CLANNAD, what to say about Clannad in general…..I got this. CLANNAD is a half-romance, half-drama, half-comedy, all fantasy, visual novel. I realize that adds up to 200% but please, I wasn’t ever the best at math. It was created WAY back in 2004 by VisualArts (based in Japan), now don’t be turned away from that. You’re probably at this point like, “What the heck man!? I was like, a kid back then.” To which I can only say, is very accurate if that’s what you’re thinking. HOWEVER, you need to hear me out, because this game has stood the test of time, and I believe it can easily for the next 50 years as well, I promise it’s that incredible. Clannad went onto become a HUGELY popular game in Japan. Due to it’s popularity, Toei Animation went onto make an animated film in 2007, and later on, two animated television series were created by Kyoto Animation in 2007-2009. The movie and TV shows listed above were released in 2009 for everyone in North America, but the game still wasn’t entirely there yet. It took 11 years (November 23rd, 2015) to PROPERLY be released in English, but it was well worth the wait. That’s the game I am talking about today. It’s summer vacation, and I’m still back at it again as a history teacher.
I want to state, just before getting into everything, that Sekai Project started a Kickstarter to obtain the funds in order to translate the game into English. In less than a day, they already reached their goal. For this English version as well, they introduced a Dangopedia (a desert in Japan) which helps you understand many of the Japanese things that you wouldn’t normally have understood. They also upgraded the visuals to 1280 x 960, an HD upgrade if you will, which looks brilliant. Steam achievements are ALSO supported, so you can go and show off to your mates how much better you are than them. That’s what I would do at least.
Wanted to mention as quick as possible, if you find yourself falling in love with the game or the show, OR BOTH, I advise you HEAVILY, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU LOOK UP. I was looking up the outro song, deemed Dango Daikazoku (Great Dango Family in English), and in the suggested videos, it told me the biggest spoiler possible. It literally told me how the story ends. SOMEHOW, it didn’t ruin my experience as much as I thought it would. I would NOT suggest looking stuff up until you believe it’s okay if you see something or you aren’t as concerned that you’ll stumble upon something like I did. Just. Be. Careful.
Getting to the characters is the first, well, most important spoiler-free way for me to describe how the game is. Speaking of, if you don’t know what a visual novel is, a visual novel, in a easy way of explaining it, is a watchable book, of sorts. They’re usually pretty in-depth but, CLANNAD is an insane step above that. The amount of gameplay, most would say, is about 100 hours. 100 hours of gameplay you hadn’t previously seen. I’ve never heard of that myself. That’s also, with some understanding of what to do, like looking up certain things to click or do. If you didn’t follow guides, the hours would be ABSURD.
Now, characters. The character you play as, and is the MAIN character in this story, is that of Tomoya Okazaki. Tomoya is a senior at Hikarizaka Private High School, and he’s never enjoyed school. Come to think of it, he’s never really enjoyed much of anything. He’s had a rough life. When he was VERY little, his mother passed away due to a horrible accident. He lived with his father, who, to say the least, slipped out of being any father figure whatsoever. He grew to not be fond of his dad and overall, lived quite a life that you wouldn’t want to wish upon someone. That all changes though. One of the main reasons that changes is because of Youhei Sunohara. Youhei is, what you could say, his delinquent tag-team buddy. He’s basically the punchline for every joke imaginable, and I do mean EVERY JOKE IMAGINABLE, and he’s the main comedic relief in-game. By delinquent tag-team buddy I mean, Tomoya and Youhei are both seen as that, due to their behavior inside and outside of school. They’re mostly late to classes and they also get into a lot of trouble, mostly due to fighting. They get into so many antics, I couldn’t list them all here, but they seem to have a ton of fun with whatever they’re doing though.
