Tomoya Okazaki is an ordinary high school senior who doesn't take his studies seriously. Always late for class, he's seen as a delinquent by the rest of his classmates, who are busily preparing for their college entrance examinations. He hates his life and the whole town, and the closest thing he has to a real friend is Loser Protagonist Youhei Sunohara, who just barely manages to rise to the level of Butt Monkey at the best of times. Tomoya is thoroughly miserable.Then one day, while walking to school, he bumps into Nagisa Furukawa, a shy girl whose only friends at the school have already graduated. Whenever Tomoya sees her around school, she's alone; her classmates scarcely notice she exists, and no one has any interest in befriending her.No one, that is, except Tomoya, who without even realizing it finds himself taking her under his wing. As he sets out to help her reestablish the school's drama club, he finds himself connecting (or, as it often turns out, reconnecting) with several other girls from the school. Although he doesn't care much about them at first — he doesn't much care about anything at first — he gradually opens his heart to them as they get to know each other better.The title, according to the author, comes from the Irish word for "family" (although "Clannad" is actually the name of an Irish band, an abbreviation of "Clann as Dobhar" or "the family from Dore) — and indeed family, along with the related concept of True Companions, is a major theme of CLANNAD.The original Visual NovelCLANNAD was made by Key Visual Arts and released in 2004. The manga adaptation, illustrated by Juri Misaki, was published by Jive between November 2005 and March 2009; Drama CDs were released in 2007. In September 2007, Toei Animation released The Movie, directed by Osamu Dezaki. The television series, by Kyoto Animation, aired between October 2007 and March 2008. The Visual Novel and the anime television series are each divided into two parts, the high school portion, which takes place during the first few weeks of Tomoya's senior year, and the After Story, which takes place later. Two special OVA episodes were made for this series by Kyoto Animation. The first is the bonus episode 24 in the first season, ''Another World: Tomoyo Arc'', and the second the bonus episode on the final Clannad DVD, ''Another World: Kyou Arc''.(For those who care about such things: over at the Anime News Network, CLANNAD ~After Story~ (i.e. season two of the anime series) is currently ranked #3 among the almost 6000 anime series and movies listed there — at least if you go byBayesian estimator. It also previously held the #1 spot in a similar listing at MyAnimeList. Not that online polls are worth the paper they're (not) written on. Still. Interesting.)Both seasons and the movie are licensed by Sentai Filmworks, the employees of the once-prosperous ADV Films. The first two episodes are available online for free.CLANNAD's Character Sheet can be found here; its Wild Mass Guessing goes here; its Fanfic Recs go here.Not to be confused with the melodious friends and family of Enya.
CLANNAD contains examples of:
Absurdly Youthful Mother: Lots of examples but most apparent is Sanae. Just (majorly spoileriffic link!) compare her to Nagisa's midwife, who was Sanae's classmate in high school.
AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: The English dub's character names, for those accustomed to the Japanese voices. For example, Nagisa is pronounced "Na-GEE-sa" in the dub.
Accidental Misnaming - When Tomoya first meets Nagisa's parents Akio and Sanae, they keep inventing bizarre names for him (e.g., "Cosmic-san"). They're not being mean, they're just rather cloudcuckoolanderish.
Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: If you're watching all three Seasonverse anime in order. Wait, what!? Now ikiryou are eventually doomed to be Ret Gone, especially if they're discovered? This wasn't in... oh, wait, it was in Kanon, but only if you played the game.
Adult Fear: This show takes a shot at fathers. Imagine if your wife died giving birth, and you'd raised your child for years, only to have her die in your arms, her last words were that she loved you and didn't know why it was getting so dark. Tomoya broke down and cried, dying and crying out for someone to help him save his daughter.
Akio and Sanae as well. Imagine if your daughter died giving birth and you were forced to raise her child for five years due to your son-in-law's Heroic B So D. Then he gets over it and takes her back only for her to become terribly ill and die, leaving your son-in-law to die of despair, clutching the corpse of your five-year-old granddaughter. Yikes.
Adventurous Irish Violins: The musical score often has this as a nod to the Irish connections of its namesake, as well as to invoke a sense of whimsical romanticism and everyday wonder.
After the End: Tomoya envisions a future with all the trappings of such series, with Fūko as the hero's sealed superweapon ("Starfish Manipulator!").
In addition, the Illusionary World seems to be some sort of extreme Cosy Catastrophe version — a world that has ended and has no sentient life except for one little girl (and her toy) who turn out to be Ushio, Tomoya's daughter, and Tomoya himself.
Ambiguous Gender - In the Visual Novel: Hiiragi Kappei. So effeminate-looking that Tomoya is unsure of whether he is a guy or a girl even after he states his gender. Even after having the truth dropped on him, Sunohara, in a state of denial, chooses to pursue what Tomoya calls "unrequited love." The implications are not lost on us.
All There in the Manual: Fūko's reappearances in the anime are based on a mode in the Visual Novel where, if you obtain the Fūko Master and Fūko Ninja statuses, when replaying Tomoyo's route, Fūko will pop up at random times.
Alternate Universe: The first season's omake episode 24, in which Tomoyo wins (and the her potential romantic rivals don't even make an appearance onscreen), and the DVD-only episode for ~After Story~, in which Kyou wins. All the routes in the game are a bunch of Alternate Universes to each other. This actually becomes a plot point.
Also, within the anime's canon storyline, an Alternate Universe is the result of the Ichinoses' research, as continued by Kotomi after she graduates. Becomes a focal plot point for the Grand Finale.
May be the way how the miracle at the end happens. The miracle did not turn back time and save Nagisa, it simply created an Alternate Universe where Nagisa survives, meaning that Nagisa, Tomoya, and Ushio are still dead in the universe where they died. Interestingly, the miracle requires you to replay or reload to the point where Nagisa dies, the same way you do when you're going for another route and another continuity.
Anachronic Order: Not so much in the Visual Novel or the anime series, but definitely in the 2006 Toei Animation movie. Generally, the action therein skips back and forth between two timelines: Tomoya's senior year in high school, when he's falling in love with Nagisa, and the weeks, months, and then years after Nagisa's death, when Tomoya is going through (and eventually recovers from) his Heroic BSOD. So instead of season one followed by ~After Story~ — as in the Kyoto Animation series — in the movie we get the former and the latter half of the latter interspliced.
Many of Nagisa's quotes are good examples, especially "Would you like me to take you... to a place in this city where wishes come true?" as well as her very first lines, quoted at the top.
Nagisa is pretty much the queen of this trope as far as Clannad is concerned. Ironically, she is probably the one who would be most surprised to find out how much meaning her own quotes have.
Art Shift: Of a more subtle sort, at least: the "Illusionary World" scenes are animated at a sharply higher quality than the main series, with no duplicate frames and consequently very fluid movement. The scenes make heavy use of CG, too.
