Archive for the 'kanon' Category

Bugfox on Kanon

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Kanon (2006)–Anime Review:

[] I don’t think I’ve ever changed changed my mind as often as I did while watching this one. // Partly it’s a matter of expectations. The early episodes look like a light-hearted comedy. Indeed, the distributor is explicitly marketing it as a comedy. But it is not really a comedy at all, and parts of it are emotionally wrenching to watch. Nor is it a realistic drama. I prefer to think of it as a modern fairy tale; a story whose characters wander down strange paths and end up trapped in an abyss of dispair, but are ultimately saved by the purity of their hearts and a bit of supernatural assistance.

I’m still not watching it, and not just because I was poisoned by Toei. These girls are still too defective for me. But I can give a justice to a balanced, even positive review.

UPDATE: He also has spoiler notes to match.

Weaboo Adventures in American iTunes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Something prompted me to search at iTunes by entering Japanese keywords, such as “アイドル”, and guess what? They have a few J titles leaking over. So far I grabbed a talking clock “MoeJiFukuZ”, terrible quasi-VN “Kuudere Kanojo”, and Kanon for iPad, which comes untranslated for some reason. It has all the glorious in its derpiness Key art:

The game is completely unvoiced. In other words, a sea of kanji as far as eye can see. Uguuuu~.

BTW, it has 50 save slots. Last time I played a game with this many, I needed basically all of them. I’d love to find a playthrough, but strangely enough they are not that easy to find. You’d think it were an immortal classic and all that, but Internet is so useless these days.

P.S. I just noticed that the screencap above fails to illustrate my plight: the kanji in it are trivial: Nayuki says, “Mom, I can’t find my uniform”. Trust me, it gets worse all the time, and a bunch of those aren’t even in jojo list.

Kanon for iPad

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Back in 2005 or so, at Aniverse’s #anime, one of my buddies, Matt “Mashu” Kern was much into Kanon, then in Toei anime release. He made me to suffer through some 5 episodes. When the KyoAni remake came about, I gave it a try too, but it was no better.

The excuse to look into the original VN, thus, had most to do with it being original. I watched Joshiraku raw, so there’s little I cannot overcome, I thoght. I even imagined that it would be fun to pick a few new kanji along the way.

My mistake was that I forgot that it was a Key product. I chose Mai route because she seemed like the least damaged (about the same as the cousin, but this is not Louisiana). It rolled pretty smoothly until the end, when Mai confessed and immediately offed herself. Oops. It seemed making sense in the moment, but now I understand that I have no clue just what she was thinking, if anything. The epilogue was incomprehensible to me as the end of Evangelion. One key sequence (please pardon the pun) included a sick woman with her daughter… I thought it was future Sayuri.

The art in the game is period-appropriate, which is a polite way to say hideously ugly. The illustration is Mai being remembered, and it includes an eye covering a cheekbone. Anatomy of Kanon characters quickly resets the scale on arguments about deformed fingers in K-ON. If not for that, Mai’s gentle smile would’ve moved me to tears. Think Key staff did it on purpose or just could not draw worth a Pixiv artist off the street?

Still, kanji and art aside, it wasn’t a bad adventure. The best part of VN for me was that it had a solid story (in many branches), placed outside of what we now know as school romcom, where the backbone of the story is who gets whom, sprinkled by hijinks. I thought I burned out on that back before Toradora. It is funny to think that Kanon, made on the break of the century, is somehow “outside of the mold” for today, but if it didn’t exist, and someone made an anime now, it would be a very watcheable show despite being based on romance in the school setting. It’s like a great lost art. The only recipy still available to creators in 2014 is to dillute the romcom with mecha, and IS pretty much said everything in that area.

Now I am sort of wondering how many people came for the sex, and stayed for the story when the original game came out. The iPad version is neutered, but I could not put it down all the same.

Kanon begins

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Examining my records and digging through my old fansub stash, I found that I never actually watched the 2006 Kanon, so what the heck… It promises a shortcut to all the stories, which would take too much trouble to play through.

A couple of episodes in, it matches the game pretty closely. Even uses the same BGM (excellent). I can’t wait to see how they assemble the stories together.

