Clannad (Episode 22 Finale) – Two Shadows

Nagisa finally goes on stage and confronts her dreams.

Summary:

Nagisa started the day by leaving the bakery without saying her normal goodbyes to her parents. She was still thinking about the pictures and diary she discovered last night, how her dad used to be a fairly popular actor on stage (something she never knew) and how her mom enjoyed being a teacher. Meeting Tomoya at the door and walking down the street together, Tomoya tried to cheer her up but failed. Nagisa continued to believe that she’s a “terrible child” for making her parents give up on their dreams.

At school, everyone is having a good time. Even Sunohara’s little sister, Mei, showed up… though seemingly lost and in search for her brother. The drama club was in their normal room, all of them gathered there and mentally preparing for their afternoon performance. The girls asked if Nagisa was ok and even Sunohara noticed that something was wrong. However, Tomoya just told everyone to be as they normally are and not concern themselves too much. Seeing as there’s still time before the actual play, they decided to have a recess. Sunohara went in search for Mei and the girls did their own thing. Tomoya and Nagisa were together once again and still, she’s still depressed. Yet, she did say that she’s going to do her best so that all their efforts won’t be wasted.

A little while later, the two winded up separated. Tomoya bumped into Sanae and they talked for a bit, noting that Akio is coming later. On the other hand, Nagisa winded up in the library storeroom where Yukine was. She stayed there for a while until Tomoya found her, watching one of her father’s old plays. In the video, the younger Akio was seen yelling from the stage about how he loved plays and how he was going to be professional so that he can pursue his dreams (to be an actor).

At last, it’s time for the play. The club members fussed a bit before the play started. At first, Nagisa was on stage and not saying a word, motionless as she went through her memories of how her parents gave up their dreams just so she can pursue hers. She started crying, disturbing Kyou and the others to the point where they wanted the curtain to be put back down. Tomoya, though with his finger on the controls, didn’t go through with it and continued to watch Nagisa’s suffering.

All of the sudden, Akio makes his entrance, yelling at Nagisa that it’s not her fault. For parents, their dreams become their child’s dream. Sanae joins in and encourages her daughter. Even Tomoya ran down from the box to support Nagisa. After hearing such words and taking several deep breaths, Nagisa started on her play of the “Illusionary Fairytale”.

The story was about that desolate world with just a girl and the junk doll/robot/thing. The doll tried to make a new friend but it just wouldn’t move. While burying the other doll, it made a request to build something else. However, it was not revealed what that “something” actually is. Either way, the doll wanted to be with the girl until the very end.

After the play, Nagisa and Tomoya were talking with each other. Nagisa revealed the end to that side story about the desolate world. The mystery girl and the doll went out to find that happier, warmer place that the doll knew of. Not really finding it, the tale ends with the two singing a song (Dango Daikazoku). Though a bit skeptical on her song choice, Tomoya complimented on her performance, calling it “the best”. Then, Tomoya’s dad showed up, from Nagisa’s written invitation. The father and son finally showed a resemblance of family, caring for each other, before he left. Tomoya also says that he has something to say to Nagisa tomorrow before Kyou found them, dragging them back to the clubroom to celebrate. There were a couple of still-frame shots showing them enjoying the rest of the festival.

Finally, this was the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Tomoya leads Nagisa back to the clubroom, worrying her for a bit about whether or not they were allowed to be there. Nagisa also noted that she was on cleaning duty, written so by Tomoya. In return, she wrote his name next to hers. Then, Tomoya confessed to Nagisa, saying that not only does he like her, but he loves her. Nagisa cries from happiness so we can assume that her response was positive.  And so ends… Clannad (TV).

Impressions:

Ok, I seen the Clannad movie about a week and a half before this and I must say… I’m disappointed with KyoAni. There was so much potential for the series to be powerful and moving as previous Key works, like Kanon and Air. Yet… after finishing the episode, I’m left with a blank. “That’s it?” is running through my mind.

First off, without Fuuko appearing in the episode, there was no solid end to her story, whether or not she ever wakes up (my guess is that she will). The play, though done well with Nagisa’s part on stage, failed in the actual storytelling. The clip about the mystery girl and doll had an incomplete end. Compared to the movie, it’s very lacking. Finally, the confession was sort-of a let-down. We all knew that Nagisa was going to be the girl at the end. It’s just that something about Tomoya’s words bugged me. I thought Fuuko’s last moments was more touching. Oh, there weren’t any humor though probably appropriate due to the (dramatic/romantic) atmosphere.

Regardless of the sour aftertaste coming from the last episode, there are supposed to be some OVAs following (humorous ones as it appears from watching the preview). Even though the ending wasn’t spectacular as I though it would be, it was still good and decent when wrapping the series together as a whole.

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