A more poignant example, from near the end of season one: in front of the whole drama club, Tomoyo tells Nagisa, "I'm so glad he chose you." The slighted parties — Kyou, Ryou, and Kotomi — each give their own version of the Aside Glance. Kyou's is almost defiant, with a hint of Tomoyo-directed dagger eyes. Her twin sisterRyou's subtler Aside Glance registers shame rather than anger. Subtlest of all is Kotomi's: her head doesn't even move as she peers at the audience; evidently she's too lost in thought to fully register that Tomoyo has (inadvertently?) insulted her.
In ~After Story~, aside glances are common ways to punctuate a joke, especially (but not always) at Youhei's expense.
Not quite everything, considering Key's background
Awesome Mc Cool Name: When he first meets Tomoya, Nagisa's dad decides that his name is too wimpy and proceeds to try to think of a better one. Something big and imposing, like "Galaxy Cosmos"...
Awesomeness by Analysis: A Subverted Trope, when Kotomi plays baseball: at the plate, she starts a thought stream about angles, velocities, and so forth, while fancy schematics and statistics flash by in the background. But when the pitcher actually pitches, Kotomi chickens out, and the ball winds up bouncing off the bat's handle simply by accident.
Baby Trap: Ryou attempts this with Kappei in his route, only for the whole lie to fall flat on its face when he reminds her that they haven't had sex, so it's impossible. She then tries again, threatening to have sex with him while he's unconscious in order to get pregnant.
Arguably Yohei, for similar reasons as Kappei. Admit it, "baby face" Sunohara is hot, he's just the butt monkey.
Tomoya's dad in his younger days, before hardships took its toll on one's body. Who did you think Tomoya got his drop dead gorgeous looks from?
Bishoujo: Design aesthetic used for just about every female character in the cast.
Black Comedy Rape: In the Visual Novel, Tomoya uses an expression involving Kotomi (who has a fear of being bullied) having a tail. Kyou launches a thorough investigation and checks breast size while she's at it. Kyou later uses threats of "massages" to coerce Kotomi. This is downplayed — somewhat — in the anime.
Blue with Shock: Kotomi and Tomoya after receiving a bad fortune. Nagisa and her mother also do this separately in dramatic fashion, with identical lightning strikes in the background.
Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: As part of his effort to socialize Kotomi, Tomoya tries to teach her this. It culminates in Kotomi, Ryou, and Nagisa working together to learn the tsukkomi role, with Kyou as their strict teacher.
Tomoya's character revolves heavily around being a tsukkomi and he tries to be one with just about every character, whether it be verbally or just in his thoughts. It doesn't work too well on Kotomi though since she just doesn't get it.
According to Tomoya, he's surrounded by bokkes, namely Nagisa and Ryou. It is for this reason that he can't help but be the tsukkomi all the time.
Book Ends: Clannad After Story begins and ends with a scene of Tomoya and his father walking through a field of sunflowers.
Break Her Heart To Save Her: Not as extreme as some other examples, but in Tomoyo's Other World episode, Tomoya breaks up with Tomoyo in order to prevent himself from stopping her from accomplishing her goal. Tomoya was perfectly aware that she would never forgive herself if she failed. As per typical Clannad, it's really painful to watch him say things like "I didn't love you" in order to make Tomoyo leave.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: At one point in the visual novel, Tomoya says that they should stop kicking Sunohara because the current screen looks wierd.
Breather Episode: In ~After Story~, episodes 19 and 20 have elements of this. Not that they're light and fluffy — they're Tear Jerkers in their own right — but at least in comparison with episode 16, in which Nagisa dies giving birth to Ushio; episode 17, in which we learn that Tomoya, in his grief over Nagisa, has fallen into such a severe depression that he has essentially ignored his own daughter for five years and thus become precisely what he hated most about his own father; episode 18, in which Tomoya reconciles with Ushio but bursts into tears (and takes us with him) when telling Ushio about Nagisa — and of course, episode 21, in which Ushio (and possibly Tomoya) dies.
The first half of ~After Story~ episode 16 serves as a breather half-episode. Because of the episode's secondhalf, it's easy to forget how cheerful and optimistic the reunion scene is, and what a relief after all the tension of episode 15. This is the last time we see Tomoya, Nagisa, Kyou, Ryou, Kotomi, and Youhei together; leaving aside the Where Are They Now montage in the Grand Finale, this is the last we see of Ryou, Kotomi, or Youhei.
It's odd to consider the first episode of a season as a breather episode, but episode 1 of ~After Story~ certainly qualifies. After the power of the end of the first season, and before all of the nuclear powered emotional scenes later in ~After Story~, it starts with the cast... playing baseball?
Brick Joke: The stars given out to everyone by Fuko are forgotten due to her coma status prevailing and preventing her from waking majorly are seen by the viewer. Emotional impact occurs when the viewer realizes that the characters cannot remember their actions with her but can only be remembered by the stars.
Butt Monkey: Sunohara, who is routinely brutally beaten, thrown out windows, and skipped across concrete — usually at the hands feet of Tomoyo. And it's nearly always his own fault. In addition, his gullibility makes him a frequent victim of Tomoya's pranks.
Sunohara "enjoys" an unusual niche among buttmonkies: just about everything bad that happens to him is his own fault.
Except when it involves Tomoya's pranks. Even though you can tell that Tomoya is true friend when push comes to shove, he's also a jerkass of a friend too. Though, I guess abuse is okay when its anyone on Sunohara.
Call Back: The "Okazaki SAIKOU!" scene in After Story references Fuuko's dream in Ep. 6 where Okazaki says the same line and is wearing (nothing but) those same black tights.
There's another Call Back, which doubles as an Ironic Echo, in the Illusionary World's Grand Finale that references two earlier events. One of them is in After Story episode 20 where Tomoya sings Dango Daikazoku to put Ushio to sleep. The other is from season 1 episode 22 where Nagisa ends the play by singing the same song. It culminates in this conversation:
The Girl — (hums Dango Daikazoku)
The Doll — Wait, I know that song!
The Girl — You should. It's the song you always sang to me.
Career-Ending Injury: Tomoya was a talented basketball player before the start of the series until an injury from a physical altercation with his father resulted in him being unable to lift his arm above shoulder-level, forcing him to quit the team. This on top of the subsequent emotional neglect is shown to be a major contributor to his delinquency and resentment of the town at the beginning of the series.
Catch Phrase: Nagisa's "Ehehe" in the game. Subtler in the series.
Cat Smile: Sunohara. Unexpectedly, Tomoya does one, too, at one point.
Character Development: Every character in the series experiences this, but more particularly with both Tomoya and Nagisa. Nagisa shown more confidence of herself at the end of Clannad while Tomoya becomes more open to his feelings. Most of Nagisa's character development is from Clannad while Tomoya's at Clannad ~After Story~.
Chastity Couple: Tomoya's relationship with Nagisa is strictly hugging but no kissing.
The VN explores this more than the anime as Tomoya deals with his internal struggle over this. It mostly has to do with Nagisa's soft and fragile demeanor as he is MUCH more forward with Tomoyo in her route.
