CLANNAD - Nagisa Furukawa Route & Character Discussion

Not really my opinion. As I said…

As for my opinion, I don’t like characters that are weak. I think Clannad has a lot of problems in other regards, but my problems aren’t the problems of the majority.
I did read the VN before watching the anime, so that may explain why I felt Nagisa was pushy and nosy. She had no place in most of the anime, and yet she was there. She didn’t improve anything… she was just there.

The other people are great. The Furukawa’s were the best part of the AS route. Tomoya was fun if nothing special. They all had great chemistry… but in my mind, Nagisa’s presence was just a hindrance.

Being weak, helpless and shy is something that I detest, but usually a character develops beyond that. You say that she became braver with her own strength, but I didn’t see that at all. As an individual she did nothing. Without the other characters she isn’t doing much or worth much.
I like good individual characters… characters who have their merits both alone and in a group. In my mind, Nagisa isn’t one of those characters.

Tomoya fell into the same boat for a while in AS too, which is a shame.

Buuuuut most people like that stuff. I prefer to stay away from drama and people who either bring drama or refuse to prevent it.

It has been a long time since I first watched the anime… it was one of the only 2 or 3 which I followed RAW, then TL’d then I took a full-time job in the knee

At first, Nagisa was overshadowed by the antics of the others (especially Tomoyo and Kyou), and back then, I loved Tomoyo more than the others

But as time passed, Nagisa grew up on me. I dunno. I liked the part where the relationship develops, where both support each other (although Nagisa became more assertive later on)

The only thing that I didn’t like was the True End. In that regard Little Busters! was superior by one simple fact…

“No man is an island” -John Donne

I think this sums up Nagisa really well, and is one of the reasons I liked her so much.

Yeah, sure, she started off weak, but so did Tomoya. Tomoya is just as broken as Nagisa, actually even more so, he’s just better at hiding it in the first season of the anime.

He helps her, she helps him (arguably more). He helps her over her shyness, she helps him with… his entire life (especially his relationship with his father).

Their relationship is one of the best in anime imo, because they really do both grow together. It’s not just “boy helps girl with problems” (although it seems like that at first). She literally gives him a reason to live in AS.


My only comment about Nagisa is that she goes so well with Tomoya. She was literally made for him.

Tomoya needed that kind of woman in his life, somebody that would simply be there and be understanding about his whole situation. Kyou, for example, I feel would just end up in argument after argument with him. Whereas Tomoyo would be too pushy.

In that way, they are the true OTP and, well, I haven’t played Tomoyo After, but I can’t imagine him with anybody else.

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This thread is old…
I’m going to post here anyway. Not that I have anything profound to say.
I just really love Nagisa.
I know there are a lot of people who dislike Nagisa for being weak, but I think that’s why I like her. I watched Clannad and Clannad Afterstory at a time in my life where I was feeling particularly weak, and seeing Tomoya and Nagisa become each other’s strength was very inspiring.
I agree with @Pepe, I absolutely can’t picture anybody with Tomoya except Nagisa.
Like, Clannad is this “pure” thing I put on a pedestal and I just can’t imagine changing anything.


Bookclub discussion begins from this post onward!

I have just finished Nagisa’s route last night and it was amazing how she became stronger through Tomoya helping her out with the drama club with everyone. I compared re-watching the last two episodes of CLANNAD in the anime version, and it made me teary-eyed when Nagisa needed that support from her parents and Tomoya to keep pushing her dream forward while they were not able to themselves. I think I like Nagisa a lot more in the VN because it shows how everything doesn’t always works out at the beginning when things didn’t go her way. I actually can relate to Tomoya and Nagisa when some dreams get pushed back because of things that don’t work out, but I loved it how their relationship kept getting stronger and due to the fact that it changed their feelings towards each other. Tomoya really needed Nagisa in his life, not because of the hatred he had towards the city he lived in, but her existence is really what saved him from going to a deep depression. I really enjoyed this route so much because this is what I really loved about CLANNAD, especially how family and togetherness is so very important that one could actually neglect appreciation for the things that make people truly happy with each other. I kind of went off-topic there but that is how I feel when I was playing her route.

