These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Adaptation Displacement: As is the case with most anime based on visual novels, most fans know the series as an anime rather than a game.
Angst Aversion: Those who have heard how depressing this series is tend to think twice before watching it, especially those who would rather watch a fun action flick.
Ass Pull: Arguably the ending, which to some people had absolutely zero foreshadowing and came out of nowhere to fix everything.But when you rewatch, there are hints in everything from small gags like Sanae's and Akio's "new names" for Tomoya to more important things like Nagisa's script to, oh, Kotomi's and Yukine's entire arcs.
Crowning Music OfAwesomeHeartwarming: Dango Daikazoku, the first season's ending and the song that Nagisa is obsessed with, isn't particularly "awesome", per se, but it is overwhelmingly adorable, and when it plays in the background of a touching and/or heartbreaking scene the effect is unbelievable.
The first intro, however, plays it straight.
As does the second one, as well as being a major Tear Jerker if one knows what it's actually about.
Translated, Toki wo Kizamu Uta is The Song Of Eternal Time, an allegory to Tomoya and Nagisa's love for each other. Just look at the lyrics!
Especially added with vocaloid and jazz as seen here
Sunohara also qualifies as an ensemble darkhorse due to his large popularity with the fanbase.
He certainly qualifies, apparently the only place where he has little to no fans is among his creators themselves; even tough he has haters or people who finds him to be of little importance, you better believe that are many image boards that hate everything about Clannad, except for Sunohara.
Fandom Nod - The CLANNAD After Story anime answered a much speculated question in the fandom: What happens if Sanae's Bread meets Akiko's Jam? "It's the ultimate combination!"
You get knocked out members of Kazuto Miyazawa's gang. Sanae's bread and Akiko's jam is a WMD, even in the, or perhaps especially in the hands of Nagisa.
Fandom Rivalry: Quite a bit with the Toradora! fandom as to which is more emotional, and which is a better romantic comedy/drama in general.
Fridge Horror: There is a theory about the ending, saying that time did not turn back to save Nagisa and Ushio, but rather that an alternate universe was created where they lived. This is all well and good...until you realize that the universe where Nagisa, Ushio, and Tomoya are still dead.
Growing the Beard: There's a reason ~After Story~ gets consistently better reviews than season one — and it's not because of the first quarter of the season, which is more or less just a continuation of the first season. Then a whole series of Wham Episodes simultaneously push the time frame into fast forward while pushing the material itself into darker and darker thematic territory — without losing its sense of humor.
Harsher in Hindsight: You know that thing about Sunohara barely showing up in After Story, even though he's meant to be Tomoya's best friend? Gets a lot sadder if you've played Mei's route in the visual novel, in which Sunohara claims that he and Tomoya are close enough that they'd definitely stay friends after they graduate. Guess Tomoya was right to be skeptical, after all.
Sunohara: The friend I have right now is not related to me just by the school. Even if we graduate and more far away... Even so, when we have holidays we'll come and meet... That kind of relationship.
Tomoya: Sorry, but far? Really? [...]
Mei: From now until you become an adult... Even if your surroundings change... You guys will still be friends, right?
Tomoya was just confused on Kappei's gender at first but he was never actually interested, Sunohara on the other hand... Though if Kappei really had been a girl, he/she would had undoubtedly be part of Tomoya's romantic harem.
Played straight in the "Bad End" or "Sunohara route." In the end though, the "route" is just making fun of the fact that Tomoya made all the girls fall for him but rejects all of them; he just isn't interested in girls. Though his rejections were subtle, you still feel bad watching the girls' reactions.
Les Yay - 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.
the troll subs don't help either
On a more serious note, Rie Nishina and Sugisaka from the music club. Sugisaka is very protective of Nishina, they're holding hands in the After Story credits, and they're apparently living together in the Grand Finale. It's possible they were meant to be a downplayed version of the Token Yuri Girls trope.
