8 July 2017 | Samiam3
Charming, but too much sugar not enough spice or bitters.
Japan's favourite slice of life series, Clannad rises and falls on its oversized heart and untainted emotional grace. Infused with bits of magic realism, the show is some kind of a daydream; a story where everyone wins and gets what they want at a cost of virtually nothing.
the protagonist is Okazaki Tomoya. He is unmotivated and depressed, (although he never seems that way) but things get turned around after he makes friends at his new high school. How perfect is it that all the girls in the show are drawn to him. One girl however stands out. Nagisa is an angel face with a heart to match, the kind of girl that is too impossibly perfect. The fact that she seems small enough to be his little sister is somewhat distracting once it becomes obvious that they are heading towards being a couple. What is important however is that they get along perfectly, it is everything but a forced relationship. And yet Nagissa is strangely underwhelming as a character simply because she has no flaws. She is precious, and not much else.
When it comes to art, few animated shows paint with sunlight as vividly as Clannad. This is a world where the sky is always blue in the day and golden in the evening. Even more extraordinary however is how the show has a way of summoning beauty out of the mundane; out of the flies hovering around a street lamp, or the quaint naturalism of the bakery that Nagissa's family owns, or in the elegant minimalism of a traditional Japanese bedroom.
If you are anything but a 12 year old girl, comedy goes further than drama in this series. Sakagami has the same angel face as all the other girls but she can drop kick any of the boys in the school out a window. Ichinosuke's violin playing is a riot and Nagissa's mom who is unflinchingly over sensitive about her baking is adorable.
But the problem with Clanaad is it has an ongoing feeling of sameness. Everybody is generous everyday 24/7. There is little in the way of depth or drama. The introverted Ichinosuke has a shadowy intriguing backstory that far surpasses what the show writes for everyone else. Individual scenes and sometimes even episodes play well on the grounds of charm, but the whole series tastes of too much sugar.