Clannad – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
November 29, 2009 by Dennis Amith
I can see why many anime fans have told me to watch “Clannad”. It’s fun, humorous but also emotional and touching. It has the touching moments and many characters like “Love Hina”, some school like craziness like”Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” but really, “Clannad” is a series that is fresh, unique and enjoyably fun. “Clannad – Collection 1” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © VisualArt’s /Key/Hikarisaka High School Drama Club. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Clannad – Collection 1
DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, English subtitles
COMPANY: TBS Animation/Sentai Filmworks
RATED: TV PG
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Original Character Designs by Itaru Hinoue
Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara
Series Composition/Screenplay by Fumihiko Shimo
Music by Jun Maeda, Magome Togoshi, Shinji Orito
Character Design by Kazum Ikeda
Art Director: Mutsuo Shinohara
Chief Animation Director: Kazumi Ikeda
Sound Director: Yota Tsuruoka
Direction of Photography: Ryuuta Nakagami
Featuring the following voice talent:
Mai Nakahara as Nagisa Furukawa
Yuuichi Nakamura as Tomoya Okazaki
Ai Nonaka as Fuuko Ibuki
Akemi Kanda as Ryou Fujibayashi
Daisuke Sakaguchi as Youhei Sunohara
Houko Kuwashima as Tomoyo Sakagami
Kikuko Inoue as Sanae Furukawa
Mamiko Noto as Kotomi Ichinose
Ryotaro Okiayu as Akio Furukawa
Ryou Hirohashi as Kyou Fujibayashi
Ai Bandou as Sugisaka
Sometimes, something as simple as a chance encounter with a strange girl talking to herself can change your life forever. Alienated from his abusive father, Tomoya has been spiraling into delinquency since the death of his mother. Nagisa’s curse is her fragile health, which has forced her to repeat a year of high school. But when Tomoya impulsively agrees to help Nagisa restart the school’s disbanded Drama Club, a new mechanism for change is created, acting like a magnet for other girls with equally tragic stories.
Prepare to meet the ambitious Tomoyo, who dreams of becoming class president; Kotomi, a troubled genius with a secret past; and most mysteriously, Fuko, whose disassociation with the world has become so severe that she is literally fading from existence!
When it comes to the Japanese software company Key, many fans appreciate their work as the video games tend to be dating simulators for the PC and many other video game consoles. Known for two visual novels “Kanon” and “Air” (both were adapted to anime series), the objects of the video games tend to be the gamer controlling the main male protagonist and with a lot of female friends, answering questions correctly in order to score. The first two video games were adult-based but in 2004, the company released “Clannad”, a series that would not show nudity or fan service and a game for all ages.
“Clannad” received an anime adaptation in 2007 with a total of 23-episodes which was followed by “Clannad: After Story” (which takes place ten years later), OVA’s, an animated film and a manga. As for the anime series, the series is directed by Tatsuya Ishihara (“Air”, “Kanon”, “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”) and a screenplay by Fumihiko Shimo (“Full Metal Panic!”, “Air”, “Burst Angel”, “Gravion”, “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”). The character design for the anime series is by Kazumi Ikeda (“Kanon”) and is faithful to the original designs by Itaru Hinoue (“Air”, “Kanon”). All episodes for “Clannad” and “Clannad: After Story” are now currently available from Sentai Filmworks.
The anime series focuses on the character Tomoya Okazaki. A high school student who tends to be late for class and has his share of personal problems at home (he and his father have not had a good relationship since his mother’s death) and pretty much spends most of his time with his troublemaking friend Youhei Sunohara. Tomoya was once a promising basketball player in school until he was in a fight with his father which led to his arm being injured to the point where he can’t lift his arm up past his shoulder.
But life changes for Tomoya for the positive when he meets new high school student Nagisa Furukawa who he quickly becomes good friends with and helps her out. Throughout the school year, he meets other female students that he tries to help out and becomes their friend. And in the process, his friendships with these people help other people who are in need of friends.
The main characters of “Clannad” are:
- Tomoya Okazaki – The main protagonist. A delinquent in school who tends to cut class or fall asleep from class, his life is changed for the positive when he meets Nagisa Furukawa. He hangs out with his good friend Youhei Sunohara.
- Nagisa Furukawa – A shy teenager who is passionate towards an old commercial for the Dango Family. Her parents Akio and Sanae run a pastry shop where Nagisa helps out. A kind and shy teenager who cries when she’s sad but through her friendship with Tomoya, it helps give her strength to try and start a drama club at their high school.
- Youhei Sunohara – Tomoya’s good friend who always gets in trouble and is often seen getting beat up. The character used for the comedy portions of the series.
- Kyou Fujibayashi – The twin sister of Ryou Fujibayashi. Very tough girl who gets in Tomoya’s face and always thinks he is mistreating her sister or other girls. Secretly, she likes Tomoya. A class representative at school.
