It’s episode 21, and Nagisa and the others prepare for Nagisa’s play. However, Nagisa ends up finding something in the family shed that distresses her…
The highlights of this episode:
- The theater club starts preparing for their play by doing things such as performing voice exercises, prepping equipment, and doing fan-service friendly stretching. Nagisa will be the only actor in her play, and the club decides to ask Nagisa’s mother to make the costume, since none of them are good at sewing.
- Akio, meanwhile, rents a video of a play for Nagisa to watch, making it, much to Okazaki’s horror, the first actual play Nagisa has ever seen. Afterwards, Akio takes Okazaki out to the shed alone to look for the story Nagisa is looking for and runs across some old picture books. However, when Sanae calls out to him, Akio hurriedly piles the books back into boxes and piles the boxes up in the shed, hoping Sanae doesn’t notice.
- The next day, Nagisa decides that she wants to add a song to the end of the play. Meanwhile, the choir club helps pick out music that may be good for the play. Nagisa continues to practice the play as the day of the school festival gets closer.
- The day before the festival, Ryou and Kotomi get the sound system ready as Kyou and Sunohara gets the lights ready. Nagisa also runs through a practice run of her play. While waiting for her time to go, Nagisa gets more nervous, and Sunohara ends up turning a suggestion by Kyou for Nagisa to not see the people watching as people into a suggestion that how well she does will determine whether aliens will destroy the world or not (which isn’t exactly something that would reduce nervousness, of course). However, in the end, Nagisa ends up nailing the practice run.
- That night, Nagisa visits Okazaki in his room since she’s a nervous wreck. Nagisa also gets worried again about her feelings about what might have happened in the past, but Okazaki tries to calm her down by saying that she has a tendency to think that she’s at fault for everything when she really isn’t, and that it’s probably just her imagination.
- Afterwards, Nagisa gets the final things she needs for the play. One of these things is a flashlight, but the main one in the house has it’s light go out. As a result, she looks in the shed and finds one, but knocks over the boxes Akio had piled up while she’s in there and discovers the photo albums.
- Later that night, Okazaki notices that a light is still on in the house and when he investigates, he finds Nagisa with the photo albums and diaries she found in the shed. Nagisa looks over them with a horrified look, believing that she caused her parents to give up on their dreams…
Well, apparently while CLANNAD is going to be 24 episodes long, the show-proper is going only to be 22 episodes, with a TV special to air as a sort-of episode 23, and a DVD-only special episode as the 24th episode. That means this is the next to last “real” episode, and we seem to have quite a bit that needs resolving in the last 23 minutes that we have (really 20 minutes after taking away the credits).
The most up-front issue, of course, is how well will Nagisa perform her play with the state of mind that she’s in. This would normally be a situation that I would give at least 2 episodes to work through, but we only have one, so I fear it may be rushed, but we’ll see how it turns out. It could also threaten her relationship with her parents, but I’m not sure we’re going to have the time to address that.
This doesn’t even get in the fact that we haven’t really gotten even close to resolving the issue of the girl in the world with no birth and no death, other than the fact that Nagisa and Okazaki seem to remember some sort of story about it. That doesn’t seem to be enough of a thing to spend as much screen time portraying that world as KyoAni has, though.
It also seems that we could have some sort of “happy” ending with Fuko along the same lines of people getting cured at the end of Kanon, but I think that definitely is out of the question at this point as well.
To pile on some more, apparently the visual novel CLANNAD has an “afterstory” which the anime hasn’t even touched yet, which most people describe as explaining much of this, but which could probably go for 12+ episodes itself. (note: I haven’t played the game myself).
All of this has led to the suspicion, if not expectation, of a 2nd season. I should note that the time slot that CLANNAD holds does not have an anime show scheduled for the spring. However, there is already 2 show scheduled for Thursday night on TBS for the spring (there were 2 in the fall), and in Spring 2007, there were also 2 shows at the same time as the 2 scheduled in the spring, so the fact that the time slot is open may not mean anything.
I could see KyoAni springing a surprise announcement of another series to air in the fall, given that they don’t have anything announced currently, but I probably wouldn’t put money down on the possibility.
In any case, things may get clearer after next week’s episode.