Also, I was late coming to comment on the earlier discussions of the bookclub because of work and things. But I hope to enjoy the bookclub from now on.


Just finished Nagisa’s route so here’s my thoughts on it. Consider the post I made earlier to be outdated (okay maybe not).

So Nagisa, I really like her. I know some people don’t and normally point to her when they say they dislike Clannad but for me, I really enjoyed her character. When I watched the anime, I thought the reason I liked her a lot was because of how kind, friendly and sweet she was along with the fact that she developed and became a stronger character throughout the series and while all that still stands, I found another reason as to why I really like Nagisa after reading her route. That reason is her optimism; she was able to look at the good in everything whether it’d be people or in a situation. I really admire that trait because it reminded me that even though things may not at their best or can go wrong, you should always look at the positives out of it because cynicism/pessimism will only get you so far and it can and probably will make things much worse than they actually are. Plus it’s a really happy and upbeat feeling to have but I digress.The point is I really like Nagisa’s optimism and it’s because of that trait that she was able to befriend Tomoya and Sunohara, who were dismissed by most of the school as nihilistic delinquents and show them that even though their efforts may sometimes go in vain, what matters the most is the positive aspect out of it whether it’d be people coming together or making the effort itself. To quote an Oasis song, Nagisa was Tomoya’s and to an extent Sunohara’s Wonderwall. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s not to say that Nagisa is without her character flaws. Two of the big ones are that she does lack self confidence and she often blames herself when the situation goes bad for her and she feels that she’s to blame for it. And honestly, I can identify and sympathize with Nagisa’s lack of self confidence as I used to lack a little bit of self confidence too when it came to some situations such as mingling with other people, going to new environments etc. Plus, Nagisa is put into a somewhat new environment in that she is made to repeat her third year and all her past friends and teachers have graduated or left respectively. So it’s understandable that she would be very nervous and unsure of what to do as everybody who used to be there in the past to support her during her previous year aren’t there anymore so she has to start over from scratch alone. Additionally, there’s also the fact that sometimes her optimism can be too idealistic and the common route does a good job of making her see that and make her realize that sometimes things can’t be solved easily like for example, Tomoya’s arm disability or his relationship with his father.

Speaking of Tomoya, let’s talk about the romance between Tomoya and Nagisa. I like it a lot. Both of them share a strong bond and I love the romantic moments between the two of them. I also like the fact that while they do share a couple of things in common, they are a great example of the statement “opposites attract” in terms of how they view things. Tomoya is the more cynical minded and arguably the more confident person whereas Nagisa is more optimistic yet also meek and innocent. And personally, I felt that they really clicked together. Tomoya needed Nagisa to show him the optimistic things about living whether it’d be during school, during the drama club sessions or during their time with her family and Nagisa needed Tomoya for providing confidence about moving forward, seizing the moment and to show her that sometimes her ideals aren’t always perfect. Both of them needed support from each other and they provided that support really well, especially Tomoya during the end of the route, when Nagisa’s illness started to take hold. Combine that with some great romantic moments and you got a really good couple that will never be torn apart.

