Not The Band: Visual Novel Clannad Kickstarting

Ella, ella, ella.

You trust your friendly neighbourhood mob, don’t you? When has a mob ever steered anyone wrong? Probably never. So I’m sure that it’s perfectly fine for me to trust in the mob jumping up and down and giggling about Clannad, a Japanese visual novel I understand is of some repute, getting a crowdfunded official English translation and release. The Kickstarter launched yesterday, and the mob have already pledged over $125,000 towards its $140,000 goal.

Knowing nothing about it – I initially thought the mob’s baying cries were about, you know, Clannad – I shall defer to this official description:

Clannad tells the story of Tomoya Okazaki, a third-year student who doesn’t take life seriously and listlessly waits for something to break out of his monotonous life. A chance meeting with a female classmate, Nagisa Furukawa, and other fellow students begins to change both him and the people around him. With memorable characters and a sentimental story, Clannad will tug at the heart strings of readers and further draw them into the world of VisualArt’s famous title.

The Kickstarter’s masterminded by Sekai Project, the folks who’ve already brought over several other visual novels. They’re looking for $140,000 to cover license fees, translation, and a cast of voice actors including some from Clannad’s later anime series. Fans have translated Clannad before, but Sekai are starting fresh. And no, it won’t have an English dub.

Pledging $40 (£25) would get you a Steam copy of Clannad when it’s finished.

44 Comments

  1. AngoraFish says:

    I’ve been seeing Clannad a lot lately, and immediately and incorrectly assume the band. Call me a nerd.

    Wait, now I’m torn. Which version of Clannad is the nerdier?

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      Harlander says:

      The VN, probably, but they’re really completely uncorrelated nerdiness vectors.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      Fun fact: Clannad the game got its name because one of the writers believed (completely incorrectly) that the name of the band was the Irish word for “clan” and no one bothered to check.

      I am not making this up.

      • elevown says:

        The game got its name because its a game of the anime / manga series clannad. THAT maybe got its name for those reasons- i’ve no idea- but the VN didnt.

        • Skid says:

          Actually the virtual novel came first, then the manga, then the anime. On a side note Clannad is probably one of if not the best anime I’ve every watched, so the source material should be well worth a look into, for me at least.

          • elevown says:

            You are correct – its usually the other way round, especially if the anime is good. So if such a great anime came from a VN i’d guess it IS a very good one.

            KEY made the VN yes? I think they are famous for quality VNs – kinda the Studio Ghibli or Clamp of the VN world?

          • ChrisGWaine says:

            It’s not usually the other way round, and when it is, the resulting game is probably shovelware, not worth looking at.

          • Philomelle says:

            Like ChrisGWaine said, the other way around is incredibly rare. The number of original anime works is very small, maybe 1-3 titles per season. The rest are adaptations of manga, visual novels and trading card games, with an occasioanl JRPG sneaking in from the side.

          • Nouser says:

            What’s so good about Clannad – the anime?

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            DrFunfrock says:

            @Nouser

            Extremely well developed characters.

            It’s a series that starts out looking like your typical high school romance anime, and for the most part that’s almost exactly what it is; hijinks happen, there’s humour and misunderstandings, and the main character finds himself surrounded by various women who all seem to want to jump his bones.

            Except that the writing is actually good enough to make it all work, and the story is willing to go to some shockingly dark places in order to lend real emotional weight to its most essential reveals.

            Your mileage may vary, and if anime in general leaves you cold then I don’t know if this will be the one to change your mind, but if you don’t mind a slight tendency towards melodrama you’ll be surprised by just how affecting Clannad can be. There’s a second season that basically doubles down on all of this, and delivers one of the most brutal emotional gut punches I’ve ever seen from an anime, but never quite feels as consistent or well thought through as the first. Still worth watching if you liked the first season, and if you’re even half way invested in the characters by that point, it’ll make you cry like a baby.

      • alms says:

        Fun fact: Engrish.

        Wait, not so fun.

  2. Anthile says:

    It’s currently trending for about $3.8 million and yet they don’t have any stretch goals. I wonder what’s going to happen with all the spare money.

  3. WhatKateDoes says:

    Roooobin…… THE HOODED MAN.

    I too was somewhat vexed by the title.

  4. Jackablade says:

    Would I be enormously unpopular to suggest that based on the trailer, I can’t differentiate this from every other visual novel I’ve ever seen referred to anywhere… besides maybe the one with the pigeons?

    Maybe I’m just old and grumpy and not up with what the young people are into nowadays.

    • grom.5 says:

      You should look at it as if it was a book. “Every” book is written on white paper and black ink but you wouldn’t say it’s the same would you ?

      The story is what’s interesting in a VN and this is one of the greatest (according to people more qualified than me at least).

      • bill says:

        But every book isn’t about listless japanese students who happen to run into a whole load of girls who each have a different personality archtype.

        • elevown says:

          Except the girls aren’t archetypes, all the characters are well realized with proper personalities and back stories and issues etc. The main character also isn’t a boring non entity but really funny too. It also goes where very few other anime or VNs go in various ways.

          Sorry, but there is nothing bland about it- all the bland VNs that have a similar setting, are very pale imitations.

          • Hex says:

            Bah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

            …wait.

            You’re serious.

            Sigh.

