Friday, November 12, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Characters, #3: Ushio

Each character in Clannad adds something to the show.  Each one fills it out in another element of the story.  Each one is there for a purpose.  When I first met Ushio, I swore I wouldn’t get attached to her.  I knew, I knew they were going to take her away.  It was all to perfect.  She was too perfect.  And so I promised myself that I wouldn’t let them get the best of me, that I wouldn’t get attached.  Ha!  It was a very nice thought.  And the truth was that I tried my very hardest to make sure that the inevitable didn’t happen, but somewhere I messed up – either that, or they, the makers of Clannad, did their job too well.  I have a hinting suspicion it was the later.  Regardless, despite my best efforts, I fell for Ushio – I fell hard.  And I watched it happen.  I shook my head at myself, but I couldn’t help it.  She was just this quiet kid. She wasn’t annoying or loud.  She didn’t push or whine.  She just very calmly went about being herself.  And as I got to know her, I saw that she was the best of both Nagisa and Tomoya.  She possessed her father’s control but also her mother’s innocence.  Most of all she was strong.  I’ll never be able to forget the scene with Ushio and Tomoya in the field.  “Papa?”  “Yeah?”  “Well see… I don’t have to hold it in anymore, right?  Sanae-san told me where it was ok to cry…was the bathroom…and in Daddy’s arms.”  Yes, most of all, Ushio is strong.  Ushio and her strength is the reason Tomoya can begin to move; she’s the reason he begins to live again.  It’s because of Ushio that Tomoya was able to see good again in a world he’d given up on, and it’s because he was able to do that that the ending of Clannad was possible.  How can you not love Ushio?  

Ushio Okazaki: the bonding character. You know her. You can’t help but love her. She’s as cute as can be. It’s Ushio, and she helps to make Clannad what it is, both by influencing the final ending and by changing how we view what the show is really about. She does both of these things by becoming important when we may have felt the show was just about over and also by being revealed as someone we’ve been somewhat familiar with since the very beginning.

That’s where Ushio's strength lies, outside of where everything may be falling apart. She does what she can to pick up the pieces and put them back together. Whether it was in the real world or in the Illusionary World, Ushio was always there, especially when Tomoya needed her. When Ushio was still inside of Nagisa, the anticipation of her arrival bonded Tomoya and Nagisa closer than they already were. Then later, after Nagisa was gone and Tomoya had already fallen into despair, Ushio showed up and her honest love for her father pulled him out. And then, pertaining to the real final climax, Ushio did more than most can even comprehend… No, I mean, really, how many people actually understood the ending completely? But maybe fully understanding it isn’t so important as long as we understand that Ushio and Tomoya played important roles in bringing it about. We definitely owe that final happy ending where everything is right and all is in order to Ushio. That’s how I see it.

Ushio... my favorite Clannad character. She's cute, adorable, and stronger than everyone else on this show combined. There's so much that I wish I could imitate, so much that I wish I could find...  Ushio is amazing. Things are as simple as they can get with her, as she cuts through all the bullcrap that everyone else has developed through this show like a cute knife through butter.  She's everything that Clannad is made of, everything that Tomoya ever wanted to be incarnated in the body of a five year old girl. She is the realization that tomorrow will be better, if only because we believe it will be.


Well, I don't have much time now to do this little tyke justice, as events have conspired to eat away at my schedule. But I'll say this much: Clannad ~After Story~ is a show about dreams. It's a show about what they mean to us, and what happens to dreams when we give them up...or when they're lost. Do they vanish? Are they torn to pieces by the chaos of reality?

Ushio stares these claims hard in the face, and defies them by her very existence. Ushio is goodness, purity, strength, and she's the dream of After Story. And remember when Tomoya proposed to Nagisa? She told him, "We can both be pathetic together, and we'll become stronger!" Ushio is that strength.

                                                               Ushio is their wish.

A thanks to all the people who helped me write this, as well as the people who unknowingly contributed images via Image Search. If, for some reason, you want the image removed email me at and I'll take it down immediately. But, for the record, it's just a blog. Lighten up.