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Review of CLANNAD

SubjectCLANNAD
ByHelpfulness: 0
Vote: 10
japanication on 2023-01-22
Review10/10. Tied for the best story I've ever read, probably. Definitely tied for the best VN I've read.
I have a question for people who've read this, btw. It's at the bottom. Please leave a reply below.

I can't recommend this enough. BUT try to underhype yourself going in. I can't do that for you since I just had a great experience, but try to set your expectations low. I don't want you to diminish your experience by overhyping it.

I don't want to explain why I love CLANNAD. There's just too much to write about. It's impossible. It's like explaining why I like living. CLANNAD is a story about a lot of things, but it's also very simple, in a sense. It's not an intergalactic mecha battle, an intrigue-laden international conspiracy story, or a suspenseful death game. It's a story about some people in high school and a town and the people that live in that town. And it's just a great experience. You get to experience a lot of great things in it.

MILD SPOILER, I ONLY DESCRIBE MY EMOTIONAL REACTION, NOT THE VISUAL NOVEL ITSELF:
Personally, this story was quite impactful. At one scene, I cried nonstop, so much that my nose got sore from blowing my nose, so much so that my eyes got puffy the next morning. But back to that moment - when I started crying then, after that scene ended I stopped, and then I would have to start again. Every few sentences I read, (with only a few exceptions of lulls for 5 minutes or so) I would start crying again. Not because I was stuck in a crying loop, but because the sentences were all such well-written pieces, ones that made me cry all over again. They fit so well. They fit the characters and the situations and they shed light on many things. I kept crying like crazy. I knelt. And I stood up and grabbed my screen, hard. I don't think I've ever had such a strong emotional reaction to anything in my life before this.

I said I wouldn't try to encapsulate what I LOVED about CLANNAD in a post, but I'll at least list some things I liked. This is more of a section of "objectively good traits of this visual novel" as opposed to how it connected with me as a person, because honestly the latter is something I will have to digest and live with as I move forwards in life from now on, and slowly understand as I grow.

A FEW OF THE THINGS I LIKED:
+ Every single conversation was amazingly written. The dialogue is so homely yet perfect. Top-tier. Characters were fleshed out non-stop thanks to this.
+ The humor was amazing. Made me burst out in laughter a lot. Top tier. And I have seen a lot of the comedic greats in manga/anime/visual novels.
+ Sunohara. One of my favorite characters in fiction. Too bad he's under-utilized in After Story. I really hoped we would get some Sunohara drama there, I was secretly hoping he'd become a broken sad adult as a contrast lol. Sorry SunoCHADra
+ Character writing. Maeda really created such multifaceted, HUMAN characters. As you got to spend more time with them, and have conversations with them, they developed further, with various traits, and how they interact with others, and their responses and reactions, and their patterns and characteristics. Their emotions and feelings and relationships all helped make them extremely solid characters. There is a confidence to these characters. It's something that is relatively rare, to say the least. If I were reading fanfiction (or doujin/etc.) of CLANNAD, I would instantly be able to tell if the character writing is off - that's what I feel. Because the characters are so well grounded (and yet, so multi-faceted!).

THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE:
- HUGE SPOILERS. I thought the True Ending of After Story was a bit of a cop-out, and it at least could have been better established. But it doesn't devalue the story whatsoever, and it was really nice to read. But if we were going to get it anyway, I'd rather we got more. I wish we got to see more than just pictures of them happy together. But I guess that's just up to us to imagine. And... Well, I guess that's why we have the side stories. And I didn't really not like it. It's not even a real complaint. Honestly I have nothing to complain about at all for CLANNAD.

WARNING TO NEW READERS: The translation isn't perfect. The editors missed a LOT of errors. There are many actual mistakes.
- A LOT of jokes will be ruined and some things will feel awkward. But more importantly, a few major moments will feel a bit off to you, or won't be at the peak of what they could have been.
- You might go "Huh...? Is that really the right response here?" "Whoa... this guy is actually an asshole!" etc.
- It's not the end of the world though. Basically, whenever something that doesn't "feel right" shows up on screen, REMIND YOURSELF that the translators made around 1000 mistakes in this visual novel.
- Just keep that in mind so you don't blame the writing or the Visual Novel or a character for some weird moments. I mean, there ARE weird moments and jokes. But basically just leave allowances for strange explanations, reactions, etc. and create substitutes yourself if needed.
-Example: …はめられてんじゃん, 俺 was translated to ...He said something nice about me. That would be homerarete, not hamerarete... This is a pretty obvious thing to catch if you're an editor. There's far worse examples, I don't know why I picked this basic one.

ROUTES
Not going to review every single route/etc. I am simply not down for that. I'll paste some random thoughts I had though.
* The only route where I felt like it got dragged was Fuuko's____. It was still really good overall.
* The only route that I thought was mediocre was Ryou's_____. I think it was meant to set up other routes though so whatever. And it wasn't terrible. I felt things during it. It was relatively mediocre, that's all.

QUESTION TO CLANNAD FANS: So was the existence of After Story a shock to the fans, just like Muv-Luv's installments were meant to be a bit of a surprise? As in, you know, they didn't show up on the menu and stuff and first? It seems to me like Clannad was disguised on purpose as a typical dating sim but with the surprise addition of After Story. If I didn't know about it, maybe it would have hit even harder. ;w;
Also, if you have any good interviews from Maeda about Clannad or why he wanted to write After Story, I'd really appreciate it if you could share them.
0 points

Comments

#1 by cheekyman07
2023-01-23 at 09:37
< report >To answer the question, nah not by it. But yes to what it contained. I read the vn blind, and it was one of my first vn's and first key vn. I was glad it was too.

It still remains in my opinion the best Key vn. I wont ever forget many of its moments, and quite frankly the later key games were just never able to match or exceed this, only ever coming close. Emotions that felt real, amplified right to the reader. Yeah this one was special alright.

As for your experiences, like many it seems you resonated with it pretty much just like everyone else who loved this vn did. It was not perfect, but the experience made any issues it had redundant.
#2 by japanication
2023-01-24 at 10:19
< report >Wow, having that be one of your first VNs must have been a treat. It was my first key VN too though. A bit of a surprise that After Story's existence wasn't a shock to you despite going in blind though.

>It still remains in my opinion the best Key vn. I wont ever forget many of its moments, and quite frankly the later key games were just never able to match or exceed this, only ever coming close. Emotions that felt real, amplified right to the reader. Yeah this one was special alright.
I think it'll be the same to me. Something was just special about CLANNAD.

>As for your experiences, like many it seems you resonated with it pretty much just like everyone else who loved this vn did. It was not perfect, but the experience made any issues it had redundant.
Exactly.
Cheers!