. It is independent from the Anime and while much of the story bits are the same most of them are at fairly different.
As a whole Clannad is another series I’ve grown fond of despite its very serious and crippling flaws. In this way I do care for the franchise in any form it takes itself and was very excited to see. That being said I bluntly don’t like the Clannad movie. More than that I think it is actively bad. Clannad the movie reeks of “the movie” syndrome. Feeling more like a big budget animated movie cash in of the VN without much thought or design then a honest to god attempt to make a earnest movie out of the VN. It lacks the sense of humor and excellent dialogue that for the most part gave the anime the legs to stand up and make you attached enough to really be hit by the themes and subtle undertones that build up throughout the series. Instead we get over the top nonsensical action bits and more cameos then characters. This makes its attempts to be emotional and heavy even more waning then the anime.
Most damning, I think, is that the movie manages to look both incredibly expensive as well as visually shitty. Each scene has more frames per second then what looks natural and is cluttered with so many visual effects it reminds me of the first time a middle schooler learns how to edit a picture in Photoshop. Just as an example, every single shot of the movie in which there is sunlight regardless of intensity there is drawn in lens flare covering almost twenty five percent of the screens. Copious panning shots and busy backgrounds covered with random visual effects all seem to simply be there to show off a big budget that an animated movie can have. This makes the fact that Clannad the movies art looks about as good as cheap early 90s lower tier anime deliciously ironic. This is especially true for the characters that despite not having the weird demon bug eyes from the anime look even more off and dated.
Clannad is however not without some saving graces. Historically my issues with animated movies have always been the inability to provide a standalone cohesive narrative and in this respect Clannad: the motion picture does manage to pull off even if it’s not exactly good. To make a full movie contain and tell the same story as a fifty episode anime is a feet in and of itself (but perhaps that’s just more evidence of my complaint that the Clannad anime was unfocused and slow) That and a bit of a positive change with Tomoya’s best friend being a far better man and Nagisa more realistic and assertive.
However, for every positive there is a negative. Tomoya instead of being a serious, but sweet guy with a funny pranker side to him, he’s just a flat out insensitive jerk to most of the cast killing the chemistry with anyone else. Most of the best characters from the franchise put in ineffectual and often pointless scenes more to acknowledge their existence in the story then to show any relevance to it. Flip the coin on the other side I actually really like how the movie ends and Tomoyas Fathers more preeminent role in exactly how the ending came to be. Even though where it cuts is not as true to the VN as the animes’s ending is it allow for a happy ending without being much of an ass pull at all. This was something that Clannad after story failed miserably to do.
Clannad is a franchise that I love in spite of its flaws, that being said I have no real love for this movie outside of its ending. Shitty art and empty writing eat away at the movie even if it manages to be a fairly complete package. It’s been a while, but I give Clannad 2.5 cluttered video effects out of 5. I don’t like this movie, I don’t like how it looks, how it is and it can take its high energy Dango theme remix and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.
P.S. our podcast is back and you can find it here enjoy
Finally after sitting in Production hell for half a month the M cast returns. This time we turn our attention to Future Diaries, Welcome to the NHK, and Cuba's National soft drink as well as an assortment of smaller bits including: My feelings on Deadman Wonderland, revisiting exactly why Homer hates Muv-Luv, Pyro Finally watches Eureka AO, why Upotte!! is so absolutely f'ing weird and so much more! So sit down and enjoy no ones favorite Anime Vice community podcast.
Please leave whatever Comments and questions you have for us, and sorry again for going on far longer then intended.
M and Pyro
Music and Sounds
Allan Gray - Swing Doors
http://www.grsites.com/archive/sounds/ - Battle035
Austrian Death Machine - I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots and Your Motorcycle
Well Hello Anime Vice, it’s me M to again bring you my opinions on anime. While my match with the Clannad franchise isn’t over I’ve had the opportunity to finish Fate Zero during a break from Clannad. Fate Zero is the famous and infamous prequel to Fate Stay Night. Hailed for supposedly outshining the original in every way, Fate Zero, was something I took personal interest in it since its lead writer and director is Gen Urobuchi the same one as from the hit Madoka Magica that, while not exactly the best anime ever, is one of my favorites. Thanks to Crunchy Roll I sat down with friend of the site, Homer, and took a crack at it.
