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Old 12-30-2017, 11:21 AM   #7606
Nebby. Back into the bag.
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Yuki and I rewatched Kanon together, Kyoto Animation's 2006 adaptation of Key's debut visual novel. We finished it yesterday, and I am happy to report that it holds up very well. It is a surprisingly well-written first work. The characters are lovely. The mystery-driven plot is exhilarating. The story is rich with themes and other ideas or messages the writers wish to explore; these include family, miracles, and coping mechanisms. The story has no shortage of symbols, with Ayu's red hairband and the certain lost something leading the way. The music is good, with several great songs. The animation is beautiful and could still go shoulder-to-shoulder with today's anime.

It's just a very good anime!

Spoiler: show

Spoiler: show

The scene of Ayu falling from the tree is as heart-wrenching and unforgettable today as it was eleven years ago. The combination of Key (in the story writing) and Kyoto Animation (in the actual animation) does a fantastic job of building up to this moment. Everything about the Child Yuuichi-Child Ayu flashbacks is darling, and when they arrive at the tree and start talking about Ayu's special school in the forest it's all so pure and innocent. While the true nature of Ayu's tragedy is hidden in plain sight from the very first episode, first-time viewers by the truckload don't see "it" coming until it happens --

And as Ayu falls from the tree, KyoAni does such a marvelous job of capturing the horror of the moment.

And as she lays there on the ground, dying, her little voice trembling ...

And they cut to the pool of blood, so massive it's reached her hands ...

And then, what really got Yuki and I this time on the re-view, and a line that neither of us had remembered --

"If I can't move ... we can't play. "



Kanon 2006 may not be perfect. Most viewers find fault with some thing or another, even if not all viewers will agree on what those problems are. But of the three Key works I have seen to date -- Kanon, Air, and Clannad -- I would say that Kanon is by far Key's strongest outing. Clannad has the biggest of the "great scenes" in Key history, quite possibly in animated history, but it's a long and tiresome slog to get there. Air is wonky. But Kanon is a pure delight. It's not just good averaged out across its entire length, as would be Clannad -- it's good most each and every episode.

If you haven't watched Kanon 2006 in years, consider giving it a reviewing, as we did. I don't think you'll regret it. And if you haven't seen it before, consider giving it a shot. Before there was ufotable and their love of all things Type-Moon, there was Kyoto Animation and their love of all things Key. Kanon 2006 is a clear labor of love, from start to finish, made possible by the critical acclaim the studio received for Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu and all the money that it generated.
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