CLANNAD - General Discussion

None of them had Illusionary World segments, which makes sense.

So… light orbs. I’ve heard people say several times that they come about when people reach “true happiness”. I’ll present an alternate theory that they simply come about when people reach “closure”.

I’m mostly saying this as a counter-argument to something I’ve heard several times, like how Misae route ending (@Pepe) or Ryou ending don’t end in “true happiness”. But to me, no light orb doesn’t imply no true happiness at all. Just no closure on what’s still open. With Misae it’s very obvious. She only finally gets closure on Shima in that scene during Tomoyo route. And Ryou ending is extremely open-ended regarding her relationship with Tomoya while Kyou route allows both sisters to file the whole affair away and grow from the experience. But what it doesn’t mean is that Ryou ending is a doomed endeavour where true happiness will never be reached. Similarly, the fact that you get Yukine’s light orb when she bids farewell to her brother once more doesn’t mean that ‘that’ is what truly makes her happy, more like that it just brings closure to her.

Although it’s not always clear-cut what part of a route’s ending exactly brings about the orb of light. Do you get the one in Tomoyo’s because she gets back together with Tomoya… or because she managed to finally see the sakura trees with her brother by her side? Would you have gotten Kotomi’s if she hadn’t received the bear at the end that finally brought closure to the trauma that haunted her all those years? We can only speculate. But as far as I’m concerned, the orbs of light represent closure more than “true happiness”.


I would think that closure, in and of itself, is part of true happiness. While I do agree with what you said, in that we don’t know what the future could be in the light orb-less endings, the lack of closure, I believe, is a factor in not achieving true happiness. Of course, along with many other factors.

Okay so having just finished Ryou’s ending, I think it’s a bit hard to say that there isn’t any closure. At the very least, on Ryou’s and Tomoya’s side, they no longer have anything to worry about in their relationship. The only lack of closure would have been on Kyou’s side

That being the case, why would the light orbs not appear when something happy for the people involved happen? One possible explanation would be that the light orbs require happiness from all parties involved. For example, in Misae route, perhaps the lack of happiness from the ending would not have been from Misae, but from Shima, as he is the one who lacked the most closure in that instance.

Another possibility is that the light orbs are attached to a specific character; if you argue that in Kappei’s route, the light orb comes from Kappei alone, then it would seem that Ryou herself does not have any light orbs attached to her. After all, she doesn’t have any lingering problems at the beginning of the story other than a simple crush on Tomoya

I had forgotten just how amazing CLANNAD’s opening is. Not like the OP movie, but the actual beginning of the VN. Its so cinematic, and the tracks (Illusion; Town, Flow of Time, People; Nagisa) just create the most immersive atmosphere. And it hold even more meaning when you read it for the second time, already knowing how CLANNAD ends.

Key just has really awesome VN beginning scenes in general.


CLANNAD (along with Planetarian) has a discount on it, for the Lunar New Years sale. Ends February 12th. It’s 15% Off


Okay guys! We are finally reaching the end of the CLANNAD Bookclub. It’s been an amazing journey, but now it’s time to start wrapping things up. Many of you will have already finished reading by now, and to you guys, I have a request.

In a reply to this topic, I’d like you all to reflect upon and answer the question: “What does CLANNAD mean to me?”.

Participants of past bookclubs should remember doing something like this. This time, I’ll be taking everyone’s reflections into consideration when preparing the Anthology video. Thanks guys, I look forward to hearing what you have to say! And don’t forget to get your final fanwork submissions in too!


Well I really enjoyed the story. The After Story was longer than I thought it would be, but it was nice to see Tomoya continue on past the few months of high school covered in most of the rest of the visual novel. Watching him grow and change as a person, watching life change around him, and seeing him be so close to Nagisa’s family was very sweet.

There was a good bit of mood whiplash too. Some moments were incredibly silly, some hopeful, some downright depressing. It was a pretty good end to the adventure and it made me want to see more of how his life would have been with some of the other ladies instead.

It was a very well made visual novel and I had a lot of fun with it and the bookclub as well. It brought me to this neato community, and I’m excited to try some more of their visual novels in the future. I loved the message of how small choices can change your life. I often feel hopeless sometimes, like I’m not doing enough, not good enough, so it’s nice to think that even small positive steps I make can change my life for the better


CLANNAD is the kind of visual novel that has me coming back to it and thinking about it time and time again.

First off, it does things I don’t regularly see in other visual novels. The sheer variety in its routes is one. Non-romantic routes, routes where the romance actually gets going early on, a route about a romance unrelated to the main character… rereading CLANNAD only made me realize how much I miss these sorts of stories in other VNs. Hell even the other Key novels are guilty of this. In direct comparison to CLANNAD, I dare say they seem formulaic.

