So I am starting to get together a list of the saddest anime of all time. Clannad for me is definitely in the top 5.
— WARNING – SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD —
Spread over 2 seasons, Clannad and Clannad After Story, this show explores the lives of the main protagonist Tomoya Okazaki and those around him who he builds up relationships with over the course of the episodes. In the background there is a separate story of a girl living in a world where she is the only person remaining who builds a robot from junk parts to be her friend. There are small snippets from this girls world throughout the 2 seasons and while it seems to have no actual relevance to the story it all becomes apparent in the end. The anime has a fantasy element to it for sure and is lighthearted enough to have anime style interactions between characters, for example a girl hitting someone across the school with her kick. It adds a little comic relief to the story.
Throughout the first season there are mini stories woven into the main story line featuring many of the recurring characters hardships, tragedies and downright heartbreaking stories. The main protagonist meets a girl and they fall in love, the end…. Yeah, that’d be nice. In a normal anime this would be the narrative, in Clannad you can be assured of heartbreaking, tear inducting tragedy along the way.
After Story focuses more on Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa and their developing relationship, Nagisa’s sickness and Tomoya’s push into the adult world. Mistakes are made and history seems doomed to repeat itself but the more you are introduced to the story the more you start to understand things that previously were illusive.
Anyway I will not give away any more spoilers. All I can say is if you’re prone to cry in anime, prepare some tissues cause this one is right up there on the sadness level. If you don’t cry from the sad moments you’ll be crying in the happier moments. There is not many episodes without some tears at least for me.
While some sad anime have left me physically impacted where it has taken me some time to get my mind back in check (I am looking at your Grave of the Fireflies) this anime has a good story line making you really appreciate the friends and family you have in your life.