- Ryou Fujibayashi – Twin sister of Kyou, she is the most reserved and quite of the two. She’s always defended by her twin sister Kyou. Ryou enjoys fortune telling.
- Kotomi Ichinose – The smartest girl in school. Very quiet and spends most of her time inside the library. Tomoya tries to help her by introducing her to friends and giving her encouragement. We learn through the anime series of why she’s so hooked on learning and pushing herself too hard.
- Tomoyo Sakagami– The transfer student who is rumored to be a violent girl and she demonstrates her fighting skills by taking out two gangsters. This upsets Youhei Sunohara because he can’t believe a girl is beating up on boys, so he tries to figure her out. She dreams of becoming more ladylike but also the school president.
- Fuko Ibuki – A girl that Tomoya meets in school and learns about her obsession with starfish. But things start to become weird when people are unable to see her but tomoya and his friends.
“Clannad – Collection 1” features a total of 12 episodes on two DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:
- EPISODE 1 – The first time Tomoya meets Nagisa.
- EPISODE 2 – Nagisa wants to start a drama club at high school and Tomoya agrees to help her.
- EPISODE 3 – Nagisa is bedridden after the events of episode 2. Tomoya learns about Nagisa’s health.
- EPISODE 4 – Tomoya meets up with the weird starfish loving girl Fuko and learns why she is giving out wooden starfish to the students.
- EPISODE 5 – Tomoya and Nagisa agree to help Fuko out.
- EPISODE 6 – Tomoya wants to invite Fuko’s sister Kouko to test out an idea he has in regards to Fuko.
- EPISODE 7 – Tomoya and Nagisa are learning that people can’t see Fuko but them and a few others.
- EPISODE 8 – More and more people are starting to forget who Fuko is and Tomoya and Nagisa worry they will be next.
- EPISODE 9 – Tomoya, Nagisa and Fuko work together to prepare for Youko’s wedding.
- EPISODE 10 – The drama needs club members and thus Tomoya goes to Kotomi and tries to make her more sociable.
- EPISODE 11 – Tomoya and friends try to help Kotomi give her first live performance at school.
- EPISODE 12 – When a bus accident takes place near school, Kotomi sees the accident and memories of her past start rushing in causing her to collapse. Is she OK?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
So far, each anime series that were based off a Key video game such as “Kanon” and “Air” have both been fantastic anime series featuring vibrant animation, colorful backgrounds and just many settings that really make the series stand out. The same can be said about “Clannad”, the animation and production is absolutely fantastic. Kyoto Animation has done a wonderful job with the artistic backgrounds. Also, the animation is solid and character designs are also done very well. “Clannad” is featured in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and picture quality for the anime series on DVD is wonderful!
As for the audio, the audio of the series is in Japanese 2.0. Japanese voice acting is solid and a lot of well-known Seiyuu are involved in the series. Dialogue is understandable and clear. Personally, I chose to have my receiver play the series with “Stereo on All Channels” for a more improve soundscape. As for English dubs, there are no English dubbed dialogue for “Clannad”.
Subtitles are featured in English.
“Clannad – Collection 1” features the clean opening and closing animation and Sentai Filmworks trailers.
Anime fans have told me that I had to watch “Clannad” for a few years now and I have watched “Kanon” and really enjoyed “Air”. But I suppose part of me being a bit hesitant was that I have seen so many “harem” like anime series in which the girls throw themselves after the main guy and I wasn’t in the mood to see an anime like this. But after watching “Clannad”, I was wrong.
The anime series is well-written in a way that the main protagonist, Tomoya is not a perfect guy. He’s a guy who has his set of problems and the girls he meets, have their own problems as well. Granted, this series could easily go dark but instead, its about people who have found friendship within each other. I can easily see how the video game series could have gone, since there are many female characters that Tomoya can try to be closer too. But for the anime series, relationships thus far have been kept platonic. It’s not more of him liking these girls, it’s about him wanting to help them, even though he has a problem helping himself.
In the first collection, the theme is friendship. Nagisa, Fuuko, Kotomi… they all have reasons why they haven’t had many friends, so we see three major arcs between these three girls and how Tomoya starts to help them and in someway, they end up helping him as well. I wouldn’t go as far calling each character lost souls but Tomoya becomes a person that touches their lives, more than he thinks.
As for the DVD, the DVD comes with the first twelve episodes and there are not really any special features but the opening and closing theme. I know there are some anime fans who are bummed out that there the series is not dubbed in English but the voice acting in Japanese is very solid and a good number of talented seiyuu involved in the series.
I can see why many anime fans have told me to watch “Clannad”. It’s fun, humorous but also emotional and touching. It has the touching moments and many characters like “Love Hina”, some school like craziness like “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” but really, “Clannad” is a series that is fresh, unique and enjoyably fun. “Clannad – Collection 1” is highly recommended!
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