Now, I’m willing to admit that I’m a sap. Sad part of movies will make me sad. I tend to empathize with the characters. Perhaps it’s because I understand what it’s like to craft characters… Who knows.

A bit of FYI, I’m not going to spoil any of the story lines. I’m going to allude, but not divulge any story for any of you out there who haven’t seen it and might be interested.

When I finally sat down to watch all of Clannad (Clannad and Clannad After Story), I started to empathize with the characters. Granted, they are your typical anime high school kids… but as the story unfurls you begin to care about them.

Clannad is your typical high school romance story. And while there are many similarities all over the world the world the way high school romance goes, there’s also a lot of differences. Of course, a lot of those are due to social mores. We are more romantically free here. We don’t carry a sense of shame, we carry a sense of religious guilt.

Sociologically speaking, I could do a whole post on the differences between guilt and shame and how it shapes society . But that’s not the point of this point.

Tomoya’s and Nagisa’s relationship is more repressed than what we’re used to. Public displays of affection that we see commonly in the streets are not necessarily the norm they are here. So, they’re relationship unfolds more innocently. It’s an innocence that’s refreshing.

And when heartache hits, it hits hard. The sad events that happen are truly heartbreaking.

Clannad After Story is considered a more adult anime. It covers more mature themes… and having watched it, I wholeheartedly agree. Some of the topics it tackles are hard for any of us to imagine. While they are quite clearly telegraphed before they actually happen, they are still as equally heart-wrenching as if you didn’t expect it.

Clannad After Story really deals with some truly difficulty human topic like grief and moving on. They deal with the fear of the future… this is something that everyone can understand, especially as an adult.

And than there’s Clannad. It’s a cute and somewhat innocent high school anime that starts Tomoya’s and Nagisa’s relationship. A lot of the events that happen are a little wacky, but all of them are thought provoking.

More than anything, Clannad actually takes the definition of the word and runs with it. Clannad means clan or family. All of Clannad focuses on family. So, while it seems like it’s going to be a wacky high school story, it turns into a touching piece on family… and one that I highly recommend.