Kanon VS Clannad

May 1, 2010

I was bored. So I decided to do a versus comparison between another anime series that are produced by the same company, Key. I’m sure viewers who have watched the original version of Kanon and Clannad would definitely identify with the trademark art and drawing especially the character designs. Both started out as adult visual novels before being adapted into a drama, romance and fantasy genre anime TV series. Though I have never played the games before, I’m pretty sure it follows some path in it. I think.

The main guy
Kanon: Yuichi Aizawa.
Clannad: Tomoya Okazaki.

The harem girls
Kanon: Ayu Tsukimiya, Nayuki Minase, Makoto Sawatari, Shiori Masaka and Mai Kawasumi.
Clannad: Nagisa Furukawa, Tomoyo Sakagami, Kotomi Ichinose, Kyou Fujibayashi and Fuko Ibuki.

The non-harem girls
You know the saying, too many cooks spoil the broth? So I guess these girls may not serve as the main love interest for the main guy but play more supporting roles.
Kanon: Sayuri Kurata, Kaori Misaka and Mishio Amano.
Clannad: Ryou Fujibayashi, Yukine Miyazawa and Mei Sunohara.

The other guy
So it will look like the main guy isn’t hogging all the girls but heck, these best pals for the main guy are just secondary and usually losers.
Kanon: Jun Kitagawa.
Clannad: Youhei Sunohara.

The (main) girl the main guy ended up with
Spoilers…
Kanon: Ayu.
Clannad: Nagisa.
Hmm… Both seemed like airheads too.

Her goal
Refers to the main girl’s aim in the series.
Kanon: To find something she lost but can’t remember what it was.
Clannad: To establish a drama club in school.

Her favourite food
Refers to the main girl’s favourite food.
Kanon: Taiyaki.
Clannad: Dango.

Her catchphrase.
What the main girl usually says.
Kanon: “Uguu~”.
Clannad: “~Desu”.

The main guy’s life and thus the plot
Kanon: Amnesiac Yuichi comes back to his hometown after 7 years. He meets the girls who once knew him as their interaction slowly return their memories and those around them.
Clannad: Delinquent Tomoya thinks his school life is dull and sucks. When he finds a girl 1 year his senior alone, he hangs out with her and slowly his life shifts towards a new direction.

His torment
Sort of mental of physical scar.
Kanon: Yuichi experiences mental trauma when his then childhood friend fell out of a tree and believed to have died but actually has been in coma in hospital.
Clannad: After a heated argument with his father, Tomoya’s shoulder becomes permanently injured after a fight as he can no longer lift his arms higher than his shoulders.

His parents
The main guy’s relationship with his parents
Kanon: Assuming he has a normal relationship with his parents, his return to town was due to his parent’s job posting in Africa. He currently lives with his cousin Nayuki and her mom Akiko in their home.
Clannad: Tomoya’s mom died in an accident when he was young causing daddy to be an unemployed bum and an alcoholic gambler. Thus the strained distant relationship as Tomoya lives alone or sometimes with his friend Sunohara at the dorm run by Sanae Sagara.

Ghost girl
Not really dead. But I guess their spirit is so strong, they could materialize like as though they’re living a normal life. Sort of.
Kanon: Ayu.
Clannad: Fuko.

Sick girl
Refers to the girl suffering from an illness since they are born physically weak and not some sick fetish fantasies.
Kanon: Shiori.
Clannad: Nagisa.

Siblings
Related by blood.
Kanon: Shiori and Kaori are sisters.
Clannad: Kyou and Ryou are twins while Mei and Sunohara are siblings.

Tough chic
The girl who can fight back. No need Prince Charming for protection.
Kanon: Mai – a swords(wo)man who take it upon herself to fight demons at school at night.
Clannad: Tomoyo – part of the student council and eventually its president. Fights to save the sakura trees from being cut down.

Brute girl/prankster
Can’t leave our main guy alone, can’t she? Perhaps her way of showing her love?
Kanon: Makoto – her mischievous personality has her making several pranks on Yuichi.
Clannad: Kyou – If you bully her twin sister, she’s going to throw a very heavy dictionary at you. Better learn to dodge.

Smart girl
Brains over brawns (personally can’t say about the beauty, though).
Kanon: Kaori.
Clannad: Kotomi.

Student council president
Kanon: The arrogant and full-of-himself student council president, Kuze, wants Mai expelled after events that has happened during the dance event.
Clannad: Tomoyo works hard to become the school’s student council president.

Cat
Furry feline. Meow…
Kanon: Piro is a Siamese cat belonging to Nayuki and lives with her.
Clannad: Misae’s pet cat Shima is the reincarnation of a deceased boy’s cat who was given the duty of granting Misae’s wish before he died.

Other pet animals
Kanon: Makoto was once Yuichi’s pet fox before she died and reincarnated.
Clannad: Botan is Kyou’s little pet wild boar.

Little round things in the air
You know those floating phenomena… Sort of.
Kanon: Snow (note the setting of the entire city is covered with them).
Clannad: Light orbs (believed to represent spirits of the deceased or life from another world).

Number of episodes
Kanon: The original 2002 version has 13 episodes while the 2006 remake expands it to 24 episodes. Prior to the remake there is a special episode called Kanon Kazahana.
Clannad: The first season ran for 23 episodes and the second season called Clannad ~After Story~ which is a direct sequel spans 24 episodes. There has been 2 OVA episodes released which focuses on Tomoyo and Kyou-Ryou chapter and a movie length feature.

Conclusion
Yeah, like I said so I was bored so perhaps this versus blog isn’t much. Furthermore I have never watched the remake of the Kanon series and unlike Yuichi, my memories seems on the original one seems to be fading rather than being refreshed. Because of that, if you ask me, I’d prefer Clannad since I have watched all the episodes (except the film) and also the original art and drawing of Kanon isn’t as refined as the remake. Plus, the former has many laughing moments that I still remember (keeping fingers crossed that it will stay that way). Fuko is still my favourite character and stands above all. As both sides deal with memories and life, it isn’t what we do or have done in life but rather how we deal with them that matters.

Kanon Clannad

Clannad ~After Story~

September 19, 2009

If you are wondering what the second title means, Clannad ~After Story~ is of course the sequel to the Clannad anime series. From what I read and understand, this sequel is a path that opens in the original visual novel after all other paths have been opened. My interpretation of that is, after you have won the game through different paths, this extra story unfolds. Something like that.
 
Furthermore, this After Story sequel is predominantly a continuation of Nagisa’s arc. So for those who are not fans of Nagisa but some other girls, it may not go down well with you. Having said so, at the end of the first season, Tomoya and Nagisa finally did become a couple after facing lots of obstacles. If you want to enjoy and understand this sequel better, it is advisable to go watch the prequel. So in this sequel, though life continues for both of them and those around them, they will face even more challenges and tests in their relationship (well, some of them can be considered annoying and avoidable). This isn’t exactly a fairy tale story whereby our main hero and heroine get to live happily ever after and who says love is smooth sailing?
 
Because of that, the harem factor is gone. So don’t expect to see any catfights over Tomoya’s attention. Hey, that wasn’t so too in the prequel, right? But the first thing which caught my attention was during the opening credits. What’s so ‘attractive’? Just like in the prequel, they show the main girls of the series. However I noticed that Fuko is missing! Uh huh. That starfish crazy scatterbrained girl is not there! I thought I wasn’t paying attention so much so I rewind it and even headcount them! Yup. Only 4 of them. Why didn’t they replace Fuko with someone else like Ryou or Yukine? Don’t want a twin to be part of the harem? Don’t want a lesser known character to be in? But Fuko fans don’t despair. Even if she doesn’t make an appearance in the opening credits or the initial episodes, Fuko will make her appearance albeit very late in the series. Very.
 
Since this is a sequel, you can expect many of the same quirkiness from the casts which includes Akio’s eccentricity and Sunohara’s stupidity. Fans of the series can easily identify with them. Also, if you remember that other story in another world about a little girl and her speech-impaired junk robot, who are the only survivors in that world after some big apocalyptic aftermath. From time to time the series will show the progress of the duo as they try to make their escape from this world.
 
A random episode 1 starts off light-hearted as we see our usual gang being roped in to play baseball against a professional team during the summer vacation. Akio’s amateurs against their rival seasoned pros? I guess it is part of the process to reintroduce many of the prequel’s characters before viewers forget about them. So we’ve got Tomoya, Kyou, Tomoyo and even bookworm Kotomi on the team. I wonder if she has read up on baseball but application is a whole different thing. The team also comprises Sunohara’s little sister Mei, Yoshino (Kouko’s husband) and dorm manager Misae. As usual the kids are trailing behind and when Akio gets injured by a flying bat, he substitutes Nagisa to take his place. Can she do it? With teamwork, they manage to catch up and I don’t know about Yoshino’s passionate ranting. I’m not sure that was the speech which turned the tide. It’s finally the tie-breaker and it all boils down to Tomoya (of course). He successfully hits the ball out of the park and wins the game. Yeah, they beat the pros alright. Everyone celebrates their victory at Furukawa’s home that night.
 
In episode 2, Mei comes to stay at Nagisa’s place since she is worried that her useless brother has no plans after graduation. Sunohara takes Tomoya’s joke/suggestion seriously in order to stop Mei’s worries. To have a girlfriend, even if it’s just pretend. I don’t know why he has to ask Kyou and Tomoyo knowing that he’ll get beaten up in the end. I guess he is desperate. Yeah, nobody wants to be his girlfriend. But there is a girl who surprisingly decides to help in Sunohara’s quest. She is Sanae. Since Sunohara isn’t really well acquainted with her, he thinks she is Nagisa’s sister! Well, Sanae does look young enough to be one. With the help of Tomoya and Nagisa, Sunohara and Sanae practice to be a couple and Sunohara is obviously nervous and jittery. Soon Mei wants to have a look at Sunohara’s girlfriend and at the park, Sunohara decides to make it look like as though he has waited long but since he drank too many juices, he excuses himself. As Mei and the rest picks up the cans, Sanae appears and holy @*&#!!! Sanae in a school outfit and she looks damn moe!!! Don’t mention the megane type too! But Mei seems worried rather than thrilled.
 
The fake date continues in episode 3. Sanae introduces herself as Sanako. I can’t help laugh at the line how Mei sarcastically said how she was sorry for Sanae for being her brother’s girlfriend. Hehe. He’s got a reputation as a useless bum even from his sister. Even if they follow Sunohara and Sanako on their date, it seems Sunohara is like insensitive so it raises suspicions on how such a beautiful girl could put up with such a jerk behaviour. Mei is still unconvinced and lets Tomoya and Nagisa know that she dislikes her current brother. Back when they were young, Sunohara used to protect her from bullies like any big brother should. All that changed when he entered high school and joined the school’s football club. Mei also says that she is in town because there is someone she loves. Eventually Mei realizes that their relationship is fake so Tomoya and Nagisa has no choice but to admit. Then in the streets as Mei suggests how nice it would be if Tomoya could be her brother. The funny part is that when Tomoya tries so, he is like in some spasm reaction as he is not used to it. To his horror, Kyou, Ryou and Kotomi have witnessed this and thinks it is his sick fetish (thinking he’s enjoying it) and runs away before they could catch his stupidity! It seems that Mei and Tomoya are on an outing together when they bump into Sunohara. Tomoya lies and says that he is the one Mei is seeing. Sunohara is upset but doesn’t do anything and let them walk pass even if Mei too lies about dating Tomoya. Back home, Mei tells Tomoya and Nagisa that she wants Sunohara to play football again as she believes it is the only way he’ll return to his original state.
 
