(2008), the sequel to the popular shojo
(girls') series Clannad
, begins a few months after the original story ends. The first several episodes feel the same, as Okazaki, Nagisa, and their friends at Hikarisaka High continue their familiar high jinks. Okazaki tries to get his nutty friend Sunohara back on the soccer team, and there's a strange flashback story about Misae, the supervisor of Sunohara's dorm, and her cat. Nagisa's illness prevents her from graduating with her class, but Okazaki receives his diploma and gets a job at an electrical maintenance company. After he proposes to Nagisa, Okazaki becomes a hard worker, a model husband, and, eventually, a loving father to their daughter Ushio. Unfortunately, all the fun drains out of the show. The harem comedy and magical girl subplots that enlivened Clannad
fall by the wayside, along with the slapstick comedy and Okazaki's sense of mischief. As the revelations, reconciliations, reversals, and tragedies pile up, Clannad
devolves into the anime equivalent of the old three-hanky movie. Voice actor Dave Matranga narrates much of the series, and he makes Okazaki an extremely likable character, but he's stuck in a soap opera. Although the story concludes with episode 21, the filmmakers add three chapters of flashbacks and alternate endings. Episode 25, ""Another World: Kyou Chapter,"" parallels the OVA ""Tomoyo Chapter,"" but after watching Okazaki marry and suffer with Nagisa, it's disorienting to see him pursued by the twins Ryou and Kyou Fujibayashi. After Story
lacks the broader appeal of Clannad
, but it will delight fans of romantic tearjerkers. (Rated TV PG: cartoon violence, minor risqué humor, tobacco and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
(1. A Farewell to the End of Summer, 2. In Search of False Love, 3. Hearts Out of Synch, 4. With the Same Smile as That Day, 5. The Season You Were In, 6. Always by Your Side, 7. Her Whereabouts, 8. A Fight with Courage, 9. On the Sloped Path, 10, Season of Beginnings, 11. The Promised Founder's Festival, 12. Unexpected Incident, 13. Graduation, 14. A New Family, 15. In the Remnants of Summer, 16. White Darkness, 17. Summertime, 18. The Ends of the Earth, 19. The Road Home, 20. Shiokaze's Fun, 21. The End of the World, 22. A Tiny Palm, 23. Events from One Year Ago, 24. Under the Tree of Green, 25. Another World: Kyou Chapter)"