- And all of this before that cute and upbeat ending, not to mention almost every single character is painfully cute, too. You know they love to do this. Gainax is nice near Key. They aren't only sadist about their characters, but about their public. They like to jerk our tears.
- DON'T. FREAKING. TEMPT. THEM!
- On the other hand, they could have improved the series by making Fuko die in the anime and Kotomi becoming homeless.
- Ok, someone obviously only watched the anime. It generally a bad idea to do that with works based on a visual novel. Go read it. You won't? Oh well, I guess I'll explain it then. It has to happen this way to make the story work, if Nagisa doesn't die, Tomoya won't realize how hard his fathers life really was, and the he did what he could, despite the circumstances, and he did better than Tomoya. If all of this wouldn't have happened, he wouldn't ahve reconciled with his father, which is one of the main points of After Story. Ushio dying is maybe a bit over the top, but I think it's so Tomoya will know that he can reach a better world using the orbs. Though if you think this is bad, go play Kanon, I dare you.
- Does this mean Ushio dying happened as well? So somewhere out there is an universe where Tomoya's entire family died, and Sanae and Akio live tragically alone in their failure to protect their daughter, their son-in-law, and their granddaughter? Uuagh....
- Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything. Even Save Scumming. You cannot subjectively experience your own death, so reality has to snap back to the point at which you may choose a different path.
It's interesting to note that, when Tomoya (with Ushio) met Fuko after she had woken up, Fuko did not recognize him at all, despite him and Nagisa being her closest companions in the events leading up to Kouko's wedding. Tomoya himself did not recognize Fuko as the girl he helped seven years ago to invite people to Kouko's wedding. Given the emotional attachment between Tomoya and Fuko at the time, it's safe to assume that if they knew each other, there was no way one wouldn't recognize the other.
Even when Fuko finally wakes up in the second reality (where Nagisa lives), there is no indication of her knowing who Tomoya and Nagisa were beforehand, and vice versa, as indicated by ~After Story~ 22 and 24.
Thus, it is safe to say that Fuko's Story Arc has been effectively erased from everyone's memory, with no chance of them truly remembering what happened.
- Essentially correct. Tomoya and Nagisa (and to a lesser extent the rest of the characters) vaguely remember dredges of memory from their time with her (like remembering the stars are actually starfish), but don't remember Fuko properly when she shows up from time to time.
The character running around and giving everyone starfish is either an entity trying to grant Fuuko's wishes, or possibly an entity trying to make Kouko Ibuki happy. It's the same thing that happens in Misae's story.
The difference between Fuuko's ghost and Shima's cat is that Shima's cat has one of the light orbs, so he can have an impact on the world. Fuuko's ghost gets forgotten because without the light orb, she's just the lingering wishes of the real Fuuko. And neither of them can hold their form after they've achieved their goals. Neither of them can be seen by close relatives (Shima's mom or Kouko) because they're not powerful to overcome the contradiction, and it's impossible for either to "return home" since they're impostors to begin with.
Fuko basically owed Nagisa and Tomoya the key to her sister's happiness: Nagisa and Tomoya both went out of their way to help Fuko invite people to Kouko's wedding with Yusuke. As a result, Fuko became eternally grateful to both of them.
We see the scene in ~After Story~ 22 where the camera pans on the Girl in the Illusionary World, then when it pans out and back in again, when Fuko asks what the girl's name was, Ushio is seen instead. This means that Fuko knows that the Illusionary World exists. Since she is able to project herself into the school even when she was in a coma, it's safe to say that she can effectively travel between the real world and the Illusionary World. Using the Haruhi definition, Fuko is a Dimensional Slider.
According to the linked article above, Fuko is the sheep we saw in ~After Story~ episode 2, the one that helped the Garbage Doll find its way back to Illusionary World Ushio. She slid into the Illusionary World, knowing both Illusionary World Ushio and Garbage Doll/Tomoya's true identities. In ~After Story~ 20, Fuko explains to Tomoya that she has memorized Ushio's scent; two episodes later, when the True End has taken place, Fuko is able to find Ushio because of her scent.