The trio visit the football club in episode 4 but it seems the delinquent members still have unpleasant memories about Sunohara. Part of the club’s twisted tradition was the mistreatment of seniors against its juniors, especially newly joined members. Sunohara couldn’t take it anymore and he took on the entire senior members. Because of Sunohara’s don’t-care attitude, he and Tomoya nearly got into a fight because the latter is trying to bring him to his senses how Mei is working hard for his sake. Eventually Mei, Tomoya and Nagisa beg to the football club captain that they will do anything to let Sunohara join. They agree but the trio have to do all sort of gruelling tasks. In short, they’re being bullied. They know it but no choice but to bite the bullet. Even after all that, when they learn that the club had no intention of letting Sunohara rejoin in the first place, Mei starts crying. If that is not bad, those heartless morons proceed to abuse her! It is then that Sunohara appears and give them a good punch. Just like the old days, eh? As Nagisa takes Mei away, Tomoya and Sunohara join forces and slug it out the way boys like them only know best. But I guess 2 of them couldn’t turn the tide against the whole football team. In the aftermath, Tomoya and Sunohara are still mad at each other as the former couldn’t accept the latter for leaving his sister alone. But Sunohara’s reason was that if it was Tomoya that she was dating, he saw no problem. I’d say they reconciled. Soon Mei leaves for home after entrusting her brother to Tomoya. This has the guys remembering how they first met as delinquents and they’ve been inseparable since. Lastly, Sunohara really thinks of making Sanae his girlfriend and decides to pop the question at her place. Thing is, Akio is there and Sunohara finds out the hard way who Sanae really is. Haha!
 
Tomoya and Nagisa are visiting Sunohara’s dorm in episode 5. Misae comes in to chat and during that time, Tomoya felt sleepy and dozes off. He dreams about Misae’s past and back when she was in high school, she had a crush on a senior named Igurashi but the appearance of a strange boy named Shima Katsuki has Igurashi thinking that he is her boyfriend instead. Katsuki is here to grant any wish Misae desires but how true is that? Due to Katsuki’s perseverance to always be with her, the duo eventually spend more time together and Misae treats him nicer. One day when Katsuki bumps into Igurashi, he tells Katsuki that he knows Misae’s feelings a long time ago and already has a girlfriend but couldn’t bring himself to tell her and wants Katsuki to do so on his behalf. Later that day as Katsuki meets up with Misae, his body action indicates that he is sad and has a hard time telling Misae the truth so much so he cried. Just before he could say it, Misae spots Igurashi with his girlfriend and is speechless. She realizes all that is happening and runs away.
 
Misae hangs out more often with Katsuki in episode 6 and fortunately manages to get over her heartbreak. A funny part whereby Misae’s pals, Yuki and Saki, cross-dress Katsuki as a girl so that he could enter school and look for Misae! Katsuki is too nervous to the point he confesses to Misae while Yuki and Saki find it real amusing watching them. They decide to walk Katsuki home but shockingly, he doesn’t remember where his house is. When they eventually arrive, to their surprise, Katsuki’s mom think they are here to offer an incense to him! OMG! He’s dead?! It is revealed that this Katsuki is actually the late Katsuki’s cat sent by him to grant Misae’s wish. Misae and Katsuki are at the festival and the latter brings up his initial question of what she desires. That is, for Katsuki to always love her. She kisses his forehead and tears stream down his eyes. He thanks her and realizes his love for her too. Misae left to get juices but finds Katsuki missing upon her return. As Katsuki disappears, he vows to always love her. Some time passed and Misae returned to the school dorm and noticed a cat following her. Ever since, Misae and her cat have been together. Tomoya wakes up courtesy from Nagisa and realizes that Katsuki had always wanted to tell something to Misae. At the festival, Tomoya tells Misae the words from Katsuki, which is his apologies for not staying with her at the festival, his eternal love for her and his wish for her happiness. Misae decides to enjoy the festival once more with her cat Katsuki.
 
In episode 7, Tomoya, Nagisa and Sunohara are visiting Yukine in her library when an injured guy, Sudo, fresh from a fight comes in from the window. The trio learn that Yukine has always been taking care of Sudo and the other gang members and is not only well respected within their gang but their rival gang as well due to her impartial and gentle ways. Another delinquent comes in so Sudo and him decide to take their fight elsewhere so as not to trouble Yukine. Yukine explains that her brother Kazuto is the leader of his gang and has never lost a fight especially with another local rival. But not many knows how he looks like seeing he operates from the shadows. On their way home, they encounter a boy named Yuu looking for his sister. He thinks she is dating a guy from Kazuto’s gang. Sunohara decides to declare himself as Kazuto. Soon they help Yuu find her sister as Sunohara teaches Yuu how to act like a man. WTF?! Eventually Yuu’s sister is found and is at the usual place where Kazuto’s gang members hang out. Surprisingly, they seem friendly. As everyone gets acquainted (Sunohara in a real panic), Yukine explains that everyone here has their own family problems and when Tomoya asks if there are any pics of Kazuto, Yukine says that he resembles closely to her. That night when they are on their way home, Tomoya and co are being encountered by the rival gang who thinks Sunohara is Kazuto. However they got beaten up and think this is his true power. Except that they are being defeated by Tomoyo. She is patrolling the area after hearing several fights in the vicinity and wonders what they are doing here as well.
 
After last night’s events, the tension is arising between both gangs in episode 8. They can’t call the police as it will make it worse. To prevent a showdown, Yukine and Tomoya go and see the rival gang’s head, Sasaki, to talk them out of a fight. Sasaki is grateful for Yukine nursing his wounds in the past so he suggest a single match between both leaders to settle it all. Yukine agrees. Because Kazuto’s whereabouts is that he is being hospitalized, Yuu suggests Sunohara to go in his place. Now is he regretting for talking big? The next day both groups meet but before the match starts, Nagisa hands everyone her specially made bread from Sanae. You know what this means. Uh huh. Everyone got knocked out! With no one left to fight, Tomoya decides to stand in. As they trade blows, Sasaki has the upper hand but Tomoya refuses to give up. Yeah, what a long match this is going to be. When Kazuto’s gang members finally awaken, they are horrified to see what is happening and rushes forward. The same for Sasaki’s men. But they stop when a silhouette of Kazuto appears. Kazuto rushes down but Sasaki gives him a good punch. Then it is revealed that he is not Kazuto but Yukine in disguise. Tomoya realizes why she is doing this and in his rage tells everyone to stop fighting. Then everyone learns the real reason for Kazuto’s no-show. He passed away some time ago. Before he died, he wanted to gang rivalry to stop but circumstances had them impossible to do so. Thus, they kept his death a secret. With that, everyone pays their last respect to Kazuto at his grave and stops fighting. All this could have been avoided in the first place but it’s better late than never. And if they’re not stopping for anything, at least it has to be for Yukine’s sake.
 
Graduation is near in episode 9 so we learn of some the aspirations of the gang like Kyou wants to be a kindergarten teacher, Ryou a nurse, Kotomi to study in USA and Sunohara a model. Keep dreaming pal. The real drama of this series begins when Nagisa starts developing her fever. Due to her weak body and prone to sickness, she is a repeating her 3rd year and history seems to be repeating itself again. Time passes but Nagisa’s condition doesn’t improve. Tomoya tries his best to support her as the final exam nears. Akio and Sanae are contemplating for Nagisa to repeat another year but Tomoya insists that he wants to graduate together with her. Akio tells him off that this would make things harder on Nagisa. Tomoya continues to spend time with Nagisa along with the rest of their friends like Christmas. Eventually Tomoya and friends of the same class graduate. Nagisa have to repeat another year but at least she is in the same year with Tomoyo and Yukine. On the day of his graduation ceremony, Tomoya is saddened that he is unable to graduate with Nagisa and the reason why school became more interesting. But she isn’t sad because she wants him to move forward and expresses everything will be alright. The duo walk hand in hand as they make their way to the graduation ceremony.
 
Tomoya starts life after graduation by taking up a job at the Furukawa’s bakery in episode 10. At this time, Nagisa’s health returns to normal as she returns to school. However she finds it hard to make new friends and her efforts to revive her drama club ends in failure. After Tomoya’s encounter with Yoshino and later Kyou and Ryou, Tomoya gets inspiration of what he wants to do and rushes over to Yoshino and request to work under him as an electrician. Hey, beats working with a clown at a bakery whose bread has no chance of being sold. Oops. Better not let Sanae hear that. One day as Tomoya and Akio are playing baseball, Tomoya asks if he could make Nagisa his one day but daddy says whatever decision is up to Nagisa to make since she is no longer a little girl. Also, Tomoya decides to move out from Nagisa’s place and rent an apartment on his own nearby. Akio and Nagisa help him move his stuff and from time to time, Nagisa make trips to cook him meals. On the first day of Tomoya’s job, he undergoes strict training and tutelage from Yoshino but that is to be expected. At the end of the day, he returns exhausted but still has enough energy to hear Nagisa’s day at school.
 
Tomoya continues to persevere in his job in episode 11 but when Yoshino questions his inability to use his right arm, he doesn’t give a true answer. Tomoya also meets an old friend of his dad who recognizes him. Nagisa tells Tomoya about the upcoming school festival and Tomoya agrees to come. However Tomoya has been working late due to the company receiving lots of contract jobs. So he regrettably tells her that he is unable to come and she understands. He continues to work hard and Yoshino eventually realizes the problem with his right arm. He tells him to make Nagisa happy and thus Tomoya is free to attend Nagisa’s school festival. That night, Tomoya decides to take on a last minute request to fix a lamp post. He fixes everything and thinks he has done it correctly when he encounters Yoshino. The next day, Tomoya learns that Yoshino is fixing that lamp post and rushes to the scene and begs him to fix the problem. Because of that, Tomoya is running late for the festival and only arrives when it is over. Nagisa is seen waiting at the gates but she understands that he is being held back by work. The next day, Tomoya is surprised that his colleagues are apologizing for making him miss his date rather than being mad. Yoshino says that everyone makes mistakes and proceeds to give his long-winded passionate speech which I don’t really remember or care. Tomoya gets a nameplate of his own at the company and earns the respect of his colleagues.
 
Due to Tomoya’s hard work, he is having a prospect of being offered a higher paid job in another company in episode 12. But he is in a dilemma whether to take it or not. Yoshino tells him his past whereby he wanted to be a musician back in high school. Before leaving town for greater heights, his would-be wife Kouko and a teacher that time, assured him that he would be a pro. Yoshino soon became a sensation topping charts and a rising star. One day his visit to the orphanage, the kids told him how his music saved them. Yoshino felt guilty because now he has to shoulder the responsibility of playing music for others. Ever since, he is unable to play well and loses his magic touch. He tries to revive his singing career again but is unable to find the reason for singing. His life comes crashing down when he starts taking drugs. Yoshino then returned to this town and Kouko wonders if he is still singing. Yoshino is brought to tears as he realized that she was the only one whom he wanted to play for and regretted not to continue playing for her. In present time, Tomoya receives a call from his dad’s old friend, telling him that his dad has been arrested for a minor offence. Tomoya is upset because there goes his reputation and his chance at that company. He thinks of running away from this town but Nagisa says that will be running away and without this place, they would never have met. Tomoya and Nagisa visit his dad at jail but Tomoya goes into rage when his dad did not say anything but sat there silently. They leave and Tomoya is having a hard time controlling his anger. Even Nagisa. After calming down, Tomoya proposes that they get married and Nagisa agrees. They promise to spend the rest of their lives together.
 
