Anime Review: Kanon (2006)

Title: Kanon TV seriesAnd for today’s ceremony…

Director: Tatsuya Ishihara

Japanese release: 2006

U.S. release: n/a (internet fansub only)

Production company: Kyoto Animation, based on visual novel by Key

How does it look?Sooooo cute

Since the 2006 version of Kanon is one of the most blogged about recent TV series, i will try to provide a short description here.  I will write about my reactions to this series in a separate blog.

The setting is a northern town of Japan, which the wisecracking Yuuichi Aizawa has not visited in seven years.  He returns to stay with his aunt and to continue his education as a sophomore at the local high school.  Yuuichi has forgotten everything that happened to him in this town, but the other characters have not.

Quick introduction to the main characters:

You can call me Nayu-chan.

Nayuki Minase – Yuuichi’s cousin and the captain of the school’s running team. She lives with her mother Akiko, who raised Nayuki alone.

Ayu Tsukimiya – Ayu runs, too – usually into Yuuichi or a more solid object. Afraid of heights, and, ummm, almost everything.

Swedish chef candidate #2…If you’re quiet you can hear the snow melting.

Shiori Misaka – Has a strange medical condition and always stands outside in the snow during classes.

Mai Kawasumi – Mysterious, almost silent, student who always walks the school grounds after dark. When speaking to Yuuichi, she can be almost cryptic.

Mai, what large eyes you have

Hee, hee, hee

Makoto Sawatari – Has amnesia, but does remember disliking Yuuichi.

This is that rare anime that makes you laugh one minute and then ten minutes later racks you with tears. Totally character-driven without the competition or “we’re here to save the world” battle elements of most shounen (“boy’s”) anime and lacking the co-dependency melodrama of most shoujo (“girl’s”) anime, Kanon does not fit easily into any one genre. And though the characters come off as clichéd initially (and some are annoyingly stupid at times), by Episode 7 Yuuichi has made enough revelations and recollections for the audience to feel for the particular struggles of each major character in their own story arc.

Perhaps because there is no precedent for this type of series in the United States, Kanon has not yet been picked up for U.S. distribution. All English-language copies are fan-made subtitled versions on the internet. Note that this is a re-make: Toei Animation did a version of Kanon with far fewer episodes back in 2002. Kyoto Animation has done a much better job, not only visually, but also by providing more complete stories for the characters.

Here’s the preview:

It’s a party tonite

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