Of all the routes in CLANNAD, Nagisa’s route stands out the most. The opening scene where Tomoya meets Nagisa for the first time while walking the uphill path to school amidst the falling sakura petals is filled with such beauty that so many readers immediately fell in love with Nagisa’s character. Tomoya had told her there are fun as well as happy things in life despite the fact that she loved going to school and couldn’t be there at times due to health problems. She is a kind and sweet-hearted character that can change the reader’s perspective on how she viewed families always getting along together though some may not be as fortunate as others. Tomoya and his father have had a bad relationship because of family problems that were complicated from his point of view. Nagisa was there to help Tomoya change his view of the town, the people, and how the flow of time passes by as change can be a hard obstacle to overcome. She was a great and moral support for Tomoya to take on life and move forward. Though she had to give up on the drama club, Tomoya would always be there for her and declaring his love to Nagisa was the most beautiful highlight.
The readers can relate to their characters because change can be very hard and difficult to overcome. But despite all that, change is not necessarily a bad thing that we as the readers try our best to find ways to be happy and pursue many fun things in life that matters the most and making the best out of it with the support of family and friends. This is what many readers can find most endearing in Nagisa’s route as she was the pillar in Tomoya’s life that made him change his viewpoint of how families can come together and enjoy one’s company as he comes to love the town and the people as she has too.
I was gonna litter this post with images and whatnot to demonstrate exactly what and when I’m talking about, but I really have to write this one raw for the sake of my own clarity.
I hate Nagisa. I don’t hate her in the way I “hate” Kud - where I just find her kind of annoying, the least likeable of all the characters, and just like to rip on her - I actually hate Nagisa. Well, to be honest the act of hating someone is too much of a pain in the ass for me to bother with, but I definitely can’t stand Nagisa.
Takafumi highlighted a lot of the reason early in this topic:
but it doesn’t cover everything for me. (By the way, this is not intended as refutation of Takafumi, more so as agreement and expansion of what he’s said.)
The number one problem: she’s unbelievably pushy, nosy, and to be frank, arrogant. The anime is by no means the only medium where she’s pushy and nosy.
I can’t blame her for suggesting it. Sure, she probably should have been able to figure out that something was up given how Tomoya has absolutely nothing to do with basketball after one accident, but I have to give her a pass on that. The thing is, Tomoya gave her a firm “no” when she suggested it, but she went through with it against his will anyway. She can no longer claim ignorance. But she’s so arrogant, so sure of herself, so absolutely certain that she knows what’s better for him than he does, that she does her absolute best to force him into it using guilt. She stands there in the rain, deliberately not seeking shelter, making damn sure Tomoya would feel awful for not making it in time for their entirely one-sided promise. And for what? Because she simply can’t accept his own judgement of his own life. Unbelievable.
And after that utter clusterfuck where she finally realises how badly she messed up, you’d think she wouldn’t make the same mistake again, right?
Well you’d be wrong, because that’s exactly what she does when she invites Naoyuki (Tomoya’s dad) to the drama performance entirely behind Tomoya’s back. What does she hope to accomplish anyway? Is she trying to hurt Tomoya?
She does it again and again throughout her route and After Story. Sometimes it’s just small things, other times it makes a world of difference. Just one more I wanted to mention from After Story: When Tomoya punches the wall. For the love of god, just let him let it out. Why do you want him to bottle up his emotions? What’s so wrong about him lashing out for a second? Yeah, it’ll hurt his hand. Boo-hoo. MUCH better than forcing him to bottle up his emotions.
And I know what some people are gonna say:
“Yeah, but she had good intentions” or “but she was right some of those times”.
Doesn’t matter. Does. Not. Fucking. Matter. If you have good intentions, why are you forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do? Why aren’t you respecting his decisions?
It’s like those characters in plenty of other stories who get in the fucking way of the person because they’re worried about them. You see how that makes no fucking sense, right? If you’re so worried about them, why are you going out of your way, against their wishes, to make their life harder!? HOW DOES ANYONE SEE THIS AS A GOOD CHARACTER TRAIT!?