In the anime, Tomoya and Nagisa start going out, start holding hands, and then get married. As a married couple, every image of them in bed together shows both of them fully clothed and about 3 feet apart. But then, we discover that Nagisa is pregnant. (In fact she announces how it happened: "We have sex and sex makes babies!".) So they aren't actually chaste, but they certainly appear that way onscreen.
In the anime, Fuko after her arc would be Chekhov's Gunman; she makes a few random appearances mostly as Plucky Comic Relief while her significance with regards to the dream world and role as a key catalyst to the whole story only becomes apparent in the Grand Finale.
Chew Toy: Sunohara. The only time his injuries are not Played for Laughs is when he and Tomoya brawl in the rain as a result of Sunohara's neglect of Mei.
Cherry Blossoms: CLANNAD being Key's "spring" work, cherry blossoms are blowing in the wind almost all the time. The first scene of the anime series — the scene in which Boy Meets Girl — is almost clogged with them.
Clean Pretty Childbirth: Ushio's birth is remarkably blood and bodily-fluid free, especially since her mother doesn't survive it. You'd probably be forgiven for thinking Nagisa just fell asleep.
Closeup on Head - With Sunohara and Tomoya. First, a shot of Sunohara (including his shoulders) commenting on something happening in the baseball field. Then, a closeup of Tomoya asking what's going on. A third shot reveals that after Sunohara's closeup, Tomoya somehow ended up sitting on Sunohara's shoulders. Sunohara doesn't realize/react to this until after he answers Tomoya.
Cloudcuckoolander - Kotomi, when she first gets drafted by Tomoya. (She gets better though. Somewhat.) Also, Fūko. And of course Sunohara, who, unlike the others, actually is stupid.
At least some of the time, Nagisa. And her parents. Actually, as Tomoya observes, most of the people in the town have at least occasional aspects of Cloudcuckoolander.
A quote from Tomoya "These stupid girls... ARE... EVERYWHERE!"
He was referring to Nagisa and Fuko in this particular case but the quote can be applied to many of the characters. He even says the entire town is filled with these stupid people shortly after this quote.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience - The color of the shield of the Hikarizaka school uniform tells you what year the student is... blue for senior, red for junior and green for freshman.
Combos: Tomoyo has a rapid fire sequence of kicks that juggles her opponent in the air, and a combo meter actually appears on screen every time she uses it (on Sunohara). At one point, she and Tomoya do a chain combo. In the Visual Novel, she chain combos with almost everyone on the cast.
Coming of Age Story: It's often pointed out by many characters of the cast that Tomoya is "just a kid" and that he will need to, someday, become a man in order to support his family.
Continuity Nod: It's quick and easy to miss, but the driver involved in the accident with the bus that causes Kotomi to have a breakdown is the same guy who blamed Yoshino for damaging his car earlier in the series.
Cosy Catastrophe: In the Illusionary World, the toy informs us that their universe is one in which all sentient life has ended — except for one little girl. (And his, although he doesn't make a big deal about himself.)
Cry Cute: Tomoyo, Kyou, and even Tomoya on a few ocassions.
Subverted later in the anime series, when Nagisa survives through the forced time-reset that Tomoya instigates.
Death by Despair: Tomoya collapses in the snow shortly after Ushio's death, pleading for Nagisa — for anyone — to save her.
Deliberately Monochrome: In what surely must be a Shout-Out to Haruhi Suzumiya, the anime for CLANNAD begins with Kyon Tomoya narrating, telling us how much he hates the town he lives in and his life in general. He's clearly depressed, and the world is presented almost exclusively in white, blue, drab green, and grey. Abruptly Nagisa appears, almost as if by magic. As Tomoya watches her talk to herself, the monochrome of his world begins to break down. The screen flashes with brilliant colors. A few seconds later, with some Dramatic Wind and some even more dramatic camera movement, Nagisa turns to look at Tomoya. The screen is awash with vibrant colors, and Tomoya's world has officially changed forever.
In addition, the anime series occasionally employs briefer Deliberately Monochrome sequences in order to imply a sense of unreality — for example, when Youhei is in a fog after first waking up.
Late in the series, a heart-breaking use of Deliberately Monochrome - episode 16 of ~After Story~ concludes with something of an Ironic Echo of the series' opening scene. Whereas the original scene gradually bursts from monochrome to full color as Tomoya and Nagisa first notice each other, here the color palette fades from almost surreal intensity (even the tree trunks are purple!) to nearly black and white, to signify that Nagisa has died.
Delinquents: Tomoya and Sunohara are known as this. Tomoyo used to be one but is trying to change.
It's revealed in the ~After Story~ Extra episode that the victim of Tomoya's and Sunohara's second major prank in their second year was Nagisa, Kyou being the victim of their first prank.
Demoted to Extra: Let's just say that After Story is one hell of a Demotion To Extra for any heroines not named "Nagisa." Justified since After Story is the continuation of her route.
A better example would be Yukine, who was originally intended to be one of the "main heroines" and her route was supposed to be longer but Jun Maeda was unsatisfied with her route. She still ends up with Tomoya but her route is noticeably shorter and lacking in impact compare to the main heroines (Nagisa, Tomoyo, Kyou, Kotomi, Fuko). All of the heroines take a back seat to Nagisa but it was always intended to be that way.
Fuko after her arc is completed in the first season. She does make occasional reappearances, but the characters don't remember her, and she only shows up for comedic effects for the rest of Season 1. However, it's subverted late in Season 2, when the real Fuko does show up again, mostly for Ushio kidnap attempts.
Deus ex Machina: The ending of the anime series. There was a lot of foreshadowing for those who know where to look. Also, those who have played the Visual Novel all the way through will recognize it as the true ending. Reactions to this ending often lead into Fan Dumb territory.
Considering that alternate universes are also a very important point, a Deus ex Machina may not have happened at all. In the universe where Ushio and Tomoya die, they really did die. The miracle is that Nagisa survives in an alternate universe, though it is unclear whether the consciousness of the Tomoya of both universe are the same. This is supported in that the miracle does not happen after their death, it happens only if you re-play Nagisa's death scene again, making it like you're playing another route.
Diabolus ex Machina: Both Ushio's and Tomoya's deaths, but it turned out all right due to some form of time travel.
Also, Nagisa goes into an early labor on the night where it just so happens to be snowing too hard to get her proper medical care.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the Alternate UniverseTomoyo Arcomake episode. Tomoya and Tomoyo are sitting next to each other on a park bench when a distraught Tomoya spills ice cream on his knee. Tomoyo's hand reaches out of frame as she reaches down to wipe the ice cream off his knee. It's just then that Tomoya announces he's breaking up with her. The visual suggestiveness of the scene only increases the scene's emotional punch.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Quite literally. In the game, you have to go through every character route in order to get the "true" ending of After Story. To put it in perspective this involves around 100 hours of reading, not to mention crying your eyes out on at least half a dozen occasions.
