The buzz about Clannad shows little sign of abating, so I continue to steadfastly avoid watching it – indeed, my disinterest could probably kill a goat at twenty paces. Ishihara‘s Kanon, however, is much less discussed these days and I’ve somehow managed to remain unspoilt on its plot despite being a faithful reader of Mega Megane Moe. So, on the principle that it’s good to watch things outside one’s genres of choice, and most definitely not just so I can make a pun in this post’s title, I’ve begun to watch it.
‘Pun?’ I hear you ask. Well, yes: you see, the other show I’ve begun recently is After War Gundam X. This is about as far removed from Kanon as I can get, and not only in genre. For watching Gundam X was probably inevitable, if I continued to exist and possess an internet connection. It’s Gundam, it’s one of the less well-known corners of the franchise (flattering to my inner snob) and Taniguchi served as one of the episode directors (as he did on G Gundam, another repository of that elusive substance, win). An interesting contrast in initial prejudice, then. Mecha, action, Gundam: awesome until proven boring; visual novel adaption, moe, harem: guilty, guilty, guilty until proven innocent.
As it turns out, both shows have surprised me with slightly unusual protagonists. Kanon‘s Lesser-Kyon is more characterful than I expected, but not nearly as a likeable. I’m no expert on harem protagonists, but compared to Tsuchimi ‘Nonentity’ Rin (for example), Lesser-Kyon rather stands out in his propensity for casual insults, his self-absorbed carelessness about memory and his uncanny ability to stand by and watch people fall over, catch colds or otherwise hurt themselves. Such a distinctive character is an interesting change, but he’s lost the Everyman quality of some other harem heroes I’ve seen. This may turn out to be a problem if his role is simply going to be the standard foil to reflect and focus incoming moe like a moon-mounted superweapon relay station. Time will tell.
This is chivalry. Lesser-Kyon hasn’t heard of it.
Garrod Ran also bucks the trend for his genre, but by travelling in the opposite direction. You see, Garrod is a far more likeable hero than I’m used to in my Gundam: resourceful, compassionate and romantic. I’m searching for a more well-known analogue, and the best comparison I can pull up is Eureka Seven‘s Renton. Perhaps Garrod’s naive, but compared to Lesser-Kyon’s general cynicism, I think I prefer the naive hero who repeatedly breaks out of prison to pick flowers for Tifa. (The real Kyon’s cynicism was both funnier than Lesser-Kyon’s, and inescapable, as it practically became a narrative mode of its own.)
Yet in many ways Kanon is rather good. The animation is, as far as I can tell, superlative; the cast’s slightly plastic-looking, beady eyes are my only gripe in that department. Eyes excepted, it’s a show which drips hard work, at least in the five episodes that I’ve seen. Certain things, such as the ‘camera’ work of Lesser-Kyon’s meeting with Shiori in the third episode, stand out and stay in one’s memory. And while the animation is extremely memorable, the small-scale timing of events within each episode feels so organic that you forget it’s there.
My biggest problem with Kanon so far is its music. I appreciate that taste in music is subjective (and that I don’t have any in the first place) but there’s something objectively wrong with Kanon‘s background noise. Our ears spend most of the first five episodes passing from one peppy, repetitive number to another tune in precisely the same style; it’s as though a CD of shopping music intended for airtime in Woolworths was mistaken for the disk of far subtler material that this show merits. Without suitable musical backup, some scenes (Lesser-Kyon exploring his new school, for example) resemble Destiny-style clip shows much more than they should, given the quality of what’s on-screen. Hopefully when things take a more mournful turn – as I assume they will – the music will be more distinguished.
At least Kanon‘s opener (compare the original game’s) and ending are good. Unfortunately, they’re rather overshadowed – and this probably is subjective – by Gundam X‘s superb first opening, ‘Dreams‘ which (if you’ll excuse technical language) combines thumping and warbling in exactly the correct proportions. More generally, Higuchi‘s score is one of Gundam X’s finest points.
