Clannad Ep. 24: Another World, Tomoyo Chapter

With their previous anime adaptations in Kanon and Air being received fairly well by the anime community, Key decided to put a third visual novel into anime form: Clannad.  Unlike previous Key adaptations, however, Clannad has a DVD OVA that has a totally different ending than the rest of the television series: a Tomoyo x Tomoya ending.  It’s kind of fun to watch and will certainly tide some fans over until the second season, but it also highlights what I think is a very big societal issue.

Synopsis:

In an alternate universe, moeblob Nagisa is nowhere near Tomoya.  Instead, he and Tomoyo have begun dating each other, with Tomoyo skipping classes and doing bad things just to be with him.  Things change when Tomoyo wins the election to be the student council president.  As she gains more responsibility, it becomes evident that her deviant behavior is all because of Tomoya (using PA for personal use, skipping class and being late to meetings, etc.).  A teacher and a member of the student council convince Tomoya to break up with Tomoyo because she can go so much farther without him (a well-known delinquent) dragging her down.  Despite Tomoyo’s protests and in spite of both of their feelings, Tomoya convinces her to let him go and pursue her dreams.

Even without Tomoyo watching over him, Tomoya continues to attend class, study, and be an overall good student; she’s apparently rubbed off on him a little.  However, the years of slacking off have taken its toll, and Tomoya finds he will never graduate; instead, he goes and tries to find a job, ending up working at a recycling factory.  In the meantime, Tomoyo has continued to excel in community service and in her studies, with offers to study abroad and other major endorsements of her capabilities coming almost daily.  However, she always keeps one eye on Tomoya.  In the end, Tomoya leaves Sunohara and the closing parties and walks home, stumbling into a waiting Tomoyo.  She had just completed a long and arduous fight to save the sakura trees in the area, a goal she could never give up on.  However, although she could do so many more things, she would rather be with the person she loves instead of doing things crafted by tests and numbers.  In the end, Tomoya is happily working at the recycling shop after reuniting with Tomoyo (who continues to cook for him).

Impressions:

I will be totally honest; I was not a huge fan of Clannad.  I still enjoyed it, but I thought that Kanon was better.  That could be because I really liked Kawasumi Mai’s character in Kanon, and Furukawa Nagisa annoyed the living daylights out of me.  Therefore, I was skeptical to see a Clannad OVA, especially since they’ve annoyed me more by announcing another season based on AFTER STORY, which is the continuation of the Nagisa arc.  Why people adore that moeblob I will never know, but I digress…

This OVA is actually a decent idea.  Considering that the entire series is based on a visual novel, it’s interesting to see an animation of the “What if he went with this character instead” question instead of just wishing the animators would do something about it.  This is probably because the producers are huge Tomoyo fans themselves (and that’s why Tomoyo After was made), but still, it provides an interesting alternate end to the series.

With that said, this is also one of the more…plausible relationships you will ever see out of a visual novel, and it’s done effectively in a single episode.  Within the span of 24 minutes (it even uses up the ED and credit time to do so), we get a quick explanation of why they’re together, then watch as they fall apart, fight the hardship of being alone, and end up together again.  Heck, they even got their trademark “sad girl in snow” scene in.  It’s a classic “love over all” kind of theme, but in conjunction with some believable characters (no Tomoyo butt-kicking in this one), it adds a sense of poignancy and humanity to the episode.  I think that this episode accomplished so much more than the entire Clannad series because it was so straightforward in its approach, and that’s quite an accomplishment.  It’s not quite up to Voices of a Distant Star quality, though.  While you certainly feel for their pain, and may (or may not?) approve when they finally end up together, it doesn’t have that capability to really pull at your heart and make you really emotionally attached to it.  Granted, summing up an entire visual novel route in one episode is hard, so I will forgive them that.

OVA does look at a rather unusual societal quirk that I have to raise an eyebrow towards, however.  Specifically, the social implications of relationships – Seeing the student council push Tomoya to the edge and to actually convince him that breaking up with Tomoyo would be in her best interests isn’t just plausible, I’m fairly sure it happens.  It’s a sad truth, but society thinks low of delinquents (and who is to blame?  They’re called such for a reason), and to be merely associated with one, much less in a relationship with one, puts your entire reputation at stake.  It’s a shame that the outside world has so much say on what should be a personal relationship between two people.  It’s in politics today, and apparently also in high school.