Also applies in-universe. Tomoya had to go through all those hardships for him to be reborn as the Garbage Doll in the Illusionary World. He gets his happy ending when Ushio sends him back in time, this time prepared to prevent Nagisa's death.
Misae: For Sunohara to have such a cute sister, and for Okazaki to have such a cute girlfriend... If it were the end of the world, it'd be bad for the sister and Furukawa-san, but... I'll say it. It's the end of the world.
Mr. Fanservice: Tomoya. Akio. To a far lesser extent, Youhei Sunohara.
In-universe it's "Only the Girls Want Her," much to Kyou's dismay.
Everyone Can See It: The viewer can tell Tomoya and Nagisa are the Official Couple by the opening credits of the first episode. Most other characters come to this conclusion quickly, too... except that Kyou and Ryou discover this the hard way. But even after a naval battle's worth of Ship Sinking, Tomoya and Nagisa just can't see themselves as a couple. Until the Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming final scene of the final (non-omake) episode of season one.
Evolving Credits: When Tomoya's grandmother is introduced in episode 18 of After Story, she shows up in the ending credits as well. At the end of the next episode, Tomoya's father is added to the parade as well. In the final episode, Fūko and Ushio lead the line.
In the game: the light orbs that the player has collected will appear under the same tree in the game's menu, glow brightly when all 13 are collected, and when you've finally reached the True End, the Girl in from the Illusionary World will be there.
Similarly, in the anime, the scene where they state the episode number and title changed over time, adding orbs of light after major events that roughly correspond to when they are obtained in the game. In the first season, orbs are added at the beginning of episodes 7, 10, 13, 15, 19 and 22. In After Story, orbs are added in episodes 1, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 21. After episode 22 in After Story, the Girl from the Illusionary World is now seen lying in the grass under the tree.
Expy: Misae Sagara is similar to Kaname Chidori from Full Metal Panic!. They are both voiced by the same voice actress, have similar hair color (blackish blue), similar personality, and Misae's last name is the same as Kaname's love interest. They both also seem to be fond of the suplex. Given that both anime were also made by Kyoto Animation, which may have something to do with both characters having the same voice actress.
Eyes Always Shut: Naoyuki Okazaki a.k.a. Tomoya's father is pretty always seen like this. He rarely opens his eyes for more than a second or two.
Facefault: Repeatedly. The most amusing one is when Tomoya imagines Fūko announcing over the school intercom that the wooden stars she's been handing out are in fact starfish, with the entire class simultaneously facefaulting in response.
The one where Tomoya facefaults because Akio mentioned that Sanae's boobs were huge, in front of a drunk Nagisa, no less, is hilarious as well. Though it's more of a headdesk maneuver.
Kyou also manages one so hard that she knocked down a door along the way.
" Papa? I love you." Ushio, dying in Tomoya's arms. In the snow.
"Someone! Someone save Ushio! Nagisa!" Tomoya, before he follows Ushio in death. In the very same snow.
Fangirl: Mei is something of a Yoshino Yuusuke fangirl.
Fanservice: The Ship Tease, below, or Kyou in gym clothes in general (such as her Gainaxing twice in the opening credits bouncing a basketball). A late episode features several of the girls stretching off each other's backs: chest in foreground, everything else blurred out. Goodness, were Ryou's breasts always that big? Also, the extra episode of the after story has the bath scene of the two sisters.
Interestingly, there is nothing of this sort in the Visual Novel. Not one piece of perverse imagery. The closest thing to Fanservice in the V.N. are a couple of misleading conversations that clarify themselves immediately after for comic effect - most notably, the situation Tomoya and Sunohara engineer wherein Ryou thinks Nagisa is trying to confess to her. She's actually trying to ask for advice on forming the drama club.
Another is when Tomoya seems to be about to have sex with Tomoyo, when he is putting his hand on her breast while she's lying down on a desk. A teacher walks in and Tomoya threatens her to avoid punishment and embarrassment for Tomoyo. Many fans were not pleased with the interruption. It is hinted to have actually happened in a bad end of the route, though, a few days later.
The scene takes place in her normal path it's the reason Tomoya got suspended, and afterward Tomoyo goes to see him to cook him breakfast.
The Fellowship Has Ended: In ~After Story~, Tomoya, Youhei, Kotomi, Ryou and Kyou graduate, and Nagisa is unable to revive the drama club when she repeats her senior year again due to her illness. Youhei, Kotomi and a Fujibayashi sisters do later visit Tomoya and a pregnant Nagisa, but that's the last we see of them, except for Kyou, until the finale. In the final OVA episode, Tomoya mentions that everyone reunited for New Year's as well.
First Girl Wins: Depends on whether you count by order of introduction to the audience or to Tomoya.
"Surpass" is an iffy term since Nagisa was never a romantic prospect in Kotomi's route, she was just Kotomi's first female friend.
First Name Basis: Tomoya calls all of the other main girls by their given name without honorific, adding "-chan" for Kotomi◊ because she won't notice him otherwise, but he and Nagisa call each other by family name. At one point, Fūko, who approves of them as an Official Couple, tries to convince them to be more "adult-like" by switching to a first name basis (complete with -chan and -kun honorifics), but after a stuttering attempt both protest that it's too embarrassing (though Tomoya does manage it by leaving off the "-chan").
Later in the anime, in an omake episode set during the summer of Tomoya's senior year, Mei finally succeeds in getting Nagisa to call Tomoya by his first name. Note that the two have already been going steady for several weeks by this time.
In the Visual Novel, Ryou and Tomoya switch to first name basis, as well, in her and Kyou's route in the game. It's the final scene in the Ryou end.
And in the Kyou route it turns into Ryou's desperate attempt to keep Tomoya interested in her by acting like her sister.
Foreshadowing: When Sunohara asks Yukine to be his fake girlfriend, a mishap happens which foreshadows Yukine's story arc.
Additionally, when the topic of the possibilities of multiple worlds and timelines was mentioned in episode 16 of After Story, Tomoya suddenly remembers Nagisa's play, which is a rough description of The World that Ended
Ushio's love of the robot toy Tomoya gave her. Not only does she love it because Tomoya gave it to her, it also is related to how much she loves robots themselves— since her dad was a robot in the Alternate Universe, after all.
More so, the last thing Ushio said before she collapsed into a fever was "I tried; but I just couldn't do it by myself." It seems she's talking about trying to leave the Alternate World and trying to save everyone, but wasn't able to.
Forgotten Childhood Friend - Non-villainous example. Kotomi Ichinose was Tomoya's childhood friend, yet after Kotomi's parents died in the plane crash, Tomoya stopped coming over to her house because Kotomi would not come out. The next time they would meet was when Tomoya wandered into the library in his senior year. (This happens the same way in both the Visual Novel and the anime).
The Gadfly: Tomoya. Poor, poor Sunohara, his most frequent victim. Then again, you have to be really stupid to put any faith in what Tomoya tells you.
Even the trusting Nagisa catches on. Seeing her say candidly "Since occasionally you're a liar" in episode 19 is priceless.
