MY Sequel to Clannad
Being in my twenties, it is only natural that I look back on my life and re-evaluate my choices from time to time. It is also pretty much inevitable that with the benefit of hindsight, most of these come up way shorter than you'd expect.
Be it my taste in music or my interest in anime, an evolution of JoJo Battsu must mean that all of these past choices are at best my current guilty pleasures and at worst a constant source of embarrassment. (Seriously, why fourteen year old me earnestly considered Limp Bizkit as ground -breaking and genre pushing is beyond me.)
On the flip-side of this are the relics of the past that I still cherish - rediscovering them and realizing that I possess a love for them wholly undiminished across time provides ecstasy like nothing else.
On the anniversary of the tragic Kyoto Animation fire, a revisit of Clannad: After Story, one of their finest works, provided me this exact elation and yet, considering the anime itself and everything around it, I understandably emerge from this viewing more saddened than ever.
You see, much like a lot of people who watched the anime without reading the light novel, I was highly skeptical of this supposed sequel to what had been until then the best viewing experience of my life. The first season of Clannad had been mesmerizing: following the all-too-real story of Tomoya Okazaki, a misunderstood high school student with a troubled life, it came to me at a time when I too was at an emotional crossroads. Tomoya's tale struck deep, deep into me. Clannad made me crave for a Nagisa in my life, a lightning rod to ground me just as she brought Tomoya out of his shell of nebulous feelings. I lived this anime, and it was an integral part of me.
Then I decided to push my reservations away and sat through the whole thing. And I cried, oh did I cry.
It isn't surprising, really; just open up the show's wiki page and go through the premise, I can guarantee your heart breaking as you read it. Now amplify that a thousand fold and you'll get a rough estimate of how you're going to feel while watching it.
After Story actually contains a really clever plot device within itself, exploring Tomoya's psyche through this subconscious, supernatural realm of light orbs. Tomoya has an intense journey through this realm, finding himself again after apparently having died from a broken heart in the 'real' world. He eventually learns through his experiences to instead cherish the memories he had with his family rather focus on the what ifs of life. In the show, this decision of his brings back all of his loved ones and allows him to finally live a happy life in an alternate universe, but we all know what the writer really intended through this sequence of events.
A pretty powerful message indeed. It's a shame that half of what was happening escaped my notice because of how stupid eyes seemed to be chock-full all the damn time. Be it with pure despair and empathy at how miserable Tomoya's low point was, or the purest joy at how beautiful the ending was, I lost a lot of water weight in those three days. (What do you mean that's not how the body works?)
Throughout all of this tear-shedding (what do you mean that's not how suffixes work?) was the sheer amazement at how naturally the story progressed. Somewhere deep in my demented brain, I realized that if I were to write a tale of woe and otherworldly redemption, this would be the finest way I could ever go about doing it. Heck, it was possibly the only way I could go about doing this. The story managed to be predictable in the best way possible - by making you wish so badly that what you knew was going to happen would turn out to be false, and then get hit by a massive emotion truck when it happened anyway.
At the end of the day, I'm beyond happy simply for the fact that I got the honour of watching a show of this calibre (not to mention the brutal spanking the likes of which my feelings will never have to endure ever again). And yet, I am very morose due to the fact that there will never be another Clannad. No anime will ever trick me into changing my entire perspective on human life quite like it did, and I will never be so moved by two deaths in the family.
And now, excuse me while I introduce an awfully outdated meme as a facade for my melting heart (tbh, for once, the following statement actually makes perfect sense):
Lyk if u cri everytim.