The first character that can fall into the female category is Nagisa Furukawa, a very shy girl who doesn’t have the most outgoing attitude whatsoever. She has always had a hard time making friends, she even had to repeat her senior year due to an illness. She’s had the same kinds of illnesses in the past too. She’s quite frail and has been like that her whole life. OH, and she loves the Dango Daikazoku. Nagisa meets Tomoya after he hears her say to herself “Anpan” (a type of sweet roll in Japan). It catches his attention and from there on out, their friendship only goes forward. Many Anpans and Dangos await your journey. There are also some twin sisters, Kyou and Ryou Fujibayashi, and they couldn’t be more different if you tried to make them so. Kyou is outgoing, does whatever she feels like doing, wants to kick just about everyone and does just about kick everyone. She has a lot of strength and sometimes doesn’t know when to censor herself. She’s a lot like Tomoya actually, they both are kind of outsiders, although, Kyou is WAY more popular in comparison. Otherwise, they’re almost the same. Ryou on the other hand, is a LOT like Nagisa: very shy, isn’t good with words. She translates what she wants to say mostly with fortune telling, yes, fortune telling. You can already tell without me saying, but that leads to some wonderful moments throughout the game.
Tomoyo Sakagami, who is, as the legends say at least, well, you don’t want to mess with her is what the legends say. If you thought Kyou had strength, it’s not even close. Tomoyo could knock out a group of 50 people in a matter of a minute, all by herself. She’s extremely athletic, which she uses to her advantage in warding off MANY in-school antics. That’s all I’m going to say about her because I don’t want to spoil anything. The last main character is Kotomi Ichinose, a genius. I’m not even going to be rude but that’s basically it, she’s a genius. Top 10 in JAPAN in standardized exams, IN EVERY SUBJECT. Her downfall is she has even worse social skills than Nagisa and Ryou combined. Because she’s so smart, she is actually aloud to, realistically speaking, “skip” classes and do whatever she wants. She spends most of this “do whatever she wants” time studying in the library. Other than her home, she basically LIVES in the library.
I’ll mention in passing the likenesses of Fuko Ibuki and Yukine Miyazawa. Fuko is a young girl who DOES literally live in the school, and she LOVES starfish. The word “LOVES” is an understatement, she’s crazy about them. Yukine has her own room, even though she’s a student she spends most of her time in the reference room, which is, in other words, a second library of books other people have left or had them taken away from them. All of the books that wouldn’t normally go the library end up here. She is best known for her spell book, for a lot of reasons you will see in-game. All of these characters shine light upon Tomoya and give him many reasons to enjoy his life as a senior, and his life in general. I want to QUICKLY say, the music and sound in this game, I can sing each intro and outro, by heart, and I don’t even know Japanese.
All of the characters I mentioned, INCLUDING a couple of side characters, ALL have their own “paths.” By “paths” I mean, they all have their storylines, and they’re EXTREMELY involved in each one. For instance, Kotomi’s, if I remember right, is almost 5 hours if you played start to finish without skipping anything and reading every line. I didn’t say enough but, the humor is the main point, at least to me, in CLANNAD. You could be 14 or 64, honestly, and laugh with it. It’s honestly a game for almost any age. (I would suggest 14 since I would say this is a game designed MOSTLY for teenagers. They’re some lines that probably aren’t suited best for kids and that’s why I would say 14, 15 even, is a decent age to start with) The humor grips you in for the ride, the drama keeps the anticipation, and the romance puts the cherry on top of the previous sundae of emotions. That was way deeper than intended. Putting it lightly, you will cry. I can understand if you aren’t one for that sort of thing, but trust me, it’s well worth the experience. You’ll find yourself laughing to all of the over-the-top humor, find yourself being introduced to so many characters that you can connect with, and in a sense, become them and feel what they’re feeling. Clannad has honestly CHANGED my life for the better. I cannot say that it will CHANGE your life as much as it did mine, but I can promise, you’ll have so many great moments you wouldn’t be able to count them on all your hands, feets, noses, ears, mouths. Wait. Feets isn’t a word. (I also MASSIVELY suggest watching the television show. It’s a MUST watch if you ask me) It was a long journey since you got to the end of this, I hope anyone who reads this far starts to enjoy Clannad as much as I do, erm, nearly as much as I do. I promise you couldn’t obtain such a thing as liking it more than myself.
Disclosure: We received a copy of this game for review purposes. All opinions are our own.
- Can make you emotionally invested
- Has AMAZING story lines and the characters are forever memorable
- The music is, I cannot find the right words but it's astoundingly good. I cannot stop listening to the lovely sounds this game has placed before me
- The value would be a 20/10 if I could make it that. Same goes for the replay value, AND music and sound effects, for SURE
- If you can't tell, this is literally my favorite game now of like, all time
- Can make you emotionally invested. This isn't a typo, I just thought some may see this as a pro or con
- Nothing more worth listing