Friday, February 25, 2011

Reflections From the top of the Hill (Fin)

Well folks, this is it. After all the time we've spent together this blog needs to come to an end.Clannad is done. It's been done for a few years now, and we covered what we wanted to on this blog. It's not just that I want to move on to other things. It's that everything that I could possibly cover on this show that means something to me has been covered, and I no longer have anything in my head that's not on here. This is an archive of my thoughts about this show, and fortunately I only have a finite brain to divulge. We're at the top of the hill, and we're looking down at everything that's happened. I have a lot of memories.

I remember starting this blog as if it was yesterday. I'd been coming out of another rough patch not covered in this blog, and needed to tell my story. So much had happened in two years, and I needed to process (much as I do now, as I start the next chapter in my rather insane life). I didn't really know why I wanted to cover the show, other than that it was extremely important to me, and I can't even say that I had an overarching theme in mind. I just wanted to say that I'd found beauty and truth, enough for me to hang onto until I could find it on my own. Beyond covering those basic things I had nothing in mind. I didn't expect (or want) to be be made one of the admins of the Clannad Fan Club. I didn't expect Brandon to start up his blog, or for Sean to want to jump on board, or any of the other things that have happened. I just wanted to get in, post my thoughts, and get out. Like Tomoya, I'd know idea what was going to happen.

This was one of the best projects I have ever worked on. It was personal, collaborative, filled with the things that I cared about, and fun. Every week I'd sit down and watch another few episodes of my favorite show and write about them. I'd never written a blog like this before, and I was a bit worried that I'd peter out. I'd never completed a writing project before, and I'm not exactly the most inspiring of writers, so I grew afraid. But, as I learned from the next few months of writing this show, starting a new relationship, and trying to get my iconography off the ground, it doesn't matter who you are, or what you think you're capable of. You have a choice to make, and regardless of how capable you may or may not be, you will always have that. Did the fact that I didn't think I was a good writer stop me from making this blog? Hell no. Did the fact that Tomoya wasn't exactly father material at the start of the show stop him? Hell no. 

As Clannad taught me we have choices to make about who we are going to be. If you want to be a certain way, then do it! God will provide the way for you to fulfill your dreams, if only you ask Him. And by ask Him I mean go out and keep trying to do it, and never give up. Regardless of cost, reason, sanity, sleep, sorrow, or joy, if it's what you truly desire then you will never give up until your goal is accomplished. Don't say that you're not worthy of it, or not smart enough, or (heavens forbid) strong enough. Did Tomoya look like ANY of those? Does he now? All that separates him from Sunohara are his choices.

And that's really what I think I have to say about this show since the beginning: you will never know what good will come of you following your dreams until you try it. Who knows, you might do the impossible and succeed. I mean, look at this blog. It's here because all the people who wrote in it truly wanted to. Week in and week out we made a deliberate choice to write about this show, regardless of what we thought of our own material (which is not to say we're awful writers. The people who wrote on this blog are awesome. But I'd lie if I said that we didn't have our own doubts). And it's paid off, folks. Like Clannad, this blog has served it's purpose, and so now it'll end. Do I want to say good-bye to my pet project? Actually, I do. I've done everything I want to, and so I'll move on to other things. Am I sad? Of course.  This blog was the first attempt I'd made to talk about something on the internet that succeeded (i.e. people actually read it)! But who knows, maybe by letting go of this project I'll go and find what I've always been looking for. Maybe I'll finally start that Firefly blog that I keep yammering about. Or become a world famous musician. Or, hell, become a homeless bum on the street who amuses people with silly faces. You never know what will happen.

And that's the wonderful thing about life. You don't know. All you can do is try, and hope for the best. Like Tomoya, the only thing that will keep you moving forward is the faith that if you make choices good will come of them somehow. And look at what it got him: a family. What'll it get you?

It's been an honor and a joy writing for all of you,
Liam Francis Traveller

A special shout out to the following people who made this blog what it is are in order.

Brandon: Dude, you do realize that the majority of your posts are the most looked at on this site, right? Don't tell me I'm the better writer ;) Seriously, though, thanks for doing your part here, and for playing the counterbalance to me for awhile. I loved reading your stuff, and felt honored that you would share it here. You have a good analytical style, and I'm glad that you shared it with us. Take care of yourself in Austria, my friend. You rock. 

