|Album Title:||Clannad Original Soundtrack|
|Artist:||Magome Togoshi; Jun Maeda; Shinji Orito; riya; Lia; kiku|
|Release Date:||August 13, 2004|
|1. Ushio||Magome Togoshi||1:08|
|2. Illusions||Magome Togoshi||3:22|
|3. Mag Mell||riya; kiku||4:52|
|4. Town, Flow of Time, People||Shinji Orito||4:28|
|5. Nagisa||Jun Maeda||4:10|
|6. Like the Wind||Shinji Orito||4:02|
|7. Étude pour les petites supercordes||Magome Togoshi||4:50|
|8. Hurry, Starfish||Magome Togoshi||4:18|
|9. Her Determination||Magome Togoshi||4:06|
|10. Tea in the Reference Room||Shinji Orito||3:58|
|11. Spring Wind||Shinji Orito||3:32|
|12. Country Lane||Magome Togoshi||3:16|
|13. Meaningful Ways to Pass the Time||Magome Togoshi||3:20|
|14. Everyday Leisure||Shinji Orito||1:51|
|15. Dumb||Shinji Orito||4:56|
|16. A Couple of Idiots||Shinji Orito||2:28|
|17. Return to Ashes||Shinji Orito||3:40|
|18. Existence||Magome Togoshi||2:25|
|19. Phases of the Moon||Shinji Orito||3:52|
|20. Empty Space||Shinji Orito||3:52|
|1. Snowfield||Shinji Orito||5:11|
|2. Roaring Tides||Shinji Orito||2:38|
|3. Roaring Tides II||Shinji Orito||4:15|
|4. TOE||Magome Togoshi||2:44|
|5. To the Same Heights||Jun Maeda||1:59|
|6. The Place Where Wishes Come True||Jun Maeda||2:49|
|7. Shining in the Sky||Magome Togoshi||5:08|
|8. -Two Shadows-||Magome Togoshi||5:37|
|9. White Clovers||Shinji Orito||3:44|
|10. Distant Years -piano-||Jun Maeda||1:26|
|11. Summertime||Magome Togoshi||1:56|
|12. Distant Years||Jun Maeda||2:44|
|13. Country Train||Jun Maeda||4:34|
|14. The Place Where Wishes Come True II||Jun Maeda||4:08|
|16. Nagisa ~ Farewell At the Foot of a Hill||Jun Maeda||5:54|
|17. Tiny Palm||Jun Maeda; riya||4:44|
|1. Illusions II||Magome Togoshi||1:54|
|2. Spring Wind -afternoon-||Shinji Orito||3:33|
|3. Spring Wind -tempo up-||Shinji Orito||3:04|
|4. Spring Wind -piano-||Shinji Orito||1:45|
|5. Meaningful Ways to Pass the Time -guitar-||Magome Togoshi||3:21|
|6. Meaningful Ways to Pass the Time -sax-||Magome Togoshi||3:22|
|7. Existence -e. piano-||Magome Togoshi||2:24|
|8. Existence -piano-||Magome Togoshi||2:27|
|9. Mag Mell -cockool mix- (full ver.)||riya; kiku||4:27|
|10. Mag Mell (short ver.)||riya; kiku||2:40|
|11. Mag Mell -cockool mix- (short ver.)||riya; kiku||2:39|
|12. -Two Shadows- (short ver.)||Magome Togoshi; riya||2:34|
|13. Ana (short ver.)||Lia||5:25|
|14. Ana (full ver.)||8:24|
|15. Mag Mell (off vocal ver.)||kiku||4:51|
|16. Tiny Palm (off vocal ver.)||Jun Maeda||4:40|
|17. -Two Shadows- (off vocal ver.)||Magome Togoshi||5:36|
|18. Unused Track 1||Shinji Orito||3:31|
|19. Unused Track 2||Magome Togoshi||2:21|
Tracklist and miscellaneous album information provided by VGMdb.
Review: Watching the entirety of the Clannad anime (including the After Story) felt like completing a long journey that, looking back, yielded a mix of wonderful and bittersweet moments in the life of its two principal characters. Much of the show’s success is derived from seeing the personal and emotional growth that its protagonists, Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa, undergo as they fall in love and together, face the obstacles that fate has put in their path. Through it all, the series serves as a firm reminder that no matter what tragedies one may have to endure, the family will always provide that firm bedrock of support that one can celebrate along with in the best of times, but also rely upon in the worst of times.
And as we sit through Tomoya’s ups and downs, the music is always hovering just out of sight, but the impact it delivers when it needs to can transform a scene that’s merely sad into one that’s emotionally wrenching. The credit goes to Key’s Jun Maeda, Shinji Orito, and Magome Togoshi for delivering unto us a soundtrack that is absolutely beautiful in the way it captures the mood of the series and to Lia and riya, whose performances made this album truly shine as my favorite soundtrack to a Key/Kyoto Animation collaboration.
The question is where exactly one starts when addressing this soundtrack? There’s no doubt that the characters themes are particularly delightful. For example, Fuko’s theme, “Hurry, Starfish,” will elicit cheers and groans depending on one’s perception of her, but there’s no denying that the piece’s light-hearted aura gets her eccentric, capricious nature down pat through the piano introduction that depicts the appearance of a whimsical sprite. Kotomi’s theme, “Études pour les petites supercordes,” uses the violin in a rather bumbling manner which fits with her socially awkward tendencies, but it retains her good-hearted nature that is positively endearing.
