This Kanon is the double-length remake of the rather debatable 2002 supernatural high-school drama anime. Was this remake really necessary? Very slow to start, it does drag out what was previously 13 episodes, but it does give substantial explanations for things. As for romance or harem, those things are barely present. Or perhaps they appear to be done in a different way than usual, cos I barely noticed anything indicating either of those genres. I generally don't like iffy dramas, but this had me in two minds. This anime is capable of invoking emotions in someone as cynical as me, when it really shouldn't be able to and I've got to commend it for that. But it still has a lot I really hate, some contrived plot aspects and many things that don't make sense. Let's get on with it.
The animation of this movie is immaculate for something made in 2006. I watched it in 1080p blu-ray quality and it looked sweet. As for the animation style, it has the characteristic style of the 'Key' animation studio. I can't really say much more. Yes, the large eyes are very creepy and off-putting at times, but they are okay on some character models.
Some of the music of this anime is very suited for the themes and atmosphere of the scenes, especially the most important ones. And it sounded beautiful. Therefore the sound design was appropriate, so well done for that. But damn are some other bits of it cheesy. Those parts really remind me of the 80s/90s but not in the good sort of way. Or more like, they could have done something slightly better. I kinda just don't like it. It reminds me of terrible older anime. Intro and outro aren't particularly amazing IMO, but it's just not my type of music. The anime is available in both English and the usual Japanese. The voice acting cast was pretty impressive however. Ayu's VA Brittney Karbowski also did Yuri from Angel Beats, Ryou from Clannad, Ikaros from Sora no Otoshimono and many more. Yuuichi's VA Chris Patton another major VA having many roles including Greed from FMA and Sato from Welcome to the NHK. Other actors include Jessica Boone (Hatsune - Angel Beats), Caitlin Glass (Winry - FMA) and of course, Greg Ayres playing the comic relief dumb guy character (do I have to?). The dub is pretty good, the voices sounded like they carryed emotion when necessary and all the usual stuff you'd expect. The biggest letdown though, was the 'ugu'. Goddamn that...
The male protagonist of this apparent 'Harem' is Yuuichi Aizawa. Boy does he have a shit memory. He can't remember jack about the last time he was in town and if it's something to do with the supernatural iffy plot, damn the plot. He lives with his mmaternal aunt and cousin Nayuki, who's school he goes to. He isn't much of a jerk, though he likes to poke fun at a few characters for a friendly laugh. He seems to have made an absurd amount of female friends when he was younger. But it all doesn't make sense. While he isn't much at all like the average trope harem protagonist, one characteristic he does have is the lack of err romantic drive? To an extent. Which is kind of a redeeming factor. He's just an overall nice guy who gets tormented by some supernatural bullshit.
Yuuichi's cousin is the athletic, blue-haired Nayuki Minase. This girl obviously has a crush on her cousin (get that shit outta here) and is a major sleepyhead, requiring several alarms to even get her out of bed. She'd then continue on through the day being very sleepy through breakfast, walking to school and class. It doesn't always happen though. Since Yuuichi had previously stayed with her, she is featured significantly in flashbacks. She depends on her single mother, which FFS is the biggest anime cliche trope. What is with all the damn single mothers and their bastardised kids? Give some fucking explanation or better, have a goddamn proper family there! At least this character has a parent, unlike other anime where parents are non-existent. Enough of the rant, Nayuki is a decent character and does little to annoy me or the other characters. She tries her best to help those around her, including Yuuichi. One funny thing is her allergy to cats, she'll always swoon at them and run up to cuddle and hug them, despit the consequences. Speaking of her mother, she makes a terrible jam that she likes to give to visitors, who are frustratingly too nice to tell her it tastes terrible.
Ayu Tsukimiya is the first of the annoying characters. Yes the backstory is not a bad thing (rather the opposite), but after it's all revealed, her presence makes no damn sense. This is where the supernatural waffle starts to come in. I'll say no more, for fear of spoilers. Yuuichi met her when he last visited and he has forgotten everything about her of course. This character has a bullshit speech impediment where she says 'ugu.' She also has a very childish personality and steals food. Speaking of which, Tayaki is her favourite. She treasures a headband given to her by Yuuichi. All that said, the conclusion for this character's story is rather good.