Type-Moon’s Fate Zero is the prequel to widely successful VN and anime Fate Stay Night, I never watched the anime, but I have the VN and know far more about Fate Stay Night then honestly what I wanted to know so going in to the prequel. Fate Zero basically takes place during the 4 Holy Grail war and pretty much set up why things are so completely f’d up for the 5 war in Fate Stay Night. Just like in Stay Night, seven masters are chosen to hold seven servants, specifically heroes of myth and history, in the form of for lack of a better way RPG classes. They are locked into a survival game over the Holy Grail, a mythic artifact of which supposedly is able to grant any wish to the winner of the war. The story loosely centers on Saber and her master, but it jumps perspectives so much that designating an MC is pointless. Instead it focuses on all their efforts and wishes to get the grail.
I’ll be honest here it’s not hard to come up with positive things to say about Fate Zero. Gifted with fantastic directing and production value, fluid and enjoyable fight scenes as well as meaningful and well written story; even if a bit dark to the point of being unpleasant to watch play out. Fate Zero has a sense of being a perfectly produced entity having all of its parts polished, well oiled and operating excellently. Characters all seem either likeable to the point of earning your admiration or so vilified that it drives you to personally wish them misfortune; all while not playing the Marry Sue card for anyone (except Gilgamesh that f@#king fairy) . Whether it’s Rider who is impossible to dislike or Berserker who is so Savage and glorious in battle, each character plays their specific role to practiced perfection.
Fate Zero while crisp and perfectly produced has a few flaws that are big enough to weaken its overall feel despite its near perfect parts. The Servants, while immeasurably cleverer then the original seven in who they are set up for some very interesting points, however almost none of them actually do much with how interesting the combinations are; I.E. The relationship between Saber and Berserker really doesn’t have much in a way of pay off nor does her connection with caster. This reeks of lost opportunity on the part of the writing where some clever usage would have made it shine a bit more. In smaller complaints its Soundtrack is unremarkable as is the character of Lancer, but as carnival phantasm the type moon parody of this franchise pretty much admits…no one give a damn about Lancer.
My biggest complaint with Fate Zero is easily the amount of wasted time in the beginning season. Most of Season one is a series of battles where nothing is achieved for either side and long winded conversation about topics that in more natural conversation would have ended in a hand full of sentences. Even when the fight scenes look great and the conversations are well directed the lack of point and direction simply feel like wasted time and energy simply for the sake of artificially increasing the length of the story. Considering the amount of opportunity wasted as I mentioned in the previous paragraph just makes it more frustrating to see time wasted discussing exactly why Gilgamesh is bored today….oh by the way did I mention that Gilgamesh is a god damn fairy and I hate him?
My second biggest issue is also probably a bit of what impresses me a bit about Fate Zero. The ending is very confusing and very unpleasant in exactly the dark way that it is intending. By the End of Fate Zero things are not pleasant for much of anyone and it has no intention of pulling its punch so that you can have your nice little happy ending. It’s an ending that drained a little bit of the life out of me, but I definitely applauded Fate Zeros uncompromised dark story even if it’s just the fault of it being a prequel more than creative integrity. This being true on the other side of that coin Fate Zeros ending is a bit nonsensical. While very cool it just filled with ridiculousness, so much so one of the characters even takes note, mentioning “by some absurdity” the final events somehow occurred. This again mostly is in service of Fate Stay Nights set up, but is simply not pulled off well.
End of the night I say Fate Zero is good, and if you don’t mind an ending that isn’t exactly meant to be so happy go lucky you’d be hard pressed to find something as good. Not quite as good as its parts separately make it look, but still damn good. I give Fate Zero 4 Noble Phantasms out of 5,
P.S. to VN fans out there I recently finished AoiShiro and if you’re a fan of VN’s I can’t recommend it enough.
Hey Vice, it’s me again, M and it appears this review acts as the second round against the famous king of tears, Clannad. This time it’s the much more critically loved and successful sequel, Clannad: After Story. After my somewhat negative experience with Clannad which you can read about HERE, I did mention the one thing Clannad pulled off for sure is attaching me to it and its characters despite its constant flaws. This being true I went into Clannad: after story optimistic, looking forward to a meaningful experience, so did it keep up?
After story starts off with the first about nine episodes being just giving a few side characters from Clannad original (who were about as relevant to the plot as a dead sparrow to a church) the Clannad treatment; the Clannad treatment being giving them a sad back-story and a strange mini adventure to solve it. These are identical to the first series, but now without the whole Theater club tying it together and dealing with characters we don’t care about, After Story’s first episodes make even less sense and work even less than in Clannad.
