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Old 2013-04-20, 20:34   Link #21
Guardian Enzo
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Angel Beats is pretty terrible, but I've never really considered that a "full" Key work. Among those, for me Kanon (2006) >>>> everything else. It has the Hisaya subtlety that later Key works lack, gorgeous animation and easily the most compelling story of the lot. Clannad has its moments but for me is just way, way too reliant on push-button melodrama (which is Maeda's bugaboo as a writer, IMHO).

I'll say in defense of Little Busters than I think it's Maeda's best work, even if the first half of the anime has some hiccups. I like the simplicity of the themes and the earnest, straightforward celebration of innocence and friendship.
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Old 2013-04-20, 22:05   Link #22
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I would tier the Key series just as Pocari has done. (AS > Kanon > Clannad S1 > Air >=Angel Beats)

In general, I would say Key tends to do better with its male characters as they usually manage to do things of interest. Indeed, Clannad without Tomoya as an anchor would have been a pretty mediocre series since he is the one that really spurs the action. Indeed, it's more his story than anyone else's, and this is why Clannad is simultaneously better and worse than Kanon. Sunohara while being a bit flanderized in certain spaces really did feel like a bro to Tomoya. So as a whole story, besides the rather questionable part of After Story and season 1; Clannad feels more complete as an entire story. Indeed, while the end of Nagisa's season 1 arc was actually sorta bad, everyone working together makes the whole thing go round.

On the other hand, Kanon has superior individual arcs, because it embraced its themes more coherently. Clannad's problem was that a certain aspect of the games didn't make any sense in the context of the anime whatsoever, and thus it seemed to contradict itself-- proving that 100% adaptation isn't always the best idea. Indeed, if you look at Kanon episodes 11-18, they are filled with a really strong atmosphere (mostly that snow motif) and subtle hints and foreshadowing, with a great deal of insight into individual characters thoughts. In a vacuum, I honestly feel they blow After Story out of the water any day.

For example, Mai's story is strongly backed with Sayuri as an anchor to serve as a backdrop for the character relations between Yuuichi, Mai, and Sayuri. Shirori's arc manages to involve the whole cast in a very nice, down to earth way that really hasn't been seen since, at least for Key works.

Outside of those though, Kanon feels very disjointed, and I sometimes feel that I was watching multiple shows. This is particularly blatant in Kanon 2002, where someone comes back just to die. (Wut?) 2006 removed some of these problems but the in the end it sorta makes me wonder what the point of the whole thing is-- it just feels that omnibus. And then that ending was average for Key. (Which means it's awful)

For this reason, Little Busters succeeds in making itself a more complete story by involving the whole cast and embracing a sense of continuity instead of just kicking people out once their turn is done. Though the female cast contains what I consider the more distasteful aspects of how they present their female characters-- wayyyy too childish to the point that they can't seemingly take care of themselves. Granted, this is in all their work, but it can get a bit grating. And then sometimes the emotion is off, such as the failure that is Komari's arc has roughly the same emotion as this.

And then there's Angel Beats, which is kinda like Little Busters but watered down. Though the humor was better. It makes no sense though and has the crappiest ending I've seen though PA Works would once again outdo themselves with Another.

Finally, there's Air. Honestly, it had the coolest atmosphere of all of them, with promises of epic stories in the background. (Though it ultimately doesn't deliver much of). It also has the only Key ending that doesn't suck completely, which still doesn't say that much. I enjoyed it as I watched it, but it really hasn't aged well, as it doesn't really stand out as well as the later more refined counterparts.
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Old 2013-04-21, 00:30   Link #23
Akito Kinomoto
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I couldn't tell you how well any of the Key anime did as adaptations as I haven't read any of the original source material. Hooray for raw expectations.

Angel Beats!--1st title. Maybe watching this without Clannad/After Story or K2k6 to inflate my expectations was a good thing because I was able to enjoy the show for its comedy. Its only faults are some plot points introduced when the show was being serious. It doesn't develop everyone but ubiquitous effort is the push, not the standard; anyone meant to be important gets their time to shine well enough.