Sean: I know you didn't get a lot of time to post here, but your post on Fuko was amazing. You brought a completely different side to this blog, even if only for a moment, and I'm glad that you did. You take care of the Warriors for me, OK? I know they're troublesome, but they're good guys. Thanks for contributing, I wouldn't be the same without you.

Maria: What can't I thank you for? You encouraged me at the beginning to write the blog, you read it, you told me that it was good, and you told me that I had something important to say. While you didn't write much here, you certainly did your part of being essential to this blog, even if it was behind the scenes. I hope the readers understand how essential you are, because this all your fault. I mean, how could it not be?

Andy: First of all, TOLDJA this show was good, Mr.-I'll-learn-Meg Mell-on-my-guitar! :P I've never not worked with you on a writing project, and I'm happy that this wasn't an exception. Your different point of view was a wonderful second half for the blog and kept it alive while I went and fretted about how I was going to end it. Thank you for your insights, I always value them.

Taylor: I'm not gonna lie, folks. Without Taylor this wouldn't have happened. I remember sitting on Facebook, chatting with him about the idea for this blog, and about how it could have been a video blog. He told me that he could splice some of the episode clips for me, and that's when the format of this being a text-video blog popped into my head and stuck there. Every single week I would give him my "selections" to cut, and he did almost always on time. When I say almost always, I mean when he didn't get it on time he would get pissed about failing and try doubly as hard the next time. Taylor, your dedication to this blog is impossible to overstate. Thank you for putting everything into it that you did, because you made it doable. 

and last but not least...

To our readers: I don't know how many of you there are, but thanks for sticking around and reading. This project was a deeply personal thing for everyone involved here, and it's very humbling to have people read and enjoy something that you put so much of your heart and soul into. I hope you find the blog as enlightening as we, the writers, have. Tis been an honor.

And one more video, just for the hell of it. Well, it might have thematic importance to this post. Just a bit. Three last cheers for Taylor, folks! He did this in a few hours (and if you're wondering, yes that can be a pain with Youtube. Trust me, I know)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Make a Choice

Well, it finally comes around to the interesting portion of my posts. I've already gone through Tomoyo, and touched on the alternate arc for Kyou. And now? I'm going to be explaining why I think the idea of having "another world" arcs is not only valid, but important to the series. Well, at the very least, I think that they provide an insight into something which becomes very important to Tomoya.

One Set Path?
The idea that there's only one "proper continuity" gets really toyed-with by Clannad, because it's based off of a "visual novel". For those who don't know...the most simple explanation of a VN I can scrounge up is that it's like those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, but with a much more upper-scale story, better-developed characters, far-better writing, and more interesting choices. In a visual novel, there's multiple routes that you can take in the story. When there's a romance involved (as is typical of VNs), different routes tend to involve the main character ending in a relationship with different characters. WARNING: This next paragraph contains some spoilers for the visual novel, including a key bit about After Story

In Clannad, there's romantic endings for Tomoya with Nagisa, Fuko (yes, there is an ending where Tomoya goes out with Fuko), Tomoyo, Ryou, Kyou, and Yukine. That's a lot. And completing some of them unlocks bits of others' stories. In addition to that, these endings contain an important feature for After Story: the "light orbs". You have to complete these (and other) endings in order to fulfill people's wishes, to collect enough lights in order to unlock the "real" ending to After Story. See, in the usual ending to After Story, you get the path followed in the anime, where Nagisa dies during childbirth, Tomoya reconciles with Ushio, and then they tragically die in the snow. If you're missing light orbs, the game points you to that, and tells you to go back and collect the missing ones. I could write an entire post alone on that interpretation of the ending, the fact that you have to complete multiple timelines in order to unlock the "good" final ending. Or how that big bundle of lights includes lights from those "another world" storylines.

But I digress.

The idea that there's more than one set path gets talked-about by Ryou, mostly, although there's a scene in After Story where Kotomi waxes scientific about it, too. I find this scene to be the most informative, however, because of Ryou's monologue.

