FreezeFrame: A Key Paradigm Shift
Ok, let’s get the obvious out of the way first:
KyoAni did a fabulous job with Kanon. As usual, the technical aspects of the anime were all top-notch, the directing was solid, the voice acting award-worthy. Each character was unique, their stories significant, and in the end, quite memorable. Kanon 2006 was successful in distinguishing itself from not only the original Kanon but also Haruhi, which was an initial foreboding I had in the earlier episodes. I honestly believe that it was pretty much the absolute best anybody could have done in making Kanon, or any harem anime, for that matter.
I think it’s a total waste of ability and resources. A studio of KyoAni’s caliber shouldn’t be doing harem shows, which have traditionally just been there for the sake of showing off some more girls in maid outfits or nekomimi or some other ridiculous stuff like that. Not that I don’t appreciate it – it’s just something I feel is better left to the “lesser” studios and not the oharuhiliness that is Kyoto Animation. If my understanding is correct, the main reason they picked up Kanon was because of the success of their initial venture into the visual novel genre, AIR.
The way I see it, it’s like if Studio Ghibli decided they would make more money doing hentai. What if Totoro’s fat tail was on the front side of his body? What if Kiki used her broom for more than just transportation? What if “Laputa” actually meant “La Puta”? Could Ghibli have done it? Sure. But did they go ahead with cheap flattery and quick indulgences to make a quick yen? No way – they took their time to craft masterpiece after masterpiece that audiences around the world have held in the highest regard. In that same way, I’ve always hoped that KyoAni would start picking up material of a higher “moral standard” (I like using that one). I keep referring back to Haruhi because it was a perfect marriage of script and studio – the novels are fantastically written, the anime fantastically realized and produced. Kanon, while being one of the most serious and dramatic hgames, is still held back by the whole concept of these games – to play through the storyline of each girl and experience all the “perks” that come with a developing relationship.
If you step back and look at it, the way all the individual and separate storylines were tied together was by the whole “yume…” blurb at the beginning of the episodes. It’s a weak connection – but then again, it’s probably the best thing anybody could have done to bring some unity to an otherwise disjointed series about a bunch of girls who would have had no contact with each other if not for this one guy.
But enough ranting. Here’s the chaser – no matter how I, or any of us may feel about Kanon, the fact remains that it was a superbly produced series, one that I believe may finally put the traditionally indulgent harem genre into the realm of sanity and integrity. For the first time, I can actually take one of these shows seriously. And it took 24 episodes for the king of TV anime to pull it off.
I guess, in other words, I finally get it.
CLANNAD? I’ve never played it or even heard of it outside that it’s another one of KEY’s works – but if KyoAni is doing it, we may as well start penciling it in as the best anime of the season.
In the meantime, Lucky Star is going to rock, you can bank on that.