CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – 22 (END)
Buried in snow in the illusionary world, the robot tries to get the girl to move, but she doesn’t. The robot thinks that it would have been better not to bring her if things were going to become like this, and it feels that it’s causing her pain. It wonders if this is the end of their journey, but it doesn’t want to acknowledge that and continues to try to wake the girl. She eventually opens her eyes and notices that the robot is still with her, so the robot asserts that it’s always with her. The girl responds by thanking it and noting how she can finally hear its voice. She knows that this is because she won’t be a person soon. The girl reveals that she had seen a dream, and from it, she discovered that she and the robot were from the same world. The robot takes this to mean that they shouldn’t be in this world and wants to go back together, but the girl knows that she has to remain here. If she leaves, then this world would be gone as well, and that would cause a lot of lights to become unhappy. Those lights are the feelings of the residents in the other world, and the girl claims that the robot was one of them. When the robot questions if there’s another one of him in the other world, the girl explains that he exists in the two worlds and crossed the distance so that they could meet.
The girl knows that the robot will close its consciousness in this world and awaken in the other world. There, he’ll meet a lot of people, including her. Many people’s feelings become lights in this world, and the girl’s feelings will similarly become lights in the other world. The individual lights will be small, but if a lot are gathered, they should become a strange power. The girl then starts humming the Dango Daikazoku song, and when the robot recognizes it, she reveals that it’s the song that the robot always sang to her. Moments later, light pours through the clouds and vaporizes everything, and before she disappears into light orbs, the girl bids farewell to the robot who she now calls her father. Back in the real world, on that hill during their high school days, Tomoya lets Nagisa pass him by but then realizes what he’s doing and calls out her name. He runs to her and hugs her, letting her know that he’s there, and she’s glad that he was able to call out to her. She had been worried that he might have felt that it would have been better if they hadn’t met, and she’s personally glad to have been able to meet him. That’s why she doesn’t want him to regret meeting her no matter what awaits them. Knowing that she’s right, Tomoya thanks her and hugs her again.
Tomoya then experiences a fast-forwarding through life where he hears Nagisa offer to take him to the place where wishes get fulfilled in this town. Both Tomoya and the robot realize that the long journey has finally ended. The next thing Tomoya knows, he’s at Nagisa side when Ushio is being born, however she lives this time and tells him that they’re always together. Tomoya is thus able to give Ushio her first bath while Nagisa watches. When Nagisa hopes that Ushio will be healthy even when she grows up, Tomoya asserts that Ushio will be a strong girl. Nagisa then notices that there are lights outside, and Tomoya watches as they float up towards the sky. In the aftermath, the two new parents sing the Dango Daikazoku song together to their child, and Nagisa wonders if the town had a will and heart, and it wanted to make the people who lived there happy, then this miracle might be the town’s doing. Nagisa, however, feels that this wouldn’t be a miracle because the people who love the town live there, and the town that likes the people will love them. She thinks that this should be normal in any place, and when Tomoya wonders if the town is a big family, she calls it a dango daikazoku (big dango family). This causes Tomoya to feel that he finally understands.
Nagisa and Tomoya raise Ushio without any big problems, and when she’s five years old again, they take her to the countryside with that field of flowers to see her great-grandmother. Across the world, everyone goes on with their lives: Kyou is still a kindergarten teacher, Ryou is a nurse, Kotomi is in America, Sunohara is learning to drive, Mei is all grown up with her friends, Tomoyo is all alone, Yuusuke is singing again, Sanae and Akio have the same relationship as always, Yukine is still watching over her delinquent friends, Misae is still with her cat, and Koumura is enjoying retirement. That leaves Kouko and Fuuko who are on their way to the hospital, and Fuuko is frustrated over how she’s not seen as an adult. When they get near the hospital, Fuuko suddenly smells something that she characterizes as cute, and she can sense someone out there who came to see her. She can also sense that this person is asleep and is waiting for someone to wake him or her, so Fuuko heads into the nearby woods to investigate. From a distance, she catches sight of a long-haired girl in a white dress, but when she gets closer, she finds young Ushio. Fuuko wants to be friends and feels that the fun starts here.
Well that was a pretty good. I would call the miracle deus ex machina, but given that this is a Key title and that all this has been hinted at, that shouldn’t and didn’t come as a surprise. There’s a certain degree of suspension of disbelief required, particularly in the more surreal parts of the episode. Now the episode overall didn’t evoke many emotions from me, save for the really touching part when Tomoya and Nagisa were reunited, but I still enjoyed it because it finally wrapped things up, particularly with regard to the illusionary world and the themes of family. I was glad to see Tomoya and Nagisa back together and to see that there was a happy ending with a good amount of closure. In that regard, I liked how they included a montage of what all the other characters are up to, though the one thing I found odd about it was that it showed Tomoyo staring so wistfully into the distance. Tomoyo After anyone? In any case, the Fuuko epilogue was amusing and was a nice way to ease the viewers out of the show – technically next week’s extra episode will do that as well. I think my only real complaint about all this would be that the Fuuko part went a bit long, and I would have preferred more time spent on Tomoya, Nagisa, and Ushio together. That’s not a big deal though when, taken in the context of the rest of the show, this was a pretty good ending.
Note: I’m saving my final thoughts on the series for next week’s extra episode.