"If the results come true, it's as if there's only one set future. But if it fails, we can think that other futures exist. We never know how the future shifts because of the slightest change. I want to believe that in our future, there are many possibilities waiting."

On one level, it's a rather amusing statement by a character in a visual novel, poking the "fourth wall" a little. (Indeed, the "future" can shift because of the direction in which Tomoya attempts to avoid Kyou, early on in the game) And it's funny. It also makes one think about this "multiple paths" thing from another perspective. When you're playing the game, you think about it from an observer's perspective.

But what about the characters?

Many Possibilities
Ryou wrestles with that idea of fate. It's a rather subtle theme that comes through her entire character. She's a bit scared and timid, afraid to make splashes in the world. Perhaps she's scared to do something wrong, that one of those changes which she causes will bring about a terrible future. Perhaps she's frightened that she'll lose everything that she's been hoping for.

Tomoya ought to wrestle with the same fear. He's seen so much go bad from decisions that people have made, he has ample reason to believe that his own choices will wreak havoc on life. There's enough stuff that went bad in his life, after all. And maybe Tomoya does...up until that one pivotal moment which, ironically, begins the series. He reaches out to Nagisa.

In that single moment, all of the possibilities crystallize: the ones that are, the ones that are not. Everything boils down and is guided by that one pivotal choice. Is it fate? Not really. It's the movement of a heart, taking action and shaping reality...through the sheer force of will.

It just takes that one simple action. It takes the courage to make that choice. And, really, that's how we all shape our lives. If we don't step out, we can't choose a path. Fate won't pick our life for us. We have to do something about it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I leave you with.

It's been fabulous writing around here, and it's kinda sad to know that School's Trees is coming to an end soon, but it's been a good run. The season has come round, and The School's Trees will still stand to move and inspire future generations.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Hero

Hey guys, long time no post! I know it's been a while, but I've got a minute from moving into my new school to come back to my favorite blog. What have I been up to? Why, watching Clannad of course! What else would I be doing, besides iconography, moving into school and getting to know a whole bunch of new and cool people, and a good long distance relationship? That doesn't include 16 credit hours or three RP campaigns, of course. Not busy at all. But back to Clannad.

I just got done watching Clannad for the seventh time, this time with my father. For many reasons it was a beautiful thing to do, because I'd had a similar epiphany about my father that Tomoya had, although it wasn't for anything halfway as serious. Either way,it was wonderful to watch the show with one of the major people in my life. As I watched this time, however, something stuck out at me. It's been percolating for a while now, so I thought I'd write on it, and see how people reacted. This time I want to write specifically on Tomoya.

In The School's Trees post on Tomoya we'd stated that Tomoya is the common man, that he's the least likely person to be a hero, because he's...normal. And I agree with that (I mean, hell, I helped write it), but I found that I missed something in this wonderful show after the seventh time. Part of this has to do with the fact that I finally played a portion of the Visual Novel, and walked in Tomoya's shoes for a bit. That changed my view of the anime completely, because I bombed out within the first twenty minutes.
Yes, I flunked the Visual Novel.
I did it one more time before noticing the trend. The good things wouldn't pursue you, the plot wouldn't come and find you. Oh sure, the plot invited, but the plot never pursued. Ever. There were just hints of the good things to come that I knew from the anime so well, but nothing ever came of it. Why? Because I never went after it. Tomoya must grab life in the Visual Novel, and never let it go. Ever. Watching the anime after that gave me a new appreciation for the character of Tomoya, because, once he made this decision:

He never, ever, but never backs down from it until the death of Nagisa. He goes at his  goal with an iron will, with the impossible determination of a man who believes that there is meaning out there, and that even if he can't see it, even if he can't feel it, he knows it must exist. What led him to that conclusion? The answer is a bit silly, but it's true: sheer boredom. Tomoya was bored. He wanted a full life, and wasn't getting it, so he went out and lived one. He faced the darkness and walked right into it, daring something that most of us will never do.  The fact that he ran into such sadness with little to nothing to guide him and went through it anyway, only to quit when Nagisa died, says a lot about Tomoya's strength. His fortitude, which is enormous, couldn't make it through that alone, and would have to wait five more years for Ushio. But remember that when Ushio was ready, Tomoya found the strength again. Like his inability to cope with Nagisa's death or not, I doubt most of us would do half as well with the circumstances Tomoya had bulldozed his way out of. Tomoya never gives up.

