Kanon (2006)

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therik's avatar By therik on Jan 5, 2009

Story

Sayuri and Yuuichi sit in the cafe.. The steam from their coffees wafts through the air which is filled with gentle strings of some classical music.

"Do you know this piece?" Asks Sayuri. "It's Canon. Pachelbel's Canon. That central melody repeats itself again and again, as layers are slowly added to the music, making it richer and more beautiful each time." She pauses. "Wouldn't it be lovely if life was the same way? If it changed delicately and softly as we live from day to day?"

If there is a line that more effectively underpins the series, or if there is a clearer example of Kanon's philosophical poetry, then I apologise for leaving that stone unturned but I could think of no better way to begin this review.

As adult visual novel adaptations go, Kanon (2006) is mature, dignified and sensitive, much like the earlier Air and subsequent Clannad. Of course, it has its share of oddball and loud personalities but they serve to amuse rather than to irritate. In fact, such moderation is something of a hallmark of the series, every bit as recurrent as Kanon's principal plot themes of memories, promises and miracles. Although most characters are eye-sparklingly cute, you an still empathise with them as real people. Although the imagery is clever, it is never boastful. Although the show is funny, it's not too funny. In fact, the humour in Kanon is masterful in knowing its role. It doesn't elbow you in the ribs and laugh raucously at its own jokes; instead it lightly strokes your shoulder, reminding you that it's always there and giving you the choice of whether to laugh or not.

This moderation is key because it allows the show to go ahead and tell its story without gargantuan diversions detracting from this primary aim. The structure of Kanon's narrative is typical of the genre. A handful of shorter, character-specific story arcs are played over the main story, which lasts throughout the entire length of the show's 24 episodes. Ideally, such a structure would allow for a variety of tales and a multiplicity of different emotions to be presented as each one unfolds. Dismayingly, Kanon forgoes such a structure, instead preferring to focus on one emotion and one alone - sadness. Every story is sad. Yes, there are moments of joy and even some of triumph, but tragedy in Kanon is all too commonplace. It is the incessant lifeblood that pulses all too visibly beneath the thin membrane of kawaii which initially seems to envelop and identify the show.

The most painful consequence of this omnipresent sorrow is not a continual rending of the heart strings as one might hope. Rather it is the onset of disappointment and despondent indifference on the part of the viewer. In its delivery of tear-jerking moments, Kanon is something of a relentless tease. It threatens time and time again to move you, to break your heart, to give you a story or a moment that you will never forget; and yet it never does. Whether it is because the show saturates itself with sadness or whether it is because the stories refuse to set foot upon the plateau of true poignancy, this series fails to make good on its first avowed intent - to effect the viewer emotionally.


Animation

Kanon's animation is simply sumptuous. It is hardly controversial to claim that Kyoto Animation represent the zenith of their particular style. As well as luscious backgrounds, every epsiode boasts the distinctive character design, nigh-on perfect lighting and constant attention to small details which are typical of the studio's releases. Although the term "winter wonderland" has been overused to the point of meaninglessness, I feel that Kanon's whitened landscapes can be described no other way. It is almost as if the snow consciously chooses to fall upon Nayuki's town, because it knows how delightfully it will be animated.

As such, any qualms should be seen as relatively minor. Those that I have are mainly to do with something of a cuteness overdrive which many of the girls seem to possess. Although I maintain that it does not preclude the ability to empathise with them, some of their features and expressions are exaggerated almost to the point of parody, whilst their ridiculous floods of tears occasionally serve to dampen emotionally charged moments with unwitting comedy.


Sound

Although I cared little for the songs that play during the opening and ending credits, the soundtrack is, on the whole, marvellous. Seemingly every piece of music does its job with efficiency and panache, as mood is built up through the background music just as much as it is built up through dialogue. Surprisingly, and almost uniquely, some tracks are memorable enough to stay with the viewer long after the series has run its course.

The voice work is also of a high standard. Whilst more sensitive ears may have difficulty tolerating Ayu's frequent use of her "Uguu" catchphrase, this is more a quarrel with the script than the VA, who manages to keep the repetitious utterance from grating. The voices are adaptable enough to maintain strong and distinct characterisation whilst presenting a spectrum of emotions and steering the protagonists away from being two-dimensional stereotypes.


Characters

Dramas of Kanon's ilk need to strike a delicate balance in creating their cast. The characters must be sufficiently quirky to be memorable, but must also be human enough to engender sympathy and undergo a true development in personality. This is a lofty goal, but one which Kanon generally attains. I qualify this last statement because the anime errs slightly on the side of caricature on occasion, particularly with the characters of Ayu and Makoto, whose obnoxious immaturity wavers indecisively between the amusing and the overpowering. However, if you are prepared to indulge the pair their foibles and see them as simply being somewhat unorthodox, then there is no reason not to see at least a spark of realism within all of the show's protagonists.

