People call this arc a few different things: Tomoyo's Arc, Kyou's Arc, the Randomness Arc, but none of those really sum up what's going on. This arc isn't about any of the girls, because Tomoya has set his heart on Nagisa. This arc is about Tomoya realizing that he's chosen Nagisa, and his confirmation of that choice.
The first girl out of the running? Kyou. I still love this girl, she's always been one of my favorites in the whole show. Why? I don't know, I guess cause she reminds a lot of myself (minus being manipulative, I 'm not that ;) ). How is this determined? Well, Tomoya gets lonely for Nagisa, and goes to the girl in the second library. She asks him if he wants to do a charm, and he agrees. Well.... it's a charm to get locked in a storage room with the girl of your choice. Since Nagisa's sick at the time Tomoya chooses Kyou. Here's the incident:
There's quite a few reasons why these two aren't meant to be together. The first? Kyou actually WANTS to have sex with him! Say what you will, Kyou's talking herself into it. That's the first turn off for Okazaki, he wanted to make sure this very situation didn't happen! The second? Even when it becomes apparent why Okazaki picked her, she doesn't live up to it. In fact, she makes it worse by focusing on herself and Ryou. And then the third reason? She's not Nagisa! It's really that simple. If this was Nagisa then things would have gone off without a hitch, and they would have gotten out with the least bit of sexual tension. It would have been a walk in the park. But Kyou's selfishness wrecks that chance for her. As much as I like Kyou, she had it coming.
And then there's Tomoyo. Tomoyo is awesome. She's kind, innocent, and powerful, and thoroughly cool. Without Nagisa I'd say that Tomoya would have chosen her, because she offers Tomoya a similar chance for happiness that he would have for Nagisa. I mean, look at the Alternate Arc with Tomoyo. It's not the same way, but Tomoya could have been happy there as well. He would have learned to look beyond himself and give all of himself, to live for a family. Would it have been nearly as dramatic? No, not even nearly. And even if he did choose her his story ends and Tomoyo's begins (click here to read Tomoyo After. Don't worry, it's the clean version.) But alas, it was not to be. Tomoyo, while impressive, is too late. He's already learning to do these things for Nagisa's and his sake, and there really isn't room for anyone else. It's a real shame, too. Tomoyo After is beautiful as well, in its own way, and I'm glad that they wrote something for Tomoyo, who's a fascinating person in her own right. I recommend the manga heartily, but watch out for anything else. The game is hentai, and I think that ruins the point of the story.
So why does Tomoya choose Nagisa? The incident makes him choose Nagisa first happens relatively early in the arc, ironically enough.
Simple. She helps him reach for happiness. For success. For God. Even Tomoya wants something for himself now, and that something involves Nagisa. "Okazi-san, shoot!" is the death knell for all the others' chances of being with Tomoya. From here on out Tomoya reaches for the theatre club with all his might, something that he hasn't done since he hurt his right arm. Think about that for a moment, folks. Tomoya's actually reaching out for something beyond himself! The guy who wouldn't be caught dead being involved in a club is now doing things like getting himself suspended so his dream can come true. That's a huge advancement already. But unlike earlier in the show, Tomoya actually admits his need to reach beyond himself, in the video clip below.
I still don't entirely understand Clannad, and this is one of the scenes that always gets my approval even while I'm baffled. Something about it doesn't click to me, but yet I find myself loving it anyways. Is that insane? Probably. But the point still stands. This is the defining moment of Clannad, where you see why Tomoya and Nagisa should be together. I would pick it apart and explain why it's that way to you, but unfortunately I can't. Because it just is. The two of them together are powerful, and that's what matters.
On some level I understand because I find myself entering a relationship a bit like this at the moment. Without getting into too many details (this being the internet and all) I'll say this: a relationship can't be just about the two people who are in it. It has to be about everyone else as well. The Gospel of John states The Kingdom of God is within you. What most people don't know about that passage is that the English translation blows chunks. The word "within" in Greek can mean "within" and "outside", with the context of the word telling you which way you're supposed to take it. Supposedly the context of John for that passage is a bit vague, so a more literal translation should be "The Kingdom of God is within/outside you". I think that the reason why relationships work has something to do with that passage and with it's mean. You can't just be focused on the other person, you must be focused on everyone else as well. Tomoya and Nagisa work because they can live this reality of living inside and outside themselves.
While I apologize for not making as much in this post that really is the impact that it made on me, and for being sincere I will not apologize. Life can't be about only you, and that's the message I took away from this arc.
My sincerest thanks to the Clannad Fan Page as well as the random people from google who I took all these images and from. I didn't ask for permission, so if those people see what I'm doing and want me to take the images down I will do so. Kudos to all those who spend their time inadvertently helping me out!
Later edit: Well, it was bound to happen, but Taylor found the one post where I used videos not from him. He has corrected the blemish, and here we are! Congrats Taylor, and thank you for your unfailing drive to make this blog what it is! (9/4/10)