Gainax Ending: Seriously, to understand the Grand Finale requires a lot of analysis of the dialogue between Ushio and the Garbage Doll before the Illusionary World collapses. Also, one has to wonder why Nagisa has knowledge of Tomoya wishing that he'd never met her, as well as if the reality where the Okazaki family got TPK'd really happened. (Yes.)
You would also have to had paid attention to both Misae's and Yukine's arcs to understand the properties of the Light Orbs.
It makes sense for the Visual Novel, not so much for the anime, because in Episode 20 of After Story, Kyou mentions that she, Youhei, Kotomi and the others planned to visit Okazaki sooner or later, showing that the events after Ushio's death take place in the same timeline in which Tomoya gets to meet and befriend everyone. So the Reset Ending triggered by the Lights is, in the Anime, the result of a gigantic Karmic reward made possible by the Lights, earned by Tomoya with his good deeds in the series, and triggered by Ushio's and Okazaki's death. It still works. Just, differently.
For people who confused about After Story episodes 16-23, and where episode 24 fits into the timeline, there is this.◊
Gainaxing: Kyou while bouncing a basketball in the opening credits of season 1. What a way to get a bloke-viewer's attention.
Gay Option: Yes, there really is a Sunohara ending (really a gag bad end), made available by dumping Tomoyo just prior to locking onto her route. In it Tomoya decides that Sunohara is the only one for him (to Sunohara's considerable alarm).
To get the "Sunohara" bad end, you have to push away all of the girls, Tomoyo just happens to be the last one in the sequence to be rejected. Perhaps to poke fun at the player, Tomoya says, despite meeting all these girls, he doesn't the slightest interest in any of them so he must be gay.
Generation Xerox - As much as Tomoya hates his father for neglecting him to dull the pain of his mother's death he has become exactly the same to his own little girl Ushio to forget that her birth killed Nagisa.
Generic Cuteness: To such an extreme it's nearly impossible to tell just by their appearance which girls are meant to be beautiful in-universe. This leads, almost inevitably, to Informed Attractiveness. (See also.)
Genius Loci: The entire city, in certain characters' opinion.
Genre-Busting: It's like a slice-of-life romance drama with a side-order of the supernatural.
Gratuitous English: Sunohara tries to use some, but his English is so bad "revenge" comes out as more like "rezombie". The anime version of Kotomi's arc ends with a misspelled note in English SuitsCase]]? also spoken in a variety of languages, with varying levels of success. The English note was free of errors in the original game.
I am pretty dog. Thank you, my friend from New York!
Like the fireball!
Sunohara often uses English in horrible wrong ways. Tomoya often calls him out on it.
In Tomoyo's extra episode, she present a speech broadcast on television in very broken English, that makes little sense if you actually speak the language (Her speech in the dub is completely different, thankfully). Naturally, when watching it, Sunohara asks what language she's speaking.
There's a lot of Gratuitous English in the series. Also in the songs, especially "Ana", the lyrics of which are almost entirely awkwardly translated English.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: Irish Gaelic, misused in the title (as described at the top of this page) and used in other contexts as well, like song titles.
Hair Antennae: The entire Furukawa family. Except Ushio — but technically she's an Okazaki.
Hair Colors: Hair colors run the usual rainbow gambit, but it is Sunohara's blond hair that Fūko calls out as unnatural. In this instance, she's correct (albeit rude): his hair is naturally dark, like his sister Mei's, and he dyes it blond. We see his natural hair color in some of the omakes and toward the end of ~After Story~.
There is a very good reason why we don't get to see Yuusuke and Kouko together much. In the game, After Story strictly follows Nagisa's route and Nagisa's route only, meaning that there was no Fuuko story and Yuusuke and Kouko never got married. In the anime, Nagisa's route incorporated everyone's else route but since the original source material never had those two married in After Story, anything deeply related to their marriage just kinda got pushed aside.
Headbutt Thermometer: In the Visual Novel, Tomoyo checks Tomoya's temperature this way after he claims to have a cold, oblivious to how intimate it might look to others.
Head Desk: In Clannad ~After Story~, during Nagisa's 20th birthday, is also her first time drinking sake (the legal age for drinking in Japan is 20). She gets extremely drunk off just one bowl/cup and turns into a Clingy Jealous Girl. Hilarity Ensues and when Sanae and Akio start messing with him too, Tomoya does a fast headdesk.
Her Heart Will Go On: The Gaiden Game eroge sequel to Tomoyo's route Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life and the manga based on that (Tomoyo After: Dear Shining Memories).
Heroic BSOD: Tomoya after Nagisa dies. On a far smaller scale, Kotomi's Freak Out, when she thinks that Ryou was involved in the bus accident.
Nagisa suffers one after accidentally learning more about her parents' past. It nearly ruins her play as a result, until her dad snaps her out of it.
Homoerotic Subtext: The "misunderstanding" between Ryou and Nagisa on the rooftop. In one scene Kyou also appears to like Kotomi a lot, leading to the famous Glomp.
Tomoya also becomes rather uncomfortable with Kappei because of this, though it eventually dies down when he stops thinking of Kappei as being so girly.
Hope Spot: Nagisa opens her eyes briefly after giving birth to Ushio, only to die a moment later. Also, Ushio and Tomoya starting to go on their trip, where it looks like Ushio is starting to recover, before she also dies.
Indirect Kiss: At one point, Nagisa acts flustered when Tomoya reachers over and takes a piece of a pastry she is eating to eat himself. Nothing is said, but Nagisa's reaction makes it clear she understands the implication.
Again, in the visual novel Kyou points out that Tomoya and Ryou have an indirect kiss, when the latter feeds Tomoya with her chopsticks, then using it to eat.
You can also say Miyazawa and Ryou picking off a grain of rice from his lips and eating it counts.
Whether it was before or after (if she had a taste at all), Tomoya licking Kotomi's ice cream in the Visual Novel counts. Of course, it was an innocent gesture on her part.
Informed Ability: For a supposed "delinquent", Tomoya is very mild. Onscreen, he merely goes to school late and is a smart-mouth.
Probably a case of cultural difference. Japan is a more disciplined and polite society than any Western one. Therefore, while Tomoya isn't a delinquent by most Western standards, he may be by Japanese standards.
Informed Attractiveness: Nagisa is supposedly more attractive than average, but this isn't evident in her character design. She's drawn as cute, of course, but so are almost all female characters in the series, to the point where it blurs into Generic Cuteness.
Innocent Cohabitation: Tomoya temporarily moves in with Nagisa and her family due to issues with his dad. Sunohara is shocked when he finds out and is rather annoyed when Tomoya continues to insist that they aren't a couple.
Played with in the Visual Novel. Akio outright admits he wants Tomoya to have sex with Nagisa, and Nagisa herself wants to but isn't forward about it.
Instant Fan Club: Fuko's. If provoked, she can summon her admirers as an attack.
