Today, you get two posts. One for Kanon, which I typed up about halfway before abandoning but planned to return to once I got this weekly thing rolling. And one for Air, which I actually watched this week. They get thrown together because they are both part of the powerful KeyAni triad. Keep in mind that I watched Kanon pretty much right after Clannad.
Kanon 2006, uguu~
Generally, I try not to write about the same sorts of things twice in a row, but I’m planning to make an excellent post one Tuesday night about that. So, you get treated to another KyoAni/Key anime post! This time, I blasted through Kanon (2006). I have to qualify that with the year because Kanon has two anime series. The first was a 13-episode series done in 2002 by Toei Animation. The one I watched was a 26-episode remake by Kyoto Animation, who at the time were known for Air, another Key VN, and Haruhi, that anime that you should have watched by now. But, this will probably turn out to be another opportunity to go on about how much I like Clannad.
Kanon was what I expected from a visual novel adaptation. That is, when I took my first steps into Clannad, I was expecting Kanon. I was glad in the case of Clannad, that it turned out differently. Having watched Clannad then, I was disappointed with how Kanon progressed until the ending. That’s not to say that Kanon isn’t any good, it’s just that Clannad changed my expectations for it.
Just about the only thing that I expected of Kanon that was true was that it turned out to be slightly less funny and slightly more dramatic than Clannad. Kanon is very well described as sad girls in snow. Otherwise, I enjoyed the plot, setting, and characters of Clannad far more than those of Kanon.
Clannad managed to keep the focus of the plot on the development of Tomoya’s and Nagisa’s relationship throughout the show. Kanon managed to tie all of the arcs together only at the very end. Even though Ayu ends up being the lead female, the bulk of her development shows up only during her arc, whereas Nagisa at least plays a part in other arcs. Even if she’s just standing around, it gives the sense of a common thread running throughout each arc rather than several compartmentalized arcs.
I also enjoyed Clannad’s characters a lot more than Kanon’s. I liked Tomoya’s interactions with the others a lot more than Yuuichi’s. It may have to do with Yuuichi basically being parachuted into the town at the beginning having to learn everything. On the other hand, Tomoya already has connections with people, so he spends less time just meeting people and learning about them. He’s also more interesting since he’s a delinquent.
The supporting characters in Clannad also seemed more interesting and lively than Kanon’s sad girls in snow. They’re also less annoying. I’m not a fan of uguu~ when she says it every other sentence, and I am definitely anti-Auu~.
Will all of this deter me from picking up Air in the future? No, even though it is the work that Kyoani did before Haruhi and Kanon, the fact that it’s only 13 episodes long certainly doesn’t hurt.
So I managed to find Air. I begin wondering where it would fall on the KeyAni continuum. I doubted that it could top Clannad, but with the right pacing and story, it could beat Kanon. Quite frankly, there are a lot of flaws with Air. To be fair, I did watch it last, when it was the first of KyoAni’s Key works. But, unlike Kanon, even if I had watched it first, it probably wouldn’t have helped.
My main criticism of Kanon was that it felt really compartmentalized from the way it handled its arcs. The ending managed to save it by tying everything together. This doesn’t happen in Air. Each arc is definitely on its own and at the conclusion of one, the characters that were involved will drop off the face of the earth. The only real connection that each arc had was some vague sky motif.
Even worse was that the main arc was really weird. I probably wouldn’t have been able to follow it at all if I hadn’t spoiled it for myself beforehand by reading Wikipedia. Strange things happen to the characters, we’re introduced to something entirely out of left field, and the final arc took off in another direction. I’ll admit it looked pretty emotional, but it was really hard to empathize with because it was really hard to understand what was going on or the significance behind it all.
Ultimately, Air was decent, but fairly disappointing compared to the other KeyAni works. This makes sense, since comparing such an early work with the stuff that KyoAni was able to output later on shows how much they’ve improved, especially in the VN department. I did enjoy the GAO GAO STEGOSAURUS though.