Well, since the true end of the series has come and gone these last two “extra” episodes have afforded me the time to begin the process of re-watching the entire series. I feel that the ending of Clannad has taken too much heat in the blog0-sphere, so I’m re-watching the whole thing in order to do a meta post that will attempt to defend the series and it’s ending. I personally feel that Clannad has been one of the best examples of a anime of it’s genre I’ve seen in years. Hopefully the review will be ready in about two weeks. 

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        This episode begins one year before the start of the Clannad series, Nagisa is looking up at the class assignment board to find out that none of her friends from her junior year is in her new class. Kimura walks up and tells Nagisa not to worry because she’s a nice girl and will make friends in her new class. After Kimura heads off to her class, Tomoya bumps into Nagisa as he’s walking past her and Nagisa apologizes to him, and he tells her no big deal.

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       Then we see Youhei and Tomoya having to do outdoor punishment work, they got caught trying to sneak out of class. Kyou walks up and starts chewing ass, she complains that she’s tired of having to keep a eye on them, she really didn’t want to be class rep because of guys like them. As Youhei is trying to sneak away he knocks over some wood, and Tomoya saves Kyou from the falling wood pile. As they’re walking home together, Kyou introduces herself to Tomoya, but she doesn’t really acknowledge Youhei, she tells them to make this year as smooth as possible.

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       Once Nagisa gets home, Akio asks about her day? Nagisa tells him that she didn’t talk to a single person and felt lonely, dad tells her that she should just jump right in, but Nagisa says that it doesn’t feel right. Nagisa tells her dad that she wants to change but it might take a while. Akio gives Nagisa some pretty wild examples of how to break the ice with people so they’ll want to get to know her. The next day, as Nagisa is sitting in class, she daydreams about using one of dad’s suggestions to break the ice, but she can’t bring herself to try it. Another girl is watching Nagisa closely and she seems interested in Nagisa.

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        Then we see Kyo walking up to a sleeping Tomoya, and as she’s about to wake him she thinks to herself that he looks cool and wonders if he has a girlfriend? Youhei sees Kyou looking over the sleeping Tomoya and rushes over to them and gets her pissed off. Then Youhei begins his long tradition of getting his ass kicked by girls. After school, Kimura drags Nagisa with her and another girl to do some window shopping. They have a good time, and Kimura even pulls a joke on Nagisa. She tells Nagisa that it’s too bad that she can’t be this loose in class because it would help her make friends.

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         Back at home, Nagisa tells her dad that she was lonely again, he tells her that out of thirty kids she should find at least one kid that she clicks with. You just might meet a new best friend or someone you’ll come to cherish, but if you do nothing you’ll remain a stranger to everyone forever. He suggests that Nagisa take a load of Sanae’s bread to class as a “prank” or a “surprise” then everyone will find her interesting. Later, we see Ryou reading Kyou’s fortune, she tells her sister that a guy will confess to her tomorrow. Then we see that Youhei is planning a prank on Kyou, and it involves a confession letter.

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        The next day we see that Youhei’s plan seems to be having the desired affect on Kyou, and we see Nagisa walking into her classroom, she sees the other girls talking casually but is unable to join them. When Nagisa finally tries to join the banter, she’s too late, and the girl from the other day seems to be watching Nagisa. After the school’s welcoming ceremony is over Kyou makes her way to the place where she’s supposed to meet her “guy”, she wonders to herself what she’s expecting from this meeting. When she gets to the library she sees a message sending her somewhere else, it seems that Youhei is sending her on a wild goose chase, and Kyou is falling for it. Youhei is leaving written messages to Kyou that just send her from one place to another. Tomoya tells Youhei that he should stop this, but he’s says that this is too much fun, as Youhei finally agrees that he’ll do this one last message Kyou catches them in the act and she lays a ass whooping on them.

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        Then we see that Youhei is planning another prank and he wants Tomoya to go along with it, Tomoya half heartily agrees to the prank. We see that they have suspended a large paper ball above the school’s walkway with a string and note attached to it (the note says pull this and something wonderful will happen). Most students seem too suspicious of the object to mess with it until Nagisa stops and pulls on the string. The ball opens up, confetti and a banner drops from the ball and a large pot falls on top of Nagisa’s head knocking her out, Youhei seems happy but Tomoya seems horrified by the results. When Nagisa wakes up inside the nurse’s office she sees a girl from her class sitting by her side. They start talking and the girls asks Nagisa if they can be friends, Kimura told her that Nagisa was a wonderful person. Nagisa and the girl get a good laugh out of the whole situation, and they start to hit it off.

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         Back at Kyou’s house, Kyou asks her sister if kindergarten teachers feel this tired? Then we see that Youhei is planning another love letter prank, Tomoya seems quite bored by this and we see Misae’s cat Shima sitting next to Tomoya. When Nagisa gets home she tells her parents that she meet a new friend at school today, and she decided to keep the banner from the  prank because something nice happened to her because of it. Well, that’s all for this episode.

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        Watching this episode was kind of like sitting back and wondering to one’s self “how did I ever get this collection of friends”?A lot of anime series starts with the main characters already having a circle of friends and those series usually never cover the subject of how those characters met in the first place; we just ride along with the action and wonder if the main characters will hook up with their love interests or achieve their goals, so it was pretty nice seeing how Tomoya first met Kyou and how the strings of fate started tugging on everyone involved.

        Many schools of thought make the assumption that there are webs of fate or “webs of connections” that link groups of people and we are just not attuned to seeing those connections. So, in this episode we begin to see how all the main characters are being slowly drawn together by unseen forces. Call it fate, or call it destiny, but all the main character are slowly being pulled together. A perfect example of this is how Youhei’s and Tomoya’s nasty prank actually ended up helping Nagisa. Akio urged his daughter to do something, anything, to try and break the ice with her classmates, but she remained frozen/afraid to standout. So, when Nagisa pulled the string and triggered the prank it actually helped her make her first new friend. Hell, after all her classmates find out what she did and she’ll probably be the talk of the class for weeks.

        In this episode, I really wanted to kick Youhei’s ass, he really was a unthinking jerk, causing pain to cute girls for his own amusement is a high crime. Also, I laughed my ass off when Akio’s hair strung twin ahoge just like his daughter when he was showing her how she should act to get more attention from her classmates, classic. Overall, I really enjoyed this trip down Clannad’s memory lane.