#12DaysOfAnime – In this holiday season, the act of giving has always been a staple tradition. People, young and old alike, receive gifts from their friends, loved ones and even strangers at this time of the year. These gifts can come in different forms: touching words, objects of sentimental value and last but not the least, money. To put simply, let us talk about gifts and the forms they come in.
Tread carefully, young one, for spoilers abound this place.
There is always that classic list of anime, films, and shows that we tend to use whenever the holiday seasons start. These titles have become a staple recommendation to watch during this time of the year for the themes and values they present which resonate quite deeply with the spirit of the holidays. One such title is the anime series, Clannad.
An anime adaptation of a visual novel, Clannad is a drama and romance show that focuses on the life of Tomoya Okazaki, a school delinquent. He expresses hostility to everything that exists in the city the story is set in and does not hesitate to speak out his mind which may, at times, come off as rather rude.
But unknown to most people, he is very loyal to his friends and people who he cares deeply about. Over the course of the series, we get to see his selfless personality and dedication to help people in times of need. However, it seems that fate has not been kind to him so far.
A gift in the form of new friends
In a spur of coincidence, Tomoya encounters a girl muttering who introduces herself as Nagisa Furukawa. She voices out her desire to be a part of the now-defunct Drama Club and her efforts to revive it.
He decides to help Nagisa in her endeavors and, over time, becomes a member of the Drama Club himself in order to help out Nagisa in getting more members.
Throughout this time he encounters new personalities such as the shy yet genius, Kotomi Ichinose, and a first-year named Fuko Ibuki. There are also girls like the twins, Ryou and Kyou Furabayashi, whom Nagisa and Tomoya recruit for the drama club. Lastly, he tries to befriend the rumored punk girl, Tomoyo Sakagami, who unfortunately refuses because of her plans to become student council president.
Throughout the course of the first season, Tomoya, along with Nagisa, helps out each of these people in their goals and gain their friendship. Still gaining more and more friends, Tomoya finds himself with a large group of friends that he never had before.
A gift in the form of new-found love
Out of all of the people he befriend, Tomoya has helped Nagisa the most. From re-establishing her Drama Club, helping out her parents in their bakery business and actually making her realize the dream of being part of a play, it was clear that both of them had developed their relationship quite deeply.
After realizing her goal, Tomoya confesses to Nagisa, much to her surprise, and start going out.
As the audience goes along the life of Tomoya, we understand that his life has generally not been that great. He had to quit sports because of his injury and as a result, felt bad about himself and started delinquency. It made actual sense for him to develop feelings for Nagisa, the person who turned his world around, and actually realize those feelings.
They brave through the new school semester until graduation. Unfortunately, Nagisa’s frail body made her contract an illness and has made her stopped going to school. Thus, she cannot graduate like Tomoya. Hence, Tomoya stayed at her side, cared for her and all the while continued schooling.
At the day of the graduation, Tomoya still cares for Nagisa and has made it his goal to be independent and take a full-time job.
Despite the rocky relationship between them as a result of Tomoya not having time for Nagisa due to work, he manages to finally propose marriage to Nagisa. To which Nagisa agrees.
Nagisa resumes school after feeling better and finally, at long last, graduates and then soon after, the two of them get married. A new life begins for the two of these characters who had known nothing but pain and disappointment before they found each other.
A gift in the form of a family
With the both of them graduated, Nagisa helps out with Tomoya’s load and gets into a job as well. A few months pass and it is revealed that Nagisa is pregnant, much to the joy of Tomoya and Nagisa’s parents.
A crisis emerges: Nagisa’s frail physique would endanger either the child or her during birth. Tomoya must make a choice and this falls very heavy on him. At the end, they decide to go with the birth of the child.
A baby girl is born but at the cost of Nagisa’s life. This puts Tomoya in an emotional and mental turmoil – the one person that understood him, loved him and turned his world around. Now she’s gone and all seems bleak for him.
But with little urging from Nagisa’s parents, he realizes that he has forgotten the one thing that Nagisa left her as a gift: their child, Ushio.
He tries to be a good father to Ushio as what Nagisa would have wanted.
A gift in the form of a chance
A new crisis emerges: Ushio, just like her mother, suffers the same frail physique – much to the displeasure of Tomoya. He spends as much time with her as he can and once the winter rolls in, her sickness gets the best out of him. Tomoya loses two gifts in the form of Nagisa and their child, Ushio.
This puts Tomoya in a dark place, regretting to have met Nagisa and forming this family – a family that no longer existed. After Ushio’s death, he collapses and goes back to that time on the road where Nagisa and him met. Was it a good thing that they met or not?
Over much thought, contemplation and a little bit of illusion, Tomoya realizes one thing: no one knows where a path may lead them whether it is filled with miracles and hardships, so no one should ever regret meeting someone.
Tomoya is given one last, well-deserved gift – an alternative universe wherein Nagisa survives childbirth and their family complete.
The profound effect of gifts
Gifts come in different shapes and sizes – in people, objects and memories. Each gift has a significantly different impact within our lives which may bring either good or bad.
In the anime series Clannad, we learn that, despite the paths these gifts provide us and the events which may befall on us whilst treading that said path, everything happens for a purpose and we should not regret these things.
Things, good and bad, can either make us or break us. But ultimately, just like Tomoya has, we should opt to look for the light in the dark, no matter how hard it may seem.
This season of joy, love and giving – I think that we should all treasure the gifts we get, big or small, in whatever form they come in. This is because a gift carries the sentiments of that person who imparted it to us and thus, affects us in different ways.
Such is the beauty and consequence of living.
Thanks for reading the first entry for this year’s twelve days of anime. Be sure to check out stuff related to this by searching #12DaysOfAnime on Twitter. Make sure to share your thoughts about this article and I’ll be glad to respond!
While I am at it, don’t forget to also take a time to read entries written by people from the OWLS group. The gang is talking about the portrayal of warmth in their favorite titles so be sure to check them out!