Mai Kawasumi is a sword-wielding girl with supernatural powers. She fights demons in the school. Sounds like a load of waffle right? Surprisingly she is one of the more pleasant characters. Her backstory could almost make you cry. Mai is another one of Yuuichi's childhood friends so expect flashbacks. She generally doesn't display her feelings very well (stoic), seems unsociable, unable to make friends and is somewhat quiet. I don't want to say too much, but this character is just trying to do her best for people she cares about. By extension, her best friend Sayuri Kurata is that girl who has it all. Wealthy, smart and popular, yet she isn't the trope character who is a bitch about it. Thank goodness. However this character has a serious issue in that she refers to herself in third person. While it is explained, it can't helo but realy get on my nerves. She also has some dead serious backstory, again one which could make one cry.
Shiori (Mi... SPOILERS) is a sickly and frail girl who hasn't been been able to go to school due to her incurable disease. She is often found wandering in the school grounds, since she longs to go to school and lead a normal life. Another great character, just because of how realistic and pleasant she is and she is also very caring for others especially her sister. Who is this sister? My lips are sealed. Watch it to find out. Of course this being a anime with light aspects of the supernatural, a certain 'event' is bound to occur...
The other very annoying main character is Makoto Sawatari. She first appears to assualt Yuuichi, claiming that he had previously wronged her. She also has lost her memory, including her name (sorry for the minor spoiler), yet the only thing she remembers is that she knows Yuuichi and hates him. This character reminded me a bit of Asuka from NGE. Her favourite food is pork buns and she is often found annoying Yuuichi and playing pranks on him, which aren't exactly funny and could get her in serious trouble. She especially tries to pull these pranks on him during the night when he's in bed and Yuuichi often gets her back for her childish behaviour. One example is that she fills the bathtub with Miso soup, just before it's Yuuichi's turn to bathe. She is very immature and thoughtless, at one point she lets go of a cat she's holding over the edge of a bridge. Her backstory is kinda bullshit, she is someone who Yuuichi used to know when he was younger, of course he can't remember the details. Yuuichi also remembers the fact that he had a crush on an older girl with the same name as her. Character progression for Makoto is good however, due to certain plot elements, her personality completely changes and she becomes more childlike and dependant on Yuuichi.
The only other character worth mentioning is Jun Kitagawa. He is the only other male character in the entire anime. He fulfills the role of the idiot comedy-relief friend. Being a mix of character tropes, he is jealous of how popular with thegirls Yuuichi is and I think he's a bit of a pervert perhaps? He is infatuated with Kaori Misaka who is constantly rejecting his advances of course. Bit of a generic anime bullshit character really.
The story of Kanon is where the biggest flaws lie. Other anime have taken the light supernatural aspects and utilised them well, including Air and Clannad, other animes made by the same studio that did this one. Yet I felt that here it depended on the supernatural a bit too much? Certain plot points depend on it and therefore feel too contrived. All that said, the large amount of unnecessary filler is also an issue. Within the first ten or so episodes, the only major plot events that occur are the introductions to the characters. That's almost half an anime wasted on that and the original 2002 Kanon is a reminder of how much better this could have been done. After that, there are multiple story arcs that do not overlap and each focuses on one girl. After each arc finishes, the main female character doesn't really appear for the rest of the anime. Despite the fact that they is explained and have reasons, I can't help but feel something is off. One particular arc is severely dependent on the waffley supernatural, revealing that the existence of a character depends on supernatural elements (I've left it vague) attempts to tug at heart strings and I honestly got a lump in my throat for a half hour. But it could have been better and all the more emotional if it was more drenched in reality. The apparent romance is almost non-existent as I mentioned before. Better not to bother than to do it terribly. But there are a few scenes which one could argue being romantic, I only remember one and it's never followed through. If this is supposed to be a harem, then well done for not seeming to be a normal harem anime, cos this didn't really feel like that to me at all. The relations between the characters could only be labelled as 'close friends' and not a thing more. The supernatural elements could have been integrated better. This anime also does contain a few stereotype events and tropes like a guy walking in on a girl bathing or being late to meet a girl, because of another girl.
Kanon (2006) is not exactly a terrible anime and I can understand why people like it. But there were annoying characters, a janky narrative and contrived supernatural elements to put people off. It's not an anime for everyone. It is relaxed and somewhat realistic (except for all of the bullshit) and is nothing like the typical harem anime. People who like slice-of-life anime would likely enjoy this the most.
Family-friendliness Rating: 2/5 Guy walks in on girl taking bath, nuff said (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 (higher is better)