Before I get started I would like to say that this is my 500th blog post and I would like to thank everyone who’s been reading this blog over the past two years. So, I’ve thought that there would be no better episode to cover for my 500th post than the last episode “I think” of the Clannad ~After Story~ series.
This episode begins on a rainy day with Ryou telling Tomoya that she’s loves him, and wants him to go out with her. After a short pause, Tomoya tells Ryou that he never considered her someone he’d fall in love with, but he tells her that maybe they should try dating as boyfriend and girlfriend, and if she wouldn’t mind, becoming his girlfriend. Kyou listens, and looks on at the scene as Ryou breaks down in tears of joy.
As time passes, Tomoya and Ryou spend alot of time together where they spend time discussing their futures and other things. Ryou expresses to Tomoya that she’ll never fall out of love with him, and Tomoya tells her he’s touched because he’s never been told something like that. But, we can see that Tomoya glances towards the missing space where Kyou used to sit when all three of them shared lunch together.
One Sunday morning, Tomoya spots Kyou walking down the street so he calls out to her and runs over to her side. They have a seat on a park bench where Kyou kind of quizzes Tomoya about his relationship with her sister. Well, the subject of whether he’s kissed Ryou already comes up, and Tomoya tells her “no”. Kyou chides Tomoya about taking more initiative in the relationship; Tomoya says to give him a break this is the first time he’s ever had a girlfriend. Well, Kyou asks Tomoya if he’d like to practice kissing with her, she and Ryou are twins so its almost the same? Tomoya and Kyou both lean toward each other and just as Tomoya’s about to kiss her lips Kyou pushes him away saying that she wasn’t really serious.
The next day, at school, it’s obvious that someone has seen Tomoya and Kyou’s little drama in the park, and now the rumors are flying around the school. During lunch break Youhei asks Tomoya about the whole situation; he denies it and tells Youhei that he’s dating Ryou. Well, Youhei is quite surprised saying that he could understand Kyou, but Ryou doesn’t match him. Before Tomoya can respond Kyou snatches Youhei away for a talk, and as Tomoya walks around the school he wanders upon them. He see Kyou attempt to kiss Youhei, Youhei stops her and says that he thought she liked Tomoya not him, but if he’s got it wrong, he’ll apologise.
Later, Youhei tells Tomoya that he thinks that Kyou was just trying to kill any talk about her and Tomoya. Tomoya tells Youhei that it’s just talk, but Youhei says that if it was just talk she wouldn’t have gone this far. Later, Tomoya and Kyou chat and she tells Tomoyathat she just decided that she wanted to try having a boyfriend so she thought that she could have Youhei; Tomoya asks her if making up feelings for a guy is so easy? She tells Tomoya to just worry about Ryou and not her. While Tomoya and Ryou are having their next date we can see that things are strained between them even though Ryou tries to get closer to him by using his first name and asking him to use her first name.
The next Sunday, as Tomoya is walking down the street he sees Botan and follows him. Tomoya comes upon Kyou who’s just standing in the pouring rain, as Tomoya walks toward her she tells him not come any closer, and Tomoya can see that she’s soaking wet and goes towards her anyways. Kyou screams to him to stay away; he’s Ryou’s boyfriend. Tomoya grabs Kyou and hugs her and she begs him not to show her any affection because she’s an idiot and might get the wrong idea. She tells him that she was scared that if she had confessed to him he might have rejected her or if they dated Ryou might have suffered instead. Kyou says she thought that it would be better this way even though she’s doubting her decision. Tomoya is about to tell Kyou something when she tells him its too late, he’s Ryou’s boyfriend, its already decided, so goodbye.
The next day Tomoya goes to Youhei for advice and after a little joking he gets serious with him, Youhei tells him that the longer he takes to decide the greater the suffering will be, not only for the other sister but for all three of them, but in the end one of the girls will be hurt.
Later, Tomoya catches Ryou alone in a classroom, and Ryou lets it all spill out, she knew that her sister liked him and despite knowing that fact she went to her for advice, and she also knew that Tomoya kind of liked Kyou. But, she thought that she could change and become her sister and she tells Tomoya that she can become the girl that he desires. Tomoya tells her to stop, he doesn’t want something like this, but Ryou runs up and kisses him before running off.