When exactly did Fuko inform Ushio of her true identity? This cannot be pinpointed, but as we all know, time does not exist in the Illusionary World. So, it is safe to say that when Nagisa, then Ushio and Tomoya die, Fuko becomes aware of this, slides over to the Illusionary World, informs Ushio of her true identity, thus enabling her to send the Garbage Doll/Tomoya back in time to the bottom of the hill, where Tomoya first meets Nagisa. The blurred scenes in the middle of the final episode indicate both Tomoya and Nagisa reliving their senior year, this time, however, they know that they were destined to be lovers, and they were aware of Ushio's powers (Light Orbs), therefore, Tomoya is able to prevent Nagisa from dying in childbirth by invoking the power of the Light Orbs. This is subtly referenced in the second scene that Nagisa gives birth.
- Nagisa: "Tomoya-kun, take a look outside the window. It's beautiful."
Tomoya draws the curtains back and sees light orbs rising into the night sky.
You now ask, why does KyoAni spend so much time on Fuko, even after her Story Arc had been completed in the first season? Fuko held the key to Nagisa and Tomoya's happiness. Fuko was the first one who gave Nagisa and Tomoya the vital first push on their journey to pursue each other (the scene where Fuko wants them both to call each other by first name). Fuko helped the Garbage Doll find Ushio in the Illusionary World, and without her, Illusionary World Ushio might never have known her true identity, and if she didn't know her true identity, she wouldn't have been able to send Tomoya/Garbage Doll back in time to save both her and her mother. Without Fuko, Tomoya would have done a true Generation Xerox by living in permanent grief like his own father.
To quote the article above:
When Tomoya and Nagisa decided to help Fuko and her sister's wedding in their senior year, they had created a foolproof plan towards their ultimate happiness.
So, let's suppose the city, or rather, the embodiment of the city does have a mind of its own... So, Tomoya, unproductive member of society, asshole delinquent, meets Nagisa. And it transforms his personality. All of a sudden, he becomes kind, makes friends, helps them out of trouble - sometimes big trouble. The city wants to pay him back, not least for his sucky childhood.
But there's four problems:1. The city can only grant wishes. And Tomoya doesn't have any wishes. In fact, in times of grief, Tomoya will only turn inwards and wish stupid self-destructive things that the city doesn't want to grant. The city wants to grant wishes that make people happy.2. Nagisa, Tomoya's beloved is doomed. The city granted the wish that saved her life a while ago, but it was a wish granted without a light orb, and so inherently limited. Part of her life is sustained by the city, and that has to be returned eventually.3. The city cannot communicate with Tomoya directly. And light orbs are not easily drawn to or be collected someone like Tomoya, even though the city makes them visible to him.4. In fact, the power of the light orbs are very limited - wishes can only be granted using a light orb to someone who is dying - though the wish can be transferred afterwards. (See Shima)
So... the city has The Plan.
First, Nagisa has to have a child, before she dies. This is Ushio. The city pulls strings, maybe using Nagisa's wish, to ensure Ushio survives, at least for a while. It pulls the same trick it did with Nagisa, infusing Ushio with its spirit. Tomoya makes the wish that he and Nagisa would never meet, but the city has cunningly kept the light orbs out of his reach, plus he isn't dying, so the wish is not granted.
