CLANNAD ~After Story~ (Ep 3)

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The third episode of CLANNAD ~After Story~ was a continuation of the Sunohara arc from the original CLANNAD game. There was a lot more serious a tone to this weeks episode, unlike the previous light hearted shenanigans we were treated to before. The animation production as always with this series is faultless and Kyoto Animation manages to convey both deep messages and light hearted quips with ease. This second season is very much mimicking the structure of the previous one with character arcs and comical moments which allow you a glimpse into the day to day lives of the characters while at the same time you as the viewer are well aware that anything could happen next week with regards to heart wrenching drama. Still at the moment at least we are still only testing the waters with regards to any actual plot progression.

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Even though this week is indeed an arc for Youhei Sunohara, the main person we are actually drawn to is his younger sister Mei as we have a glimpse both into how she perceives her elder sibling but also as to how his personality has drastically changed from the one she once knew. The ‘fake’ girlfriend scenario seems to be working, at least initially with Mei not appearing to realise it’s Sanae, of course she does keep hinting, she is sure she’s met her before. Mei often seems more like the elder of the pair with her constant tutting at her brothers antics and her constant claims that she feels sorry for Youhei’s new girlfriend (personally with how he is acting currently anyone would) due to his complete lack of taste, tact and sensitivity.

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The episode takes a turn from the light hearted tone of the ‘date’ when Mei sees a little girl being bullied by some other children and she is shocked by her elder brothers complete blase attitude to the whole situation. The scene is used to echo what once was between the Sunohara siblings and how years ago in this same situation Youhei would have always rushed to Mei’s side to protect her, much like the elder brother of this girl does eventually. Youhei appears to be a completely different person to who he once was and his couldn’t care less attitude and obsession with his own ‘love’ life, appears to have hurt Mei greatly. Mei also finally catches on that the ‘girl friend’ is actually Nagisa’s mum Sanae.

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Tomoya seeing the hurt Mei, decides to take on the big brother role and offers to spend the day taking care of Mei in an attempt to cheer her up. The pair spend a rather eventful day together shopping with quite hilarious results, It was a real treat to see the pair bump into Kyou, Ryou and Kotomi while out and the girls running away from the perverted Tomoya (due to Mei calling him big brother) as I have missed seeing them this episode. Mei seems to be having a great time with Tomoya until they bump into Youhei, who wishes to know why the pair are out together, Tomoya claims they are dating (wow now that was a stupid statement) to try and get any form of brotherly reaction from Youhei, suffice to say there is none. By the end of the episode Mei is visibly distraught and doesn’t think her brother cares for her anymore and we close on her wishing to try to bring the old Youhei back again as she misses him.

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I did enjoy this episode it was really nice to see Mei play center stage for once but also the back story as to how the Sunohara siblings have evolved and changed through out their lives. I often wondered how on earth Youhei and Mei were even related, she seems so level headed in comparison to him. There was possibly just the right amount of light hearted humour injected into this episode to save it from coming across as really quite depressing. A nice progression in this arc and I am now curious as to how much deeper the story will delve and if Mei can actually motivate Youhei in anyway to even slightly resemble his former self. I have a feeling we’re heading into tissues area again with CLANNAD. What this episode proved is we really do need more Mei she is simply adorable but I am starting to slightly worry that KyoAni are going to end up cramming the After Story plot line into limited episodes, I hope they’ve paced themselves properly as there is still so much to cover.