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Visual Novel / CLANNAD

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A few of your heroines in CLANNAD, clockwise from midnight: Yukine Miyazawa, Kyou Fujibayashi, Fuko Ibuki, Nagisa Furukawa, Kotomi Ichinose, Tomoyo Sakagami.

Nagisa: Do you like this school?
Tomoya: ...
Nagisa: I really, really love it. But nothing can stay unchanged.
Tomoya (internal monologue): A girl I've never seen before. The words weren't directed at me. She must be talking to someone in her heart.
Nagisa: Fun things... happy things... They can't all possibly stay unchanged. Even so, can you keep on loving this place?
Tomoya: Just find them.
(Nagisa, startled, turns to face Tomoya. They look at each other for the first time.)
Tomoya: Just find new fun and happy things. C'mon, let's get going.
We start to walk up... the long... long... uphill climb.

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 fellow delinquent 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 the major theme of CLANNAD.

The original Visual Novel was made by Key/Visual Arts and released on 28 April 2004. A sequel to one route, Tomoyo After, was released on 25 November 2005. 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 – his final project, it turned out. The television series, produced by Kyoto Animation, aired from 4 October 2007 to 27 March 2008. The series was directed by Tatsuya Ishihara, and written by Fumihiko Shimo, with Kazumi Ikeda serving as character designer and chief animation director. 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. 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 by Bayesian estimator. And for several years, it also 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 Spiritual Successor of the once-prosperous ADV Films – in fact, it was one of the first releases from the new company. The first two episodes are available online for free. Viewers in the U.S. can watch the subbed versions of both the first series and ~After Story~ in their entirety on Hulu.

Sekai Project released the English version of the visual novel on Steam on November 23, 2015. This release was funded on Kickstarter here.

In November 2015, Key announced that Tomoyo After would be localized as well. The English Edition was released on Steam on 1 July 2016.

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 Irish band of the same name (although they are the origin of the name).

CLANNAD contains examples of:

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  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: A lot of it, especially in the Alternate Universe with the girl and her toy robot.
  • 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.
  • Actor Allusion: When 'dating' Sunohara, Sanae declares to Mei: "Isogai Sanako, 17 years old." In which her seiyuu always refers herself as 17 years old.
  • 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. The final episode of Kanon's 2002 anime adaption featured a person wearing a shirt featuring this visual novel's logo prior to its release, thus implying a connection between the two works.
    • The Reset Button Ending seems to confuse a lot of people who aren't familiar with the visual novel on the first viewing.
    • The decision to give the soul in the Junk Doll a voice actress ends up making The Reveal in the final episode that it's Tomoya's soul more of a confusing swerve, as in the visual novel neither Tomoya or the Junk Doll had any voice acting, so them being one and the same would be easier for players to accept as a twist.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie compresses a long visual novel into an hour-and-a-half-long movie.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Both Tomoya and Sunohara are this in the anime compared to the visual novel. Sunohara has most of his dodgier and more obnoxious behaviour cut out, and Tomoya is far harsher and more direct towards Nagisa and is more openly hostile towards Sunohara in the VN.
  • Adapted Out: Kappei, Ryou's love interest and later husband from the Visual Novel, doesn't make an appearance in any of the anime adaptations.
  • 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 Tomoya's daughter Ushio, and Tomoya himself, respectively.
  • Ambiguous Gender: In the Visual Novel: Kappei Hiiragi. 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 Girls Want Bad Boys: Nagisa, Kotomi, Tomoyo, Kyou, and Ryou all fall for Tomoya, who is supposedly a delinquent.
  • 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.
    • The Light Orbs and the Reset Button Ending are both from the original VN.
    • The Sentai Filmworks sub has lots of translator's notes that explain bits of Japanese culture necessary for a Westerner to really understand what's going on. The Sekai Project translation of the VN adds the "Dangopedia" that does the same thing.
  • 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.
      • There is another theory for the end of Clannad. At the end Tomoya gets transported to the time of Ushio's Birth after he watched Ushio die. During episode 24, Tomoya recaps the whole series and talks about how after he watched Ushio die he cried out, "Not like this." and he woke up in front of Nagisa. This renders the above theory impossible as Tomoya wouldn't have enough time to die... Or kill himself. The reason this theory is thought of is due to the fact that Tomoya "caught" a wishing orb. When Tomoya makes peace with his father, Ushio sees a "light" enter Tomoya's body. When Tomoya says "not like this" he inadvertently makes his wish. On a more personal note: Tomoya killing himself or just dying would make it seem like death leads to happiness.
    • It seems that CLANNAD supports the "Many-worlds" side of the alternate universe debate. The supplemental materials have even more variations, in several stories in the 10th anniversary art book: Ushio dies but Tomoya survives, Ushio dies but Tomoya disappears, and Tomoya and Ushio both survive.
  • Anachronic Order: Not so much in the Visual Novel or the TV series, but definitely in the 2006 Toei 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 KyoAni series, in the movie we get the former and the latter half of the latter interspliced.
  • The Anime of the Game: Two of them, plus OVAs, plus a movie.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you." Said several times by Kotomi to Tomoya. Also Arc Words (appearing essentially unchanged six times) in its source, Robert F. Young's Time Travel love story, The Dandelion Girl.