In episode 13, Tomoya decides to talk to Akio but the latter would only do so if he beats him in a baseball match. So Tomoya trains hard day and night, rain and shine to improve his batting. But each time whenever he is ready to challenge Akio, the results are the same. He could never beat him but that doesn’t deter him from giving up. On the final given chance, Tomoya finally hits a home run as he suddenly comes rushing and begging on his knees before Akio requesting for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Akio says that he reminds of himself and if he ever brings pain or sadness to her, Nagisa would have to return. Christmas is around the corner so Nagisa has her first taste of sake and this made her drunk! Sanae joins in the confusion by saying that she is interested in him. Nagisa is so cute when she is drunk and mad as she’s pestering Tomoya who he loves most. Just when Akio says it is enough for Sanae to stop pretending, she says she is serious and this throws Akio into panic. However during this time, Nagisa’s fever crops up again but thankfully she graduates for real this time. Unfortunately she is unable to attend her ceremony so Tomoya enlists the help of his pals to stage a mock ceremony at the school gates one day. Hey, Sunohara has his hair dyed black. Nagisa receives her scroll as she recalls her fond memories during her schooling years and graduates. Later as Tomoya and Nagisa visit the former’s dad in jail, we see a ring on Nagisa’s finger as she is now married to Tomoya. She notes how she will be known as Nagisa Okazaki from now.
 
Having just stepped into the married life in episode 14, Tomoya and Akio freaks out upon realizing that they will be calling each other son and dad respectively. Nagisa decides to work part time as a waitress at a family restaurant. One day Akio decides to go visit his daughter working (more of wanting to see her in her cute waitress outfit) and drags Tomoya along. I don’t know why but anybody can tell who he is even if he disguises as some rapper. Okay, so maybe only Nagisa may not be able to tell. Some things don’t change. The duo notice a couple of guys trying to hit on Nagisa so Tomoya and Akio step in to warn and scare them off. The restaurant manager arrives and as usual Akio runs away and leaves Tomoya to clean up this mess. Tomoya meets the manager in his room and the latter knows that he is married to Nagisa and decides to keep this a secret anyway. At home, when Nagisa mentions that the old building of their school which the drama room is in, will be demolished, Tomoya becomes angry since that was the place they worked so hard and their memories. He calms down and notes how everything around is changing. Soon, Nagisa isn’t feeling well but this time Sanae reveals that Nagisa is pregnant. Tomoya and Akio starts panicking and Akio isn’t happy that Tomoya has done something on his girl so Nagisa says out loud how since they are sleeping together, they did ecchi things together too. Uh huh. Something that you would not hear from her. A first. Things are definitely changing.
 
With a couple of months to delivery, in episode 15, Nagisa is bed-ridden due to her pregnancy and morning sickness as Tomoya does his best to support her. Luckily Sanae introduces a midwife, Yagi, to help around. Nagisa expresses her wish for her baby to be given birth in their home. One night when Tomoya returns from work, he finds Yagi by Nagisa’s side. Earlier that day, Nagisa had collapsed and they didn’t want to trouble Tomoya at work. With Nagisa’s precarious health condition, this may put a danger on her life and baby. Thus Tomoya is in a dilemma whether to give up on the baby and save her instead but Nagisa expresses her wish to see her child. Tomoya and Akio had a talk at a construction site about the time how Akio and Sanae were both working and busily pursuing their dream so much so it put Nagisa’s life in danger that they had to give it up and care for her. After that final straw when young Nagisa collapsed, Akio ran to this area which was still greeneries with Nagisa in his arms. He yelled for someone to save his daughter and like some godly response, he saw the sun rise. That is when he decided to continue watching this place, which is being designated for a hospital. Akio assures that they will overcome anything together because they are family. Later as Tomoya and Nagisa are out on the beach, they contemplate what name to give their unborn child. They decide on Ushio since it is a name which is neither boy or girl specific and also based on Nagisa’s name. Tomoya has Nagisa promise him that they and their child would come to this beach together.
 
It’s the New Year in episode 16 and Tomoya’s old friends pay a visit to his home. Sunohara asks Tomoya how does it feel being a parent and his reply is he doesn’t know since he is doing his best with the person he loves. Sunohara is glad that Tomoya hasn’t changed at all. This leads to Kotomi explaining in her own jargon and lingo about the other alternative world, in which the rest including me do not understand. But this prompts Tomoya to remember the play that Nagisa did. As time passes, Nagisa’s health deteriorates. One snowy night, Nagisa goes into premature labour. There is no time to get her to hospital so she has to deliver right here right now. Finally Nagisa delivers the baby girl as Tomoya holds her in his arms. However that joy turned into despair when Nagisa soon lose consciousness and passes away. Gasp! This can’t be happening! I can’t believe it! Tomoya remembers the time they spent together and regrets that if he had not met her on that day, this tragedy wouldn’t have occurred. Oh dear. A main character dies. This is so sad…
 
In episode 17, Tomoya’s life turns for the worse and his place is as messy as a pig sty. He is like a lifeless zombie. Turning out to be like his dad, huh? One day, Sanae comes knocking on his door and has him go out with her on a date. At the family restaurant, Sanae suggests that Tomoya come along with them for a family trip. On the day of the trip, Tomoya comes to the Furukawa’s place only to see a note from Sanae saying that something urgent has came up and that she and Akio had to leave immediately and will leave it all to him. Tomoya realized he has been set up. As he sits around lazing doing nothing, he spots Ushio running here and there and calls her name. I find Ushio’s voice rather funny because she sounds like a robot at times. Other than that, she’s like a mini version of Nagisa. So the duo spend their odd time together like Tomoya fixing her broken toy and Tomoya fixing a fried rice which Ushio doesn’t like. That night, Tomoya realizes that Sanae and Akio aren’t coming back so he asks Ushio if she still wants to go on a trip even if it is only with him. She agrees. We learn that it has been 5 years since Nagisa’s death and during that period, Ushio has been under the care of Akio and Sanae as Tomoya rarely sees his daughter and that this is the first time that they are alone together. The next morning, the duo are on their way for their trip.
 
The duo take a train trip in episode 18 and we see Tomoya’s bad side when he yells to a mother whose kid is noisy. Enough to scare them and Ushio. At a stop, Tomoya buys a robot toy for Ushio and they finally arrive at their destination after a night stay at an inn. They are amazed by the large flower field. As Ushio plays in the field, Tomoya dozes off. He wakes up to see Ushio trying to find her lost robot toy. She insists on finding it rather than buying a new one. This prompts Tomoya to remember his childhood and that this place is familiar to him. As he is walking, he meets an old woman, Shino, who recognizes him. Tomoya is surprised to learn Shino is his grandma. Shino tells Tomoya how her son and his dad, Naoyuki, wasn’t much different from him. They used to come here hand in hand. When Naoyuki married Atsuko (Tomoya’s late mom), he was the happiest man in the world until he lost her in an accident. However he continued to do his best for Tomoya’s sake even if life was difficult. However Naoyuki completely lost everything he had when Tomoya grew up and made his own decisions. Tomoya wonders how he could forget all these and realizes that he has become like his dad and that he wasn’t a bad person like he has thought all this while. Shino wants Tomoya to tell his dad to stop working and come home here. The duo reunite with Ushio, still searching for that robot. Though Tomoya wants to buy another one, Ushio says that this is the first thing that daddy gave her. This made Tomoya shed tears and apologizes. He wonders if she could let him stay by her side from now on. She agrees and cries as they both embrace. Taking a train ride back, Tomoya tells Ushio all that he knows about Nagisa. Speaking between tears, Tomoya realizes that he has something to protect.
 
Both father and daughter return from their trip in episode 19 as Tomoya apologizes and thanks Sanae for all that she has done. With that, Tomoya brings Ushio back to live with him. One day after buying some groceries, Tomoya and Ushio meet Kouko who introduces her sister who is out from coma. That’s right. Fuko is back! Though she may be the same age as Nagisa, she still has a mentality of her kid. Because of her crazy no-direction nonsensical talk, she brings back the fun in this series. Since Ushio resembles a mini Nagisa, Fuko is totally obsessed with her as she hugs her and even wants Ushio to be her sister! Yeah, she still has that attitude towards Tomoya. The next day, Tomoya and Ushio go visit the former’s dad who is still the same. Sitting alone in his dark messy room. Tomoya gets his attention and reconciles with him like giving him a bath and cleaning up his place. He then tells what Shino said and soon Naoyuki decides to go back to the countryside. As they see him off, Tomoya shed a few tears when he remembers the good times spent with him. Finally this long black chapter in Tomoya’s book comes to an end.
 
In episode 20, Tomoya sends Ushio to kindergarten and is surprised to learn that Ushio’s teacher is Kyou. Even Botan has grown up to be a rather large wild boar and is quite friendly with the kids. The duo catch up on old times. At work, Yoshino informs Tomoya that Fuko intends to visit them and wants to be friends with Ushio. What else. Fuko arrives and you can expect the helter-skelter antics and conversation she has from her starfish bread, aliens, what if scenarios, the possibility of Fuko becoming Tomoya’s substitute wife and yes, wanting Ushio to be her sister. Before leaving, Fuko prepares to leave and takes Ushio along but Tomoya isn’t that dumb. The sports festival for Ushio’s school is coming up and once again Tomoya and Akio challenge each other in some relay race. Tomoya trains hard while Ushio meets Fuko in one of her wanderings. As they arrive at the hospital, Fuko notices how Ushio likes the area though she herself don’t understand why. As the sports festival is drawing close, Ushio suddenly comes down with a fever. Oh no. Is history repeating itself? Is God playing a cruel joke or test?
 
Ushio’s fever grows worse in episode 21 so much so Tomoya quits his job just to be by her side. He becomes his cynical self once more about the town playing tricks on his family’s happiness. He also thinks that the construction over the place where Akio brought Nagisa is the cause of their unhappiness. Ushio wants to go on another trip but Tomoya promises that they will once she is much better. Winter arrives and Ushio’s condition isn’t any better. She asks Tomoya to take her on a trip, especially to that flower field. Tomoya eventually agrees as they prepare their journey. After trudging a few steps, a weakened Ushio collapses. Tomoya is devastated as he holds her in his arms. Ushio says how much she loves her father and soon loses consciousness. Tomoya screams out for anyone to help her and starts remembering again how he first hated this town and his meeting with Nagisa. If only he hadn’t called out to her, all this would never have happened. It’s just too cruel! First Nagisa and now his daughter shares the same fate?! Is this illness hereditary? After all the pain, suffering and changes that Tomoya has gone through, what did he do to deserve all this? Fate? Was it better that he never existed at all? If he had not, all these wonderful experiences, though how painful it may be, he may not have experienced them.
 
