Follow TV Tropes



Go To

  • Adaptation Displacement: As is the case with most anime based on visual novels, most fans know CLANNAD as an anime rather than a game, largely thanks to its source material being unavailable outside of Japan for a long time until an official English translation of the VN was released in 2015.
  • Angst Aversion: Those who have heard how depressing this series is tend to think twice before watching it, especially those who would rather watch a fun action flick.
  • Advertisement:
  • Animation Age Ghetto: On Amazon Instant Video, the series is listed as "Family." This is a series that has child abuse, neglect, teenage pregnancy and death by childbirth. Considering that it turns most adults into blubbering wrecks, how do you think kids would react?
  • Ass Pull: Arguably the ending, which to some people had absolutely zero foreshadowing and came out of nowhere to fix everything. But when you rewatch, there are hints in everything from small gags like Sanae's and Akio's "new names" for Tomoya to more important things like Nagisa's script to, oh, Kotomi's and Yukine's entire arcs.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Awesomeness Withdrawal: The fandom even has a term for it: "Post-CLANNAD Depression Syndrome". A lot of fans also say they have trouble finding anything comparable to CLANNAD after finishing the series. Many fans have latched on to Fairy Tail as a result of this oddly enough. This is because the characters Gray and Juvia have the same voice actors as Tomoya and Nagisa.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Better on DVD: The anime series has a lot of multiple-episode-spanning arcs and complex foreshadowing. The ending to ~After Story~ makes a lot more sense with Kotomi's theories about the Hidden World fairly fresh in your mind, at least for those who haven't already finished the VN. On the other hand, some fans feel that the abundance of Tear Jerkers makes it too emotionally overwhelming to watch in one sitting. That said, it's also easier to power through them when you can do so immediately rather than wait a week between episodes.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Tomoya's very strange Dream Sequences.
    • Advertisement:
    • Fuko's random appearances later in the anime. Even more so in the game. They lampshade those most of the time.
    • The lightsaber fight in ~After Story~.
  • Broken Base:
    • Nagisa/Tomoya VS Kyou/Tomoya VS Tomoyo/Tomoya VS Kotomi/Tomoya VS Fuko/Tomoya VS Sunohara/Tomoya… you get the message.
    • The ending to ~After Story~: a nice, touching way to send the series out on a high note, or just a Writer Cop Out?
    • The latter half of ~After Story~ is either a high point of what was already a very emotionally impacting series or a succession of contrived melodramas that nobody signed up for.
    • The English dub, in stark contrast to the dubs of Air and Kanon from the same dubbing studio, which are highly praised (especially Kanon). Complaints boil down to two areas: Mispronunciation or mis-stressing of names, and Kyou's voice actress sounds too old. Oddly enough, very few complained about the quality of the acting itself.
      • The fact that Clannad's dub was handled by Steven Foster (who is absolutely despised by a vocal minority of the fandom) as opposed to Kyle Jones (who directed Air and Kanon) undoubtedly played a huge role in why criticisms of this dub tend to stick. However, the earlier dubs also mispronounced some names and had the occasional questionable casting choice, yet they're justifiably well-regarded.
      • There's no doubt that this dub (due to Sentai having No Budget) was not given the level of care the earlier ADV dubs got, but it still compares reasonably well to its predecessors, largely due to being made up almost entirely of veteran voice actors – as opposed to Sentai's later efforts, which use mainly new talent (since most of the longtime Houston actors have decamped for greener pastures).
    • The English release on Steam has the anglophone fanbase split over the pricing. Those who are just happy to finally have an official English version of the VN don't mind the $50 price tag and point to the massive amount of text to translate in the VN as justifying the price. Others point to the 2D graphics and the fact that the original VN is over a decade old as reasons why it's too expensive. However, this is mitigated by the VN going on sale at a fairly frequent rate (typically 50% off).