After that I found myself a bit of a wimp after watching him for this seventh time. Tomoya's will is iron, quiet, and purposeful. Mine is not. But I know I can be like him, because, as we'd stated, Tomoya is the everyman. He is us. He is us because he tries, and when he doesn't get it the first time he tries until he gets it right. The fact that the everyman can only get what he wants by trying every possible situation as much as he can is something I know I don't think about often.  But it certainly is helpful to think about, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rage and Peace: Tomoya and Kyou

Like I've mentioned before, Kyou is a character I've had to come to terms with after a while. I think it's just something about tsundere characters that causes me to inherently mistrust them. I think I tend to view those characters as manipulative to some degree, and I tend to have little pity when they make emotional problems for themselves. When I rewatched the series, though, I began to develop just that: sympathy for Kyou, and for everything she has to put up with.

Violent Tempests
Really, you can wrap it all up in this scene, right here. If you see this scene and think "Gee, I don't get Kyou at all. She just needs to get over it!" then you probably don't like the Kyou arc. That used to be me. When I gave it a second look, though, I really began to understand just what Kyou was all about. And it's really contained right here, in this video.

Kyou's heart is powerful, and there's a lot of things she wants. Kyou's greatest struggle is trying to understand how to reconcile those desires. She's literally torn between her and her sister, between wanting her sister to find happiness and her own attraction to Tomoya. This scene is where it all comes to a head. Kyou herself gives Tomoya the command to stay away from her, so that Ryou can be happy. She then leaves him to follow up on it.

It's a very different type of relationship from the Tomoyo or the Nagisa pairings. It's tumultuous and unsteady and very impassioned. It demands action from Tomoya. In the end, I can find that good and interesting as well. Every relationship, after all, reaches a sort of balance from one end of the spectrum to the other. The Tomoyo relationship began peacefully, and turned stormy, eventually stabilizing when Tomoya made his decision to grow up and take responsibility for his own life. The Kyou relationship begins violently, but everything clears up when Tomoya takes responsibility for his relationships, and chooses Kyou.

Stagnant Flames
This ending sees Tomoya in a really sticky situation. Youhei, in one of his rare moments of incredible intelligence and insight, rather sticks it to Tomoya for keeping it in this state. Kyou and Ryou both like Tomoya, and he's sort of trying to dance around the issue, pushing it off to avoid hurting them. He doesn't want to commit to something, and cause pain. Youhei points out that the longer he keeps it up, the more it'll hurt when he has to make a choice.

This is the significant point of the Kyou episode. With so many high-strung emotions going every which way on Kyou's part, there has to be a choice made. She's depending on Tomoya to choose, because it really is his call to make. And, compared to Tomoyo's chapter, what Tomoya winds up doing is rather pain-free. It's a neat resolution.

In fact, it's Kyou that goes through the most sacrifice here. She winds up disguising herself as her sister, on Ryou's suggestion, just to hear the truth from Tomoya. And it provides an avenue for Tomoya to make up for his mistakes. He makes his commitment, and this decision leads rather smoothly to the final resolution...

There's something interesting to be seen here, too, amidst the simple and happy ending. It's Kyou and what she says. She asks Tomoya if he really thinks she was the "right choice". She then tells him that she'll rest easy if he truly gets angry at that suggestion. It says a lot about Kyou. She's in reality a rather insecure person. With her passionate heart jerking her this way and that, she can't trust anyone else to stay with her. She needs reassurance. Since the language she speaks best is the passions of the heart, anger is simply another signal, for her. If Tomoya gets angry, that tells her that he really means what he says.

Oh, and there's one other video that I think would close this post nicely. It sums up Kyou pretty dang well.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top Ten Characters, Real Number 1: Tomoya!