Episode 22 starts off with the alternate world whereby the little girl is dying after trekking with the robot for some time. When she gains consciousness, she is able to hear what the robot says. In short, she says that there are many alternate worlds out there. She wants the robot to go to the other world and herself to stay back for the sake of her people or else the world will totally be destroyed. She wishes for them to meet again in that world. A great ray of light blasts the robot to pieces as the girl bids farewell to her father. Then it’s like history being rewritten because it goes back to when Tomoya first met Nagisa. Initially he lets her pass but he calls out to her and quickly emotionally embraces her. Nagisa is happy and notes how it would not have been better if they never met. Then fast forward to the scene whereby Nagisa is giving birth to Ushio. This time she survives. The following scenes show how Tomoya and Nagisa go through their happy life raising their daughter how it ought to be. A short glimpse on what their other friends are doing like Kyou still a kindergarten teacher, Ryou a nurse, Kotomi, driving her convertible in USA and Sunohara taking a driving test (and failing?). Lastly as Fuko goes out with Kouko and her usual nonsensical ranting on being an adult, she sees/feels something in the woods and rushes there, unheeding her sister’s advice. She sees Ushio sleeping there and declares the start of a new friendship. Uh huh. Let the quirkiness begin.
 
I read that extra episode 23 is supposed to be Kyou’s arc but hardly any solid developments on her and Tomoya on how did in the last prequel with Tomoyo. The events here is 1 year before the start of this sequel. More importantly, Tomoya and Nagisa aren’t a couple or even know each other yet. While Nagisa is trying her best to make new friends, delinquents Sunohara and Tomoya get their punishment by doing some chores after trying to escape in the middle of class. Kyou is upset because she has to watch them. But when a plank threatens to fall on her, Tomoya rescues her and it fell on Sunohara. Later as Kyou finds Tomoya sleeping outside and thinks how cute he is when Sunohara interrupts. Kyou punches him to make him forget. That’s the closest chance of any romance or chemistry for this episode. That night, Ryou uses her card fortune telling and says how a guy will confess to Kyou tomorrow. It seems it is all part of Sunohara’s prank as he puts a love letter in Kyou’s shoebox to ask her to meet at some place. He loves the fact of seeing Kyou’s flustered face. Kyou is made to go on a wild goose chase because every time she reaches the place, there’ll be a note to say how the location is changed to somewhere else. This goes on several times and she doesn’t realize it until Sunohara is contemplating the last destination for the prank in which somebody suggested hell. Yup, it’s Kyou and she’s happy to oblige. Ouch! Later Sunohara and Tomoya plan another trick using a large ball and string. Nobody would be dumb enough to pull it right in front of the school gates. Except if you’re Nagisa. Yeah, she pulls it and a metal basin comes falling down right on her head! When she comes to in the infirmary, she is quite thankful for the prank as it led to one of her girl classmates actually wanted to be friends with her. Nagisa takes home an encouragement message to work hard and never give up, which fell from the large ball. She is grateful because of this she is able to speak to someone but doesn’t realize that it was Tomoya who wrote it earlier on.
 
A compilation episode 24 is basically a recap episode. It is Tomoya telling Fuko the events when he first met Nagisa, the problems they faced during school and in their own homes, right up till their graduation day, his working life and the time Nagisa is pregnant with Ushio. Yeah, recycled and short clips from episodes of the first season too. It also briefly introduces the other characters. Tomoya even narrates the weird alternate memory whereby Nagisa died while giving birth to Ushio till the events which led to Ushio’s illness. Then it’s like going back to 5 years ago and Nagisa delivers Ushio successfully without any life lost. The story ends with Ushio (who has fallen asleep halfway through the story) waking up while Fuko continues to sleep as Nagisa calls on them to go home.
 
Speaking of Kyou’s arc, there is a special OVA for it just like how they did one with Tomoyo in the previous season. This time it’s Tomoya with Kyou and Ryou. No Nagisa, no Kotomi, no Tomoyo and no Fuko. It starts with gloomy Kyou looking out her classroom window one rainy day as Ryou confesses her feelings to Tomoya. She wants to go out with him and he agrees, bringing tears of joy to her. The next few scenes see them dating and on a Sunday as Tomoya is by himself in town, he spots Kyou and they chat together at a park. She tells him how Ryou had always liked him since the junior years so she suggests practice kissing since Tomoya hadn’t had her first kiss. Hesitant at first, he agrees. Just before their lips met, Kyou backs off. In school, Tomoya learns from Sunohara that the entire school knows about the rumour that Tomoya and Kyou kissed. Kyou swiftly takes Sunohara away and later Tomoya sees Kyou trying to kiss Sunohara but luckily that guy pushes her away. Sunohara realizes that Kyou likes Tomoya. Later Sunohara tells Tomoya that Kyou was trying to get rid of that rumour by trying to date him. Afterwards Kyou tries to clear up the misunderstanding like saying how she too wanted to get a boyfriend but Tomoya isn’t buying it. Ryou is seen standing there, her mood gloomy. Even Tomoya and Ryou’s next date seems a little gloomy. After Tomoya sees off Ryou, it started raining and he is surprised to see Kyou alone drenched in the rain. Kyou gets emotional saying how she was afraid to confess because of fear of rejection and if she dated him it’ll make Ryou sad. Kyou says goodbye to him.
 
In school while Tomoya is facing a dilemma, Sunohara gives him advice that his delay will cause them all to be hurt. Surprise, surprise. Even idiots can sometimes give good advice. Tomoya gets a chance to talk to Ryou alone but she first reveals how she doesn’t want to lose to her sister and even knows of her crush on Tomoya. Even so, she wanted to be by his side and would even grow long hair and be the girl he likes. However Tomoya says that’s wrong and doesn’t want her to do so. Before he could say anything more, Ryou quickly gives him a little peck and rushes out. Ryou is then absent from class. Tomoya gets another chance to speak to Ryou and manages to say the one he truly loves is Kyou. But that isn’t Ryou he’s talking to. It’s Kyou with her hair cut short! Teary Kyou embraces Tomoya and says how Ryou ‘scolded’ her for running away and because of that they both deceived each other. Finally she confesses she loves him. Then later on their way home, Kyou gives Tomoya a quick kiss and holds his arms like how lovey-dovey couples do. Say, Kyou isn’t her violent self in this OVA.
 
Now back to the TV series. Honestly with the heavy dramatization of this sequel, it kinda felt a little boring after the first 1/3 of the series. Even the OVA itself was heavily emotionally charged. The comedy factor has been overshadowed by the drama between Tomoya and Nagisa. So when Fuko did make her late appearance, it was a very much welcoming relief. As I can see this sequel can be divided into 3 parts. The first part focuses on the gang and some of the other side characters like Misae and Yukine. The middle part is between Tomoya and Nagisa and the problems they faced life after school or in Nagisa’s case, the struggle to stay in good shape to graduate. The final part is post-Nagisa which focuses on the relationship between Tomoya and Ushio.
 
Thus the sequel very much focuses on the development of Tomoya and Nagisa. I felt many of the other main casts are tossed aside like Tomoyo and Kotomi. Their roles are so insignificant that it’s like they can be done without in this sequel. Same case with Sunohara, Kyou and Ryou but at least they made a little appearance at the start and end of the series. It makes those girls who appear in the opening credits a little redundant, huh? Tomoya once again has changed from a boy who thinks his life sucks into a responsible and mature man, father, husband and son. Though he made a rocky start with Ushio, upon realizing that his own dad isn’t at fault and beginning to see the big picture, he understands the implications of it all after putting the pieces together. Nagisa may have a weak body but she is still a strong and gentle girl at heart till her death. Clearly Tomoya and Nagisa both supports each other but it is also the encouragement and support of Akio and Sanae which helps them to pull through. They may be weird but that’s how they are. It still bugs me as why Naoyuki didn’t explain everything clearly to his son in the first place. Maybe he doesn’t want to put pressure on him and wants him to realize and find his destiny by himself?
 
One thing I find it a little hard to believe is how history was changed when Ushio starts dying. I know it is better to leave a happy ending after all the sorrow and pain the main protagonists have gone through but to go back in time and alter history just like that? It’s just like playing a game with an alternate ending, eh? Oh wait. This is based on the game of the same name too. So I guess that is how the lonely girl and the junk robot in the other world are connected to this one and how Nagisa somewhat remembered the plot for her play even if its origins is a mystery. Tomoya a robot in his previous life? Yeah, maybe that’s why initially he thinks his life is garbage. Haha. Just kidding. My other grouse is that Fuko does not have enough appearance! I could listen to her nonsensical verbal antics all day long.
 
The drawing, art and animation is still consistent with the first season with the details and hue still crisp as ever. Viewers who watched the first season could easily identify with some of its trademarks from background music to the familiar title screen and the next episode preview format. At least this time the opening theme, Toki Wo Kizamu Uta, by Lia doesn’t sound so out of tune like the prequel. It sounds more dramatic which fits the overall theme of the series. The ending theme also by Lia, Torch, isn’t a kindergarten song like its predecessor. A lively and upbeat pop beat and the funny thing about the animation was that I initially thought the characters of the series were doing Moonwalking across the screen. You know, they’re walking to the left but the screen is scrolling them from left to right.
 
At least I’m glad how everything turned out fine in the end and that Nagisa and Ushio’s weak body illness has somehow disappeared. Such a desirable fairytale ending which everyone in life would love to live. After all the emotional, mental and physical anguish they have been through, they deserve to spend their time together finally as a happy family. And perhaps to find out how well they are doing, maybe you could play the game and come up with another alternate path. Well, that is another story. Yeah, Clannad ~Another Story~. Now how does that sound? Oh Fuko. I miss your starfish talk… Yeah, they should make an OVA arc of her too!
 

Clannad

December 13, 2008

Have you ever felt that your life is so boring and has no whatever sense of direction? Ever felt that your presence in this world don’t really mean much and whatever you do is just a waste of time? Now, I’m not really saying that is the theme of the tv anime series Clannad, but the main male protagonist of the series, Tomoya Okazaki, thinks and feels so. And no, I’m not referring to Clannad as that Irish musical group.
 
I mean let’s look from his point of view. His mother died in a car accident and because of this, his dad is an unemployed useless drunkard, whom he despises very much. His own house is in a mess and he thinks the school he attends is pretty boring, just like his life. Thus, he becomes some sort of a delinquent with a non-committal attitude towards almost everything and is apathic towards life. Though he isn’t the kind of delinquent which goes around looking for trouble but I find him a rather passive one. Hey, he even admits he is a lazy bum.
 
But soon, life for him would take a rather interesting turn when he meets a girl named Nagisa Furukawa. She is a little naive, soft-spoken and her over-politeness reminds me of Tohru of Fruits Basket. Though she is in the same grade as him, she is actually a year older. Due to an illness, she spent most of the whole of last year away from school and when she comes back to repeat her year, she finds her former friends have graduated and she’s wondering what to do. So I suppose Tomoya doesn’t have anything better to do when he spots this girl talking to herself and having no friends and decides to help her in establishing a non-existent theatre club in their school, which she yearns so much. I mean, what has he got to lose? His life sucks, right? Thus, their initial meeting is like a turning point for Tomoya. By the way, I find Tomoya to be a little bit like Kyon from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu because of his sharp tongue criticisms and jabbings. Plus, whenever he gets an opportunity to play a harmless prank, he won’t hesitate to do so.
 
There are 24 episodes in this tv series. However, the first 22 episodes are considered the tv version while the 23rd episode is considered to be an after story. Whatever that means. But from my point of view, it seemed like an extra episode once the main storyline has finished. So you might have guessed that the 24th episode is an OVA, then you’re absolutely right.
 
Based on the visual novel and a simulation game of the same name, though I have never read the novel nor play the game, I’m not sure how close the storyline follows it. But as usual, the main reason that motivates me to watch this drama-romance-harem anime is the comedy aspect. I find that most of the comical aspects are from the dialogues they say. It’s like a gag anime but more slapstick gags in it. I think. Hey, did I mention harem too? You can guess from the opening credits that there’s going to be 5 girls who will be somewhat connected to Tomoya. Though it won’t be any kind of ecchi harem because I noticed that this anime lacks fanservice. No, I’m not disappointed at all.
 