As for the route itself, I really enjoyed it. In my opinion, it’s a great choice for a first route as it establishes and delves into the core theme that Clannad is known for. That theme being the importance of family. We see that with Tomoya spending his time with Nagisa and her family and over the course of time, changing his attitude from being very cynical towards the whole idea of a family to being more accepting, understanding the happiness gained from being with a family and it comes to the point where he feels like he has become a part of their family. In a way, you could make an argument that (After Story spoiler) it’s during the events of this route that Tomoya starts to show shades of changing his opinion about his father, which doesn’t reach it’s fruition until After Story. Additionally, the route delves into the whole idea of a parent’s dream being their child’s dream and we see this with Nagisa’s parents Akio and Sanae, both who changed their dreams from being a theatre actor and teacher respectively to taking care of Nagisa, seeing her come up in life and making sure her dreams come true. If that’s not parental love, I don’t know what is and it hits home with a really powerful scene during the play, where Akio manages to snap Nagisa out of her depression by telling her that her dreams are his and Sanae’s. And I have to give credit to Akio’s JP voice actor, as he gave a really powerful performance during that moment. Speaking of Akio and Sanae, they were very likable and also very funny. I love how hammy Akio can be and the moments where Akio accidentally insults Sanae’s bread causing her to run away and him to eat the bread and run after her yelling that he likes it made me laugh out hard. Plus, they were very loving, caring and supportive towards both Tomoya and Nagisa and I really liked Tomoya’s interactions with them, especially with Akio. Sunohara was great too, providing some hilarious moments/shenanigans while also being a great friend, which was illustrated when he told Tomoya about how Nagisa would feel if he didn’t go to the picnic and also when he helped Nagisa with the drama club events. Sure he makes an ass out of himself at times but the route showed a little bit that deep down, he cared about his friends and would help them if he could. The last thing I want to mention about the route is the climax/ending, which I thought was very powerful and if I didn’t have a heart of stone at the time when I read it, I would have cried like a baby. It was heartwarming/heartbreaking and it gave a satisfying end to the route while also segueing to After Story.

So overall, I really enjoyed Nagisa’s route and I’m planning to reread it again before reading After Story. Up next is the baseball route.


Okay, so I finished Nagisa’s route last night. And I am going to be honest, I was kind of disappointed. Now I think I am most of my disappointments will be addressed in “After Story” part (I have not seen all of the anime adaptation nor have I played it before though so I am not sure)

So much of Nagisa’s route is awesome. And I love Nagisa. She is generally the one I think of first if you were to ask me who my favorite Clannad girl is, though I would want to consider this again having played through all the routes. But, there were two things that kind of bugged me with her route.

The first was that I feel like the conflict of Nagisa having held back her parents, and her having seen the things from the imaginary world were properly foreshadowed. I know she has the one scene early on where she is quoting the play in the park, but especially in regards with how that connects to her parents, I kind of felt jarring with how big it got and how suddenly they started talking about it. The theme had some really great potential, and parts were even done well, but in general it felt sudden and rushed to me.

The second thing is that I did not really feel like the conflict in the final stage of the route had enough meat to it. It was lengthy enough where I was expecting it to go somewhere, but it kind of introduced what should have been a major conflict, handled most of the emotional aspect to it with a time skip, and then there was a half resolution where Nagisa is going to repeat and Tomoya is going to stay with her and then there were credits. I kind of felt like the presence and pacing of took away from the more satisfying climax of the play. As I said, I have not played After Story, but I do wonder if this part of the Nagisa route might have worked better there?

I am still kind of gathering my thoughts but those were my big thoughts after having finished it.


Nagisa is actually my favorite character in Clannad, and I’ll explain why in a bit, but I’ll talk about her route first.

As far as her actual route, I didn’t think it was particularly special and it’s not one of my favorite routes unless you consider After Story to be a direct extension of Nagisa’s route. The conflict where she believes she weighs down her parents is in-character, but its resolution doesn’t really have an especially fantastic payoff and most of the high points of her route involve small character interactions rather than major events of the route.

In regards to her character, I highly disagree that weak is a fitting term for Nagisa, at least not in the mental sense. Of any of the heroines in Clannad, Nagisa is the only one who actually tries to help Tomoya with his own problems regarding his home life, and in After Story she is just downright the mentally stronger of the two characters. She repeatedly demonstrates that she cares about Tomoya’s problems, and their relationship is one of the few in fiction where the couple mutually supports each other rather than one character simply supporting the other and winning nothing but their love in return.

She lacks self-confidence, but develops to be substantially more confident over the course of her route and After Story. She easily has the most character development (especially in this regard) of any of the heroines in Clannad, because most of the other routes involve conflict driven by events rather than conflict driven by personality flaws. Nagisa’s is one of the few exceptions.