    • 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.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Kyou and Tomoyo each tend to give the audience an Aside Glance whenever they tease resident Butt-Monkey Sunohara into another of his stupid outbursts.
    • 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 sister Ryou'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.
  • Author Appeal: Everything Key/Visual Arts usually likes to put in their games comes in here.
    • Not quite everything, considering Key's background.
    • Tomoyo's design was apparently based on Jun Maeda's taste in women.
  • 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.
  • The 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.
  • Back from the Dead: Happens to Nagisa, Ushio, and Tomoya himself in the Grand Finale.
  • Badass Adorable: Tomoyo and Kyou. The adorable part is fairly obvious, and the badass part is typically demonstrated on Butt-Monkey Sunohara (something they get a worthier target).
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The first season opening credits prominently feature an important character who doesn't appear until ~After Story~. Might count as a Spoiler Opening for players of the Visual Novel. Might count as a bit of a Spoiler Opening even for those who haven't, in that the scene depicted doesn't take place until more than halfway through the Grand Finale.
  • Baseball Episode: The baseball route is an optional route that revolves around Akio recruiting a replacement baseball team consisting of himself, Tomoya, Sunohara, Kyou, Tomoyo, Fuko, Misae, Mei and Yusuke.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Shown with Fuko and Sanae. Also with Ryou and Kyou in their OVA.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: A hint of this, in the ~After Story~ omake episode 23, set a year before the first episode of season one. Kyou finds Tomoya sleeping in the school courtyard and is about summon her newfound Class Representative powers to scold him for being late to class. Instead she gets lost in noticing how beautiful he looks. (Unless you choose to view this episode as a prelude to the Alternate Universe OVA Another World: Kyou Arc, this scene fuses Beautiful Dreamer with Ship Tease.) Note that Youhei spoils things by not only waking Tomoya up but claiming that Kyou was about to pull a Dudette, He's Like In A Coma on him.
    • Not surprising since Kyou is the first girl besides Kotomi to fall for Tomoya.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Kyou and Tomoya, both in Kyou's route in the Visual Novel and in the Alternate Universe OVA Another World: Kyou Arc.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In the Visual Novel, Ryou — at least if Sunohara continues to pursue what Tomoya calls "unrequited love" for Kappei.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sunohara, of all people, in Episode 4 of the second season.
  • Big Sleep: Both Nagisa and Ushio.
  • Bishōnen: Tomoya, Kappei, Yusuke, Akio.
    • 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?
  • 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.
    • When visiting Ushio and Tomoya, Fuko worriedly asks if Tomoya slipped any sleeping pills into the food he prepared.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Moff Burger" is used in place of Mos Burger.
  • Blue with Shock: Kotomi and Tomoya after receiving a bad fortune, which provides the page image. Nagisa and her mother also do this separately in dramatic fashion, with identical lightning strikes in the background.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Ah, Kotomi and your continued abuse of Japanese wordplay. Half the time she doesn't get the joke being made and the other half she's made a horribly obvious one, often leading into a...
  • 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.
    • Youhei, as befits the resident Butt-Monkey, invariably and unwittingly winds up in no end of Boke And Tsukkomi Routines. Often with Tomoya, but with many of the other characters, too.
    • 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.
  • Boobs of Steel: Tomoyo. Kyou. (Averted with Kotomi.)
  • Book Ends: Clannad ~After Story~ begins and ends with a scene of Tomoya and his father walking through a field of sunflowers.
    • Also, some of the original Visual Novel's bad endings finish up like a "Shaggy Dog" Story, and they both begin and end with Tomoya's vision of him and Ushio submerged in the snow.
  • 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.
  • Breakout Character: Tomoyo, who got her route extended in Tomoyo After.
  • 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 second half, 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?
    • Episode 22 of ~After Story~ might be the first one that's the last episode of the series. It's like Key was apologizing for all of the Wham Episodes.
  • 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.
  • British English: A curious example with the Sentai Filmworks English sub. The American company has Tomoya and Yoshino working with "spanners" (wrenches in American English). Yoshino also releases an album titled Love and Spanner.
  • Broken Aesop: People who dislike the Reset Button Ending of ~After Story~ generally think it undermines all of Tomoya's Character Development and the message that you should accept your losses and make the best of what you have.
  • Broken Glass Penalty: This happens twice whilst playing baseball. It's Akio's fault both times.
    • Tomoya had one in the later part of After. Like father-in-law, like son-in-law?
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Tomoya imagines this when Mei talks to him about setting up a relationship.
  • 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, abuse seems to be okay when its anyone on Sunohara.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Parodied with Kotomi, whose naive attempt at a Magical Girl impression involves an H. P. Lovecraft incantation. Considering her surprise when nothing happens, one wonders what exactly she was expecting.
  • Call-Back:
    • The "Okazaki SAIKOU!" scene in After Story references Fuko'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.
    • During her "date" scene with Sunohara, Sanae refers to herself as "Sanako Isogai." Fuko also used the last name "Isogai" (the name of Sanae's next-door neighbor) as a cover when introducing herself to the Furukawas.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Nagisa becomes fully-flushed drunk the second she downs her cup and turns into a Clingy Jealous Girl.
    • Inherited from her mother Sanae.
  • 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.
  • Cat Smile: Sunohara. Unexpectedly, Tomoya does one, too, at one point.