So in the 1st episode, we’re introduced to the main premise setting and some of the main characters. For instance, Ryou Fujibayashi, who is Tomoya’s class rep and card fortune teller kinda girl, who is seen trying to gently remind Tomoya of his lateness to school. Of course, Ryou has a twin sister, Kyou, who is a total opposite. Kyou is more aggressive and crude. She doesn’t hesitate to punish those who tease or bully her twin, whether on purpose or not or even the slightest thought if she thinks one is bullying Ryou, which sometimes isn’t. And that includes throwing a heavy dictionary at Tomoya as he barely avoids it. Be careful now. Hey, now that I remember, don’t Kyou and Ryou have some uncanny resemblance to Kagami and Tsukasa of Lucky Star? Hmm…
 
Then there is Tomoya’s other delinquent buddy, the loudmouth troublemaker Youhei Sunohara. To sum him up in 1 word, he’s a loser. Big time. If you want to know what I mean, just watch this guy think and act. Enough said. He lives in a nearby all-boys dorm, managed by Misae Sagara, in which Tomoya hangs out there most of the time. It’s better than his own home I guess. Also there is the school’s student council member, Tomoyo Sakagami. She has some reputation of being really strong for a girl. Though we see her giving multiple power kicks to teach a couple of delinquent bikers causing a ruckus at school but in our normal eyes, it all ended so fast. Because of that, Sunohara decides to proof that there is something suspicious about Tomoyo and goes through all sorts of stupid confrontations to make her admit something which is not. Good thing Tomoya decides to stay out of this because everytime Sunohara’s plan flops, he’ll receive Tomoyo’s trademark kicks (there’s even a counter to keep count! Each time the number increases rapidly and at a point crosses 1000!). Sunohara’s brain is so thick that you may think that he never feels the pain as he always come back for more. You’ll see this hilarious bit in the early episodes. Then when it died down, I really missed it and subsequent episodes will just show Tomoyo giving him 1 powerful kick to send him flying away.
 
Back to the main story. After Tomoya learns of Nagisa’s dream to restart the theatre club, Nagisa tells him to come by her parent’s bakery, a place where she also leaves. Now, I’m sure everyone would love to such parents. Nagisa’s dad, Akio, has a very flamboyant personality and his character is very outgoing. Okay, maybe not everyone would love to have him as a father as thoughts of embarrassment in public for his honest hyped-up behaviour may prop up. On the other hand, Nagisa’s mom, Sanae, is more gentle and ironically her bread baking skills suck. Everytime she comes up with a weird bread for sale and Akio gives some warning about it, make sure Sanae isn’t eavesdropping because it will really break her heart. And everytime this happens, she will cry and run out of the shop with Akio declaring out loud his I-love-you undying love for Sanae as he chases her back. You just got to love them. As Tomoya acknowledges how close Nagisa is with her parents, he can’t say the same about his own. When he comes back to his own home, he gets disgusted with his usual drunkard dad lying idly there, so he decides to take a night walk when he spots Nagisa reciting some lines about wanting to take him away.
 
In certain episodes, you’ll see some fairytale-like scene which shows a little girl living all alone in a world that has ended. She creates a robot from junk but since it is unable to talk, you’ll mostly hear his thoughts and his point of view. The plot progresses slowly as they carry on living and I was hoping that there’ll be some supernatural connection with the main storyline but in the end, there isn’t. More on this later on.
 
Episode 2 starts off where the previous left off. It seems Nagisa is just practicing her play lines outside because it won’t be noisy and bother her parents. Besides this episode of seeing Kyou dangerously riding her scooter to school (it’s illegal by the way and it was funny to see Tomoya making Kyou spilling it out loud in class when he says Kyou is a ‘bi’ so Kyou corrects him. And after she realized this, she gives him a good punishment) and Sunohara getting beaten up further by Tomoyo, we are introduced to another character called Kotomi Ichinose. She’s a genius girl who spends most of her time reading books in the library. I don’t know if all geniuses are weird because she talks slow and well, is one kind. I mean, she’s trying to cut out pages from a library book. Of course a delinquent like Tomoya knows it’s wrong and stops her. I’m still wondering if she’s a genius, why does she need to attend this school. And even so, taking independent classes of her own? Is that allowed? Even Tomoya admits that they’re both class ditching buddies. Only difference is that one is a genius and the other is a delinquent. Well said.
 
Finally, the other harem girl which Tomoya will meet is Fuko Ibuki. He meets her while she is alone carving a wooden star in an empty classroom. Fuko is another girl which viewers will love. She is dreamy and not the brightest girl but I find her cute when she’s being naive. Also, she tends to space out or go into some sort of daydreaming trance whenever she gets too close to Nagisa. Because of this, Tomoya tries to play several pranks on her to bring Fuko back to reality. Hello, Earth to Fuko, can you hear me? Anyway Tomoya notices she is dangerously using the pen knife and takes it away from her. Not only that, her hands are injured even though she doesn’t admit it. It was funny to see Tomoya doing some hi-5 test on her to proof that her hands are injured and each time naive Fuko falls for it (what’s with that basketball shooting getup?). In the end, Fuko just leaves.
 
Meanwhile, Sunohara notices how Tomoya is trying to help re-establish the theatre club in which something he has no interest in. We also find out Nagisa loves dango (some Japanese bun with paste) as she uses it as its main theme for her theatre club poster. Because Tomoya was helping out drawing the poster back home and his dad asks what he is doing, Tomoya gets enraged and tells him that this is none of his business before storming out. He spots Nagisa and the 2 chat. Nagisa finds out that Tomoya was once a basketball club member so she decides to have a little game with him at school the next day. Though Tomoya is bumming around at Sunohara’s place, at first he didn’t think Nagisa would be serious in waiting to play a game with him since it’s raining. But he went to make sure and to his surprise, Nagisa is waiting there all soaked in the rain. So I guess Okazaki has no choice but to make up as he starts playing. However, he soon drops the ball and he tells Nagisa that when he was young, he got into a fight with his dad and injured his shoulder. Thus, Tomoya can never raise his arms above his shoulders, putting an end to his basketball playing days.
 
The usual bread antics in episode 3 when Akio gives Tomoya bread leftovers, hurting Sanae’s feelings once more. A lady soon comes in to buy bread in which Tomoya gives his from Akio. Tomoya walks home to find an argument going on between a car owner and an power cable electrician. The car owner his heavy tools dented his car but Tomoya pointed out that it was caused by a cat (a fat cat to have caused that dent, if you ask me). The electrician, Yusuke Yoshino, is grateful and gives him his name card and asks him to call him sometime. Back at Sunohara’s place, Tomoya learns that Yusuke was once a famous musician but disappeared 1 day. In school, the usual beating Sunohara receives from Tomoyo after another failed ploy to reveal her as a guy (WTF?). Fuko also tries to get back her pen knife from Tomoya but another hi-5 incident leaves her reeling in pain as she retreats for now. We also get to know that Kyou has a little pet pig called Botan which she brings to school and later as Tomoya suggests to Nagisa for a practice speech for her theatre club, they go to the school’s archive room run by Yukine Miyazawa, for some materials. Of course Nagisa is still nervous and her practice speech was more fumble than anything. Later the duo notices that their dango-themed theatre poster has been taken down from the notice board and Yukine tells them that since it doesn’t have the approval of the student council, it has to be taken down. Just then, the PA system announces for Nagisa to come to the student council’s office.
 
In episode 4, it seems that the student council told Nagisa that since the theatre club is inactive, they can’t recruit members. Tomoya tells Nagisa not to give up. At Sunohara’s place, Sunohara wonders if Tomoya and Nagisa are dating but Tomoya mentions the deliciousness of Nagisa’s bread which makes him wants to hang out with her so he can get tons of free bread. A lie perhaps. But I guess it’s a way to get Sunohara into his schemes. At school, Fuko once again confronts Tomoya as she call him names like ‘weird person’. Soon Fuko asks Tomoya to attend her sister’s wedding in exchange of that wooden star of hers. All this while, Fuko has been going around giving them to students to attend her sister’s wedding. After more beatings of Sunohara from Tomoyo (that guy never learns), Sunohara decides to help Nagisa and Tomoya out to form the theatre club (partly that free bread must be the motivation). Thus, they decide to recruit more people. However Tomoya says he’s not really joining even though he’s just helping her out. Isn’t it ironic?
 
So the first person they ask is Ryou. The hilarious part is the ambiguous words Tomoya and Sunohara told Ryou about meeting Nagisa. She thinks it’s a girl confession! So at the rooftop, every action and dialogue seems to point like one, making Ryou flustered, until Nagisa says to join her club. Disappointed or relieve? Anyway Kyou was eavesdropping and since it didn’t turn out that way, she gave the guys a good beating as they spill the beans. However, Ryou mentions that to form a club, they need at least 3 members and a teacher advisor. Since Tomoya and Sunohara are just helping out, that doesn’t really count. Later, the guys confront Tomoyo (no prizes for guessing what happened to Sunohara) and in the end when Tomoya asks if she’s interested to join the theatre club, Tomoyo refuses by saying she is running for student council elections thus she has no time for that. Then Tomoya goes to ask Kotomi in the library. Funny thing is, if you want to talk to her, you have to call her Kotomi-chan to start off a conversation or else it’s like she didn’t hear a thing. Since Tomoya felt weird about that, he decides to ask her later. Then Tomoya and Nagisa went to see Fuko and finds out that she doesn’t go home. When Fuko explains how she was nearly hit by a car and realized she was in school the next moment, this prompts Nagisa to ask her surname. It seems that there was a teacher by the name of Kouko Ibuki, which is Fuko’s elder sister who has stopped teaching. Nagisa says how Kouko had a little sister who got into an accident and was in coma in hospital ever since. Tomoya realized that it was that lady whom he gave the leftover bread to earlier on. With that, Nagisa wonders if he has heard about a rumour of a ghost girl roaming the school grounds after she got into an accident… Oh oh. Feeling goose bumps.
 
In episode 5, Tomoya doesn’t think Fuko is a ghost. I mean, he could touch her, right? At the bakery, Kouko comes by as Nagisa and Tomoya congratulate her on her wedding. But she wonders how she knows it since she only has told Fuko. Later Nagisa invites Fuko to come stay at her place so she don’t have to sleep in school. Nagisa’s parents are happy and quickly accept their new ‘daughter’. Since Kouko comes here often to buy bread, Tomoya suggests for her to change her surname, in which she picks one from Furukawa’s neighbours. The next morning, Tomoya finds everyone carving the wooden star. What’s amazing is that it isn’t a wooden star but a starfish! Holy crap! No normal person would think so. But how does this look like a starfish? Anyway Fuko is one starfish-crazy girl. I like the hilarious part in school when Fuko gets into her daydreaming mode so Tomoya decides to play a prank on her by using Ryou to substitute as him. When Fuko comes to, she wonders what happened to Tomoya and Ryou says that she is Tomoya who has turned into a girl. Fuko is surprised and wonders how he turned into a one. Following Tomoya’s words, Ryou tells her that ‘it’ sometimes falls off! Fuko really believes it and wonders if she can turn into a boy the same way! Tomoya is trying his best to hold in his laughter but Nagisa tells him it’s enough so Tomoya has to go stop it. But it seems when Fuko sees the real Tomoya, she thinks there are 2 Tomoyas now! And when Kyou comes by to punish Tomoya for using Ryou, Fuko thinks there are 3 Tomoyas now! How dense can this girl get? Later when Fuko tries to give a starfish to an old friend, Mitsui, who is in 3rd year now, she rejects it and gives an excuse that she’s busy studying for her exams, making Fuko depressed. Tomoya finds out that since Fuko has always wanted to attend class, the next day at their empty theatre club room, they hold a mock class with Sanae as the teacher, since she was one before she became a baker. This made Fuko quite happy when everyone makes her the class rep.
 