But Tomoya is determined to be alone and self-destructive. Fortunately, before the time on Ushio's life runs out, the two reconcile. Ushio's presence is sufficient to break Tomoya out of his cycle of regret. (Note the difference in the monologue in ep 21 vs the one in ep 16) Whatever happens, Tomoya will not hate himself and city and his meeting Nagisa. Ep 19, Tomoya collects his one and only light orb. (The rest fly off into the sky and end up on the title screen)
The clock runs out, and Ushio dies. Tomoya dies, but at last, he can use his light orb to make a wish. To the city's relief, Tomoya wishes for "Nagisa, someone, save Ushio." This wish is granted, and the result is the creation of the Illusionary world, with Ushio within it. The illusionary world is pieced together from Tomoya's memories of Nagisa's play, Nagisa's field and nearby woodland (where the city's powers were strongest), and the flower field that Tomoya had promised to take Ushio to. (Hence the junk, from Ushio's memories of the robot being still in the field somewhere) Ushio had died as well, and either she has collected a light orb, or she could use the one which are plentiful in the Illusionary world, so Ushio wishes for her Papa to be with her, thus reincarnating Tomoya as the robot.
But of course, Tomoya is still determined to be unhappy, even in the peace of the illusionary world. His unhappiness means the memories of Ushio's death re-emerge, and so triggering the coming of winter. The girl, because she's imbued with the city's spirit, knows what this means, and maybe she always knew. The illusionary world lets the father and that version of the daughter say goodbye. So the city moves the final part of the play into action.
The human part of Ushio gives up her life. She's not going to have her father with her, so her wish is cancelled, and she's sort of dying too. The spirit part of Ushio returns to the city, and the light orb reappears from the robot's body. This leaves the city with one wish left, and all the necessary conditions satisfied. And it passes the decision back to Tomoya.
But what would Tomoya wish for? The scene with Nagisa is a test - it's not really the past, and the Nagisa Tomoya sees is the spirit part of the Nagisa that died. (Remember, Nagisa too was saved light-orb-lessly by a wish) But, thankfully, Tomoya does not regret meeting Nagisa any more. The spirit Nagisa says goodbye to Tomoya, and finally uses the remaining light orb to complete Tomoya's new wish, to be reunited with Nagisa. Thus the healing is completed using a true wish. (Though because the wish is granted by proxy, Tomoya does not understand how it is done.)
Spirit Nagisa and Spirit Ushio show the rising light orbs, to show their happiness at a mission completed. Tomoya had lived five extra years that no one else has, and remembers it all too clearly. His memories of the Illusionary World are erased, though. Nagisa and Ushio are cured permanently. Fuko detects something odd about Ushio - probably that they still had traces from their contact with the embodiment of the happiness in the city. The end.
- That means Keiichi is Rena's father!
- Alternatively, Rena is Sanae. Keiichi and Rena survived the Hinamizawa disaster in this world and went on to a different town to start over, with new names and a new life.
- FUCK YES. Look, Akio even has a huge friggin' bat just like Keiichi!
Kazuto became a gang leader (and a good one, at that) out of grief at his situation (he was Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life, but didn't realize what he was "missing"). Once he realized it, however, it was too late: if he backed down from the gang scene, the people he'd come to care for would be in deep, deep trouble.
He started the transition. Once it was time, he faked an accident, and was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent the final procedures. Kazuto had "died", and Yukine was "born".
All the while he'd begun dropping casual remarks about his "sister" Yukine, who didn't approve of his lifestyle, so no-one was surprised when she showed up at the "funeral" (also faked, obviously).
That's when she made a mistake, however. She'd been meaning to use the "accident" as a way to retire from the gang scene, but still leave her gang in a position where they wouldn't run into trouble ("Don't you dare touch us, or when Kazuto comes back he's going to beat you all up!"). She didn't realize, however, how much she'd come to care about her True Companions, and when she spoke to them at the funeral (allegedly trying to get to know her brother's friends, in reality because she missed them) it was too late: she was drawn to them once again, becoming their Team Mom.
Meanwhile, however, the other gangs started to wonder when exactly Kazuto would be released from the hospital; sensing the coming trouble, she tried to negotiate peace, because in the event of a fight her friends would be in deep trouble, but failed. Therefore, the events of After Story episodes 7 and 8 are precipitated.
- Only one problem though: Why was she a crappy fighter when she faced the rival gang leader? Hell, a tired Tomoya was able to restrain her.