Her school arc route may not be the best, but in my opinion, Nagisa is the most well written character in Clannad and highly enjoyable to boot.


[Whips out dick]

Nagisa’s Character(As of Nagisa Route)

Nagisa is my favorite girl in Clannad, not because of any merit of her own. I mean, she’s really nice, her growth though Tomoya is fantastic and wonderful, I think her nativity is taken to a bit much of an extreme, even if it is a big part of her personality, and she’s overall a little bit plain.

And, ya know, she’s supposed to be plain, PEOPLE ARE PLAIN, she isn’t supposed to be a Kotomi or a Fuko, an extreme personality quirk stretched into a person and called a character and if you’ve been reading my posts for just about anything here, you’ll know the two words that get my dick hardest in writing are ‘Natural’ and ‘Flawed’ and Nagisa ticks those boxes.

Tomoya’s Character(As of Nagisa Route)

Oh boy I’ve been waiting to get this one out.

FUCK YOU FACELESS SELF INSERTS. Why do people want a main character they can self insert to, LOOK AT HOW GOOD A CHARACTER THIS MAN IS.

TOMOYA IS FUCKIN’ BROKE, how cool is that? Tomoya is not the window into the world, he’s the main character, fixing his broke ass is the ultimate goal of the VN, and that’s just cool as balls.

FLAWS, FLAWS, OH BABY THE NATURAL FLAAAAAAAWS. The crushing negative amount of self esteem, the refusal to face his problems, the unnatural amount of motivation he’ll put into anyone else above himself mmmmmm drink it.

Bonus points for being hilarious jesus christ the man is funny.

Nagisa and Tomoya’s relationship

THIS is why Nagisa is my favorite girl, because the chemistry here is fiiiiiiiiiiiine, two broken and F L A W E D people with drastically different personalities constantly trying to one up each other though the hardships of life and the result is glorious.

Nagisa has Tomoya WHIPPED. Of all the girls Nagisa is the last one you’d expect to have someone whipped, even with her immense nativity she can see though him like she’s got the fuckin’ Sharingan or something, it really helps establish a solid base for this two week relationship to feel natural when Nagisa can so clearly understand Tomoya despite being so useless at everything else, none of that ‘oh I hung out with the girl for a bit and fell in love with how perfect she was and she likes me back because it’s a VN’ from most of the other routes.

The Route

Hey, hey remember in Yukine when I said something to the effect of ‘Yukine was highly entertaining with absolutely no conflict’, Nagisa did something quite similar, the true conflicts are with the couples self esteem issues and how they begin to iron those out with each other, and that’s so much more interesting than ‘OH FUCK MY LEGS ARE FALLING OFF’ or ‘I’M GOING TO DIE IN MY COMA’ shoved in for no reason other than to MAKE a reason for the characters to revolve around each other more. None of that is needed here, all they need is each other, because that’s all they genuinely want. Not that there wasn’t a conflict, but Akio snipped that thing off asap and stole the route while he was at it and I really want to talk about Akio but I have to save that for After Story.

So with that said, the route boils down to the wonderful budding relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa and it’s fantastic on that regard, they do NAAATURAAAAAAAAL THINGS like always talking about randoms things during the morning walk to school, we get amazing funnies from Maeda being a complete shitposter and having Akio AND Sunohara to play with, as well as ‘his’ Tomoya. All the characters involved get to be amazing in their own way, and the stage is set for After Story to begin, I cannot wait.


I don’t really want to give this an overall, because it’s really not the end of the route. BASKE SHIO ZE/10


I quite enjoyed this route. Nagisa is a sweet character and I really like her. I also like how the relationship was mutual and not just one sacrificing for the other. they felt like partners and like a family.