Clannad--2nd title, 1st watch. It fell flatter than Fuko's chest.

Kanon (2006)--3rd title. The emotional investment they put for each character overrides each arc's self-contained nature. It also helped that the transitions after every conclusion were subtle; it's hard to guess who Yuichi is going to be with next while Tomoya waves a Kotomi or whoever flag at the outset.

Air TV-- 4th title. I barely remember the other heroines and lol Japanese Myth shenanigans at the end. The ending from a pure storytelling viewpoint is fantastic for not doing what so many other Key anime are subject to. Only from a pure storytelling standpoint though.

Clannad After Story--5th title. Develop some characters nobody gives a second thought to and you get a surprisingly strong first half of this anime. Repeat again for Tomoya's development in the second half and summarize the entire series from season 1 in a single episode. Then deliver a terribly written ending. Jun Maeda had the chance to create a masterpiece and he blew it.

Clannad--2nd title, subsequent watches. The show was always thematically unified and the musical score is very good. Hindsight makes a big difference here.

Little Busters!--Would-be 6th title. I'll Refrain from talking about this until the second season is up.



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Old 2013-04-21, 04:29   Link #24
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One widely shared criticism I'm reading on this thread is that Key's endings are bad, if not downright terrible.

I wonder to what degree this perception is due to actual writing weaknesses in the VN source material itself, and to what degree this is due to the inherent difficulties in adapting a VN into an anime.

For example, I vaguely recall some Clannad VN players writing that the ending makes a lot more sense, and feels a lot more natural, in the VN than it does in the anime due to the unavoidable differences between the two. Here is where it might be nice if more VN players chimed in - You don't need to discuss the VN at length (for spoiler reasons, if nothing else), but just a simple "I thought the VN's ending was good, and if the anime's ending was worse, I don't think it's the VN's fault" or something to that extent (or the opposite, if you feel the opposite) might be interesting to read.

I just wonder to what extent Maeda should be blamed for a bad ending in Clannad (or in any other Key work) if the ending worked fine in the VN.


Of course, this isn't a total excusing - It wouldn't do anything for Angel Beats! which is anime original.
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Old 2013-04-21, 06:06   Link #25
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I'd say that I'm not a Key fan but I'd be lying. I sort of don't like how they make stuff just so they can make you cry and in turn they make their stories so robotic and manufactured and fake. I have to be honest though, I like most of their stuff. I guess I really am just a sap deep inside.

I like Kanon but I do vaguely remember anything about it these days. Little Busters and Air didn't really work for me but Angel Beats and CLANNAD sure did. Whatever you can say about Angel Beats, you can't deny that it was damn entertaining. It failed to make me cry at times where it wanted me to cry but I do remember my heart wrenching on a number of episodes (whether from tears or laughter/ or both). CLANNAD After Story is a masterpiece (well until the last 2 episodes but you can easily forget the bad ending).
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Old 2013-04-21, 13:13   Link #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
One widely shared criticism I'm reading on this thread is that Key's endings are bad, if not downright terrible.

I wonder to what degree this perception is due to actual writing weaknesses in the VN source material itself, and to what degree this is due to the inherent difficulties in adapting a VN into an anime.

For example, I vaguely recall some Clannad VN players writing that the ending makes a lot more sense, and feels a lot more natural, in the VN than it does in the anime due to the unavoidable differences between the two. Here is where it might be nice if more VN players chimed in - You don't need to discuss the VN at length (for spoiler reasons, if nothing else), but just a simple "I thought the VN's ending was good, and if the anime's ending was worse, I don't think it's the VN's fault" or something to that extent (or the opposite, if you feel the opposite) might be interesting to read.

I just wonder to what extent Maeda should be blamed for a bad ending in Clannad (or in any other Key work) if the ending worked fine in the VN.


Of course, this isn't a total excusing - It wouldn't do anything for Angel Beats! which is anime original.
Spoiler:


So it's really not a weakness with the material inherently; more like the reasoning behind the ending simply cannot exist in an anime. Successfully integrating it into the anime would require an original slant, and then people would probably complain about that too. Though a lot of people would still disagree with the basic premise.