Ironic Hell: Discussed in parody during Kotomi's tsukkomi training, when Kyou describes the different worlds awaiting a tsukkomi, including the hell of all tsukkomis, the hell of lame jokes that cause people to Face Fault, and the one that really frightens Kyou and Tomoya, the hell with no punchlines...
It's Always Spring: In season one (leaving aside the OVAs), all of which takes place within a few weeks.
Large Ham - Yoshino Yuusuke, who after hitting a ball in a baseball match, proceeds to give out a hammy speech about "Intangible Memories"... and gets balled out. (He remembers to call for a time-out the second time he tries it.)
And Akio. Not surprising since he was the unofficial king of the drama club when he was in high school, and he even embarked on a career as an actor — before a near-tragedy with young Nagisa closed off that path.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Frequent, usually combined with with Self-Deprecation both toward the character in question and the show itself. Near the beginning of the first season, Tomoya chides Nagisa for being unable to decide if her play is intended to make viewers laugh or cry. Her flustered answers to his questions might almost be a CLANNAD fan flailing in an attempt to explain to a skeptic the appeal of the franchise. In another conversation between Tomoya and Nagisa, this time near the end of the first season, he tells her that her beloved odango song was a bathetic (if not outright pathetic) ending for the emotionally wrenching play she performed. Yes, that's the same song used as the Ending Theme throughout the first season.
One for each member of Tomoya's harem — except poor Ryou. Yes, even Yukine. Also, the first season ED, Dango Daikazoku, functions as both the ED and Nagisa's Leitmotif.
The "arc-happy-ending" leitmotif in the first season is rearranged into the second season's opening theme.
Let Her Grow Up, Dear - Upon finding out that his daughter Nagisa is pregnant, Akio is torn between denial ("A stork brought it, right?"), happiness at becoming a grandfather, and wanting to strangle Tomoya for sleeping with her. ("Congratulations ... you bastard!!") Nagisa's reaction is classic.
Magic Realism - Though by and large it looks like the series is set in a mundane world just like ours, there are hints of the supernatural lurking just below the surface.
Magic Skirt - Skirts always cover everything, despite all the kicking that Kyou and Tomoyo do.
For the audience, that is. Sunohara gets a glance of Kyou's light-blue pantsu. Kyou is not amused.
Another case: Tomoya. Whenever he and Sunohara meet with Tomoyo and Tomoyo proceeds with the ass-kicking, Tomoya will be in front of Tomoyo while she's giving Sunohara air time. And her kicking leg is raised in a very meaningful angle.
There is also the interesting camera angles used when Ryou and Kotomi are stretching together in one scene, that constantly features one of the pairs' pair.
Matchmaker Crush: Kyou tries to push Tomoya to be with her sister Ryou at every opportunity ... though she has a crush on him, too. Sometimes she'll make a flirtatious play for Tomoya in the middle of working out a plan to get Ryou and Tomoya together, as if she's forgetting that if Ryou is dating Tomoya, she isn't, and if she's dating Tomoya, Ryou isn't. (This sort of emotional confusion / conflation can be Truth in Television even for adults, much less hormonal high school students.)
Meaningful Echo: A lot of them. On the joyous end of the emotional spectrum, near the end of season one of the anime, an otherwise minor echo accidentally gets Nagisa to confess her love for Tomoya out loud for the first time. At the very opposite end of the emotional spectrum, in episode sixteen of ~Clannad After Story~, at the end of Nagisa's Really Dead Montage, there's the flashback to when Tomoya and Nagisa first met. Again Nagisa says, "Everything changes, eventually. ... Fun things, happy things, they'll all ... They'll all eventually change. But can you still love this place?" — but this time, at least for the viewer, it means something else entirely.
Meaningful Name: The name of the city in which the story takes place is implied to be Hikarizaka (光坂), meaning roughly "light-hill," referring to two important motifs in the story.
Medium Awareness: In the Visual Novel, Tomoyo, Tomoya, and Sunohara hold a brief conversation with Sunohara's upside-down sprite suspended in front of the screen (he had just been kicked in the air), ending with Tomoya telling him "Hurry up and fall, this screen looks unnatural."
Also in the Visual Novel, Tomoya can also somehow see how many question marks Kotomi gives him.
Mood Dissonance: The second season Episode 16 ends with Nagisa dying after giving birth, a flashback over Tomoya's happy moments with her, and Tomoya wishing he had never gotten involved with her so that she might still be alive. With the words "I should have never met her", the screen fades to white, aaaaaaaand ... cue the cheerful, bouncing ending theme (which showcases the whole cast, ending with Tomoya and Nagisa)!
A minor case in the VN used primarily for comedic effect. During a conversation with Sunohara, you repeatedly state that you are leaving the school and that Sunohara is a stranger to you, accompanied with somber music only for Sunohara to butt in and declare that you keep dissing him out loud.
Drawing out a baseball bat is usually done in a dramatic way.
The Dango song gets incredibly epic at the end; very unusual for something that is supposed to be a jingle for rice-balls.
My Own Private "I Do": Tomoya and Nagisa elope in ~After Story~, but only because they're too poor to afford a "real" wedding.
Never Got to Say Goodbye - Kotomi. Her last words to her parents were how she hated them, because they were going to miss her birthday to go to a conference. Their plane crashed.
Nonstandard Game Over - The so called "Ryou's ending" and the ending to Fuko's route should you had already chosen to be with Nagisa earlier in the game. They are in most ways Good Ends but are technically Bad Ends, especially the one in Fuko's route since the events of the normal end still takes place in-universe, you just don't get to see it.
Not So Weak - Nagisa. She even defends Sunohara but refuses to believe she could be even slightly cute or that she isn't a burden.
Obstructive Bureaucracy: The student council is ridiculously obstructive to Nagisa's attempts to reestablish the theater club. Until Tomoyo gets elected president, that is.
Official Couple - Nagisa and Tomoya. After all, Nagisa is the "First Girl," Tomoya spends the majority of the show with her, and her theme song (also the season one ending theme) refers to a "mischievous" blue dango and a "kind" pink dango as a couple. The opening scene, where Tomoya describes their long path up to school, could be considered a description of their developing relationship.
Older than They Look: Sanae and Akio, who look to be in their early to mid twenties yet have a daughter (Nagisa) who is presumably eighteen or nineteen in season one. In addition, Fūko, who looks (and acts) about ten, is the same age as Tomoya, Kotomi, Ryou, and Kyou.
One Head Taller: Tomoya is almost exactly one head taller than Nagisa. (For that matter, most of Tomoya's potential Love Interests are within a few inches of Nagisa in height. But with Nagisa, it's most striking — and also most relevant, since they're the central arc's Official Couple.)
Kouko and Yuusuke look like older versions of Nagisa and Tomoya.
Averted with the Fujibayashi twins. Even when Kyou cuts her hair as short as Ryou, you can tell the differences.
The character design is the same as the previous Key works. There is even a scene where Kyou makes the exactly same face as Ayu Tsukimiya.