Futhermore, due in no small part to the strong personalities exhibited by some individuals, the character interaction is always enjoyable. It not only creates a lot of Kanon's trademark comedy but also ensures that the dialogue contains many lines which are truly priceless.


Overall

For my part, I found every character in the show to be likable, and to possess some trait which I was able to identify with, or at least enjoy. This is the main reason why I was so wholly disappointed with the series' failure to grip me on an emotional level. Although I stand by every positive comment I have made in this review, I feel that Kanon falls tantalisingly short of what could have been greatness. Its insistence on telling tales of woe is tempered by an inability or unwillingness to go the proverbial distance and present something truly affecting.

In small doses - as I discovered when re-watching this series - Kanon is a competent emotive drama. The exceptional animation and sound ensure that it is sublime as a passive viewing experience, and there are enough excellent pieces of dialogue to consider it memorable. Taken as whole, however, it is enjoyable but occasionally numbing. I would recommend the series if you have enjoyed similar animes, such as Clannad, Da Capo, and Myself; Yourself. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a truly moving and thoughtful tragedy, then perhaps search elsewhere.

6/10 story
8.5/10 animation
9/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7/10 overall
willtaylor's avatar By willtaylor on Jun 7, 2010

Parents:

There is absolutely no fan service in this Anime. (Fan Service means scantily clad scenes put into the show for no other reason than exciting pubescent boys) This is what's called a Shojo Anime, or an anime that is meant for young to teen aged girls, and it shows. Kanon relies more on imagery, storytelling, and dialog to move the story along. No one gets beat up. There is one scene with a hint of blood, but I assure you it's not unnecessary -- it comes as a vital part of the story. I didn't detect any cursing and the situations are not ludicrous. If you're looking for something more actiony, then this is not the title for you.

There's a reason it's called Kanon. It's fully explained within the series but it's a subtle explanation. It's a play on the musical term of a canon. Think row,row, row your boat --it's a repeating melody that gets more complex as you pass each repetition. This happens in the story as well. It's about Yuichi, who had come back to live with his Aunt Akikko and his Cousin Nayuki after 7 years. Yuichi discovers that he has no memory of his last visit 7 years ago. Through his interaction with the other characters in the story, Yuichi begins to remember what he repressed, and eventually why he repressed it. Most of the girls that he interact with knew him from before in one way or another. Along the way, Yuichi encounters Ayu, a short girl with a winged backpack. She's bubbly and kind, and despite his sarcastic view of things, Yuichi is smitten with her. She remembers him from before and soon Yuichi is set down a path of discovery that will lead him through a lot of personal heartache. As he rediscovers each set of memories, the fullness of his life there becomes apparent.

 I didn't watch the dub version so I won't comment on it. I spend 12 hours a day on the computer so the last thing I want to do is watch a program and spend the whole time reading subtitles. So I won't comment on the dub because it simply doesn't interest me. I thought the English casting was great and I honestly don't think they could have picked better actors for their respective characters. Ayu's voice was perfect --I don't think that any other actress could have captivated me more. Sometimes all it takes is the right voice.

Unlike a lot of other Anime, this one has an ending that does bring the story to a definite conclusion. It's not a harem comedy --though Yuichi has strong feelings for his friends, he's not conflicted in the slightest about them. He isn't a loveable goofball or inept with girls or anything like that. So if you're looking for that, you're really going to be disappointed.

I will say that while I did like the ending, I didn’t like the way that they presented it. I think that they could have put together one more episode in between 25 and 26 that would have touched on the specific miracles and laid some of the confusion to rest. In my opinion, that one change would have made this story perfect to me.

 I think that there really isn't anything bad that I have to say about this anime. I think parents may find this enjoyable to sit down and watch with their kids.

7/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
Flared's avatar By Flared on Feb 21, 2013

Story: 7.5/10

Kanon is centred around Yuuichi, a guy who has moved back to the town in which he lived as a child after 7 years away. He is also someone who suffers from a medically fascinating strain of amnesia where at the beginning, literally the only thing he remembers about his time there is his cousin’s name. However over the course of the story, Yuuichi slowly remembers his time in the town 7 years previously bit-by-bit as he interacts with the various girls who live there (half of whom have some form of connection to his childhood). Just like a Visual Novel, each girl’s “arc” is dealt with one after another and each has their own little sad moments. But unlike KyoAni’s other Key adaptation Clannad, the sadness in Kanon feels somewhat forced and like it is trying a little too hard to be sad, something which I believe holds Kanon back from being great.

The story is sweet, but held back by the forced sadness.

