CLANNAD – 16
After Tomoya and Nagisa bring Mei to her brother’s incredibly messy room, she decides to clean it for him. She gets it done in the blink of an eye, and while Mei is out of the room to do some laundry, Nagisa wonders if they should keep the fact that Sunohara is in love with Tomoya a secret. Unfortunately, Mei overhears her say this, and Tomoya doesn’t try to correct the misconception. Sunohara then arrives back and is shocked that Mei is here since Tomoya never told him about the phone call. Tomoya eventually does clear everything up, including how Sunohara really isn’t in love with him, and Nagisa offers to let Mei stay at her home while she’s here. At the Furukawa bakery, Mei watches Nagisa converse with her parents about the alleged scar on her butt and is quite impressed by how well they all get along. Nagisa’s parents let her stay with them, and over dinner, Tomoya and Nagisa tell her about the basketball match.
The following day, Tomoya runs into Tomoyo on the way to school, and she drags him the rest of the way there because they’re going to be late. Kyou happens to see them and thinks that Tomoya is with another girl yet again. She’s also the person that Tomoya thinks should be the third person for their basketball team, though Kyou first stipulates the condition that Tomoya join her for lunch today. When lunchtime comes however, Tomoyo’s the one who comes to see Tomoya. She doesn’t get much time to talk with him before noticing Sunohara staring at her, so she tells him that this has nothing to do with him. The other students in the class then make snide remarks about Tomoyo being here since she’s an underclassman, and some think that she’s Tomoya or Sunohara’s girlfriend. This leads to Tomoyo announcing that she’s got no interest in Sunohara and is just here to talk with Tomoya about how often he’s late to school.
Tomoyo gets interrupted when Kyou comes in demanding to know what she’s doing here, and Tomoyo starts to think that Kyou is mad because Kyou has feelings for Tomoya. Kyou denies it, and Tomoya claims that he’s not going out with anyone, so Tomoyo feels that there’s no problem here. After Kyou drags Tomoya off, Sunohara asks Tomoyo about having an interest in Tomoya, and she realizes that that is probably how she feels. As for Tomoya, he joins Kyou and Ryou for lunch, and Kyou brings up how he said he wasn’t going out with anyone right now. Kyou dances around what she’s really trying to get at, but Tomoya notices that Ryou gets embarrassed when he looks at her. A little later, Tomoya tries to do some practicing on his own for the basketball match, but he’s still unable to shoot the basketball due to his arm. When the time for the match actually comes, Kyou is the one most intent on winning because of an insulting comment made by a basketball club member.
As it turns out, the basketball club decides to pit the drama club against three first-years because they don’t think the drama club could match up against the regulars. Sunohara, Tomoya, and Kyou get off to a fast start with the two guys blowing past the first-years and with Kyou making a three-pointer. They manage to build a substantial lead against the first-years, but the basketball club’s three regular players standing on the sidelines are able to see all of their weaknesses, including how Tomoya can’t raise his arm. With approximately five minutes left in the match, the regulars come in to replace the first-years and to erase the 11-point lead. Over the next four minutes and forty seconds, they completely outplay the exhausted Sunohara and Tomoya and go on a 12-0 run. With the score 25-26 and with only 20 seconds left to play, the drama club team gets the ball, and it’s left up to Tomoya to make the shot.
Tomoya, however, is unable to jump over his opponent and finds himself falling backwards with the ball in hand. In the space of a split second, he thinks about how they can’t win against the regulars who practice every day and how he has personally idled away the past two years. Just as Tomoya is feeling pathetic about how much he tried, Nagisa yells out for him to shoot. Tomoya does, and as he falls to the ground and realizes that there is a place he wants to reach now, the ball falls through the net, scoring the final two points to end the game. Unfortunately, the drama club doesn’t get too long to enjoy the victory though because the basketball club’s adviser comes to break things up, but before he runs off, Tomoya is told by one of the basketball club regulars that he might still be able to play. Tomoya, however, taps his shoulder and dismisses the idea. In the aftermath, Mei returns home, though she promises to come to visit again. Sunohara wonders if the choir club will give them Koumura now that they’ve seen the victory against the basketball club, and Tomoya feels that whatever happens, happens. They then head off to a victory celebration with Kyou and the others.
Maybe I missed it, but was there any real point to having Mei’s character around (other than for a few laughs)? She showed up, cleaned up her brother’s room, watched the basketball game, and went then back home. I know she plays a part in the visual novel for both Sunohara and Nagisa, but for this anime adaptation, it feels like they kept her in the story just to appeal to those who are familiar with the visual novel and wanted to see her appear once. With all the other characters left to be developed, I can’t help but wonder if the time spent on her would have been better used on someone else (like Tomoyo or Kyou/Ryou).
Having said that, it’s hard not to come out of this episode without feeling really good about it since it ended on such a high note. The music in particular helped this a lot, especially the piece that played after the winning shot. That plus the way they panned over the stills plus Mei’s departure all make this feel like we’re at the end of another arc, even if we’re not really. And with the basketball match now finished, the choir club’s probably going to give up Koumura or share him or something, and the story for next week appears to be shifting focus towards Tomoya and what his future aspirations are.