It’s CLANNAD: After Story episode 21, and Ushio remains sick, struck with the same illness that plagued Nagisa.
The doctor arrives as the Furukawa’s house and diagnoses Ushio with the same disease that afflicted Nagisa, but just as with Nagisa, he can’t determine what the cause of the disease is. Meanwhile, in the world with no birth and no death, the girl and robot continue on their journey…
Ushio’s fever lasts for months on end, just as Nagisa’s did, causing her to miss school, and eventually leading Tomoya to quit his job – over Akio and Sanae’s objections – so that he may spend more time with Ushio. However, on this last day, Tomoya and Yoshino swap screwdrivers, pledging to return them once Tomoya returns.
Ushio’s illness drags on and Tomoya starts running out of money. He also starts having visions of a desolate, snow-covered world. Meanwhile, Ushio grows increasingly insistent that she wants to go on a trip, until one day, she begs Tomoya, saying that “it must be now.” Sensing the inevitable, Tomoya finally relents, and starts walking Ushio to the train station, but after just a few steps, Ushio collapses and dies in Tomoya’s arms, causing Tomoya to fall back into his deep depression, thinking it would have been better if he and Nagisa never met. In the meantime, the girl in the other world also collapses into the snow…
As Tomoya remarked at the start of the episode “she was just running around a moment ago” and now Ushio is gone too. I’m starting to believe Tomoya when he says that the town he lives in has it out for him. Ushio’s death wasn’t as powerful as Nagisa’s, just because we knew Nagisa for 40 episodes and we only knew Ushio for about 5 and, having already experienced one death, it wasn’t so much of a “holy crap” moment, and at least I had a feeling that this was going to happen for pretty much the whole episode.
The preview said that the next episode is the final episode of the series proper, so we don’t have a heck of a lot of time to do…whatever is going to happen. I thought we would see more of Kotomi, but that seems increasingly unlikely now, and I’m kind of afraid of a sort of dues ex machina ending now, given the short amount of time. We had the thing with the glowing balls, but we’ve only seen one as far as I can tell. Obviously the girl and the robot in the other world are some sort of analogy, but I’m still not sure exactly what. I think the girl may actually be analogous to Tomoya, but I’m not sure who the robot is supposed to be (Nagisa maybe?). But to what end, I don’t know.
Ushio helped Tomoya come out of his depression the first time, but he doesn’t even have her now. I almost half-expect Tomoya to throw himself off a bridge or become a suicide bomber blowing up the hospital just to be reunited with Nagisa in death, or something. I’m not sure how this series will end in a non-lame way, and I think I’ll feel cheated in some way if it’s just kind of like “ta-da! Everything is suddenly better now, just because!” But, I guess we’ll have to wait for the last episode to know for sure.
I presume we’re going to get at least one more bonus episode like we did with the first season, with perhaps a 24th episode on one of the DVDs.