Nagisa is the kind of person who just can’t let something drop, and I hate those people.
Bit of a side story.
This somewhat has special significance to me, because some people actually see respecting someone’s space as not caring about them. You see, I’m the kind of person where if my friend is acting gloomy, I make sure to tell them that I’m there for them if they need anything, once, and that’s it. Any more than that, and I’m just bothering them, surely. The way other people, even my own friends, just can’t respect each other’s space never ceases to baffle me. I even remember my mother - who’s much the same way I am on this issue - telling me a story about how she lost one of her best friends because of this. This friend of hers was a real princess, just wanted to be doted on all the time in her own little safe space and all that. One day this “friend” messaged my mother saying “I don’t need people in my life who don’t care about me” and cut all contact… WHAT!? So because someone wasn’t bothering you mercilessly during your difficult times and respecting your personal space, they don’t care about you???
I have a special hatred in my heart for princesses who have absolutely no respect for other people’s space - just like Nagisa. Not only do they bother the individual, they set a bad precedence that makes people who actually give enough of a fuck about other people to respect their privacy and their personal space seem uncaring.
Beyond that, there’s her utter irrationality. For the love of god, I don’t even BELIEVE in objective rationality, but (After Story) the in-home birth? Seriously?? You DO know you’re not exactly the healthiest person alive, right? No childbirth is risk-free, even for completely healthy people in a good hospital, what possesses you to make the problem even worse? Exponentially so.
I also want to complain about her ceding Koumura as a club adviser to the other club. If I recall correctly, she doesn’t know about Sunohara’s circumstances at this point, but she obviously knows her own circumstances, and she knows about Tomoya’s history too. Putting herself aside, since that really does only affect her, doing that with Tomoya sitting right next to her may as well have just been a big “fuck you” to him. She may as well have just stood up and kicked him in the balls. It would’ve been a lot faster and probably less painful.
Other than that she’s just generally plain and unappealing. To quote Takafumi again:
I’ve heard this sort of argument used before, in a series that I hold quite dearly (Your Lie in April). Basically, (I won’t spoiler tag this because this happens within the first three episodes), one critic whose opinion I valued criticized the series because he “couldn’t subscribe to the worldview” of the series, where female protag pushes male protag against his own wishes to quit playing piano by entering him in a music competition.
I can’t quite accept that line of reasoning, for reasons that I seem to have a very hard time putting into words. But I will try my best.
This is just my opinion, mmkay. But, frankly? Tomoya’s decisions are shit. He’s not working towards fixing himself, and if left unchecked, I honestly believe he would spiral into a life of continuous self-deprecation. I definitely cannot and will not subscribe to the “only you know what is best for yourself” mindset because, well, at his age I had an entirely wrong idea about what was “best for myself”.
However, the issue comes with the fact that I am able to make this opinion as a reader of the VN; I can make this as someone who has been inside Tomoya’s head. This isn’t something that Nagisa is even capable of doing. So, with the limited knowledge she has, is it justifiable for her to push Tomoya in that direction, even if I agree with her methods? Does it indeed make her selfish to push her own mindset onto Tomoya even if the story proved that it was what made him grow? Does it justify us, in our daily lives, to do that to other people who may or may not need our help?
And this opens up a whole big can of worms that I can’t even begin to elaborate on. I can at least agree in that your hate is justified, despite it being something that I cannot agree with. Guess we may have to “agree to disagree” on this one.
I’m neutral on Nagisa, I don’t like her but still don’t hate her. Other people said that she’s pushy and yeah i believe that even though she wants to do good her approach often comes aggressive, with constant spam of you should do this tomoya-san, it’s good for you. But that’s not much of a problem cause i agree with this statement.
The main thing wrong about Nagisa route is that she gets overshadowed by Akio, she can’t leave an impression on me if such a hulk hogan like performance is going on. In After Story They start living together and the relationship they have is great but that’s about it Other characters still are still better than her. Her somewhat appreciated moments are ruined by the idiocy Homebirth scene so she again falls into neutral.At the end the only thing she has going for her is the relationship between her and tomoya which makes me a bit attached to her, but it feels cheap cause i don’t really care about the character itself but only the relationship which is why her death scene is so dry for me.
