Kanon 2006 Anime (English)

October 11th, 2009

How rich the irony. I did watch the 2002 Kanon anime, but I have forgotten all but a very few things about it. I remembered that Yuuichi was a “nice guy” (a term used around my house to describe a particular type of man that is in no way pejorative. A “nice guy” is nice.) I remembered that I didn’t remember a thing about any of what passed for a plotline, but that it didn’t matter because the whole series was not meant to be enjoyed as an stand-alone anime, but as homeopathic porn.

And, I remembered Saiyuri and Mai.

Saiyuri was the cute, talkative one. Mai was the taciturn one, a quality that reads “butch” in a hyperfemme show like this. And I remembered that Yuuichi’s existence did not separate the two in any way. (In the anime, at least. I have no doubt that in the original game/Visual Novel, he had sex with at least one, probably both. No need to educate me on this, I really, honestly, don’t care.)

There was nothing openly Yuri about Saiyuri and Mai, just the sense that they were, *obviously* meant to be together. Mai, being the butchier of the two was “clearly” (when Yuri Goggles were turned up sufficiently) in love with Saiyuri. Turn those Goggles up another notch or two and Saiyuri “obviously” returned her feelings.

I did watch the whole 2002 series and this was basically all I retained from it. Not having been captivated by the original porn version, I failed to retain the sense of profound joy the anime apparently brought to those fans – as a result I was boggled that such an utterly dull series warranted an even longer, even duller remake. Nonetheless, I braved Kanon, 2006.

All of the storylines are given depth in this new version. This newer, longer version explains almost everything – including *why* the bulk of the cast has no memories. And yet, I found my time with these characters to be akin to sitting in a Doctor’s waiting room. Not really unpleasant, but not really pleasant, either.

I was watching it solely for Mai and Saiyuri. And in the end, I was most disappointed by their storyline. Try as I might, no matter how high I turned the Yuri Goggles, they remained friends. Plain old best friends without the vaguest hint of unreasonable affection or secret desire. Meh.

If I had loved the original game, and eagerly watched the 2002 series and waited breathlessly for this series, I’d have to say that this anime was pretty good, if ridiculously sentimental. But because all I wanted was Mai and Saiyuri to be more of a couple, not less of one, it was an epic failure. lol No, not really. For everything else, it was really okay. Except one thing. Which was so horrific I have to comment.

When I saw the girls’ character designs I actually screamed. Good god! You moe fans – does this REALLY look good to you? They look like their are wearing plastic heads over their real heads! It’s absolutely horrific! In a stunning display of personal retconning, I convinced myself that the original designs must have been better, because aaaaugh! Of course, after I took a second to check, I had to laugh at how utterly wrong I was. LOL The best things about those hideously huge-eyed, giganto heads is that they are *way* better than the original art. Which says something profound, I’m sure, but I couldn’t tell you what. lol

For the record, my lack of memories also has an explanation. You’ll just have to read all my posts here to find out why. :-)

Ratings:

Art – 3 I’m just not getting it, guys. They look stupid.
Story – 7 Sentimental, syrup-y romance
Characters – 6 One signature sound does not a great character make
Yuri – 0
Service – In one sense, Infinity. In another – 5

Overall – It was a 5 most of the way through, but the end was *so* goopy, I’ll give it a 7.

I bet this series is why Love Plus is selling so well – all those guys played Kanon when it was a VN and are disappointed that women are more complex than that, now that they are grownups.

Everlasting thanks to Okazu Superhero Dan P. for his contribution to my inner Fanboy, which has rejected this and is willing to send it back. ^_^

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12 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen someone get so angry over a series where everyone is universally pleasant to everyone else… seriously Key V.N. are like the game equivalent of pot.

    Except instead of paranoia you have to deal with crying overweight guys between 18-30.

  2. @Mara – Angry? I said it was not unpleasant, but not very interesting to me. How is that angry? I think you’re reading this in a a much more forceful tone that the one in which it was written.

    I even say that if you like this kind of thing, it’s pretty good.

    Perhaps you need to read it less angrily?

  3. BruceMcF says:

    How are the heads for lateral stability in the anime? They look like they’d flop around if the bearer tried to do something like start walking or turn …

    … and while I assume from the fact that they can be held upright at all that the game/anime world is a planet with 0.5g, there’s still inertia to account for.

    That’s one of the things I like about Aoihana, the fact that it seems plausible in a 1g world such as Earth.

  4. Ramiya says:

    A lot of western fans I knew back in 2002 were put off by Kanon because of the “Jay Leno chins”. Personally I think its an evolved response to the snowy setting and they are used as snowplows.

    It’s a bit tricky to find, but there was a DVD-exclusive special epilogue episode to the 2002 series called “Kanon – Kazahana” which was fansubbed back in the day. Interestingly, it gives more of the closure to Mai/SaiYuri that you wished for–the two have moved off to Europe and are living together there.