- Can be handwaved away in one (or both) of two ways:
- she was out of shape, having not fought or trained in almost a year;
- it was a plan to get the other gang's leader to back down and listen to what she had to say for a change. If you watch After Story episodes 7 and 8, you'll notice the members of the other gang dismiss right away, without pausing to consider the situation, what she's trying to tell them (i.e.: "we can avoid this meaningless fight"). How do you get a manly-man to listen to what a "weak girl" has to say? Secret weapon!
- I look forward to Okazaki beating the shit out of Kyon, then...
- Just Kyon? I'd think Haruhi would be the more obvious target of Tomoya's fatherly vengeance.
- Oh god, somebody, SOMEBODY please write a fanfic about this.
- Just Kyon? I'd think Haruhi would be the more obvious target of Tomoya's fatherly vengeance.
- Time for an elaboration. The city gets it's satisfaction when people cross the Despair Event Horizon. When Nagisa was nearly dying, the city knew that her death will only affect her parents and thus will not satisfy it. Around this time, they also noticed Tomoya's depressing relation with his father. It decided to have Tomoya follow in his father's foot steps. So what do they do? Time for a Gambit Roulette! First, the city gives Nagisa some of it's life force to keep her going until she meets and eventually falls in love with Tomoya. Soon during After Story, when Nagisa is preggers, the city decides it's time to kill her off. Bonus points if you can consider the city may have the power to control the "WEATHER!" (sorry, couldn't resist.) After being satisfied with the death and grieving, they decide to bother Tomoya's life when he reunites with his daughter by taking her life force away. This winds up killing Tomoya too. So that reset button ending? It was Fuuko behind it all, and how does Tomoya clearly recall the downer ending? Because it's like being traumatized, you can never block it out of your mind.
- I wouldn't caall three years equal to "just a bit" out of practice.
There's one problem though: Tomoya instigates his own personal Reset Button, which removes his opportunity to reconcile since Tomoya is preoccupied with the now-alive Nagisa and Ushio. However, the epilogue clearly shows Tomoya's grandmother greeting the family, meaning Tomoya will reach the same understanding and reconnect with his father. Then, he finally receives the light(s) necessary.
The ending shot with Tomoya and his father walking through the fields? That wasn't a motif shot - it was Tomoya's father instigating his own personal Reset Button and starting his life over. Having collected the lights, Tomoya's mother doesn't die, Tomoya grows up as a well-adjusted person, notices Nagisa around several times alone when in his third year, and befriends her. Since he actually gives a damn about things now, he does well in his studies; Nagisa is not sickly enough to repeat another year and the two end up going to university and marrying, with Tomoya getting a stable job to support them and Ushio (who also grows up properly).
The wish wasn't only Tomoya's wish. It was the wish of the viewers to see a happy family together.
The second time is what part of the After Story is about. The first time would have been when she was five and her father brought her to the field. It was said to be a miraculous recovery, but perhaps she didn't survive it the first time through.
Think about it. We have a guy who goes through absolute hell in life after not one but two people close to him die, and all the while, he goes around and helps people out. In the end of the series, when he himself meets his end, the universe decides to show him a little mercy and send him back in time and into a parallel timeline to the original one, assuming this analysis◊ is accurate. From this new timeline, he lives out life the way he really deserved.
Now, consider this show's Fridge Horror entry:
"Nagisa and Ushio die and go to the after-life. Tomoya however goes to the alternate universe when he dies instead of after-life. Which means that there's now a universe in Clannad where Nagisa and Ushio are together in the after-life without Tomoya and they will NEVER see him again."
At the end of Ocarina of Time, something similar happens to Link: He gets sent back in time to before he went to sleep for seven years so he can live the rest of his childhood, which leads into Majora's Mask. This has the unfortunate side effect of erasing him from the "Adult Timeline"; now there's no Link to stop Ganon from trying to take over Hyrule again, convincing the Goddesses to flood Hyrule, which kicks off the setting of The Wind Waker.