    • Fuko's arc. Some feel that it was melodramatic to the point of Narm, attempted to take the focus away from more interesting characters like Nagisa and her family, the Fujibayashis, and Kotomi, tried to force the dreaded loli upon the fanbase, and pushed the Main Plot of trying to re-establish the theater club into the background. Additionally, many are not fans of how Tomoya's characterization is depicted in that arc as he initiates contact with Fuko without ever being given a reason why he wanted to help her (in contrast to Nagisa, Kotomi, and Tomoyo, who sought him out first, and the Fujibayashis, whom he already knows). The ending of the arc, where all the characters end up forgetting about her, did not please the fanbase either as it ended up rendering the last six or so episodes completely pointless.
    • It doesn't help that the arc that follows it, Kotomi's arc, is widely considered the best of the first season due to fixing most gripes the fans had about Fuko's.
    • Also, the basketball game arc in between Kotomi's and Tomoyo's arcs has a tendency to feel like Filler due to some heavy grabbing of the Idiot Ball and Jerkass Ball, as well as being utterly pointless as well. Do you think they could have just figured out they could share the advisor at the beginning of the arc?
  • Cliché Storm: Yes, Clannad is about as clichéd as they come. No, that doesn't make it any less wonderful an experience.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Sunohara, due to his large popularity with the fanbase. Apparently the only place where he has little to no fans is among his creators themselves; even though he has haters or people who finds him to be of little importance, you better believe that are many image boards that hate everything about Clannad, except for Sunohara.
    • Akio is popular because he's such a big kid at heart.
    • Misae's route was the most common achievement on Steam aside from completing the prologue when Sekai Project's translation was released.
  • Even Better Sequel: As good as the first season was, After Story managed to top it, being considered one of the best anime shows of all time by a wide margin. Broken Base aside, the fandom is unanimous on this.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • A few of the non-Nagisa routes get this. Tomoya/Kyou and Tomoya/Tomoyo pairings seem to be the most popular. Both of these routes got anime OVAs and the latter's route was extended in Tomoyo After.
    • Fanfic writers like to pair up Sunohara with either Kyou or Tomoyo.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Quite a bit with the Toradora! fandom as to which is more emotional, and which is a better romantic comedy/drama in general. This rivalry seems one-sided, as CLANNAD fans generally enjoy Toradora! as well. It's one of the top series that fans recommend to watch next for people who enjoyed CLANNAD
  • Faux Symbolism: Tons of it. For example, the hill Tomoya and Nagisa climb up together represents life. The fact that they climb it together means that they journey through life together.
  • Franchise Original Sin: A lot of people who complain about the Reset Button Ending in the ~After Story~ anime seem unaware that it was in the original visual novel as well. Not to mention that Kanon, which originally came out in 1999, uses the same trope in both the visual novel and the anime.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • On one Funny Moment. (for those curious, the Drunk Nagisa Scene) Tomoya says something along the lines of "What did I do to deserve this?" Three episodes before the one where he should have said it. Even when you know about that episode, it feels like the line sums up the later episodes of CLANNAD in five seconds.
    • Fuko asking if Tomoya put any sleeping pills in the food he's prepared is really uncomfortable in the wake of the rape allegations against Bill Cosby.
    • The Running Gag of Sanae running out crying after her bread is insulted after the heart-wrenching scene in ~After Story~ where she cries for her daughter five years after her death.
  • Gateway Series: The series has introduced a lot of people to Slice of Life Seinen anime and Visual Novel-based series. The success of the anime has gotten enough Westerners interested in VNs in turn that an official English translation was finally made for the original CLANNAD VN. CLANNAD is also the gateway to Key's other works.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The anime series seems to have a sizable Latin American following. English-speaking anime fans also consider the series a masterpiece. The story editor for the anime series deliberately attempted to make it appeal to people outside of Japan, even those who weren't avid anime fans or had heard of the visual novel.
    • Key/Visual Arts titles in general have a devoted following in the English-speaking world. That's why when a smallish company put up a Kickstarter to raise funds to license and translate the orginal CLANNAD VN for a North America release, it made so much money that they were able to include all but one of the fan requests.note  When the VN was finally released in November 2015, it shot to the top 5 best-selling games list on Steam and was the top-selling new game on the day of its release.
