(PLEASE NOTE: The first person who says anything along the lines of ‘wait till x episode, it’s x’ will be fucked in the lung by a tentacle monster. I already know all of the spoilers for this show, I already know where I’m gong to cry, shut the fuck up. I fucking hate those comments. Incidentally, if you haven’t seen Clannad, don’t fear spoilers. They’ll just make you want to watch the show more.)
I’m a manly man. Maybe not Karna, but nonetheless, I am hardly a woman (even though I’m probably a lesbian.) As such, it is extremely difficult for me to cry during an anime. It’s not that I’m emotionally distant – no, the contrary. I get pretty emotional about shows and might even tear up like I’m ready to cry, but then my man-senses kick in and the tears withdraw. Unlike, say, No Name, who is a woman and cried throughout the entire second half of Eureka Seven. He’s worse than Nagisa.
I’ve been counting the instances where I went beyond just tearing up (like I did in say Air or after Hues died) but actually cried. Here’s a list of all the tears I’ve shed while watching anime. This is, of course, not counting shows that had a psychological effect on me causing me to break down hours later (i.e. Manabi Straight and Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu.)
Tear One – Kanon. Yes another Key show. This one happened during episode 20 or so when the ultra-cool mom got hit by a car (lived) and then her daughter showed her first true emotional moment. I teared up all through the show, but only this moment got a full-on tear.
Tear Two – Eureka Seven ending. The end was so beautiful that I had to shed one tear of pure, unbridled happiness manliness.
Tears Three and Four – If ef had ended after season one, it wouldn’t have had to live long enough to see itself become terrible </batman reference> but the first season is still one of my favorite anime. The ending was the most moving anime experience of my life and made me choose my path as a director. Now that’s strong shit.
Tear Five – Actually came from rewatching Eureka Seven. This one happened an episode earlier, though.
However, Clannad has done something unprecedented. Within just 9 of it’s nearly 50 episodes, it managed to make it’s mark on my list. And what’s more, episode 9 claimed Tears Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Nose Run One, and Choke Up One. That means that Clannad made me cry more than all other anime combined.
This has certainly proven to me that Kyoto Animation is a fucking superpower. And it’s odd – you don’t usually hear me call out a whole studio for it’s greatness without pointing out individual names. But lets think about it. What makes this studio amazing?
– Fucking incredible animation
– Fucking incredible directing
– Fucking incredible writing
And oh shit, the same people work on all of these shows! It’s kind of like SHAFT. People attribute a lot of SHAFT’s greatness to Shinbo because he’s been doing those kind of shows for years before coming to the studio, but everything else that makes the shows great is done by the same people time and again. Kyoto Animation deserves complete and utter commendment – they are GODS of anime production.
After all, it wasn’t plot and characters that made Clannad 9 so touching that I temporarily henshin’d into a garden hose. For starters, Clannad barely even has a plot to speak of. And what’s more, I -*love*- Fuuko and Nagisa and Tomoya, but none of them are up there on the favorite characters list yet, and with Fuuko’s part in the show done, she never will make it. Anime character deaths rarely have an effect on me unless it’s like my alltime favorite character ever, and even then I won’t necessarily shed a tear.
It wasn’t about how much I cared for Fuuko or the story of Clannad itself. It was about how incredibly well-done the whole arc was, and expecially that episode. The pacing was superb. There was a perfect mix of absolutely hilarious jokes and totally gripping drama to instantly attach me to the cast and make everything that would follow a ton of fun. It was choosing the right shot or the right organization of plot elements, or the right timing, or the perfect music to make the situation JUST RIGHT.
And when it came, it came HARD. I had already started tearing up around the end of ep 8, and then I felt it coming back around halfway through nine. Approximately from the start of her sister’s wedding ceremony I felt the tears coming down. Then there was a compounding of perfect moments that kept the tears flowing. What really struck me was seeing the other characters themselves in pain and tears for the whole thing and then as beautiful song after beautiful moment poured in, I let it all out.
The ultimate moment was when Nagisa tells Fuuko that everyone is there to see her, and we see everyone’s faces, and I cried so hard I could barely even see. From them out I was covering my mouth, ready to curl into a ball. It was the epitome of bittersweet. A beautiful moment coated in sadness that moved me to no end, and tore my heart right out. I’m actually about to cry right now just thinking about it!!!
But I won’t. Because I am a man!!!
(*inside, he’s like this*)