My visit to Kanon

Warning: Spoiler Zone Ahead!

Do not read unless you are certain that you are NOT going to watch Kanon or unless you have already seen it.

Kanon (2006) has been therapeutic for me.

The Makoto arc

Piro’s goneReunited

It’s painful to lose someone you love. I connected to Makoto’s gradual loss of human abilities and intelligence because “my cat” died not long ago. I say “my cat” because i had given the name and had been one of two people primarily responsible for Hazel’s wellbeing for several years – until i went off to college.

Visiting on holidays or during vacation, i always felt guilt along with some estrangement because of the time and distance that i had been away, not really even thinking about the ones i left behind. And that guilt hit me again the day that my brother called from L.A. telling me that Hazel had died, put to sleep and then thrown into a pet incinerator because that’s what they do to dead animals that people don’t want to take home with them. Such an undignified, anonymous death. And a hundred miles away, in an office, i was too occupied to feel anything, too distant to let myself cry. el circulo rellenado

Watching Yuuichi taking care of Makoto as she got sick, and then going up with her to the hill where she came from, i felt that Hazel was Makoto. In “berceuse for a fox,” i felt Yuuichi’s sadness at having to leave the fox he had healed. I witnessed during the episode “hilltop requiem” the quiet death in the arms of a loved one that Hazel deserved. And though i was watching through a computa human elementer screen, i felt close enough, finally, to cry.

It is painful to realize when someone you love can no longer remember your name, your face. As it must have felt for my aunts and uncles to see their father go through the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

The Mai arc

Demon hunter Mai

I have never felt so sad in the last few years as when watching the last episode (“sonatine”) of this arc. Even watching it the third time, i still have tears come to my eyes.

Of all the Kanon characters, i feel the closest identification with Mai. First of all, her status as a misunderstood social outcast. An emotional burden i carry with me: growing up as a glass-wearing Chinese kid in a town where most kids were Mexican or whose parents were from Mexico. I was easy to single out for bullying and almost always the last one picked by other kids for anything (until junior high when some figured out they coulSayuri in shockd use my brain to win little contests). Of course it didn’t help that i didn’t know any Spanish back then and that my mother and father didn’t seem to have or make any friends, either. And they hated each other, shouting all the time. Sometimes my dad would hit my mom.

Mai, in rage

So i see myself when i see Mai taking up her sword, destroying every object in her path after Sayuri gets hurt. Wanting to make the hate, the loneliness stop, but not knowing how. Not wanting to meet that pain, not accepting it, putting it on something else.

The interaction between Mai and her mother was also a tearjerker. Maybe it’s partly because i was never close to my mother. Part of the whole domestic violence thing; i felt guilty for my mom being hit, felt guilty for the resentment i felt towards my mother because she wasn’t strong enough to protect me emotionally. The love expressed by Mai’s mother by trying to take her to the zoo as her dying act. And Mai’s reciprocal love and devotion to her mother by creating a zoo of snow rabbits.

Most of all, i see part of myself in Mai because of her powers and the loneliness she suffers as a result of them. Her ability to heal the dying becomes a source of pain for her akanon_mai_hate.jpgfter she appears on television and heals a bird. Her classmates reject her, see her as a freak. This reflects back to me my own experience of coming out as an intergendered transwoman, having to keep some type of secret about myself if i don’t want people to shun me, isolate me. Yes, even amongst other transgender and queer people, i still have this fear.

Mai gets hurt whenever she destroys a “demon.” Each demon is a manifestation of herself, of the power that she cannot accept. Like Mai, I will continue to hurt those around me and myself as long as i cannot accept myself in all my complications, my qualities, my potential.

Must…keep fightingArigatou

The sword that Yuuichi asks Mai to put down is emblematic of my conscious mind, my ego. My ego tries to protect my heart from pain, just as Mai uses her sword to protect her heart from loneliness, from the suffering of early childhood rejection and abandonment, which is how she interprets Yuuichi’s going way seven years ago.

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