  • Central Theme: Family is the most important thing in life.
  • 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.
    • Because they never kissed onscreen in the anime, any fanart of them doing so will inevitably be labelled as "the missing scene".
  • Chekhov's Gun: The significance of the Light Orbs.
    • 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.
  • Chick Magnet: Tomoya.
  • Childhood Memory Demolition Team: Used repeatedly.
  • Class Representative: Both Ryou and Kyou (in separate classes). Shrinking Violet Ryou, however, was assigned the job via lottery. Her more outgoing sister Kyou is in at least her second year as Class Representative.
  • Clawing at Own Throat: Played for Laughs in the anime adaptation, where, during a teasing session between Akio and Tomoya regarding the fact that they're now in-laws, both of them jokingly mimic the action as an expression of extreme disgust.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: Ushio's birth is remarkably blood and bodily-fluid free, especially since her mother doesn't survive it the first time around. You'd probably be forgiven for thinking Nagisa just fell asleep. Played completely straight in the true ending. Tomoya gives Ushio her first bath, but she doesn't look like she needs one.
  • Clip Show: The Recap Episode for ~After Story~, Under The Green Tree, summing up both series.
  • 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.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Fūko's sister suggests that she stop referring to herself in third-person, to sound more grown-up. Fūko decides to start using atai, a first-person pronoun only used by immature little girls.
  • 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.
  • Compilation Rerelease: In 2017, Sentai Filmworks released a collection of both the first series and ~After Story~ on Blu-ray.
  • Composite Character: For some strange reason, Sunohara manages to have several of Tomoya's positive traits given to him in the film.
  • 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.)

  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The Visual Novel begins with Tomoya's vision of him and Ushio lying down in the snow, and the dialogue strongly implies he's been overcome with crippling despair. This is in fact what happens in ~After Story's~ initial Bad Ending. All the scenes in the Illusionary World also follow from ~After Story's~ tragic conclusion. Quite tellingly, you'll only get to see the complete Illusionary World arc if you finish Nagisa's route and ~After Story~.
  • 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.
  • Death by Despair: Tomoya collapses in the snow shortly after Ushio's death, pleading for Nagisa — for anyone — to save her.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: 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.
    • In what surely must be a Shout-Out to Haruhi Suzumiya, the anime for CLANNAD begins with 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.
    • 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:
    • Yukine 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.
    • Let's just say that After Story is one hell of a Demoted to Extra for any heroines not named "Nagisa." Justified since After Story is the continuation of her route.
  • 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.
  • Developers' Desired Date: Nagisa Furukawa's route is partially mandatory in a handful of the other character routes. Without a significant portion of her character route, you cannot complete the routes for Kotomi, Tomoyo and Fuko. If you do Nagisa's route last, you'll still have seen a large chunk of her route by default, and the future Tomoya has with Nagisa is the entire premise of the After Story. It also helps she's the only character on the English poster on Steam for both this game and "CLANNAD Side Stories" and ultimately her route ends up being the focus of the anime with the other character routes mentioned but tweaked so that Tomoya ends up with Nagisa by the end.
  • 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.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
    • In season one, Episode 20:
      Tomoya: [after hitting a home run] Did you see that, Nagisa?
      Nagisa: Yes, I watched you carefully!
      Akio: Love him all over again?
      Nagisa: Ye- Dad!?
      Akio: [cigarette falls out of his mouth] Damn it! So she is in love with him!
    • Akio again, when he finds Nagisa and Tomoya digging through the shed:
      Akio: Jeez, why can't you two just go make out in the bedroom like normal teens? [Beat] What the hell am I encouraging!?
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The closing theme from the first season, "Dango Daikazoku," pops up frequently in the series as a song in itself, usually sung by Nagisa herself, but sometimes by other characters (usually Tomoya) when they're remembering her.
  • Disney Acid Sequence : Tomoya's seriously stuffed-up dream-sequence in Episode 11 of season one.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In the Alternate Universe Tomoyo Arc omake 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.
    • In the same episode, the moment when the railroad crossing gate first rises has a faint hint of Something Else Also Rises.
    • Combined with Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Sometimes when Fūko falls into one of her cloudcuckoolander trances, Tomoya attempts to "help" her back to reality by sticking a drinking straw up her nose.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Honorific example: in the Baseball Episode, Akio calls Misae "Misae-chan" and Tomoyo "Tomo-pyon." They are not amused.
  • Dope Slap: Tomoya gives one to Fuko when she uses "Isogai" as her last name, which she read off the neighbor's house, when staying with the Furukawas.
  • Door Stopper: With so many arcs, the Clannad visual novel takes a very long time to complete, especially since you HAVE to complete ALL of the routes to play and complete the After Story arc, widely considered to be by far the best part of the entire story/game. Lampshaded in the true ending: "The long, long journey has come to an end."
  • Downer Ending: In Tomoyo After, Tomoya dies after an operation to remove a brain tumor.
  • Down to the Last Play:
    • The basketball match of episode 16 of season 1. Your average stuff of winning by one point included.
    • The baseball match in episode 1 of After Story, pretty much the same thing.
  • Dramatic Wind: All those Cherry Blossoms won't just move themselves. In The Movie, Dramatic Wind is nearly ubiquitous. Maybe that's why Nagisa has to wear a scarf.
    • In one episode Kotomi Invokes it by opening a window.