In short she doesn’t have big goddamm awesome moment or a strong/pleasant personality that in itself alone can make me like her unlike Yukine or any other character. Nagisa is an okay character.
So I never posted about the dango loving one before…
Hmm, well for my part Nagisa gets a free pass because of her illness After Story spoiler and because no-one of that age should have a potentially fatal illness (yes, exacerbated by the home birth decision, but still). I’ve known a few young people with terminal conditions so this doubtless affects my judgement (as well as liking of the Narcissu stories) . It’s shameless manipulation by the writers of the reader of course, and yes we can say that her character is principally there as a foil for Tomoya’s development ( so then which one isn’t?) but hey, I don’t mind falling for it…
I’m sure it must be very disconcerting and unsettling to be a “repeater” too.
While she may well have irritating flaws / traits which are not to do with her illness, I admire the way she persists with her Drama Club dream despite apparently being monumentally inapt for it. The scene with Akio and Nagisa at the School Festival is really powerful, even though Akio is belligerently critical it’s the kick up the arse she needs and that she overcomes her stage fright helped me to like her ( not sure about the offscreen Dango Daikazoku rendition though - what was she thinking!).
So while Nagisa is an unorthodox choice for “heroine” ( I hate that term BTW, but can’t think of a better one…) and a long way from being my “best girl” with her traits I still find Nagisa ultimately very likeable and a person I would be empathically drawn to as a friend at least.
For me, Clannad is about Tomoya and Nagisa, as we see TA is a very different “what if” story that some will prefer; but for Clannad JM and the others put Nagisa at the core of the story and I love it for that.
Now skewer me a dango, I’ll be back in time for tea.
If it’s selfish to want the very best for a dear friend, and later someone you dearly love, then I’d say that’s a pretty justified form of selfishness. Just as Tomoya pushes her towards solving her problems, she too pushes him towards solving his.
It is precisely because she has so much respect for Tomoya that she feels compelled to prevent him from destroying himself. In the same way that you might not wish to allow a close friend to spiral into despair, even if that means going against their own wishes. I’m inclined to agree with the idea that people often do not know what is best for themselves, and whether that justifies trying to correct it even if they’re not all for it is something that I suppose depends on the viewer.
If I’m being frank, a strong relationship shouldn’t consist of letting the other half do whatever they want out of “respecting their decisions”. There’s some decisions that should be respected, and some that absolutely should not. I would argue that many of the decisions Tomoya makes fall into the latter category, and it’s those decisions that Nagisa attempts to remedy. I honestly have a lot of personal experience with a similar situation, and I cannot say with absolute certainty that I would have ever recovered had I been left to my own devices.
I especially strongly disagree with a lot of assessments about the basketball scene. For one, she’s not standing in the rain as a deliberate attempt to guilt trip him, and didn’t want to basically “stand him up” on a meeting that she herself proposed. The most you could really fault her for is being kind of lacking in common sense for standing in the rain and for pushing the meeting in the first place. But considering that it would be wildly unreasonable to expect her to assume disability rather than something much more benign in regards to Tomoya not playing basketball anymore, I don’t really have any problems with that. Tomoya is justifiably angry about her choosing to stand in the rain, but then that suddenly seems like another case of reprimanding an important person for making a shitty decision.
I think characterizing Nagisa as weak while also characterizing her as pushy is kind of an interesting thought process. Most of the other heroines don’t express the strength of character needed to push Tomoya into doing the shit he should be doing. Nagisa goes to pretty hefty lengths to ensure that Tomoya can move forward in his life, and honestly the ultimate justification might just be that Tomoya himself not only tolerates it, but also reciprocates her feelings of love. If we’re going to talk about respecting Tomoya’s decisions, well…it was ultimately up to him to stick with Nagisa through all of her pushiness.