One really weird thing, however, is how much Yuichi reminds me of Kyon-kun. Looking at the screencaps, the visual resemblance is not all that striking, but in the anime it’s really unsettling. Obviously it’s Tomokazu Sugita’s fault.

P.S. Rifling through old posts to update the category, I found Tappan’s review. He is, of course, spot on. But after the game my outlook changed.

Kanon ends

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Against my better judgement, I marathoned the last 8 or 10 episodes, and I have no regrets. The ending was somewhat fragmented, but made sense.

One of most notable things for me was seeing the vintage KyoAni at work. Haruhi was poorly animated in many places, but it demonstrated what was attainable elsewhere. For Kanon, they tightened QA considerably. So, instead of geometry and model lapses, I complain that Shiori’s hands were too big in one of the shots.

Story-wise, the 2006 M.Y. Kanon was put together extremely well. I had grave concerns about an adaptation of a game with mutualy exclusive storylines, but Fumihiko Shimo made an exceptional job letting the story to focus on each heroine in turn without having them artificially suspended.

One objection that I raised often recently was how all school romance was stupid and played out in anime. Kanon demolishies it with its raw power.

Another thing I had to consider was if Kanon violates The SDB’s No Dead Girls Rule. The answer is no. Certainly, in a story dealing with death, someone has to die. But as I interpret the spirit of the rule, Kanon is not death porn (I do not watch what is commonly known to fail, like Claymore or Elfen Lied; but from recently-seen anime Attack on Titan is in a gross violation, just to give an example). So we’re good.

Liked: Very
Rewatch: Possible

P.S. Now I wonder just how Toei managed to screw up the material this good. I gave up on 2002 M.Y. Kanon in exasperation after some 5 episodes. No wonder someone managed to get the remake green lit. Only had to show scenes from the game to studio execs, I bet.

Kanon spoiler question

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

It’s major spoiler, so try not to read any further if it’s a problem.

No kidding.

And it’s not answered in Tappan’s Spoiler Notes.

Without further ado:

We know that Makoto is around enough to manifest, and even positively affect the goings-on in the real world. Tappan’s interpretation is that she became a kami. I am not exactly sure what kami’s status is, but we know that deities of the kind may have a significant presence. In Dog Days, for example, Yuki(kaze) is an active character. Then we have Kamichu, Wagaya no Onari-sama playing with the concept. Unlike Mr. Christ’s mode then, it does not take a major miracle for a kami like Makoto to be an active part of human affairs, in anime anyhow.

With that in mind, are Yuuichi and Makoto still married?

See, if she were a Western character like Obi-wan Kenobi, it would not be a legal problem. Dead is dead and that’s that. Here though, I’m not sure.

Anyhow, does it matter?

I suppose if she’s kind-hearted enough, it does not. However, it could be a problem otherwise. Remember that anime about the ceiling ghost husband watching you have sex? If Makoto gets even a bit jealous, there’s no telling what she may do. She’s a kami after all. Dream haunting could be just a small time mischief.

Omo and Lawson on Kanon

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Watching a classic many years later in a batch mode offers obvious convenience advantages, but it makes one miss on all the fun discussions. And there sure were some. My kinda blog-friend from SDB’s halo, Wonderduck, apparently was a big fan, for one (the leader of geriatric animebloggers himself boycotts KyoAni). I completely forgot that I commented on one of his entries, but perhaps he nudged me to start with Mai’s branch in the game, who knows?

Naturally, heavyweights like Lawson and Omo did not neglect the high profile series either. But the two split: while Lawson was “enamoured with Kanon” and “enchanted with the story and attached to the characters”, Omo proclaimed that “Kanon 2006 FAILS”. I really cannot fathom why. Perhaps he secretly was in Nayuki camp too deep (j/k). His official explanation went to pay the due first, before turning to excessively cryptic, codewordy blows:

I want to talk about more good stuff about Kanon just so you don’t get the wrong idea. Kanon 2006 is very heartful in that it delivered the things that made the game great.

