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Collection 1

In the original Clannad game, After Story is the bonus story thread which opens up only after a player has completed all of the individual girl-focused threads. Those familiar with the game (or with games of this type in general) will find the anime version to retain that same structural feel and progression; the first series settled all of the major-character individual stories, so now it is time to look at the stories of minor characters and-pursue one major one further. For those not familiar with the game, After Story has the typical structural feel and progression of a second season which follows a major climax at the end of the first season: it piddles around for a while before getting its legs back under it and continuing the main story. Either way, the look and sentiment of the franchise's content remains consistent. If you liked the original, you will almost certainly like episodes 1-12 of the follow-up.

The first half can be divided into two distinct and only slightly overlapping parts: the Helping People part, which spans episodes 1-8, and the Advancing the Storyline part, which spans episodes 9-12 but will clearly continue strong into the second half. The three mini-arcs which make up the former are all stories fairly typical of the first season, ones which mix some occasionally very funny humor with character drama, a healthy dose of sentiment, and in one case another bit of the supernatural. The side story of the girl and the robot alone in the world also sporadically returns during this time. Although these arcs, like most of the first series, give the impression of just serving up juicy little vignettes, only as the story advances through the later episodes does the real reason for their presence become clear: everything up until episode 9 just sets the stage for what happens from that point on.

And that is where the series truly kicks into high gear: when it actually shows how things progress after the central couple finally, definitively, hooks up, revealing that happily ever after, if it comes, is not going to come right away.

Kyoto Animation maintains the same artistic quality standards seen throughout the first series: good, but definitely not their best.

Tomoya's relationship with his father is still a work in progress as this set ends and the “end of the world” story still apparently has more to tell, but Fuko is barely mentioned at all and remains an unresolved thread; presumably this will be dealt with in the second half? On the plus side, the series throws in a few nice jokes and references to other Key/Visual Art's titles for dedicated fans. Overall, it is a title which should thoroughly satisfy fans of the franchise and thoroughly flummox most who never appreciated the first series.


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