However, I've always felt that anything that requires people to check outside material to not be good writing. Can you imagine a Hollywood movie that just throws out some esoteric ending that requires you to read the source material to get it? Can you imagine people going at the Academy Awards "Oh, this movie is perfect, it's just that we couldn't adapt the book ending into a movie format. Just read the book!"

And let's not go into Kyoto Animation being slaves to source material. Mai's arc, for example, had an ending that was completely incompatible with Kanon's main story. But they still wrote around it, perhaps in a questionable manner, but it was still original. So it's not like they can't.

Point is that while Clannad is a good anime, I do think that certain aspects of it seemed sorta phoned home and thus I can understand why people prefer others over it. Just look at Clannad AS's ending song; it's almost as if they should have swapped season 1 and season 2's ending songs.
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Old 2013-04-21, 17:11   Link #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Spoiler:


So it's really not a weakness with the material inherently; more like the reasoning behind the ending simply cannot exist in an anime. Successfully integrating it into the anime would require an original slant, and then people would probably complain about that too. Though a lot of people would still disagree with the basic premise.
Thank you for summing up the substantial difficulties in adapting Clannad into anime. So there's real limits to how much criticism Maeda himself should take for perceived issues with the anime ending to Clannad.

In other words, I really disagree with Akito Kinomoto's argument that Maeda somehow "blew it" just because of how the Clannad anime ended. Maeda wrote the Clannad VN, he didn't write the anime.


Quote:
However, I've always felt that anything that requires people to check outside material to not be good writing.
I don't think that the Clannad After Story anime requires you to check outside material.


Quote:

Point is that while Clannad is a good anime, I do think that certain aspects of it seemed sorta phoned home and thus I can understand why people prefer others over it.
And can you understand why some of us, including myself, consider Clannad the best of the Key anime works?

I found Clannad more emotionally moving than any other Key anime. I felt that it tackled a wider range of practical life issues and themes than what other Key anime did.

So as much as I like the Mai and Shiori arcs of Kanon, I disagree with you saying that they "blow away" After Story.

Much of what makes After Story great is that it follows the male lead (and his eventual wife) into adulthood. It actually shows them starting a family together. It does this very poignantly, realistically, and effectively, imo. It boldly goes places that a lot of other VNs (or the anime based on them) don't go. It's an absolutely wonderful and compelling story, imo.


Edit: Also, here's a long Kanon review of mine here. The last few paragraphs of that explains much of the reason why I prefer Clannad to Kanon, as much as I do like Kanon.
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Old 2013-04-21, 18:01   Link #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Thank you for summing up the substantial difficulties in adapting Clannad into anime. So there's real limits to how much criticism Maeda himself should take for perceived issues with the anime ending to Clannad.
Yes, the thing is that it would be very difficult to implement unless you want it to be like 100 episodes.


Quote:
I don't think that the Clannad After Story anime requires you to check outside material.
I'm referring specifically to the ending, and it seems that many people were like "WTF?" unless they were aware of how it went in the VN.

This can be compared to Air's ending, of which absolutely made no sense to me either, but it worked well anyways. I was fine with it really without having to ask questions.

Quote:
And can you understand why some of us, including myself, consider Clannad the best of the Key anime works?
Sure, I do it myself. I don't understand why you'd think I don't. Just click the link to my MAL and note that Clannad:After Story is listed as a favorite and is rated higher than any other Key work.

Quote:
I found Clannad more emotionally moving than any other Key anime. I felt that it tackled a wider range of practical life issues and themes than what other Key anime did.
Which is why I said above that while Kanon has more interesting individual stories, that as a whole, it falters compared to Clannad. It is in fact, quite weak, because if you look further out, it feels like the worse tragedy wheel story because it seems that Yuuichi almost has Alzheimer.

Quote:
So as much as I like the Mai and Shiori arcs of Kanon, I disagree with you saying that they "blow away" After Story.