Tomoya Okazaki: the main character. Ah, so we’re finally at the end of all of this. I’ll admit, I was starting to go brain dead….. One more won’t kill me, right? Yes, it’s Tomoya, and I can’t think of anyone better to be placed at the top of the list. He’s the hero of our story. He’s the perfect hero, too. He’s a smart, solid guy, and he never slips up. No, that’s wrong; I’m thinking of somebody else. This guy, Tomoya, is probably one of the worst fits for the hero criteria I’ve ever seen. He’s a delinquent in school, he’s pretty much a lazy bum, and he’s got his fair share of mistakes to follow him around. This is what Tomoya is. He’s real. He’s a character that we can all relate to. I know we can, because we all make mistakes. Sometimes they’re huge. Sometimes they’re irreversible. Tomoya is forced to live his life with a past mistake constantly shadowing him. His right arm has only 50% of its use, because of something he had done some time ago, but his arm can’t be fixed, so he has to remember that mistake all the time. The only thing he could do was not make the same mistakes again. He builds himself up every day by changing the way he acts and the things he does. His progress is eventually what makes him our hero, a character that really stands out. Maybe he didn’t do anything big for the world, but he was certainly a sort of savior to those he was close to. In the end, Tomoya is just like any other person with his individual doubts, fears, and mistakes. It’s these aspects that make Tomoya human and make Clannad such a real story. It’s these things that make us human, that make us real. It’s Tomoya’s realism that makes him a bad hero, and that in turn makes him a perfect hero for Clannad… that makes sense, right?

Well, folks, here's the real deal. And Tomoya's place on this list is more than deserved. After all, this show is, in a very real way, about him. It's about his journey into adulthood, his journey to tragedy, and his redemption as a father. He walks a long and oft-troubled road, filled with pain and joy, failure and triumph. He's one of us.

He's also a jerk.

Well, he gets better. Tomoya's immaturity is strong, but at the same time he has strengths that await polishing. There is promise alongside his faults, and we get to watch that promise coming out and forming him as the series progresses. This is arguably the most powerful part of the series, as flaw after flaw is scoured away, until finally Tomoya can fulfill the single role entrusted to him.


You could say that the entire ending of Clannad hinges on fatherhood. Akio's dream was united with that of his wife, and passed down to Nagisa. Her dream met up with Tomoya's dream, and they passed it on to Ushio. Who knows how far back that deposit of dreams, of wishes, lay, and how big that wish was that Ushio received? Of course, Ushio needed something to spend the wish on.

The entire series shows us what that wish got spent on. It shows us the father that Tomoya became, and it shows us the father that he was to Ushio. It shows us the father that Ushio was willing to lay her life down for, and to spend her one wish for.

And he's not so much of a jerk, after all.

Though I can't concede that Tomoya is my favorite character (Akio still wins in my heart for that), I can't really argue that he's the most important character of the show. He is the main character after all. And what an interesting main character he makes as well!
If you couldn't tell, Clannad is all about Tomoya's transformation. Nagisa's transformation is important as well, but in the end, Tomoya's is the main concept (and this is a virulent Nagisa fan saying this!). 

Clannad, in the end, is all about how Tomoya becomes a husband and father. At the outset of the series, it's easy to see that he's basically incapable of being a good father. He's a lazy delinquent who doesn't care about school or much of anything else besides goofing off with Sunohara. Throughout the series, though, he evolves into a man who works hard for a living, yet still comes home to be a great father, raising a young daughter alone (though with Akio and Sanae's invaluable assistance). How does this change in Tomoya occur? I think it's from his relationships: predominantly Nagisa, of course, but Akio and Sanae are invaluable, and even Shino in her getting Tomoya to connect with Ushio; plus one can't forget Ushio herself. And those are just the most major ones: all his relationships help effect his transformation. Thus all the characters in Clannad, in the end, are important to the extent that they effect Tomoya's transformation.

Tomoya is the character of Clannad. Without other characters, Clannad wouldn't be the show it is, but it would still be there; without Tomoya, Clannad wouldn't exist at all. Tomoya's lack of husbandly and fatherly qualities is the conflict of the show, and it is resolved as he gains these qualities through his relationships.
In conclusion, Tomoya is Tomoya...just what constitutes the person of "Tomoya" evolves throughout the series. And the progress of that transformation is what makes Clannad the masterpiece it is.

