Clannad After Story : A Story That Will Make You Go Emo

Clannad After Story is a sequel to the first Clannad. Everyone graduates and moved on with the lives. Tomoya and Nagisa’s relationship becomes more intimate, more than ever. The story mainly focuses on these two. Are you ready to go emo? Sure you are. Spoilers ahead.

Okay, I honestly stopped watching this around Episode 14. I figured that it’s not Clannad without the rest of the guys. That’s what made the first one so damn fun to watch. Sunohara is not around doing stupid things and Tomoyo is not around constantly kicking his ass. The neat side stories about the different characters was a nice touch. Very touchy indeed. This sequel lacks all of that. But yesterday, I decided to finish this one up. Now I regret not finishing it up sooner.

I’m going fast forward this quick…

Tomoya and Nagisa decided to get married. Which was understandable since these two were made for each other. Tomoya also got a pretty decent job working for a electrical contractor. With Tomoya having a steady good job and Nagisa being the cutest housewife you can ever have, things look good for the road of having a perfect family.

Then Nagisa missed her period and yes..BINGO, she’s preggers! I don’t know how or when but yes they definitely were having sex. Nagisa even embarassingly admitted it. Haha. Hard to imagine but that’s reality. Babies don’t come out of nowhere. Everyone is all excited and Tomoya needs to get ready to be an awesome dad. Nagisa also got this cool idea of giving birth at home with the aid of a midwife. Bizarre request but understandable. I have personal objections to this but that’s another discussion.

Woot right?

We all know Nagisa’s body is weak and her being pregnant just makes it a hundred times more dicey. She could die during labor. This revelation hit Tomoya like a sack of bricks. Choose the life of his child to risk his wife’s life or to abort the child to save the wife? Tough decisions there. But Nagisa will make the ultimate decision.  Of course she quickly wanted to go all the way. Actually knowing this, I am not sure if they still wanted to do the midwife thing, since they know the huge risks now.

Months went by and it was getting closer to the due date. Nagisa and Tomoya went to the beach, to clear the minds and to ultimately name their baby. They initally threw out names that were a variation of Nagisa-somethings. Not so hot sounding. So Nagisa said, “Ushio”. Ushio is something about how the tide water rises and goes out. Now that’s a name! It’s a unisex name too. They decided on that name with addition that a promise that all three of them will come back here next year.

A promise could tell you many things, many things to come.

The city is snowed in and Nagisa is in serious labor. There’s no way they can run for the hospital now. The midwife shows up and manages to successfully deliver the baby. Tomoya is lit up with overwhelming joy with the baby in his arms. However, Nagisa is drifting out of consciousness. She closes her eyes and her arm becomes limp. She dies.

Let’s stop here for a moment.

If you watch enough anime, many things are predictable. This is no different. With the promise they made earlier, it sealed the fate of Nagisa. It’s almost a cliche jinx anime characters set upon themselves. You can see it coming from a mile away but nothing prepares you for the emotions you’re going to experience when it does happen. I was severely sadden with her death. I thought she will make it somehow, even with a sliver of a chance. With this I wondered, how can they muster up a happy ending now?

It’s not Clannad unless you experience a rollercoaster of emotions.

Five years passed, and Tomoya is a freaking train wreck. He lives alone, smokes and hang out at the Pachinko arcades like a loser. Man WTF happened to him? Remind you of someone? We’ll get to that later. Ushhio is nowhere to be found. That was a complete mystery for me. No way he put her up for adoption. He’s too good for that. Where is she? Well later we found out that she’s living with her grandparents: Sanae-san and Akio. At least we know she’s in good hands.

Sanae-san and Akio devised a plan to have Ushio and Tomoya hang out with each other. They really don’t know each other, only seeing each other once awhile. Maybe less than that even. So it’s a great oppurtunity to bond. Some old fashion Father-Daughter bonding. They go on a trip with each other. They are like a pair of strangers. You know them but you don’t really know them.

Tomoya took Ushio to a field of flowers. A very nostalgic place. He remembers something about this place. He runs up some stairs and there an old woman was sitting there waiting for him. She knows who he is but he doesn’t know who she is. Or rather doesn’t remember who she is. She is the mother of his father, Tomoya’s grandmother. This is an interesting meeting.

Grandparents are a wealth of knowledge, insight and possess some unseen powers.

