I hadn't really gotten around to write a proper review yet (I prefer to refer my Sword Art Online review as a rant) so naturally I picked out the newest show I had just finished watching and this is what I ended up with.
Not to be confused with the 2002 version (since I have yet to watch it) and also take note that I have not yet gotten around to play the VN.
(I'm not giving a synopsis, its obvious where to find one.)
Kanon itself is extremely reminiscence of the popular Clannad series and why not? They're both adaptation of key visual novels animated by Kyoto animation although Kanon was actually made and animated before Clannad so it isn't a direct clone. The structure of the story follows that of Clannad and other animated key titles (Little busters) where you have one main character who goes around with an obviously secured girlfriend delving into the pasts of other girls in a dramatic and serious way, only to return to its original comedic format in-between. However the most obvious difference between this and Clannad is that it's less romance orientated which overall highlights one of the main flaws with the plot.
The romance was there right in front of our eyes but it wasn't cooked properly. The relationship build-up, dramatic and 'not-so-cliche' dialogue wasn't made with what ingredients they had. That, to a far extent upset me seeing as that was what I hoped for. Instead the anime kind of just spurted out the romance towards the end as if the production studio realised “oh shit, we're this far in development and we haven't added the romance, ok just shove it in over here so we have time for everything else.” Nevertheless the characters motives and determination during hardship could have proven to have come from emotions which does relate to romance so there is still credit to be awarded.
Romance aside, the drama was definitely there. It may have been smothered by cliché lines but it was definitely emphasised throughout the story and although it seems like hopeless drama on paper, its still plays strongly with the audiences emotion (unless I'm just that emotionally weak) which was further emphasised with the characterisation.
It's a little late now but lets actually look at the plot itself. Anyone whose already watched this or Clannad would tell you that although the plot seems bland when written down, its still somewhat satisfying. I'll admit, the show tends to be pretentious in terms of predictability of the plot and it isn't the most engaging or complex story ever. But this show plays well with your emotion which allows the series to ultimately remain memorable throughout. The pacing throughout is steady and doesn't seem to rush itself. In terms of the actual story itself, its rather situational whether or not you'll enjoy it.
So after your prejudiced 'OMG why is there giant fish eyed people everywhere!' kind of feeling you'll get throughout the first episode and you actually take time to consider that this was made in 2006 you'll realise that this show actually has high production values (its KyoAni, what do you expect?) Alright the environment may seem extremely repetitive with all that snow but you have to admit the scenes locations and character artwork are still beautiful, especially considering the time it was made.
As for the music you get your typical soft tunes that come along with most key VN titles. Again this is entirely up to preference but I actually took favour of the music and ended up not skipping the openings. Maybe its just my love for these soft tunes that make the series a little more special. The osts are reused over and over similar to Clannad, each with there own specific mood to it. Nothing special to mention about it. The voice actors suited the roles perfectly again adding to the already fantastic production values.
I found the characters of the Kanon to be more or less the strongest part of the series. Maybe you find the overall personalities of the characters too generic and to be perfectly honest I can more or less agree with you on that, however it's the way the characters are presented, and how likeable the characters are that appeals greatly to me. Alright, not every character was perfect, they sure could have worked a lot harder on a few of the characters, but with the main cast being wacky, fun, yet serious at times really was enjoyable and of course memorable. Your main cast is somewhat of a typical harem. There isn't really a 'oh she's/he's a dick, I hate that character' and with the fitting voice actors make the characters rather pleasant. (Bonus points for Mai, cute stoics ftw!)
Rather typical, maybe the story is a bit boring and the characters a bit generic, however if you really dig deep you can find that glowing gem inside this show. In terms of recommendation if you enjoyed key visual novel adaptations then I highly recommend you go ahead and give this anime a try, otherwise, I suggest you back away from it or watch Clannad first so you have a little taste of the emotional plays KyoAni and Key can make you feel.
Scores (Thanks to roriconfan for allowing me to use his system)
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2
Character Figures 1/2
Visual Effects 2/2
Very good, considering the time it was made.
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3
Music Themes 3/4
Sound Effects 2/3
Not perfect, but very fitting for the emotional feel of the show.
STORY SECTION: 4/10
It may seem boring to most and the conclusion is there but rather cheesey.
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Strong personalities but little development throughout the series.
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 0/3
Nothing to say.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 7/10
VERDICT: 6/10 - GOOD
If you got this far, thank you for reading my review. I'm not a huge fan of reading or writing so this is rather new for me. Thanks again to roriconfan for allowing me to use his scoring system and be sure to check out his reviews.