Okazaki Tomoya hates the town that he lives in because it’s the place where the memories he wants to forget were ingrained. Going to school every day, talking with friends, going home when you don’t want to go home – he wonders if any of these will change eventually and if the day of change will come. It is on this morning that he encounters a girl on his way to school who appears to be asking an invisible someone if he or she likes the school. She admits to personally liking the school a lot, but she also notes that it’s hard for everything not to change. Tomoya thinks that this unknown girl is probably talking to someone inside her mind, but he continues listening as the girl wonders if the person she’s talking to can like this place even if it’s hard for all the joyful and happy things not to change. Tomoya then surprises her by suggesting that she find the next joyful and happy things, and at his urging, she heads with him to school. Thinking to himself, Tomoya feels that they’ve started climbing a long, long, steep path.
Later that day, he finds his friend Sunohara getting beat up by the rugby team, though the dorm mother Sagara Misae scares them away. Unfortunately for Sunohara, he lives right next door to the rugby players, and Tomoya intentionally curses the rugby team loudly to get Sunohara in trouble. As he teases his friend further, Tomoya thinks that today is going to be another day where change didn’t happen, and he feels that he doesn’t have an objective – something to put his heart into. He later experiences a vision of a bare room which a young version of himself explaining that this is a world that has ended. Nothing is born here, nothing dies, and even passing time doesn’t exist. If he were to search for a place to be born, he thought that he couldn’t choose this world. Appearing in the vision is a young girl, and he wonders if she can see him since he wasn’t born in this world. He knows that she’s living alone in this world, and for some reason, he’s worried about her.
The following morning, Tomoya heads to school again and hears his classmates talking about him. A girl named Fujibayashi Ryou points out that he was late again today and proposes that he attend regularly. This causes him to say that she talks as if she’s the class representative with the irony being that she is the class representative, and the other guys in the class tease Tomoya about making her cry. When Tomoya promises to come tomorrow depending on his mood, Ryou offers to tell his fortune since it’s her hobby. She manages to spill her deck of cards on the floor, but from those, she is able to say that he’ll be late tomorrow again because he’ll have a romantic meeting with a gentle girl and lose track of time. Suddenly, a book comes flying towards Tomoya’s head, and he barely dodges it in time. The person who threw it was Ryou’s old sister Kyou who thinks that Tomoya is bullying Ryou. After they clear things up, Kyou notices the cards on the floor, so Tomoya explains the fortune he got. This brings a smirk to Kyou’s face and she urges Tomoya to do his best before leaving.
During lunchtime, Tomoya passes by a group of guys talking about the ghost of a female student who was in a traffic accident. Outside, he finds the girl from earlier eating by herself. He decides to join her, and when she finally finishes eating, he questions why she’s there alone. Asking him if he likes this school, the girl says that she really likes it and recounts how she had a lot of friends and got along well with the teachers. However, she took a break from school for a long period of time last year, so she got held back. Everyone she knew graduated, and she feels kind of like Urashima Tarou. She actually wants to join the drama club, but she thinks that she can’t act properly due to her body being weak. Tomoya tells her that it’s fine for her to participate by doing what she can and recommends that she go to the drama club after school. He then points to a pair of girl standing on the roof of the school and explains that she can’t make friends with a disheartened face. On his suggestion, she waves to those girls with a smile, but the two girls never notice her and walk off instead.
Tomoya then hears the sound of motorcycles from the nearby practice field, and when he gets there, Sunohara explains that these are riders from another school. Moving out to confront them is a long-haired girl, and Tomoya takes off his jacket to go help her, but her friends claim that there’s nothing to worry about. They explain that this girl is Sakagami Tomoyo, a second-year transfer student, and she quickly proves her strength by jumping and using a quick series of kicks to defeat her opponents. Afterwards, Tomoya points out to the girl from earlier how Tomoyo is in a similar situation as her, but is popular, so it’s really up to the person. Lunchtime is soon over, so Tomoya formally introduces himself, and the girl tells him that her name is Furukawa Nagisa. Later that afternoon, Sunohara drags Tomoya to go see Tomoyo so that he can accuse her of staging the entire biker thing to make herself popular. Sunohara doesn’t think that a girl can beat a guy, and she decides to let him try to attack her. Right as Sunohara lunges at Tomoyo, Tomoya remembers that there was a rumor of an incredibly strong girl that fits her perfectly, but by the time he gets around to saying it, Sunohara is already on the floor thanks to one of her kicks.