    • As far as individual characters go, the most popular in the West seem to be Kyou, Tomoyo, Sunohara and Akio. As mentioned above, Misae's route was the most commonly completed one at the game's Steam launch.
  • Growing the Beard: There's a reason ~After Story~ gets consistently better reviews than season one, and it's not because of the first quarter of the season, which is more or less just a continuation of the first season. After that point, a whole series of Wham Episodes simultaneously push the time frame into fast forward while pushing the material itself into darker and darker thematic territory – without losing its sense of humor.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • You know that thing about Sunohara barely showing up in After Story, even though he's meant to be Tomoya's best friend? Gets a lot sadder if you've played Mei's route in the visual novel, in which Sunohara claims that he and Tomoya are close enough that they'd definitely stay friends after they graduate. Guess Tomoya was right to be skeptical, after all.
    Sunohara: The friend I have right now is not related to me just by the school. Even if we graduate and more far away... Even so, when we have holidays we'll come and meet... That kind of relationship.
    Tomoya: Sorry, but far? Really? [...]
    Mei: From now until you become an adult... Even if your surroundings change... You guys will still be friends, right?
    Sunohara: ...yeah, that's right.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hollywood Homely: Nagisa is pretty, but her classmates hardly notice her, at first.
  • Ho Yay:
    • (Visual Novel) Kappei with both Tomoya and Sunohara, having Ambiguous Gender. Sunohara, in denial, still pursues what Tomoya calls "unrequited love." Tomoya was just confused on Kappei's gender at first but he was never actually interested, Sunohara on the other hand... Though if Kappei really had been a girl, he/she would undoubtedly have been part of Tomoya's romantic harem.
    • Played straight in the "Bad End" or "Sunohara route." In the end though, the "route" is just making fun of the fact that Tomoya made all the girls fall for him but rejects all of them; he just isn't interested in girls. Though his rejections were subtle, you still feel bad watching the girls' reactions.
  • Hype Backlash: Some of this has developed thanks to a trend in some reviews to say something along the lines of "You don't like this, you have no soul."
  • Iron Woobie: Sanae. She only cries for her daughter five years after her death. The scene where it happens is really heart-wrenching.
  • It Was His Sled: Nagisa dies giving birth to Ushio.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: One of the main criticisms of the movie. It clocks in at 95 minutes, which is actually 10 minutes longer than the movie version of Air. This one, though, has way more story to fit in.
  • Les Yay:
    • The "misunderstanding" between Ryou and Nagisa on the rooftop. In one scene Kyou also appears to like Kotomi a lot, leading to the famous Glomp. The troll subs don't help either.
    • On a more serious note, Rie Nishina and Sugisaka from the music club. Sugisaka is very protective of Nishina, they're holding hands in the After Story credits, and they're apparently living together in the Grand Finale. It's possible they were meant to be a downplayed version of the Token Yuri Girls trope.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: Very well-regarded in the anime fandom, but not as well-known as properties like Pokémon, Bleach, or Cowboy Bebop in mainstream culture.
  • Memetic Molester: A small example, but Tomoyo with her bear costume is often associated with the pedobear by the fans.
  • Memetic Mutation: Aw Shit Nigga was once popular for its time in earlier 2010.
  • Moe: Good lord. Every female character in the franchise. For instance, Nagisa, Fuko, and Tomoyo all made it to the Top 8 (quarterfinals) in Saimoe 2008, and Nagisa even made it to the Top 4 (semi-finals) that year, before losing out to Kagami from Lucky Star.

    Worth noting that this series and Kanon pretty much define this archetype for anime.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: Shares the same universe as Kanon and AIR. Proved more popular than both.
  • Narm:
    • The line "I can no longer play basketball" and its delivery, not to mention Nagisa's reaction, initially seems incredibly awkward and melodramatic. It's only when things are given more explanation that things seem more reasonable.
    • Also, Kyou and Ryou bursting into tears when it's made evident that Tomoya has chosen Nagisa was viewed by some fans as somewhat of a hammy overreaction; some fans, however, found said scene extremely moving.