His grandmother tells him about his father. His father was a great person. He will take Tomoya to places, including this place. They will have fun and Tomoya begins to recollect these fond memories which he choose to forget all of this time. When Tomoya’s mother died in a car accident, the father tried to raise Tomoya the best he could. But unfortunately he quickly went downhill, with gambling debts and alcoholism. You see him in the first Clannad  and how screwed up he is. She tells him that is the direction he’s quickly heading towards. Tomoya by now realizes that he is not some shit father that he thought all along. His grandmother wants his father to come home.  Tomoya gladly accepts the request to help that along.

The places you can cry are in the bathroom and in Daddy’s arms.

Tomoya returns back to the field where Ushio is searching for the lost robot. She was unable to find it. There Tomoya wanted to her to live with him so he can be a proper father after so many years of not being one. Ushio was unable to hold back her tears and cried on his shoulder. I honestly can tell you, my eyes were welling up with tears. This scene was so touching that Tomoya and Ushio are no longer strangers but Father and Daughter. Their renewed lives start here…

Closure is good for the soul…

While Ushio is moving in with her father, there is something Tomoya must do. He went to his father’s home. His father is in the same state as we saw him previously. But now Tomoya has this new found respect for his father. Respect for things he did to make ends meet and for his undying effort to properly raise him as a man. His father is like a soldier who lost himself while fighting in the battlefield and now it is time for him to come home. Mission accomplished. Tomoya cleans him up and packed his clothes. They say their last words before he leaves. Tomoya is suddenly bombarded with memories of his father trying his best. He could barely hold back his tears. The say their goodbyes and he walks away to finally go home to his mother.

Happiness is without tragedy.

Just when I thought a happy ending is guaranteed, everything was shot when  Ushio fell ill. It was the same illness that afflicted Nagisa. I thought this was damn screwed up to have this hit Tomoya twice. Ushio’s illness never subsided and she couldn’t attend school.  She was quickly following the footsteps of her mother. Tomoya quits his job to take care of her full time. Ushio’s health is clearly detoriating as Winter is upon them. Ushio asks Tomoya if they could go back to the fields of flowers again. He was reluctant at first but Ushio pressed the issue. Tomoya agreed to the propostion and they both head out in the cold. They started walking to the train station as it begins to snow. Ushio steps are becoming weaker, barely carrying herself. She falls but Tomoya is there to catch her. She asks, “Where are we? Are we on the train?”.  He replies, “Yes we’re on the train already”. “It’s dark, is it night?”, she asks. “It’s already midnight”, he said. She says “I love you” and Tomoya tells her he loved her too. Ushio closes her eyes and her body is limp. Tomoya frantically cries her out name but she does not respond as she lay lifeless in his arms. He cries out for Nagisa to save them.

The Girl and the Robot in the world that ended.

In the end we are treated with a piece of information to who the Girl and Robot were. The girl was Ushio and the Robot is Tomoya. The girl tells the Robot she had a dream. She dreamt about their lives together in another world. She tells him how close they were. She tells the robot that if he fell asleep now, he will awake in the other world. The Robot wanted the Girl to go too but she can’t. She IS the world and therefore if she leaves, the world goes with her. A blinding light descends upon them, dematerializing the Robot. Her last words before the Robot disappears are, “Goodbye, Daddy”.

There shall be no regrets.

Tomoya being hit hard by the death of Nagisa and even the eventual death of Ushio, he wishes he never met Nagisa. None of this pain and sadness exist if he hadn’t met her. But he take all of that back and hugs Nagisa. She thanks him for never regret meeting her. He thanks her for saving him. Then we are rolled back to the day Ushio was born. Tomoya was still holding Nagisa’s hand and he cries out to her. She quietly responds back to him. She’s still alive and hanging on. The series ends with a montage of Nagisa and Tomoya raising Ushio and their former high school classmates in their each individual endevours.

Final thoughts.

Clearly I love this anime a lot, since I wrote this long ass synopsis or some crap like that. I enjoyed the entire series. I laughed and I cried. You expect things to happen but you never expected the impact on yourself and the overwhelming toll on your emotions. This is what Clannad is all about. This is what anime is all about. There were many moments in the series where you were riveted to the situation. So riveted that you will start cursing at the screen demanding for the sadness to disappear forever! Clannad showed us that whatever you do is to never regret what you did in life. Cherish the happiness you created by choosing that one path.