A smaller point, but the OVA also really shows the cutthroat nature of the Japanese educational system.  With people like Tomoyo, who study hard, contribute to the community, etc., they naturally get a chance to continue education and excel at what they do.  However, what about the delinquents like Sunohara and Tomoya?  There is no support structure, just a simple “we will find you a job you are happy with”.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of system to try and pick up these kids?  Japan’s educational system has the reputation of damning those who cannot make it to a top-tier school.  I know that it’s the way things have always been for countless generations, but for me, it’s a part of Japan that really needs modernizing.  Sure, some aren’t as smart as others, but education is still important no matter what, and instead of ignoring the students who aren’t performing, shouldn’t they be helping them, trying to get the motivated by any means possible?

Anyway, fans of Clannad (and maybe even those who didn’t watch the series) should take a look at the OVA.  It’s interesting in its own right, and is something worth watching while you wait for the first episode of AFTER STORY.  But while you watch the relationship develop, fall apart, and spring to life once more, just think: shouldn’t we just let people be with who they want to be with?

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9 Responses to Clannad Ep. 24: Another World, Tomoyo Chapter

  1. mithfalath says:

    Great. Probably one of the greatest reviews made. I could really relate to all that.
    And oh, while I was reading Voices of A Distant Star section in your review, my MP3 player suddenly played its theme (Through the Years and Far Away, Low), haha. What a coincidence. Haha..

  2. 竜神 says:

    Actually, with each having a thematic season, Air (Summer), Clannad (Spring), and Kanon (Winter) have all been animated, but there is another visual novel titled One (Fall) made by several of those that came to found Key.

  3. phelan says:

    Actually, I think One was already animated a while ago, both as all-ages and as an adult OVA. Never looked into it though; I guess I didn’t see the Key label on it and ignored it.

  4. 竜神 says:

    Yeah, One was the last game made by the founders of Key before they left Tactics, I believe they used to work for. I did forgot to mention it was animated. Its quality was pretty similar to the original Kanon animation since animated visual novels weren’t quite as common as they currently are. With Key’s other works finally animated as well, Clannad has completed their seasonal cycle at last. I was anticipating a Clannad production for years after Air, and the remake of Kanon pleased me to great extent during the wait. The next Key work I would like to see animated, if any, is Tomoyo After. Though I feel the story is lacking, she was a favorite. If you feel compelled to view them, they were both OVAs so it wouldn’t take too much time to suffer though.

  5. 竜神 says:

    Ah, Tomoyo After was also made during a period when Key pretty much started letting people create whatever project they wanted resulting in their other visual novels, if I remember correctly. One guy, who did much of the script for Clannad, decided he wanted to make Tomoyo After himself, not necessarily as a consensus or majority vote or such within Key itself.

  6. confused says:

    i dont understand it first Furukawa is going out with tomoya and now hes going out with another girl after the next episode and then the after story they never meet in the begin like the other season thingy i gdont understand its confusing and isnt Furukawa suppose to be sick and she turned into a little girl i dont know one of my friends told me that i dont understand ????? and tomoya falls in love with her though right answer back pease

  7. natter says:

    where can i watch it?

  8. Loki says:

    I know this review was made several years ago but i wanted to write something about the Society quirk part.
    Its shown in several animes and not only clannad, how your “historial” scars you for life in Japan.
    I find this is sickening and annoying as hell.

    In this series they tell Tomoyo that she was a delinquent and had several problems with gangs from other schools etc, and that would probably will not help with his Student Council President elections.

    Really?
    I know your past is always there, but the past is the past.
    But in Japan no. There seems to be no room for a person who wants to improve.

    I do approve of an academic historial, but an entire history of your behavior?. People do change, and during adolescence you commit lots of errors and stupidities that you need to look away from.
    But not in Japan! Nooo, That cookie you stole from your classmate at the age of 10 will haunt you for the rest of your life, do ya hear me, punk?
    What the F…. seriously.

    What youve told about the cutthroat nature of the Japanese educational system it is true, SADLY true. It is the system that makes delinquents in school be aware of their status and that they will never have the oportunity to change, so “fuck it, im no that smart, so ill never exert myself. Why? because im already a delinquent, im FUCKED for life”
    Truly a shame

  9. El says:

    I was unsure at the start whether I’d like the relationship, but I absolutely loved the whole thing. I think they did it really well within the single-episode timeframe.

    Very interesting review. I like how much thought you put into it. Also, as a teacher, I completely agree that there should be a support system in place to help ‘delinquents’ to have access to higher education. In Australia, students aren’t held back as much by the things they’ve done, or failed to do, in the past. Obviously, this is entirely dependant on just what they’ve done… but for the most part, if a student starts really working hard and has the help they need, they can get into a decent university and have a broader range of options later on in life. There are several pathways to university outside of school/exams, too. While there are many flaws in our system (and I could talk for hours about those), this is one thing I really appreciate about it. I wish I could translate that aspect of it when I’m working in Japan 😦

    – Although, having said that, I think there are options… many of them based partially online. But people would need a lot of support to get there.

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