I was browsing a thread about Clannad After Story on the My Anime List boards, and there was a particularly great response to a comment I made. I thought I’d share it. By the way, it contains spoilers galore for Clannad and After Story. Merushi writes:
Since I myself don’t really have much in common with Tomoya, I was curious how someone who did would feel after seeing Clannad (especially After Story).
You’re absolutely right about Clannad playing with all sorts of emotion. Though I don’t have kids yet, I still feel the story has changed the way I think and feel about things in life.
Still being in college and living ‘under mama’s wings’ you don’t have to deal with the real hard thing life is.
When Tomoya seemed to fall from one hard and sad moment in the next one, I thought you’ve got to be kidding me (I really said that out loud when Ushio died), no one has that much misfortune (I know he’s not Mr. Perfect himself, but everyone has his flaws).
I already knew life wasn’t going to be easy, but at that moment I realized things like this happen everyday around the world. To many people have this much misfortune and sadly they don’t wake up like it was all a dream.
Though you might think it’s easy for me to say, but I really do think this anime has given me a small lesson about life, a warning, but also a ‘getting to know myself better’ kinda feeling. It made me think of how I look at ‘life’ myself, and it made me feel like I’m a small step closer to ‘becoming a man’ like people discribe it.
I know I still got a long way to go, ‘real life’ has yet to begin and the hardest parts of life are still ahead of me. But I’m sure this story will always be in my mind, remembering me life isn’t easy and everyone has to overcome his problems.
Though this story is only fiction, you’ve got to admit it felt damn real, whatever your background is.
That the true power of this story. Because everone can write a slice of life (or in this case a rather big slice), but can you put this kind of message in it, can you put in this much real emotion? If you can, you’re either Jun Maeda or some other genius.^^
Anime isn’t just another form of entertainment for most of us. It often produces a deeply personal connection within us, whether or not we’ve been through an experience anything like our protagonists’. And some works will move us to become a better person. To me, the movies and anime that I value most make a connection in me emotionally, and if a piece does that, it’s likely to change me in some way. That’s why I count Dead Man Walking, United 93, and The Passion of the Christ among my favorite movies, though all three can be hard to watch.
As I mentioned in my Anime of a Diary Lived post, Clannad goes to a place that view series go to and takes us through difficult scenarios that, though they may unlikely, are still everyday situations. Tomoya’s life is more difficult than most of ours’, even before his life falls apart. I think it’s wise to think on his story and put our stories in perspective. We sometimes get dramatic about relatively small things in our lives – a teacher who gets on our cases or an argument with a boyfriend or girlfriend. But we can make it through these difficulties (I would add a wonderful way is by relying on the Anchor, Jesus Christ). Part of that is by looking at what others are going through in less-fortunate places in which people haven’t even heard of anime, much less have access to it.
The holiday season is around the corner (and if you count Halloween, it’s already started). It’s a chance to put things in perspective and to reach out to others – to think about orphans whose parents have died in war, little kids and women who are virtual slaves in sex trafficking operations, and boys and girls in third world nations who have never received a Christmas gift. I hope you’ll consider volunteering, donating, or otherwise helping others this holiday season. You could start with some of my favorite charities and organizations. You could choose a different one aiming at a worldwide issue. Or you can even focus locally, where abuse, neglect, homelessness, terminal disease and all sorts other tragedies occur daily. Just do something.