"Yes. It's about how the tide rises and falls. ...I'm sure that a lot of things happen within a life. But as time passes, things return to us."
Clannad is not my favorite anime. It has many faults, and is subject to the criticisms of many modern anime, including pandering to fans of the “moe” aesthetic and a lack of layered symbolism, but It is still an anime that will go down in history as a true masterpiece, and the one single anime I wish everyone would watch at some point in their lifetime.
Clannad has forced me to feel a wide variety of emotions I have never felt, including deep sadness and pure hilarity. The way the original writers at Key construct a story and characters honestly parallels none. Kyoto Animation understands how to turn a story like Clannad into a fully-animated, high quality production.
K-On!, for instance, is extremely underwhelming as a manga, but Kyoto Animation turned it into one of the most popular anime ever made. Even while incorporating heavily criticized aspects such as weak moe characters and even the cliché harem trope, Kyoto Animation doesn’t fail to present a heart-warming emotional roller coaster of an anime.
Each arc of the series pulls on a different element of the viewer’s heartstrings, leaving the viewer emotionally destroyed before finally putting them together in the end.
Perhaps I’ve been manipulated, but isn’t that what fiction is all about? Watch Clannad. Enjoy it. It’s designed to manipulate your emotions, and if you let it do so, it will be an experience you will never forget.