Speaking of which, I love Nagisa’s family. I could completely identify with Tomoya about the discomfort though. I’ve had a less-than-stellar home life and I do feel awkward around “normal”, non-dysfunctional families. Like, jealousy, envy, embarrassment. That’s a big one. Not worthy. So I could identify with that part that he had at first. I also like the Kero Kero apron because I quite like Sgt. Frog ^.^

Sunohara was pretty good in this route overall and I had fun. I was getting a teeny bit burnt out on Nagisa, but it came back around. The year time skip where they’d just show you bits and pieces was a bit… lacking though, I feel. Overall very solid and very enjoyable and I look forward to the After Story!


Well now, I have just finished this route and, unlike the previous routes, I have a looooooot to say about it! However, I figured that nobody likes reading a gigantic post anyway, so I’m gonna be splitting up my discussion on this route across multiple posts. Hopefully it also helps increase activity over the week of the route of the best character in the entire game~

Nagisa Route Reflections Part 1: Nagisa and Tomoya’s relationship, lewd hand-holding edition

So, I’m pretty sure everybody will agree with me when I say this, but Nagisa and Tomoya fit each other to a T. Tomoya himself needs the kind of innocent optimism that Nagisa gives simply because he lacks any of it; his entire worldview is distorted because of his experiences with his father, to the point of him blaming the entire town for his own misery. No character other than Nagisa can make him feel the kind of meaning in life that Tomoya needs at his current emotional state, and Tomoya realizes that. Tomoya even admits that he initially went out with Nagisa because he needed her support.

Nagisa, likewise, needs Tomoya and his ability to say things as they are and push her to actually do something with the remainder of her school life. She needs this motivation because she herself does not have any confidence in her own abilities (probably due to her own frail constitution). Tomoya, despite his nasty mouth, pushes her to go for what she wants to do without having to sugarcoat things like many other people around her do.

Now, onto the relationship. Never in my life have I seen a more accurately-represented relationship in a piece of fiction than this. Everything about their relationship is real, natural, and pure. The way their relationship progresses is also absolutely a joy to watch. So many times Tomoya had tried to push it a step further by giving her a kiss, and many times, he just got blocked by the circumstance. But when it finally happened, I had this huge grin plastered all over my face because it was sooo natural~ Tomoya didn’t even need to force anything at the time it happened.

Another thing that I love about the progression is how Tomoya grows to love Nagisa more and more as their relationship progresses; and that’s how I believe relationships should be. There shouldn’t be a honeymoon phase of passion and excitement at the beginning, only to slowly die out in the future. It starts with an interest in the other person, growing to enjoying or needing their company, and the more time you spend with them, the more you learn about them, and the more you grow to love them. Which is why Tomoya’s monologue about only relying on her at first, but now just simply being in love with her solidifies this entire thought I have about their relationship.

Also commendable in the portrayal of their relationship is the consistency between the characters’ personalities. Both of them are filled to the brim with insecurities, and it shows from their relationship. Thus the perennial insecurity of the relationship: does my partner really love me? Wouldn’t they be better off with somebody else? I’m sure I love them, but what if they lose their love for me in the future? This is a very real thing among couples, and I’m glad that it had been represented so well in this route.

Finally, their relationship isn’t free from any problems. I was genuinely scared at one point, when Nagisa confronted Tomoya and asked if he knew about her father’s history. It scared me because I know just how painful it is to have to keep things hidden from your significant other, regardless of whether or not it’s for their own good. unfortunately the question is skewed to the point that tomoya doesn’t have to actually but oh well. Also part of this is the helplessness of Tomoya when trying to support Nagisa while she is on stage. If you paid attention to the second-to-the-last choice, you’d realize that Tomoya alone could not save Nagisa. But he was trying so hard to do so, and that helpless feeling of wanting to see your partner happy and having absolutely no way of doing so through your own power is absolutely devastating.

tl;dr their relationship is very real and shows the kind of melodrama that real relationships must suffer through and I absolutely loved that they were able to portray it the way they did. This ended up a pretty long post, but this is also the part of the route I had the most to talk about, so I hope you guys don’t get too bothered as I still have a few more posts to go :yahaha:



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Clannad being the super worldwide popular series it is from it’s anime…
It has always really bugged me when I’ve talked to people about Clannad in the past and bizarrely a lot of people formulated this idea which I think is a huge misconception, that Nagisa is just a “plot device” who doesn’t serve any purpose in the story other than;
After Story major spoiler >>>>> to follow Tomoya around and die giving birth <<<<<

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely salty at the fact so many misconceptions have risen from the series despite the writing of not only this route, but the majority of the others making most things clear.