    • The song "Ana", due to its badly translated English, despite being used in some moving scenes.
    • Some viewers find the "suits case" in Kotomi's parents' note in the anime ruins the drama. ("Suitcase" is spelled correctly in the original VN.)
  • Never Live It Down: The whole series, especially ~After Story~, is notorious for the high level of Tear Jerkers, but it also has plenty of funny moments and a lot of heart.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Yes, even in this series. Just watch Kotomi's expressions when she has her Heroic BSoD upon thinking Ryou was injured in a bus accident.
  • Obvious Beta: Though the Sekai Project English release is perfectly stable, there is a noticeable amount of typos and grammatical errors in the text.
  • Periphery Demographic: The series was originally aimed at older men. However, it is watched by women too. Not only adults, but teenagers as well.
  • Player Punch:
    • Late in Fūko's storyline of the game, Tomoya and Nagisa come up with a plan to see if Fūko, who thus far appears to be a spiritual projection from her comatose, in-hospital body, can be seen by her elder sister; something she was very uncertain about and required great assurance from her friends it would work. The plan is interrupted, brutally, as when Nagisa brings Fūko out in front of the elder sister whom Tomoya is chatting with at the festival, the sister comments almost nonchalantly to Tomoya, and in front of Nagisa and looking straight through Fūko, "That girl stopped breathing yesterday."
    • Nagisa's death, no matter how you look at it, was meant to be this in every respect. After all the Character Development she went through, no doubt because of Tomoya's presence with her, we're then reawakened to the fact that, even if she's a strong person, she's still physically weak. When she insists on home delivery, the alarms were already being raised, and when we find out that a heavy snowstorm occurs on the day she gives birth, it's really no surprise that she was going to die anyway. And yet, knowing this, it's still a Player Punch.
    • In Tomoyo After, the original ending was Tomoya losing his memory from middle school to that very moment due to a fall that happens earlier and ends up needing to learn everything that happened since then over again. He does, ends up falling in love with Tomoyo again...and is then informed that it's been years since this first started, with this current iteration of a week being the longest he's gone without forgetting everything, all while Tomoyo feels very guilty for not helping him after the fall because she was mad at him and neither knew it was that bad, let alone this bad. He learns there's a surgery that has a low chance of success that can get rid of the brain tumor that's caused this, and he ends up taking it. It fails, and he ends up dying. Tomoyo then turns to helping others with the condition. Backlash was so strong that Key ended up changing it.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Nagisa initially was downright despised by many militant Kyou and Tomoyo fans who simply couldn't accept Nagisa and Tomoya as the Official Couple. However, during and after ~After Story~'s run, Nagisa became a much more respected character even among most of those hardcore anti-Nagisa shippers.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The series has lots of foreshadowing that you'll miss the first time around.
  • Shipping: Fanfic writers have taken the series' stance on multiple universes and ran with it, having romantic pairings in every conceivable configuration.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Nagisa's death.
    • On a more lighter note, Tomoyo's repeated effortless defeats of Sunohara whenever he challenges her to a fight, particularly the 64-hit combo in the visual novel where nearly the entire cast unintentionally gets involved.
  • So Bad, It's Good:
    • The 2006 Toei movie can be unintentionally hilarious to someone who's already seen the KyoAni series.
    • The English dub of the series, for those accustomed to the Japanese version. Many people do enjoy it, however.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: A lot of people find the first anime series rather slow, as well as the first half of ~After Story~.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: Clannad was picked up by Sentai Filmworks, the heavily-stripped-down (meaning they had No Budget to work with) successor to ADV Films. Due to this show being Sentai's very first post-resurrection license, it was initially released Stateside subtitled-only, despite earlier promising a release similar to Kanon's. Sales were strong enough to justify going back and adding a dub when the Blu-Ray version came out a couple years later. The dub received mixed reviews from the hardcore fanbase who had already seen the Japanese. Casual or newer fans, however, generally liked it.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The season one ending, "Dango Daikazoku", for those who don't find it a Heartwarming Moment.