Our Hero Is Dead - Tomoya and Ushio in the second to the last episode of After Story. Also, Nagisa.
Paper-Thin Disguise - Akio disguises himself as a rapper at one point. His daughter can't recognize him.
In the visual novel, he just put on a pair of sunglasses and it somehow works.
Parental Abandonment - Tomoya's father neglects him to forget the pain of losing his wife unfortunately, like father like son.
Subverted by ~After Story~ 18, where Tomoya's grandmother explains to him that his father threw away all his chances to have a good life just so he could raise Tomoya as best as he could. To be fair, Naoyuki did have breakdowns in the later years, but when Tomoya realizes that he's been doing a Generation Xerox ever since Nagisa died, he wholeheartedly forgives his father, and reconciles with Ushio.
Practice Kiss: In the OVA "Another World: Kyou chapter", Kyou offers a practice kiss to Tomoya, who she is secretly in love with, but who at that time is dating her twin sister Ryou. She pulls back at the last second before they actually kiss, but not before they are seen by some of their classmates.
This also happens in the Visual Novel, choosing to kiss her is important to getting into Kyou's arc.
Botan, Kyou's pet piglet, who seems to be following in the spiritual footsteps of Potato and Piro.
Right Behind Me - A Running Gag has Akio talking about Sanae's bread before learning she was behind him and heard the whole thing.
RPG Elements - After Tomoya successfully pulls off a prank on Fūko, the action will sometimes freeze and a congratulatory "you mastered a new skill!" message will appear to an old video game-style tune. Mastered "Shooting Juice up the Nose!" Also, when Sunohara wants to join Tomoya and Nagisa to help the theater club, Tomoya's perspective for his response changes to that of the Little BustersVisual Novel, and all of the choices are attacks...
Periodically after the close of her arc in the anime, Fuko will come back (with a Magical Girl-esque entrance) to help the protagonists with some dilemma. However, something always comes up to keep her from being able to actually help.
Sunohara getting beaten up periodically (usually by Kyou or Tomoyo) is a frequent gag, too.
In the extra episode "The Event from One Year Before", Sunohara comes up with the idea to play a prank on the incoming freshmen using a banner ball with a pull cord tag reading "Pull me. It'll be fun!" The freshmen are all too aware of the obvious trap that's in store, but Nagisa, bless her naïve little heart, pulls the string...and gets a konk on the head from a big metal pan for her trouble.
Tomoya likes to do this in general to Sunohara and Fuko.
Discussed in episode 20 of After Story when Tomoya gets a visit. It's about pressing red button if it says "don't press".
As for the characters, both Nagisa and Tomoya often think of themselves as undeserving to be happy due to their flaws.
She Is All Grown Up: Mei, briefly, in the Grand Finale. Blink and you might miss it. (Trust us, you won't want to miss it.) The rest of the girls in the series also qualify, though in a much more subtle manner. They look generally more mature than they do in high school. Justified in that they're all in their mid-20s at this point. Subverted for Fuko, who is still very childlike in appearance and mannerisms though she is the same age as the other characters.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Tomoya and Nagisa, with gradually increasing frequency, as people see them interacting and come to the natural conclusion. It becomes very evident to every single girl at the end of episode 18.
Ship Tease: Perhaps in apology for the impending Ship Sinking, an earlier episode features Kyou getting locked in a gym storage room with Tomoya, instantly turning deredere to the max and misinterpreting her conversation with Tomoya into thinking she's about to have her first time. Hello, Fanservice. (The scene also has elements of Aren't You Going to Ravish Me??)
What makes this ironic is that in the visual novel there are several variation of this scene and, if anything, Nagisa's and Tomoyo's are far more suggestive. The real kicker is that they are all part of Yukine's route!
Even better in that it's entirely possible to get locked in the storage room with Akio!
Specific examples of the Kyo Ani crossreferencing: Mai's sword and Sayuri's magical staff, along with their ribbons make an appearance in the Drama Club's prop box, and in episode 1, the desaturated opening is similar to the first chronological episode of Suzumiya Haruhi. In episode 17 of After Story a giant stuffed anteater much like the one from Kanon is visible in the Furukawa house. Finally, the toy store is called Shiraho, which was the name of the spirit possessing Kano in AIR.
During Kotomi's path in the Visual Novel, Kyou attempts to get a doll from a game at the arcade that is described surprisingly similar in appearance to Snoopy.
~After Story~, episode 8 has a shout out to Akiko from Kanon and her special home made jam (in a deadly combination with Sanae's bread).
It even has a shout out to the visual novel. Tomoya imagined that life is an RPG. Sunohara wants to join the party. They can use "smoke", "attack" or "magic on him. There is no option to let Sunohara join.
A shoutout to Ace Attorney appears in the visual novel when Tomoya imagines Fuko as his lawyer against the Absurdly Powerful Student Council. Fuko shouts "Igi ari!" ("I disagree!", the equivalent of the localization's "Objection!") before making a statement. She does this four times.
Sleep Cute: The end of Fūko's arc has Tomoya and Nagisa sitting on the floor of a classroom during the evening, with Fūko in-between, only to have the two end up leaning against each other sound asleep by the next morning.
And, in Fūko's storyline in the Visual Novel, Tomoya and Fūko wind up like this. Although come morning, it's just Tomoya until Koumura reminds Tomoya of Fūko's existence, and it turns out she's been invisible and following him around since he woke up.
Yukine, in her story arc, ends up sleeping on Tomoya's lap at Nagisa's suggestion. Sunohara walks in on it, and acts predictably.
Sleeping Single - Tomoya and Nagisa. In 2009. However, it's due to living in a tiny apartment and poor as all hell, they're not going to spend money on a double futon that probably wont fit in the wardrobe. They probably just brought their old ones from home to save money.
You must also take their personalities into account. Nagisa's always been shy, and Tomoya is actually quite chaste, having shown very little interest in sex throughout the story, both in the anime and visual novel. He also doesn't want to pressure Nagisa, and it's very obvious that the prospect of sex makes him just as nervous as her, if not moreso. The two just happen to have naturally old-fashioned and ridiculously chaste personalities, and it's clear that they eventually get over it.
Smoking Is Cool: Akio always has a cigarette sticking out of his mouth, even when he plays baseball in heavy downpours.
And subverted with Tomoya who takes up smoking after Nagisa's death. Where scenes with Akio smoking help play up the fun side of his character, the scenes with Tomoya smoking, complete with close-ups of cigarette butt filled ashtrays, are meant to showcase just how far he has fallen.
Snow Means Love: In Tomoyo's route in the VN, Tomoya breaks up with her so that she can focus on her responsibilities and become successful. After eight months, he walks out of the school one day and sees her standing in the snow in front of him. She tells him that her responsibilities are concluded, that she loves him, and that she has been waiting for him for those whole eight months. They hug.
Nagisa's death might have been preventable, or at least delayed, by modern medicine, except for a massive snowstorm that prevents her from getting access to it until it is too late.