After class, when Tomoya is alone with Ryou he tells her that he’s sorry because he did the worse thing possible, while he was with her he had his mind on another girl and played with her emotions and indulged himself in her affections. Tomoya tells her he’s so sorry but the one I like is your older sister, Kyou. When Ryou rushes into his arms he sees that it’s really Kyou, she’d cut her hair to look like her sister, and she tells him that her sister told her what happened. Ryou got angry and told her to to run anymore, and that one of us will be hurt because we both fell in love with the same person, Ryou probably crying right now.
Kyou tells Tomoya that we’re late getting to the truth and we have to stop lying to each other, and the hurting others and ourselves. She tells him that whether it’s her or Ryou it doesn’t matter because she loves him and she’s loved him for a while. Later, we hear Tomoya talking to Ryou and she tells him that he’s doesn’t have to apologise to her because she’s already forgiven him, and she wants to cherish all their happy and sad memories. Later we see that Tomoya and Kyou seem to be getting along pretty well and she asks him if he happy with her or would he rather have Ryou, and Tomoya says that now your making me angry. Kyou says good, she’s wants him angry because she loves him, and then she kisses him, and then they start walking with Kyou wrapped around his arm.
A love letter to the fans.
Before I get to my review of this episode I’ll steal some words from my review of Clannad 24; a walk down a road not traveled, about what this type of episode means to me.
A walk down the road not traveled.
“At many points in my life I’ve often thought about the roads not traveled, I can look back and wonder about how a different choice might have lead me down this path or that path. Normally us animefans are left with reading or writing fan-fictions to travel certain alternate paths, so I would like to thank Key and Kyoto Animation for giving us fans this ultimate fan-service, a whole thirty minutes of an alternate reality.
Slipping into this alternative Clannad universe …………. was as easy as slipping into my favorite pair of slippers, soft, comfortable, and gentle. The storytelling in this episode was fully fleshed out and felt fulfilling due to the story being uncluttered by extra characters and distractions, the story pretty much only really included Tomoyaand ……… and ……… with a small dose of Youhei. I feel that limiting the story to a small cast gave the writers more freedom to really do their relationship justice“
Throughout our lives we meet people and develop relationships with them, souls collide with other souls, and both are changed in the process, this is a subconscious process, impossible to stop, and impossible to predict the final outcomes. In the “real” Clannad universe Nagisa’s gentle soul collided with Tomoya and set off a chain of events that made the events of this episode impossible, but here the writers have subtracted Nagisa from the equation and we get to reverse the arrow of time and take a look back at what might have been.
At the beginning of the original series we know that Ryou really likes Tomoya, and while Ryou was a quiet and gentle girl she really never sparked anything other than friendship in Tomoya, but we also know that Kyou and Tomoya shared some sort of attraction that might have developed into something more.
The power love holds over us, and the price of lies.
Love, the power of love, the idea of being loved, longing, and desire, these ideas and emotions have been the engine that’s driven the creation of some of the greatest novels, music, and art the world’s ever seen; Hell, wars have in been started over love and desire. Who know why a person falls in love? The sound of a voice, the way light shines off the hair, the smell of the skin, the shape of the lips, the way the smile warms your heart? If we knew the answer to this question this would be a much better and happier would. But, all I know is that falling in love and being in love is an emotional act that many times drives us to do illogical things that causes us and others to suffer.
In Ryou’s case we get to see how far someone is willing to go in an attempt win over their love, Ryou was willing completely destroy the idea of her “self” and become her sister in order to gain Tomoya’s love. Thank God, Tomoya had the courage to tell Ryou that he didn’t want that, if this would have went on both Tomoya and Ryou would have known that if they were ever making love, he’d be making love to Kyou even if it was Ryou’s body he was making love too. In Kyou’s case, we see that her denial of her love for Tomoya causes her to hate and despise her “self”, because she can’t logically control an uncontrollable emotional attraction, she tells herself that she doesn’t deserve to be loved. In Tomoya’s case, we can see the result of someone who becomes attracted to the idea of being loved without loving that person, while he basked in the attention it was a false warmth that he became ever more uncomfortable with. I do agree with Youhei when he told Tomoya that until he really decides he’ll only cause greater suffering for all three of them, and whichever one he chooses the other will be hurt. Yes, Tomoya was right when he confessed that he was the worse when he indulged in Ryou affection while his mind and eyes went wandering towards Kyou.
So, what’s the final lesson of this episode? Be truthful to yourself and others, be kind, be understanding, and if its impossible to avoid hurting someone, do it as honesty and as gently as possible. Kyou comes to the truth of the matter first when she tells Tomoya that it doesn’t matter if he picks her or Ryou, all she knows is that she loves him, and someone will he hurt by his choice.