CLANNAD Review & Characters – Nothing Can Stay Unchanged


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Nothing Can Stay Unchanged

  • Episodes : 23 + 1 OVA
  • Genre : Drama, Romance, Slice of life
  • Airing Date : Oct 2007 – Mar 2008
  • Producers : Kyoto Animation

CLANNAD Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Originally, the title CLANNAD was conceptualized because the director thought that the world CLANNAD, borrowed from the Irish band, stood for “clan or family” and therefore he named it as such. CLANNAD was originally a dating sim for PC then developed into the anime we all love and know. It follows the everyday life of a boy named Tomoya Okazaki who dislikes high school and the town that he lives in. He’s a delinquent who skips classes to spend time with his overtly dense best friend, Youhei Sunohara who is also a delinquent.

One day though, Tomoya decides to go to school and while enjoying the scenery, he mutters to himself that he really wants change in his life. Just like magic, he looks up and suddenly there is a girl named Nagisa Furukawa, muttering to herself. He then goes on to school after meeting her to see Kyou Fujibayashi and her twin sister Ryou Fujibayashi.

Moving forward in the day, it’s lunch time! Tomoya starts talking to Nagisa and finds out that she has a rare illness, and as such, she is repeating her grade this year because she missed so many days last year. Not having enough on her plate of repeating a grade, Nagisa also now wants to join the now defunct drama club. Tomoya and Nagisa part ways and he goes back to meet Youhei. The next day, Tomoya oddly feels drawn to help Nagisa, and so he helps her make posters to get people to join the club.

That day he meets more girls! Now he meets Kotomi Ichinose, who is a nationally-ranked genius, and the very special snowflake that is Fuko Ibuki. The next day Tomoya is supposed to play basketball with Nagisa, but it rains. He runs out to meet her in the rain, only to see that she faints upon meeting him. Is Tomoya’s life still boring as ever or has change started to creep its way into his life?

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Who does CLANNAD cater to?

CLANNAD is a show that, honestly, caught me off guard. I figured it would be a very generic show with run-of-the-mill characters and plotline, but I was wrong. CLANNAD is a very deep, sometimes funny and sometimes serious, show that is very enjoyable watch. It’s set up primarily in a school to give you your slice of life setting. It does this to show characters with normal everyday relatable situations like tests, homework, and friends. Jokes are sprinkled throughout episodes to keep the show somewhat lighthearted but it still keeps its serious tone. I would say that this is a great show for people who like dramas, slice of life, or even romance anime. However, it should be noted that this isn’t an anime completely devoid of plot, so anyone, regardless of if you like these genre or not, will enjoy this show. Have a box of tissues ready though, in case you need them because this show can be very touching.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

If there was one thing that I would say that I have taken away from this show, is how three dimensional the characters are. Usually when it comes to school/town based slice of life dramas and romances, the characters can be cookie cutter stylized. However, this show goes beyond that to make sure you have characters with backstories. Not only that, but they’re not all roses and candy. Some characters also do have traumatic events that have occurred to help form them into who they are in the show. I won’t say more for risk of spoiling anything.

Another great aspect of this show, is watching the characters form bonds. Again, it’s not all roses and candy, but the show does tend to form bonds that feel real and invoke a deep sense of emotion from the viewers. One final part of it though has to be the humor in the show. Wild imaginations, starfish carved out of wood, and fish costumed magical girls, are all parts that will make you giggle at the very least. This show is a drama and a very good one at that, but it doesn’t ever lay the drama on too hard. One final point about this show is that it’s never all seriousness or all humor, but a layered mixture that is perfect.

CLANNAD Trailer

CLANNAD Main Characters List

Tomoya Okazaki

clannad tomoya

Voice Actor :Yuuichi Nakamura

Tokoya is the main character of CLANNAD as most of the story is told from his perspective. He is a third year students at Hikarizaka high school and he is a delinquent. He hates authority. His best friend is Youhei Sunohara, a fellow delinquent. Tomoya broods a lot. He tends to think a lot more than necessary, but he rarely says what he is actually thinking. Think of him as the strong, yet silent type. His childhood friend is Kotomi Ichinose. Tomoya is described as being a bit cold and rude, but he actually cares deeply for his friends. His fate is seemingly intertwined with Nagisa’s.