  • Dreadful Musician: Kotomi's violin playing practically counts as assault though she thinks her music is lovely.
    • She may just be woefully out of practice; her violin playing is a lot less ... oppressive in the flashbacks to her childhood.
  • Dream Sequence
  • Dude, He's Like in a Coma: Kyou considers this while catching Tomoya taking a nap in the One Year Before episode. Sunohara catches her at it, and calls her out on it. Hilarity Ensues
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ushio. In the first season's opening credits, no less.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The video game gags in the first season.
  • 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.
  • End of the World as We Know It: Parodied in the game with this hilarious quote from Misae:
    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.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Kyou has a group of fangirls in the basketball match.
    • 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 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.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: Tomoya pulls this off against a half-asleep Sunohara — twice, in one minute. Sunohara really is that stupid.
  • Fangirl: Mei is something of a Yoshino Yuusuke fangirl.
  • Fanservice:
    • The Ship Tease, below, or Kyou in gym clothes in general (such as her chest bouncing 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, averted in the Visual Novel as there is 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 the 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 Recap Episode, Tomoya mentions that everyone reunited for New Year's as well.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: To a Western audience, Tomoya and Youhei are considered delinquents even though all they do is skip class and show up late when they do bother to attend. This is a more serious perception in Japanese culture, where obeying authority is the norm and deviations are frowned upon.
  • First Girl Wins: Depends on whether you count by order of introduction to the audience or to Tomoya.
    • In the first case played as straight as humanly possible, with Nagisa standing at the bottom of a hill, facing the sun, with Cherry Blossoms blowing through the Dramatic Wind. What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?? In case all that wasn't clear enough, romantic music soars as the two leads first look at each other. A few seconds later, she's following him like a puppy as the scene keeps flashing to brilliant white light. At the 0:37 mark any viewer not in deep denial knows she and Tomoya will become the Official Couple.
    • By contrast, Kotomi is the "First Girl", chronologically speaking, and in the Visual Novel she can surpass Nagisa to become the Victorious Childhood Friend.
      • "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.
    • The same goes for Yukine in her route.
    • Kyou calls everyone by their first names.
  • Flashback: A lot of them.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Tomoya starts to have these as he gets closer to Kotomi, complete with a seemingly random rabbit and deer.
  • 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).
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Technically, Yoshino, and later Tomoya as well.
  • 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.
    • Playing the Visual Novel and reading this helps.
      • 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.
  • Gay Option: If you push away all of the girls (with Tomoyo being the last one), you get the Sunohara gag ending.note  The anime references this pairing by featuring Tomoya having an Imagine Spot with them together (which he seems disturbed by), and another moment where he jokingly claims that Sunohara insisting to play basketball with him actually is an excuse to hang out with him because he loves him.
  • 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.
  • The Glomp: The one performed by Kyou on the visibly uneasy Kotomi is especially famous. It's used as the page image for the trope.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kyou.
  • Go into the Light: Parodied on more than one occasion by Nagisa's very theatrical parents.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In The Movie, Nagisa's adorable last smile, soon before she dies after giving birth to Tomoya's daughter. Subtler in the tv series that followed.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: In the VN, you have to complete all the other routes in the School Life arc before advancing to the After Story arc.
  • Graduation for Everyone: For Tomoya and Sunohara despite their habit of cutting class.
  • Grand Finale:
    • Sunohara often uses English in horribly wrong ways to the point that "revenge" comes out as more like "rezombie". Tomoya often calls him out on it.
      "I am pretty dog. Thank you, my friend from New York!"
      "Like the fireball!"
    • The anime version of Kotomi's arc ends with a misspelled note in English also spoken in a variety of languages, with varying levels of success. The English note was free of errors in the original game.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Guide Dang It!: Getting Misae's light orb in the VN: you have to get the good ending in her route, then play through Tomoyo's route.

  • Hair Antennae: The entire Furukawa family. Except Ushio — but technically she's an Okazaki.
  • Happily Married: Akio and Sanae. Later, Tomoya and Nagisa. Possibly Yuusuke and Kouko, although we don't see them together that much. And, leaving aside very minor characters and flashbacks, that's pretty much it for the requited relationships in the anime series.
    • Tomoya and Tomoyo also get married in Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life.
    • 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.
  • Hate Sink:
    • This series has No Antagonist, since it largely focuses on everyday life. Some of the biggest misery bringers like Okazaki's father even have sympathetic qualities and tragic backstories. But the soccer team? The audience is probably cheering at Sunohara for beating them up after bullying Mei. To wit, they are such extreme Jerk Jocks that no other clubs are like that (the basketball club is decent hearted, the rugby club is easily cowed by Misae and they only react when Sunohara went over the top in annoying them), and even the biker gang has better moral standards than them. Probably intentional, since this series is chock full of sympathetic characters, they just need someone to full on hate.
    • The student who harrasses Tomoya so that he breaks up with Tomoyo can also count since he is a one-dimensional loser who only exists to meddle in other's business that doesn't concern them.
  • Hated Hometown: Tomoya's first line is about how much he hates his hometown.
  • 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).
    • Gender Flipped in the movie. Nagisa is still dead, but Tomoya and Ushio are still alive.
