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     The long awaited anime Clannad  is finally here, so I’ll begin with a brief overview of the contents of the first episode. The story starts off with the introduction of the main male protagonist Tomoya Okazaki, he is viewed by his classmates as being a sort of free spirited semi bad boy. On his way to school he runs into the series main female lead Nagisa Furukawa, and she is portrayed as a cute but shy girl whom seems to lack self confidence. We also get the introduction of several supporting characters such as the twin sisters Ryou and Kyou Fujibayashi, Ryou is timid and shy but also the class rep. for Tomoya’s class, Kyou is in a different class from Tomoya and her sister, and unlike her sister she is very aggressive, and very protective of her sister.

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     Later during the lunch break Tomoya see Nagisa eating alone and joins her, and while eating lunch Tomoya learns that Nagisa was held back a year because of a illness and all her friends graduated leaving her alone. Tomoya also discovers that Nagisa doesn’t make friends easily because of her shyness and lack of self confidence. Later, Tomoya convinces Nagisa to join the drama club because she stated that she was interested in drama, but Tomoya finds out that the club closed due to a low number of members. Tomoya offers to help Nagisa restart the drama club and they become friends, but Nagisa asks why he’s being so nice to her. Later that evening, Tomoya stops by the Nagisa’s family owned bread shop and ends up meeting her mother and father, and spending time with them. He discovers that her family is energetic, lively, and caring. On the way home Tomoya can’t believe that families like that really exist. At his house we see his situation is far worse, his mother died in an accident, and his father is a indifferent drunk. After a while Tomoya leaves his house in a depressed state a wanders around the city ending up near Nagisa’s house where he sees a vision (?) of Nagisa wrapped in light offering to take him to a place where wishes come true. Well that’s all for episode one below are some screen shots of the show.

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     Like Key’s  previous anime projects Air, and Kanon  the animation production is being handled by Kyoto Animation  the producers of Haruhi.  Like the earlier Key  projects, Clannad  has that certain visual feel that I have really learned to appreciate, stunning backgrounds, great use of colors, proper use of gray scale, and crisp clean character designs. The music of Clannad  is very somber and appropriately follows and enhances the flow of the story.

     Now to the storytelling aspects of Clannad, Key’s  greatest asset has always been it’s ability to weave together a great plot that knows how to pull at the viewer’s heartstrings, and I feel that Clannad  is going down the right path. Like past Key projects Clannad  deals with the impressions of how time should flow, and how it must flow forward. In AIR and Kanon  time does not flow properly, the characters are suffocated and stifled by the past, caught and held in a limbo like muted world until they are able to deal with the past and move forward. In the anime Voices of a distant Star,  and The Promised Place of our Earlier Days  the main characters are haunted by the desire to recapture the feelings and the motivations of youth, reaching back for what is past and can never really be recaptured. The Key stories are about wanting to move forward and living life like it should be lived, we must grow, progress, mature, love, and change (hopefully for the better).

      I also like how Key  includes elements of dreams and magic in to their stories, most of the time it’s small magic, not magic on the grand scale of shows like Scrapped Princess and so forth. Key’s  magic is small scale but powerful, a human magic brought forth by human actions and acts of kindness, compassion, friendship, caring and love. Well I really liked the first episode of Clannad  and will keep watching (maybe I’ve just turned into a softie as I’ve grown older).