Moe: Good lord. Every female character in the franchise. For instance, Nagisa, Fuko and Tomoyo all made it to the Top 8 (quarterfinals) in Saimoe 2008, and Nagisa even made it to the Top 4 (semi-finals) that year, before losing out to Kagami from Lucky Star.
Narm: The line "I can no longer play basketball" and its delivery, not to mention Nagisa's reaction, initially seems incredibly awkward and melodramatic. It's only when things are given more explanation that things seem more reasonable.
Periphery Demographic: The series was originally aimed at older men. However, it is watched by women too. Not only adults, but teenagers as well.
Player Punch - Late in Fūko's storyline of the game, Tomoya and Nagisa come up with a plan to see if Fūko, who thus far appears to be a spiritual projection from her comatose, in hospital body, can be seen by her elder sister; something she was very uncertain about and required great assurance from her friends it would work. The plan is interrupted, brutally, as when Nagisa brings Fūko out in front of the elder sister whom Tomoya is chatting with at the festival, the sister comments almost nonchalantly to Tomoya, and in front of Nagisa and looking straight through Fūko, 'That girl stopped breathing yesterday.'.
Nagisa's death, no matter how you look at it, was meant to be this in every aspect. After all the Character Development she went through, no doubt because of Tomoya's presence with her, we're then reawakened to the fact that, even if she's a strong person, she's still physically weak. When she insists on home delivery, the alarms were already being raised, and when we find out that a heavy snowstorm occurs on the day she gives birth, it's really no surprise that she was going to die anyway. And yet, knowing this, it's still a Player Punch.
Subbing vs. Dubbing: Anime News Network recently announced that CLANNAD will be dubbed by Sentai Filmworks and Seraphim Digital Studios, the talent of the once-prosperous ADV Films. It has also been announced that there will be an "upgrade program" for fans who want the dub but already bought the subbed DVDs.
They Just Didn't Care - In the dub. While your mileage may vary regarding the voices, there are several scenes where there is a joke that involves Japanese characters onscreen. The only thing that the dub translated was the voice acting, and nothing else, so these scenes can be very awkward to someone who doesn't know Japanese. The dub didn't even translate the onscreen credits in the openings and endings.
The Scrappy: Nagisa initially was downright despised by many militant Kyou/Ryou/Kotomi/Tomoyo fans who simply could not accept Nagisa and Tomoya as the Official Couple. In fact, some even wanted to kill her off or in one user's words "squish her f**king head like a cockroach".
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: During and after Clannad: After Story's run, Nagisa became a much more respected character even among most of those hardcore anti-Nagisa shippers.
Values Dissonance: The disrespect and avoidance Tomoya shows his neglectful father comes off worse in the original Japanese culture, though other audiences may find it justified.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? - Tons of it. For example, the hill Tomoya and Nagisa climb up together represents life. The fact that they climb it together means that they journey through life together.
Tomoya. First, he lost his mother, then became estranged from and abused by his father, rendering him unable to play basketball, and thus probably losing the only dream he ever had. Later, he loses his wife, and becomes estranged with his own daughter. Five years later, they reconcile, but after a few months, the daughter falls ill and dies. Tomoya then dies from despair. He got better, thankfully.
Which, according to this◊, lets the original timeline go to pot when you consider the horrible possibility that in at least one universe, Nagisa and Ushio were able to meet in the afterlife after they died but would never see Tomoya again; he was effectively erased from that timeline due to being sent back in time to the Illusionary World after he died, a laThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Link, only more depressing. Considering this show's view on multiple parallel worlds, this is hardly a farfetched idea.
Kotomi in particular too. Losing her parents as a child, bearing adult responsibility at that age, and never developing social skills, thus no friends, makes for an incredibly hard childhood. Poor girl just needed someone to give her a hug, too. Other than the deaths of Nagisa and Ushio, she had it just as bad as Tomoya.