In episode 6, the starfish craze seems to hit Sanae as she has starfish-shaped bread. But we all know it’s a failure. Tomoya does another prank on Fuko when she daydreams by sticking a straw of a juice drink in her nose to snap her out of it. With the school’s Founder Festival just around the corner, Tomoya and Nagisa helps Fuko to distribute her starfish to everyone. Since Tomoya and Nagisa wants Fuko to meet Kouko, the duo went to invite Kouko to attend the festival. They bump into Yusuke and find out that he is the one Kouko’s going to marry to. It’s a small world. Kouko agrees to go since she promised Fuko about it. We see Fuko’s obsession of starfish when she has a dream of playing on the beach with them. And what’s with Tomoya doing there too? During the festival, it seems Fuko has garnered several male fan members who would do anything for her, which includes spreading the word of her sister’s wedding. Also, Tomoyo is patrolling around in a bear outfit (?!) but even so, Sunohara is no match for her. As more and more students accept Fuko’s starfish, finally even Mitsui accepts them and tells Fuko that she may even come, making her happy. Tomoya, Nagisa and Fuko are at the school gates as Kouko arrives. However, it seems Kouko can only see Tomoya and Nagisa. OMG! Even if Fuko is standing there right in front of her, she can’t hear nor see her! Is she really a ghost?! But how come only Kouko?
 
Since it turned out like that, in episode 7, Nagisa feels guilty and sad about it. Though Kouko tells them about the school ghost rumour, she did ask if the 2 of them would be her friends. As the gang continue to carve more starfish and Fuko handing a starfish to Kotomi, Sunohara teases Fuko, which causes her to call upon her followers to bring him away in a stampede. Later, Tomoya and Nagisa finds out that Kouko is having a hard time trying to find a place for their wedding and wonders if their school is available. Kouko also tells them how Fuko was a shy girl and didn’t mix around. Kouko thought by acting busy give Fuko the initiative to make new friends at school. One day when she got that enthusiasm, as she head to school, she met with a car accident. At the theatre club room, a war of dango or starfish on which is cuter nearly erupted but both girls settled the situation amicably as they agree both are cute. We should all emulate them. After Tomoya and Nagisa went to seek a teacher’s permission to allow Kouko’s wedding here, they went to tell Kouko about it but they are greeted with bad news. Kouko says how Fuko’s condition in hospital is worsening. That night at Sunohara’s room, Sunohara tells Tomoya about how several boys ignored Fuko when she was giving them her starfish. What’s more, they claimed that they didn’t see any girl around. Then Sunohara mentions how people are starting to forget about Fuko and the starfish and asks Tomoya what is going on.
 
While Kouko gets the green light to hold her wedding at school in episode 8, it seems more and more people are really starting to forget Fuko and her starfish. Even those who had previously accepted are starting to forget. Even Tomoyo doesn’t remember at first but after being reminded, she apologizes and wonders why she forgot in the first place. Same thing to Mitsui. She doesn’t remember meeting Fuko at all. This prompts Tomoya to tell Sunohara that Fuko is being forgotten. With that, Sunohara decides to go see Fuko at hospital but Tomoya advises him not to, fearing that he might forget her (huh?). Sunohara eventually goes to see Fuko and Tomoya’s fears come true, he’s starting to forget Fuko. Worse still when Tomoya, Nagisa and Fuko invited Sunohara for lunch, he can’t even see Fuko. I’m not sure I understand this part because when Sunohara mentioned Fuko’s name in his rantings, it’s like he’s being in pain as he struggles to remember her. Fuko gives him a starfish and Tomoya tells him it’s enough for now as Sunohara walks away wondering what has happened. Back at the bakery, Nagisa’s parents also can’t see Fuko anymore (they went to see her at hospital when they found out about it) but Sanae seems to still remember about her as she cried her heart out. I really don’t understand why people are starting to forget her when they see her in hospital? Will Tomoya and Nagisa forget about her too?
 
Since Fuko can’t continue staying at Nagisa’s place, in episode 9, they accompanied her to school and have their own party for Fuko. Wow. Fuko pecking Tomoya on the cheek. The trio slept together but when morning arrives, Tomoya and Nagisa find only themselves sleeping in the classroom and wonders what they’re doing there in the first place. Yup, they’ve already forgotten her, even if Fuko’s standing there. Over the next few scenes, the duo have that feeling of missing something important. Until they meet the teacher who approved Kouko’s wedding at the school, painting Kouko’s wedding banner, who said it was them who asked them for Kouko’s younger sister, did they start to remember Fuko. And at that instant, Fuko instantly appeared before them. On the day of the wedding, it seems that everyone attended even if they don’t remember the starfish or Fuko. Soon Fuko starts to disappear leaving Nagisa in tears and probably Tomoya the same thing if he hadn’t held back. Kouko comes up to them and wonders what’s wrong when Tomoya tells her that a certain girl had helped them to make this come true. Kouko realizes that it must have been Fuko’s spirit and thanks them for being her friend. Just then, Fuko appears and congratulates Kouko before vanishing for good. In the end after the wedding, everyone forgets about Fuko but the rumour of the school roaming ghost goes on albeit they think it’s a cute girl. For the rest of the episodes, though Fuko won’t make much appearances, she’ll still appear from time to time to help out when a sticky situation arises for Tomoya and co, though she won’t be much of a help and they won’t remember who Fuko is and would be wondering what was that all about.
 
With Fuko’s story arc over, episode 10 starts off with Tomoya being run over by Kyou’s scooter. I wonder how she got a licence for it. Remembering to help recruit members for the theatre club, Tomoya goes to ask Kotomi once more. You know, for a genius girl like her, she isn’t people smart. I mean, even if she doesn’t make many friends as she’s people-shy, she’s pretty dense when it comes to communicating with others. For example, she seems to rely heavily on Tomoya and when he asks her to introduce herself, Kotomi does an introduction to Tomoya instead of the person she’s supposed to introduce herself! And she did the same thing several few times. That’s getting old. Plus, Kotomi’s pretty afraid of people picking on her. So she hides behind Tomoya’s back everytime she thinks someone is bullying her. Now are you thinking she’s a genius. Well okay, she does read heavy and deep books which people like me gets instant migraine at the very sight of it. Anyway, I suppose even an anti-social like her manages to loosen up as with the help of Tomoya, she soon gets along pretty well with the rests, even with Tomoyo (why is she still wearing that bear outfit?). After Kotomi has mastered the art of introducing herself, at another bakery, Tomoya learns that Kotomi is the daughter of a pair of well-known scientists. But it looks like Kotomi decides to give this theatre club thing a try as Kyou and Ryou too decides to help out. They took turns introducing themselves and Tomoya teaches Kotomi an example on how to do jabbings, which results Kyou giving him a powerful kick. Kotomi then hears the sound a violin and rushes there. The girl playing the violin, Rie Nishina, wonders if Kotomi wanted to try playing it and lends her the violin. However, Kotomi isn’t a good player so better cover your ears. It’s horrible enough to distort things. Literally.
 
Because the music club lend Kotomi her violin, in episode 11, Tomoya notes how Kotomi is continuing to fell people with that weapon of hers, even if Kotomi herself doesn’t think so. Looks like she’s the only one immune to her horrible playing. So in order to keep her from playing the violin, Kyou makes Kotomi do some "Nande are" (meaning, what the heck) jabs. Is funny to see her do it several times. Also, since Kotomi does want to play the violin badly, Kyou plans an upcoming violin recital for her and forbids her from practicing in the theatre club room. So where does she do it? In the library of course. Even on a Sunday, she’s there practicing. Tomoya goes visit her after recognizing that cacophony from outside school. Soon Kotomi reads a book to him (it was one of her initial wish) but since it was boring and he didn’t understand a thing, he falls asleep and has a weird dream. Really a weird one. Kotomi’s violin play, Nagisa’s dango, and the twin’s surgery operation on him… The day of Kotomi’s violin recital arrives and Tomoya notices that Kyou has gathered (blackmail rather) students with bad records to attend. Even Akio and Sanae are there. Tomoyo is glad to see Misae there and gets advice from her because Misae was also once the legendary school council president. When Kotomi recital starts, it wasn’t much different from her first time. Let’s just say it was hell on Earth and it gives a whole new meaning to pain in the ears. Further exposure can get you brain haemorrhage, you know. As the gang heads home, a guy in coat tries to grab Kotomi but the rest managed to protect her. He walks away but Kotomi is shivering in fear as she mumbles about him being the bad guy.
 
Kotomi returns the violin to Rie in episode 12 and it seems Kotomi starts attending classes. Also, Kyou gets and idea for the girls to go out shopping with Tomoya. He’s got to be a lucky guy, huh? Well, it’s part of Kyou’s plan to let him carry the bags. Fuko makes her first short appearance by helping the gang get a plushie at a crane game machine. But she got them a starfish. As Tomoya walks Kotomi home, the man in coat appears once more as they run away and successfully avoid falling into his hands. Then Tomoya had a strange dream about a rabbit, deer and him and then another one whereby a young Kotomi in a place engulfed in fire as that man in coat puts it out. The next day, as the gang heads to school, Nagisa comes rushing to them saying that the bus Ryou is on had an accident (why do the twins go to school differently?). As they rush to the scene, Kyou frantically searches for her sister but to her relieve finds her safe as she was running late for her usual bus and got on the next one. However, the gang spots Kotomi shivering in fear on the ground as she’s saying how she’ll be a good girl. Though Kotomi has been admitted to the school’s infirmary, she went home earlier. The teachers refuse to divulge any info on her but gives them her house address. The quartet visits Kotomi’s house only to find it in a dilapidated condition. Without going further, the girls decide to go home but Tomoya spots a black butterfly and follows it to the backyard. He spots the man in coat trying to peek in. As Tomoya chats with him, the man tells him that Kotomi’s late parents researched and discovered some alternate world. Not that I understand but he tells Tomoya to pass a message to Kotomi. He doesn’t expect her to forgive them as they still regret what has happened. Tomoya enters the house through the backyard and enters Kotomi’s room, only to find her sitting alone with lots of newspaper and picture cuttings on the wall and floor about her parent’s death in a plane crash. Tomoya then remembered he once met Kotomi before.
 
