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.)
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.
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.