DVD Review: Clannad Series One Part Two Episodes 13 -24
[Warning: May contain spoilers for Clannad: Series One, Part One]
Clannad Series 1 Part 2 continues to follow the life of Tomoya Okazaki and his developing relationships with a group of socially outcast and quirky girls who he has befriended through his initial relationship with Nagisa Furukawa. Nagisa continues to work for the development of the Drama Club with her new found friends and, as the series comes to a satisfying conclusion, we learn the shocking truths behind hers and Kotomi Ichinose’s parents and their secrets.
After the overly dramatic introduction with Series One Part One, Part Two promises the subtlety and emotional development that Part One seemed to be lacking. With the supernatural storyline put on the back burner and two of the most lovable characters of Part One, Kotomi and Nagisa, getting their time in the spotlight, this collection of episodes is a far more accessible and enjoyable series than the over-the-top Part One. Perhaps it is because we are now used to certain characteristics of the characters, or maybe it is that we have grown more emotionally connected, but this second instalment seems a much more satisfying drama and romance than we have previously seen.
The ambiguous dream-like character of ‘the robot’ which cause much speculation in Part One is given its own conclusion as Nagisa premiers her own writing, which has been complimenting his cut scenes, at the school festival. These scenes are still dealt with the soft focus and gorgeous, ethereal animation of the first part and we see the conclusion of Nagisa and the robots relationship as he becomes a metaphor for her creative talents. The characters who some may have found the most melodramatic in Part One, Nagisa’s parents, have some wonderfully comedic as well as poignant screen time and it is actually revealed as to why they were so ‘OTT’ in the first place.
The artwork and animation remain beautifully pastel and complimentary with some great emotions and low amounts of fan-service despite the obvious opportunities. Mentions of sexuality are still subtle and appropriate for all ages, though there are some questionable moments of close ups and ‘breast/bum shots’, especially in a particular episode where Tomoya gets locked in the storage closet with another girl. But, this is still dealt with in a way that is comedic and moral, with the girl expressing her embarrassment and Tomoya quickly opting out of the situation. Even when Tomoya finally enters into a relationship near the end of the series, the Extra Episode we are treated to shows its childish innocence and beauty through their social awkwardness and sweetness.
We are also treated to extra OVA in which Tomoya actually enters into a relationship with student body president, Tomoyo. Despite the sweetness of the development in the Tomoya/Nagisa relationship, this single episode seems to encapsulate a great deal of love, warmth and most importantly independence. Tomoya, feeling that his relationship with Tomoyo is leading her to neglect her duties as president and not reach her full potential, decides to leave her ‘for her own good’. This mature gesture allows her to blossom into a strong individual as well as allowing him to get on the right track towards his future on his own. The relationship, though only briefly shown, seems much more intimate than that of Nagisa and Tomoya, with Nagisa’s constant freaking out, self consciousness and, of course, crying. Tomoyo seems much more calm, level headed and mature, making this relationship seem much more satisfying than the one we have been watching develop over an entire series.
The comedy between Sunohara and Tomoya is less obvious in this part than the first, though still shows some great moments of teasing and awkwardness, particularly when dealing with a joke concerning a certain crush/obsession in imaginative form. Though, overall, the comedy of this half is less played upon and instead we concentrate on the emerging dramas of the various students and blossoming relationships.
It is notable that although this conclusion to the first series focuses on both Nagisa and Kotomi’s familial relationships, the relationship between Tomoya and his own father is not resolved at all and is, in fact, only touched on briefly when his father visits the school for the Dram Club’s premier. Perhaps this will be dealt with in the future, but it seems a shame that such an intriguing story-line was only ever hinted at rather than dealt with.
Overall, this series has show great sweetness and innocence when dealing with an overly exploited formula of the young boy making friends or entering into relationships with anime ‘moe’ girls. While there are still moments of sensuality shown through camera direction and costuming, the series itself is one that focuses on relationships, family and friendships. The second half of Clannad beautifully sums up two unresolved character arcs as well as de-mystifying the beautiful motif of the robot animation; and most importantly does so in a way that is not as melodramatic and inaccessible than its first part.
Label: Manga Entertainment
Release date: 30th July 2012
Running time: 300 mins
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Anastasia Catris is a freelance illustrator, writer and actress based in South Wales. After graduating in English Literature from Royal Holloway, University of London she studied for a year in comic book art and design in The Kubert School where she nurtured her love of Japanese animation and cartooning as well as its cinema, video games and culture. You can keep up to date with Anastasia’s activity via her website www.anastasiacatris.wordpress.com or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/acatris. You may also follow her on Twitter at @acatris. View Anastasia’s showreel here.