So, that’s it. I’m feeling awfully underwhelmed here. It’s not like the ending was bad, it was very functional, which is the problem, almost too perfect and too concise. It was blatantly obvious here Keyani is trying to get us to turn on the waterworks, if only for the fact it’s Key and that’s what’s supposed to happen. The whole thing would of been better without the suitcase randomly appearing. One, the idea of random people trading a suitcase around the world requires way too much suspension of disbelief. If the Ichinose’s were such famous people couldn’t someone just mail it to Japan? What else is google supposed to be used for? Two, it robs Kotomi of her own personal closure. Having Kotomi come to terms with her parents and her past by herself, with the help of some friends, is a far stronger story than the suitcase deus ex machina. But I guess a tale of quiet triumph wouldn’t get make us cry as much as a heartbreaking letter from the dead. Though, again, the mind wanders to how did Kotomi’s parents have time to write that letter and put the bear in the suitcase when they apparently died from a fiery explosion.
It’s not that Kotomi’s a bad character, far from it. She’s weird for sure, but her humor and earnestness make her a very likable character. It’s hard to deny her cute design, too. The problem with Kotomi’s story is that it’s not driven by her, but all caused by outside events. The suitcase is the most obvious aspect of this, but Tomoya’s mysterious friendship is also circumspect. Do we really need Kotomi to be the forgotten childhood character? Couldn’t her past work just as well told completely from her perspective? If Tomoya doesn’t remember he was Kotomi’s friend until after he befriended her anew, then does it really matter if his past friendship existed or not? The whole thing feels thrown in just for the required amounts of Keyches. Kotomi’s story is very lowkey and poignant, but marred by a plot that wants to be more emotionally epic than it actually is. Which seems to be the pattern with Clannad, great characters trapped in tiredly overused plots. Hopefully further stories will be entertaining while trying to move away from this point, but I doubt it.