The train wrecks here, and what a spectacular wreck it was. We could practically foresee it coming once yet another prank set in motion by Tomoya was taken and ran away with by Sunohara and Mei, and yet like all trainwrecks, there was no tearing our eyes away from this one. But for those of us who are not game vets, and are experiencing this particular arc for the first time, we could not have predicted just how explosive the crash ‘n burn would be. Though all’s well that ends well, the fiery conclusion of the Sunohara Siblings’ Arc certainly does cement its place as, just like how many of the game vets said it would be, one of the best side arcs within the CLANNAD canon.
CLANNAD ~After Story~, Episode 4. The end of the Sunohara Siblings’ Arc.
We’re running out of room for light balls here, bud. How many more to go?
It’s an interesting coincidence that this week’s episodes of both ef ~melodies~
and CLANNAD ~AS~
deal with the same issue this week; that of bullying. It is noteworthy that studies have shown that the word ijime
, which is often uttered by Kotomi as most of you should know, and is often translated as "bullying", actually has a distinct definition from Western concepts of the phenomenon. While Western ideas of bullying is usually based on the definition "imbalance of strength" (Olweus, 1993)*, which is an unclear definition that incorporates many different possible behaviours, ijime
"is mean behaviour or a negative attitude that has clear intention to embarrass or humiliate others who occupy weaker positions in a same group. It is assumed to be a dynamic used to keep or recover one’s dignity by aggrieving others. Consequently, its main purpose is to inflict mental suffering on others, regardless of the form such as physical, verbal, psychological and social" (Taki, 2003)**
* Olweus, D. (1993) "Bullying at school: what we know and what we can do". Oxford: Blackwell Publishers
is specified by three necessary conditions. Firstly, it occurs in a relatively small social group, where the "relationship between "weaker" and "stronger" is relative and neither persistent nor stable", and consequently, "the first necessary condition of ‘Ijime bullying’ is group membership involving those who perceive themselves to be almost equal". Secondly, as the members of small social groups in Japan "orient to equality", ijime
is based on the "use of power imbalance in a group" where the "roles of bully and victim are easily exchangeable according to the situation". Finally, ijime
"becomes more harmful and serious in a cumulative way, if victim(s) cannot flee easily from victimization in a group setting and are exposed to mean behaviour or a negative attitude repeatedly in a long period", and is "not only repeated behaviour against same victim(s) by bully(s), but also collective attitude
against specific victim(s) by many others". (Taki, 2003)**.
** Taki, M. (2003) "‘Ijime bullying’: characteristic, causality and intervention". Oxford-Kobe Seminars: Measures to reduce "Bullying in Schools", on 21-25 May 2003 at Kobe Institute, Kobe, Japan
I wonder if the ani she’s talking about is that random guy who sprouted out from under the table to shake Sunohara into pieces back in Episode 2. For someone who was portrayed as little more than everybody else’s fallback plan in the first season, Yukine has been getting rather more focus and development in the previous episodes, even if she’s still doing the same thing. I’ve heard that hers was actually supposed to be a main arc until it was eventually relegated to a side arc for certain reasons, but it’s also still considered one of the better side arcs in the canon. There should be much to eagerly await for when it’s finally her turn to get the spotlight.
You know things are getting tense when the Foolish Duo are having a stare-off, and especially when Kyou doesn’t use her dictionary gag for once. It’s amazing how the tension feels so real-life, almost as if I were back in my school days watching, or even being one of the parties in a stare-off like this.
It’s also quite entertaining how Tomoya and Nagisa don’t argue much with each other, but when they do, it’s almost indistinguishable from that of a married couple’s. XD
Of course, we all know that the question of who usually wins these arguments is a foregone conclusion. Or at the very least, a certain real-life couple should know. :p
But honestly, can you see the Nagisa of the previous season’s Episode 1 doing something like this, speaking up and insisting on her course of action? Speaks a lot of how far the girl has come since then. You go, sugar.
One can only imagine how much it took for Tomoya to be able to bow his head down. Especially for one of his status, it would have been a particularly large blow to his pride, so for him to be able to do that for the sake of another must speak a lot of how he too has changed since the beginning.
You know, one learns a great deal of things about the world in tertiary education that one couldn’t possibly have known about in their younger years. For example, one learns that such cases of bullying is a common occurrence for reasons that should have been obvious in hindsight, and it also gives a bigger picture from which to view to one’s own experiences, and come to a new understanding about them. But when all is said and done, whenever a scene like this comes up, all the education in the world does not, and rightly so, keep one from having a visceral reaction to it in the likes of "These f***in’ a**holes".
The moment which provoked a storm of murderous intent in the hearts of
lolicon otaku around the world.
And as the world-spanning intent of murder…
….came to a head….
….Sunohara, the lifelong fool, finally gets a well-deserved Crowning Moment of Awesome.
(Image courtesy of Klashikari from Anime History)
"There’s nothing that
Suzaku Sunohara and I can’t do together!"
And the trainwreck culminates into an awesome beatdown between the two buddies. It was, quite simply, one of the best moments of CLANNAD thus far, being the first time we really get to see the true depth of the friendship between Tomoya and Sunohara, even as they are beating the crap out of each other. Sometimes, it really is one of the ways that guys affirm their friendship bonds.
And the trainwreck may have run its course, but the aftermath is a happy one, with Sunohara affirming his family ties with Mei after neglecting them for so long in his long, dark despair. And so, the theme of CLANNAD resurfaces, the ties that make up the concept ‘family’ is one that endures despite long neglect.
And the Warrior Duke and his Duchess looks on.
Bruised and battered, but the bond between lifelong buddies is stronger than ever.
Indeed, how lucky it is that Tomoya and Sunohara, when all is said and done, have each other’s back. It’s always reassuring to know one can have a buddy he can trust in….
….actually, maybe I should take that back. :p
Nevertheless, the Sunohara Siblings’ Arc lives up to its reputation; it really is one of the strongest side arcs in terms of the overall "family" theme of the CLANNAD canon, and an awesome story in its own right. The bonds between family, the bonds between friends, even though they may be strained and neglected at times, they persist. It was a truly powerful story that really wrings emotions in the way that classic Key
stories do, and yet at the same time, it was a more mature and meaningful effort than the earlier efforts. Once again, good job, Key
. Good job, KyoAni
. Your partnership remains the benchmark by which all other VN adaptations are measured against.