But CLANNAD feels like it was written with passion. Like the creators didn’t give a damn about whether or not it’s getting too big, or too hard to find your way around in. They just kept writing, kept telling the stories they wanted to tell, kept adding more because there was still more to write about. Be they romance or friendship stories or even a small story about a comparatively insignificant side character we barely see around most of the time. And they wrote it the way they wanted to. This is why, as much as I may complain about how incomprehensible the structure of CLANNAD is, I can’t hate or even dislike it. It’s filled with so much love, and that’s what makes the entire visual novel such a joy to read.

From my current perspective, CLANNAD feels like the golden standard of what a galge should strive to be like. The routes are varied, the characters aren’t confined to their own routes and even if you don’t get into their route you still have an idea of where they’re headed, and even though it was written by multiple different writers the level of consistency in characterization is astounding. It’s long, but it manages to keep your attention all the way. It’s not perfect by any means, but it does so many things right.

As for the stories themselves? Well I won’t lie and say the individual stories CLANNAD had a big effect on me because of the particular themes they explore, because they didn’t. They may end up having a bigger effect in the near future as the subject matters grow more and more relevant to me, but at this point in time I was far more affected by other visual novels of a similar nature. However, I’d be amiss not to mention the fact that CLANNAD was, in fact, my gateway into this medium to begin with.

While I did read Ace Attorney prior to it, it was CLANNAD that sold me on the visual novel medium. Put bluntly, the way it tore down my emotional walls was quite the experience for me. And I didn’t feel unfairly manipulated to cry either, I felt a genuine attachment to the characters and story, the fact that it made me cry was just the icing on the cake. This kind of attachment is one I would only go on to feel time and time again exploring visual novels, and it all started with CLANNAD. It led me to Umineko, it led me to Little Busters, it even led me here.

So how do I look at its story now, two years and three months after my first exposure to it? Well while I may have said that it didn’t have a big effect on me with its thematic focus, that doesn’t mean it was just an enjoyable story and nothing more. In fact, it did still affect me personally in quite a few ways. More than anything because of the very way it’s constructed. I went into this a bit back in my reflections in the Nagisa route topic, but in a nutshell I love CLANNAD’s theme of “possibilities”. You observe Tomoya as different choices lead him to completely different results, but not one of them feels contrived or way too convenient. It made me think back on my own life, and how unlikely it really was that I ended up right here, right now, the way I am. And over a long time spent reflecting, it taught me to be satisfied with that. To embrace the fact that there are infinite different possibilities, and that there’s no need to look back with regret and wish for another one to have taken place, even if it may be a possibility that from a meta perspective could be considered “better”. When it comes down to it, we’re on the route we’re on and we don’t have saving or loading in real life so there’s no way to go but forward. All the while making the most of the path we’ve chosen.

In the end, what does CLANNAD mean to me? On the surface level, it’s simply a damn good visual novel and it has wonderfully written characters, an absolute blast to read from beginning to end. On a medium level, it’s a rather unique galge that stands out from the rest by how it’s written and constructed, and I feel many a visual novel writer could stand to take lessons from it. And on a personal level, it brought me into a world that made me grow as a person in many ways, and CLANNAD itself very much helped with that, conveying a message I still hold dear today.


So…I have followed Visual Arts Key for a while, mostly through anime and manga, and CLANNAD has always been my least favorite of what was adapted. I liked Rewrite more then CLANNAD just based on premise. I would still say I liked CLANNAD, but it just didn’t punch me in the gut like Air, or make me love like Kanon did. CLANNAD was very plain and ordinary. But I backed the Kickstarter because I wanted to support Key titles getting official English releases.

Now having played it I can respect the “Ordinary” aspects of it more. While the characters all have anime archetypes, and there are plenty of “only in anime” situations, the core of the story is very down to earth. You don’t get a lot of stories about people who find happiness in the “ordinary” parts of life, and that is one of CLANNAD’s strengths. I think this is really true in the Nagisa route (and After Story), the Fujibayashi routes, and in the Tomoyo routes. It is one of the few pieces of media that really shows you “life” in a straight forward but compelling way.

I don’t know if I really know what it means to me this soon after having read it on any kind of deep level. I am very easily able to appreciate and enjoy the moe-girl aspect of it. But I mean, while I was reading I reflected on how grateful I am to live in an apartment with my fiance and dog, and how despite ups and downs in life, it is okay for me to be happy with the simple fact that we are are trying together. I guess I really jive with the way CLANNAD balances telling you to try your hardest for your dreams, but that it really may not turn out how you imagined, or even right at all, but the ordinary things that support you are the essential core.

