Released: October 5, 2006 – March 15, 2007
Based On: Kanon video game by Visaul Arts/Key
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Produced By: Kyoto Animation
US Distribution By: Funimation (originally ADV Films)
Major Japanese Cast
Yuuichi Aizawa: Tomokazu Sugita
Ayu Tsukimiya: Yui Horie
Nayuki Minase: Mariko Kouda
Shiori Misaka: Akemi Satou
Mai Kawasumi: Yukari Tamura
Makoto Sawatari: Mayumi Iizuka
Akiko Minase: Yuko Minaguchi
Jun Kitagawa: Tomokazu Seki
Kaori Misaka: Ayako Kawasumi
Yuuichi Aizawa (young): Miwa Yasuda
Mishio Amano: Maaya Sakamoto
Sayuri Kurata: Tomoko Kawakami
Major English Cast
Animation: 10/10 (x 4 = 40 pts)
Story: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Music: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 9/10 (x 2 = 18 pts)
English Dubs: 8/10 (x 1 = 8 pts)
Gut Score: 10/10 (x 5 = 50 pts)
Total: 184/200 (92%)
Kanon, considered by many to be the best visual novel ever made, is the story of Yuuichi Aizawa and his return to the town of his aunt Akiko, and her daughter – Yuuichi’s first cousin – Nayuki after seven years in order to finish his high school education while his parents are off on business. However, despite having visited the town numerous times when he was younger, Yuuichi finds that he can’t remember anything about his previous visits to the town.
Soon, Yuuichi meets several curious girls: first it’s a girl who is small, but the same age as Yuuichi, named Ayu, who has penchant of crying “uguu” whenever she gets nervous or angry. Yuuichi realizes that he remembers her from when he visited before, but can’t really remember very much about her. Next, Makoto, a hot red-headed girl shows up saying that she has amnesia, but she’s sure that she hates Yuuichi for something he did to her. Next, he runs into Shiori, a girl who is in the year behind him in high school, but is out of school due to a cold, but still hangs out in front of the school for some reason. Finally, Yuuichi meets the non-talkitive and sword-wielding Mai and her beautiful and brilliant best friend Sayuri.
Over the course of the series, Yuuichi’s memories start coming back to him, revealing his past and unraveling a series of mysterious occurrences, indicating that Yuuichi has had more impact on the town and the girls that he’s met than he could possibly imagine. All of this leads to Yuuichi ultimately discovering the secret behind Yuuichi’s blocked memories from the past.
The best word to describe this series is “beautiful,” and in more ways than one. The series remains dramatic and mysterious from start to end, while maintaining a healthy level of comedic relief. The growth of Yuuichi’s character is apparent through his gradually remembering his past in conjunction with what he experiences once he arrives. However, Yuuichi isn’t the only character that grows either. Many of the side characters, including most of the girls he meet, are affected by both the events in the series as well as by Yuuichi himself, and also grow as a result.
The story also pulls no punches, having a largely subdued melancholy feeling throughout most of the series, but it can swing between depressing and happy at times as well. The mysteriousness of things occurring due to things that even Yuuichi himself can’t remember just adds to this feeling.
And just to pile on, the animation quality is, on the whole, spectacular, with sharp character designs and vibrant colors adding to the quality of the show, though the animation even works even in scenes that are largely, if not entirely, dark. Some of the animation, such as that of flowing water and falling snow, is nothing short of amazing at times. The music used is the same as the original game music from the late 90s, so the quality of the music may not be what it could have been with an original score, but it still works pretty well given this fact. Finally the dub, which I’m basing off watching only 1 volume, is also pretty good, if not fantastic.
Overall, Kanon is a story that just about everyone who isn’t just looking for an action series can enjoy – with rich art, good character development, and a compelling story, it is certainly a show that I think everyone should check out eventually.
First Watched: June 2007
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes