Sunday, August 8, 2010

相楽美佐枝 (Sagara Misae)

" me forever. Please love me forever and ever. That is my wish."

Sagara Misae is a, for the most part, very minor character in Clannad. She appears periodically throughout the first season, and then her real appearance is in Episodes 5 and 6 of After Story. After that, she may appear once or twice before the final montage.


Misae is the dorm mother for Sunohara's school dorm. While it's obvious that she cares for the students under her care, hers is a tough love: if they're too rowdy, they get beat down, either with a broom, or with her martial arts skills. When she's not being violent, though, she's also open and friendly, and she's fond of giving advice. She's also particularly defensive of her cat. Her backstory helps clarify a few more parts of her personality, most importantly that she cares for people. Even if people annoy the hell out of her, she still cares for them and worries about them. Plus she's desirous of having someone to care for her as well, someone who will love her forever. Like I said, this later part of her is really not seen explicitly until her backstory; her earlier personality (at least the tough love part) can be seen in her first appearance (also Sunohara's first appearance):


As mentioned above, Misae is first seen as the dorm mother of Sunohara's dorm. Whenever a guy (often Sunohara) is too rowdy (or threatens her cat), she'll easily beat them down. Besides this occasional moments of violence, she's very much in the background. She (along with her cat) goes to Kouko's wedding, and she (along with her cat) attends Kotomi's violin recital, for all the good that does them. At this recital, we learn a bit about Misae's background: she was previously a student at this high school (back in the day), and she was student council president (or chairman, depending on your translation). She was legendary for being the first female president and for creating the "All-School Perfect Attendance Week" (some of that might not be revealed until After Story).

Besides these events, Misae doesn't really do much until her After Story episodes. I mean, she helps out at the baseball game, like almost every other character, but besides that, her true story is Episodes 5 and 6.

Nagisa and Tomoya go to bring food to Sunohara (who, as we learned on his fake date with Sanae, has horrible eating habits) and run into Misae spinning him in a circle for threatening to eat her cat. As she helps him heal from the wounds she inflicted, she informs us of her cat's name: Nanashi (Japanese for "no name"), shortened to Nana-kun. Then Tomoyo appears to ask for help about becoming student council president, specifically on how to attain the famed "All-School Perfect Attendance Week." Then a member of the rugby club appears to ask advice (Misae turns out to be a great dispenser of advice, it seems) about dating. As the night winds down, everyone begins to leave, but Misae holds back Nagisa and Tomoya to discuss their relationship. Apparently she is not out of advice for the night.

She recommends they go on real dates (hey, sounds like Mei!), and then she and Nagisa begin to talk about how the school was back in her day. Tomoya begins to grow groggy during this discussion, and suddenly her cat begins to speak to him telepathically about a charm containing a light that grants a wish...and then we enter a flashback.

This flashback explains Misae's story, one of the truly touching minor arcs. She has a crush on a boy named Igarashi, and she often waits by the entrance of school to meet him and talk to him. One day she succeeds in talking to him, only to be interrupted by the appearance of a strange boy next to her. After beating him down for ruining her chance, she listens to what he has to say:

Some time before, Misae's mother was in the hospital, and she would often come visit her. While she was visiting, Misae saw this young boy there who looked down because of his illness. She encouraged him to cheer up and persevere. Though Misae does not remember this moment, the boy was inspired by it, and it helped him grow strong and recover. Now he wants to repay Misae's kindness; unfortunately, she doesn't want any payment. This boy, whose name is Shima Katsuki, won't give up, though (he's never gonna give her up until she accepts a repayment). He continues to hang around at school, begging her for a wish, which she won't tell him; in the meantime, he is jeopardizing her chances with Igarashi. Sadly, though, it turns out she never had a chance anyway: Igarashi already has a girlfriend, and, seeing Shima around Misae often, he has him break the news to her.

This is rough for Shima, though, because he has been getting attached to Misae through all the time they've spent together (not usually of her own free will). So when he tells her about Igarashi, he proposes it as a hypothetical situation, to which she advises him to somewhat take advantage of the situation to make the girl fall for him. Following this advice, and his out-spoken cry that he can't do that because he cares for the girl too much, she realizes who he'd been talking about the entire time.

That incident obviously causes some tension in their friendship, so Misae's friends, Saki and Yuki, try to offer Shima advice on how to cheer her up. Like Mei's dating advice to Nagisa, it doesn't directly work, but it achieves the desired effect, somewhat. Misae accepts the fact that Shima likes her, and it seems she starts growing closer to him. He learns that she's student council president, and he wants to see her in action, so Misae's friends dress him up like a girl to sneak him into school. When the two go to a festival, Misae admits that she saw through his disguise, and she knows her friends put him up to it. At the festival, it's very obvious that the two, formerly almost complete strangers, have now grown close.

