Rabid Kanon Fans Blow Hot Air or Illogical Harem Hate

To really do Kanon and Air, as two franchises, justice, we really need a solid footing in history. It just makes no sense to head into it without getting your bearings right. Sadly, I’m not sure if I’m qualified to even try.

Well. I did try, but after writing a few paragraphs I realized it’s futile to explain it in detail. It’s beyond me. Instead, let me just be brief and sweet.

Kanon is about the girls, their stories, and the fable feel in that fantasy winter wonderland. Or winter tragicland. It’s enough, more than enough, to gather its own fans just based on the merits of Kyoani’s animated adaptation alone. The power of moe transcends petty franchise labels, after all.

Older Kanon fans, either from the Toei era or from the original uproar of Key‘s success, will enjoy the new anime just like how the fans do. I’m not sure what that means, but just seeing Mariko Kouda back in action (older, mellower, and more moe!) is enough to send me to that winter wonderland. It probably vary between each fan, and you know the drill.

But to compare it to Air? Sure, you can, but there’s so much one could say about the two beyond the superficial. In fact, you really have to get to the root of both adaptations: that they were sister games in a true sense. Kanon was a proof of concept, and Air is more radical and original which came at the wake of Kanon’s success. It shows in the nonlinear storytelling. It shows in the choice of narrative devices. it shows in the simplicity.

These fundamental differences surface in their adaptions. Kanon was by all means a straight-up harem, and Kyoani’s Kanon currently is just that. It’s no surprise people who are, for one reason or another, coming to be allergic to harems generally “don’t get it” why so many of their equally-jaded fellow fans like it.

The moral of the story, I guess, is to read Wikipedia. It’s common to mock Kanon as an eroge, but that’s kind of like laughing at Michael Jackson as a man with black skin–you could, but it betrays a good-faith understanding of the situation. It’s stupid and ignorant. It’s also a little disingenuous to compare Kanon and Air just on the grounds that one is really a harem and the other isn’t really a harem. There are probably a lot of great insights we can gleam from such an exercise, but we got to go deeper to grasp it.

Analysis GET!

8 Responses to “Rabid Kanon Fans Blow Hot Air or Illogical Harem Hate”

  • dsong

    I think those critizing the new version of Kanon are dissatisfied with plot progression and character design/development, and not because “it’s different from AIR”.

    People don’t necessarily want another “AIR”, but they DO want the characters and the storytelling to be on a similar level – and for the supernatural elements to instill a similar level of wonder as in AIR. So far, I’d have to say that Kanon 2006 falls short in both areas.

    As for rabid Kanon fans… they are overwhelmed by the eye candy and the “moe” characteristics of these girls. That’s more than enough to satisfy them – and hey, at least KyoAni came through in these areas.

  • omo

    Your answer begs the question “Why are fans are dissatisfied with plot progression and character development”? Having AIR in the back of their heads is the answer I implicitly provides. They don’t want another AIR anime, sure, but they want something like it.

    And that’s kind of the tongue-in-cheek complaint that I have against people who demand that out of Kanon. There’s really no real reason to expect that.

  • dsong

    I hate to put this so bluntly, but here goes.

    Plot progression: there isn’t one. All Yuuichi does is visit 6 different girls at various points of the day. There isn’t much meaning in any of the interactions. Ayu runs into him, steals taiyaki, and says “Uguu”. Makoto plays pranks on him and says “Auuu”. Nayuki is half-asleep most of the time. Mai doesn’t talk. There could be more emphasis on, for example, Yuuichi’s inner demons, the role of magic in the town, or the broken relationship with his cousin/aunt.

    Character development: the girls come across as one-trick ponies with a “catch phrase”, a distinguishable mannerism… and absolutely nothing else. The characters are indistinct, have few meaningful interactions with Yuuichi, and there is preciously little variety in their actions (half of the interactions consists of Yuuichi teasing a girl, and the girl looking hurt).

    I’d like to see a more central plot, and girls with a lot more liveliness, personality, and variety. A bit more background would help as well. Basically, I want characters I can sympathize with – they seem too much like dolls at this point.

  • omo

    “At this point” as in two-seventh way through the entire series? Fair enough. I guess by the middle of episode 4 we have already seen “more liveliness, personality, and variety” in the characters of AIR anime? Perhaps, perhaps not. I don’t remember what my impression was at the time. I do remember that the characters were reminding me how the Kanon girls acted.

    I don’t disagree with you as far as lacking a central story. But Kanon the original game lacked a central story, and it seems ludicrous to expect that in the ever-so-faithful adaptation.

    All this discussion is good, though. I remember talking to Jeff Lawson about it and he would bring up AIR, back a few weeks before Kyoani’s Kanon aired. It made no sense to me why he’d do that, and I had a hard time telling him, also later when Kanon started airing, that looking at it form the AIR perspective didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Oh well.

  • dsong

    Note, I haven’t given up on this series quite yet. Giving up on a 24-episode after episode 7 is jumping the gun a bit. Heck, D.C. ~ Da Capo didn’t get going until episode 16, so I’m determined to give Kanon the same chance. I still believe that this show will get better.

    Personally I don’t think the anime will really start to move until we start hitting the Ayu/Nayuki arcs. Hopefully, by that time, we will learn more about the girls, and some of them will start growing a backbone. I just hope KyoAni won’t wait much longer before implementing major portions of the Ayu/Nayuki arcs – that WILL give this animation the central theme it lacks. Personally I think KyoAni would’ve been better served focusing on these two girls and push the rest of the characters into the background – it may have dissatisfied Kanon die-hards, but it would’ve made for a more interesting plot for the newcomers.

  • omo

    Plot this plot that? Who cares? Plenty of people love Love Hina; or School Rumble…what’s the plot in that?

    The point is that we have interesting characters with interesting backstories. Kanon is character-driven.

  • houkoholic

    dsong: There is a central theme to Kanon and it’s common to all the girls, you’re just not reading it yet (or confusing that with plot). Plus it serves no purpose to have yet another Ayu/Nayuki centred Kanon, because that would just make Kanon yet another harem show (or just Toei Kanon with Kyoani artwork, for what it’s worth), which I can assure you it is not.

    The story point is moot like omo had pointed out. The draw of Kanon is to see how the girls work – what make them the person that they are now, and how Yuuichi plays in that process.

  • zrdb

    This Kanon compare very favorably wit the originial, angst mixed in with humour. The characters are the big draw for me, i like the story-YES,there is a story! I loved Air so it’s just natural that I’d go for this. 24 episodes is gonna make for some interesting plot developments. 13 episodes in the originial just didn’t give enough room for some of the characters to grow-more is better!

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