My big problem here is that Nagisa was being pushy before there was any relationship. They hardly knew each other, barely enough to be acquaintances, and Nagisa was trying to change Tomoya’s entire life without knowing anything about him.
To contrast with Sunohara, Sunohara occasionally pushes Tomoya towards a direction, or hints that he should do something (sometimes even going so far as to do it himself) but he never does so in a disrespectful fashion.
Personally I said both because of the differences between the VN and the Anime, and it’s one of the many reasons why I dislike the adaptation. In the VN she is weak because she (at the start) can’t do anything for herself by herself. In the anime this is still true to a degree, but she will also butt into every single conflict imaginable even though she’s too shy to walk up a hill alone. She’s shoehorned in so poorly, and it completely messes up her development for me.
Again, I completely agree with Takafumi here, but I also have some other thoughts on the matter.
A relationship consists even less of forcing the other half into doing what you want explicitly against their consent. Not to even mention what Takafumi said about them barely knowing each other, if I may bring up the basketball scene again.
It’s not like she had to stand in the middle of the rain to avoid standing him up. Any nearby shelter would suffice just fine. And there’s no way that didn’t occur to her, so her choosing to stand in the rain is a conscious decision on her behalf. And actually, even outright standing him up would have been better than the shit she pulled.
She doesn’t need to. He has his reasons, that’s all she needs to guess. Physical, emotional, mental, fucking financial, whatever it could possibly be. Given his utter opposition to the idea and the fact that he stood her up (though he didn’t really, considering that he told her explicitly that he wouldn’t be there), it should be blindingly obvious that playing basketball would only be a painful experience to him. And even if that wasn’t true, or it didn’t occur to her, it’s still not up to her to force him into doing something he doesn’t want to do.
It literally would have been better if she had dragged him there by force. At least he wouldn’t have to blame himself for it. But no, she obviously doesn’t have the physical strength to do that, so she uses guilt into forcing him into it. I won’t accept the argument that she wouldn’t know how he would feel after seeing her drenched in the rain, an infant would know that.
It’s as much the way she does things as what she does that I find unforgivable. She can strongly encourage or discourage certain behaviours as much as she wants, but as soon as she tries to force him into doing something, I can no longer respect it.
And to be frank, Nagisa also makes shit decisions. Constantly. Part of what I like about Clannad is how these two people who can’t function as members of society are able to do so once they’ve come together. That street runs both ways. You can’t act like Nagisa is just some benevolent angel to Tomoya and gets nothing in return. But yes, saying that what she does is justified since Tomoya’s decisions are shit (which it’s not) doesn’t work anyway, because her decisions are also shit. And the funny thing is, Tomoya actually does it right. He encourages her without ever forcing her.
The problem with Nagisa is that she’s too arrogant to even consider that what she wants for him isn’t what’s best for him. It never occurs to her that she might be lacking information. It never occurs to her that she might actually be wrong. I said myself that it doesn’t really matter whether she’s right or wrong, and that’s true. But the fact that she’d rather force Tomoya into doing what she wants against his will than even consider that she’s in the wrong shows an arrogance that astounds me.
Unlike Takafumi, the reason I think this about her is that she’s weak when it comes to herself but pushy when it comes to others. She has no problems forcing Tomoya into doing what she wants, but can’t do anything on her own herself.
In summary, the reason I hate Nagisa is her utter unwillingness to back down when it comes to someone else’s life, despite how little she knows about the situation or if it’s against their wishes.
I just realized something: rather than what has been discussed lately, Nagisa reads to me as someone who’s altruistic to the point of recklessness. I got this exactly from here:
I personally read this as her being easily worried over other people’s problems while deliberately dismissive of her own problems because she doesn’t think they’re worth worrying over – not because she’s full of herself, but rather because she thinks she doesn’t really deserve other people’s worries. That’s why it’s so easy for her to throw herself into harm out of desire to help someone.
That self-deprecating altruism manifests just about everywhere:
Regarding the basketball scene, I don’t think she was deliberately guilt-tripping as much as she really just doesn’t give a single shit about her health.
