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Hidden complexity



This is my favorite subject ever, yet I can't say the things I want to. The influence of the small things of life. Maybe because it's a very personnal subject. Something you feel 'inside', something that's hard to talk about because you never really tried to put words onto them, because you felt it and didn't learn it.

To illustrate my thoughts, I'll use my favorite anime and Vn, respictively Toradora and Clannad After story).

Unlike other animes or Vn, these do not try to impress you with deep or overwhelming plot lines, complicated stories, characters with massively traumatic backstories, and with cliché characters.

These characters live normal lives, with their own problems. These problems don't involve the world, the land, the city, the village they live in. Simply them and their familly and/or friends.

Tomoya's familly problem is far for being unique, nor is Taiga's (even if it is an hyperbole of the actual occurences) or Ryuji's. Yet these issues shapped who they are but are never justified by it.

But then how do you make something that doesn't seem to hold any interesting material into my favorite ?

You put an emphasis on their lives, on these problems, which they keep to themselves, but who hurt.

People like to tell you your problems are nothing compared to others', famine, poverty, war, and the list goes on. But does that mean they are irrelevant ? Absolutely not, love, happiness, sadness are feelings we all feel. And Clannad and Toradora are the best at making the audience feel the inner turmoil, the intensity of what doesn't seem much but who are determinant in the characters personnality and course of action.

My best example would be Kushieda


Minori is an exceptionnal character. From what seemed like a clownesque girl, simple initial love interest from the MC, is in reality the most interesting character I know of.

Hiding all her emotions behing a sad sunny smile, the lovely, happy and joyful character slowly falls into sadness and anger when the one she loved gets taken away from her.

She is a very strong person, and does all she can for her best friend, but ends up hurting herself. Her qualities, her excepionnal tolerance and friendliness led her to her own sadness.

All she can do is witness, unable to change the course of things. Minori Kushieda, will forever be an example, and I can only feel towards her a very strong feeling of empathy.

In Clannad, Tomoya and Nagisa live their life, they aren't rich, they don't have big ambitions, they simply are happy. Clannad is a story about happiness and familly. Let us remember, that happiness is the goal of every human being and this couple is not exception. They love each other, and want things to stay that way.

Clannad is a battle against unfairness, as if the world was trying on purpose to destroy them, and prevent them from living the happiness they diserve. And it is just heartbreaking to witness.


Another quality in these to pieces, is the honesty of the characters. Anger, sadness, happiness, everything is witnessed in its most genuine form. As opposed to too many VNs and anime, the characters react humanly.

It's not often that you can see, hear emotions of that intensity on a screen and live it that strongly.

Everything I said might have made no sense. But it was important for me to at least try and word it. Take what you can from it. I just think, as hard or as comfortable your life may be. Do not underestimate (nor overestimate) the things that torment you. They have their own importance, even if just for you. There are no problems which are comparable for we are all different.

And Clannad and Toradora are prime examples and illustrations of this.

Feel free to comment and give your point of view on the subject and if you liked these as much as I did, please tell me why.

Edit: So many typos


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Loved the post, maef. If I understood what you're saying, then you're expressing something I very much agree with: normal, human strength is more moving than the superhuman. Am I on the right track?


If so, I think the first time I started exploring this idea was back in high school when I read "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky. One of the book's central themes is the inner, quiet strength of Sonya or Raz vs the theoretical "superhuman" (Napoleon-figure) of Raskolnikov's thesis. Dostoyevsky comes to the same conclusion as you and I: the realistic, human inner-strength is real and far more moving than the superhuman.


Clannad's a great example of this. Funnily enough (and because it seems I can't ever go too long without bringing it up : P), my experience with the two Fate/Stay Night games very much proved your point, too: the fantasy/fighting bits were fun distractions, but I played the games because of the slice-of-life bits in-between. Sakura was my favorite character because of a quiet, realistic inner-strength which wasn't based in fantasy or superpowers. It was very much human, and regular, and therefore was much more moving and interesting to me.


(Let me know how/if I misunderstood your post. I'd love to get a better idea of what you're expressing)

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Yes you pretty much got the idea. And the strength it requires to face which doesn't seem like much is something - I -as a viewer can very easily identify with since it's not uncommon.


Then again, there's a big difference between anime's/Vn's which can scenarize it well and those who limit themselves to the boundaries of anime standards.

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