Post Reply Another ending theory
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Posted 7/18/11 , edited 7/19/11
There are already a couple good theories on Episode 22 of After Story (such as the time travel theory or the alternate world theory) but another, darker, theory is also possible from the way the events are depicted. WARNING: this theory includes spoilers and strays from the visual novel interpretation.

The entire show's events are just the thoughts of Tomoya and/or Ushio as they lie dying in the snow. As he slowly loses consciousness, he relives the moments of his life since meeting Nagisa at the bottom of the hill. He doesn't realize that he is dreaming but the lonely world sequences reflect the world outside the dream leaking into his consciousness. The dream seems familiar to him because he is just reliving the past in his mind but he avoids these thoughts--he distances himself by imagining himself as a robot and his daughter as a lonely girl. Nagisa knows the fairy tale, but can't remember where she learned it, because she is just part of his dream. Moments before he passes into death, he finally realizes that it was just a dream all along.

His spirit passes on as a blue orb that floats around the town (the dreamlike montage with blue lights is his spirit wandering) until he goes to the place where wishes are fulfilled in the forest next to the new hospital being built. There, in that hidden world, his wish to always be with Nagisa and Ushio is fulfilled by the heart of the forest. The entire happy ending montage is a wish fulfillment of that special place for the gathered spirits of (now dead) Nagisa, Tomoya, and Ushio. That's why you don't see the three of them interact with the other main characters. They now live together in a new, reborn hidden world, a dimension curled up in a tiny space under that tree, embodied by the dreaming girl. She can be happy too now, because her lonely world is now filled with a new world of family.

When the montage ends, we re-enter the "real" world, there Fuko is awake from her coma, but she still has a connection to hidden worlds due to her experience. She senses the special place next to the hospital and is attracted to it. She is the only human who can actually sense this other world.

Now, personally, I don't actually believe this version, especially since the summary episode contradicts it with Tomoya's narration, but even if it is not totally true, it may still be that Tomoya's spirit did relive his life, either via time travel or via a dream and that his spirit did go to the special place which granted his greatest wish by creating a new reality.

Rank Speculation: However, the person dreaming under the tree in the special place was always Ushio, so how can she both grant the wish and also be one of it's beneficiaries? Also, if she awakes, the wishes of others become misfortunes. So the girl was always there, yet she was also his daughter. In one sense, then, I can only imagine that the girl represents the feminine mystique, a type of Grace or elemental spirit nymph, that embodies both Nagisa and Ushio. Note that both girls become weak as Man tears into the landscape, even Tomoya once speculates that urban development and Nagisa's health seem connected. Perhaps her father's wish when she almost died, tied her spirit with the town's spirit? A spirit that can only enliven one body at a time, hence Nagisa dies because this spirit moved from her to Ushio at birth?

Or perhaps this new world is actually not Tomoya's dream, but the lonely girls? She stayed there, used all the wishes Tomoya had gathered to create a new world under that tree where everyone can be happy...
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Posted 2/23/12 , edited 2/23/12
Its hard to determine the truth. I have heard several theories. It was Tomoya dreaming the negativity of the whole ordeal of Nagisa's death. For the illusionary world, I believe that Ushio (that is the girl and that is a fact that is her) died from the After Story and was brought there. So basically we have 3 Ushio's. 1 in After Stroy. 1 in the other world. and 2 in the new no-one died world. If the girl died, that would have meant Tomoya died. Which could make sense. Knowing Tomoya too well, if he had lost his wife from After Story, and then lose his only precious thing from him, Ushio, I think he would be in so much trauma and shock he could have seriously die. That is another theory, was this "dream" an alternative reality. They have done it with Tomoya going out with Tomoyo and Kyou. But its hard to determine it so because it seems everything in After Story, the goals and accomplishments that Tomoya did to others, was permanently added in the newer world. The spirit balls are actually not Tomoyas. That is mention in the visual novel quite well. The spirit blue ball things are actually good deeds that Tomoya have done. Yeah its cheesy. It makes sense though. Tomoya finally made amend with his father and accepted him as a father BOOM blue orb. You get what I mean? Fuko was another one way back in Clannad 1st season. He helped her gain her true goal, and got the orb. If the illusionary world was not real, then this couldn't have happened. The other main question is why could everyone see the orbs after everything was corrected? Nobody could see it except certain people at certain times.
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