After episode about ten or so the actual story starts to pick up. Following the continuing life of Tomoya and Nagisa as they begin their relationship and as it grows with time. Primarily follows Tomoyas life from post high school into adult hood dealing with the nature of family, marriage, children, and the pain of losing everything. This all sets the stage for a much more focused tighter cast story that deals with a lot more mature and adult elements then most anime have ever really dealt with, probably being the source of Clannads fame.
Despite the first series of episodes being nothing but mediocre once the story settles on its presentation I really began to love it. After Story had everything Clannad didn’t, a tight narrative, a sense of subtlety, and true sense of real and relatable hardship. The simple willingness to touch of bigger subjects such as being a parent and hitting every man in their weakest spot, their daddy issues, impressed me and gave me the emotional experience completely absent to me in the original Clannad. This plus the actually funny sense of humor that Clannad season one had is a nice addition.
I feel the need to touch on the Cast this time around, being much tighter around this time. This was something Clannad had issues with, because even though every character was good, the sheer volume of them made it a bit obnoxious. I adore the Cast of After story, Tomoya is the best he has ever been in Clannad and gives an astounding performance. Nagisa’s parents remain the best pair that even in their age some of the strongest sense of romantic and loving chemistry I have ever seen in anime. Nagisa this time around varies from excellent to aggravating, but I feel that’s made better by the introduction of a new character by the name of Ushio. Ushio ends up being one of the most beloved characters I’ve ever seen. Without many lines or real opportunities to do much she performs her role better than anyone could have hoped. She is such a special little girl and to prove that so quickly and so subtly it was worth noteing.
Despite my praise for after story, it has four massive truck sized holes in it. Flaws so heavy each on its own would be enough to meaningfully diminish the quality of the series. First off was simply the first nine episodes are nothing, but shameless filler and have no distinct reason to be there as I previously mentioned. Second, and most noticeable off the bat, is that once Tomoya and Nagisa start dating they seem even more distant, due to having near no romantic chemistry together when they finally get together. Partially this is the fault of poor writing, the fact that the entire series goes by and they never kiss on screen even when married is piss poor. What makes this far more noticeable is the fact that the last two episodes of both series are “what if” episodes featuring Tomoya (different character by the same name) and Kyou, both who have such better chemistry with Tomoya that in one episode they manage to pull off a better pure “love” story then the fifty some odd episodes of Clannad could.
Third off is that while After Story is sad it gets predictably so, while I did cry a bit in After Story it was at the subtle constant feelings of grief and lose, the two “heavy moments” while they were sad I went through them cold and dried eyed due to me having seen it a mile away. Plus with the fact that all of it probably could have been avoided with prudent planning makes the bad notes more aggravating then depressing. After Story is emotional, but when it just tries so hard to make me cry it just gets stone faced again.
The Last and most damning thing about After Story is its ending. I understood why they would and somewhere in my heart even I prayed for a happy ending in spite of myself. However, how they pull it off is such jarring, befuddling, nonsense that comes out of nowhere during the series darkest point is so distinctly out of place I felt like I was in a car that flipped. It’s an unapologetic ass pull, but worse of it’s an unapologetic ass pull that doesn’t even make sense. To make it worse it wasn’t a time constraint because the next three episodes are all filler that has nothing to do with the story of After Story. I’ve re-watched the “Final episode” to try to understand what the hell happened to make that ending possible and I still had no idea what was going on. Even in the later episode where they recap the entire series they make it clear that the characters have no idea what happened. In the end of it, Clannad is still weird, and still doesn’t make any sense if you think about it.
All in all I feel about Clannad: After Story the same way as, if a bit more positively, as I do for Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s important that it exists, it allowed anime to push the envelope and make a lot more important stuff and it did prove the format as something other than senseless action and bad comedy, but it’s not every good on its own. I have a strong attachment to Clannad: After Story, but I mark it as one of my biggest disappointments. Clannad gets 3.5 glowing balls of McGuffen out of 5. Well that’s all Vice, I think I’m going to go play some mind rotting video games before I break into Clannad the movie, as well as actually edit the podcast so I can finally post episode 3. Later Vice.