That’s not the only instance. She was at some point willing to give away the chance of getting an adviser to another aspiring club because she doesn’t think her goal of becoming a theatre actor is as valuable as that person’s dream (despite this person treating her like shit not too long ago).
She broke down on stage while acting because she couldn’t fathom how anyone would sacrifice their dreams for hers – her being a recklessly altruistic person, having someone sacrifice hugely for her sake is too much for her. (Honestly, I know how physically painful this feels)
Still, I do think you are justified in your disdain towards this girl, because it’s just generally easy to read an altruistic person as arrogant even in real life (and people like the one you just described do exist). I just wrote this to offer some perspective.
Anyway, I do like Nagisa, but she’s not really best girl (that award goes to Kyou btw). The story does give her an opportunity to think of herself more positively, but she remained reckless until the end, unfortunately.
I’m taking way too much time to finally write this post.
The scene where a character keeps waiting for the other party depite being seemingly stood up appears in anime-related stories a lot. It elicits an emotional response from the viewer. But I don’t remember ever seeing a character using this scene to guilt-trip or manipulate another. Of course, normal people wouldn’t keep standing like that, not even looking for cover unless they are shocked enough to get completely disconnected from reality. But in anime, it’s not unusual.
The person you’re describing… just isn’t Nagisa. She’s not sneaky like that. She’s not capable of such complicated schemes and too honest for such roundabout strategies. Nagisa is a simple person. She sees someone in pain, so she tries to do something about it. She literally goes out and does something. Anything. Not having a foolproof plan doesn’t stop her from trying. Her inability to act for herself gets flipped completely on its head when it comes to others. The way I see it, it’s not the arrogance of not second-guessing her methods. It’s the foolishness of acting on impulse. Does it make everything ok? No. Is it absolutely wrong? That’s a no, too.
Have you heard the phrase “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” ?
Sounds foolish, right? Utterly irrational. Welcome to human emotions.
There’s women out there who reject a guy, then get mad at him for not trying harder. People who say “don’t follow me” or “leave me behind” when deep down, they want you to do the exact opposite. Different people have different images of what “caring” looks like. Some say it’s about giving people some space and trusting them to come ask for help when they need it. Others think it’s about breaking in and pulling people out of that spiral of despair by force if need be. None of those is a recipe solution. Because in most cases when a person’s having a hard time, nobody, including the victim, is aware of the factors and reasons for their suffering. Sometimes, they just need some time to sort out their thoughts and start taking on that problem. But sometimes, they’re just stuck in a deadlock or a negative spiral that they can’t possibly escape by themselves.
I think it’s good to have people around who are willing to hurt you in order to help you. Not because they KNOW for a fact that they are right. But because they would still try to do something.
I feel like you guys are still missing the main point of my argument.
I’m not saying she does it on purpose. But think about the position she put him in. I don’t particularly like that she was so insistent about it, given that it’s his life and she’s still basically a stranger at this point, but I suppose that’s not such a big deal. Her waiting there for him in case he did decide to show up after all is fine, for the reasons you mentioned in fact. But what the hell was she thinking at the time “oh gee, I bet when he finally shows up and sees me drenched in the rain from waiting for him we’re gonna have a good laugh about it and play a nice fun game of basketball afterwards.”? Waiting in the rain would obviously achieve nothing beyond making him feel guilty, obviously being the key word here. As I said before, any nearby shelter would suffice just fine. And it also demonstrates her complete lack of doubt about her actions. Proof? She still pushes the ball on him when he shows up! How fucking long would she have to wait in the rain before thinking “gee, I guess he really doesn’t want to play basketball, I should stop trying to force him.”?
That’s absolutely a false dichotomy. Altruism and arrogance are not mutually exclusive at all. Even I think that she just wants what’s best for Tomoya when she does all this. Her arrogance comes from her unwavering notion that what she thinks is best for him really is what’s best for him. Even as strangers, she presumed to know better than he did, and was this stubborn about it. Funnily enough, Tomoya was actually on-point with this himself:
And fuck. You know what? People make mistakes. I can forgive the basketball scene on its own. It was stupid, and I do not believe she even thought twice about her actions, and she has no one to blame but herself, but it was just one time. Except actually, IT WASN’T JUST ONE TIME, SHE KEEPS DOING IT!
