Kanon (2006) Review: Winters Past and Uncovering Memories
I just finished with Kanon (2006) so I guess this will be my first “real” post. As I expected, Kanon was great and I definitely enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed the other Key works I’ve seen and I can definitely say that Kanon ranks up with those. I enjoyed watching the 2002 adaptation, but the 2006 version was even better due to having more time for development and proper pacing.
The story revolves around Yuuichi Aizawa, who moves in with his cousin in a cold, snowy town. Though he often visited the town in many years past, he has forgotten much of his time there and slowly recovers his memory of what took place before. Throughout the story, Yuuichi becomes involved with the lives of many girls, each of which with their own issues and most having their own connection to Yuuichi in some form. As Yuuichi spends more time in the town, he steadily remembers more of what had happened to him in his past and there are quite a few emotional plot twists that take place, both with events in the present time and recollections of significant moments in Yuuichi’s past.
Kanon is very drama oriented and one of the biggest hooks of the story, just like any other Key series, is the emotion it brings out. There are many touching scenes and Kanon can really pull at your heartstrings. All the same, it can be pretty lighthearted at times, and in particular it can be pretty amusing early on. One major thing I noticed was that Kanon 2006 had much more comedy than Kanon 2002, and a lot of that can probably be attributed to its longer runtime.
With a series like this, it’s necessary to have a strong cast of characters, and Kanon does not disappoint with that. Yuuichi certainly makes for a good protagonist, but it’s really the girls who steal the spotlight. Many of the girls have their own characteristic quirks and sayings (Ayu’s “uguu” and Makoto’s “auu” for instance). There are five major girls who have a significant impact on the story: Nayuki Minase (Yuuichi’s cousin who cares deeply for him), Ayu Tsukimiya (a close friend that Yuuichi played with in years past), Makoto Sawatari (an amnesiac girl who carries a grudge against Yuuichi), Mai Kawasumi (the quiet, subdued girl who fights demons), and Shiori Misaka (a sick girl who rarely attends school). All of these characters get a great deal of development and growth, with each having their own arc that focuses on their stories.
I enjoyed Kanon quite a bit, and this is expected since I’m a huge fan of Clannad. I could definitely see the parallels between the two and Clannad was definitely influenced by a number of Kanon’s tropes, in areas such as setting, characters, and even the plot itself in a few ways. This was even apparent between Clannad and Kanon 2002, but there were even greater similarities with Kanon 2006 because the two were both made by the same studio (Kyoto Animation), which I have come to appreciate as a great anime studio from what I have watched. Though Clannad has supernatural elements of its own, Kanon is driven far more by them and this becomes more and more clear as the story progresses.
Enjoyable as it was, however, I might not have gotten the most out of Kanon (2006) because I watched the 2002 version already. I can’t say that I regret having watched the 2002 version since I really enjoyed that, but there was a lot less of the surprise factor because I already knew what to expect from the story and the twists that were to come. That said, however, Kanon 2006 was still a fantastic series and I would ultimately give it a 9/10.
On another note, I’ve been meaning to get to visual novels for some time. Truth be told I’ve only really played through the Ace Attorney series (which are far from typical VNs) and the Fate route of Fate/stay night. I’m planning to read Narcissu, which I’ve heard is a short but good VN. I’m not sure what to expect but I’m looking forward to it.