  • 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.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Tomoya says he likes snow in After Story episode 21 with a long hesitation after being asked if he likes snow. He does not like snow. Which is completely justifiable in this anime.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rie Nishina and Sugisaka (two members from the Choir Club) are implied to be this in the epilogue.
  • Hidden Eyes: Many characters have moments when they have eyes hidden, particularly Tomoya when he's not feeling well.
  • 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 reconciling after being estranged only for her to die from the same illness that affected Nagisa in the bad ending. Fortunately, in the true ending both Nagisa and Ushio got better.
  • Hot-Blooded: Akio. All he needs is the mecha.
  • Hot Teacher: Sanae used to be a teacher, but still remained hot. Kyou becomes one in After Story. Kouko also used to be a teacher.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Tomoya, on behalf of Yukine's absent brother, battles from dawn until after dark.
    • Also applies to practically the entire After Story in regard to Tomoya.
  • Human Mail: In the VN, Tomoya and Kotomi discuss this in her route when she misinterprets his offer to walk her home from the bookstore as an attempt to mail her home. She figures the best way to send someone through the mail is to dismember a body and send the pieces individually.
    Tomoya: Someone, please call the police.
  • Identity Amnesia: After their deaths, Tomoya and Ushio forget who they are (or were) when they are reborn into the Illusionary World as the Garbage Doll and the Girl.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!!: The adorably innocent Ibuki Fuuko says she wants to do this to little Ushio-chan, Tomoya's daughter, to be her little sister.
    • In season one, Tomoya and Nagisa say the same thing about Mei.
  • Imagine Spot: Tomoya has quite the amusing imagination! Not so much as to call him Mr. Imagination, though.
  • Impact Silhouette: Sunohara makes his shape in a wall that way thanks to the help of Tomoyo right near the beginning of After Story.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: Katsuki Shima, Misae's high school boyfriend in her backstory. At one point, her friends visit Shima's house, and are confused when his mother tells them he is dead. The truth that eventually emerges is that Shima's dying wish was to grant a wish for Misae, and because of this, his cat was able to take on his form for a while. We never get to meet the real Shima.
  • Indecisive Medium: The Visual Novel-style gags in the Anime adaptation.
  • Indirect Kiss:
    • At one point, Nagisa acts flustered when Tomoya reaches 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.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Ryou and Nagisa.
  • 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.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A variant whereby Kyou supports her sister Ryou's attempts to get with Tomoya, despite liking him herself. More thoroughly explored in the Kyou Another World OVA.
  • Jerk Jock: The soccer club is seriously filled with Jerkasses / Jerk Jocks. (To a much lesser extent, so is the rugby team.)
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif:
    • 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.
  • The Load: Nagisa thinks she's one.
  • Loser Protagonist: Sunohara. Tomoya would seem much less impressive without him as a reference point.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Tomoya has quite a few admirers, but is really only interested in Nagisa.
  • Love Hurts: Especially in After Story.
  • 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.
  • Male Gaze: Of course. For example, in ~After Story~ episode 20, when Kyou greets one of her students with his mother, the camera pans on Kyou's butt, and Tomoya's eyes are seen looking towards Kyou's ass for about two seconds.
    • 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.
    • One particularly powerful one from ~After Story~:
      Ushio: "Sanae-san told me...where it was okay to cry...was in the bathroom...and in daddy's arms."
  • 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.
    • Ushio's name means tides, which, for Japanese audiences, evoke mono no aware, a sadness born from the impermanence of things and life.
  • 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.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Mei visits Sunohara's dorm room to find it's like this. Nagisa notes that it's 'a very boyish room'.
  • Mind Screw: See Gainax Ending above.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Akio when he accidentally steps on a wood cutting knife. While it probably was painful, he treats it as if it were a mortal wound. Sanae plays along with him.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
  • Montage: Usually you'll expect one when Tomoya starts narrating.
  • 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)!
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Well, Nagisa just died and Tomoya fell into the Despair Event Horizon. Cue the happy ending theme!
    • 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.
  • Moon Rabbit: Mentioned in the first ending song.
  • More Hateable Minor Villain: Every character seems to always have more sympathetic qualities. However, the closest they can have for this trope is the whole soccer team, a team very full of Jerk Jock, that while Youhei Sunohara was being a jerk that they kicked him out, they were no better, with implications that they did enjoy making Sunohara's time in the club miserable, and when his sister Mei begged for them to put him back to the club to re-ignite his passion in life, they instead chose to torment not only Mei but also Tomoya (and in the anime, also Nagisa, who tags along) for nothing but laughs with false promises that if they put up with it, they will let Youhei back. Of course, they refused to make good of the promise, to the point that when Youhei, usually the Butt-Monkey of the whole series, struck back at them for bullying his sister. It is saying something that in the same series, there's a group of Biker Gang/Yakuza... and they have a lot more moral standards (and a sympathetic story arc) than the club.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The generic cuteness mentioned above extends to the guys as well; with particularly handsome male characters include Tomoya, Akio (who happens to look similar to Tomoya despite being much older), Yoshino Yuusuke and (to a lesser extent) Youhei Sunohara.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • 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.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Kyou does this when Tomoya introduces Kotomi to her.
