Breaking from my usual more thoroughly estructured analysis posts, I decided to give it a more spontaneous approach to this one, so as to show what my true feelings where about this route. Writing, messages and all will also be addressed, but I don’t want them to be the focus of the post.
Welp, this was a weird start to the VN. Let’s see, we get some random Tomoyo getting dressed in every posible way, we discover Tomoya is working repairing things and all of a sudden everything is a mess with Takafumi, Tomo, Kanako, Tomoya and Tomoyo, all 5 people living in a single room appartment. But what is it that we love about crazy story development? Nonsensical humor of course! But seriously, comedy saved this route.
Knowing that this was originally a 18+ spinoff VN, I was concerned about its quality, which was obviously lacking during the prologue. What obviously were sex scenes had been substituded by Tomoyo trying out random costumes and she feeling overly embarassed about it when Takafumi was watching. Of course, the staff had to do something to disguise those sex scenes, but given the way they did it, why not just let it out of the VN? I don’t think anyone will complain about the prologue not being in the VN if it originally was H content. Well, perhaps some (including me) would complain about not being able to read the best quote of the VN:
So, leaving the prologue aside, what do I think about the route? Well, I think it served as an introduction to all characters and their relationships. There were hilarious moments. As for Tomoya’s story, well… I guess the message conveyed is clear. In my opinion what is meant to be showed is that Tomoya developes an extreme power of will and guts to overcome any situation, however, I’d argue that the way the story progresses allows for a more civil way of proceeding that would end up with the same result: protecting his family.
Anyway, the main concern I have with this route is when Takafumi brings Tomo to Okazaki’s house (I thought I’d call him by his surname to avoid confussion) and he basically says that he brought her there to avoid wrecking his family. So, his whole logic process was: I want to preserve the status quo of my family, so I’ll instead pass the hot potato to you and avoid any kind of responsibility. When I saw Tomoyo’s arc in CLANNAD, I thought that the Sakagamis were finally united and would never break up, specially due to any conflict the origin of which was before Takafumi’s suicide attempt.
Even then, both Tomoyo and Okazaki didn’t have much of a choice. If anything, he could have called the police, but that would have ended up with Tomo being presented to the Sakagamis and Takafumi’s decision of protecting his family’s status quo would have been in vain.
Haruka Kanako appears. She basically acts like a childish teenager who won’t accept any of her parents’ actions (or mother, in this case). So she escapes from home and reaches for Takafumi, and in a blink of an eye, Okazaki now has another resident. What’s even better is that she shows almost no concerns about living with them without paying a penny. Hell, she won’t even buy an ice cream for Okazaki and won’t share hers… This is what really got on my nerves.
Fortunately, they all share incredibly funny moments like the lying contest, Gaijin Takafumi and of course, this:
So all the comedy makes up for how much I hated Takafumi and Kanako during this first arc. Also, here is an obligatory screenshot about another beautiful quote that shows pure writing skills:
Now we get onto the main stuff: Okazaki’s fights and the motivation he had to keep on. Well, it is presented that he wants to deal with those guys because he thinks that they are going to kidnap Tomo if he doesn’t fight them or if Tomoyo herself doesn’t show up. He also doesn’t want to let Tomoyo deal with them because he wants to feel like he is useful and reliable and not just someone who depends on Tomoyo. He wants to prove that he is strong enough to be worthy of Tomoyo.
What do I think about this whole situation? Well, I think it’s straightly stupid. Why would you fight all those guys every day when you can just call the police? Why would you not tell Tomoyo what is going on, just to let her know, not to get any help from her? Sometimes, acknowledging the whole situation and acting intelligently is way better than fighting thoughtlessly.
This aside, he fought them and we could see his determination to help his family. He also shows that he is reliable and can deal with problems on his own. Well, maybe not completely on his own, since Kanako helped him with the training, but you get the idea. It was at this point that I started liking Kanako, since she showed that she actually cared about her new acquaintance and helped him without denying his wish of doing it alone. She even helped him hide the fighting from Tomoyo, though it was in vain…
So Okazaki finally gained the confidence and determination he’ll need in the following routes to carry on with his choices and actions. Something else we get to see from Okazaki is how he just likes helping people, not only his family or friends. This is seen through his job as a repairman. He won’t hesitate sacrificing some of his time to help someone with an spontaneous issue and will fix it on the spot. This was lovely and these scenes felt very calmed and pleasing.
I’d like to speak a bit about the music too. There are many good themes here, like Hope, Old summer days, Love song… but what I think that it’s done best in this VN is music transitions. Since many tracks are similar, and the instruments are pretty much the same, in many places I almost didn’t feel like the BGM changed. This is something very important for immersion that I thought was worth mentioning.
Well, so this is it for the first route in the VN. I left some things out because I felt like they are better suit for the following arcs. Overall, I gave this arc a 3/5. I didn’t like the story and I disliked quite a bit Takafumi and Kanako (during this arc), but the comedy was great and made me laugh every 5 sentences.
EDIT: On a side note, I was talking with @DangoDaikazoku about this yesterday in the voice chat and we came up with the idea that the detailed fight scenes reason to be there is because Maeda, like with baseball, knows a bit about street fighting because he might be the kind of guy who would get into fights when he was young. This could be showed from characters like Tomoyo, who went on killing sprees before joining CLANNAD’s High School and then tried to reform herself and stay away from that life. It could also be related by how (Charlotte spoilers) Yuu got into fights quite a bit in Charlotte when he had that breakdown and, according to what @DangoDaikazoku said, Yuu’s character was written by him as a depiction of some of his own traits, so this could mean that he used to get into fights. It’s still speculation and a bit far-fetched though.