There are many characters that I like in anime: Mustang and Ed from FMA, Simon from Gurrenn Lagann, Near from Deathnote, and many others. But the only character that I've truly connected with was Tomoya Okazaki. 

It's not that there aren't more amusing, wise, or mature characters. If that was what I was looking for I would have picked Akio. It's not even that I like him (I do), or that I think he's terribly amusing. If I was looking for that I'd have picked Fuko (who was number 3 on my private list, btw). It's not even that I find him powerful and wish to have a child half as cool as him (Ushio fits that to a T). It's that when I watch Tomoya I find my own logic at work in him. I don't even know how to sum it up into words, it's such a powerful case of commiseration. 

But I know I can communicate this: When I watch Tomoya I'm watching myself, in all the glory and flaws. I have never not struggled with the things that Tomoya does, and I find myself coming back to watch him overcome his problems and cheer him on. When Jamie broke up with me I found an ally in Tomoya, another person who'd lost something very important, who also had no idea how to communicate that to others, who didn't want to trouble other people with it, who wanted to give up but didn't have the cowardice to do it. With Tomoya I found the strength to move again and, regardless of how weak that may sound, it's helped make me the man I am today. And for that I can't be too grateful.

Ok, guys.  Here's the real deal.  I do find Botan rather amusing, but the truth is that first place, in my opinion, really should go to someone else a, less furry?  Seriously though, joking aside, it is true that the question of who my favorite character was wasn't a hard one for me to answer.  Last spring, a friend and I were talking about Clannad.  In the midst of the conversation, my friend asked me the very same question I'm answering now, who my favorite character in Clannad was.  The answer that I have now is the same as the answer I gave to my friend last spring.  First place in my mind has to go to Tomoya.  I'm not completely sure why.  It's true that there are many characters more exciting, engaging, and amusing in Clannad.  There are many characters that are more unique.  

Tomoya is, in essence, just a regular guy.  He's a regularly messed up, unhappy guy to whom something very regular and ordinary happens to, but somehow, out of this regularly ordinary situation, something truly amazing comes about.  In other words, amazingly, dreams do come true for ordinary people.  They come true for people who are unhappy.  They come true for people who have given up on the world.  They come true for people who are too pissed off at what they know is true to even begin to look or to hope.  So the question is, if the sometimes seemingly impossible can come true for an ordinary person like Tomoya, a person who doesn't even believe enough to look for it, can it come true for me too, a person who's not sure if she's got the guts to try?  Can it be true for my friend?  My sister?  The neighbor across the street?  As I watched Tomoya, the ordinary, quiet, angry guy live through the story of Clannad, the answer I got was, yes.  Yes, it can happen to my neighbor, my sister, and my friend.  No, it doesn't matter if they think it can or not.  Yeah, there's reason to hope because the most amazing things come from to ordinary people; they come to people like Tomoya, like you, and like me.  

We've all got a chance.... 

Thanks to everyone who helped write this up with me, you're all awesome! I couldn't have done it without you, and isn't that what Clannad is about?
-Liam Francis Traveler

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Characters, Number 1: BOTAN!!!!

Botan: the overlooked character. So Botan is that cute little pig of Kyou’s that appears in Clannad every once in a while. It’s cute and clever and sometimes spontaneous, making it a great little pet to have around. Botan’s a great minor character and all, but that’s it, right? It doesn’t really mean anything other than that…….right? Well, I hate to inform you, sir or madam, but you are completely WRONG. Botan is something much more than just a cuddly little boar running around in circles. However, most of you have failed to see what Botan really represents. You’ve gazed right past this character multiple times, telling yourself that you’re satisfied with a simple “Puhi!” here and there. But now you’ve forced our (typing) hands. Everybody posting here can agree that Botan is something more than what is on the surface. That’s exactly why Botan is the #1 character in all of Clannad.
I think Botan can be a representation of the human race as a whole, even though Botan isn’t even human. Botan’s just an animal. Maybe we’re all just animals, though. Botan can show us the faults and follies of people overall. Botan easily represents the simple-mindedness of a majority of the human race, how there are those who will take orders without a question, regardless of what values the orders may compromise. Botan can represent those who will not listen to reason, no matter how good the reason is. Botan can hold a grudge, like when he won’t go near Ryou because of a simple mistake on her part. It’s obvious that Botan’s doll trick is another crack at the human race. People are very fake. People try to act like things they aren’t, maybe to be accepted or to try and trick others. We all know what it feels like to have these attributes, so it’s not hard to see at least a little bit of ourselves in Botan. Of course, I’m not saying Botan is our bad human nature curled up in to a fuzzy ball. Botan definitely shows positives aspects of us also. Botan shows how some of us are able to think intelligently and become more than what most expect. I mean, really, Botan’s just a boar, but he still has more ability than most animals have. Again, Botan’s not just some random comic relief character. He’s much more than that. So I have to ask that the next time you watch Clannad, consider all of this, and try to find a bit of yourself in Botan.