  • 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.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: An interesting subversion with Toshio Komura's route. It's basically Nagisa's route that branches off into an anticlimatic ending as Tomoya and Sunohara graduate without Nagisa and the drama club isn't revived. However, not only is this a Good Ending, it's also required for unlocking one of the Light Orbs needed for the Visual Novel's True Ending.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: In one episode, Kyou and Tomoya both get locked in an equipment storage shed due to a charm. In order to break the charm and escape, Tomoya has to perform a chant while shirtless and asks Kyou to turn away while he does 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 Bureaucrat: The student council is ridiculously obstructive to Nagisa's attempts to re-establish the theater club. Until Tomoyo gets elected president, that is.
  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Both the visual novel and the anime do this.
  • Official Couple: Nagisa and Tomoya. After all, Nagisa is the "First Girl" (that he remembers, the real first girl is Kotomi), 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.
    • Tomoya and Tomoyo can be considered this as well since they get together and married in Tomoyo's spin-off game.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Whenever Akio realizes he's just insulted Sanae's bread with her standing right behind him.
    • More seriously, the looks on Tomoya's, Akio's, Sanae's and the midwife's faces when they realize that Nagisa is dying.
  • 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, Fuko, 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.)
  • One-Steve Limit: In the Alternate Universe depicted in Tomoyo After: It's a Wonderful Life, Tomoya and Tomoyo move in together with Tomoyo's long-lost younger half-sister — Tomo. Yes, really.note 
  • One-Word Title
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: A Subverted Trope. For some reason, Sunohara adamantly believes that he and Tomoyo share this dynamic, but he's quickly proven wrong with a kick into the sky and nothing else, not even a passing glance from her. Ouch.
    • He's "quickly proven wrong" to the viewer, but he clings to this notion for about a dozen more episodes and perhaps twice that many thorough and humiliating thrashings.
  • Only Six Faces:
    • 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. Only for Ushio to die from Nagisa’s illness just a few months after their reunion.
    • Also, both of Kotomi’s parents died in a plane crash when she was young.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Kotomi, when she was younger, angrily lashed out at her parents that she hated them for missing her birthday. Tragically, they would miss every birthday of Kotomi’s afterwards as well, as soon after that, the plane they were on crashed.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tomoya and Sunohara are considered to be the school's delinquents, but all they do is cut class and show up late.
  • Place Worse Than Death: How Tomoya feels about the town at the beginning. This is more due to his painful memories than the actual town, as the setting is quite beautiful. At one point, he even suggests that he and Nagisa run away. His opinion changes as the series goes on.
  • Playing Cyrano: Kyou, to Ryou. In the Visual Novel, this leads to various different results, usually via Matchmaker Crush.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Vital on some of Tomoya's pranks to succeed.
  • Pose of Supplication: Fūko's fan club, after she rejects them.
  • Post-Episode Trailer: The next-episode trailer consists of clips of conversations from the next episode, sometimes spliced from different parts of a scene or even different scenes in order to form new, humorously incongruous dialogue. In one instance, sweethearts Nagisa and Ryou appear to be happily assuring a terrified Kotomi that they're bullies.
  • The Power of Friendship: One of the major themes of the series.
  • 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.
  • Punched Across the Room: This tends to happen to Youhei. (A lot.) Sometimes down the hall, out the window, and into the top of a nearby tree. And down a garbage chute.
  • Pungeon Master: Nagisa's father Akio.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Fuko, with the aid of massively induced amnesia concerning her very existence.
    • Several characters Tomoyo, Mai, Yukine, The Choir Club Girls after episode 14 of the first season and Sunohara, Kotomi, Ryou after episode 16 of the second season.
    • The Bus Came Back: Kyou turns out to be Ushio's kindergarten teacher.
  • Purple Is the New Black:
    • Tomoya has extremely dark purple hair, to the point where it can be easily passed as black. Officially it is listed as black.
    • To a lesser extent, this could also be applied to Kotomi.
  • Real-Place Background: Hikarizaka is based on the Tokyo suburb of Mizuho, as seen in these pictures. There's also a bit of Osaka, where Key is based, thrown in for the apartment Tomoya moves into. Tomoya's and Ushio's trip takes place at the tip of Tohoku.
  • Really Dead Montage: In the anime, you could almost hope Nagisa, and later Ushio, just fell asleep or something, were it not for all the flashbacks.
  • Recap Episode: In one extra episode of the anime, Tomoya talks about what happened in the events of the first season and After Story.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kyou has a couple of these.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: A few of the characters have this dynamic:
    • Sunohara is the loud, boisterous red oni to Tomoya's blue oni.
    • Kyou is loud and aggressive while her twin sister Ryou is quiet and reserved.
    • Akio is loud and dramatic (he used to be an actor, after all) while his wife Sanae is a proper, demure Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Many, between Tomoya and Nagisa. That each one is hard-earned — Tomoya is hesitant to open up; Nagisa is a Shrinking Violet — just makes them that much more heartwarming.
  • Reset Button Ending: Inverted in this series, as compared to other Reset Button Endings. This undoes the existing Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Botan, Kyou's pet piglet, who seems to be following in the spiritual footsteps of Potato and Piro.
    • Dango family
  • 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 Busters! Visual Novel, and all of the choices are attacks...
  • Room Full of Crazy: A room covered with certain newspaper articles.
  • Running Gag:
    • Any events where someone says Sanae's bread tastes like trash, especially if it's Akio who says it
      Sanae: My bread... is... trash material!?!? [runs off crying]
      Akio: [stuffs said bread into his mouth and chases after her] I LOVE IIIITTT!!!