    There were some other nice “codas” to the other characters as well, particularly a scene where Amano meets Makoto on the hill which was a little touching with the Yuri goggles turned up a couple notches. Overall, Kazahana felt like the hidden “true end” to the series that you get in a “visual novel” once you’ve triggered all the “flags”. I was pretty put out that the Kyoto Animation version later didn’t include this material at all.

    On a completely unrelated and late note, I meant to comment on your review of the Lucky Star manga way back. I hope this isn’t repeating someone else’s comment since then– It’s true there’s no Kagami/Konata Yuri to be found in there by any stretch, but then again, that stuff didn’t develop in the anime until waaaay near the end (and moreso in the post-series OVA). So if the same occurs in the manga, I doubt there will be much hint of it until a couple more volumes at least. As it is, it’s pretty clear it’s mostly in Kagami’s imagination (Konata comes off as pretty straight most of the time as far as I can tell, except when in jest to tease Kagami, though I’m sure some LFBs would protest otherwise). So if you’re looking for signs of that, it’s way too soon (and probably not worth the effort unless you suddenly become a moeblob convert, lawl).

  5. sarcastic_weasel says:

    I just pretended that this took place on a different planet… a planet inhabited by a race I called, “The Horrible Eye Creatures.”

    Because seriously, those people have eyeballs the size of basketballs. (Moreso in the 2002 version. That one was just… *shudder*)

    “I’m sorry, I can’t go out with you.”

    “Why not?”

    “Because your eyes give me screaming nightmares.”

    Yeah, I had a hard time getting over the art, too.

  6. Dorota says:

    In some circles this is called retard-moe.
    For example, I didn’t watch any of the Key series, because I consider the character design extremely off-puting.
    Just . . . no.

    And ‘personal sound instead of character’ is a meme which is still destroying my brain, even now, after three years.

  7. Mara says:

    @BruceMcF – Large heads causing problems explains the amnesia. Check out Little Busters to see the same character designer doing characters with less helium.

    @Erica Friedman – Whoa! That’s not at all what I intended. I just wanted to highlight some single arias that sounded weird. I did not have a serious point behind it. Very sorry if I offended.

  8. @Mara- I’m never offended when people are unhappy with my reviews. I am puzzled, because it was a very mild review and hardly even close to angry. That you would then assume I’m offended really means to me that you’re reading my words here in a manner completely at odds with the way they are written. Take a look at my picture on Okazu. I am smiling. I smile when I write these reviews. I’m having fun. Not snarling and ripping the heads off bunnies. :-)

    Read the reviews and comments assuming a smile and a laugh, not a snarl.

    @Dorota – I am always a little concerned that people who think this is cute might one day breed. As a result, I am 100% in favor of the game Love Plus and look forward to the day sexaroids exist, so there’s not fear of that anymore. :-)

    @Bruce McF @sarcastic_weasel – The idea that this story takes place in some other world certainly is appealing. Aside from the fox magic, there’s a few too many handwaves – and they tell us *repeatedly* that’s it all inside a dream. :-)

  9. I didn’t even bring my goggles to Kanon (2006) since I knew it was going to be a harem, and in harem, no girl has any interest in anyone else but the main guy. But even without expecting it, I saw something there between Mai and SaYuri. In fact, I saw more chemistry and affection between them than there was between Yuuichi and Mai or even Yuuichi and SaYuri.

    But yes, the original se
    ries did have an OAV with a more “Yuri end”.

    Maybe I was wearing my Yuri contact lenses during Kanon (2006)…?

  10. Katherine says:

    I loved Kanon 2006 when it first aired (even bought a Kanon mug and several Kanon comic anthologies- in the hopes of seeing more Mai x SaYuri- when I was last in Japan), but I’m a little afraid of re-watching it now and potentially ruining my sugarcoated memories. ^^; Especially since Yuuichi’s attraction to Ayu just seems…kinda creepy now. (Even setting aside the eau de paternalism that permeates the overall show.)

  11. Eric P. says:

    I did a take seeing the title ‘Kanon’, wondering “what the heck is this doing on Okazu?”

    In this show, where I didn’t get past the first 10 episodes, I couldn’t help but notice that the main guy’s personality always changed depending on which girl he was with. He is either a kindly big brother or has a sadistic mean streak. Whatever it may be, it’s always in such a way where he is better than the other girls or is always the one with the solutions, which of course shouldn’t be surprising but is still made so blatant.

  12. Eugene says:

    The updated version of “The Fox Wife” at the beginning creates the lens through which Kanon should be viewed. I think the narrative structure of the series becomes quite obvious by the end. What we have been watching all along are the stories Yuichi told Ayu while she was in the coma.

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