Nagisa Furukawa

clannad nagisa

Voice Actor :Nakahara, Mai

Nagisa is the main female lead of CLANNAD alongside Tomoya. She has self-esteem issues and relies on others a lot. She has had a rare illness since she was a child that, this time kept her out of school for the last nine months. This is why she is repeating the grade this year. In order to keep herself happy and motivated, she forces herself to say the names of food that she wants to eat next. She almost died as a child because of her parents being too busy, which leaves her a little frail. Her parents run a bakery that she tends to help at from time to time. She is helped by Tomoya to restart the drama club and relies on him the most. While she is shy, she’s a very sweet person who cares for everyone. Her fate is also, just like the others, tied to Tomoya.

Fuko Ibuki

clannad fuuko

Voice Actor :Nonaka, Ai

Fuko is actually a first year student. She always appears alone and her gift is carving starfish out of wood and then gifting them to people randomly. She’s quite energetic and childish which is questioned a lot by people. They wonder how she got into high school. Fuko explains eventually that she is carving 700 starfish to give one to each student in the school to invite them to her sister’s wedding. The only problem is that her sister stopped teaching at the high school three years ago! So Nagisa and Tomoya take it upon themselves to help Fuko distribute all the stars. However, something seems off about her… Her fate is also connected to both Tomoya’s and Nagisa’s.


Contains Spoilers

CLANNAD Review

Somehow this show is called CLANNAD. What it should be called, is “Gunna hit you right in all the feels. Really hard too.” CLANNAD: After Story hits harder than CLANNAD, but we are talking about CLANNAD, and this show still does a great job of doing it. A few things I really liked about this show were the drama, the characters, and the humor.

CLANNAD is a serious show. It’s not lighthearted in the least, but very serious. This isn’t Love Hina or Tenchi Muyo! CLANNAD lines up the characters and gives them very serious stories and roles. For the story, you have “bad boy” Tomoya who wants change. Well in a few days he gets a lot of it. He meets all these girls including Nagisa. She has some horrible disease that makes her ill for long periods of time. Hence why she is repeating the grade. It is also revealed that Tomoya can no longer play basketball because his father broke his arm a few years ago, leading him to no longer be able to lift his right arm above his shoulder.

Youhei is introduced as Tomoya’s best friend, and he can’t play soccer anymore because he got into a fight with some upperclassmen who were bullying underclassmen. Tomoya then also meets the very special Fuko who is equal parts funny and equal parts tragic. The real Fuko is unconscious in a hospital which is really sad. I mean really sad. What Nagisa and Tomoya can see is an astral projection, so they agree to help her to get people to accept the starfish and come to her sister’s wedding. She will randomly appear and have a star ready for Tomoya.

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They try to get the drama club up and running with the help of Ryou and Kyou, and they do ask Tomoyo and Kotomi. Youhei is wrapped up in it as well. Tomoya and Nagisa are running into this problem though with Fuko. People are forgetting that she exists. As people forget about her, Fuko’s presence grows weaker and weaker. They get all the stars to people and manage to get the wedding greenlit. *readies tissues* The wedding is beautiful. Fuko thanks them after the ceremony and then disappears seemingly forever.

Focusing back on the drama club, they need new members. Tomoya asks Kotomi, but she decides she wants to play the violin and is hilariously horrible at it. Through some events, you find out that Kotomi’s parents died and she is essentially damaged goods. The group gets together to fix her garden that’s rundown and somehow Kotomi is touched enough to come back to school. P.S. spoiler alert, Kotomi is a childhood friend of Tomoya.

FINALLY now the drama club has enough people to reform. They just need a sponsor… that the choir club has. Long story short, they are cornered into an improv baskeball match. Tomoya is very reluctant to do it, but gives in. They win in the last second with Nagisa cheering on Tomoya. Nagisa has an episode and collapses. While she’s out of the picture, Ryou tries to set up Kyou with Tomoya. After many meetings Kyou becomes suspicious and it doesn’t work… Then talking home later that day, Tomoyo and Tomoya get into a fight with random gangsters?!? Oh for crying out loud! Tomoya takes the blame and gets suspended when caught by teachers.Why does he take the blame? Because Tomoyo is hellbent on protecting the beautiful cherry blossom trees around the school from being cut down.

So she needs to be student council president to protect them. She does become president eventually but before that rumors start spreading that she’s got a dark past. In order to clear her name, Tomoya arranges for her to play against various clubs to show her dedication to the school. . One day, during a tennis match, a stray ball hits Nagisa. Tomoya protects her and that’s when all the other characters realize he likes Nagisa. That destroys Ryou and Kyou. Who, unfortunately, become a bit more muted. It was really sad to see them be crushed like that.

