Monthly Archive for January, 2009

[Ascaloth] CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 16

The fateful moment has come, that fateful moment which has always been a characteristic of storylines from Key. And this is the third Key story that we’ve seen from the Kyoto Animation studio, but gosh….even knowing what’s coming, the impact still hurts so bad. Nagisa was someone who, because of and despite her character traits, really grows on one to an extent few others do, and perhaps, that is precisely why the moment of tragedy is still every bit as powerful as, if not more so then, the tragic moments of the predecessors of this love story. I have to apologize for this, but I am not really capable of coming up with a coherent writeup now….so I’ll just make do with a dedication, to the darling lady who has grown on all of us who have made it this far, all the way to the bitter end.

CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 16. A tribute to the much-loved Okazaki Nagisa.

Ascaloth, out.

Did I disappoint you or let you down?
Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?
‘Cause I saw the end before we’d begun,
Yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won.

So I took what’s mine by eternal right.
Took your soul out into the night.
It may be over but it won’t stop there,
I am here for you if you’d only care.

You touched my heart you touched my soul.
You changed my life and all my goals.
And love is blind and that I knew when,
My heart was blinded by you.

I’ve kissed your lips and held your hand.
Shared your dreams and shared your bed.
I know you well, I know your smell.
I’ve been addicted to you.

Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.
Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I am a dreamer and when i wake,
You can’t break my spirit – it’s my dreams you take.
And as you move on, remember me,
Remember us and all we used to be

I’ve seen you cry, I’ve seen you smile.
I’ve watched you sleeping for a while.
I’d be the father of your child.
I’d spend a lifetime with you.

I know your fears and you know mine.
We’ve had our doubts but now we’re fine,
And I love you, I swear that’s true.
I cannot live without you.

Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.
Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

And I still hold your hand in mine.
In mine when I’m asleep.
And I will bare my soul in time,
When I’m kneeling at your feet.

Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.
Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I’m so hollow, baby, I’m so hollow.
I’m so, I’m so, I’m so hollow.
I’m so hollow, baby, I’m so hollow.
I’m so, I’m so, I’m so hollow.

James Blunt, Goodbye My Lover

[Ascaloth] CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 15

With the bombshell marking the beginning of the next stage of the Okazakis’ life together, the soon-to-be father starts thinking about how he’ll soon have to provide for a family of three, as all responsible fathers-to-be would eventually have to get around to considering. But although the announcement of expecting a child is a significant event that is usually greeted with not a small amount of joy, Tomoya would soon realize that for him and Nagisa, it is about to become the source of worries far greater than simply being a breadwinner for a family expecting a new member; for this pregnancy might very well change their lives as they know it, and not necessarily in the way that a normal pregnancy might be expected to. This is probably the hardest episode of CLANNAD I have had to sit through so far, and it’s only about to get even harder.

CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 15.

Expecting a child is certainly no walk in the park for the ladies, judging from the many accounts that we’ve all heard about the process. It really does a number on the biochemistry of the expectant mother; morning sickness, mood swings, food cravings, and water retention, just to name a few of the things that many expecting women have to go through for nine months in order to bring a life into this world. When one thinks about that, it’s kind of hard not to have at least a little respect for the ladies.

It seems so long ago, and yet at the same time it also seems just like yesterday, that the purpose of the two gathering around a table is to plan out the progress of the Drama Club, and now they’re making plans for the arrival of the biggest change in their life yet. Put that way, it’s mind-boggling to think about just how far we’ve followed these two from the very beginning, all the way to this stage. Neither the Okazaki Tomoya nor the Furukawa Nagisa back then would have been likely to even imagine that they’ll have to plan for such a big event as this in the near future; in a way, couldn’t the same thing be said of us? It’s a safe bet to say that none of us here would have ever had seriously considered the possibility of this part of our future lives, isn’t it?

Huh, I didn’t know the Furukawa home had a PS2. This is at least PS2-level graphics, right? Heck, could this actually be a real game somewhere out there? It certainly looks real enough. Oh, and Akio earns bonus points for using manual. :p

"But even if something were to happen to me, I want to have this baby."

Oh, sugar…..please don’t put it that way. You’re scaring me. T_T

"….I’m too YOUNG to be a grandpa!!!"

