Tuesday, February 25, 2003


Genre: Bishoujo
General Audience
2002 Toei Animation / Visual Art's / Key / Fuji Television

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Skysenshi's Description:
It has been seven years since Yuuichi Aizawa left Japan. Now that he is back, he is reunited with his cousin Nayuki Minase and her mother Akiko. Things have been going pretty well for the young boy...except, every now and then, a different girl would appear out of the blue and tell him that he had been friends with her seven years ago. Unfortunately, Yuuichi doesn't seem to remember anything about his past, specifically what had happened in his life the year that he and his parents had left Japan. Little by little, his everyday activities help him remember his old friends. As he puts together pieces of his memories, however, he learns that some of them are treasures...and some of them are meant to be forgotten.

In the end, he discovers why he had developed selective amnesia in the first place. Will he regret bearing the knowledge? Or will he become a bigger man and face the bitter truth?

(13 episodes)

It gets depressing... >>> by skysenshi
One look at the first episode and a regular bishoujo gamer would recognize that this could've come from a bishoujo game. The artwork, coloring, music, hairstyles and the pacing of the first three episodes were screaming, "This is a b-game!" I wasn't too far off as I learned that Kanon is based on a hentai PC game of the same title.

Hentai? Any anime fan that is familiar with this term might be a little surprised. Kanon doesn't, in any way, look like it came from any perverse source. Everybody looked so young and cute, yes, even the adults. It would take a person with Lolita complex to even find these characters remotely sexy. The situations were equally cute and the voices where so darn small you can't help but think Card Captor Sakura.

For all its resemblance to an H b-game, I was glad that they didn't make this anime into a hentai feature. First, because it would've ruined the story, and second, Yuuichi's sincerity in helping all those girls in this animated version would've seemed questionable. It would totally destroy the mood if Yuuichi decided he wanted to sleep his way to episode 13. Yuuichi is typical b-game lead character. He is soft-spoken, very kind, but he has a lot of sense of humor. He also has a soft spot for people in need, whether they be male, female or animal. This is why most of the episodes in Kanon are spent with Yuuichi trying to help so many people find their identities, battle psychological demons, cope with fatal diseases, and simply learn to stand up for themselves.

Of course, one can't help but feel the glow of romance. It's just hard to choose who's best for Yuuichi because all the females in Kanon have inimitable personalities. I couldn't stop laughing at the Yuuichi versus Makoto Sawatari (blond girl in 4th screenshot) battles, wherein the two play pranks to outdo each other. I was also quite amused by Ayu Tsukimiya's (2nd screenshot) penchant for stealing taiyaki and creating trouble for Yuuichi every time she bumps into him. Even the kind and seemingly acquiescent girls, mostly portrayed by Nayuki and Sayuri Kurata, actually have strong backbones and even small doses of selfishness. Yes, they can sacrifice their needs for the sake of their friends, and yes, the women here support each other. But these girls actually have limits, which bring me to think that this title is an honest piece of work.

I must admit I underestimated this title. The slow pacing of the first three episodes made me think of boring clickathons that usually define b-games. I even thought the plot had nowhere to go to. But the sudden appearance of supernatural/psychological battles threw me in for a loop. I was thrown for a bigger loop when twists, both cruel and funny, were injected near the end of the series.

It gets depressing, though. By the eighth episode I was starting to feel an ache in my chest. And by the tenth ep, I had to transfer to my room because I couldn't let my mom's secretary see her boss' 25-year-old almost-married daughter bawling like a baby. All of the girls in Kanon have their own stories to tell-each having their own shock qualities. Highly recommended, especially for b-gamers, romance fanatics, and just those who would love to be surprised every now and then.

Individual Rating: Art: 8; Story & Plot 7; Characters: 9; Sounds: 7

Unexpectedly Powerful >>> by MarkPoa (written ??.??.2004 posted 01.29.2005)
Kanon shares a lot of similarities to the anime To Heart. Both are romance anime based on hentai games. Both feature a kind-hearted protagonist who ends up helping a cast of cute multi-hair-colored girls. Both even feature the one male side-character who does nothing but provide one liner comments.

What sets Kanon apart from its light-hearted fluffy predecessor is its more serious mood. The series does not go for the standard anime romantic comedy formula with slapstick comedy, goofy sidekicks, and weird relatives. Instead, it treats itself more seriously.

When I first saw Kanon's character designs, I was immediately reminded of another anime: the hentai Elven Bride. (Please note that I didn't know it was based on an H-game at the time.) The characters all have more than the standard anime saucer eyes; literally, the characters' eyes are half the size of their heads. This initially turned me off from watching, thinking that it must be as fluffy as To Heart.

However, the characters' personalities gradually come out over the course of the series and this makes them more real, inspite of the kooky character designs. We see how each person is different from the others, why they act that way, why they relate to the other characters as such... It just shows that visuals that are pleasing to the eye are made better by good characterization.

I didn't expect a good dramatic story from this series, but that is what I got. Each of the girls' stories, though sometimes fantastic and requires a brief suspension of disbelief, were nonetheless interesting enough to catch my attention and even elicit a tear or two. The development of the story is deliberately slow... it falls layer by layer like falling of light snow. (Hey, that rhymes!) This actually adds to the enjoyment of the story as the viewer starts to learn about and care for the characters as the series progresses.

For a TV series, Kanon sports beautiful artwork and animation. The slow pace gives the story full room to develop and the characters to grow. There are some CG effects, but I think the animators utilized them very well here. The series also features a good instrumental background music, providing an appropriate sentimental mood to the series. The opening theme best exemplifies this with its soft orchestral tones.

If there is one complaint I have with Kanon, aside from the large eyes, it would have to be the forced happy ending. I think the ending episode could have ended earlier, even on a sadder note. I just found the ending to be a bit anti-climatic compared to the powerful penultimate episode.

Individual Rating: Art: 9; Story & Plot 8; Characters: 9; Sounds: 9

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