Animation: 8.5/10

For 2006, Kanon’s animation must have looked out of this world. The backdrops are gorgeous with some brilliant lighting, especially in the night scenes. This, mixed with the wonderful snow effects, makes Kanon a very appealing anime to look at. Apart from the rare character face hiccup, it’s a very solid package. This series really put Kyoto Animation on the map as an animating powerhouse.

It still holds up well with today’s anime and is easily Kanon’s greatest asset.

Sound: 8/10

The soundtrack is pretty much completely lifted from the original Visual Novel (which dates back to 2000), and this is no bad thing. As it is composed by Key, you expect it to be good, and it is. Some Key fans call it their greatest score, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it is certainly one of their better compositions. No track seems out of place and the character themes are not overused to the point of saturation (something which I feel can happen easily in these genres). The OST ranges from very sombre tones to uplifting upbeat tracks and is very well produced throughout, as I expect from Key.

I have to say though that the opening “Last Regrets” is rather forgettable. While it’s nothing terrible, it just seems like it should have been the ending as it is quite a slow song. That being said, the ending “Where the Wind Reaches” is much more upbeat and much more suited to be the opening. I feel that KyoAni got these mixed up.

The voice actors/actresses do a solid job throughout, but one thing that personally bothers me about the voice acting is Yuuichi’s seiyu, who is the same as Kyon’s from Haruhi (Tomokazu Sugita). I find this to be a bizarre casting choice considering the first season of Haruhi had aired only a few months before Kanon premiered and that Yuuichi not only looks similar to Kyon, but also has a similar personality. Perhaps this was a deliberate marketing decision by KyoAni to entice Haruhi fans to watch Kanon? Who knows? But to me at times it was like watching Kyon who had been transported into another anime. Do I think it detracts from the series overall? No, but it’s a potential niggle for those who have watched Haruhi already.

Characters: 7/10

Nearly all of the characters in Kanon are likeable in their own unique ways, but the cast does have some pretty strong anime stereotypes. You’ve got the typical tsundere with Makoto and the stoic Mai among others, but they are done well enough so they don’t grate very easily.

That being said, the one character that can get annoying is Jun. He is meant to be the comic relief character when things get bad (much like Sunohara in Clannad) but he never really fulfils his role and is usually more irritating than entertaining.

Overall: 7.5/10

Kanon is by no means a bad anime. The animation is stunning for the time and the soundtrack is wonderful. The story, while sweet, needed just a little something extra to tip it over into the realms of anime-greatness but sadly never received it.

You may have noticed that I repeatedly referred to Clannad in this review. This is because they are both Key Visual Novel adaptations done by KyoAni, but also because it is the shining example of how such an adaptation should be done. If you want to watch a drama/romance anime, I would honestly recommend Clannad over Kanon all day long.

Oh yeah, and stay WELL clear of the 2002 Toei Adaptation of Kanon

7.5/10 story
8.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
LeGo's avatar By LeGo on Jul 30, 2010

Una de las mejores obras de Key.Personalmente quizas no llegue al nivel de Clannad(aunque esto ya dependera de cada cual),pero contiene todo lo bueno de Key:Drama,Magia,algo de humor y una genial OST.Ya aviso que puede haber algun spoiler,no muy grande,pero puede haberlo.

Sipnosis Made in wikipedia ^^

Yuuichi Aizawa vuelve después de siete años a la ciudad donde vive su prima.Algo ocurrió hace siete años y todos los recuerdos de Yuuichi sobre ese lugar han "desaparecido".Aunque al final de la serie nos daremos cuenta de que desaparecido no es la palabra exacta.

Al día siguiente de haberse mudado se encuentra con Ayu Tsukimiya, una chica a la que le encanta comer taiyaki. Ayu escapa de un vendedor de Taiyaki y choca con Yuuichi,el le invita a comer taiyaki tal y como hizo siete años atrás. De esta forma va recordando cosas del pasado y eso le ayuda a aclarar mas sus sentimientos.

"Kanon 2006" ademas de ser la adaptacion de la Novela Visual de Key,es el remake del anime original "Kanon" que se publico en el año 2000,se mejora sobretodo la animacion que corre a cargo de Kyoto Animation

24 Episodios llenos de momentos,divertidos y tristes,cotidianos y magicos.Key 100%.

HISTORIA:

Momentos epicos nos depara este anime.Capitulo a capitulo vamos conociendo personajes nuevos que de una forma u otra ayudan a descubrir mas la personalidad y recuerdos de Yuuichi.Unos primeros capitulos quizas,algo lentos para terminar con una parte final espectacular y emotiva.Le cuesta arrancar,pero cuando lo hace deja el liston bien alto.

