Clannad: Simply an anime, or the story of life?

Kyoto Animation group has converted a dating simulator game into a work of art that fills its viewers with every possible emotion.

Clannad, translated from Irish to English, means family, and this anime is certainly all about family. The story starts off with high schooler Tomoya Okazaki in his final year of high school, and he and his best friend Ryohei Sunohara are known as the school delinquents. The two do everything together, until Tomoya finds a strange girl at the foot of the hill on the way to school who yells out, “Anpan!” (a Japanese sweet roll filled with red bean paste). She says, “Do you like this school? I really, really love it. But nothing can stay unchanged. Fun things … Happy things… They can’t possibly stay unchanged. Even so, can you keep loving this place?” Tomoya responds, “Just find them. Just find new, fun and happy things.” Then, he tells her to hurry up or they will be late. This little encounter sparks the beginning of an incredible love story that will undoubtedly move the hearts of any audience.

From that point on, Tomoya makes it his job to help Nagisa (the girl at the foot of the hill) in her struggle to gain friends and eventually he ends up hopelessly in love with her.

Of course, this is not any ordinary love story, but a riveting story of happiness, strife and what it means to persevere.

Clannad contains many characters who each have their own story to tell. Here are some of the main ones.

There is Tomoya Okazaki, who lost his mother when he was very young, causing his father to cope in the only way he knows how: drinking. His father is constantly drunk, in debt and jobless, causing Tomoya to work part-time jobs in order to pay the bills. He hates his father and he hates the city that he lives in, all until he meets Nagisa. Then, he finally learns what it is that he wants to live for.

Nagisa Furukawa is a innocent and frail girl whose dream is to revive the drama club at her high school. Ever since she was little, she has had a strange illness that ultimately ends up making her miss school for long periods of time, resulting in her being held back a year. Due to this, all of her former classmates have already left for college, leaving her alone. But when Tomoya stepped into her life, everything started to get brighter.

Another interesting character is Kotomi Ichinose, the daughter of two very famous scientists who studied the theory of parallel dimensions (which does play a part in this anime). She and Tomoya were actually childhood friends, but Tomoya does not remember this until further into the storyline.

There are two seasons to this anime, and both focus on two things entirely: the first season focuses on the high school life of these lovable characters, and the second season focuses on creating a family after graduation, making amends with your family and sticking together through thick and thin.

Clannad was on air in 2007 and finished off with the sequel Clannad: After Story in 2009. Since then, this series has been deemed the epitome of emotional animes. It brings out so many things that make the viewers cry, laugh, smile, get angry and contemplate, because this anime fully envelopes the idea of what life really is about.

In the long run, this anime builds up a lot of character development, has an incredible storyline, has emotional balance and knows how to engage its viewers.

If you love anime and are looking for a real, heartwarming story, then you should check out Clannad.