After school, Tomoya heads upstairs and finds Nagisa standing outside the drama club door. After saying the word “hamburger” to herself, she opens the door, but she realizes something and doesn’t go in. Walking up to the room, Tomoya sees no one inside and everything packed away in boxes, so he pats Nagisa on the head. He had forgotten that the drama club ceased activities earlier this year, though he tells Nagisa that she can still restart those activities. When he offers to help, Nagisa asks him why he’s being so kind to her since they’ve just met, but Tomoya isn’t sure exactly why. The two then walk home together until they have to go their separate ways, and Nagisa invites him to come over sometime to her bakery home. Though he doesn’t go right away, Tomoya wanders around town for a while before deciding to head there after all. He initially finds no one inside, but Nagisa’s mother soon appears and introduces him to one of their new breads which has a piece of senbei inside. However, she is shocked when Tomoya calls it a failure, and she ends up running out crying.
Tomoya is then cornered by Nagisa’s father who has a baseball bat and thinks that Tomoya should have ate the bread without complaining. Her father eventually realizes that Tomoya is wearing the same uniform style as Nagisa, so he must be her friend. This leads to Tomoya getting invited for dinner, and Nagisa’s parents are thrilled to have him there. Her mother even goes as far as to suggest that he could be Nagisa’s boyfriend. Upon hearing Tomoya’s name, Nagisa’s father decides that it should be Daiuchuu Ginga instead, and her mother’s suggestion of Okazaki Tomoya Eternal isn’t much better. In any case, Tomoya has an eventful evening with them, and before he goes home, he tells Nagisa that he found it strange that there was a family out there that got along so well. Nagisa had thought that this was normal, but she hadn’t been aware of Tomoya’s own family conditions. Returning home, Tomoya finds his father passed out in the living room, but when he wakes him to get him to lie down properly, he quickly becomes disgusted at his father and runs out. Tomoya’s mother isn’t around because she died in a car accident when he was young, and as a result, his father had drowned in alcohol and gambling.
By the time Tomoya stops running, he finds himself back at the bakery, and he sees Nagisa across the street. To his surprise, she asks him if he wants to be taken to the place where the wishes of this town are granted.
First things first, I’m not going to bother uploading the OP/ED since I already did so with the Invitation DVD. The broadcast version’s just in 4:3 and has credits. I will say though that I still love the ED and have been listening to it on and off all week long.
CLANNAD is finally here, and it met pretty much all my expectations. It all started with a beautiful opening scene transition from monochromatic to color, made even better because they used an instrumental version of the ending song (which I now know is actually from the original soundtrack). Tomoyo and Sunohara made the episode seem a lot faster paced than Kanon, and that’s not really a bad thing since it kept the episode interesting. The one thing that bothered me a little was that some of the scene transitions made the episode feel a bit choppy at spots. I wasn’t too fond of the Powerpoint-style slides transition, and the way a couple of the scenes visually jumped ahead while a conversation was still going on threw me off a little when I first watched it. That’s mostly a minor complaint though, and everything else looked great.
If I loved the opening scene for its technical value, I loved the scene with Nagisa’s parents for its depiction of a warm family and for all the laughs I got out of it. Daiuchuu Ginga and Okazaki Tomoya Eternal just cracked me up, and the former conjured fond memories of the recently-ended Gurren Lagann. Story-wise though, it’s clear that we’ve only scratched the surface. Patrik pointed out to me that Yajima Akiko voiced what sounded like young Tomoya in this scene, and the credits list her as playing the part of 「僕の声」 (Boku no Koe – My Voice). That gives at least a little perspective of what’s going on in that scene since we don’t have a shot equivalent to that of Yuuichi lying in bed after a dream as we did in Kanon.