        • Philomelle says:

          A terrible example to make your case. Clannad was one of the very first visual novels to properly break into mainstream and generate a large following. While it certainly isn’t the first visual novel to employ the “high school harem”, its existence is a major reason why everyone on the VN market uses its structure. It’s basically the Lord of the Rings of high school-based visual novels, in that everyone in the genre desperately wants to be Clannad.

          It helps that Key games are a surprisingly rare case of dating sims that survive the Bechdel Test, in that heroines in it actually have their own lives and ambitions, and commit to interactions that have nothing to do with the protagonist.

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      FhnuZoag says:

      I’m honestly rather shocked that RPS is reporting on this. The fanbase seems quite disjoint.

      I suppose Clannad isn’t really dramatically different from every other visual novel dating sim, especially relative to the ones that play around more with the forms of the medium. It is kinda one of the earlier ones though, and it is tremendously influential in the games that come after it. It is also well executed, in terms of writing and music (less so in terms of art). I imagine a lot of people support this kickstarter, because they loved the anime, which was probably one of the best ordinary-live type anime series ever.

      I’d say that there’s a couple of ways Clannad distinguishes itself, mainly. Firstly in having a strong set of characters that aren’t just cute-girls-you-date. For example, the main heroine’s parents are very important. The main character is also less of a blank slate, but someone with clear issues who find a mutual resolution in the relationships he forms. The second part is the After Story chapter, which is the part of the plotline that extends beyond what every other game focuses on (getting into a relationship), but goes into marriage, parenthood, getting a job etc… I think most of the story is quite good, After Story is what is actually special. It’s tough to recommend though, because Clannad is just so freaking long.

  5. SanguineAngel says:

    I recall watching the two Clannad series a few years ago and it was really an opportune time – it had a massive emotional impact on me. I thought it was exceptional. I suppose there is a level of discomfort associated with a complete unfamiliarity with the genre which I had to get over though. It was not at all what I expected and it blew me away

    • Hicks233 says:

      Did you get to watch Kanon and Air as well?

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I immediately went on to watch Kanon which I thought was great but not a patch. Not seen Air though. Recommended?

  6. elevown says:

    Clannad is a fantastic anime – Both extremely funny with great characters- including the guys! – but is also very moving to the point of you will cry quite a few times. It was a huge hit.

    As to if the VN lives up to that quality I don’t know.

  7. jasta85 says:

    As a fan of visual novels and their english translations (usually fan made) I’m quite happy about this being funded, but the $40 price mark for those that didn’t get there early enough does sting a bit. That’s really damn pricy for a visual novel which tend to be anywhere from $10-$30. Plus this isn’t a new game, just a re-translated one. I’ll most likely pick it up on a steam sale time time in the distant future

  8. Shadowcat says:

    Manga/anime: Still drawing faces that look as if someone has levered a person’s eye sockets open, like some horribly distorted autopsy procedure.

    • arisian says:

      As opposed to the hyper-realism of, you know, western cartoons…

      Yes, it’s highly stylized, but is it really worse than, say, the Simpsons (where everyone has jaundice), or Loony Toons (where it’s the anthropomorphic animals that have the giantly oversized eyes)?

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        Harlander says:

        Not to mention that it’s only one style with those media (albeit an arguably predominant one)

    • ashleywr says:

      I won’t defend Clannad’s art, because even to me, someone who watches a lot of anime, it looks terrible. But it’s just one of many, and it’s really disingenuous to critique ALL manga and anime art because you don’t like this one style.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Unfortunately those are really the only labels for that type of drawing (faces with the horribly distorted eyes) which have bridged the cultural divide to people who don’t watch or read it.

        So I concede it’s a generalisation, but I had (and indeed have) no idea what else to call it.

        • Philomelle says:

          Ever since K-On!, anime fans have begun to refer to this as “moeblob art”. Moe being the Japanese otaku term for female characters who are adorable or lovable, and “blob” being used to refer to the part where these characters are often nothing more than blobs of stereotypical traits that are considered adorable and piled together in order to hook an audience.

          Clannad does have fleshed out characters and very good writing, but its artwork got riffed off by every single company who wants a slice of Key’s pie and therefore can be considered the prototypical moeblob art.

  9. Hicks233 says:

    Needs more Ugu. Kanon next?

  10. Kitsunin says:

    Excellent, I’ll have to back this, just to support VN translations. I may or may not have time to read it, especially because I’ve already loved the anime and am far more into fantasy (RPS, why the heck did you never cover Dysfunctional Systems? ‘S fuggin’ awesome…)

    But what I’m really hoping for now, is for Type-Moon to Kickstart (or otherwise make) an English version of the Tsukihime remake, I will be forced to swallow my pride as a not-total-nerd and gush all over my friends about it, trying somehow to overcome that silly “Eroge” aspect of things. Although, that title is why it probably won’t ever happen, le sigh.

  11. Tuor says:

    The people at Key can just DIAF. I just loathe their relentless hammering on emotional keys, it’s just way too aggressively manipulative for my tastes.

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      FhnuZoag says:

      Hmm, Sad Girls dying in fires, eh? Sounds like the next hit vn….

      • Tuor says:

        I’m pretty sure something like that happened already in one of Key’s VNs… maybe Angel Beats. :P

  12. haircute says:

    Ok so what’s next, Kanon?! I can’t believe this is happening…why couldn’t it have been Comic Party? This stinks!