So here we are at last, at the "final" (bonus episode aside) instalment of Clannad - After Story that we've all been looking forward to. Or dreading, depending on your perspective on these things.
Throughout Clannad I've stated my disinterest in the whole "other world", supernatural side of the story, but by the end of the last episode and its shockingly cruel climax I was starting to wamr the idea of something, anything, that would make for a happier ending. I'm all for gritty reality, but After Story seemed ready to toss a metric tonne of grit in my eye whilst stranded in the middle of a sandstorm.
Of course, this ending to the story turns it all around via a decidedly trippy first half that really defies explanation - Somehow had clearly been hoarding a bunch of the show's animation budget for this moment though. Acid trip over, we find ourselves "rebooted" back to the point where Nagisa has just given birth, only this time there's no death or sadness, just a nice long montage of happiness for all of Clannad's major characters. Hurrah! I'm not too sure how I'd explain this whole scenario officially, so I will just assume that the town featured in Clannad is running Windows XP with System Restore enabled, and someone screwed up their PC and had to restore back from before the "oops, Nagisa died" save point. Yep, that about covers it.
The series proper ends with some cute Fuuko comedy (I really did laugh out loud at her attempts to act adult), and a very final scene that I can't really explain too well either. It's nothing to do with Windows though.
Despite being all ready to hate this cheap get-out clause of an ending... Well, I kind of liked it. Yes, of course it is a huge cheat after everything they've put us through in recent episodes, but for once I don't begrudge this series a happy ending to polish things off - Clannad was always meant to be a lovable little show rather than some kind of School Days effort, and with that in mind this ending was a pretty good fit. It was nonsense, but it was warm, fuzzy nonsense, so it is duly forgiven.