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Kanon: The Complete Series
Kanon The Complete Series
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
NR     2009     10hr 0min

Can the future exist without a past? Yuichi hasn?t seen his cousin Nayuki in years. Now that he?s back, all knowledge of ever visiting has vanished. He tries to adjust to the vaguely familiar surroundings, but the gaps in ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Animation, Love & Romance, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Funimation Prod
Format: DVD - Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/28/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 10hr 0min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Japanese, English, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Timeless Anime Storytelling
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 04/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's almost impossible to find any reviews of Kanon that refrain from comparing it to the show Air. Now that Funimation has acquired the rights to bring both of these (already similar) shows out just one week apart will likely do little to differentiate one from the other. Having just watched the two series literally back to back, I can attest to the fact that Kanon succeeds in many areas where Air comes short. Yes there are some similarities between the two that will warrant direct comparison throughout my review but in actuality, Kanon is certainly more emotionally taxing in its prose and scope. Well before I get ahead of myself here, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Released across 4 discs, Funimation is packaging up TBS Animation's Kanon in a complete series box set. The packaging is quite appropriate if slightly mysterious in its rear panel summary. Inside is a pair of beautifully artistic thin packs, each of which contains two discs. The choice of whites and pale blues is subtly appropriate for the oft-snowy setting of the story itself. I may even go on record as saying that the thin pack exterior art is the finest Funimation has released to date. In all the show runs 576 minutes and earns a fairly conservative TV PG rating (no nudity, language, or violence to speak of).

The set, as has been the trend of late, contains virtually no extras to speak of although the language options are thorough (English dub and original Japanese with or without English subtitles).

With stories like this that play out literally as emotionally driven mysteries, I feel it's critical that I don't provide any spoilers while attempting to summarize the plot here. That said, the story follows a high-school age young man who comes to stay with his aunt and female cousin after a seven-year hiatus. The viewer is treated to the same laid back pacing that Air relished and Kanon even operates off the sometimes-monotonous rhythm of daily routine. Where Kanon succeeds over Air is through the use of witty dialog that actually manages to be funny. The lead character (Yuichi) has many genuine moments of interaction, especially early on when the massive cast is being established.

Interestingly enough, save for one other male, the cast is entirely female. It sounds suspicious but manages to work surprisingly well. Much of the story plays off the fact that Yuichi basically comes back to town with amnesia of his previous visit (which was just over summer vacation seven years prior). The viewer is along for the unveiling of the facts right along side the lead character through frequent flashbacks that shed a bit of light present situations.

I won't sugarcoat the reality that this isn't a show for the overly sensitive as heartbreaks and a near endless succession of tragedies abounds. However, if I can offer any insight without taking away from the show's charm it would be to hold off on passing judgment until you've followed it all the way through to completion. Many of the show's mysteries and seeming impossibilities don't start making sense until the final couple episodes. In fact, the bigger picture isn't fully realized until the last section of the final episode!

Like such classic films as the Sixth Sense, Kanon is setup with clues and hints all along the way that cannot be fully appreciated until the second or third time through. Just prepare for a few of those "how could I have not realized this the first time" moments.

The show's art is simply flawless throughout. Landscapes, textures, lighting, and ambiance are truly second to none. Much of the show takes place over the course of a winter but don't for a minute suspect this left the artists with a pallet of drab grays and whites. Truthfully, the sunsets, snowfalls, crunching sound of boots and steamy clouds of exhalation just dazzle consistently throughout.

Additionally there are many that attempt but few shows that succeed in so charmingly capturing mood. Acting work, especially in the English dub, is outstanding. This is especially admirable considering that such a large cast of similarly aged females surely required unique performances for distinction. I should mention that a few characters do sound a lot alike but in the end the choice was most certainly deliberate.

With each of my reviews I like to attempt to nail down a single attribute that could be the show's greatest strength. With Kanon I may have to bend my own rule on account of the fact that so many aspects come off so well. I was initially leaning toward character development as, in this case, it is detrimental in moving the story along. Here we have a cast of characters that is near impossible not to adore for their sincerity, innocence, sense of humor, and in many cases, realistic interaction with each other. Coupled to the stunning visuals and solid voice work, it's tough to praise one aspect over the others.

In all, I won't kid you into thinking Kanon won't be difficult to market to the domestic general public. Upon first impression of the cover art, I feared a tale leaning toward the female-set what with the five glassy-eyed girls and pink lettering and all. However, and much like Air, this is a show with an abundance of heart and enough intriguing elements along the way to soften up even the hardest viewer. It's a story that transcends fads, styles, cultures and even defies genres come to think of it. We simply have nothing like this in the United States for a direct comparison and I'm certain that accounts for a lot of its charm. It's definitely not for everyone on account of the fact that what it lacks in action sequences is made up for with the viewer's ability to connect with the cast.

Take even the name Kanon for example- it is cleverly explained in one scene to have been inspired by the musical definition (canon) whereby a composition consists of a single melody repeated over and over with the addition of more elements each time. In a way I cannot think of a more appropriate metaphor for the show itself in its portrayal of life as being essentially the same day lived over and over with the addition of new experiences layered atop the familiarity of our routines.

