Clannad 2–The Rainy Season

Nagisa, saint of moe sadness, pray for us otaku, now and in the hour of our loneliness

I must be succumbing to the Borglike consensus or something: I liked this episode. A lot. Very much. Just but short of love, but only just. So far the show looks very promising and I’m beginning to warm to the main set of characters, which, when it happens at this early stage, is almost always a good sign.

Working together……doing things for each other.

I think one of the main reasons why is that Tomoya and Nagisa actually have a relationship. They do meaningful things together. Their small talk has real back and forth, push and pull (not that kind–please :)) and they help each other out. So many lesser anime romances are about one-sided relationships. It makes the more conventional moe traits of Nagisa–her voice, her affinity for Big Dango Family, etc.–much more palatable. I remember being annoyed by the “gao” and squeakiness of Misuzu in Air, and it ultimately blunted the force of the ending for me. She seemed more like an incoherent jumble of cute and quirky traits. So far, at least, Nagisa is a more credible character. Or maybe just emotionally more subdued. I don’t know. I have a bad habit of confusing emotional restraint with realism.

The unhappiest of families.Struggle.

Tomoya is also a much more distinct character than a lot of harem male leads. He has specific likes and dislikes and an actual backstory. The dysfunctional family side is a tad melodramatic, but it already helps overcome the typical blankness that afflicts most guys-who-meet-tons-of-girls shows. He is also clearly a helpful guy, though as the character introductions continue, the helpfulness is becoming just a bit programmatic. It’s here–when we flit from the next cute girl to the next as he helps their little problems–where the game roots of the show are most exposed. Fortunately, they don’t seem to be the focus; Nagisa is clearly the co-protagonist and Promised Girl and I doubt we will see too much of the usual shenanigans that these scenarios produce. (Well, OK, there might be a love triangle down the road. But that’s well within genre expectations.)

That’s a beautiful crashI just KNOW there has to be a mini-game for this

The animation continues to be sharp and clean, and the starting scenes of both guys getting injured–one by bike and one by kick–is not only well done, but funny. I loved the little hit counter, and the “bi” joke that followed. I didn’t find the humor in episode 1 to be all that engaging, but this episode is an improvement. Lately I’ve realized just how much I really like slapstick these days and that other brands of humor just don’t make me laugh as much. I’ll try to keep this in mind as I review other shows too.*

I’ll end on a semi-personal note. I remember a number of years ago, when I was in the middle of rather deep funk of loneliness; it was sometime in the middle of undergraduate college. When I become especially depressed and lonely, I come up with stories and write, and I wrote the plans for an entire novel about a doomed relationship. One of the key early scenes in the novel was simple, and, to my mind, deeply romantic: the guy would be trying to get to his first date with the girl, but it would be raining hard as it often does on the East Coast during the summers, and there would be many obstacles on the way that would make him late. He would find his date standing out in the rain, with no umbrella, shivering in the cold. He would get out of the car, stand there for a moment as he realized that she had been waiting for him all this time, while getting soaked. Only then would he offer the umbrella and the two of them, their wet clothes pasted to their skins, would enter the restaurant together.

Oh, I hear sadness in the rain……playing basketball with the one I love

I couldn’t help but think of that scene, which I never wrote, as I watched the final moments of this episode. It stirred something within me, a twinge of memory that carried me back to those days. And as the closing credit song started, a song full of childish cuteness, it suddenly sounded terribly sad. And I knew from that point forward that I had been not only sucked into Key Land, the land of sad girls who say cute things as they die in snow, but that I figured out why this group of people at their best seem to touch so many fans. I may, in fact I probably am, projecting my own memories onto this scenario, and not even real memories but one of my fictions. I sometimes wonder if I wrote an anime or manga what kind of story I’d produce. It would probably not be exactly like this; it wouldn’t have a harem. But it would probably have scenes like this.

In short, it shares my aesthetic tastes. That means it has to be good!

The Key Borg Fairy is impelling me to blog about this show again, surely. That’s all I can ask a good new anime to do.

*The more I think about it, the more I think I need to reassess Kimikiss Pure Rouge. For some reason, I keep coming back to watch the Mao scenes. Expect a full reconsideration when episode 2 is released in English.

75% recommended for your anime diet. But go watch episode 1 first!

4 thoughts on “Clannad 2–The Rainy Season”

  1. These characters do seem to have more depth then those in Kanon. Other than Nayuki, who was good at running, those girls did not seem to have real hobbies beyond their individual food obsessions. Here you at least have other interests: drama club, textbook study, and whittling (or whatever that was). And this series somewhat corrects the absence of well-rounded family groups in Kanon (besides Nayuki’s mother and Shiori’s sister).

    Tomoya’s lecturing of the child-like girls is just like Kanon and the poor girl kept waiting while exposed to the elements has been done often enough that I, at least, found it hard to fully get into the scene. Or maybe I was just trying to resist whatever emotions I was having in weak attempt to resist Key’s “borg-like” power, lol

    The moe cuteness of Kotomi and Fuko’s scenes did suck me into an adoring state, though. And I loved Nagisa’s dango-drawing scene. These parts were so cute, they almost made me regret the School Days associations that insisted on popping into my head as well :)

  2. @DS–I figured the rain scene is a convention of sorts. I probably liked it because I connected it to something in my own imagination more than usual…I’m probably just a sucker and a Borg entity. :)

    School Days will forever change the way we look at harem anime from now on, I think.

  3. (not that kind–please :))

    LOL. As of episode 2, Mike, I’m very into Clannad already, and I share your thoughts on the matter. Nagisa is more than just Key holding up a generic moe puppet and going “here is a sad girl, you must love her otherwise you are a heartless monster”; ditto Kyou and Tomoyo so far. While Kotomi and Fuuko have yet to manifest other sides to their character as of now, what’s been revealed so far is promising, and I love it.

    Since the realism part’s been all but settled right now, I guess the make or break would be the depth in which Tomoya’s going to be involved with each girl. These aren’t retarded moe harem cows we’re dealing with here, these are what seems like girls with distinct, individual personalities — will they be all conveniently ignorant of each other’s existence when it comes to a relationship with Tomoya? I’m eagerly anticipating it.

  4. Also, in praise of its direction so far, they seem to be subtly hinting that Kyou might be the first arc. Notice how Ryou said that Tomoya would meet a girl in a romantic situation (well, somewhat, I guess, given how “almost getting run over by bike” and “encounter with feisty babe” cancel each other out) that would make him late for school etc. If my prediction is true then… wow. Just wow.

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