Yes, I am doing this.
I stumbled upon this fantastic mashup of Eminem’s “When You’re Gone” and “Dango Daikazoku”, and upon listening, I realized just how eerily SIMILAR the themes of Clannad and Eminem’s song are. I suggest giving it a listen before reading on.
I will be tackling this as not a 1:1 comparison with Eminem’s life, but with his life as it is portrayed in his song.
Spoilers for After Story from this point forward.
Both Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers) and Tomoya had troubled youths. This was mostly the result of their father’s presence (or lack thereof) during their childhood years. Tomoya’s father was present,but he was a very flawed man who wasn’t ready to be a single father.
Eminem’s father wasn’t even around for him to be angry or disappointed towards.
Despite this, both Tomoya and Eminem have had a lot of issues in being much different from the way their fathers were. Tomoya, after the death of his wife, couldn’t stand to see his daughter who looked so similar to her, and threw himself into his work,not even seeing his daughter for five whole years. Eminem, struggling with his pill addiction, did concerts and the like, neglecting his family in the meantime, and it got a lot worse from there.
This is to show that despite ALL their bitterness towards their fathers, they ended up neglecting their children as well, albeit in different ways.
A significant difference, though, is that Tomoya eventually learned to accept his father’s flaws, and decided to forgive him, because in his own words, “he was a better father to me than I was to my daughter,because at least he was around”.
Eminem and his father have met once, and not ever since, but I can say for sure right now, Eminem’s a better father now than most fathers are (but not during the making of this song).
Hailee and Ushio are the same. Both love their father, but due to their absence, have become lonely. They are both bundles of innocent joy who crave attention from their fathers, and while their mothers (grandmother,in Ushio’s case) gave their best, there is always something missing.
It’s best shown with Hailee’s box stacking to block his father from leaving again, and Ushio’s insistence on finding the robot her father bought for her,because it’s the first thing she ever got from him. To their credit, both fathers attempt reconciliation (and in Tomoya’s case, succeded), but they are sadly too late.
When They’re Gone
In the climax of both the anime and song, they both not only lose their daughters, but to add to the tragedy, Eminem’s wife is implied to have passed away, basically putting Tomoya and Eminem on evenly tragic ground.
They both realize just how much time they wasted wallowing in their self hatred and pity, and are left alone in the dark to reflect upon their mistakes.
End of a Dream
And this is what seals the similarities between the two. The rest could simply be thematically similar,but this part is practically a mirror. In both the anime and song, the fathers wake up, as if from a dream, and you see their families alive and well. Wife alive, their daughters safe and happy, they could not ask for anything better.
Fate has given them a second chance.
It’s honestly so fascinating that these two very different forms of media could tackle the themes of fatherhood so well in almost the exact same way. Who would expect that a hardcore rapper from Detroit and a struggling visual novelist from Nagoya could have portrayed the same themes so closely?
This speaks volumes about how realistically Clannad captures the feeling of family, fatherhood and abandonment despite the author never having experienced it himself.
How, you say?
Well, if you’ve been reading, Eminem, who actually experienced all that, wrote a song that is perfectly in line with Clannad’s own themes.
And if you still don’t believe me, here is an AMV that I found which practically proves my points. See for yourself how almost perfectly the lyrics fit with the show.
And so, that concludes the strange yet heartwarming connection between two seemingly different art forms. Just goes to show that no matter how different walks in life people take can be, all humans can experience the same kinds of love and pain of having (and losing) family.