CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – 06
The day after seeing Igarashi with his girlfriend, Misae was absent from school. When her friends Yuki and Saki figured out what happened, they suggested that Shima comfort her. He found Misae in the park and tried to comfort her based on what her friends told him, but that just pissed her off. Misae wanted him to say something in his own words instead, so Shima apologized because he felt at fault. Misae didn’t blame him and guessed that he saw this as a chance for her to fall for him, and when he denied it, she reflected on how he’s there just to return a favor and didn’t love her. Shima denied this as well, making Misae realize that he did like her, and so she inquired as to what in particular he liked. His answer was that she scolded and worried and smelled good, and she thanked him for that. Sometime later, Misae was back in school and turned down an afternoon with her friends so that she could be with Shima. She told him about being the student council president and about the autumn festival coming up soon, and she even invited him to go with her.
The following day, Yuki and Saki told Shima that Misae would be late because of a student council meeting. When he mentioned wanting to see her working, they snuck him in by giving him a wig and a girl’s uniform. Along the way, they passed by a classroom where a guy named Yoshino Yuusuke was impressing a bunch of girls with his guitar playing and singing. Shima’s disguise was so convincing that he got hit on by a guy, so Yuki and Saki held the guy back while Shima got away. He eventually found the room where the meeting was taking place and stuck his head in to watch Misae. He got caught by Kouko, and because she thought that there was something he needed, she interrupted the meeting so that he could talk with Misae. Since he was in the disguise, Shima used the chance to express his desire to be with Misae always, but he then ran off in embarrassment. While changing back to his normal clothes, he noticed the small charm he had been carrying and was reminded of his duty to grant Misae’s wish.
Since Yuki and Saki had then wanted to see his home, Shima had tried to take them there. However, along the way, he had suddenly stopped because he couldn’t remember where the house was. The girls had helped him find it, but they were met at the door by his mother, and she thought that they were here to pay their respects to her dead son. It was at this moment that Shima realized that he wasn’t the real Shima Katsuki and that the real Shima Katsuki was dead. This led to him running away from the house, and Yuki and Saki went after him and tried to figure out what was wrong. Since Shima didn’t want to reveal anything, the two girls voiced their belief in him and asserted that they were his friends. After the girls left him alone, Shima had looked at the charm and thought about how the real Shima Katsuki was actually a person very dear to him. The two had spent a long time together, and the real Shima Katsuki had entrusted Shima with a last wish.
On the night of the festival, Misae was waiting for Shima, and the two enjoyed themselves at all the various booths. In the process, Misae had revealed that she knew that Shima was the girl from the day before, but she hadn’t minded. Towards the end of the night, Shima had brought up the topic of the wish again and tried to show Misae the light which would grant it, but it wasn’t in the red bag. Misae had felt that it wasn’t necessary and that what was important was that the two of them be happy, but she eventually came up with a wish anyway: she wished that Shima would love her forever. She had then kissed him on the cheek and noticed that he was crying. Shima had realized that he really did love Misae and that the time they had spent together was irreplaceable. He thanked Misae, and getting embarrassed, she had decided to go buy some drinks for them. When she returned, however, Shima was gone. Misae had frantically searched the festival grounds for him, and although she found him walking away into the distance, he only stopped and said something to her before disappearing. What he had said was a farewell and a promise to continue loving her. Some years later, Misae had returned to the school’s dormitory and had adopted a cat that had stuck with her.
This is where the dream ends for Tomoya, and he’s woken up by Nagisa. When he gets a moment alone with the cat before heading back home, Tomoya wonders if the cat showed him the dream, and he comments on how the cat did have a name after all. Tomoya knows that Shima wants him to pass along a message to Misae, but the method of how to do so troubles him until the night of the festival comes around. He and Nagisa are walking through the festival grounds when the cat shows up, and Misae arrives shortly thereafter because she was chasing the cat. As Misae tries to get her cat out of a bush, Tomoya explains that the cat had wanted to come to the festival with Misae for a long time. He reveals that he had heard Shima’s voice in a dream, and Shima had wanted to apologize for not staying with Misae until the end of the festival. And, just as Misae had wished, Shima had promised to stay by her side. Misae doesn’t remember promising that she’d date a cat, but for today, she decides to play with him. Tomoya also explains that Shima had wanted her to be happy, so Misae considers becoming lively again. As he spends the rest of the night in Misae’s arms, Shima addresses his original master and explains how kind Misae is. Wondering if he was able to fulfill the promise he made with the real Shima Katsuki, Shima wishes to be allowed to be at Misae’s side forever.
Well, Shima’s disappearance and reappearance as a cat wasn’t a huge surprise, but it wasn’t completely predictable either because of the revelation that the real Shima Katsuki was already dead. The high point of the episode was when Tomoya passes Shima’s message along to Misae – it even got me a little choked up the first time I watched it. That was a bittersweet moment, though afterward, it felt kind of awkward when Misae was talking and blushing at the cat. It was also a little weird for me to think about how the cat would always be with her, serving as something of reminder of their love even as Misae tries to move on (assuming she does). Sure this gives her closure and happiness in the short-term, but I could easily see this becoming something of a curse if she tries to pursue a happiness that doesn’t consist of living by herself with her cat. I would think that a happier ending for the long-term could have been achieved by letting her know all the things Shima wanted to let her know, but also allowing her to move on by either not revealing the part about him being the cat or by leaving her life for good. I realize that the latter is breaking the promise/wish, but I doubt Misae would be happy her entire life just loving someone who became a cat. In any case, I still enjoyed this arc quite a bit and felt that it was pretty good for just two episodes.
As a side note, I didn’t realize Kouko was a teacher back when Yuusuke was a student. Doesn’t that mean that there’s a sizable age difference between the two? Maybe that’s something they’ll be covering more of if or when they get to Yuusuke’s backstory. Next week, however, appears to be about Yukine and (I assume) her brother.