Twelve Moments in Anime No. 1: Father and Child

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope the day treats everyone well!

So this is really the big anime moment of the year for me. I feel like I should write some big, epic post about this, but I’ll keep my ego in check and stick to the spirit of things by keeping things relatively simple. (Major, major spoilers for Clannad within. Read with caution.)

For a good while now, my deepest wish has been to be a father. I know I am nowhere near ready for this responsibility yet (shit, I’m nowhere near ready to even settle down!), but I really cannot imagine a happier scenario for me than raising a child. With this in mind, parent-child relationships in anime (or any other piece fiction) have always got to me. I cried like a fucking baby during the Haruko/Misuzu scenes in Air (along with the end of Tohno’s arc), and damn it, this genuinely amazing, touching moment from the 18th episode of Clannad ~After Story~ got me too.

It’s not a groundbreaking story: Tomoya has slipped into despair after the death of his wife, Nagisa, after she gave birth to their daughter, Ushio. Nagisa’s parents, Akio and Sanae, have been taking care of Ushio while Tomoya wastes his days away, a broken man. To finally give Tomoya’s life a kickstart (it has been five years since Nagisa’s death), Sanae tricks Tomoya into taking care of Ushio in the hopes that they will bond. Tomoya is reluctant, at first, but soon relents when he realizes he is all alone with the daughter he has neglected for five years. They go on the trip Sanae and Akio planned, and once there, Tomoya realizes he is in an area he remembers from his childhood, and to his surprise, his grandmother shows up.

What Tomoya and his grandmother talk about plants the seeds for this amazing moment in the next episode, which NovaJinx describes in this post, but suffice it to say, Tomoya realizes that even though he is weak, scared and still in pain from losing Nagisa, he cannot back away from his daughter; he needs to give her the happy life she deserves. Tomoya asks Ushio if she will accept him back into her life, despite what a shitty father he has been up to that point, and without hesitation, as simple as can be, Ushio says yes . . . and she embraces Tomoya and lets out every emotion that had built in her from birth, as does Tomoya.

Even with all the neglect Tomoya had piled upon Ushio, that bond between father and daughter could not be severed. Tomoya feels the tug of his love for this tiny bundle of life, and he wants to love her more than anyone in the world, and she wants a father she can love more than anyone in the world. Just simple, powerful emotion.

I know raising a child will not be easy — it takes a ton of sacrifice, a huge change in life and is often an amazingly frustrating process from the time the child is born to the day he or she finally leaves the home. But I would suffer every hardship in the world for the opportunity to look into the eyes of my son or daughter and to know I have honestly done my best to make him or her the happiest, most successful child possible.

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