Episode 13 is Kotomi’s flashback and how she came to be. Though Kotomi recognized Tomoya when she first met him, she didn’t say anything because she was happy to see him and he allowed her to be friends with him. Back when Kotomi’s parents were around, a young Tomoya accidentally stumbled into her backyard while catching butterflies. They soon become friends. When Kotomi’s birthday was closing in, her parents had to break their promise of celebrating her birthday due to work overseas, which made her hate her parents. As compensation, they decide to get a teddy bear for her, as she had requested. But the next day, their colleague came by to tell how her parents has been killed in an air crash and asks her if they left an important paper. Kotomi was devastated and slammed the door on him. She started searching for her parents every inch of her house and even entered the room her dad forbade her to enter, which is his study. There she saw an envelope on the table and thought it’s the source of it all and decides to burn it. The house soon caught fire but luckily that old man was there to help put out the fire. Ever since then, Kotomi tried to follow her parent’s footsteps by studying so that others would see the beautiful world her parents discovered. At the same time, she hoped her parents would someday return. Back in real time, Tomoya relates this incident to the teacher but the latter says how Kotomi has taken up an offer from a university in USA. Tomoya then decides to help clean Kotomi’s backyard because he feels he wants to do something for her. He is soon joined by Nagisa and the twins. At the same time, Kotomi locks herself up in the house. The girls then decide to give Kotomi a violin for her upcoming present but it broke when a bike came zooming past by, causing them to drop it. They tried to fix it in the shortest time as possible but they’re told it’s better to get a new one (this violin is the one Rie lend to her) and if not they have to wait for months. So until her birthday comes, the gang continues to clean up her backyard.
 
The gang managed to clean the yard and paint the table and chairs in time before Kotomi’s birthday in episode 14. Now, if they could all do charity work for the others… Tomoya fell asleep and dreams how he tried to invite friends to Kotomi’s birthday but they turned him down as they didn’t want to be associated with a weirdo. Thus, he couldn’t face her after making a promise to bring more friends as he himself didn’t attend her birthday bash. So one night he decided to go apologize and that’s when he saw her house in flames. Since then, Tomoya has never seen Kotomi. When he wakes up, he sees Kotomi standing in front of him as she tells him he’s the only friend she’s got back then and was always waiting for his return. Soon Kotomi goes back to school, much to the delight of the rest. But it seems the man in coat is waiting for them in the classroom. The gang finds out that he is actually Kotomi’s guardian. Though Kotomi is still afraid of him (as she thinks he’s here to steal her parent’s work), he starts explaining by taking out the briefcase of her father’s, which she recognized. Kotomi gets encouraged by her friends to open the briefcase and inside it, there is a teddy bear and a note. He explains the briefcase must have been drifted ashore and passer-bys must have picked it up and exchanged several hands before it reached here. I’m amazed that the briefcase travelled across many countries and it was amazing to see several languages (even in writing on screen!) of the translated note to pass it to their daughter (there’s even a Malay one!). The man also says that the envelope Kotomi burnt that night was actually a catalogue of teddy bears and not her dad’s important work she had thought to be. Kotomi doesn’t fear him as she reads the note from her parents wishing her happy birthday. She hugs the teddy bear and ‘welcomes home’ her parents. Later the gang gives Kotomi the repaired violin as her birthday present. I’m glad Kotomi is freed from her past and has made peace with her late parents.
 
Nagisa’s theatre club formation continues in episode 15. After having the required numbers, they now need an advisor. Though they wanted Toshio Koumura as he is the only one not bound to a club, they found out that the choir club in which Rie is in, also wants him. Nagisa and Rie had a chat and since the school can’t have the same advisor for 2 clubs, after hearing Rie’s story, Nagisa decides to back down and allow the choir club to have Koumura as their advisor. Tomoya is hanging out at Sunohara’s room and answers a call from Sunohara’s sister, Mei, who tells him that she’ll be visiting him. I know Tomoya is playing a prank pretending to be Sunohara but I can’t believe Mei fell for it and even when Tomoya admitted it, she still thinks it’s her brother. But the next day at school, Nagisa, Tomoya and Sunohara received an anonymous threatening letter telling Nagisa to give up forming her club. Sunohara does an investigation and finds out that it was Rie’s friend and choir club member, Sugisaka who wrote it. Sunohara gets Sugisaka to meet up with them at school as she explains why she did it and takes full responsibility. Once again, Nagisa decides to give way but this pisses off Sunohara who thinks Nagisa is being deceived by others taking advantage on her sympathy. To cool him down, Tomoya brings him to the archive room and Yukine gives him some charm reading which makes him back to his usual self. Tomoya tells Nagisa that Sunohara was once a football club member but had to give way that’s why he’s so pissed with the same thing happening here. Tomoya then saves Tomoyo from being harassed by judo club members wanting her to join their club (Fuko appeared but couldn’t help much because she realized she gave the starfish to them). Later, Sunohara suggests playing basketball with the basketball club to make the choir club impress and let them have Koumura. Tomoya is reluctant but Sunohara keeps pestering him so he tries to run away from him. The funny part is that, Tomoya told Nagisa how Sunohara may have been in love with him because he’s chasing him, sending Nagisa wrong ideas about their relationship. So when Sunohara found Tomoya, Nagisa steps in to say how she’s Tomoya’s boyfriend, breaking that guy’s heart. As Sunohara runs away in despair, he passes by his sister.
 
Episode 16 has Mei cleaning Sunohara’s filthy room but since she can’t stay in the all-boy’s dorm, she has to live at Nagisa’s place. Soon, Sunohara and Tomoya gets Kyou to complete their team for a 3-on-3 basketball match. At first the basketball team fielded freshmen but as the competition gets intense (Tomoya’s team leading by an 11 point gap!), the seniors substituted them. They managed to close the gap and time is running out. In a last chance shot, Tomoya has the ball in his hands and needs to shoot. But he can’t raise his arms higher than his shoulders. Luck is on his side because he slipped, which means his arms can be in a shooting position. Tomoya shoots and scores, winning it for his team. That night, Mei goes home after having a fun filled day and says she will come visit them again.
 
After watching their basketball performance, in episode 17, the choir club decides to share their advisor but the student council rejects this proposal. At this time, Nagisa falls ill and has to rest back home. Also, Tomoyo decides to personally go wake up Tomoya and Sunohara so that they won’t be late for school. In this episode, it seems Ryou’s body language seems to indicate that she has feelings for Tomoya and Kyou tries to set them up together like making them eat lunch together. So whenever they bump into Tomoya and Tomoyo together, Kyou isn’t very pleased. Damn a catfight didn’t happened. Sunohara schemes to have Tomoyo as his bodyguard by asking her to follow him through a bad part of town in which Sunohara always gets beaten up. It seems the delinquents here fear Tomoyo and makes a run for it. Wow, she’s really (in)famous I must say. Later at the archives room, Tomoya gets Yukine to do some charm. Since he’s bored, he might as well play along and soon finds out the charm is about getting stuck with a girl in the gym storeroom. I don’t know why, the girl Tomoya thinks to be safe bet for is Kyou. Then a subsequent chain of events really did made them locked together in the storeroom. Tomoya realized it and quickly apologizes, causing Kyou to panic and wonders if this is his planning all along and what he’ll do to her. Of course there is a way to break the charm as Tomoya tries it (taking off his top? Misinterpreted situation here…). As luck would have it, somebody passed by and unlocks the storeroom. Close shave for Tomoya. He could’ve been caught with his shirt off if he wasn’t fast enough to hide. Coincidence or just real charm effect? When Tomoyo walks out of the school gates with Tomoya, they are being confronted by several delinquents who want to teach Tomoyo a lesson for showing up at their area. They soon get into a fight (poor Sunohara getting hit by Tomoyo). The school teachers arrive as the delinquents retreat. Knowing this would harm her chances of being student council president, Tomoya tells the teachers that he is responsible to save Tomoyo. With that, since the teachers know he has a delinquent record, Tomoya is being suspended. The reason he does this is because Tomoya needs Tomoyo to be the student council president so that she’ll make changes which will allow both the choir and theatre club to have Koumura as their advisor.
 
Since Tomoyo feels guilty about it, in episode 18, she voluntarily comes to Tomoya’s house and cooks him breakfast. Though Tomoya’s dad is there and appreciates Tomoyo’s cooking, Tomoya is still pissed off with him. Also Kyou decides to set up Tomoya and Ryou further. One Sunday as the twins arrive at Tomoya’s house with their handmade bento, they are surprised to find Tomoyo there cooking for him. Not only that, Kotomi too has arrived with her set of bento and furthermore, Fuko is there too! Starfish bread! Tomoya is having a hard time turning them down because they’ve all worked so hard on it and wants him to eat it! It must be one of those days. In order to satisfy all of them, he chows them all down. Poor guy. Back in school, there are nasty rumours spreading about Tomoyo being a gang leader. So to dispel the rumours, Tomoyo plays a game with all the sports club member and beats them at it. She’s really multi-talented. Later, Tomoya finds out that the reason why Tomoyo is trying to become student council is to save the sakura trees here which are planned to be cut down. She also mentions of her past whereby her parents kept fighting until her brother had enough of it and risk his life by jumping off a bridge. It was then that his great act brought the family closer. Once he got out of hospital, they went to see the sakura trees together as a family, something which Tomoyo feels it’s important to her. The net day, Nagisa is back to her usual self as the gang watches Tomoyo compete in a tennis match. A stray tennis ball is heading towards Nagisa and injures her leg. The other tennis player tries to help but Tomoya ‘protects’ her by bringing her to the infirmary himself. It then hit the twins that Nagisa is the one Tomoya always looked at as they both emotionally cry. Looks like they’ve admit their lost. Soon, Tomoyo wins the student council president.
 
With Tomoyo as the new student council president, in episode 19, she allows the re-establishment of the theatre club and Koumura to be both club’s advisor. It’s a win-win situation. Sometimes Tomoyo comes to visit the theatre club and sees how things are doing. Feeling indebted? With that over, the attention shifts to Tomoya. A teacher wants to discuss Tomoya’s future with his dad but Tomoya is pretty reluctant about it. So much so, Nagisa has to drag him to do so. But they heard how Tomoya’s dad said what ever his son did was none of his business because Tomoya is Tomoya. Realizing the strained relationship, Nagisa offers Tomoya to stay at her home for the time being. Can she do that? As usual the wacky Furukawa family never ceases to amaze (or annoy, depends how you look at it) him. While Nagisa tells him she can’t remember of the name of the play, she generally know how it goes. Tomoya also finds out that Sanae is running a cram school at their place with several naughty kids and wonders why Sanae quit being a teacher in the first place. That evening, Nagisa tells Tomoya that she felt like she did something bad to her parents and wants to apologize but can’t remember what it was but Akio says it’s just her imagination.
 
In episode 20, Nagisa still can’t remember the name of the play, although it’s that solitary girl and that garbage robot one. When Tomoya asks her parents about it, they don’t remember and Akio tells if Tomoya finds out something, he wants him to tell him first rather than Nagisa. At school, Tomoya and Sunohara are listening to one of Yukine’s charms again. Something about the first girl who speaks to them today will be the girl who likes them. As usual, no girl spoke to Sunohara. As for Tomoya, it could’ve been Fuko if he hadn’t silenced her. However, Tomoya hears Nagisa calling him. Ah well, that settles it. Nagisa tells more in detail about her story so Tomoya decides to find more of it as he thinks he has heard it before. They start by searching in Nagisa’s house shed. But their search has been cut short when Akio tells them they won’t find anything there. Later, Akio tells Tomoya that 10 years ago, while he and Sanae were pursuing their dreams, Nagisa fell ill. Since they had to work and couldn’t find anyone to care for her, they left her home alone while promising to get home as soon as possible. However, they found her barely breathing as she lay motionless in the snow outside their house. They nearly lost her. They felt that it was God’s punishment for putting their dreams ahead of Nagisa as they’re not the kind who can do both. So they decide to quit the dream jobs and open up a bakery so they can care for Nagisa at the same time. So all the memories of those years has been hidden in the shed. Though Tomoya feels Akio should tell Nagisa, he said he wanted to but is waiting for the right time. At Sunohara’s place, Sunohara is stating the fact how Tomoya is getting along well with Nagisa and something about how Nagisa is always relying on him. He wonders what will happen to her confidence if Tomoya is no longer around. The next day, the Furukawas and Tomoya had a picnic and played baseball with the local kids. I guess it was a spur of the moment when Tomoya hit the ball nicely and Akio took the chance to ask Nagisa if she’s fallen in love with him and without thinking she said yes, causing them to blush and Akio to curse his big mouth. Well, earlier on he said the same thing to Sanae.
 