Much of what makes After Story great is that it follows the male lead (and his eventual wife) into adulthood. It actually shows them starting a family together. It does this very poignantly, realistically, and effectively, imo. It boldly goes places that a lot of other VNs (or the anime based on them) don't go. It's an absolutely wonderful and compelling story, imo.

Yes, I would agree that AS went above and beyond your typical romance. In terms of strict romance, there really is nothing (in anime format) that would be there that Key did better. Indeed, you'd probaly think that whole thing with Ayu quit when they were ahead.

The problem with After Story is generally after episode 18. Although there is much complaining about that ending, it also contains another swerve that I personally just found pointless which involved Ushio. And that just really hurts the effectiveness of the story.

And there is something that season one of Clannad has over the second one, and that it really grew that community of friends that created a circle of friends and family. What AS did right is to put in the point that over time that friends will grow further apart and settle down, but at the same time I thought the After Story threw them to the wayside. But this is still a plus for Clannad, since Air and Kanon were far worse in this area. Though I'm going to assume LB is going to come up on top of this.

In the end, my point is that there are very distinct reasons for picking any of the 4 and most are equally as valid. Even the Toei adaptations aren't as horrible as many would assume. Though the arguments for AB I feel are a bit weaker, and then LB is not done yet. In general, I think the tiering is a lot closer than many would imagine.
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Old 2013-04-21, 20:53   Link #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post

In the end, my point is that there are very distinct reasons for picking any of the 4 and most are equally as valid. Even the Toei adaptations aren't as horrible as many would assume. Though the arguments for AB I feel are a bit weaker, and then LB is not done yet. In general, I think the tiering is a lot closer than many would imagine.
I definitely agree with you there. I re-watched some Kanon the other day, and with the possible exception of character designs, it has aged very well. I think it might be a bit under-appreciated.

I really like Yuiichi as a male lead... his memory issues notwithstanding, lol.
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Old 2013-04-21, 21:09   Link #30
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Clannad After Story was decent, but personally Kanon2006 was just much better done than Clannad overall. I also think Little Busters anime is shaping up to be better than Clannad generally as well since I really felt Kyoani dropped the ball in integrating the routes together well (Not to mention how this impacts the ending). Plus if you're going to have romance, they could do better than this rated G no physical intimacy bull crap.

No idea how JC Staff's conclusion of Little Busters will go, but I think it's shaping up to be the best KEY adaption overall to date.
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Old 2013-04-21, 21:22   Link #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I definitely agree with you there. I re-watched some Kanon the other day, and with the possible exception of character designs, it has aged very well. I think it might be a bit under-appreciated.

I really like Yuiichi as a male lead... his memory issues notwithstanding, lol.
Yea, though the memory issues did annoy me on a few occasions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Clannad After Story was decent, but personally Kanon2006 was just much better done than Clannad overall. I also think Little Busters anime is shaping up to be better than Clannad generally as well since I really felt Kyoani dropped the ball in integrating the routes together well (Not to mention how this impacts the ending). Plus if you're going to have romance, they could do better than this rated G no physical intimacy bull crap.

No idea how JC Staff's conclusion of Little Busters will go, but I think it's shaping up to be the best KEY adaption overall to date.
Ah yes, the most intimate kiss of the Key anime is with a very tall dude and a girl that was for some reason drawn like a 7 year old. Ok, she looked really young anyways, but the anime did make it worse. Though now we have Kud. :S
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Old 2013-04-21, 21:31   Link #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Clannad After Story was decent, but personally Kanon2006 was just much better done than Clannad overall. I also think Little Busters anime is shaping up to be better than Clannad generally as well since I really felt Kyoani dropped the ball in integrating the routes together well (Not to mention how this impacts the ending).
I disagree. I think that KyoAni did a great job of integrating the routes together well. It's certainly the smoothest unified-approach to VN adaptations that I've seen.

Fuko and Kotomi's story-arcs felt to me like story-arcs that could have arose naturally in any anime show, not just as an obvious "girl route" in a VN adaptation. Fuko's arc actually contributed to the main romance of the anime (Tomoya/Nagisa), which is amazing since I assume Fuko's route itself involved a Tomoya/Fuko romance in the VN.