Effectively, since the Illusionary World doesn't share time with the real world, it theoretically connects to all times and places (but apparently only within the town).
Thus there is no real time travel when people move between the worlds, and Ushio has always will be watching over the town.
- Another way to think of its time is that the illusionary world is called into existence by Ushio's death (episode 21), but ends with Ushio's birth and Nagisa's survival (chronologically episode 16, revisted and altered in episode 22). It's a paradox: the event that creates the Illusionary World happens after the Illusionary World ceases to exist.
This doesn't make sense if you consider it a true reset. Either way it may be one of the following:
- An illusion, or some sort of alternate world designed purely to get Tomoya to realize that it isn't truly the choice either he or Nagisa wants.
- A transitory world, that Tomoya or his other self stopped at before returning to the point where Ushio was born
Tomoya appears to have no memory of it either way. The only wish that was truly granted was that the lives of his daughter and wife were saved.
- Actually, we only see him in the suit once, and that is on his way to job interviews. In the game Tomoyo After his "recycling job" is much more blue collar. He rides around in a truck collecting broken appliances that he can repair or sell for parts.
The other option was to encourage Akio to join a theater group however the bus Akio is on is high jacked and Akio saves everyone, but himself resulting in getting stabbed. However, they bring him to a hospital so he can recover.
One morning, without letting anyone know, Akio sneaks out to go for a smoke and Sanae catches him. Akio promises he'd never leave and you obtain a light orb. This is where the game would just end, telling you to start from the beginning of After Story again or start from one of your saves. Why?
A few things: The hospital Akio was sent to was the same hospital that was constructed in the plains where Nagisa was saved. As such, the tilling and construction of the hospital already had it's toll on Nagisa, however she didn't have to give birth due to possibly being completely side tracked by her father going to the hospital.
Finally, when things calm down and Akio is well enough to go run the bakery again, Nagisa and Tomoya feel it's the right time to start their own family. Nagisa, healthy over the sickness caused by the plains being destroyed have passed and Ushio was brought into the world safely.
1. Whose wish was granted then? Well obviously it must have been Shiima's. I just played through the route in the vn and both of Misae's and Shiima's wishes were practically identical. The wish was to love them forever. And if it was indeed Shiima's wish that got granted, then that was indeed successful, Misae forever loved him. In her route, she resigned herself to being alone because she couldn't imagine herself with another because like the wish, she still loved Shiima and she would forever.
2. Alternatively, neither of their wishes were actually granted. I hate to bring up the image of a parasite, but that might be what it was. Why was Shiima human in the first place? Someone may have wished he was, most likely his former owner before he died. If so, why did Shiima revert back to a cat? It is possible that keeping Shiima a human for the rest of his life would have been too difficult, requiring more magical power than an orb can provide.This also explains why it took more than one to bring Ushio and Nagisa back to life, and why Nagisa was only temporarily saved at the beginning. Eventually the orb became used up, in trying to keep Shiima a human. And when it was gone, there was no more power to keep his humanity.
- It is possible that the real Shiima wished for his cat to grant Misae's wish in his place. Once Misae made her wish to Shiima and he granted it himself by remaining with her.
While the fact that Ryou's life was in danger is the main reason, but the buscrash makes it even harder for her.
- It's a horrible thought, but it makes sense; she doesn't appear even as a background character in these episodes, and this series makes it very clear that so long as Nagisa's around, there's no way he'd fall in love with anyone else.
Connections to the illusionary world aside, this is why Nagisa and Ushio have their disease. They are actually reincarnated winged ones. The light orbs that Tomoya collects in the Visual Novel is the magic needed to break their curse.
Tomoya actually blacked out briefly and, since dreams can be time-compressed, five years played out in the dream. When he came to, he feared it was all a premonition dream...only it wasn't.
All thats missing is a Dalek in a schoolgirl outfit....