Clannad ~After Story~ Ep. 3: Disagreeing Hearts

Sunohara goes from WIN to complete and utter fail in the span of a single episode.  Okazaki’s stock with the other girls plummets faster than the Dow Jones.  The loli is sad and starts crying.  Nagisa is as lost as ever.

Just another day in the Clannad universe, right?  To everybody who says ~After Story~ could’ve been done in 12 episodes, fine, whatever.  I’m pretty glad they’re doing this story arc, and so far it’s going pretty well.  I just wish we didn’t need to wait 3 weeks for a widescreen version.  Whoever decided 4:3 is fine needs to be hanged.

Summary:

Sanae introduces herself to Mei as Isogai Sanako, a 17-yr old at the Sunohara’s school.  Mei thinks she looks familiar, but goes along anyway.  Nagisa and Tomoya have Mei fooled for now, but it’s pretty clear that Sunohara has no idea what he’s doing on a date.  His restaurant is a run of the mill katsudon vendor, he goes to the game and CD shop instead of going shopping or to the movies…this guy’s a lost cause.

As night falls, the group finds a young girl being bullied in the playground.  Tomoya is upset and moves to help, but Mei holds them back, waiting for Sunohara to make his move.  However, it’s clear Sunohara wants no part of it, and the girl’s brother finally appears to scatter the bullies.  Sanae is worried and decides to help the two find their way home, ruining Sunohara’s mood.  They’re on a date after all.  Sanae reminds him that while their time together is important, there are other more important things that sometimes come up.  Besides, she would like to see him again, a statement that instantly raises Sunohara’s mood.

Next day, Sunohara is still riding high, and even considers the prospect of what would happen if he married Sanae and Tomoya married Nagisa (remember, he still thinks Sanae is Nagisa’s sister).  They’d be one huge happy family!  At the end of the day, Tomoya and Nagisa find Mei waiting at the gates, but Sunohara has already left for home in anticipation of a phone call from his ‘girlfriend’.

Sunohara is clearly annoyed that Mei, Nagisa, and Tomoya all sit in his room while he waits for his phone call.  Sunohara tries to get Mei to go home, but Mei tosses things up by claiming she came to visit a person she likes.  Wishing her brother good luck with his love, she dashes out of the room, with Nagisa trailing her.  Tomoya tries to get Sunohara to chase her, but finally leaves him to run out himself.  Mei is disappointed that Sunohara doesn’t come get her; when they were younger, he was always the one protecting her from bullies, etc.  Mei sees the current Sunohara as a fake brother, and realizes that his girlfriend is a fake too.

Despite Mei figuring things out, Sanae still agrees to go out with Sunohara.  After explaining to Akio that it was for a play, Tomoya and Mei go out to keep an eye on the two.  However, they lose track of them very quickly, so they decide to go out to town to have fun instead.  Mei decides it’d be fun to have Tomoya as her Onii-chan for a day.  Tomoya tries to stop her, but it’s too late as Kotomi and the Fujibayashi sisters catch everything and run away in fear.

Mei continues to enjoy her day with her new “Onii-chan”, even getting a 2000 yen crepe and a shot in the purikura with Tomoya.  Sunohara arrives and spoils the mood, however, demanding to know what was the meaning behind the purikura pictures.  Tomoya claims that he’s broken up with Nagisa and is going out with Mei.  Although Sunohara is predictably angry, he doesn’t go chasing after them, leaving a very broken-hearted Mei.  She thinks that the only way Sunohara can go back to his former self is to have him play soccer again, but Tomoya thinks that it’ll be a lot of trouble to get him onto the field again.

Impressions:

  • The guy who stood for comic relief in the series finally gets the attention people think he deserves.  However, he is quite the jackass in this episode.  In fact, it’s an amazing difference between his usual self, who can crack jokes and make light of even the darkest things.  It’s a rather abrupt shift, really.  It makes you wonder if love can really twist people to that kind of extent.  Then again, Sunohara isn’t really in love, is he?  Maybe it’s ‘living a lie’ that is messing with his head.
  • Nagisa’s little statement on how it might’ve been better not to lie to Mei seems really contrite, but again, it’s a viewpoint I agree on.  Why take the trouble to deceive someone with something like this?  Especially when it’s your little sister, who obviously cares about you?  The entire situation is something that is purely “anime-only”, which takes away a bit of the impact.  However, there is still a sense of severity to this episode not found in the first two.
  • Poor Tomoya has had another one of those “wrong place, wrong time” moments.  It almost seems like the staff has decided to take out Ryou, Kyou, and Kotomi in preparation for whatever the next arc is.  From making Ryou cry to them thinking Tomoya is a pedo?  Defintely one way to alienate yourself from your friends.  A shame because Kotomi is just so much fun to watch.
  • Speaking of which, that crepe had better be good.  By today’s money, that’s a $20 USD crepe.  That strawberry that Tomoya ate is probably a good $2.50.  Also, last time I was in Japan all the purikura were restricted to girls only.  Maybe I was just going to the wrong game centers?
  • Next week could be the conclusion of this arc.  I’d assume they’d pull Sunohara out of his current funk, given next week’s episode title.  Maybe a better question is how they will approach this.  Tomoya’s final statement has made it pretty clear that soccer will be difficult for him, and the preview didn’t show any soccer related images.  They could choose to have Sanae snap Sunohara back to reality by revealing who she really is, or something bad could happen to Mei, or Sunohara wisens up all by himself.  I really doubt on the last one, though, so it’s a toss-up.

Preview:

“With a Smile Like That Day’s”…wow some of these episode titles don’t really translate well.

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