I do not hold much doubt in my heart that the latest episode of Clannad can potentially convert any normal person into an instant Clannadtard; with its beautiful animation, lack of morally objectionable scenes, avocation of responsibility over passion and lack of any significant fetishes.
In this modern world where almost everyone tries their hardest to hide their flaws and strive for perfection, Clannad stands in clear rebellion against forced superficiality. The characters in Key’s works before Clannad were never plagued with as many flaws, and these fundamental flaws all combine to make Clannad better in sum than that of its individual parts. Which is in itself, what makes Clannad exceptional, as the individual parts themselves are rather magnificent in their own right.
The main heroine of the animated series, Nagisa, is essentially useless compared to Nayuki, who was the captain of her school’s track team. The main male protagonist, Tomoya, is a hopeless delinquent. The Fujibayashi twins are out of luck when it comes to truly excelling at romance and their school work (at least in the anime adaption), both important aspects of youth. Tomoyo has put in much effort to suppress her inner urge to use physical violence instead of diplomatic reasoning, and life would have been much easier for Kotomi if she had the slightest ability to hide her blatant eccentricity.
Clannad has proven that, being flawed is beautiful. In keeping with the over-arching theme of family that binds Clannad together, the characters are drawn towards one another due to their flaws. Toleration of flaws forms the basis for bonding, and is the basic building block of the family. The phrase “The world is filled with weirdos. Just look at your family.” sums up family bonding very nicely. On the surface, your family has to look good to other families. But the real truth is that families who are aware of the individual weaknesses of each family member and exericse tolerance are so much closer than families that simply choose to ignore them and get on with their lives.
The fact that Clannad is a Japanese production speaks lengths about the script writers at Key, who have perhaps wrote Clannad as an indirect protest against the general superficiality of everyday Japanese life. The Japanese exercise a fairly formal system when addressing each other, and their social culture applies much more pressure on the individual than most others, leading to social phenomena such as working to death (karoshi) and rather unpleasant physical stabbings. In fact, not many foreign Otaku may know this, but it is definitely much harder to be an Otaku (or Akiba-Kei, as they call it) in Japan than even other asian countries such as Singapore. In a nutshell, perfection and respect at the individual level is highly emphasised in Japanese culture, which creates social timebombs that go off every now and then.
Having said all that, I hold high hopes for ~After Story~ and do hail the Tomoyo chapter as an excellent overall ending to the series compared to the rather dissapointing episode 22 (Nagisa end). It is a clear sign that KyoAni has indeed bounced back and is ready to impress the world with masterpieces that push the limits of 2D animation to greater heights. And that if KyoAni considers giving Tomoyo After a go, it would be definitely be nothing short of incredible.