The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

CLANNAD- Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you.

Sticking this phrase into Google will almost certainly return something to do with the visual novel/anime CLANNAD, even if one is seeking reference about its usage in The Dandelioin Girl. I read this story for a science fiction literature course long ago, and realised that the phrase’s meaning in CLANNAD is identical to that of The Dandelion Girl. Thus, I kill two birds with one stone when I re-purpose one of my old literary analysis assignments: my arguments here hold true for both The Dandelion Girl and CLANNAD. A full-text of the original story may be obtained here.

Love is a turbulent emotion; wild and unpredictable, men abandon reason for madness under its effects. While society has made great strides in science and technology, love nonetheless remains an unfathomable mystery, striking at the most unexpected of times. Robert F. Young’s The Dandelion Girl is a story about love and the rediscovery thereof; in spite of its structure as a science fiction narrative, The Dandelion Girl ultimately makes use of time travel as a device that rekindles a couple’s love for one another. Thus, The Dandelion Girl may be regarded as a work of soft science fiction, characterised by an increased emphasis on the human aspect: the time travel itself is merely a device that sets the narrative’s events in motion, and gradually allows 44-year-old Mark Randolph, the protagonist, to rediscover what love is. The phrase “Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you” lies at the very core in the story; its significance is such that it is the only line to be repeated verbatim, and its intrinsic meaning bears a great deal of meaning with respect to characterising love as something that may transcend time.

  • In CLANNAD, Kotomi is a very quiet girl, making it quite difficult to communicate with her. She is in the top ten for every subject throughout the whole country in standardized exam results: she always goes to the library to read extra materials, especially books in foreign languages.

It is a pleasant September day when Mark encounters a mysterious girl with dandelion-coloured hair, vivid blue eyes and a pure-white dress. She captivates Mark in conversation, speaking of the fact that she hails from 2201 AD, as well as vibrantly describing how the world appears in that time. Mark’s enquiry about her arrival is met with a curious response: that she time-traveled to reach his time. When Mark asks about her name, she introduces herself as Julie Danvers, and that she is studying to be a secretary. This hints at her connection with Mark’s wife, Anne, who is also a secretary. Upon departing, Julie leaves behind the poetic but enigmatic phrase “Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you”. Julie continues to mention this line in her subsequent meeting with Mark, and the phrase itself is interspersed with Mark’s own thoughts, consuming his thoughts. This line has also doubtlessly consumed the minds of those who have read this short story, as well. It is repeated exactly six times throughout The Dandelion Girl, and its meaning is left ambiguous, continuing to haunt Mark even after she seemingly disappears forever.

  • CLANNAD is an excellent anime, one of the few I would freely recommend to anyone without any hesitations. This post is written very much like a passage or essay I’d hand in for a class: well, it was originally structured for a class, but I’ve rebuilt it to be more suited for a blog, which is decidedly more casual. However, the content is still there. As for any Tropers reading this, yes, this is what a proper analysis looks like: you know, with complete sentences and well-developed, insightful ideas instead of a list of URLs and writing that looks like it was written by middle-school students?

Even though Young phrases Julie’s words such that they seem to have a mystical, ethereal character to them, her dialogue is very literal, forgoing any sort of imagery beyond what she says directly. Julie speaks of her time-travelling in a very matter-of-factly manner; while Mark finds this endearing but incredible, he later discovers that she was in fact being truthful. Thus, when Julie says that “Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you”, she intends for her phrase to be taken quite literally, as well. Simply put, Julie recounts seeing a rabbit two days ago. The day afterwards, she sees a deer. A deer is rather more substantial in stature compared to a rabbit, which are very small in size. Then presently, she sees “you” (presumably Mark), who is in turn more substantial in stature and character to a deer. Thus, this phrase simply refers to the fact that Julie feels that every day, she sees something beautiful and unique, but every day after, what she sees is more significant and beautiful. Love can be thought of as the same way, humbly beginning from a chance meetings, but also maturing into something meaningful when properly cultivated. Similarly, Mark’s marriage appears to be ailing, but his meeting with Julie and subsequent realisation that Julie and Anne were the same individual would act as the spark that would reaffirm his love for her. Young intends the rabbit and deer thus represent Mark’s chance meetings with Julie/Anne, but the most significant event of all is his final realisation, allowing him and Anne to move forward together.

  • While the literary analysis might be about The Dandelion Girl, there are enough pictures here for me to tag this post as having CLANNAD content. Contrasting what appears to be the majority, I read about The Dandelion Girl before I had even known what CLANNAD was; I only began watching CLANNAD after watching a YouTube clip of Nagisa getting hammered after roughly one shot of sake.

Mentioned six times throughout The Dandelion Girl, “Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you” is a simple, yet poignant line that reflects on the things Julie sees each day, with each day surpassing the previous one in grandeur. Young specifically applies this to Mark and his love for Julie/Anne, describing how their relationship is one that could grow more spectacular with the passage of time, and how it needed a boost to restart. The line has since influenced two other works: the visual novel CLANNAD and its anime adaption feature this line, as well as the game Portal 2. In the case of the former, it reflects on Kotomi Ichinose and her feelings for the protagonist Tomoya Okazaki, while in the latter, it has the computer AI GLaDOS use this as a taunt against the player. Despite its references elsewhere, this line remains first and foremost a quote about love and faith.

4 responses to “CLANNAD- Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you.

  1. Deborah April 4, 2016 at 23:14

    Thank you for writing such a moving piece of art about Clannad. I recently discovered this anime last week and was wondering what Kotomi meant that enigmatic phrase in episode 14. After I found your article with the power of Google, I read “The Dandelion Girl” and then your article. Because I was that moved from your writing, I actually wrote my personal version of the phrase on my blog . Hopefully, I have written an article that does not “like it was written by middle-school students.” Hahahaha. 😀


    • infinitezenith April 5, 2016 at 09:07

      I’m happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed The Dandelion Girl and were moved by the story. Having read through your article, it is well-written. Honest and straightforwards, I feel that it’s written from the bottom of your heart. My quip about the other writers is directed at the “analysis” site known as TV Tropes: it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of their methods, but that is a story for another time 😉

      I remark that there is no set age where one can truly become “experienced” in love; one can be young and quite experienced, or similarly, be older and not so experienced, but it wouldn’t make the feelings less genuine. So, I concur wholeheartedly that love is a lifelong journey, and that the things one loses in the present are transient as the rabbit and deer (even if experience says that it does nothing to diminish the sense of loss).


  2. Isaac August 4, 2020 at 11:51

    Truly insightful, helpful research souce about that content, and very well written, thanks for your analisis!


  3. orifiel September 30, 2021 at 07:09

    excellent sentences with beautiful choices of words, i wish i would have decided to watch this amazing series sooner instead of ignoring it despite all the recommendation out there :<


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