Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The School's Trees: I'm Miserable, I Wanna Be Happy! (1st Theatre Arc)

This....(you're supposed to click on it!) the Second Most Important Part of Clannad! 
Real subtle, I know, but I figured I'd say it now. This section decides everything. Everything. Think I'm kidding? You just wait, you lucky reader, you!

The anime opens with a subdued blue hue, putting us into Tomoya's mood and world. Blue is a passive color, indicating that Tomoya has done nothing to change the way things are, and up until this point I don't know if he ever wanted them to change. Tomoya just lives his life passively, waiting for things to happen to him, but nothing will. Until Tomoya asks. He specifically asks for life to get better in this opening, and so God works with Tomoya's desire. How?


Tomoya feels Nagisa's fear. He's just as much at the bottom of the hill as Nagisa is, because he's afraid too. This the first impression of these two that we get, of their fears. But within Tomoya and Nagisa is the courage to break the past and live. But Tomoya actually knows what to do, he just doesn't think about it until he meets Nagisa. Hearing her declaration of love for a place that he wants to love is enough for Tomoya to reach out, and provide the answer that both he and Nagisa were so desperately looking for. I thought for a long time that it was Nagisa who saved Tomoya, but I'll have to admit that I was wrong. It was Tomoya who saved himself, he just needed Nagisa to know that he wanted to.

These opening episodes work off of this premise and show further that Nagisa and Tomoya are really the two closest characters in the whole show. They want to be unequivocally happy, a quality that goes beyond words and beyond all other similarities. As I watched this show the first time I always asked "Why not Kyou? Why not Tomoyo?" Those two have much more surface things in common with Tomoya, and they seem to get along better with him. But their primary interest isn't in being happy no matter what the cost. Tomoya and Nagisa are the only two who actually want happiness for themselves, first, and that's what makes the difference. Don't get me wrong, Tomoya and Nagisa are not being selfish, a point that's made later on in the anime (and that I'll cover soon enough). They're actually being incredibly selfless by focusing on their own happiness. Their focus starts to be fixed with the arrival of Ibuki Fuko, who will be the focus of next week's review. Tune in next time!

A thanks to the Clannad Fan Page (found here), who provided the video clip that I used. Props to Taylor for his commitment!