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Eventually Nagisa confesses to Tomoya. The drama club gets ready for their play, but Nagisa finds out the past of her parents working too much and how she almost died due to their negligence. It wracks her with guilt and eventually she is encouraged because of the turnout to see the play. That day, now that basically every female lead has been pushed away, Tomoya FINALLY confesses his feelings for Nagisa. And boom! Curtain. (You’ll have to watch the sequel to see what happens after that.)

Now, let’s talk about the characters. So we have Tomoya and Nagisa who are for the most part, set up to be together. This isn’t something that the viewer realizes until the end. Sure they get a bit goofy around each other, but it doesn’t stand out much till the tennis match. However, it’s still nice to have a variety of girls to essentially choose from. The best part, and I mentioned it before, is how three dimensional the characters are. Almost everyone has a decent backstory or some part of their personality that sticks out. I thought it was crazy how Tomoya’s father injured him, and how Youhei was bullied so he quit sports too.

Kotomi is damaged goods like I said because of her parent’s death. That doesn’t however, stop her from being a genius. Ryou has that wild boar for a pet and she’s a great cook! While Kyou is more mild and good at housework. Tomoyo is a great fighter which is also pretty cool, but it does tend to get her into trouble. Youhei’s younger sister Mei is also there for a bit as comedic relief.

A few funny moments I did want to point out that I do distinctly remember from CLANNAD when I saw it aeons ago, was the scene between Youhei and Tomoyo where she kicks his butt! Another great part is all the Fuko scenes with those dang starfish! I kept wanting to yell at my screen in mild frustration that we don’t need those!!! Till I found out what they were for. The funniest moment however, is when they were deciding the play and after talking about characters, Youhei and Tomoya hilariously imagine Ryou and a magical fish girl who yells out “I love fish!” She proceeds to threaten to kill them after that short scene.

1. The Growth of Tomoya and Nagisa as a Couple

CLANNAD Review highlight one

Probably the best part of this series has to be watching the romance blossom between Tomoya and Nagisa. It starts out almost as if Tomoya really isn’t into her, but as fate would have it, they are drawn together. It’s adorable to watch them fall in love and is really cute how Tomoya’s tough exterior falls apart once Nagisa needs his help. Ultimately, the show almost is a progression of the characters as like with the game, the girls each have an “arc” that Tomoya progresses through until he reaches Nagisa’s.

2. Fuko Ibuki

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Now I know what you’re saying, “omg you just talked about her calm down.” Hear me out. Fuko Ibuki has one of the saddest storylines in this show due to being all but dead and only Nagisa and Tomoya can see her. They try and do help people come to her sister’s wedding. Then it seems as if she has disappeared which could potentially mean that she actually does die in the hospital in her coma. However, she does keep popping up throughout the series which is great! Mostly because it gives the viewer hope that she isn’t dead! I personally think that she does live on and you can’t tell me otherwise.

3. The Drama Club

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What’s great about the group and the drama club’s existence is that it is the center of the plot for the latter half of the series. This draws all of the characters together, it creates interesting dialogue, and it does give Nagisa the strength to keep trying her hardest to come to school. She tries and tries and eventually the play does become a success to the delight of everyone. The other girls all know that they can’t have Tomoya, but being by his side is good enough for them. This is the defining part of the series that binds all of the characters together! Plus the mascot of the dango is cute as well!!!


Man, I really liked this series. I actually, somehow, saw this series as my first Kyoto Animation series, and it really made me a fan for some of their next shows like Lucky Star and K-On! CLANNAD was had to talk about because of the parts that stick out in this series. It was soooooooooooooooooooo good! It also makes you almost want to cry. For a piece of animation, this is a darn good one and it would be foolish to discredit it! One honorable mention that I need to point out was the soundtrack. It was really well written. Don’t take my word for it though, check it out if you haven’t already. What parts of CLANNAD are your favorite? Better yet, if Tomoya didn’t end up with Nagisa, who would you prefer to see him date? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Mega Spoiler!

In the game you can actually have Tomoya fall in love with Youhei. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Plot twist much??

Nagareboshi

Editor/Translator

Author: Nagareboshi

American by birth; international by choice. I am trying to bring attention to one of my favorite causes; me. I translate by day and write by night. Aspiring polyglot. My dream would be to be the personal translator for Amuro Namie. Other than that, my hobbies include languages, weightlifting, sleeping, karaoke, GOOD coffee and music. When I’m not doing any of the above, I am most likely laughing hysterically at Willam Belli videos or EV farming. I ain’t gunna Rupologize for it neither. Waifu are Shirai Kuroko & Euaerin.

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