    • Also, Kotomi introducing herself by saying, without fail, "Hello, Tomoya-kun," no matter who she's (supposed) to be talking to. Tomoya even lampshades the Running Gag.
    Tomoya: This is getting really old.
    • Another from Kotomi is whenever Tomoya introduces her to a new person, she asks, "Is he/she a bully?"
    • 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.
  • Sailor Fuku: The uniforms the female students wear. The summer uniform has a ribbon for the collar, but the winter uniform doesn't.
  • Save Our Club: Nagisa's efforts to rebuild the drama club.
  • Say My Name: Numerous names get dramatically shouted over the series. Especially Nagisa's name.
  • Scenery Porn: Everything looks incredible.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • 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".
  • Seasonal Baggage: ~After Story~'s anime opening uses this with the four remaining girls: Nagisa (spring), Kyou (summer), Kotomi (autumn) and Tomoyo (winter). Since most of CLANNAD is set in spring, this gives a pretty good clue which girl is the winner here.
  • Self-Deprecation: The show frequently pokes fun at itself while Leaning on the Fourth Wall (see above).
    • As for the characters, both Nagisa and Tomoya often think of themselves as undeserving to be happy due to their flaws.
  • Serial Escalation: Just how much more tear-jerking can the series be?
  • She Is All Grown Up: Mei, briefly, in the Grand Finale. Blink and you might miss itnote . The rest of the girls in the series also qualify, though much more subtly. They were already beautiful, but look generally more mature at the end 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.
    • Played with in an episode in which Tomoya tricks Nagisa into thinking Youhei is in love with him and being a Stalker with a Crush. In an attempt to protect Tomoya, Nagisa "lies" to Youhei, claiming she and Tomoya are dating. Immediately afterward, she apologizes to Tomoya. (Of course, they kinda are dating by that point, even if they don't admit it to themselves.)
      • In the game they were actually dating, they just hadn't told anybody about it yet.
  • Ship Sinking: Four alternate romantic options (Kyou, Ryou, Tomoyo, Kotomi) are swiftly dispatched at once during a tennis match late in the first series, the girls becoming increasingly miserable as Tomoya's unconscious behavior makes it crystal-clear who the Official Couple is.
    • Even in the visual novel, all of the other heroines still fall far behind Nagisa; at least its something though.
  • 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!
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The entirety of After Story with Tomoya bonding with his daughter after Nagisa's death turns out to be basically pointless when she randomly dies of an illness and Tomoya stays outside until he also dies of exposure. It's saved from being an outright downer ending by the reset button, but some readers still end up dissatisfied, that their time was wasted and that the theme of After Story about simply moving on was a worthy message in its own right.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In addition to the standard KyoAni cross-referencing, Kotomi quotes a line from the short story The Dandelion Girl: "Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you." (See also By the Power of Grayskull!, RPG Elements.)
    • The summer uniforms from Tomoyo After.
    • Blink And You'll Miss It: Episode 11 has Akio holding Sanae in his arms; then she faints, causing him to scream her name. Considering Akio's voice actor, his lines and actions during that scene, one would think about something entirely different.
    • Episode 20 also has a brief shout-out to the famous music video for Thriller.
    • Specific examples of the KyoAni 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 Haruhi Suzumiya. 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.
    • The Visual Novel has Shout Outs to Doraemon.
    • 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.
    • Sanae is wearing Misuzu's apron.
    • When Nagisa finds a videotape of her dad's high school acting days, he's playing the lead in Oedipus the King, another family-themed tragedy.
    • Kotomi tries to summon Cthulhu with the drama club's magic wand prop.
    • The Furukawa Bakery baseball team plays against the Smell Like Teen Spirits.
    • De Vermis Mysteriis'' gets a reference in the spell Kotomi utters when they find the magic wand:
    "Tibi, magnum Innominandum, signa stellarum nigrarum et bufoniformis Sadoquae sigillum."
  • Signature Laugh: Nagisa's "Ehehe" in the game. Subtler in the series.
  • Significant Name Shift: In the Ryou ending (which is actually considered a "Bad End" for the Kyou route), Tomoya and Ryou's Relationship Upgrade is punctuated in the final scene by Tomoya addressing her as "Ryou" (previously he addressed her as "Fujibayashi" while addressing her twin sister as "Kyou"). Ryou understands the significance of this, reciprocating by addressing him as "Tomoya-kun" as opposed to "Okazaki-kun".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Snow Means Death:
    • 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. Then Ushio falls ill, and dies during the winter while out on a trip with Tomoya. Overcome with grief, he collapses in the snow and dies right alongside her.
  • 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.
  • Something Else Also Rises: See Does This Remind You of Anything?, above.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Parting At The Foot Of The Hill is a cheerful, cute-sounding tune...that plays over the scene of Nagisa dying after giving birth to Ushio.
  • Spam Attack: Tomoyo's signature rapid kicks.
  • Spit Take: Tomoya does that when he heard that Nagisa hasn't seen a theatre play before.
  • Spoiler Opening: See Bait-and-Switch Credits above.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Yukine stopped two gangs from fighting by revealing that her brother was Dead All Along
  • Starfish Character: Fūko, and not merely because she loves starfish.