In the end I guess the game clearly said the message I most took away from it in one of the first scenes

Nagisa: Fun things…Happy things…They’ll all…They’ll all eventually change some day, you know? But can you still love this place?
Tomoya: Just go and find more. All you have to do is find other fun and happy things. It’s not so hard. Come on, let’s go.

The goal you are running toward may change for any reason, but there are new goals, and happiness is moving forward and being able to have someone push you further ahead when you hesitate and that you do the same for others. Love where you are even as thing change.


When asked “What does CLANNAD mean to me?” I think Jun Maeda described it better than anyone else could have: CLANNAD is life.

What CLANNAD means to me is a representation of life, and the countless parts of life that people experience. No matter who you are, there will be something in CLANNAD that will relate to your life. We’ve seen so much examples of life in what CLANNAD gave to us. We’ve seen strained relationships with parents, and we’ve seen good relationships with parents. We’ve seen how to deal with loss, and fighting against the struggles life has given you just so you can obtain happiness, whether for yourself or for others. We’ve seen the beautiful relationship between siblings, and learned what it means to them. We’ve seen characters have to deal with a relationship that just couldn’t be, and relationships that came at the wrong time. We’ve seen relationships that people had to struggle and fight for, and we’ve seen relationships that came as naturally as the leaves to a tree. We’ve seen the struggle of a man pushing to make himself stronger for the sake of others, and the struggle of a person who has given up doing so. We’ve seen all these things from CLANNAD, and these things mean so much more than simply just “family”.

In a way, CLANNAD is a microcosmos of the town of Hikarizaka, and all the people who live within it. Sure, we’ve only seen a few characters, but they alone are enough to show the kind of struggles and happiness that all the people in that town go through. Heck, I might even go so far as to say that CLANNAD is a microcosmos of the entire world, if only for the fact it is much too peaceful to represent the rest of the world.

So in the end, what does CLANNAD achieve for me? It lets me know just how different all the people in this world are. It lets me know that the person living in the house next to mine has experienced struggles in life, but is striving to make themselves and the people close to them happy. It colors the world in a very beautiful picture, one that a cynical person such as myself would have never even bothered to acknowledge. And it makes me realize… Perhaps this world isn’t such a bad place after all. People are greedy, stupid, and selfish. But at the same time, these people would fight for others, and all hope that one day this town, or rather, this world, would become a better place.

The world is beautiful, and CLANNAD paints an accurately illustrative picture of this beautiful and broken world.


So even though I haven’t finished the new steam version, I have completed the janky version so I guess this should work as an answer.

Many of us will say CLANNAD is about family. It really is. But it shows that family is not limited to just blood related family or the people who raised us. Family includes all people that we support and that support us. This includes friends and teachers as well, but can it also include others as well? I want to think that everyone may be connected in that way. In CLANNAD, Nagisa loves the Dango Daikazoku. Now if I remember correctly, the Dango Daikazoku is huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge family that loves each other but still sometimes fights. It’s natural. But Nagisa says she loves them because even though the fight, they will make up eventually. I’d like to think this applies to the real world, with the Dango Daikazoku being the entire world. Big family? Sure. Sometimes fights? Definitely. Makes up over time? Well, that’s for us to decide.

So in short, CLANNAD, to me, means hope for the world. I might not even be making any sense but the feeling I got was that we are all part of a big family. So we need to help each other and empathize with each other, which is quite hard on a large scale. Maybe I’ll rewrite this once I finally finish the new version of CLANNAD…


I’m 2 days late, but if you haven’t bought CLANNAD on Steam yet, you should buy it now. It’s 25% Off at the moment. Deal ends on March 22nd (6 days from now).
Save 25% on “CLANNAD”


Today I learned CLANNAD Speedruns are a thing.


…??? How is that fun for anyone?

The world is full of things I don’t understand I suppose.

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…actually that sounds kinda fun.

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Hi guys, I just found a very insightful and amazing interpretation to the whole Clannad story. Warning, this link contain spoilers, read at your own risks.

Here’s the link:


Now this is very interesting! I’ve collected the average ratings for each route and displayed the results in the graph below!

Kotomi is considered the best character route by a significant margin! The worst was Misae, followed closely by Sunohara and Koumura. DAT AFTER STORY THO.

Generally though, all these scores are on the high side. CLANNAD is pretty well loved!


It frustrates me how low Kyou’s route is rated, considering it’s my favorite route in all of Key’s stories :frowning:

But then I look at the scale on the left and feel happy again! Man, CLANNAD sure has some pretty high standards

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