The Strange Case of Fuko Ibuki: The Existence of Ikiryō?

A mysterious girl is seen in a dim classroom holding a wooden star with wounded hands. There are rumors saying that she may be a ghost. Further research tells you that a person of the same description was involved in a car accident a while back and is currently in a coma…

How are you being able to talk and physically interact with this person?


Recently, I’ve started to watch Clannad, an anime, according to my friend, that gets you very emotional. Okay. Sounds like a solid story. So I decided to check it out. So a couple episodes in and this is already setting up for emotions flying everywhere.

We are introduced one of the show’s heroines, Fuko, as the little girl that seems to want to create something special for her older sister.  Because of her strange obsession with stars, or starfish, she keeps making wooden stars (starfish?) to give out as presents to invite the other students of the school to her sister’s wedding.


She believes that it is logical since her sister used to teach art at the school, retiring three years ago. However, she fails to realize that most of the students at the school wouldn’t know her then, considering how the school has only three grades. The only person that seems to know of Fuko’s sister is Nagisa, one of the other heroines, having repeating her senior year because of a sickness the year before.

Here’s the twist.

According to Fuko’s sister, the only person who she talked about her wedding to was Fuko, but Fuko has been in a coma since a car accident. Then who’s this?

The only way to explain this would be: ikiryō. This is seriously starting to sound like a horror story, isn’t it? Ghosts. Spooky.

Ikiryō are our own escaped souls from our living bodies that leave to manifest their presence among others, usually in order to haunt another, but there are events where they serve a purpose to loved ones. That seems to be the case with Fuko. However, as soon as Fuko’s condition in her coma worsened those who weren’t very close to her started to forget her, and soon those who were close to her, being Tomoya and Nagisa, couldn’t remember her as well. But upon looking at the wooden starfish she made for them, everyone starts to remember the wedding and had a vague memory of a cute girl who would always be running around the school…


So did Fuko have some spiritual connection with the above world? One can wonder. But we also have to note that this was a fictional story. Nevertheless, we can conclude that Fuko had a strong love for her sister, and wanted to make her sister happy, all because her sister’s happiness would be her happiness, so her spirit existed, at least for a time, among the characters of this emotional story.



5 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Fuko Ibuki: The Existence of Ikiryō?

  1. I always wondered about her story; in which I felt that she didn’t getting a happy ending like the others. I feel like her soul was stuck in this world, and never reached the other side. She was just stuck in limbo because she had something left undone in this world, which in this case is getting her sister married off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the post. I watched Clannad after Air/Kanon, so I wrote her case off as the usual Key-fantasy trope. Not saying I didn’t enjoy Fuko’s story, it was the high point of Clannad for me. I admit, though, that when I first watched it I didn’t like it because that drama was formulaic (relative to their past work).

    With this post I can appreciate it knowing someone could take the time to write such a good read – I’ll probably try it again to see if I have a different impression on her arc. The message (strong love), as you stated, is the important part.

    Liked by 1 person

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