While I didn't cover Clannad on the hallowed pages of this 'Blog, or indeed watch it, while it was airing, I did set aside a few days this Summer for a marathon viewing session that took in both the series and the Another World OVA, which set me up nicely just in time for After Story to begin ending.
As the name suggests, this series carries on basically where Clannad itself left off, with Tomoya and Nagisa together, while we move forward to the second semester for the main characters as thoughts begin to turn towards future careers and the like. Anyone who has either researched or played the Clannadgame will also know that the After Story section of said title is a somewhat depressing affair, but put those thoughts to one side for the anime... for the moment at least.
This first episode reintroduces us to all of the main characters nicely, courtesy of a baseball game Akio is involved in that he needs as much help with as possible to finish a recent losing streak. Rather than looking for people who have a clue about baseball, he instead gets Tomoya to recruit whoever he can for the team and... well, it probably goes without saying who ends up in this makeshift side. It probably also goes without saying that they win the match, implausible though that may be.
If there's one thing that made Clannad enjoyable, it's the fact that it didn't take itself too seriously... aside from the times where it took itself seriously, that is. Indeed, it almost felt like two different series at times, offering up episodes that were entirely fun and light-hearted (and actually quite funny on occasion) but mixing it in with some almost painfully sad moments. I can only assume that After Story will follow that same recipe as it goes on, but this first episode firmly planted itself in that light-hearted category, bringing together all of the eccentricities of its various characters to great effect to build up an amusing and incredibly enjoyable to watch episode. If you loved the characters and the feel of the show last time around, then rest assured that this could really have been called the true twenty-fourth episode of Clannad, so close is it in every way to its predecessor right down to the soundtrack. If you enjoyed Clannad (and I have to say I did), this is undoubtedly a good thing.