In memory of 2011 その5: CLANNAD and Kyoani as the pinnacle of character animation

Having gone through what I consider to be my fair share of anime adapted from (eroge) Visual Novels – including Kanon and Air – I fully intended to avoid CLANNAD completely. It doesn’t help that these kinds of works are often filled with features less desirable to viewers like yours truly…

…such as fanservice and extremely exaggerated reactions…

However, cornered by a dearth of Yuukyan during the spring and summer seasons, I finally caved in. And listened to the episode commentaries whilst I was at it. For the most part, I found them pretty boring a lot of the time, but those for the few episodes of CLANNAD After Story where Ushio appears were actually really informative. I’d never before taken much of an interest in character animation, particularly that of mannerisms, facial expressions etc etc in Japanese anime. It just never seemed to compare to what Disney and Pixar et al achieved by animating the expressiveness of Tom Hanks and others like him…especially in the action series that I kept watching.

But one thing that caught my attention was a discussion about the most difficult expression to animate:

A look of realisation…this being when Tomoya realises that Ryou likes him…

At the time, I really thought it was pretty damn well done!


But I kind of forgot about that until I got to the latter half of CLANNAD After Story, where…

The mannerisms and expressions that they animated for Ushio are simply amazing…not to mention the snowflakes reflected in her eyes!

And now, I’ve got a new-found appreciation for excellent character animation. I just wish the CLANNAD commentators named all of the animators they talked about, so that I’d know exactly who to beg to join e.g. SHAFT or Satellite!

Just kidding.

But I really do have that new-found appreciation, and I really wish some of those animators had worked on certain other series!

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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