CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – 18
In the illusionary world, the girl and the robot start walking towards what the girl describes as a warm and fun place. In the real world, Tomoya and Ushio are on the train, and he’s not sure how to play with her. He scares her when he yells at the kid sitting across the aisle for being too noisy, and that leads to Ushio running off to the bathroom. When she comes out, he realizes that she was crying, but she denies it and explains how Sanae told her not to cry except in certain places, one of them being the bathroom. Tomoya feels that it’s better for her to cry now, especially because when she grows up, there’ll be times when she can’t cry even if she wants to. Later, during a stopover, Tomoya offers to buy Ushio a toy and picks out a robot for her. She claims to love it despite it not being a very girly toy and plays with it for the rest of the train ride. At the inn later, Ushio gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, so Tomoya accompanies her. On the way back, the two see fireflies outside, and afterward, Ushio gets the courage to ask Tomoya about her mother. He doesn’t want to talk about it though and refers her to Sanae.
The two arrive at their destination the next day, and after a bit of walking, they come to a field of flowers. Tomoya lifts Ushio up to give her a better look, and he then lets her run free. Sometime later, she comes back to tell him that she lost the robot toy in the field. The two search but they can’t find it, and although Tomoya offers to buy her another one, Ushio wants the one she lost. As he watches Ushio, Tomoya suddenly remembers being here a long time ago with his own father, and these memories prompt him to tell Ushio stay put while he goes to check things out. At the top of a hill, he finds an old woman waiting for him, and she knows exactly who he is. This woman turns out to be his grandmother Okazaki Shino, and Sanae had let her know that he was coming. The last time she had seen him, he was still a young boy and his mother Atsuko had just died. Telling him about his parents, Tomoya’s grandmother reveals that the two got married when they were students, and his father had been happy protecting the person he loved. After Tomoya was born though, his mother had died in an accident. His father had been devastated, but he couldn’t fall into despair because he knew he had a son to raise.
Tomoya’s father worked the hardest he’s ever to raise Tomoya, and though money was tight, he bought his son toys and treats. Tomoya’s grandmother knows that his father sacrificed his own luck and chances for success, and though he could be strict and violent, it was all for the sake of raising his son. For his father, this was a very hard life, and he started drinking. When Tomoya got to the age where he decided on his own path in life, his father essentially lost everything. Tomoya’s grandmother knows that Tomoya is currently in a similar situation as his father was, and that’s why she wanted him to hear all this. Remembering everything his father did for him, Tomoya acknowledges that his father wasn’t bad, and he feels that he’s a worse person than his father. His grandmother sees the similarities between father and son, and she comments on how, though his father was not good as a person, he was fine as a father. After Tomoya agrees with her, his grandmother suggests that his father has worked too hard and needs to rest. She thus wants him to tell his father to come home, and she’ll be waiting.
After this conversation, the two go back to the field, and Ushio is still there looking for her robot toy. In the same way that his father had once talked to him, Tomoya tells his own daughter that they might not be able to find that robot but that they can go buy another. Ushio, however, feels the one she had was special because it was the first thing that Tomoya ever bought for her, and in saying this, she refers to him as “papa.” As this sinks in, Tomoya asks Ushio if she was lonely and if she had fun traveling with him. The answer to both is yes, so Tomoya admits to being a bad father and vows to do his best for her from now on, and he wants to be by her side. Ushio reciprocates his feelings, but for today, she admits to feeling sad because she lost something important to her. She thus asks him if it’s okay for her not to hold it in any more, and she reveals that the other place Sanae told her that it was okay to cry was to him. Letting Ushio cry in his arms, Tomoya apologizes to her and starts tearing up himself.
Later, on the train ride back, Tomoya decides to finally tell his daughter about her mother. He describes Nagisa as someone who cried often and lacked confidence, and he remembers her habit of saying out loud what she wanted to eat in order to gain courage. Remembering Nagisa causes Tomoya to start crying, and that in turn causes Ushio to want to cry as well. After gathering himself back up, Tomoya continues telling Ushio about her mother, and as he does so, he internally tells Nagisa that he’s found something irreplaceable that he only he can protect.
Well I didn’t think that this series could be quite this sad or tear-inducing, so much more than the Nagisa episode. Apparently I was wrong. The end of this episode was incredible in the sense that it evoked so much emotion, and I want to cry every time I watch it. There’s just something about that combination of Ushio calling Tomoya “Papa,” plus the realization that the other place that Sanae told Ushio it was okay to cry was in her father’s arms, plus the soundtrack which shines so much in these moments. That middle part, incidentally, really emphasizes how lonely Ushio was, and it made me see Sanae as quite prescient – if you think about it, all of this was thanks to her. Anyway, the memories of Nagisa at the end were also a nice way to tie things up, and even that got me a little teary-eyed. It finally (even though it’s only been two episodes) feels like Tomoya has come to terms with Nagisa’s death and has fully accepted his daughter.
I’m going to assume now that the fact that the toy was a robot was not just a coincidence, especially since its head resembles the robot of the illusionary world. I’m not sure what this connection means (is the girl thus a representation of Ushio…?) or what the illusionary world stuff is leading to, but given that there are still plenty of episodes remaining, I’m sure we’ll find out. Next week looks to have Tomoya finally reconciling with his father, plus more Ushio cuteness.