CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – 17
It’s been five years since Ushio was born, and Tomoya’s life has been a cycle of eating, working, and sleeping. He wants to forget everything and just keep working without taking any time off because any time he has to himself is painful. Tomoya also still feels that meeting, dating, marrying, and having a child with Nagisa was all a mistake. One day, he’s visited by Sanae who invites him out on a date. She knows that he hasn’t been getting out enough, and while on this date, she proposes that the entire family goes somewhere. Tomoya is reluctant, but Sanae keeps pressing him, so eventually he gives in. On the agreed upon day, Tomoya heads to the Furukawa house, but he finds neither Sanae nor Akio around. There’s only a note saying that the two had to go out because of some urgent business, and they’re leaving everything to him. As Tomoya soon realizes, that includes Ushio. The young girl doesn’t know where Sanae and Akio went, but she tells Tomoya that she wants to go on a trip. Tomoya decides that they can’t because Sanae and Akio aren’t there, however this means that he has to watch over Ushio for the rest of the day.
Tomoya isn’t quite sure what to do with Ushio during this time and smokes instead. He let Sanae and Akio raise her during the past five years, and he’s missed most of the key moments of her childhood. Ushio plays on her own, but when she falls down and breaks a toy, Tomoya helps her fix it. Later, he heads out to the supermarket to buy some food, and Ushio follows him. He happens to run into Sanae and Akio’s neighbor Isogai while he’s there, and she comments on how lonely it must be for Ushio not to be able to see him. Tomoya ends up making fried rice for lunch, but Ushio refuses to take more than one bite of it because of the pepper he put in it. Instead, she just wants white rice, and once he gives her a bowl of it, she adds some furikake and starts eating. Sanae and Akio don’t come home that night, so Tomoya stays and watches over Ushio. The next day, the two have nothing to do, and after Ushio uses the toilet on her own and proudly announces it, Tomoya decides to take her on a trip after all. Ushio is okay with it just being the two of them, so they pack and set out.
As they walk side by side, Tomoya thinks to himself that, up until now, Sanae or Akio has always been there when he was with Ushio. This is the first time the two have been alone together like this since she was born, and he wonders to himself where they’re trying to go.
Wow, they jumped forward through a lot of time between last episode and this. I’m glad though that they did because I really didn’t want to watch an episode or two’s worth of Tomoya being depressed. That was essentially all covered in the first few minutes of this episode before the story moved on to Tomoya’s rehabilitation and the building of his relationship with his daughter. On that note, it was frustrating watching how distant he was initially to Ushio, and what really irked me was that he was smoking when she was around. Secondhand smoke is horrible for children, and even if he doesn’t want to be Ushio’s father, he doesn’t need to be exposing her to something that could kill her.
Speaking of Ushio, it’s hard to get over how cute she is. She’s like a mini-Nagisa, and she manages to be adorable in almost all of the scenes that she’s in. I also thought that it was a nice touch how the room literally brightened when she showed up, symbolic of how she represents the brightening of Tomoya’s future after so many years of depression. The other thing I want to comment on is that, despite my criticism surrounding it last week, I liked the lead-in to the ED this week with Ushio skipping along. I hadn’t realized that it was her (always assumed it was Nagisa) in the ED, and even though that doesn’t make using it last week any better, it does make it feel appropriate for this part of the story.