Three weeks after the original broadcast on TBS, CLANNAD has finally started its widescreen edition run on BS-i.

Unfortunately for us, BS-i is not the most wonderful of stations, and inferior to its big brother BS-J which actually provides proper high definition video with good sound. Simply comparing image quality between the 4:3 TBS version and the 16:9 BS-i version from the same capper, we find that the BS-i version looks like it’s been covered by a shit filter, losing contrast and colour intensity along with sharpness. If 2ch sources are to be believed, both TBS and BS-i use 128kbps bitrate for sound, so no points won there either.

So what are the benefits of waiting three weeks before watching new CLANNAD episodes? The widescreen edition feels more harmonious, with a better balance cinematographically. Clicking the thumbnails above will show you full screencaps where I’ve merged the TBS version on top of the BS-i version and added two red lines to show what has been cut away. The 4:3 version looks much more cramped, with many scenes leaving a character cut in half. Other scenes entirely exclude surrounding people, which gives an illusion of the school being much less crowded than it really is. This is particularly evident in the shot where Nagisa and Tomoya seem alone in the 4:3 version, but the widescreen shows they’re not. In order to keep important bits on the screen, the 4:3 version uses panning – moving its focus area from left to right – as can be seen in this shot of Sunohara’s dorm room.

If both editions were airing simultaneously, it would be easy to recommend watching the show in widescreen, because I’m fairly confident that with a good encoder and a proper source the image quality issue can be minimized. The reason is simply that KyoAni’s exceptionally beautiful art direction comes through so much better when the entire frame is used as was originally planned. However, you don’t actually miss anything vital when watching the 4:3 version, so if you want to keep up-to-date with online discussions about new episodes, there’s no point in waiting. Except perhaps for the DVD release.


  1. >>>Uhh… in the FS version, was the cat only revealed in the 2nd ep since we didn’t get to see it on the bed in the first ep?

    You can see the cat when Tomoya’s yelling at the wall.

  2. The video quality is noticeably lower though. For eye-candy series like Kanon, AIR, and Clannad, we need crisp video. They do look better with the previously missing material, but I don’t think I’d really like watching it when it looks like someone covered my screen with Vaseline.

  3. I think I’ll stick to the 4:3 version for now. Sure widescreen angle is great and all but the drop in quality is quite high in my eyes. And stuff like that is an important element in such series as said.
    But maybe the fansubbers can fix that at least partly, so I may change to the widescreen version later. Everything a question of quality 😉

  4. i have felt it’s better way to wait for 16:9 version when i first saw 4:3 version.
    i compare crap 4:3 Clannad op movie with the one in Clannad invitation disc with DVD quality, don’t make me tell you which version is so nice

  5. There’s actually two versions floating around in, say, Winny. One is a lower bit rate version (Encoded with Divx 6.51) and a higher bit rate (and a bigger size) version (Encoded with Divx 6.6). From the sound of it, you might have grabbed a lower bit rate version.


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