The Eighth Day of Christmas Anime: Clannad After Story

Clannad After Story
Episode 10: “Season of Beginnings”

In this aptly named episode of the second season of Clannad, Okazaki Tomoya and his friends have just graduated from high school, with the important exception of Tomoya’s girlfriend Furukawa Nagisa. Having missed too many days of school due to illness yet again, Nagisa will be repeating the year a second time. Tomoya, who never had any intention of going to college, takes a job immediately with Nagisa’s parents in their bakery.

It is hard going for both Nagisa and Tomoya. Nagisa trudges through school that year — which is no easy task when everyone knows she is repeating the year for the second time, and when her beloved drama club is shut down due to a lack of interest among her fellow students. Meanwhile, Tomoya works hard at the bakery for little pay. To be fair, though, Nagisa’s parents have been giving Tomoya room and board for a long while so that he doesn’t have to live with his abusive and alcoholic father.

A chance meeting with Yoshino Yuusuke, former rock star turned responsible husband, gives Tomoya a job lead; and another chance meeting with the Fujibayashi sisters (former classmates) gives him a lead on an apartment. We are seeing Tomoya’s deepening love for Nagisa, and the natural desire to be a responsible adult so as to be able to support a family, work results in his life that we would have believed impossible at the beginning of the anime.

Nagisa’s father Akio, in spite of how he looks, knows the right time to grab baseball gloves and take Tomoya aside to play some catch-ball, man to man. Seizing the opportunity, Tomoya essentially asks Akio for Nagisa’s hand in marriage. After a long awkward pause, Akio replies, “She’s an adult, she can do what she wants.” (Thanks for the overwhelming vote of confidence, future father-in-law.)

An odd way to ask to marry someone's daughter

Soon Tomoya moves out into his own apartment, and takes the physically grueling job as Yuusuke’s partner, maintaining public electrical wires. Nagisa stops by often to cook him meals, as Tomoya can do little besides flop over the threshold, especially at first. But if ever there were an anime character whom love for his koibito changed completely, and perhaps even saved from a horrible fate, it would be Okazaki Tomoya.

Maybe YOU'RE wondering it, Tomoya-kun, but WE'RE absolutely certain of it.

Falling in love and starting a family are among the most influential change agents a person can experience. Given my interest in character development in anime, how can I not warm to Tomoya’s story? In a show which I figured was about how Tomoya changes the life of everyone he meets, maybe it’s just as much about how falling in love changes his life.

As I type, I’ve just finished the halfway point of Clannad After Story. I’m told the really emotional, even tragic, parts of the story are yet to come. Yet Okazaki Tomoya and the people in his life have by now so made me care about them that I must see them through.

I will be rooting for them all, of that I am sure.

Christmas spirit score: 4/10. The overt Christmas scenes were in the previous episode, including a scene featuring Tomoya’s buddy Sunohara Youhei as an unlikely Santa. This episode has only good wholesome themes like hard work and togetherness with family, along with my favorite Christmas present of all — character development.

On the eighth day of Christmas, anime gave to me love changing a boy into a man,
three homeless heroes,
a widow knitting scarves,
Rin’s charming grins,
Naru looking pretty,
knitting for a crush,
a Paper Sisters birthday,
and friends for a former emperor.

R86

R86 is a chemistry professor, which is the sort of job that probably made you stop reading already. He teaches at Texas A&M University, also known to Austin dwellers as "Enemy Territory." In his spare time, he enjoys music (flute/saxophone/clarinet and MIDI/Vocaloid synthesis), gaming, and watching anime.

10 thoughts on “The Eighth Day of Christmas Anime: Clannad After Story

  1. These two characters were the reason why I hated Clannad in the first place. Having them in my christmas list can only brings bad omen and makes me want to murder people.

    I need to bribe Santa now.

    1. I’m with you on that one. I just dislike how they took it from a happy, bright Anime in the beggining of the first season, then made it into nothing but a tearfactory.

  2. I would never have watched this show had TWWK not almost insisted when I met him in person some months ago. When he handed me the DVDs, and I saw these girls on the front with these HUGEMONGOUS MOE MOE EYES DESU, it was only basic politeness that hindered me from handing the DVDs back and saying I Think Not.

    I’m delighted to say that I was wrong. Especially now that I’ve finished After Story as well, including the emotional parts that I foresaw. Clannad taught me that in all conceivable worlds, even if reality itself were twisted into a pretzel, loving others would still be worth it.

    A lesson this priceless is worth the hugemongous eyes. And hating a character through whom I’m taught such a lesson? I Think Not.

    Now then, what’s going on here?

    These two characters were the reason why I hated Clannad in the first place.

    Oops! Sorry about that!

    (removes Tomoya and Nagisa from kluxorious’s Christmas stocking and replaces with lump of coal)

    Fixed. 🙂

  3. Aah, finally a post of an anime that I’ve watched.

    I can understand why people hate Nagisa. She’s brimming with moe and seems too perfect, with hardly, if any, depth. From a technical standpoint, she’s just a very simple KyoAni-Key character. But personally, I liked her because she seemed more likeable as compared to other moe archetypes (since everyone is adding their hate list, might as well throw in mine: the entire cast of K-ON). There are not a lot of justifications I can give which will explain why I like Nagisa – I just like her.

    Speaking of Christmas, this reminds me of a strange trivia: Wasn’t Nagisa’s birthday on the 24th of December or something close to that?

    1. Now that you mention it, I recall that in the previous episode to the one I summarized, where Sunohara was dressed as Santa, they all got together on Christmas Eve to celebrate Nagisa’s birthday.

      I won’t lie, I couldn’t stand how Nagisa kept using desu/masu language with Tomoya even after they were married (maybe this is common amongst Japanese couples, but it would be news to me if so), I couldn’t stand the genetic dual ahoge, I couldn’t stand how her parents looked like they were still in high school themselves, and did I mention how I couldn’t stand how huge her eyes were? And yet for me she was like Mihashi Ren of Ookiku Furikabutte in this one particular: much as both characters annoyed me, I just couldn’t hate them. Tomoya was a much more compelling character for me, though — and speaking of Oofuri, it didn’t hurt that his voice actor also voiced Abe Takaya.

      As for K-On! while we’re on that subject, I couldn’t make it through even one episode. Which is a shame because normally I’m a sucker for music anime. But then again, I also couldn’t make it through even one episode of Hetalia, so what do I know?

  4. This reminds me, I need to get around to finishing Clannad. I don’t remember why I stopped, but I know I gotta finish it.

    1. Yes. Yes you do. For I believe that Tomoya’s last words were (are? will be? it’s not clear when reality itself is twisted into a pretzel): Worth it. Worth it. Even still, it was all worth it.

      (Belatedly takes the Tomoya and Nagisa that had been in kluxorious’s stocking, and puts them in Myst’s stocking)

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