To be fair, there was a fair bit of content in Clannad that felt rather fluffy/inconsequential, I guess you could say. But I never got the same clunky transition feel to its various arcs, like I usually find with other unified-format VN adaptations. Even Mashiro-iro Symphony, an otherwise very tight VN adaptation, had this one clunky transition for me.


Quote:
Plus if you're going to have romance, they could do better than this rated G no physical intimacy bull crap.
I don't recall the romances in Kanon, Angel Beats!, or Little Busters! being particularly passionate when it comes to showing physical intimacy. And at least Clannad actually had a romance...

Personally, I found Tomoya/Nagisa very beautiful. Granted it would have been nice to see them kiss at least once. Bbut in a way, it's oddly impressive that KyoAni managed to present a compelling romance without needing to display any real sexual tension/passion. In other words, I could easily "see" and buy into these two characters romantically loving one another even though the physical side of that is completely off-screen.
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Old 2013-04-21, 22:01   Link #33
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Parts of Kanon and Clannad may have been exceptional, but romance is definitely not one of them. Though Reckoner's G rated principle is a bit exaggerated it does have a significant element of truth to it. I recall a scene in AS where Nagisa's dad went batshit when he found out that his daughter was pregnant ans decided to hold up Tomoya by the neck when he found out he had sex with her daughter. It was then proceeded by Nagisa being all flusterred and blushing over it. Huuuur. They are married what's the big deal?

Then again anime in general (largely the more moe centric titles) has this superficial obsession of glorifying purity and innocence on one hand and then completely exploiting it via doujins, fanfics and hentai. Incredibly hypocritical imo.

Tldr: I wish more romance series Key included actually explore sexual issues in not such a glorified G or PG manner.
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Old 2013-04-21, 22:07   Link #34
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Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
I recall a scene in AS where Nagisa's dad went batshit when he found out that his daughter was pregnant ans decided to hold up Tomoya by the neck when he found out he had sex with her daughter. It was then proceeded by Nagisa being all flusterred and blushing over it. Huuuur. They are married what's the big deal?
I'll admit, that was a very, very dumb scene.

This is perhaps the one potential downside to anime establishing/consummating a romance early on or at a mid-point - Sometimes they keep pulling out these particular anime romance tropes that just don't work once the couple are a committed couple and have already had sex (SAO also had a couple scenes like this for me).
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Old 2013-04-22, 04:34   Link #35
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I'm sad that to this day, no one has made the AMV of AS Episode 16 for which I wrote up the basic script back in the day.
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Old 2013-04-22, 11:30   Link #36
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I don't recall the romances in Kanon, Angel Beats!, or Little Busters! being particularly passionate when it comes to showing physical intimacy. And at least Clannad actually had a romance...
Kanon had 2! Though you didn't really let one sink in because you may have been too busy on the floor laughing, or in the case of me, throwing garbage at the screen. Though the fact that they went back to back with different people ruins it anyways.

The most physically intimate couple thus, is Yui and Hinata, since I assume they'd end up doing more than just wrestling. But that's only in theory. >.>

However, this is clearly Kyoani's fault. There's CGs of Tomoya and Nagisa kissing, for example. My theory is that they wanted to bury the idea that Key had dealt with 18+ and went too far in whitewasting the adaptations. But then Key will release 18+ stuff like Kud Wafter so.... Minkoface indeed.
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Old 2013-04-22, 14:37   Link #37
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You guys do realize that Jun Maeda isn't the only writer at Key, right? Blaming him for the failures of or accrediting him for the success of entire games is a bit ridiculous.
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Old 2013-04-22, 15:46   Link #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
One widely shared criticism I'm reading on this thread is that Key's endings are bad, if not downright terrible.

I wonder to what degree this perception is due to actual writing weaknesses in the VN source material itself, and to what degree this is due to the inherent difficulties in adapting a VN into an anime.