  • Tear Jerker: Along with basically the entirety of Key's works, Clannad pretty much defines this trope by forcing a Break the Cutie moment on virtually every character and reducing every fan to complete sobbing wrecks by the end of the series. To say this series is sad is, well, pretty accurate, though to be fair it does have equally heartwarming moments which will also reduce you to a sobbing wreck.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Angel Beats!, Jun Maeda's next major work after the anime adaptation of ~After Story~, got hit with this.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The disrespect and avoidance Tomoya shows his neglectful father comes off worse in the original Japanese, though Western audiences may find it justified. Westerners might in turn find Tomoya's forgiveness of his father's abuse even more unbelievable. Respect for parents is very important in Japanese culture, even for Abusive Parents.
    • Most of the people who think the Reset Button Ending is cheap seem to be Westerners who might have different expectations for storytelling than Japanese viewers do.
    • There is almost no stigma against smoking in Japan, so Akio openly smokes around his daughter, even in the bakery.
  • Video Game Movies Suck: Averted with the anime series, which is regarded as one of the highlights of the late 2000s. Played straight with the movie. Most fans regard it as So Okay, It's Average at best, due to both its short running time and its taking liberties with its source material. Shame, considering that the movie is the final directorial effort of the late Osamu Dezaki.
  • What an Idiot!: Pretty much everything Sunohara does toward Tomoyo. Or anything Sunohara does, really.
  • The Woobie: Holy CRAP! Everyone can count.
    • Tomoya. First, he lost his mother, then became estranged from and abused by his father, rendering him unable to play basketball, and thus probably losing the only dream he ever had. Later, he loses his wife, and becomes estranged from his own daughter. Five years later, they reconcile, but after a few months, the daughter falls ill and dies. Tomoya then dies from despair. He got better, thankfully.
      • Which, according to this, lets the original timeline go to pot when you consider the horrible possibility that in at least one universe, Nagisa and Ushio were able to meet in the afterlife after they died but would never see Tomoya again; he was effectively erased from that timeline due to being sent back in time to the Illusionary World after he died, a la The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Link, only more depressing. Considering this series's view on multiple parallel worlds, this is hardly a farfetched idea.
    • Kotomi in particular too. Losing her parents as a child, bearing adult responsibility at that age, and never developing social skills (thus no friends) makes for an incredibly hard childhood. Poor girl just needed someone to give her a hug, too. Other than the deaths of Nagisa and Ushio, she had it just as bad as Tomoya. Not to mention the way she's visibly shaking and asking whether the other girls are going to bully her when Tomoya tries to get her some friends. You want to give the poor girl a hug.
    • Ushio. Her mother died giving birth to her, so she never knows her. Her father, unable to cope, leaves her in the care of her grandparents for the first five years of her life. She then finally reconnects with her father… only to fall ill and die of the same illness that afflicted her mother, in the bad ending.
    • Tomoyo's route, especially her own sequel Tomoyo After. Her status as a student council president puts her in a Friend or Idol Decision due to her relationship with Tomoya, forcing them to breaking up. Although the two reconciles after Tomoya's graduation, fate has it that he has been taking the hit meant for her from several delinquents who came to search for her and the head injury he suffered caused him to receive an amnesia, which caused his memory to be erased dating back to his middle school years and reset every weeks (even Sunohara mentions that he has lost the only place he can return to the town). Tomoyo gains enough support from everyone (including those who Tomoya knew) to help her until the third year where she almost given up on him after she was left on her own. When Tomoya falls for her again, she spills the fact that it was a brain tumor that caused his problems and he willingly takes it. In the end, the operation failed and despite Tomoya regaining his memories, he died and that left Tomoyo all alone (bonus points when one realizes that she is now a widow, leaving her with the Okazaki family name as a memory to him). The ending has her becoming an internet counselor and helps people with their grief online, while the Memorial Edition serves as Pet the Dog in an Ambigous Situation of her reunion with Tomoya. Either: a) He survives and just fell into a coma before reuniting with Tomoyo upon waking up, or b) she died sometime later and reunited with Tomoya in the afterlife.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: