Kanon: Kyoto Animation’s Sad Girls in the Snow

Tonight I am continuing my blog series about Kyoto Animation Kyoto Animation shows with the sad, but still great Kanon.  To avoid any confusion I will be writing about the 2006 edition of Kanon.  Kanon is Kyoto’s second anime based off a visual novel by Key.  It is quite apparent that Kyoto is getting better with storytelling because as compared to AIR it is much better.  Nothing has changed from the soft colors, big colorful eyes, and girls that just scream moe at the viewers though.  The OP is a great fit it is a slower, softer song that seems to have very sad overtones to it which is a hint to what’s in store for the viewer.

The story follows the main male lead character named Yuichi Aizawa.  The background information is fairly cliche in the sense of the protagonist returning back to a city that he hasn’t been to in a long period of time this one being seven years.  He doesn’t remember the memories of his childhood that he gained here while playing with the other children who he sees again for the first time in a long time.  The background sounds very cliche for harem anime but luckily the similarities for the most part stop there although not completely.

He is attending school and meeting friends, who all seem mainly to be girls, and also meeting other friends who do not attend his school.  Kanon follows the story of Yuichi as he interacts with the girls that he meets and slowly recalls the past memories he has had with each of the girls.  Each section of the show seems to focus on a particular girl, while of course there are introductions in the beginning the show begins to shift to focus on one girl.

This show earned the title sad girls in the snow for a reason first off because it’s winter during the show and there is usually snow on the ground and well it’s sad at parts, fairly simple.  These girls do have their fair share of problems as nearly all of the cliche problems usually found in anime seem to be present in this show while some other problems are not so cliche.  Also keep in mind that all the girls correspond to a certain archetype as well.


Makoto loves the Jam....not

The first girl’s story we see played out is Makoto she is the mischievous girl who tries to give the character a hard time by playing pranks on him all of which fail.  I will go ahead and say it that her arch is probably the saddest out of all of the girls.  I will state here that the viewer does need to know that some of the problems the girls are facing are more “magical” than others.  The viewer finds the reason for Makoto’s problem and you slowly watch her deteriorate into nothing.  By deteriorate I mean she slowly loses her ability to function which is rather sad.


Mai guarding the school at night

After the finishing of Makoto’s arc the show moves to focus on Mai Kawasumi who is the silent character type.  She is guarding the school from spirits that have appeared and she stands there each night destroying any spirits that appear.  However, she is having a problem that is eating away at her and spreading through her body.  Later you find out why the spirits are attacking, what caused them to appear and you learn of the reason why Mai guards the shool each night.  Her situation is more original than the others and the reason why she is in bad health is more original, but maybe harder to understand.


Shiori, the sickly child

After Mai’s arc comes Shiori’s arc which is probably the most cliche out of all the arcs.  Shiori does not attend school because she has a sickness which does not allow her to attend school.  She finds out the disease is going to kill her.  You find out she has sister who attends school who has turned her back on her because she knows in the back of her head her sister will die so she doesn’t want to be too attached to her. It shows the pain that the two sisters endure because they want to spend time together, but they don’t want to face the fact that they will be seperated forever.


Nayuki: the snow bunny creator

Shiori’s arc is followed by Nayuki’s arc. Nayuki is Yuichi’s cousin so you must know that the history is going to run deep between the two.  You find out that Yuichi rejected Nayuki when they were younger in a rather harsh way destroying the snow bunny she had made for him.  Yuichi doesn’t remember the event until later on.  Her mother gets hit by a car after buying a cake that Nayuki wanted.  This makes her feel responsible for the accident which sends her into a huge depression.

Ayu: the most moe of them all

Ayu’s arc is the final arc to be resolved.  She says the famous catch word “Uguu..” like Misuzu’s “Gao..” it is also extremely awesome.  Throughout the series Yuichi spends the most time with Ayu and their relationship runs much deeper than what Yuichi remembers.  Her arc is the deepest and is one of the most complex.  She says she attends a school in the forest, which turns out to play a big role in her and Yuichi’s past.  You find out the truth behind Ayu which is one of the most emotional scenes in all of Kanon.  The ending is a happy one after you see all of the conflicts resolved.

While the show is full of strong details and animation, there are some issues with the show.  One weakness of the show is that it only focuses really on one girl at a time.  It causes other characters to be strangely absent for long periods of time, and once their arc is over they will not really be seen for the rest of the series.  Another weakness is the filler episodes that were added in the series.  The 2002 series had 13 episodes while 2006 series has 24 episodes.  So you have some filler that wasn’t there in the first series.  A small weak point is that many may not understand the ending very well.

In final statements I highly recommend Kanon it has high quality animation, more focused storytelling, although it can seem a little too focused at times, it doesn’t take anything away from the show.  Of the three Kyoto Animation series based off of Key Visual novels this one is the most emotional.  I highly recommend this show to anyone.  The show has many great features and few flaws, and the flaws are rather minor in comparsion to the greatness of this show.  This wraps up my post for Kanon, here’s a hint for the next show in my blog.