For example, I vaguely recall some Clannad VN players writing that the ending makes a lot more sense, and feels a lot more natural, in the VN than it does in the anime due to the unavoidable differences between the two. Here is where it might be nice if more VN players chimed in - You don't need to discuss the VN at length (for spoiler reasons, if nothing else), but just a simple "I thought the VN's ending was good, and if the anime's ending was worse, I don't think it's the VN's fault" or something to that extent (or the opposite, if you feel the opposite) might be interesting to read.

I just wonder to what extent Maeda should be blamed for a bad ending in Clannad (or in any other Key work) if the ending worked fine in the VN.


Of course, this isn't a total excusing - It wouldn't do anything for Angel Beats! which is anime original.
Let me chime in as a VN player then. Do note that I watched the show before playing the game to completion so do bear that in mind.

Spoiler for clannad ending:


Personally, while I find Clannad to be the better show overall, I think that Kanon had more of a potential with it's stories and is just let down because Kyoto Animation still hadn't quite reached the high point of their adaptations.

Adaptation-wise Clannad was a lot tighter even if it manages to drag itself just a tiny bit overboard with the last girl arc before After-story proper. I personally find that sticking with the Yukine and Sagara stories was a mistake and they should have added instead more of Akio's story as well as giving the Fujibayashi sisters a proper story arc (or at least dropping the recap episode at the end to extend what they eventually did to two episodes).

Kanon on the other hand feels a bit too disjointed in the last arcs managing to make the main character look like a player after carefully avoiding those implications during the first half.

As for Air all I can say is that it feels like a demo for Clannad. The stereotypes are clearly similar as are the character designs but there's a clear lack of runtime for the arcs and the ending feels so random to me that I still have next to no idea what the hell happened there.

When it comes to though Little Busters all I can say is that it's proving my worst fears true: the adaptation is just good enough not to justify ever having a better remake. It's not a bad show actually but the quality of the end result is turning out to be quite average sadly. Colouring feels particularly off to me (and Masato's character design. Where are the bloody muscles?) It's a shame really since the show isn't even that badly written but the emotional scenes just seem to constantly fall short with most of the impact lost due to sheer lack of visual quality. But maybe I'm just spoiled after all these years of KyoAni and P. A. Works shows with such delightful visuals.
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Old 2013-04-22, 16:45   Link #39
Akito Kinomoto
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Age: 23
My problem with Clannad After Story's ending wasn't how it worked but the function it performed. I knew how it worked; I didn't like what it did.
Spoiler for Clannad/After Story:
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Old 2013-04-22, 17:33   Link #40
Archon_Wing
Throw it on the ground
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Age: 30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaisos Erranon View Post
You guys do realize that Jun Maeda isn't the only writer at Key, right? Blaming him for the failures of or accrediting him for the success of entire games is a bit ridiculous.
Although this is technically true, I don't really consider this a vital tangent. Surely, Bill Gates didn't program Windows by himself, but he's the face that gets brought up when people talk Microsoft. And if Windows crashes, it doesn't matter if he wrote the buggy code or not. When you put your name on something, you have to accept that certain things out of your control are going to get latched on you, whether you like it or not. That is business. In other words, it's pretty obvious what people are talking about, though I am mindful of it, especially towards Kanon for obvious reasons.

Anyhow, here's what I thought went wrong with Clannad After Story's ending:

Spoiler:


This is also why Angel Beats had a terrible ending.

In essence, I feel that the character's will and decisions need to make up a relevant portion of an ending, at least thematically speaking. Sure, like life there is something that is out of your control. But what they did, and what they thought needs to be for something. This is why AS reached its highest point at 18. It was the outcome of what one decided to do, and what one decided not to.

I'm not against it solely for the reason of it having supernatural aspect-- it has nothing to do with realism. Plenty of my favorite anime have even more fantastical events of salvation, but I still thought it worked far better. Here's just 3 examples of seemingly examples of characters entering cheat codes to change their fate, but there's much more about it:

Because merely naming the series is a spoiler, I will double spoiler tag this.

Spoiler:
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Last edited by Archon_Wing; 2013-04-22 at 17:49.
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