ANIMACION:

Han pasado 4 años ya,pero el trabajo de Kyoani,en su dia fue muy bueno y aguanta perfectamente el paso del tiempo.Paisajes vivos,coloridos y preciosos,modelados muy al estilo Air/Clannad que a mi personalmente me agradan.Kyoani es un muy buen estudio de animacion(pese a las criticas por K-on y la 2ª temporada de Haruhi)aqui lo vuelve a demostrar.Esperando una version Bluray ;)

SONIDO:

Las obras de Key conllevan una OST a la altura de lo que se esta viendo o lo que nos estan contando.Cumple de sobra en este apartado.Melodias geniales para cualquier momento del anime y por supuesto los momentos mas tristes o dificiles estan acompañados de manera magistral.Grande Key

PERSONAJES:

Exceptuando a Yuuichi y sin exagerar tampoco demasiado,no se ve una evolucion demasiado grande.Si que Yuuichi va cambiando segun recuerda lo que paso 7 años atras al igual que a los demas personajes(Nayuki,Ayu,Kaori,Shiori,Mai etc..) con el paso de la serie se les conoce mas y se ven ligeros cambios.Gran trabajo es en la expresividad de todo el plantel,todos pasan sus buenos y malos momentos.Lastima que la relacion de Ayu y Yuuichi se deja para el arco final,pero tambien es de agradecer que no se deje para el ultimo episodio.

CONCLUSION:

Una obra a la altura de Key y con todos los ingredientes que la compañia nipona sabe dar a sus obras(Excepto Angel Beats ¬¬).Para mi es su 2º mejor trabajo despues de Clannad y Clannad ~AS~.Tiene sus puntos mejorables,sobretodo si miramos la evolucion de los personajes a lo largo de la serie que para mi se quedan algo cortos.

Una serie que hay que ver si eres fan de Key y si no tambien :3

8.5/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
cherrywolfchan's avatar By cherrywolfchan on Jul 10, 2010

Not for the Jaded.

Kanon centers around a young man named Yuichi, who is moving in with his Aunt Akiko and cousin Nayuri. But the thing is, he doesn't remember anything about those past seven years he had been gone. Memories of people are vacant from his mind. So when he begins to meet others, people who he had known in the past, everything begins to piece together slowly. And that is the main plot of Kanon.

Story - 5/10

One thing people should know when they get into Kanon is that its a harem show. The main protagonist, Yuichi, will be surrounded by girls and these girls will more than likely like and/or love him. So the harem part of the show is something to expect. Harems are predictable nowadays to the point that they are boing, so the story hurt very much with the harem aspect for me. However, what saves it from being a total failure is the fact that the show deals with tragedy. The only sad part of it all is the fact that it is too melodramatic.

Animation - 4/10

Okay, I'm being a little critical here. The animation, for 2006, was pretty good. Heck, given the time and if I would have watched it when it came out, I'd probably give it a 7/10... but given the time now, I felt like I couldn't. But the biggest downfall with animation to me, doesn't lie with animation itself, but the style of the art. Moe art has never appealed to me, unless used comically. This show is a serious show, or at least it tries to be, the cutesy, moe art... big eyed girls with tiny mouths, made me cringe. It's just not my thing.

Sound - 6/10

Ah, the most redeeming thing to me, was the music. Though I felt the show over all was melodramatic, the music was trying to do it's job. And the music was nice. I wouldn't go off to buy the soundtrack or download anything, but it was still a nice sound and the background music appropriate.

Characters - 3/10

Now the worst part for me. As I've once said, I don't get moe. I will probably never get moe. So the characters were the most painful part of the series to me. Yuichi started out cool, but when he turned woobie, I felt deceived. I liked the prick-like character he had started out to be. Nayuki's obsession with her allergy and her sleepiness became old during the first time, Aiyu's 'ugu' grew annoying and overplayed... "Aunt" Akiko was barely an aunt and looked more like a sister! Even Toradora did better than this, and that's saying something. The only character I somewhat liked was Makoto, but even that was short-lived.

Overall - 4.5/10

If you like moe, are new to anime, and like tragic love stories... Kanon is for you. However, if you have been in the anime scene long enough to have seen the ugliest of shows to the most brilliant, you may not appreciate Kanon.

Kanon has a good setup really. I think it had potential in my mind. But moe screwed it up. And other things kept popping up that made my eyes roll rather than wanting to cry. The show ended up trying too hard to be a serious, sad story that it kind of killed itself.

All in all, Kanon is a show a lot of people should watch, just because it is one of those shows most anime enthusiasts have watched. But as if you'll like it or not... is debatable. Not the best anime out there, not even a great anime... but it's not the worst.

5/10 story
4/10 animation
6/10 sound
3/10 characters
4.5/10 overall