Shows like this are successful not for their ability to focus on one aspect of the human condition but rather because they manage to grab hold of all of the little things that define humanity then put those elements together across a pace at which nearly anyone can relate. Kanon is more of an experience, a chance to briefly live among someone else's creative vision than it is simply entertainment. Kanon is truly timeless storytelling in the strictest sense of the word."
Long-awaited release of an enchanted, some would say haunted
Harold C. Owen | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my all-time favorite anime series. You have to be prepared to watch it multiple times, as the plot is so delightfully interwoven. I'm from upper New York State and was born in a snowdrift, so the dead cold winter scenery is breathtakingly beautiful and the viewer will forget he/she is watching an animated production. Anyone reading this, believe me; I collected the individual discs while spending over $200. I never expected this to become available. It is a bargain. You get the entire 24 episodes here. Funny, thought-provoking and very serious, not to mention absolutely wonderful music, this series will run you through the emotional mill! I cannot recommend "Kanon" enough. I won't give away any of the story but you'll not be able to stop watching.
Sincerely, Harold."
One of the BEST! Caution: Grab a tissue.
Final272 | Usa East coast | 04/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This anime has a great story line, but be prepared to cry. I guarantee you will be sad. you will always be on the edge of your seat. I watched this anime twice it was so good. Don't let the being sad part scare you, it is one of the best anime i've seen. It even has tons of funny scenes as a bonus; so if you are not crying your laughing. =D"
A Real Tear Jerker
Scott Martin Gavin | Klamath Falls, Oregon United States | 05/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This anime series is almost as sad as "Grave of the Fireflies". It's a very odd series with a very complex story line that, like a musical canon (Kanon) repeats the same theme but adding more detail and texture to create a beautiful and touching story. This is especially odd, because Kanon started out life as a "ero" (adult) game in Japan. It then saw life as cleaned-up G rated games on the Saturn and the Playstation game systems and was popular enough that it was made into a 13 episode anime series, followed by an OVA. The art on this original series was barely better than the game graphics, and, fortunately, Kanon was later remade into a 24 episode anime series with nearly state of the art graphics and very nice sound track. Pachabel's Canon in D even is used as background music in a few scenes.

Kanon is a series about relationships, and nearly everybody the hero, Yoichi, meets has a tragic backstory. These sad stories are all interwoven around a mysterious tragedy that occurred when Yoichi was a boy that was so traumatic that he chose to lose his memory of past events. At times the series hovers on the border of becoming a Harem series as the hero meets and befriends one girl after another. There is his pretty, air-headed cousin, Miyuki, who faces a crisis near the end of the story after a tragic traffic accident. There is the foxy Madoka, who has lost her memory and can only remember that she has a grudge against Yoichi. There is the weird Ayu, a tomboyish girl who lost her mother as a child and is fond of swiping food from street vendors. There is Mai, the demon huntress, who has strong supernatural powers. There is Saiyuri, the first year student with a terminal disease. As Yoichi helps each girl come to grips with the tragedy in their own lives, he eventually begins to remember the tragedy in his own past. Overlaying it all are the dreams and memories of one of the girls who cannot wake up from the dreams that have consumed her soul. The identity of the dreamer is kept secret for the first half of the series. Several of the stories choked me up, but poor Madoka's story brought me to tears. There seems to be an odd undercurrent of supernatural events behind the intertwining stories.

The story is complex and holds up to repeated viewing, in fact, repeated viewing is necessary to catch all the subtle hints. On first viewing I didn't understand if the ending was a delusion on the part of the Dreamer, a delusion on the part of Yoichi, or if the whole story was a delusion on Yoichi's part with only the ending being real. I had to watch it a second time before the Dream sequences made sense and explained the story line. The anime is deliciously crafted. Hints to later events are hidden in the earlier episode, hints that may not make sense until the story is viewed a second time: hints like the strange look Saiyuri's doctor gives to Ayu when they meet up in the hospital, or the silhouette of a tree that features prominently in the opening credits. There are also some strange goings on that are so subtle that they can be missed. When the hero encounters the Dreamer in the last episode, she is holding a doll that had vanished in the haunted forest when Yoichi returned it to what appeared to be a ghost of the Dreamer, who Yoichi believed to be dead.

Although the anime is based on an old adult game, the anime series is completely innocent. There is no nudity and only a few sweet kisses. And, at risk of giving too much away, considering how much tragedy the anime series contains, the story actually comes to a happy ending.

The art is beautiful, the story wonderful, leaving me disappointed in only one regard: only Madoka's story - which I thought was the saddest of all the stories - doesn't have a happy ending. This anime series is a great one to use to introduce a loved one to anime. It's also a good anime series if you are sick and tired of spaceships that transform into giant robots or martial arts series that take 52 episodes to resolve a two minute fight. It is a superior series that actually make you think. And cry."