I think I’m starting to get it.
When Nagisa sees someone in trouble, she rushes in to help. She quickly responds to her desire to help but doesn’t consider all the consequences. Well, normally people don’t automatically second-guess their actions when a surge of motivation comes rushing in, but it is indeed strange that she didn’t adjust her behavior after stepping on a huge landmine. Normally, that would make people hesitate the next time around.
It still doesn’t feel like arrogance, though. It’s more of a “I have to do something” than a “THIS is the best way” thing. Like she’s getting tunnel vision. Like she only knows one way of doing things and not going through with it would mean not doing anything at all. I’m not saying that makes everything right, though.
Then again, Tomoya IS completely stuck on a few matters he won’t budge on precisely because he’s very sensitive when it comes to those. That’s why he simply can’t solve those problems on his own. But to be fair, it doesn’t seem like Nagisa is taking all of that into account. Just that, in the end, she seems to be in the right. Their flaws make a good combination and things just work out in the end… sometimes. Well, this is kinda taking the direction of “The end justifies the means”, which is not a logic I’m particularly fond of.
So, if it wasn’t Tomoya but someone else by her side, would Nagisa look different overall?
I have to admit to being a bit of a Nagisa chauvinist. By that, I don’t so much mean that she’s my favourite Clannad character—although she is—but rather that the integrity of the VN overall leans heavily on her character. The gradual reconciliation and consolation that Tomoya experiences over the course of the story begin with her and she is the VN’s clearest representation of its themes of family and community. Tomoya and Nagisa are at the centre of Clannad and I don’t think it would come together properly without her.
Nagisa doesn’t have outstanding physical or mental qualities. She’s physically weak and sickly. She’s not very smart. She isn’t regarded as especially attractive. She thinks badly of herself and can be a bit of a self-sacrificial martyr because of it. In spite of this, because she has a healthy and loving relationship with her family and is able to give love, she isn’t in a state of self-destruction like Tomoya at the beginning of the story. Clannad has a metaphysical context that treats acts of consolation and reconciliation as timelessly good; structurally I see the VN as a kind of accumulative network of that goodness that radiates outwards from the initially isolated Tomoya as he builds connections in the different routes, and pays off fully in the final ending. Nagisa is the most important part of that network as the first and deepest source of consolation to Tomoya. I might even argue that Tomoya’s involvement in the lives of other characters models Nagisa’s involvement in his own life, although I would have to revisit the VN and think about it some more.
I think Nagisa is best represented by her leitmotif, which is outsize and dramatic compared to the relatively meek and small character. She may not seem like much herself, but what she touches becomes really beautiful. For me, Clannad is what it is because of her.
Even if everything about what I think concerning Nagisa’s route have been said, I would like to add my personal thoughts in this old topic after having read her route. First, I adore Nagisa and for me her relationship with Tomoya is my favourite romance of all times. I like her as much as Tomoyo and my love for her grew through her route. It was very interesting to see Tomoya’s feelings and some scenes weren’t adapted in the anime too. Some people think she is a weak character, but for me she is a strong one. If she isn’t sure of herself and couldn’t climb the hill, it was because she was alone. Nagisa is herself when she is with her family and with her friends and she shows that she can be quite determined and persistent. I’m exactly like that and I can say that we can’t do anything if we are alone, it’s the others who give us strength. Nagisa becomes stronger thanks to Tomoya and she helps him to face his own problems and to learn what’s the true meaning of " family ", and that’s why I love her so much ! She is a model for me because I’m not sure of myself too, and I prefer her like that because like when Mei forced her to be Tomoya’s ideal girlfriend, she wasn’t the true Nagisa. For me she is the perfect girlfriend for Tomoya , even if I can understand why some people don’t like her.