CLANNAD, Episode 1

So, this is finally the start of Fall season for me, and it is quite a start: CLANNAD.
As a complete newbie, I won’t be able to know about anything about “adaptation” and the like. Considering the previous Kyoto Animation works, I can expect good works, but I prefer to see by myself instead of using “premade opinion” which can be a prejudice ^^”

Well, shall we start?

Opening Theme : メグメル ~ cockool mix 2007 (Megu meru – Mag Mell), by Riya.

The opening begins slowly with a snowy scenery, where an object is moving (a toy?). Then, the landscape completely shifts with a grassy and sunny scenery, where a girl is sleeping. This girl appears to be in some woods. Then, the scene shifts with another scenery, where a little girl is running accross a grassy field.
Following the series logo, each girl is introduced with a render, and several scenes involving them in their daily life.
The rest of the characters are presented after that. The opening ends with Nagisa in a white background, with many sakura petals, and then a landscape sequence.

My thoughts on this opening are positive: I really liked the sheer amounts of colors, and very nifty animation.
It is heartwarming, and there are various interesting parts (who is that sleeping girl? Younger Nagisa?).
The presentation of the 5 “main” girls might annoy some people (neh, Sukai-kun?) but I don’t mind it at all, though it looks really a blatant “game introduction”. That said, the quality and the choices of the said sequences are very good (you can easely determine somehow their personality). This goes the same for the secondary characters, in a much smoother way.
Very very neat opening, with a soothing song. It isn’t as beautiful as Tori no Uta (Air), or Last Regrets (Kanon), but it is very fitting (tones and lyrics).
General appreciation: I believe it is the best Opening among the 3 Key/KyoAni series.


CLANNAD, Episode 1:

To the slope where sakura petals fall

The story starts with Okazaki Tomoya, the protagonist. Walking in the town, Tomoya’s monologue describes how he hates this city because it has memories he would like to forget. He has to go school everyday, hanging around with friends, then going back to a home he dislike. He wonders if someday things will change, then he questions if this day will happen. He then meets Nagisa, who is alone and spacing out.
She is suddenly blurting “Anpan!”., then asks if s/he likes this school. Nagisa says she really really loves this school. However nothing can remain the same forever. Tomoya figures that she is probably talking to someone in her mind. She then talks about fun moments, happy moments, these things won’t stay the same, so she questions if one can come in such place. Tomoya then speaks up, assuring her it should be okay for her to find it. She is surprised and then turns herself to him. Tomoya then adds she just has to find the next fun and happy moment. Afterwards, he tells her they have to go to school.

This is afternoon, and Tomoya visits a dorm. Sunohara Youhei, his friend is in PINCH with the rugby club members, who are very angry that Youhei plays his CD loudly. Tomoya arrives and Youhei begs some help, but Tomoya doesn’t want to help an idiot.
Youhei is then abducted and used as a ball!
After Sagara Misae (the caretaker) is dashing like mad, scolding hard the rugby guys, who just fled. Misae complains that she is the one who get blamed by the neighbors when there is a commotion in the dorm.
Tomoya comments how it is hard for Misae, while Youhei complains that she was too slow.

Back in his room, Youhei still complains about the rugby club, but it appears their room are adjacent, thus explaining their complain about Youhei loud activities. Tomoya teases him, nearly taunting the Rugbymen. Youhei talks about the fact they are just outnumbering him, and someday he will beat them, and Tomoya will have to cover him. Tomoya happily says he will take care of him instead, which freaks Youhei out, insisting he will have to go against the Rugby guys. Tomoya is indifferent, and claims he is friend with them. Youhei has another funny reaction, which angers again their neighbors.
They keep going in such “friendly-hostile” mood, and Tomoya comments how boring his life is.

A strange scene occurs, with a boy voice talking about “this world” which has ended. Nothing either die or is born. The time flow doesn’t affect, as the concept doesn’t apply on this world. The boy comments that if he needs a place to be born, that world wouldn’t be the good place, that’s what he felt. We see a strange room, mainly made of lumber. We see some light from a window, and a table. The boy then says there is a person living in this world, it is a girl, brown long hair, golden eyes. He doesn’t know if she can sees him, since he wasn’t born in this world. He then says the girl is living alone in such world, and weirdly enough, she interests him.

