Monthly Archive for November, 2008

[Ascaloth] CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 9

As the Girl and the Robot make the necessary preparations to make their great journey into the world beyond their own, leaving behind the world they’ve spent all their time together for that great beyond, the main cast are also preparing for their next great journey into life, their entrance into working society at the end of their high school lives. While most of them are moving on, there will be a few who has some distance yet to go, but it is a checkpoint common to all our lives, one which we all must pass through someday. It can be a terrifying experience leaving the sheltered confines of school life, but the cast of characters we have all come to love and identify with have reached that point in their life journey when they have to surge forward, with only the belief in a brave new world beyond to spur them on, and the knowledge that they have eternal friendships made during those days of being a student to count upon.

CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 9. The end of the School Life arc, the transition into the true After Story.

Haha, Tomoya’s reaction is all too familiar to me; even I would have difficulty coming up with an answer to a question like this. It’s really hard for people like me to figure out what we truly want to do with our future; the best I can come up with for myself so far is that my best course of action would be to stay involved in academia in some capacity, since I am eccentric enough a person to be unable to survive in actual working society. I somehow envy those people who already seem to know what they want to do in life.

Poor Nagisa is left to headpalm as Tomoya plays Artful Dodger with her questions. You know, from the previous instances we see of Tomoya trolling everyone around him, and particularly how he leads Nagisa away from the original subject with a red herring, one can surmise that the guy is very good at reading other people’s personalities (and in a more realistic and less ludricuous fashion than a certain Lelouch vi Britannia, too, but I digress). I wonder if there’s an occupation out there that can make use of this strong point of his? Maybe he should get involved in politics. Or advertising.

HAHAHA sorry Sunohara, only the very cute ladies have any realistic chance of making it as a model in Japan. Well okay, maybe I’m not quite being fair there, there are indeed guys who can make it as models too; they just have to be over 1.8m, chiseled in face and body like your typical anime yaoi bishounen, and long-haired to boot, and that’s just the baseline. Looking emo is a plus point too, but unfortunately you’re none of these. So tough luck, Sunohara. Your sister on the other hand, when she comes of age…..mmmmmm.

I know a girl who’s a Ryou-class doormat type…..ok, that’s too good for her, she’s more like Mikuru-class. In any case, even now I still have a hard time imagining how someone like her is going to survive in working society. She’s supposedly going to look for a job in social work….I wonder if such occupations like social work and nursing are more suitable for the doormat "non-assertive" types?

She’s really intending to be a kindergarten teacher? Someday, a kid she was in charge of will one day grow up to be a mangaka, and be inspired to draw a manga series titled "My Tsundere Kindergarten Teacher" which will be wildly popular with otaku all around the world. Dameyo, watashi wa sonno~!

Okay, maybe that was just exaggeration, but you just know that she’s going to influence certain preferences in the opposite sex in some of her charges when they come of that age….

I’ve heard the game vets mention several times that originally, Kotomi was to have left America for further studies much earlier, and that her continued presence were a series of KyoAni originals to fill in for Fuuko in certain parts, and to make up the numbers as part of the network of friends for the most part. In any case, seems like her extended part within KyoAni’s version of CLANNAD has finally come to an end, but although she’s going to exit stage left much the same way as she did in the VN, how different and how much more positive a context in which she’s going to do so.

Oh wow, Kotomi says something that isn’t "___ wa ijimekko" for once?

Once again, Nagisa invokes the "sick" aspect of the "Key female lead" trope after an extended period of relatively good health, this time though to much more severe consequences. I wonder if there’s any actual medical condition out there that would approximate Nagisa’s display of cycles of alternating sickliness and relative good health?

HOLY CRAP. That was how powerful a weapon it is? I swear Kyou could very well be a human LAW.

And she says she wants to be a kindergarten teacher? I can just imagine what would happen when one of the children under her charge make too much noise, doesn’t listen to her instructions, falls asleep or generally causes trouble for her. BOOM HEADSHOT.

(BTW, the wall is no longer cracked? I guess the dictionary-bazooka scene is just one of the many ‘dramatic moments’ in CLANNAD, which started with Tomoya kicking delinquent ass in the first episode of the previous series.)

The "Botan Doll" scene is apparently supposed to be a flag for the Kyou Arc which, as we all know, is nonexistent in the adaptation. Although one has to wonder; if Botan is trained to act as a mere stuffed toy when ordered, wouldn’t it be simpler for Kyou to just, I dunno, leave it in her classroom or stuff it in her shoe locker when she leaves for gym class?

Tomoya apparently left his brain at home with Nagisa, too. Since he’s sitting at the corner desk with the freakin’ class locker right behind him….

….wouldn’t it be simpler for him to just stuff Doll Botan in there as well instead of enduring a whole class’s worth of staring? :p

Still pretty amusing though. And I’m sure there’s a pretty good reason why they didn’t do as I suggested; I’m just not sure what.