Of all the character themes though, I consider Nagisa’s to be the most important because of the role she plays in Tomoya’s life and, by extension, in the anime. Her theme may be simplistic, but it illustrates her warm personality, her caring nature, and her determination to see things through to the end in spite of her health problems. This piece is one that I will return to a few times because it represents so many of Clannad’s themes, from the sense of hope that things will turn out for the best to the ensuing tragedies that come up along the way, but regardless of the ups and downs that the audience experiences, “Nagisa’s” beautiful melody reassures us that happiness lies in store at the end of it all.
After all, “Nagisa” makes its appearance after “Town, Flow of Time, People,” which is depressing as it illustrates the hopeless, despairing thoughts that have encumbered Tomoya’s mind through the piece’s grim aura that leads one to believe that the city’s atmosphere is slowly suffocating him with the painful memories he’s associated with it. But “Nagisa” comes in like a healing wind, and this transformation results in Tomoya’s prospects brightening up considerably, making way for tracks like “Spring Wind” and “Country Lane” which brings in an air of optimism into his day to day life and allow the listener to take in the relaxing aura and enjoy the brief moment of happiness that Tomoya experiences through his daily interactions before things take a turn for the worse.
Town, Flow of Time, People
The point at which tragedy strikes is where the second disc takes over since most of the melancholy themes that one associates with Clannad’s downhearted moments are found here. For example, “Snowfield” exemplifies the same sort of hopelessness that “Town, Flow of Time, People” carries by hinting at the tragedies that are soon to come. What really struck me when listening to “Snowfield” was the sense of loneliness that emanates from this track. Not only does it hammer the feelings of despair, this suffering is something that Tomoya goes through alone as the person he cares for most is taken from him. This emotional turmoil is also evident in “Roaring Tides II” which moves at a slower, more deliberate tempo as though to illustrate the extent of the despair that has engulfed Tomoya, weakening him and making him especially vulnerable to what will happen next.
“Nagisa ~ Farewell at the Foot of a Hill” deals him the final blow, and by incorporating Nagisa’s theme into the piece, the audience too acutely feels his pain. While I have discussed the effect of this piece during the scene which depicts Nagisa’s passing, it bears repeating that what makes this piece so powerful lies within the context of the scene. When the music plays, it sparks one’s memories and one cannot help but remember all the times Tomoya and Nagisa spent together and how her death profoundly affects him. By using a synth as a backdrop towards the end of this piece, we are encouraged to reflect upon those happier times as her death finally sinks in and Tomoya’s life unravels from the shock and pain.
But amidst the melancholy and despair are some bright spots like “To the Same Heights” and “Shining in the Sky.” “To the Same Heights,” in particular, raises the specter of hope that things don’t have to be so bad as long as that familial foundation of support still exists. This bittersweet brew tastes more sweet than bitter and the message I got from this wonderful piano melody is that fate may deal one a terrible hand, but by maintaining one’s relationships, one can overcome those difficulties and soar on to a brighter tomorrow. That it’s used as the basis for “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” makes for an interesting comparison since my first impression of this piece had been an uplifting one rather than the mournful feel that I derived from the After Story opening.
To the Same Heights
“Shining in the Sky” is also mentioned as a bright spot. This track carries an aura of contentment as it brings its air of finality through the crescendo around 1:53. Through the music, one gets a feeling that the struggles had been a valuable lesson and the characters have learned to move past the tragic events to become stronger as a result. “Country Train” takes the feeling of optimism further by adding in a dose of resolve through its rhythm and tempo which allows one to not only hear the swift-moving train, but to also feel as though Tomoya has awakened from the pits of despair as he pours his heart into making amends (especially towards Ushio) and reconnect with the people he cherishes so much.
Shining in the Sky
The best aspect of the second disc belongs to the three vocal pieces though. “-Two Shadows-” has a nostalgic feeling imparted through riya’s upbeat and emphatic delivery and “Ana” is also a beautiful track that utilizes Lia’s ability to express herself wonderfully. Although the lyrics which can be incoherent at times as it talks about a paradise that goes through cyclical changes, Lia’s soaring vocals carry a peaceful, almost ethereal aura which channel the song’s lofty sentiments.
Of the three vocal songs, “Tiny Palm” is absolutely unforgettable. It starts with the theme from “Nagisa” but quickly makes way for riya’s heartfelt delivery which takes us through the story from start to finish. The initial meeting with Nagisa is heard at the very beginning and through that fateful encounter, their lives are changed, and for the better. Although the feelings of love take awhile to build up, when it shines, it does so radiantly through the chorus where riya expresses the characters’ hopes and dreams as they vow to face life’s challenges as a couple. I cannot get over how beautifully this song imparts its themes as it uplifts the spirit through the genuine emotions it instills in the heart of the listener and it is by far the best song on the soundtrack.
Although the third disc consists of arrangements that are enjoyable, but nowhere as integral as the first two discs, it’s worth finishing since it’s the conclusion of a long, but fruitful journey in the same way the anime series is. Through it all, the music succeeds in being a heartfelt addition as it not only takes us through the joys and the sorrows, it also serves as a subtle reminder to us all to cherish the relationships we have and to build new ones along the way.