Clannad: A Bleak Look at Family and Child Raising

I’m at Episode 20 of Clannad now. There’s no complaint about the animation, the comedic timing, or the emotion KyoAni could project. So, expression-wise, Clannad gets an almost perfect score. Story-wise, it has down-to-earth stories that I think many find touching and easy to relate to. However, thinking about what happen to each family, I got a feeling that having a family is hard, and it sucks most of the time.

Let us look at one family at a time:

The Ibukis: Fuuko’s story revolves around Kouko’s indecision to get married: she doesn’t want to leave Fuuko behind and be the only one to have a happy life. This baseless thinking leaves Kouko in a status quo for three years. Her judgment is clouded because she has a family.

The Ichinoses: Kotomi’s story reminds me that raising a child requires a lot of patient. Break a promise you made to your kid and she will throw you a tantrum. Of course, it’s not the child’s fault. She doesn’t mean it when she says she hates you. But getting her to understand can be a pain in the ass.

On another note, I find Kotomi’s story trite. A character has a fight with his parent, and the parents are caught up in an accident right after. How many times have you heard this type of stories?

The Furukawas: It’s the tale of stupid sacrifice. Normally, after child is born, one parent would quit his/her day job to raise the child full-time. Akio and Sanae both decided to both quit their jobs while one of them would be enough to take care of Nagisa. Both throw away their dreams instead of just one. This can be seen as quintessential parental love, but I think it’s just plain stupid. Sanae’s being a middle school teacher can get the family a steady income, or Akio might earn a lot more if he makes it big as an actor. Both alternatives make more economic sense than starting a bakery, a job they were totally unfamiliar with, and getting themselves into a lot of debt.

Nagisa’s story reminds me that one has to sacrifice something for the family. Be it his/her dream or his/her freedom. The story presents an extreme of parents’ sacrificing their dreams for their children. One needs plan their child baring carefully or ends up losing both of their dreams like Sanae and Akio.

The Sakagamis: Tomoyo’s story is different. It’s the only story that makes me think having a family is a good thing. Tomoyo changed for the better because she has a family. Her parents became more responsible because they have a family. Your family can stop you from going out of control. I can personally relate to this.

Still, like all stories involving divorce, Tomoyo’s story reminds me that the familial bonds can also be fragile. Small misunderstandings can break a relationship, and it’s always the children who suffer most. Parents have to pull themselves together and be together as they are supposed to be, until their children can understand the situation, that is.

I don’t have comments on the Okazakis or the Fujibayashis yet.

By the way, I’m a 20ish single man who has no plan whatsoever to have a family now. I still have lots of dreams to achieve, and am enjoying my freedom as a bachelor. Of course, I would feel that having a family is a drag. This will change some day, I hope.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted March 21, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Clannad kind of reinforced my desire (hmm… maybe the wrong word choice here) to adopt two girls sometime in my life, because I want to be a loving father and show them what a loving family is. There is nothing more I wish to do but to care for my own daughter(s) and be the best father I can be.

    I thought Kotomi and Nagisa’s arcs, while not specifically focusing on the father in either arcs, clearly showed what a father should do: always be there for his child or at least show them that he loves his kid(s). I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone, so I’ll just leave it at that.

  2. cardcaptor
    Posted March 22, 2008 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    IcyStorm: While watching Clannad reinforced the paternal instinct inside you, it has the opposite effect on me. I cannot imaging raising kids without support from a wife.

    Akio and Prof. Ichinose are great dads, but they couldn’t have handled their daughters alone. While it is not mentioned in the story, I believe there are things that can only be communicated from a mother to a daughter and vice versa.

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