As the festival draws to a close, Misae stops Shima and finally tells him her wish: that he love her forever and ever. He cries elated tears of joy, and then Misae runs to get something to drink for the two...but when she returns, she sees Shima disappear into the crowd, after mouthing some last words to her: he will love her forever.

The story then jumps forward abruptly. We see Misae moving into the dorm and becoming dorm mother, along with her trust cat companion. On the phone, she tells someone (her mother, possibly?) that she is not dating anyone, and she claims she's not still holding out for Shima. Then she talks a bit with the cat: she's surprised he likes being with her, considering she doesn't like cats. She has a undescribed strange thought about her cat, and she ridicules the idea of a fairytale being real. Then the story fades away...

Tomoya wakes up, and later on the main group of friends attend a festival (the same Misae and Shima went to), and Nana-kun runs up to Nagisa and Tomoya, with Misae chasing close behind. As she struggles to get a grip on her cat, Tomoya confesses to the dream he had, in which her cat talked to him, asking him to tell her how he had wanted to go to the festival with her, and how he would stay by her side forever, as she wished, and that he wants her to be happy. Misae and Nana-kun then walk happily off into the festival.

After this story ends, Misae isn't really seen until the ending montage, and then she appears no different than usual: she and her cat are just standing in front of the dorm, staring into the sky.

(Now, you may think I'm missing some big parts of Misae's story: what the hell is with her cat? Well, I'm writing this post strictly about Misae's part of the story, what she concretely knows and experiences. In my post on Shima, I'll fill in the gaps here.)

Effect on Main Plot

Misae's arc is another one that doesn't seem to do too much to affect Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship. Of course, she offers some dating advice, but there's not too much beyond that. Hers is really more of a story that's important thematically rather than plotwise.

On a less direct note, her relationship with Shima has some good pointers for Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship. Tomoya recognizes its value: after all, he calls it "a wonderful love story." It's a story of perseverance, enduring love, and commitment, definitely some aspects that are important for all good loving relationships. I think this story is a bit inspirational, at the least for Tomoya. And, as a sidenote, the lake and fountain that Shima and Misae often talk in front of is the same one that Nagisa and Tomoya talk in front of when they're hanging out with Fuko on the night before her sister's wedding.


The past affecting the present is a very forthright theme in Misae's story. Misae's actions in the past are what drive Shima to find her and offer her a wish, and that drive is what leads to their relationship blossoming. The love she found with Shima also still affects her in the present day; just look at her scene in the festival at the end of her story. Overall, the actions of both Misae and Shima influence the two of them to this day (in show time).

Perseverance is present in Misae's tale, both the "never give up" perseverance, and the "find new happy and fun things" perseverance. Shima won't take a throw-away answer on his offer of a wish for Misae, and she learns to grow close with him, even when her crush on Igarashi falls through. Plus Misae's message to Shima when he was in the hospital is a message of perseverance: even if you're ill and suffering, keep fighting, and don't give up.

The importance of commitment is made very explicit here as well. Misae's wish ends up being for Shima to be committed to her forever, and he accepts that commitment (since he makes the commitment, I'll explain more in his post).

There's also some supernaturality involved; again, to be explained deeper in Shima's post.


Misae's story is an interesting one. Like Sunohara's, it's one I didn't really get the point of the first time I watched. I thought, "Oh, that's a touching tale, but why is it stalling Nagisa and Tomoya's relationship?" And now, I see its power. Many people I talk to count it as one of the most touching parts of the entire series, especially Shima. I guess, when you really think about it, Shima is the truly touching one, not Misae; that doesn't mean she's useless and bland, though.

I just really don't have much to say about Misae. She's a good, wise character specializing in sound advice and tough love, with a touching backstory. Not much else for me to say. Sorry for the real lack of a reflection.

Thanks for reading. God Bless, and peace.

Nota Bene: All clips are from the Clannad Central YouTube channel run by the Clannad (クラナド/Kuranado) fan page on Facebook. All character themes and other music from the show can also be found on said fan page, in the music player. My gratitude to them and all the work they do.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I wanted to see Misae and Sunohara end up together. It would be an odd pair, but certainly not a bad one. He reminded Misae a bit of Shima, and her maternal (albeit abusive), caring tendencies would be a cute match with Sunohara's carefree, gullible personality.