Clannad Afterstory ~ Kyou Arc

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To mark the occasion of the final DVD release, Key and Kyo-ani have thought to include an episode dedicated to Kyou Fujibayashi. This represents the final release for the Clannad series, one of my favorites…

While After Story, the second season of Clannad, ended a while back, they are still releasing the DVD box sets. However, to mark the occasion of the final DVD release, Key and Kyo-ani have thought to include an episode dedicated to Kyou Fujibayashi. This OVA is a throwback to the visual novel which had multiple endings or routes, also called “arcs”, depending on decisions made by the player. The Kyou arc, like the Tomoyo Ever After arc, is an alternate reality where Tomoya (the protagonist) never met Nagisa on the way to high school. For those who do not know, Clannad is centered around Tomoya Okazaki, a “delinquent” who has no clue where his life is taking him. His high school day-by-day reality intermingles with his close friends and Nagisa Furukawa, a girl with a weak constitution who wants to restart the high school theatre club. Tomoya decides to help Nagisa realise her dream to perform in front of an audience, despite not knowing himself what his dreams are, or why he has such a strong desire to help her. This series started originally as a visual novel before becoming serialized by Kyoto Animation and Key.

Synopsis:

With Nagisa never in the picture, the friendship between Tomoya, Sunohara and the Fujibayashi twins is more central. In this episode Ryou Fujibayashi gathers her courage and asks Tomoya out, and he accepts since he wants to get to know her more. Ryou is very happy about this and breaks down.

Ryou crying out of happiness.. Miserable...

All goes well for a few weeks until after a date Tomoya runs into a rather depressed Kyou on the street and things get derailed for them both. Kyou readily helped Ryou to work up her courage to ask Tomoya out under the pretense that Kyou only wants to see Ryou happy. Now that they are dating Kyou is miserable, realising that all she did was run away from her own feelings and the fear that Tomoya would reject her, since she also likes Tomoya.

Tomoya himself is torn between the same feelings and radiates misery, and while he grapples with what to do it’s Ryou that clears the path for them both, stating that she knew all along that Kyou loved Tomoya and all she (Ryou) wanted to do was be by Tomoya’s side. However, while they were dating, Ryou quickly noticed that Tomoya only had eyes for Kyou.

Sunohara and Tomoya That is Ryou
The next day Tomoya confesses to Ryou that he has always loved Kyou, these feelings only became clear to him through dating Ryou. He admits that this is a terrible thing, but he doesn’t want to hurt Ryou any more with false feelings. Turns out though it was not Ryou he confessed to, rather Kyou with her hair cut. She breaks down, explaining how Ryou told her to ‘stop running away from her feelings’ since all they do is hurt other people more. Both Kyou and Tomoya finally come to grips that they actually love each other.

This is Kyou... happy alternate ending...

Later, Ryou and Tomoya talk it over, with Ryou not wanting any apologies since she wants to keep the memory of them together happy. Roll end credits with Kyou and Tomoya happy together.

Thoughts:

Like I said before, this episode is an OVA and as far as I am concerned Nagisa is FTW. While it is the final release for Clannad, it definitely has little to do with the main story. However, this arc brings back the feeling that all the separate stories within Clannad are tinged with sadness, very much like the earlier Tomoyo After arc. I did not want to see the original visual novel setup where Kyou goes J-WOL away from Ryou and Tomoya. That would of sucked as a final taste of Clannad. Instead we get another emotional episode that has, thankfully, a happy ending (I’m a sucker for those). Kyou herself plays a pretty desperate girl who would give up anything for her sister, except as it turns out, Tomoya. And the way the three of them grapple with the nature of their relationships is exactly what you would expect from a Clannad side arc. While the Nagisa-arc remains the main swan song for Clannad, this episode is a nice reminder of how much I have enjoyed the entire series.

Perhaps this episode is Key’s way of saying sorry for the lack of Fujibayashi twins in the main After Story arc…who knows.

To think that this is it, there will be no more Clannad releases….its been a long and fun ride, yet like all series, frustrating at times. Especially in After Story where multiple episodes were wasted (in my opinion) on side arcs that went no-where, where valuable time was wasted that could of included more of the twins themselves and their lives. At least in this arc’s universe Kyou found a measure of happiness and for that I’m happy. Also, I’m definitely going to get the DVD box sets, despite them being so damn expensive.

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