This route alone solidifies Nagisa’s importance as a character, and without spoiling anything, becomes so much more important later on.
From the beginning of this route, to the end of the series Tomoya and Nagisa are like bread and butter. Its hard to imagine where one would be without the other.

Nagisa understands the trouble Tomoya has at home with his disconnection and hostility to his father and offers him a place to live with her family to escape that. In doing so Tomoya learns more about family life through seeing the antics of Akio and Sanae. Tomoya subsequently helps Nagisa by assisting her with the drama club and introducing her to a slew of new people whom she would otherwise be too afraid to talk to, allowing her school ambitions of being more brave and socialising in this club she desperately wanted to become a reality.

It’s really not difficult to see how the romantic feelings were just slowly rinsing out even from parts of the Common route leading into Nagisa’s route. Personally it’s one of my favourite romantic developments I’ve ever seen, and seeing them share their first kiss during the baseball practice…
I think I may have diabetes. 2sweet4me.

The concluding segment to the actual play scene is questionable I’d say… At first I found it pretty disconnecting to try to empathise with Nagisa simply because she was crying in the middle of the stage… However I do kind of empathise because I’ve had my experiences of serious stage fright and conflicting emotions in a different way. It’s not exactly unrealistic, but more so that I can understand if people found the scene to be questionable. I certainly did at first, but after reading into it a little I feel like I understand her feelings at that point.

Aside from that.
Akio best character. I am glad we are in agreement.


I actually prefer Sanae as far as Nagisa’s parents go, myself :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Seconed~ I really like the spacey but perceptive dynamic. I love it when she goes along with Akio’s lies and then just turns to Tomoya and says something that dismisses Akio’s version of the story completely.

Alright now to continue my thoughts about the Nagisa route~

Nagisa Route Reflections Part 2: Tomoya just wants a daddy

One pretty important plot point in this route is Tomoya moving out of his own house and into the Furukawa family’s house because of the problems with his dad. In truth, nothing really exceptional happens; there wasn’t some dramatic scene that suddenly forced him out. His relationship with his dad was the same as it had always been. And what caused him to move out was Nagisa, being his girlfriend, offering him solace. Even though she offered him back when he first met her family, he just didn’t want to bother relying on her. At this point, him moving to Nagisa’s house was not only to escape his dad; it was also to find comfort in being together with Nagisa.

On a semi-related note, all this time I’ve personally thought that Tomoya’s dad wasn’t such a bad guy. And even Tomoya himself was saying that most people wouldn’t think of him as a bad guy. However, when I saw how he reacted to Tomoya moving out, well… I just suddenly understood everything that Tomoya hated about him. Nagisa suggested it because of her optimism, but optimism doesn’t work out all the time… And this simply solidified the decision for Tomoya to leave the house of “that person”. It’s a bit sad now that I think about it; we, as children, always take for granted the kind of scolding that our parents show to us, not realizing that the only people in the entire world that would show their affection in that manner is our parents. In this manner, I like to call on a made-up mnemonic of mine for the Japanese word 親切 (shinsetsu), which means kindness. The first kanji stands for “familiarity” and the second stands for “cut”, which essentially implies that only people who aren’t familiar or close to us would be “kind” to us.

And now we move on to Tomoya’s life in the Furukawa family, especially his relationship with Akio. While they do like to intimidate each other a lot, there is one recurring joke that Akio points out: how Tomoya should man up, or be more responsible. Sure, he’s most definitely saying this because he wants him to be a better person for Nagisa, his daughter, but for Tomoya, maybe even subconsciously, this provides the kind of scolding and fatherly love that he was never able to have. Akio, you da real MVP.