But [..] what really did Kanon in [was] pandering to the more intangible, emotional story aspect of Kanon. Invariably so, the 2002 Kanon rendition recognized this so they did their best to keep the drama tense and break it open at the end. In 2006 Kanon broke open 3 times before episode 18… but what does that leave the viewer and fans of Nayuki and Ayu? A wonderful epilogue?

[…] Pacing sucked for the last third of the series, and while the message and meaning of the last 6 episodes are especially touching, I wonder how many people even gotten it []

I’m here to tell you that the pacing was excellent. The real key to his disappointment, I think, is ultimately in the game poisoning, like so:

But how are we suppose to understand Mai without that wonderful flashback? Or Nayuki (at all?) and Ayu?

Here’s where my difficulties with Japanese possibly helped: I do not remember anything all that dramatic about Mai’s flashbacks. I am pretty sure iPad version is exact classic storyline for toned-down versions. Maybe they were too hard to read.

Speaking of Mai, she prompted Lawson to unfold a little more than usual:

I’ve been known to say, “I don’t care much for Mai’s story.” Repeatedly. The fact that Mai is so popular among Kanon fans has always baffled me, to be honest.

Until now, that is.

After watching the conclusion of Mai’s arc in the most recent episode of Kanon, it suddenly dawned on me: I do like Mai’s story. I think it’s incredibly moving. […]

So, what gives? It’s not like Kyoto Animation made changes to Mai’s story. They followed the game fairly closely. And even though the Toei version of Kanon kicked a lot of the details of Mai’s story to the curb, all of the core elements survived intact. Is Ishihara Tatsuya just that good of a director? I suppose he is, and it clearly shows in the conclusion of Mai’s arc, but that’s really not it. Once again, what gives?

I don’t like Mai, that’s what.

Mai’s a tough nut to crack, that’s for sure. How can a parade of moe stereotypes like Kanon have an ice queen character like Mai? Yes, I know “ice queen” no doubt pegs someone’s moe meter somewhere (what doesn’t?), but if you lined all of the Kanon heroines up and played a game of, “one of these kids is not like the other ones,” the game wouldn’t be much of a challenge. Ain’t nothing moe about Mai.

Or is there?

Well, before someone shouts, “Are you some kind of fucking idiot? Of course Mai is moe!”, let me say this: yes, she is. It’s just that I didn’t quite realize it until now. Was Mai moe in the game? Sure. But to what extent? It was there, of course, but Mai’s moeness is so subtle that it doesn’t come across particularly well – especially when every other girl in Kanon is “moe-ing” with the brightness of a thousand suns. And the first anime series? As I said before, a lot of the details of Mai’s story were lost in the first anime series, and amongst those details was her personality. Or, to be more specific, the moe aspects of her personality.

Thankfully, Kyoto Animation brought the moe back… and proceeded to jam it down our throats. To be honest, I was a bit weirded out at first. “Is this really Mai? What’s going on?” But, as time went on, I grew to like the “new” Mai. And even though Mai’s arc was the one I was least looking forward to this time around, I’m now sad to see it come to end.

Once again… bravo, KyoAni?

Not that I agree with the whole of Lawson’s analysis. On the factual side, I think, her personality was faithfuly reproduced (again, as much as my limited nihongo permits to tell). So, the final graf seems like a rhethorical flourish and a fictionalized account of Lawson’s feelings. The rest is pretty great, however.

Since we’re on topic, for me personally a lot of Mai’s attaraction is in the challenge of managing her. She is very much like iM@S’ Yukiho that way. Yuuichi is somewhat crude at meeting her challenge at first: remember the scene where he thinks, “I feel like I win when I make her talk”. This attraction is not as subtle as Lawson implies above, and not a lot was lost in the adaptation. The ultimate price you pay for losing management vigilance was sure in!

UPDATE: Omo tweets: “you are right, my main objection is basically Nayuki disappointment.” I feel for you, bro.

Kanon at Google

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Apparently, an official port exists, but Google refuses to sell it in America.

What really makes this eggregious is that Visual Arts do not appear to have a zero-tolerance xenophobic stance like Minori. I bought Kanon from U.S. iTunes, so there’s no veto problem or rights problem. It’s just purely Google being evil assholes. Now please excuse me while I clutch my $10 and shake in impotent rage.