That’s all folks
There was only one episode of Clannad left, and boy was it annoying. The entire episode is about Tomoya and Nagisa managing the incredible feat of holding hands, and to get there we had to sit through all the worst running jokes of the series. You could stop watching after 22 and you’ll have a more satisfying conclusion.
I can’t say I enjoyed watching Clannad. It was a frustrating experience, because there were occasional touching moments, but they were few and far between. And while the drama was frequently overdone, it was the comedy that really ruined it for me. It wasn’t just unfunny, it was often straight-up irritating. Especially anything involving Sunohara. That dipshit had multiple running jokes throughout the series, and they were all annoying as hell.
The show peaked with the end of the Fuuko arc, the only episode I would call good, and then steadily went downhill. It probably helped that the comedy involving Fuuko was actually mildly amusing, but I also didn’t like the rest of the cast much. Nagisa’s just not my kind of character, and Ryou is the same but without any development. And Kyou’s tsundere antics gave me a whiplash. Kotomi was actually okay, surprisingly.
The overall structure of the anime is also strange. There are two clear character arcs, focusing on Fuuko and Kotomi, but then it kind of meanders for a while before getting to Nagisa’s. There’s some plot threads involving Kyou, Ryou and Tomoyo, but none of them really go anywhere. It’s like they didn’t have the time to adapt their arcs in full, but too much time to just skip over them entirely.
There’s not much more to be said. Clannad really wants to move you to tears, but it tries too hard and falls flat on its face. Uguu~
The last four episodes of StrikerS were easily the best part of the show. I wouldn’t say they were good, but they were a step up from everything before that point. I guess that’s to be expected when you save all your action and plot resolution for the end.
But even then, the whole thing’s dragged down by weak writing. Vivio attacks Nanoha because she’s made to believe it’s not the real Nanoha… but why? Lutecia has a sad backstory, but we never had the characters learn about this before so now they just magically connect the dots based on very limited information. There’s characters literally referring to things that didn’t happen in the anime. The combat cyborgs also turn out to just suck in combat. Hell, Tiana managed to win by herself against three of them.
Also I really don’t think it was necessary to have a plot device where Jail impregnated all the numbers with his clones. It didn’t even make sense, since it was supposed to be a failsafe in case he got killed, but he sent all of them to the frontlines to also get killed or captured.
While Clannad was a mixed bag, StrikerS is just dull. Even at its best, it was just okay. The main issue is just the aforementioned weak writing and a general lack of things happening. I don’t turn to Nanoha for a deep dive into the human psyche, but it always gave you a reason to be invested in the fights. There was an emotional struggle behind the beam spam that just isn’t there in StrikerS. The only characters with a reason to fight beyond ‘daddy said so’ are Lutecia and Zest, and that’s not nearly enough for a 26 episode series. The Numbers get barely any characterization, and after having just watched all of it I could only describe maybe half of them. And even the Numbers are still better than the many episodes where they just fight mindless robots.
And I think this is a consequence of the bloated cast. There are seven main characters, four more major returning characters, and bunch of secondary characters. All of them needed something to fight. A much smaller cast would’ve gone a long way. It’s fine to have Signum or Vita show up, or even have train the newbies at the start, but did they really need to be in several major battles? And I say that even though those two have a more distinctive personality in this show than Nanoha, Fate or Hayate.
Setting it in the headquarters of the Time-Space Administration Bureau may have been a mistake as well. It just raised a lot of questions about how his organization works. Sure they were present in earlier series, but they were a sort of nebulous external force that went around to deal with evil wizards. Now our characters are in the middle of this hazy bureaucracy and we have to hear about conflicts between branches that we only have a vague idea about. There’s a council consisting of three brains in vats in the basement, but what did they actually do? Were they in charge of the whole organization? We only see them giving orders to Regius. What was the point other than to have a twist where the bad guy is controlled by another group of bad guys with the exact same goal?
Ultimately, I don’t think the writing is really much different from that in the first two series, and I’m inclined to say that A’s was just a fluke. Someone clearly had big ideas for StrikerS, but didn’t have the skill to make them work. The result is a largely forgettable entry in the now largely forgettable Nanoha franchise.
Seirei no Moribito
Yeah, it ended. It was serviceable. The buildup and tension as it was getting towards the climax was better than the climax itself. In the end, everything worked out just fine. And maybe that was the issue. The story was about Chagum, but I’m not entirely sure what his character arc really was. Sure he becomes more mature over the course of the series, but he was already a pretty responsible kid from the beginning. I can’t really look back and think he’s come a long way. He does ultimately accept that he may have to die in order to save the country, but given that everyone’s searching for a way for him to survive it never felt like that was ever going to happen (although, of course, I already knew he would live since I watched it before). And the way all these questions were resolved was just kind of… simple I guess. “Well the egg survived but a specific bird has to show up to carry it to its final destination or else it will all be for nothing, oh there it is.”
So yeah, the show as a whole? It’s fine. Better than I remembered it being, honestly. The setting is well developed, the characters are likeable and grounded, and it really didn’t have any weak episodes. I was engaged from start to finish, even if looking back it’s not like a lot actually happened. This is where a strong finale could’ve pushed it over the top, but instead it will just have to settle for “yeah it’s pretty good”. And compared to these other two shows, that’s a major accomplishment.