The series of Clannad is a bit divisive, and while reading it I read a number of things on both sides of the debate. There were some that found it uninteresting and quit a few episodes in, there’s legions that thought it was the best series ever, and still others who thought it was just altogether bad. Given that some of the people I go to for anime advice panned it, I probably wouldn’t have watched it if not for the fact that it was on Netflix watch instantly.
I can’t say that I’m really in any of the camps above. It’s certainly not a bad anime. The art quality is quite good. The storyline is well constructed and well written. But it’s not the greatest series ever either, falling prey to many of the more annoying tropes of its particular genre, and having a huge block where it just doesn’t seem like it has any particular direction. That lack of direction is strange in that the ultimate storyline wouldn’t work without it despite it seeming like a distraction at the time.
There are 22 episodes in the primary arc for the first season of the show. The 3 initial episodes are used to introduce the main story arc and all of the characters. Immediately following this, it shifts to a character arc lasting 6 episodes, and the main story arc all but disappears. Character interaction and mild development keeps happening, but it seems like there was all this setup, then nothing.
Immediately after that 6 episode story arc is another 5 episode story arc about yet another completely different character. The main story arc gets a few more mentions here, but is mostly left in limbo.
After that, a brief period of cleaning up a few other story arcs and restarting the main arc again. The last two episodes are kind of a post-story arc and bridge to the second series, and the very last episode is an alternate timeline.
Of course, I first thought about how the storyline would go without those two huge sub arcs taking up half of all of the episodes. It might be tempting to cut them, or strip them down. Unfortunately, if you take those two out, the entire house of cards for the final arc comes apart. They seem so inconsequential, but without 3 characters doing the 3 musketeers thing for 6 episodes, then 5 characters doing the jackson 5 thing for a further 5 episodes, it would be completely baffling as to why they work so well together later on. Those arcs are both a strength and a huge weakness for the series. Also, they turn out to be essential for the second season, but I haven’t watched that yet.
One of the other weaknesses is the whole Harem anime genre has this annoying feature where the main character, no matter how despicable, seems to attract the attention of multiple females. There are really no other age appropriate characters for them to even choose from. All other male characters are solely there to make the main character look better by comparison, so they end up being comically lecherous or otherwise unbelievably repulsive in some way. They had to make Tomoya’s friend even more ridiculous because he has to make a jerk like Tomoya look good. I greatly prefer the way Harvest Moon: Back to Nature handled this sort of dating thing. Rather than having this thing happen because he’s the only alternative, Harvest Moon’s characters all have other perfectly good alternatives they can choose instead.
One thing that always irritates me about this genre is the whole getting waylaid by multiple women all trying to feed the main character as some sort of test of who he prefers. Ugh…
As far as it seeming death-obsessed, so far I haven’t seen that. Author’s post linking to the chart. So a few parents are dead, so there’s death as something to be avoided in the future. Nothing worse than most Disney movies. As for This post what’s so wrong with a fuzzy bunny layer once in awhile? They’re high school students, not soldiers fighting in a war or something. This is meant to cater to people’s nostalgia.
And having looked at that chart with all the spoilers, I understand why they are trying to help other people. I disagree with the author of that link. They do actually help and affect other people… Even though there isn’t obvious strife, there is the typical angst and loneliness for the characters that is typical of teenagers that they help them work through and it makes their life as a whole better. In the end, they do manage to prevent real strife in the final ending of the second season.
Really, it’s an interesting series but not the greatest in the world. I am looking forward to seeing how they handle the ending of the story after seeing the spoilers. I find the whole time loop to be interesting, as well as the multiple timelines thing.
As far as the alternate timeline goes from episode 24, it’s very interesting to see how things turned out. It’s very interesting yet very lonely compared to the main storyline. Interesting how they managed to jam about 46 some episodes of timeline from the main series into a single episode.