There are many wonderful characters in Clannad.  Each one is unique and brings something more to the show; each one adds something and builds Clannad into what it is.  Putting together my top 10 favorite character list for Clannad was difficult.  By the end of my decision time, my paper was an almost illegible puzzle of cross-outs and arrows.  It was hard to choose and number off all the unique and special characters in Clannad.  I struggled.  There was only one spot that wasn't hard for me to fill; that was the spot of number one.  I didn't have to choose my favorite character, all I had to do was write him down. From the moment I met Botan, I connected with him.  Something about him touched me in a way that no one else in Clannad was able to.  Botan's loyalty is awe-inspiring.  The simplicity of his fidelity to those he cares about is stronger than anything else in Clannad.  The makers of the show demonstrate their true ability in their creation of Botan.  In this small and seemingly insignificant animal, the essence of Clannad is shown.  Like the simple and deceivingly unimportant storyline of Clannad, the story of a boy and a girl falling in love, the story of a small animal, of Botan, is one that captures you and opens your heart in ways that you didn't think were possible.  This is why Botan is my favorite character.  This small animal quietly and unobtrusively draws you to believe that there is something more magical, more true, and more real to life.  It is Botan's care, love, and loyalty that make this possible.     

Well, folks, here comes that time. The top, favorite, utterly best character in Clannad, at least according to our informal poll. Well, if you read the title of the post, I suppose you already know the decision that's been made, so it's not much use trying to surprise you. Honestly, though, you shouldn't be surprised anyway. I know that I wasn't. Botan is seriously one of the best things that ever happened to the show.

Before that little piggie came along, the show was missing huge things. It was missing the non-human element, the roly-poly element, the element of the poor, peaceful "puhi! puhi!". Not only that, but it was missing an edible element. Nobody in their right mind would think of making a Fuko roast, but a show without a socially edible character is only half a show.

Enter Botan: a character who is plump, cute, and would make a spectacular stew--

OW! Watch where you're throwing that book, woman!

I'm going to end this post with the simple and remarkable fact:   Botan is the best thing since bread (regardless of whether he's been cooked or not). Why? Well, for many of the same reasons that my fellow posters think he's awesome: his love, loyalty, and courage in the face of danger (Sunohara, anyone?) are worthy of our admiration. You try going a day in Botan's hooves before Ushio shows up and you'll agree. Botan is the most inspiring, loving, sweet, and human  character in this entire show. Especially when he's in stew.


A special thanks to all of those who helped me write out this incredible series of articles. Your hardwork and dedication to the greatness of Botan cannot be understated. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Heya People

Liam Francis Traveler here, with a request. I'm currently heading up the Ushio Okazaki fanpage on Facebook, and I've just entered a competition with the other fansites to see who can get the most votes. Here's what we're at right now:
1. Kotomi: 67 Fans
2. Nagisa: 59 Fans
3. Fuko: 57 Fans
4. Ushio: 55 Fans (
5. Tomoyo: 55 Fans
6. Kyou: 50 Fans
7. Yukine: 34 Fans

Ushio is my favorite character. WHAT IS SHE DOING 3RD PLACE?? So do me a favor. Log into Facebook, and click on that link that's up there, and LIKE the page. Yes, I removed the option of clicking on the other links. That was on purpose. *evil smile*