Tomoya almost arrives in the classroom, but hears some boys talking on his back, about the fact he and Youhei don’t show up often, putting them in ridicule about their future etc. He doesn’t care much and enters.
Ryou Fujibayashi approaches him. She mentions that Tomoya is once again late and it would be nice if he comes at time everyday,. He comments how she sounds like a class president. Ironically, she is, and some guys jokingly warn him to not make her cry, otherwise an angry sister will pop out. Ryou assures she isn’t crying. Tomoya then gives up and understands and they will see how tomorrow will be. Ryou picks a card deck, and claims she will do a prediction. However, while she is shuffle the cards, Ryou messed up and drops them on the ground. As Tomoya is about to picks them up, Ryou suddenly says Tomoya will be late tomorrow, which isn’t exactly pleasing him. She explains the cards announced it: he will be with a girl, in a romantic mood, and will lose track of the time because of this.

Suddenly, a LOUD voice is heard, and a big dictionary is flying STRAIGHT to Tomoya. He barely dodges the thick book. Kyou charges in the classroom, wondering if he bullied her sister, grabbing his tie.
Of course, Tomoya and Ryou quickly dissipate the misundertanding, so Kyou releases his tie.
Then she wonders about if she got Ryou’s prediction, and Tomoya talks about he will be with a girl, for a romantic moment. Kyou is amused by this, and pats his shoulder, wishing him to do his best.

Tomoya is walking in the school near of the footlocker space, and hears a ghost story from some guys. In the court, Tomoya meets Nagisa, who is eating alone. Tomoya wonders what she is doing here alone. However, she doesn’t say anything, and he notices she is eating an anpan. Tomoya asks if she listened to him, but she apologizes, saying she is currently eating her meal. Tomoya understands and quietly sits next to her.

After Nagisa is done with her bread and drink, while Tomoya was patiently eating his Yakisoba pan, the girl then asks what was his question. Tomoya once again asks her why she is eating alone.
Weirdly enough, she begins to ask if he likes this school, and she says she really does.
Tomoya wonders what’s wrong, then Nagisa had wonderful friends. Unfortunately for her, she was weak and ill, and she had to skip school for a long time. Tomoya figures that Nagisa couldn’t pass because of this, which she confirms. As result, all of her friends already graduated, and she felt like Urashima Tarou. She apologizes for the discussion turning only on herself, despite she just has met him. Tomoya then figures why she was saying this to herself, and he wonders if she joined a club or something. She explains she would like to join the drama club, but she isn’t confident because of her weak body. Tomoya tells her she should just do what she can, and visiting the club after school should be fine. Nagisa is hesistant, then he shows her two girls on the rooftop, and she should try to befriend with them, suggesting to wave and smile at them. She tries it, but they didn’t notice her, and leave.

Suddenly, they hear some motobike noises, and wonder what’s going on. In the sport field, Some punks are showing off on their bikes, while some girls were happen to do some sport. Youhei is thrilled about this, and Tomoya asks what’s going on (while he is piggy back on him). Youhei explains some outsiders are just on their bikes for a fight
Suddenly, we hear an uproar of the girls. It is Tomoyo who is getting in the middle of the field, alone.

Tomoyo is scolding the motorbike punks, while Nagisa wonders why such thing would happen. Tomoya explains this is the best school in the area, so it is getting on the nerves on some outsiders.
He removes his coat, and Youhei wonders what he is trying to do. Tomoya explains he won’t stay silent and doing nothing. However, the girls around claim it is okay, since it is Sakagami Tomoyo. He is oblivious and the girls explain that Tomoyo can handle this matter.

Tomoyo is still giving them a lecture, and the punks aren’t happy. They decide to charge her. Tomoyo jumps, and do a superb rotated kick on the first biker. Then she pummels the second bike with lightning speed successive kicks. The result of this? 3 morons flying in the air, with the 2 bikes (and optionally: many debris as well). Everyone is speechless, and Youhei wonders what was that.