Now I finally get to talk about this one.

Nagisa’s route was the very first thing I read this bookclub, and man did it set the bar high. Nagisa and her family are all really compelling characters and this route’s format of having multiple small conflicts centered around its primary characters instead of having one major conflict works very well in its favor. We observe and witness as each and every one of those conflicts shape our main characters and help them overcome their weaknesses. It’s quite different from all the other routes in CLANNAD. But before I end up going on a rant about why this route is so amazing (I think others are doing a way better job with that than I could) I want to bring attention to exactly that: how it’s quite different from the other routes, and what that means for it in the context of CLANNAD, a romantic galge, specifically.

As other people have already gone into, Tomoya and Nagisa fit each other extremely well. Both suffer from a major lack of self-confidence and greatly benefit from being able to rely on the other. I dare you to try to find another route where Tomoya and the romantic partner in question have that kind of mutually beneficial relationship. In my eyes, there is no such route. Nagisa and Tomoya support each other in ways only they can. It works so well exactly because Nagisa is who she is and Tomoya is who he is. None of the other routes are like that, not even Tomoyo’s which is likely the best comparison; neither Tomoya nor Tomoyo fulfill a role for the other that no one else could (reasonably) fulfill. Sure, they come from similar backgrounds and connect quickly, but when it comes down to it they don’t feel nearly like they’re as much of a ‘match made in heaven’ as Tomoya and Nagisa.

With a romance like that, it almost feels weird to have the choice not to go for it. If the creators just wanted to tell this tale of a great romance, there’s no need to make the other routes be legitimate alternatives in gameplay. So did they want to present this as the ‘one true way’ for things to turn out?

But if that were the case what does that leave us with? Does that imply that the other routes are, in some shape or form, bad ends? At the very least I will acknowledge that Tomoya will probably never gain as much strength in a different route as he will in Nagisa’s route, and he will probably never inspire whoever his partner may be as much as he does Nagisa. So then, could I say that none of the other results reach up to this one?

Perhaps. But that’s okay.

This is my take on it, my take on the reason the creators juxtapositioned this amazing romance with several other romances that honestly don’t feel like they inspire nearly the same kind of growth in both parties involved. That sort of ideal outcome is just that: an ideal. It may happen. If it does, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that does not mean it’s bad. We can see how in Tomoyo route their relationship may not be the best for Tomoya’s self-confidence, but in the end they can still support each other and help each other grow. Just because we know there is an arguably better alternative for Tomoya, that doesn’t invalidate the relationships he can hypothetically build up with the other girls. You don’t reject the imperfect; you make the best of what you have. And that’s exactly what happens in the other routes.

Hell anyone who’s read Tomoyo After will know that Tomoya does turn out somewhat different than what we know of him in Nagisa’s route, but that’s just it: he goes through different experiences and learns different things, values different things, treasures different things. He becomes essentially a different person than he is in Nagisa route. Even though they started from the same point. And regardless if you think he turned out better or worse in Tomoyo After, that’s okay. That’s simply the way it went in that story, and it is a valid way for things to go.

CLANNAD was the first visual novel that really conveyed this feeling of life not being just one straight path, but littered with heaps of possibilities every day, and at the same time that neither of these possibilities are truly inferior to one another. As some like to say: the only things you really regret in life are the things you didn’t do. And THAT is what the bad ends are. Leaving things unfinished. Not attempting to adjust or engage with the situation you find yourself in.

Is Nagisa route the ideal outcome for Tomoya? Whether or not it is, it doesn’t matter. It’s what it is and the other routes are what they are. No point in looking back and longing for things to have gone differently.

How much of this is actually purposefully in the game I don’t know. And I don’t really care. This is simply what I got out of it, and I’m glad for it as it taught me a great deal.

Okay so this was a long rant that was more about the existence of the route rather than the contents of the route. Maybe later I’ll post a few things I love about this route in particular. I’ll just say four words: To the Same Heights.