I actually first came across CLANNAD in an Internet review counting down the top ten saddest anime deaths, so I was naturally spoiled. However, I didn't memorize the title (and I can't find the video anymore) so I forgot it shortly afterward.
Then I was on a forum, and someone posted a .GIF of MC Akio
, and it caught my interest. I wanted to know who it is, and another person posted a link to a scene from the first episode. I recognized the animation and art style of Kyoto Animation
, so I figured "Why not?"
, and went ahead to watch it.
I got hooked immediately.
And then before I knew it, I cried.
And I watched it again a few more times, just to cry some more. And then I viewed it with my family, and cried even more.
I may not look like it, but I don't really cry. Well I do, but it's over stupid trivial things
that looking back on them now didn't deserve to have tears shed over, and I do it when I'm alone. The last cry I've had had nothing to do with any of the aforementioned. If anything, it opened my eyes and heart to it as I embraced my mother, something I hadn't done since I was a child.
This is what CLANNAD does. It takes you inside yourself and analyzes what you did with your life. It makes you want to become a better person, and to run to your parents, or anyone you consider family for a hug and tell them you love them. There are almost no words to describe it. To quote an Amazon reviewer, "the only fictional work... ...that can take you to the lowest points of your soul to a happy ending".
And even then, there's not enough words for it.
There is one thing, though. Don't let the ending turn you off. Just because it's confusing doesn't mean it's not explainable. There is an article that explains everything if you are still confused linked on the main page. And even then, multiple viewings help if you don't mind the river of tears.
Give it a shot at least once no matter who you are. I promise you will never forget how you felt going in and coming out.