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Kanon Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

December 23, 2007 by  



TITLE: Kanon (Vol. 1)

DVD INFO: Contains Episodes 1-4, Approx. 100 min., Anamorphic Widescreen, English 2.0, Japanese 2.0 with English Subtitles, Rated: TV PG 

DISTRIBUTED BY: ADV Films 

RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2008 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Clean Opening and Closing Animation
  • Kanon: A close look at an anime product house part 1

OFFICIAL JAPANESE WEBSITE
SYNOPSIS: Can memories really be that elusive?  Yuichi Aizawa used to visit his cousin Nayuki all the time when he was younger, but now he can hardly remember a thing about those visits.  And upon his return to finish his senior year in high school while living with his Aunt Akiko and his cousin, the blank spots in his memory have become more and more worrisome.

After a seven year absence, Yuichi makes a valiant effot to adjust to his vaguely familiar surroundings.  Bits and pieces of his past come back to him, but his memories elude him still.  Why can’t he remember? What is he blocking out?

From the same animation studio that brought you AIR TV, a poignant concerto of tears, laughter and pinky promises make up a mystical world in Kanon.

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“Kanon” referred by many fans of the series as “Kanon 2006”, an anime based on a PC visual novel from KEY/VISUAL ARTS (and later released on the Sega Dreamcast, Sony PS2 and PSP)  and was released once before in a 13 episode series back in 2002 gets a remake with a 24 episode run starting back in October 2006 through March 2007.

Without rehashing 2002, I’ll just focus on the 2006 series and first four episodes in this review.

“Kanon” is an anime series that focuses on the main character Aizawa Yuichi, returning to a town that he visited quite often as a child.

The cold, snowy town tends to bring him flashes of memories and makes him wonder why has he forgotten a lot of his memories from seven years ago.

He stays with his aunt Akiko and his cousin Nayuki (who is very excited to have her cousin stay with the family).

Yuichi’s character seems to be a nice but a bit blunt person.  In other words, he’s a nice guy most of the time but also, he has a side of him that can be a bit stand-offish.

In the first volume of “Kanon” (episodes 1-4), we are introduced to several characters.  The first establishes the relationship between cousins Yuichi and Nayuki.

The second introduces us to a short girl named Ayu who runs into Yuichi because she somehow forgets to pay for her Taiyaki (a pastry made from something like pancake or waffle batter and is shaped and looks like a fish but it’s filled with different types of cream like cheese or custard or bean paste).   You learn that Ayu and Yuichi have met each other when they were younger seven years ago and if anything, the two are almost like siblings by the way the argue with each other but at the same time, both enjoy each other’s company.   Ayu appears to have lost something, doesn’t remember what it is but she’s trying to look for it.  In the second episode, we are introduce to several girls briefly but I’m guessing who will become a big part of the storyline as the series continues.

The third episode features a girl named Makoto.  A girl who has amnesia, doesn’t remember anything but one thing and that is she knows is that Yuichi is a key and somehow his face angers her for a reason.  She comes to live with Yuichi and Nayuki and upsets Yuichi because he thinks she is a freeloader.  You also get to know a little more about the girl Shiori who seems to be at school and looking up a the window of the classroom that Yuichi is at.

The fourth episode features Yuichi interacting with Makoto, getting to know about his cousin and her involvement as Captain of the track team and then meeting up with Ayu who he brings home and introduces to Makoto. And also, you get to see more of the mysterious figure who appears at the high school with a sword late at night.  Hmm…

Overall, volume 1 is more of an introduction to the new “Kanon” series, learning how Yuichi is and introducing us to many girls.

I’m not sure where the anime is going but I’m guessing that the series will be similar to other anime where that Yuichi may be a guy that all these girls start to fall in love with.  But then again, I could be wrong because that would be too easy and to cliche right?

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the first volume of “Kanon” because of the lush visuals of Japan during the cold winter and that there are so many location scenes and indoor scenes that it seems you see something new and fresh in terms of the scenery.

Also, the characters have their individual quirks about them that you really start to like these characters and you sense that each person is looking for something.  Yuichi for his memories, Ayu looking for something important that she lost, Makoto who has amnesia and trying to find out who she is, Shiori looking for that someone and the list continues.

The introduction of these characters and the relationship with Yuichi definitey pulls your interest and makes you wonder more about the characters and left me craving for more episodes.

So, I enjoyed the animation from it’s colorful backgrounds, uses of a lot of scenery and overall, interesting characters with character designs that I prefer in this latest incarnation of the series.

As for the audio, the English dub is done very well and the Japanese is very good but in the Japanese version, Yuichi has a very low voice and sounds too manly while the English dubbed version, sounds like a teenage guy.

As for the special features, I’m so happy to see that there is a special feature included outside of the opening and closing animations and ADV Film previews.  The “Kanon: A Close Look At An Anime Production House Part 1” is a featurette that spotlights how the anime is created by taking the viewer and giving them an inside look at Kyoto Animation.  Also, interviews and getting to learn about the process of putting Kanon and trying to remain close to the original series in terms of the character designs.

And where it leaves off, seems to indicate that we will get more of an inside look on storyboards and production of the anime series in the next volume installment of “Kanon”.

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All in all, for a TV series that aired in Japan, I felt that there was a lot of care that went into the creation of this series.  There was no holding back on animation because the animation is very colorful, well-planned and absolutely beautiful.

Although many who have seen the previous 2002 series may have a lot to say about the 2006 series, in a way it’s like comparing apples to oranges so far in the series.

Volume 1 of “Kanon” is definitely a very cool, dramatic anime series and I’m not sure if it’s more dramatic or if were going to see anything supernatural or sci-fi later in the series but for the first four episodes, we meet a lot of female characters and makes you wonder what direction the series will go, because truthfully, there have been a good number of anime featuring a guy and a harem of kawaii girls.

The only thing that I felt a bit strange is a taboo like feeling with Yuichi’s first cousin Nayuki.  I don’t know but I feel that she may like her cousin.  You really take an interest in her character because she’s bubbly but you tend to wonder why she is so excited about Yuichi and why she is so alive with him now living with her.  But that’s the only potential red flag that I found so far with the series.

I also am guessing that the sound phrases by characters such as Ayu who tends to give a “Ugu!” sound when she’s frustrated and also Makoto who gives a kawaii sounding noise will become popular among the hardcore fans of the series.

All in all,  I really dig where “Kanon” is going to from what I’ve seen so far.  A beautiful, lush animated drama series with characters that you actually care about.  “Kanon” definitely kicks things into high gear for 2008.  Check it out!

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Comments

  • eloy

    The 02 version has nothing on this Kanon. Its really good. Although it has a bit of a harem in it, the story is top notch.

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