And yea, I think it's the individual's choice whether right or wrong is what defines the person. In some cases the external circumstances where they can't make decisions is also instrumental to storytelling, especially if those restrictions ever get removed. And those are some good choices listed down there.
I've been through the original VN in full. Tomoyo, Kyou and even Yukine were handled well there. And yeah, I ain't touching that sequel that seems solely made so that one Clannad character had ero.
Choice is integral to a relationship having credibility. Something that stupidity like Fifty Shades of Grey is the complete anti of, yet so many people lapped it up.
Hmm, couples I actually believe in long after the title was done....
Okabe and Kurisu from Steins;Gate
Kyosuke and Madoka from Kimagure Orange Road
Lawrence and Holo from Spice and Wolf
Kiriya and Shiki from Garden of Sinners
Kirika and (won't say it because I'm sure you haven't seen it and you might like it) from Hanasakeru Seishounen
Jinto and Lafiel from Crest/Banner of the Stars
Junichi and Ai/Kaoru from Amagami SS
Taku and Rikako from The Ocean Waves
Whatshisname and Akashi from The Tatami Galaxy
Takao and Yukino from Garden of Words
Haruka and Yuu from Sakura Trick
Sachiko and Yumi from Marimite (at least from what I've seen so far)
Fumi and Akira from Aoi Hana
With the option to add more since there's still a sizeable to watch list to sift through yet. If Nanoha and Fate would be considered canon, I guess I'd include them too.
In closing, thought you might get a kick out of this cinematic. A lot of people now consider Ahri (the fox woman) and Leona (the armor-clad woman) to be canon after this.
That's true which is why her character is well handled in Clannad. The OVA covered her VN route which was excellent as well. It's that spinoff psuedo sequel VN that is quite bad. (Let's just say it takes a dump on everything you described and because Key likes substanceless shock value too much.)
And yea I heard too, and sometimes you gotta think that it can be really lonely even when many people know you. We have a stigma against things like being depressed and people are often left isolated and to fend for themselves in this "If it's not happening to me, it's not happening" kind of world. And when it ends like this, everyone's a judge.
I don't think Tomoyo compromised her integrity or future too much. Tomoya realised he needed to become a better person on several fronts and sought to do so. Tomoyo did pursue, for a time, the things she wanted to accomplish, which she did. When it was plausible the two could find middle ground in terms of reality vs fantasy, it was able to work. Tomoyo did it by choice and to make her life better - it was what she wanted and she wasn't set for ruin off of just that choice.
I was going to say more, but I just learned that Robin Williams killed himself. I'm in shock over this one. Guy was a source of a lot of classic material - tragic end for such a talented guy.
Well, dependent on someone else, or being independent or being strong or weak isn't the issue. There's probably many sexist depictions of strong and independent females if it's just used as a fetish item or especially the "she needs a man anyways" tripe. I think Clannad barely averted that with Tomoyo (though Tomoyo After not as much and can be safely ignored as just being a pointless what-if spinoff.)
What matters is choice. This means that anything from burqas to skimpy swimsuits, from prudery to blatant sexuality can be sexist if it's regarded not as a choice on the persons' part but to solely please other people. But as you've noted this gets twisted around so much to fan desires. It would be kinda ironic if Madoka would spiral down even faster than Nanoha did, but then again I have like negative respect for Shaft/Shinbo at certain points so it's to be expected. In either case, yuri fetishism has at the same time brought to the forefront but because it's being fetishized can never be taken seriously outside people's dark bedrooms. It's been emphasized for all the wrong reasons.
Anime often has so much trouble just appreciating platonic relationships too. I could list all the shallow and forced attempts at romance just to create drama and pairings but that would be too tedious. It's no wonder I scoff at romantic elements so often.
Of course, male characters have the same problem. As you might have pointed out, there's so much expectations for them to all be conniving and cold blooded, and violent. Where a guy that doesn't solve his problems through violence and destruction is criticized as being not a man. Besides, you don't need a body count or life threatening injuries meted out to others. Hell, look at Akagi. He hasn't killed anyone; and anyone that did get fucked up dealing with him brought it upon themselves. And I bet nobody brings this up, but he does often pick the solution that doesn't result in more bloodshed. (Such as vs the punks or Urabe... he could have easily killed them all if he was a true asshole. But he didn't.) Though at the same time I guess Madhouse did make him seem more cold in the anime-- they cut out some of his more human moments. There's still a few in the anime, and I find those actually pretty good to round out his character-- in the end he's just a human.
Ultimately, to make good characters you need to make them appear to have their own will and sentience. Otherwise, you get a lot of junk and characters that aren't people-- they're caricatures. And I have never been forgiving of such things.
I probably will check out the movies. After I get through the TV material.
Certainly too many people twist what Nanoha and Fate stand for to suit their twisted perversions (and inevitably, those making the material became a party to this in recent times), which in term causes the resident reviewers of Mount Pious to slam the franchise. But meh, their loss. I think overall the better times of the title stand up well to the test of time. And as you said, Nanoha and Fate were able to rely on themselves and each other in turn - they didn't need a guy to be a crucial part of their success/the muscle of the operation.
And as I said to Triple_R, there are far worse things that can happen to a female character.
Well, it's certainly a very novel series. I think they did create things that were unique and stood out. In particular, Nanoha the really charismatic lead that isn't afraid to take charge is a far cry from the incompetent and scared audience surrogate that seems to populate this kind of show. Fate is put out as a tragic character but her internal and external conflict don't define her as a person as that would just be rather contrived and manipulative. Instead, it's used as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. If they took anything of value from mecha anime it would be the heated conflict between those with different ideologies that are fighting for their own cause and that has that whole "in any other universe we'd be friends" or some crap, but very prevalent in A's.