If there is one particular image which most clearly shows the biggest difference between the CLANNAD visual novel and its anime adaptation, it would have to be this; the greater emphasis on the "friendship" theme, with Tomoya having a close group of friends who are silently looking out for him where there were probably none in the original canon.

And from this point on, several time skips reveal that Nagisa, unlike the last time she dropped from exhaustion, never really recovered in time to return to school. There’s one thing about KyoAni’s attempt to weave in the side arcs within the first 8 episodes of this series which raises an Unfortunate Implication; could it be that Nagisa’s relapse was triggered by her physically and mentally exhausting herself over the course of several draining events, starting from the Illusory World play she performed and ending with the gang war incident with Yukine? If so, then the implication is that Tomoya is partially at fault for not stopping her from exhausting herself, although considering we know that she’s actually a stubborn enough girl that even GARkio ends up spoiling her every time, there might not be much he could have done anyway.

Although the detour into the side arcs of CLANNAD were decent on their own, count me in as one of those who’s happy to see ~After Story~ finally coming back to the main draw of TomoyaXNagisa. This image really underlines just how inseperable a couple they’ve become.

Over the course of the story, it’s not often that we get to see Akio and Sanae as anything other than an avatar of Kamina-class stupidity GAR and MILF fanservice, respectively. However, this is one of those times when one goes "ah, they really are older parent figures, with the requisite life wisdom", when they are schooling Tomoya in how he should respect Nagisa’s decision.

Is it just me, or is this scene of Tomoya eating an anpan and looking up at the school rooftop at the two girls reminiscent of a similar scene in the first season, except it was Nagisa doing the same thing?

For Christmas, Sunohara puts on a Levitating Zen Santa act for everyone. I see he took inspiration for his party-blower-in-nostrils from Kitagawa of Kanon 2006.

Another scene that the game vets keep talking about, this scene is apparently referred to by such terms as "advent of the first dango" and "Dango Mk I". Anyone care to give a hint to why it’s a hot topic among the vets? Are we going to see more of these hand-made dangos?

For Nagisa, this must be an especially bittersweet 24th of December; after this, many of the people in the picture, including the guy who would eventually end up as her boyfriend, will be moving on with their lives, while she is left behind to start things over from square one, all over again. While having a network of friends is good while it lasted, and while we know that she will at least have some people still left to look out for her, one has to wonder; is this the last time we will ever see these guys together like this?

On the day of their graduation, Tomoya mentions that it was Koumura-sensei who had him meet Sunohara for the first time; however, from what I remember of the last episode of the Sunohara Siblings’ Arc,  the flashback that Tomoya had to his first meeting with the latter shows him following Koumura-sensei past the staff room, with perfect enough timing that Sunohara stepped out of the door just at that moment. Are Tomoya’s claims really true, or is Koumura-sensei just the kind of old geezer who always seem to do things by coincidence, but actually has a firm grasp on the happenings throughout? Hell, we might even be looking at the guy who’s the inspiration for Tomoya’s spree of keikaku doori.

In any case, both Tomoya and Sunohara have much to be thankful for Koumura-sensei’s support, and is probably the only teacher that the both would-have-been dropouts truly respect. Although, this is practically the first and last time we see them both pay such respect to Koumura-sensei; maybe there’s a few more tidbits within the original VN that shows what Koumura did for them? In any case, just like that, it is the beginning and the end of the Koumura Arc.

This was the girl whom he found all lonely and nervous on the base of that long, steep slope of cherry blossoms, and they have come a long way since then. Yet now, he is about to move on with the next stage of his life, leaving her alone at the base of the slope once again while she’s plaintively looking at his diminishing figure in the distance. One can only wonder if she’ll manage to catch up, eventually.

And yet, Nagisa is right; when it is time for one to move on, one should move on. The remix of "Nagisa" that was the BGM of this sequence is yet another one of the hot topics for the game vets, and the reactions to it are mixed indeed; for my part, it sounds like something that one would hear in a live-action romance-tragedy drama serial, and somehow I do like it that way as well, although it’s a bit weird to hear at first.

In the end, it is alright for Tomoya to move on; he may end up leaving Nagisa behind, but this time she will have others looking out for her as well, and there’s still time for her yet to catch up with him, sooner or later. Besides, it is not the end of their climb together up that long, steep slope of cherry blossoms, no indeed. It is but the beginning of the long journey of their lives, and no matter where they go, even if it is up that endless slope, they will walk up that path in life together, hand in hand. The story of their School Life may be over, but their After Story is only about to begin.

Ascaloth, out.

Exams are Over, Add me on Steam and WE PLAY TF2.

This is just a invitation to all Singaporeans (well, due to lag) who play TF2. Add me on steam, I am tj_han and let’s play Team Fortress 2!!

Anyone thinks Left 4 Dead is any good? Should I get it?