Episode 21 has the gang do verbal exercises for the upcoming play but it seems Nagisa is the only one acting in the play while the rest are more behind-the-scenes with the effects and props. They also got the choir club to help them pick out the music for the play. Tomoya finds out that the theatre video they rent for Nagisa to get some ideas is actually the first time she’s actually seen one! Things just get more surprising, don’t they? Though Nagisa continues to practice, she still has the jitters so Sunohara comes up with a suggestion about how aliens will destroy their planet depending on how Nagisa’s play goes. Dumb idea. This causes her to worry even more. But even if she’s still nervous, the practice goes on well. The night before the play, Nagisa decides to get things she needs for her play, which leads her to the shed. She accidentally knocks over the boxes to discover several photo albums. Tomoya woke up that night to find there’s light downstairs. To his horror, Nagisa is now horrified that she is the cause of her parents giving up their dreams. Oh no. What’s this? Akio was once an actor. This explains his flamboyant personality.
 
Because of that, in episode 22, Nagisa becomes depressed, feels guilty and blames herself for her parent’s failure. The gang tries to cheer her but to no avail. Furthermore, Nagisa has wandered into Yukine’s archives and is watching Akio’s first play whereby he passionately say how he loves the theatre and that he’ll become a pro actor. Tomoya tries to snap her out of it but it’s of no use. When the play starts, the hall is filled and the rest wonders what is wrong with Nagisa as she has her mind preoccupied. She starts to break down and the audience wonders if this is part of the play. Akio then bursts into the hall yelling how Nagisa she didn’t ruin their dream because her dream is the same as theirs. So by continuing her dream, she too will make her parent’s dream come true. Not only hers, but the failed dreams of Tomoya and Sunohara too. Sanae and the rest soon supports and encourage Nagisa and in no time, Nagisa gets her self confidence back and starts her wonderful play. If you’re hopping that the fairytale will start from when it was first shown, then you’d be disappointed because the play continues after all those short clips. We see the garbage robot and the girl burying an unsuccessful pile of junk they made and how the duo will one day escape to another world. Well, we didn’t see how the play really ended but it was a hit. As usual, the gang celebrates their success at their clubroom and later when Tomoya and Nagisa are alone together in the room, he admits doesn’t hate school anymore and the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Tomoya confesses he loves Nagisa and wants to go out with her! She agrees while shedding tears of joy.
 
Though Tomoya and Nagisa are a couple in episode 23, their relationship isn’t really going anywhere. They could’ve made some progress by holding hands but Kyou interrupts them with her scooter. Damn. Even their pals know that they are dating. In this episode, Mei makes a return visit to the gang and Sunohara was damn excited to learn from Misae that a cute girl wants to see him. Oh the disappointment. Mei helps out at Nagisa’s bakery and when her parents are out, Mei devises a plan to bring more customers in. Yeah, she’s saying how there’s a cute girl in the store and in no time the whole store is jam packed! WTF?! Even Sanae’s bread is completely sold out. At Sunohara’s place, Mei decides to speak alone with Tomoya (poor Sunohara have to get out of his own room) and decides to play cupid between Tomoya and Nagisa. At first Tomoya thinks Mei is thinking of a forbidden hot steamy illicit relationship with her brother but when she says it isn’t, he thinks it’s with between the guys themselves. OMG! The yaoi part! Wearing the same boxer shorts. Anyway Nagisa comes by and you can tell her actions are very unnatural. Yeah, very odd. Like how she wants Tomoya to ask her to feed him bread but when he agrees, she says she can’t because it’s the only one she has as she wants to eat it. *Smack*. Anyway Tomoya catches Mei spying on them when this plan of hers didn’t work out too well. It was pretty obvious from the start. Well, it means Nagisa has a long way to go to become an actress. But Mei just cheekily ran away. As Nagisa explains Mei’s plans of getting them close together, the duo finally had time for themselves as they take a stroll and reassures that they’ll always be together. Such a sweet episode.
 
Episode 24 starts off differently and on a little surprising note. It seems that it has been a year Tomoya and Tomoyo have been dating each other! They’re so much in love together. Is this OVA to satisfy Tomoyo fans? Besides, Nagisa and the other girls did not make a single appearance! As Tomoyo wins the student council elections, her dream of preserving the sakura trees takes a step closer. However, there are many people especially supporters of Tomoyo who don’t like who she goes out with. I mean, they’re like at the different end of the polar and it’s ironic to see a model student going out with a delinquent. But Tomoyo doesn’t care about it. As Tomoyo is busy for the school festival, Tomoya feels a little lonely though his Sunohara buddy is still idiotic as ever. During the festival, Tomoyo takes a little break to meet up with Tomoya. They could’ve kissed if not for a student council member calling for her to resume her duties. Once she has left, this guy even tells Tomoya how he is dragging Tomoyo down as Tomoyo has elevated to a higher place. This causes Tomoya to stop and think for a while. Even Tomoya’s meeting with a teacher about how since the 2 are a couple, he notices Tomoyo has been slack in her duties and thinks Tomoya is the cause. Tomoya is now in a dilemma and after getting another round of lecture from that student council guy, he tells Tomoyo that they should break up. Though she disagrees but Tomoya says his feelings weren’t of love and tells her to work hard so that he could remember that he once dated a great girl. Tomoyo reluctant agrees and leave. But Tomoya is breaking up inside.
 
With that, Tomoya slowly picks up the pieces in his life like being a little more studious and waking up on his own. As time goes by, Tomoya and Sunohara notices how Tomoyo has gotten to great heights and achievement while thinking he’s still stuck in the same old place. Graduation is near and the guys try to seek job interviews and the funny part was how Sunohara now spots a black hair because he’s afraid to go to interviews with his blonde hair. One winter day as Tomoya is walking back, he spots Tomoyo waiting for him. She tells him how she manages to preserve the sakura trees but wished she could’ve done it with the person she loved. Even though she was busy, she has always watched him and confesses she loves him. Tomoya tells her to go to a higher place but it seems Tomoyo has another higher place of value in mind. She wants to go where Tomoya goes. He too says the same thing and for the first time, Tomoyo’s emotions has got the better of her and in their happiness, they embrace each other. Spring arrives and they are back together again. Well, in this OVA Tomoya doesn’t have his usual sarcasm or jabbing lines and portrays a more gloomy outlook. But I think it was quite a nice alternate story still.
 
So aside from that OVA and back to the tv series, in the end we pretty much have seen how Tomoya’s boring life took a turn for the better. I won’t really say he changed a lot but he a little as he is still the same person overall. I’m not sure if he made any amends with his dad or not. I felt that in the end, this whole series turn out to be quite okay in terms of storyline and as mentioned, I was hoping of something supernatural from Nagisa’s story but it turned out to be just that, a fantasy story. So the only supernatural part is Fuko. But that is more comical than scary. I love most of the jokes and jabbings from Tomoya. It never cease to make me laugh or at least smile. He’s kinda ‘creative’ in that sense, don’t you think?
 
When I first watched the series, I was thinking that this series somewhat looked similar to another series called Kanon in terms of character design. Then I found out that both shows were made by the same company, Key. No wonder they look familiar. Because of that, at first the characters resembles closely to each other and I had a hard time trying to tell them apart. Then certain story parts felt like there was a hint of Kanon too. Just like in Kanon, Tomoya helped out the most the girls with their problems. Fuko’s ghost-like case may resemble closely to Ayu’s case in Kanon while the meeting of Kotomi during his childhood sounds familiar to Mai’s case in the latter series.
 
But the thing which I find nice about this anime is the drawing and animation quality. Every hue, colour, shading and art has been given a detailed touch so it provides quite a nice eye candy. So much so I kinda a noticed that the character’s eyes have a different shine of radiance in it. It’s different than most animes that I’ve watched. And if I look a little closer, at times the character’s skin will also reflect and give out that pinkish or orange-ish radiance too.
 
Though I’m not saying that the background music (BGM) of the series suits me, but I noticed that most of the BGMs have that Chinese feel. Uh huh. Perhaps it’s the instrument and the tune they play it. Then there’s an upbeat and dramatic piece whereby it’s played during ambiguous moments like when Nagisa’s confession to Ryou and Tomoya’s yaoi confession to Nagisa about Sunohara. Then there are some which sounded like from a video game, especially when the screen prompts up some wordings. It really suits the scene well. I find the opening theme by Eufonius, Megumeru ~cuckool mix 2007~, somewhat unsuitable for the singer because the chorus sounded out-of-tune even if it’s intentionally sounded like that. The ending theme by Chata, Dango Daikazoku, sounds like a children song and the animation seems it’s like for children because it’s filled with dango. I guess this shows how much Nagisa loves this bun. The next episode preview has random scenes and lines from the next episode and sometimes it may give rise to misconception or just plain funny.
 
I also like the voice acting and my favourite one is Fuko who is voiced by Ai Nanoka who did Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Her voice does sound bubbly and enthusiastic filled with innocence and naivety. Other casts include Mai Nakahara as Nagisa (Miu in DearS), Mamiko Noto as Kotomi (Matsuri in Sola), Ryou Hirohashi as Kyou (Koyuki in Keroro Gunsou), Akemi Kanda as Ryou (Miharu in Da Capo), Houko Kuwashima as Tomoyo (Sango in Inu Yasha), Yuichi Nakamura as Tomoya (Outa in Muteki Kanban Musume), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Sunohara (Kazuki in Maburaho), Ryotaro Okiayu as Akio (Byakuya in Bleach), and Yukari Tamura as Mei (Nanoha in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha).
 
The characters here are memorable and wacky for this series. Who wouldn’t love Fuko’s starfish obsession, Kotomi’s slow dreamy voice, Kyou’s book throwing policy (by now the guys must be expert dodgers) and Tomoyo’s super high power kicking action. Then again, you can’t really put down Sunohara too because his loudmouth jump-before-you-look behaviour contributes to some of the jokes. Not to mention Akio too. So do we still wish for someone like him to be our father? Though the development has been expected to be between Tomoya and Nagisa, the producers did quite a good job balancing out the roles of the other characters.
 
Besides the tv series, there is also a movie adaptation which is also an alternate retelling which I didn’t watch. I read the synopsis which has the storyline stretching to when Tomoya and Nagisa are married and having a daughter of their own. However, the setting here is a little grim because Nagisa died just after giving birth! This sends Tomoya into depression and it turned him exactly like what his dad was. Like father like son. So all his friends do their best to help Tomoya get back on his feet again. So if you can’t get enough of Clannad, there are several more adaptations from mangas to book publications and even several soundtrack and drama CDs. For me, I think it’s enough that I’ve watched the tv series.
 
So life isn’t really that bad if you could make something out of it. For Tomoya, it really did. Though it won’t be a bed of roses, but at least it’s better than having negative thoughts like as though the world owes you a living. Hmm… Thinking about my own predicament, I can say it isn’t the most exciting life in the world but at least I’m happy with what I have now. Yeah, happily continuing to watch animes. And I’m keeping it that way.