Nagisa and Tomoya are back in the court and they talk a bit. He compares her situation with Tomoyo’s, as she was transferred recently but she is already popular.
He then leaves, and Nagisa stands up, thanking him for keeping company with her. They introduce each other as Okazaki Tomoya and Furukawa Nagisa.
Tomoya was thinking about this while spacing out in classroom, but Youhei snaps him out, asking him to join him after the lesson.

Youhei is taunting Tomoyo about her stunt, and talks about some chauvinism stuff: there is no way a girl can beat a guy, and he implies that Tomoyo bribed the bikers so she could show off. Tomoya is next to him, but clearly not willingly to interfer or to participate in this thing. Youhei is going further in his excentric speech, as Tomoyo might have offered something else instead of money, concluding her advantage as a girl is handy to make idiots guys doing whatever she wants. Girls afar identified the 2 guys as delinquents, while Tomoyo is glaring at Tomoya, which makes him settping back. She keeps her composure, but claims she planned to deal no harm to anyone of the same school, and Youhei will be an exception.The later is not taking her seriously, and comments how she is cute etc. Tomoyo has enough and says to bring it on, as she would like to keep it as self defense. Youhei is confident and charges with a punch.
Tomoya suddenly remembers about a beautiful and very strong girl being able to taking down any people trying to mess with others.
Result? Youhei completely beaten up.

Tomoya is going upstairs and sees Nagisa from afar, trying to enter in the drama club. He notices she is saying “hamburger” to herself. She then enters, but she freezes. Tomoya wonders what’s wrong and checks on it, and he sees that the drama club room has its stuff packed. He pats Nagisa’s head and she realizes it is him. He remembers that the club was already closed last year, and Nagisa understands they didn’t have enough members. Both are outside. Ryou notice them and blushes, running away.
Tomoya explains the club still can be started back again if some conditions are met. Nagisa isn’t too sure of it, while Tomoya suggests her to try it again, and he will help her.
Nagisa wonders why he is supporting her, despite they have just met. Tomoya is honest and doesn’t know. Nagisa smiles and blushes.

Tomoya is roaming aimlessly in the town, and spends his time on a hill, looking at the sky while sitting on a bench, for several hours, considering he stayed from late afternoon until nightfall.
Tomoya is back in the town and on a crossroad, remembers what Nagisa told him this afternoon before parting. She indicates her family bread shop is over there and he can visit them whenever he wants.

Tomoya pays a visit in it. He sees many type of breads, and is then welcome by Furukawa Sanae, Nagisa’s mother. Sanae explains this is her special recipe, and offers gladly a free bread of hers, since these are leftovers. As he is biting it, he is quite surprised by its content, and discovers that the bread is stuffed with some senbei.
He comments how her name is impressive, but her bread skills are even unbelievable and Sanae is quite glad. However, as she is approaching him, she then wonders what’s up, and Tomoya decides to be frank, and criticizes Sanae’s bread as a failure, dealing her a KILLING blow.
Sanae is crying and runs away.
Tomoya comments that both mother and daughter are quite alike, and hopes the father would be “normal”.

Tomoya is then “patted” with a gentle kick. He wonders who it is, and it is an ANGRY (flaming!) man, wielding a BASEBALL BAT. Furukawa Akio is saying he must say it is “good”, as an act of decency and compassion, just like people around are already doing so or else… he beats the crap out of him! Then Akio notices Tomoya’s uniform, and realizes he is maybe Nagisa’s friend.

Tomoya is stuck in a very family situation. Akio is very friendly and playful with Tomoya, apologizing for his demeanor earlier. Sanae doesn’t really agree about his behaviour with their guest.
They are not really used that a friend of Nagisa would come, and Sanae comments it is a guy. Akio suddenly says “really?” which makes Tomoya wonders if he noticed it only now.
Sanae wonders if he might be nagisa’s boyfriend in the future, but Akio says he will never give her to him, and shuns him with his hand.
Tomoya tries to leave, but Akio forces him to stay, wondering if he is a man. If it is the case, he has to do anything to get his girl, even in force. Of course, he finishes his lecture, assuring he still won’t give his daughter to him.