Come to think of it, Akio and Sanae are going to be REALLY YOUNG grandparents quite soon, too. Sanae-san being on track to earn the "GILF" label… o_0

I initially LOL’d when Nagisa said she’ll sing to her child, and quite predictably, chose to sing Dango Daikazoku. I thought at first that Tomoya was going to snark at her once again for that….

….but instead they all start singing the song, and it actually segues from funny to somehow being exceptionally heartwarming most naturally, to boot. How did that happen?! I have no idea how to put it in words, it’s really something one has to see for oneself. Is this the true power of the Dango Daikazoku song?

I have to admit, the further into this episode I watched, somehow the more tense and afraid I feel for Nagisa. We should have, and indeed some of us might have, already foreseen that Nagisa’s pregnancy is not going to be an easy one, and in fact has a very big chance of leading to something one doesn’t feel like thinking about. And even though it’s a Key story we’re talking about here, I still don’t want to think about it.

Unfortunately, Key/KyoAni certainly isn’t about to afford us that luxury; just like Tomoya, we’re forced to face the very real prospect of the worst-case scenario that is very likely to come soon. For the third Key story that has been adapted by KyoAni, it is still somehow so cruel; one would have thought that having had experience with two Maeda works would help brace one for what is about to come in the third, but at least for me, Nagisa has grown so much on me as a character, far more than even the Kanon and AIR heroines ever did (and that’s saying a lot), that being able to see the clues pointing to something bad possibly about to happen to her somehow actually seems to make it worse.

The love of a mother for her unborn child is something that’s altogether indescribable with words. It is a force so powerful that some, like Nagisa, would gladly risk a life to bring forth life. It’s probably something that only the women would ever truly understand, I guess.

One of the last things I’ve expected was that there was actually a continuation to the story of Nagisa’s past that Akio told Tomoya in the previous season. It’s a nice touch to show that Tomoya is not the only one losing places that are much treasured in his memory to the expansion of the city; Akio’s becoming a more well-developed side character than even Sunohara was, and that’s saying a lot. Though change brings with it new memories to be treasured….sometimes, it’s just so hard to give up the old ones.

It was both inspiring, and utterly depressing at the same time to listen to Akio’s pep talk. Even the both of them truly understand that there is a good chance that the worst could happen, and that the both of them would likely suffer one of the greatest losses in their lives at the rate things are going. But whatever may be, they are family, and because of that, they can be counted upon to help each other out even when, or perhaps especially when, one is at such a low point in life that it’s hard to imagine going lower. It is still depressing, though….

Something like this is truly hard to imagine for ourselves. Will we really get to do something like this in our own time? How will we feel if/when it happens? It’s just unimaginable.

汐 (Ushio) is the tide of the sea, that rises and falls with the passage of time. It is emblematic of the constant change that one has to face from the beginning of one’s life, but no matter what difficulties one may face, one will eventually pick oneself back up to face a new day, just like the tide that falls only to rise again. And through all the highs and lows, no matter when or where, 渚 (Nagisa), the seashore, will always be there to watch over everything, a comforting bastion of warmth always there to be counted upon, when the greater scheme of things signified by 汐 (Ushio) becomes too much to handle. What Nagisa said was simply….beautiful. There is no other word to describe it.

It feels like a promise that stands a good chance of never being fulfilled, and both of them know it as well. Yet, in the midst of their deepest worries, they dig into their last reserves of optimism, and make the promise anyway. If the earlier hammerblows of foreshadowing were not enough, this last one from the couple themselves is the truly heartbreaking one, seeing them metaphorically using the last of their strength to fight on for a better future against all despair, knowing very well that it might be their last battle together.

Okazaki Ushio. What will be the circumstances of her entry into the world? What kind of world will she be born into? What are the highs and lows which will characterize the course of her life? And above all, will there be a seashore left to watch over the tides that will buffet her life, as was promised to her before her birth into this world?

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It is only going to get harder to keep watching from now on, as we see the couple we’ve invested so much of our time and love into begin to suffer greatly. I dread what might transpire next week, and yet at the same time, I can’t wait for it to come. This is Key at its best, mental torture ever so delightful. The greatest heartbreak is yet to come.

Ascaloth, out.