  • Staying with Friends
  • Stock Footage: Fūko's reappearances.
  • Stocking Filler: Fūko.
  • 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.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Nagisa and Sanae immediately figure out that fellow Cloudcuckoolander Fuko is carving starfish instead of stars.
  • 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.
  • Student Council President: Tomoyo Sakagami and her spiritual predecessor, Misae Sagara.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Tomoya initially goes through this with Hiiragi Kappei in his arc in the visual novel due to Kappei's androgynous appearance.
  • Supporting Harem: Even in the Visual Novel, where other girls have their own routes, it was made obvious that Nagisa is the lead girl.
  • 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...
  • Theme Twin Naming: Kyou and Ryou Fujibayashi both have Tomboyish Names that rhyme.
  • Third-Person Person: Fuko. Of the small, childish variety. It's quite endearing.
    • 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.
  • Those Two Guys: Misae's two friends Saki and Yuki, which is notable because they're background characters to someone who is a background character to start with. Saki even comments on their background status.
    Saki: Come come now, ours have always been the lives of supporting characters. [turns to Shima] Go give it your best Main Character!
  • 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 dilemma. Then again, the fact that just having a little dignity is that rare for him sort of cancels it out. This trope could also be considered the main purpose of the Sunohara siblings route, in which Tomoya and Sunhohara's relationship is examined much more seriously.
    • 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sunohara. And too comic relief-y to die. Yeah.
  • Training Montage: Tomoya preparing for Ushio's school sports day.
  • The Trickster: Tomoya.
  • Tsundere: Kyou. She wears light blue panties, by the way. This is important.
    Kyou: FORGET IIIIITTTT!!! [kicks the above editor to the sky'']
  • Twisted-Knee Collapse: Kotomi reads books in this highly uncomfortable position while she sits on a pillow on the floor.
  • Two Decades Behind: According to Wikipedia, the events of the series take place starting in 2003, but there are no cellphones or computers seen anywhere, save for the electric company office. Even then, the computer is still running Windows XP, which was a version out of date when the anime series aired, though XP was still in wide use at the time. Possibly justified in that the main characters are dirt poor. The series could have easily taken place in The '90s or even The '80s. We do see that the Furukawas have upgraded to a flat-screen TV later in ~After Story~.
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: Main character tries out a book of charms out of boredom in his visits to Yukine's old library reference room. There are nontrivial instructions like "stack two coins on edge, then say the written words, then think of someone" with promised effects written out. Realizing a pinch of Literal Genie at play later, he's led to believe that it's the spell that has caused him to get locked with Kyou in a sports equipment shed, so he has to perform some embarrassing actions to dispel the charm. In the visual novel, certain choices lead to scenes with other characters in place of Kyou (even Nagisa's dad).
  • Unflinching Walk: Tomoyo's first appearance when she easily dispatches the bullies from a rival school. She doesn't look back when they're flying in the air.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Updated Re-release: The VN has had a couple in Japan. CLANNAD Full Voice was released four years after the original and featured full voice acting and support for Windows Vista. Clannad Memorial Edition followed in 2010 and supported Windows 7.
  • Utsuge: Key/Visual Arts is known for heart-wrenching plots, and CLANNAD is no exception. In fact it is probably the best-known Nakige in the West.
  • 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tomoya and Sunohara are two of the purest examples. Even after a big fight, they still laugh at each other's bandaged faces.
  • 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.
  • Wedding-Enhanced Fertility: Nagisa gets pregnant a few months after marrying Tomoya. She even specifically asks for a baby.
  • Wham Episode: Perhaps most notably Nagisa's death; Ushio's death; the Grand Finale; the Recap Episode (for some). But in a way, each episode starting around when Nagisa gets sick again and has to drop out of her senior year for the second time is a Wham Episode unto itself, with the whams growing more and more intense and more and more heart-wrenching.
  • Wham Line:
    Ushio: I couldn't pee by myself.
    • In Fuko's route in the VN:
    Kouko: The other day, she (Fuko)...stopped breathing.
  • 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.
    • Anyone who's not Tomoya or Nagisa, really. We only see brief glimpses of them in the finale, but no real detail as to what they're up to.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The montage at the end of the Grand Finale (while "Chiisana Tenohira" plays).
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location of the town in Japan is not specified.
  • White Void Room: In the end of episode 16 of After Story.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: In a flashback episode of ~After Story~, Misae's friends get Shima to don a girl's uniform in after he expresses a desire to see what Misae does as the Student Council President. Everyone (including Misae) remarks on how cute "she" is, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Both subverted and played straight in the anime after Fūko disappears.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Ana", a very Engrishy song.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: The cast runs the gamut of rainbow hair colors...except for Sunohara, whose blonde hair is dyed and is stated to be "an impossible color" (his actual hair color is gray-blue).
  • The Wonka: Whatever you may say about her odder traits, Kotomi is still the most successful student in the school. Why carry scissors around everywhere? To cut paper, of course!
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Sunohara, who tries raising relationship flags as much as possible and is convinced (Visual Novel) he had a Crash-Into Hello with Kappei, refusing to admit that the dude just looks like a lady.
  • Youkai: Misae's cat is actually a nekomata that was sent by its deceased former master to pay back a debt of gratitude to Misae, who cheered him up when she met him at the hospital years ago.

Alternative Title(s): Clannad