Nagisa finished preparing the meal. They are going to eat together, and Nagisa introduces Tomoya. Akio and Sanae begin to have fun thinking of a new name for him. They are so crazy in this they think about Daiuchuu Ginga (Grand Space Galaxy) or Okazaki Tomoya Eternal. They are spending the rest of the time quite happily.

Tomoya is walking back home and Nagisa accompanies him. Tomoya told her he isn’t really used with this kind of mood, thinking it is quite special, which surprises Nagisa, as she thinks it is rather normal.
Once back home, he founds his father in a very messed state (along with trash) in a room without any light.
Tomoya wakes him up, saying he shouldn’t sleep here, but his father just realizes he is back from school.
Tomoya is angry and run away. He explains that since he was a kid, his mother passed away from a car accident, and his father turned alcoholic and a gamble addict.

Somewhere, Tomoya stops, out of breath, then suddenly notices Nagisa, asking if it is okay with him if she can takes him to the place where the wishes come true. Tomoya is dumbstruck, but accepts.




Ending Theme : だんご大家族 (Dango Daikazoku – A large family of Dango), by Chata.

The ending is pretty much “short” in concept: some dango are shown as family and many things about life.

Despite the short description and the “fool” appearance of this ED, it is really original and touching. The ending perfectly portrayed a family mood, and it is very heartwarming (well at least for me). Definitely not a budget ED (though one might think they shifted the ED budget to the OP) considering how effective it is. Who needs awesome visual quality, while you can do simple and straightfoward stuff?



Thoughts :

The new production of Kyoto Animation is now out, and things are pretty much what anyone would expect: great quality.
That said, a pretty package doesn’t mean anything, as the content might be poor, right?

So let’s see.
My first impressions of CLANNAD are very very positive, considering the mood, characters and the pace.
Basically, the episode 1 succeeded in an effective approach of introducing the series, without getting stuck in the usual issue with romance/slice of life anime series as “artificial character introduction sequence”.
Tomoya wasn’t blurting things out of the blue, and his personality was quite sharp, given and pretty much empathic. He isn’t the only one, as each girls are “peculiar” though they don’t see “out of picture”, except maybe Nagisa, who has obviously issues considering her situations.
This is where I enjoyed a lot this episode, because the chemistry between the characters felt very natural to me: their interactions are directs, without any attempt to pull out devices and the like.

The mood is what I could expect of this genre, though the characters are fleshing out very well the “life” around the school.
The pacing was another great factor, as It was not slow for me, nor rushed. Granted, I can understand the “aftermath” of Tomoyo’s scene was a bit fast, as they switched directly with Nagisa and Tomoya, then Tomoya in the classroom, but they surely crafted the pace around some dynamism, while Kanon was really slow paced in the start, since the feel was greatly different (not really around life, but around something like a fairy tale, etc).

The content itself then introduced many good characters in their environment, but also various hints, especially that unknown girl. Who it is? Young Nagisa? Hard to tell. The boy is most likely Tomoya (well I think). But considering the actual situation of the plot, it looks like the “supernatural” won’t kick in soon, and it might be foreshadowed again in the future. That’s nice, as it doesn’t look abrupt, and it serves quite right, like Kanon did with various inconsistency (Makoto popping from nowhere without any relative, etc) to foreshadow the plot.

The characters, as I said earlier were nicely portrayed, and I must say they aren’t feeling too cliché, even Nagisa.
The later is UBER cute/moe, though she isn’t the usual “sicky in distress girl”, not the idiotic moe klutz around (she completely beats Ayu, hands down for me). Her bashful personality is fitting her mindset and her situation. Let’s not mention her habit, defying completely “uguu”: saying out loud some food, to cheer herself up ^^
She first used “anpan“, then “hamburger“. Basing on the second PROMO video, she even said “Tonkatsu!” (pork ribs) ^^
And fun fact: she eats what she announced a bit earlier. An pan? check. Hamburger? check with the diner.

Tomoya, as I said earlier, is empathic to me, as he isn’t the “nice guy around”, nor the “badass / emo” one either. He looks rather mature, though indifferent. Unlike Kyon, his views are “flexible” but just like him, he doens’t want to get troubles and such. He looks like a realist “average high schooler”, with many potential, either because of his situation, personality or relatives.