Several years later, after Tomoya recovers from his grief over losing Nagisa, he begins acting as a proper father once more to his daughter, Ushio. It's not long after before, while walking through the snow together, Ushio suddenly dies, and Tomoya dies of grief shortly thereafter.
Social Services Does Not Exist: Naoyuki gets off pretty lightly, considering that his physical abuse ended up permanently disabling his son. Both that incident and the subsequent emotional neglect were oddly glossed over in the series, to the point where Tomoya’s tearful gratitude for his 'sacrifices' later on creates some potentially mixedfeelings.
Story Arc - Fūko (4-9) and Kotomi (10-14) get discrete arcs in the anime based on their paths from the Visual Novel, while the other characters are more mixed together.
Just about every character arc in the game gets put into the main anime (even the baseball arc) with the exception of Kappei (who doesn't make an appearance) and Tomoyo and Kyou (since their arc revolves heavily around their romantic relationship with Tomoya and would therefore be mutually exclusive with Nagisa's). They get the omake episodes though.
Strapped to an Operating Table - Tomoya finds himself strapped to an operating table (and attended by nurse Kyou) during an odd dream sequence that rapidly grows disturbing.
Sure, Let's Go with That - Tomoya's modus operandi as a trickster mostly consists of simply not correcting the misunderstandings of others, but going along with their incorrect suspicions, ("Yeah, this is exactly what it looks like!"), and watching as Hilarity Ensues.
Team Mom: Yukine is the Team Mom for both the city's rival gangs. (This includes acting as the resident "nurse" and provider of sanctuary.)
Misae is a more official Team Mom to the residents of the boys' dorm over which she presides — especially the rugby team, but also Youhei and thus by extension Tomoya (although he doesn't actually live there and is not technically under her supervision). She also has a motherly relationship both with Nagisa and with Tomoyo.
Tempting Fate: In the first episode of the first season, Tomoya hopes that Nagisa's father is sane. It took years after Nagisa's Death by Childbirth to find out the complete reason on his actions.
Tender Tears: Ushio, you just want to give her a big hug when she does.
Most of the girls are this. Kotomi, Ryou, Nagisa—the list just goes on and on...
The Day The Music Lied: The VN several times starts playing emotional music during scenes that are set up to be misleading either to the audience or characters. Such as Tomoya starting to tell Tomoyo that Sunohara loves her, or when Kyou pulls Tomoya aside to show him a love letter, the assumption being that it's from her to him. The music starts in both cases only to get cut short by Sunohara butting in to say he wants to fight Tomoyo or an irritated Kyou explaining it was from some boy to Ryou.
Theme Tune Cameo: The closing theme from the first season, "Dango Daikazoku," pops up frequently in the series, especially in ~After Story~. It appears both as a leitmotif (it's Nagisa's main theme) and as a song in itself, usually sung by Nagisa herself, but sometimes by other characters (usually Tomoya) when they're remembering her.
On of the odd things about the Sentai dub/sub is that this character trait is not only missing from the dub, but the sub of the first season as well (granted, a few fansubs of Clannad out there also fail to show that she's speaking in third person). However, it shows up in Sentai's dub and sub for Fuko's appearances in the second season, as it is necessary for her to do so in order for Kouko to call her out on it in the Grand Finale.
Indeed, the subs for ~After Story~ use Fuko's name about twice as often as she actually says it.
Saki: Come come now, ours have always been the lives of supporting characters. * Turns to Shima* Go give it your best Main Character!
Background characters to someone who is a background character to start with.
Through His Stomach: When Tomoyo, The Fujibayashi sisters and Kotomi all individually cook breakfast for Tomoya to cheer him up for getting suspended, things get tense as they show up one by one to deliver three full course meals. Then Fuko shows up too.
Throw the Dog a Bone - Sunohara actually manages to secure some dignity for himself in Kyou's route and also shows himself to actually be a fairly decent guy. Even though he claims in the same route he would be going for a harem end to solve Tomoya's dilemna. Then again, the fact that just having a little dignity is that rare for him sort of cancels it out.
Still in the ultimate canon route ~After Story~, the later years writers have not been kind enough to him, he has no clear background, he is not even visible in here, the most you know about him is that he got a job as soon he graduated and that's it.
Thunder Shock - Experienced by both Nagisa and her theatrical mother, Sanae. In Nagisa's case, her antennae-hair is temporarily withered as a result.
Token Mini-Moe - Mei. Played with to no end (and by Mei herself, no less!) early on in the After Story.
She has some pretty serious competition from Fuko as well
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Nagisa and Tomoyo, although they don't interact much. Nagisa is timid and physically weak, while Tomoyo is confident and physically strong. In addition, Nagisa speaks politely to everyone, even Tomoya, while Tomoyo almost always speaks informally. Interestingly, both Nagisa and Tomoyo seek to invert this relationship; Nagisa wants to become stronger and more confident, while Tomoyo wants to become calmer and more feminine.
Twisted Knee Collapse - Kotomi reads books in this highly uncomfortable position while she sits on a pillow on the floor.
Unwanted Harem: Nagisa is one half of the Official Couple, but if you combine all the routes (like the anime does), Tomoya's other ardent admirers include Kyou, Ryou, Tomoyo, Yukine, Kotomi, Fuko, Misae and (depending on how you look at it) Sanae.
In Nagisa's route, just Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo and Kotomi.
Could also count in Nagisa's route in the game since Ryou and Kyou already have crushes on Tomoya to begin with, Kotomi liked him when they were kids, and it is recommended that you interact with Tomoyo to the point where she would have fallen him. This is especially apparent with Tomoyo, who expresses disappointment that Tomoya is with Nagisa.
Fuko may count but she doesn't show any interest in Tomoya until the very end of her route and only if Tomoya makes the first move (which is rather awkward considering all the romantic tension between Nagisa and Tomoya throughout Fuko's route) or hadn't already chosen Nagisa.
Verbal Tic: Tomoya suggests Sunohara to add 'and a toilet seat cover' in the end of every of his sentences. Sunohara goes through exactly that, hilariously ruining every attempt of him sounding serious.
Watching the Sunset: After Nagisa and Tomoya get married, there's a scene of them meeting on a hilltop path, the sun setting behind them. Because of the angle at which we see them, and the way Nagisa's holding her bag, it looks for a moment as if Nagisa's pregnant. Borders on Against the Setting Sun, except no words are actually spoken.
What Happened to the Mouse?: It seems that Key doesn't like best friends hanging around when the protagonist is facing huge problems in his life, Sunohara was not seen in the later years of After Story, while the other girls obviously shouldn't have much importance as Tomoya already consumated with his choice, some of them actually get expanded appearances in the anime, whereas Sunohara does not in any way, the only information about him is given when the story is next to it's closure, said information is only about what's his current job and that's it, even his sister got to appear more than him.
Cue many fanfics about what he was doing during these times. Sunohara's lack of appearance only made many of his fans with willingness to write crazy to interesting stories for the fellow; only in fanon Sunohara gets to love and be loved by someone.