Hiya Vice, M is back with a new title to review after a short break from the site itself. Today I bring myself to finally sit down and take a piece out of one of animes most famed pieces, Clannad. Based on the extremely popular VN by Key of the same name, Clannad was famed for its heavy focus on story and art over the Sexual content that popularized VNs in the first place. Clannad the Anime has earned its own fame; often toted as the “most emotional” anime ever created also for including the “most moe” eyes ever made. Finally after years of pressure I decided to take it on myself and see exactly why Clannad is as beloved by the community as a whole as it seems to be.
Clannad follows the high school life of Okazaki Tomoya, famed delinquent because of his constant tardiness. Walking on another one of his late days he runs into repeat senior due to illness Furukawa Nagisa. Things progress in their new friendship as Okazaki begins a quest to help Nagisa with her dream of re-opening the drama club. They perform this quest the most roundabout way humanly possible, by formulaically meeting and solving each of the 4 or 5 female character’s personal for lack of a better word, arc, and deal with their individual problems in exchange for their help in the club. To put it plainly it works like a visual novel does except playing everyone’s arc at the same time, but only one romantically.
Clannad is weird and I don’t mean that lightly. For the most part Anime is a bit weird. Being animated; it’s part of the charm for most series. Animation allows for strange and other worldly visuals and storytelling for a quarter of the price and often twice the quality of live action. Clannad however is weird in a totally different sense; it’s odd in that “just a little off” way that can’t help, but put you off a bit. From the weird f@3king eyes the characters all have to the fact that almost every kind of slice of life drama is shoved into Clannad. Even some of its musical choices while lovely don’t make sense, such as traditional Celtic music before a theater performance. From the weird deadworld, to ghost girls, gang fights, basketball match to decide the fate of a club, bear costumes, death by incompetence with a violin and starfish.
All these things are strange, but not that odd for anime, however what makes them so odd in Clannad is that each one is treated deadly seriously in terms of story. This I feel may come from the fact that Clannad seems to jam a bunch of totally separate stories each with distinct story motifs and brings them all into one show with a McGuffen of the theater club holding it all together. This creates a bit of a problem. Unfocused and formulaic makes the heavy moments feel, unfounded. It tries so hard to make me tear up and cry that it feels too forced for me to give the reaction that more subtlety and time might actually bring out of me. The other major issue is that jammed story eats away at your suspension of disbelief faster than a shark after a bleeding surfer. The sheer number of people with “dark pasts” is staggering. Everyone and their mother has a huge unrelated plots surrounding how their life was ruined or messed up by something or another at some point. The number of “Accidents” that occurred and ruined lives in Clannad makes me have to use all my willpower not to make an Asian drivers joke.
Clannad isn’t without a pretty good number of positives. The Dialogue while not always sensible is really well written and clever. The Main character especially comes up with the best actual joke jokes and pranks that I have ever seen in anime, (Japanese humor often falling completely flat for me.) As a whole the characters all grow on you and are for the most part fun to watch even if the stories themselves do nothing for you and Nagisa’s parents are the two greatest god damn parents I have ever seen in an anime. The few moments the story allows for subtlety I.E. the Main character relationship with his dad and the growth between Him and Nagisa it’s pulled off very well. Something that leads me to believe that I would have enjoyed the VN more, seeing that more than likely stays focused on the stories individually then hamfistedly making them one
The Main saving grace for Clannad is simply it has the indefinable on its side. Without having done much right Clannad has stuck its self somewhere deep inside me. I don’t know why, but I can’t help, but really like Clannad; a series that frankly I don’t even feel confident in calling good. I’ve grown attached to Clannad, despite my distaste for it. It’ll stay on my mind long after I’m done. This attachment being something that I think will help its successor accomplish in terms of making me emotional that Clannad failed to do.
To tell the Truth I wanted to drop Clannad a few times and in fact just walked away from the show to go play starcraft. Not even the new one the original that old piece of anyways, but in the end I kept coming back and for longer each time. Clannad isn’t empirically good at all, but I care a lot about it despite that. I know it deserves it, but I almost regret giving Clannad 3 dango out of 5. Clannad failed to be good on its own, but managed to make me emotionally invested in Clannad, like a ticking time bomb, which is why I am VERY interested in checking out Clannad: After story, the series that boosts being able to make everyone I personally know who has seen it cry their eyes out.
PS. Vice with college back in session I’ll try to keep up with reviews, but as for the podcast they will be coming in shorter and less often, sorry guys, but remember we do all this for free so yeah.