CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – 20
When Tomoya finally gets to meet Ushio’s kindergarten teacher, he finds out that it’s actually Kyou, and a grown-up Botan is the kindergarten’s pet. As the two catch up, Kyou reveals that their other friends were worried about him and had considered visiting him. Tomoya then asks about how Ushio has been, so Kyou notes that she’s a really good girl who’s probably more active than Nagisa was and has a tendency to run off. Later, at work, Tomoya finds out from Yuusuke that Fuuko wants to come play with Ushio, so they set up a play date. He does his normal routine of picking Ushio up from the kindergarten in the middle of the day before returning to work, but what he doesn’t realize is that Ushio leaves home late that afternoon to go for a walk on her own, and she goes all the way to the hospital. She’s back home by the time he returns, and he tells her about the play date with Fuuko. That night in bed, Ushio asks him to sing the her mother’s song to her, so he obliges with the dango song. It puts her to sleep, and it reminds him of Nagisa, causing him to dream of the three of them together and cry in his own sleep.
Fuuko comes over the next day, still wanting Ushio to be her little sister again, and she’s brought with her some star-shaped bread. She spends most of the day at the Okazaki place, playing not just with Ushio but with Tomoya as well, and she even suggests that she’s kind of like Nagisa. While they’re playing cards, Tomoya starts to think about what life would be like if Nagisa were still alive, and when Fuuko notices, she asks Ushio what kind of person Nagisa was. Having only heard about her mother from her father, Ushio notes that her mother was a crybaby who did her best to give birth to her and was someone that her father loved very much. The memories of Nagisa have a visible effect on Tomoya, and though he quickly gets himself back together again, Fuuko still offers to come over at any time and help with whatever she can.
Sometime later, as it starts getting colder, Kyou tells Tomoya about the upcoming field day at the kindergarten which includes participation for the parents. Sanae and Akio already know about it, and it turns out that Akio has signed up as part of the teachers’ relay race team. Akio, Sanae, and Ushio force Tomoya to be on the opposing parents’ team, so he starts training whenever he can in preparation. In the meantime, while her father is at work one day, Ushio leaves the house by herself again to walk to the hospital. She runs into Fuuko along the way, and when Fuuko asks her why she likes the hospital, Ushio isn’t able to give a specific reason. More days pass and Tomoya continues training until it’s finally the night before the field day. However, it is at this time that Ushio comes down with a fever.
Uh oh, Ushio’s sick…I have a bad feeling about this… I mean, it makes sense given how many episodes there are left that there’s at least one more big trial for Tomoya to go through before this is all over, but Ushio’s grown on me as a character and I’d hate to see Tomoya suffer through the illness/death/whatever of his only daughter. If Ushio is sick with anything like what Nagisa had, then he would be best advised to keep her supervised so that she doesn’t wander outside alone in the snow (i.e. how Nagisa almost died back when she was young). That’s especially important since Ushio apparently has a penchant for leaving home by herself to visit the place where the hospital was built (symbolic longing for her mother perhaps).
On a different note, I liked how this episode was able to go from the amusing and funny Fuuko stuff one moment – like the whole tights thing – to the poignant memories of Nagisa the next. The range of emotions evoked are a testament to how good this series and the original visual novel are. It was also good seeing Kyou again, and I swear it felt like she and Tomoya were flirting a bit, though maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. At this point I’m wondering if Kyou or Fuuko will become more of a mother (or even big sister) figure to Ushio, and I think Fuuko might actually win. In any case, we’re getting closer to the end now, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a good happy ending.