The fujibayashi sisters are interesting, though they don’t exactly show their full potential. That said,Kyou quickly grows on me, and this is a good thing, as I’m somewhat loving/hating “tsundere. And the good thing? Kyou doesn’t look like a dumb tsundere. I don’t even believe she is one at all for the moment.
Probably going to be my favourite character, followed by Tomoyo and Nagisa.

Speaking of Tomoyo, her composure and mature side (along with her HAXX chun li skills) are very interesting, though she doesn’t look as “cold” as Kotomi (who will show up next week). Both her and Kotomi reminds me of Mai from Kanon, though Tomoyo doesn’t look that silent and “asocial”, but she has her softness. Kotomi, in my eyes, looks like she has the nonchalant/indifferent and cold demeanor of the kanon swordmaiden.

Youhei is a great comic relief: not retardly idiot, or too “naissu”. I believe he is going farther than Kitagawa Jun from Kanon. That said, I guess he will help Tomoya and Nagisa, as I don’t think he will be stuck in such role of punching ball as he is quite close to Tomoya.

I truely loved the Furukawa parents, especially Akio, who cracked me up with his genki and manly attitude XD (his absurd use of “teme” and “yaro” didn’t help ^^”. note that we FINALLY have a father ALIVE in such story !), and the family scene was really heartwarming.
Talking about heartwarming, 2 other scenes catched my attention as well.
The first one was probably the pat. This scene literally pulled me a “aww”, when Tomoya patted Nagisa’s head. The terrific part of this is that it looked natural, even they just have met each other recently, as their bound is quite special already.
The second impressive scene in that regard was probably the very start: The whole world in a monochromatic exposure. It basically reflects how Tomoya is thinking, and suddenly, Nagisa brought colors to him, as he interacted with her. This thing can be two sided, as Nagisa will most likely be affected by Tomoya, as shown when she followed him, and during this episode.
These 3 scenes were really the best parts of the episode for me, alongside with other good stuff, such like Youhei being beaten up, Tomoyo’s gorgeous kick skills, etc.

As I said in the firts paragraph, the quality is TOP NOCHT, and was ridiculously contrasting with Lucky Star. Not sure if the “joke” about budget on LS for CLANNAD isn’t a true statement after all, meh. Frankly, KyoAni was able to pull a neat quality to bypass Kanon.
The details on the eyes, the gradients for the hairs and cloths. Let’s not talk about the animated portions as well. (talking about animated portion, the part of the unknown girl around 6:07 is OVERKILL. The moves are so fluid it made me jawdrop Oo. I’m wondering how many frames there are for this scene alone, but it is HUGE)

The BGM are quite nice, and not invasive. They are not exceptional, but very very good for the mood. One peculiar took my attention: Nagisa’s theme, which has many messages behind, and i’m quite sure they will put many strong and powerful scene with it.

As you can see, I’m very enthusiastic with CLANNAD, and I will gladly follow this series.



3 Responses to “CLANNAD, Episode 1”

  1. 1 innominate October 8, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Kyoani repeated that introductory technique =)

    “The second impressive scene in that regard was probably the very start: The whole world in a monochromatic exposure. It basically reflects how Tomoya is thinking, and suddenly, Nagisa brought colors to him, as he interacted with her. This thing can be two sided, as Nagisa will most likely be affected by Tomoya, as shown when she followed him, and during this episode.”

    The desaturation at the very beginning, which subsequently burst into colour, well, was reminiscent of the filmography at the very beginning of suzumiya haruhi. ;D But it was pretty neat; like a literal manifestation of ‘breaking the ice’, I thought.

    I really liked the ED, though I would have liked it better without the waving bunny D:

    Anyway I will just have to wait for the other episodes to come out, can’t say too much for now xD.

  2. 2 Kuros October 18, 2007 at 12:09 am

    I really enjoyd the first and second episodes, I enjoyed the other kyoto animations, and the other works of key eg Kanon and Air. I love the music and the series has a mysterious feel to it, I hope it will be as good or better than Kanon and Air, and i love the music which is played. I allready the the ost on order 🙂

  3. 3 robelyn May 18, 2010 at 5:27 am

    it was very very cute and lovely..

    and i love the anime much:)

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October 2007
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