Following in the success of the first adaptation Clannad ~After Story~ was aired in the fall of 2008, which was one year after the initial adaption. The highly anticipated series was greatly loved by fans; immediately finishing atop many international fansites’ rankings. Sentai Filmworks licensed the show in July 2009 and released two sub-only volumes later that fall. Immediately following announcements of a dub for the first season, fans began requesting for Sentai to dub the sequel. At Izumicon last November, Sentai announced that finally ~After Story~ would be getting an english language track in a complete collection like the first season. I’ve mentioned no spoilers throughout this review, so don’t worry about reading if you’ve not seen the show.
Exactly like before, the show is released on 4 DVDs with six episodes on all but the final disc which has seven episodes for a total of 25. Sentai used a stackpack to hold all four discs and a piece of styrofoam to hold the discs in place. They move a bit easier than the first set in my opinion, but I’ll be moving the discs to other holders shortly. The set uses all 8 regular edition covers from the Japanese DVDs as disc/menu artwork and the cover is a modification of the placeholder artwork.
Clannad ~After Story~ combined with the original series is one of my favorite shows both speaking personally and technically. The story, visual aspects, music, and acting all came together to make one of the best anime productions that I’ve seen thus far. I’ll likely expand more on the series in my BD-Box review, but suffice to say, this is a series that I would recommend to any fan of anime in general. If someone doesn’t shed a tear during this season, I don’t know what they think is emotionally touching.
Visually, Sentai has a good release. Given that the show was produced in HD and placed on a DVD format, it still looks very impressive. I can’t see anything wrong with the transfer with the additional audio track. The only mistake I see is that they kept the reversed order of two extra episodes from the sub-only release and only fixed the menu to be correct while the order was not fixed. It’s a slight annoyance.
And now for the reason to purchase this set compared to earlier releases: the new English dubbed audio track. I’ll begin by saying that this is a very good dub of a very emotionally packed show. All of the main characters do a wonderful job re-playing their roles and resuming where they left off from the first season. David Matranga and Luci Christian carry over their great performances as the male and female lead characters and I would say improve to an even better standard.Fans who have seen the series already would wonder: how did they perform in the most important scenes? Personally, I think that the two specific scenes that come to mind in this series are done the best out of the entire dub. I have to praise David for being able to change his tone so effectively for Tomoya as he changes throughout the series. Never once did the tone not fit the visual image onscreen.
The rest of the secondary characters return as well. Andrew Love steals almost every scene he is in (and even captures the hilariousness of Akio rapping), yet is able to convey the serious side of Akio just as well. His performance makes me question which voice for Akio I prefer due to how good it was. Brittany Karbowski improved from her last performance as Kyou. I can’t say if it’s myself who’s adapted or if it’s truly better, but Kyou fits a lot better in her appearances this time. Greg Ayers continues to perform well as Youhei, but unlike before the voice doesn’t have time to become as annoying.
The only complaints I have are slight. There’s some mispronunciations of names, a certain horrible nickname is carried over, and Kara Greenburg keeps referring to “dang-go”s but overall those are the only examples that come to mind for annoyances by the actors/actresses. I noticed a few mistakes in the script: they mistake how many times Nagisa repeats her senior year one time and later fix it, they add an additional year to the Japanese high school system, and they mistakenly have Nagisa say she’s never met Tomoya’s father when she had invited and spoke with him at her performance in the first season. Those mistakes did anger me slightly as they were easily catchable compared to performances. I also didn’t care for how Tomoya sings in English into a Japanese insert song late into the series. The change of language is quite jarring.
Even with all of those mistakes, I still say it’s a wonderful performance by all. I greatly enjoyed listening to the series again in a new fashion. Having a couple of friends who would only watch the show with English voices, I would easily lend this copy for their viewing. I did not examine the subtitles due to their inclusion on the BD-Box, thus they will be reviewed with that product.
As for extras on the set, there are the opening/ending animations without credits, trailers for other works by Sentai, and a commentary track for episode 16 by David and Luci. Having enjoyed their performance, I was eager to listen to their thoughts on the series, but I came away disappointed. They offered some insights on the series, their careers, and Luci’s personal life and how it related to that episode. I disagree with their view of Nagisa’s character as I think they may have forgotten how much she actually bosses Tomoya around, but I think they were correct in their views on Tomoya. It was interesting to find that they had found out recently that the series was based from a visual novel and how long they had performed as the characters without knowing the basis of the show.
Overall, I recommend this set in three ways. 1: the show is absolutely amazing and is one of the series I feel all anime fans should watch. 2: the English dub fits the show and provides another avenue for people to watch it. Finally, 3: this set allows people to only purchase two DVD volumes instead of the original 4/16 (NA/JP). While I personally would like some more extras from the JP releases, Sentai put out a good release of one of my favorite shows. As always, click here for more screencaptures for the set. I’ve attempted to take as many screencaptures as I could without any spoilers.
I do have to admit that it did feel like a warm-up for my next review to me.