Take the closing scene of the second episode, for example: a swooping chorus and piping flutes accompany the moon; repeated calls from the brass section sound a warning as the Satellite Cannon (geddit? geddit?) charges; and we descend into percussive distress as Garrod fires. This is not all. No more music is heard while we observe the Cannon’s after-effects, but when Tifa screams the whole orchestra is unleashed at once in a final, discordant, aural cattle-prod. Incidentally this scream (from Kanai, as Tifa) is one of most unearthly pieces of voice-acting I’ve heard, second only to some of Jouji‘s lines for Gankutsuou‘s Count.
It would be nice if I could hold up the underlying value of Gundam X‘s story of about post-apocalyptic exploitation, encapsulated in that affecting scream, as somehow higher than Kanon. I would like – would love – to be able to say that there’s something fundamentally inferior about a story with such limited scope as Kanon‘s, something utterly puerile in its obsession with the minutiae of life and love. Surely part of growing up was grasping the fact that cute girls are not, in fact, the be all and end all of one’s existence? If so, a show like Kanon is not only immature it itself, it is encouraging the continuing immaturity of its fans.
It would be nice, but it would also, alas, be wrong. The responsibility for immaturity lies with the viewer for failing to watch critically, which means there’s not much inherent in Kanon to attack. Since this has already become something of a feghoot entry, I may as well close with a throwaway quotation from The Western Canon, in which Bloom argues (among many other things) that assessing literature on moral grounds doesn’t work: ‘Shakespeare will not make us better, and he will not make us worse’. Bloom is criticism’s Grumpy Old Man, and I doubt he’d think much of my attention to the viewer, but I’ll do almost anything for a pun.
And I have faith that there’s a good way to watch Kanon. I’m hoping to find it.
These uniforms’ capes are their saving grace. Char Aznable endorses capes, which makes them All Right.
(Speaking of clothing, if Kanon does turn out to be a genuinely mature story, then I have some headgear to eat . . .)
“So, on the principle that it’s good to watch things outside one’s genres of choice […] I’ve begun to watch it.”
That’s how I started watching Clannad. Consider that a friendly warning. ;)
So you recommend I watch Kanon too, then?
Hmm, never seen Kanon cos I didn’t like the plotline …
OH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE
I’m mildly surprised that you have yet to read my Kanon spoilers.
I suppose you could watch it like a film critic would… Then again you’d have a ton to bitch about.
Kanon’s main goal is to make you cry. Buckets. Doesn’t matter if it makes no sense at all.
I think I’ve seen 5-10 minutes of the first episode but sadly do not remember the music at all. The snow looked cool, though.
“Surely part of growing up was grasping the fact that cute girls are not, in fact, the be all and end all of one’s existence?” Haha, I laughed a good one at that!
Kanon works like an emotional machine that’s only purpose is to make you cry. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Really, enjoying Kanon comes down to a personal preference as there’s nothing purely bad or good about the show. But I agree, “Dreams” blows everything out of the water. I need to watch Gundam X soon.
I never thought I’d see the day you succumb to watching something of this genre, but then again knowing you, you’d make it much more complex than it’s meant to. Well played, old chap ;p
I like that you’re watching Gundam X – most people tend to avoid it because it has a bad rep (since it was cut short due to poor ratings), but I would say its one of my favorite incarnations of Gundam (I do like Turn A better, though). This makes me wanna go re-watch it…
The music is sourced directly from the original visual novel. That’s good for the fans of the original material, obviously, but it does clash somewhat with the rest of the production. Air suffers from the same problem. Clannad, less so.
I’ll admit that the music in Kanon and Air always bugged me, but I can appreciate (and understand) KyoAni’s reasons for making use of the original soundtrack. Jun Maeda’s music is a notable element of the games he’s worked on, and fans of the original material have long associated certain musical tracks with certain characters and certain scenes. If the anime adaptations are targeted primarily towards those fans (and, in my opinion, they are), it makes sense to retain the original music.
And it kind of works once you get used to it. Or, it did for me, at least.
@ concretebadger: Heh. The only thing that’d get me watching Clannad would be if it received no attention for a few months . . . fat chance. As for Kanon, I’m not sure I’m in a position to recommend it, especially if you’re not desperate for moe (and I imagine you aren’t).
@ blissmo: I’m struggling to distinguish a discrete plot at the moment, but then I’m only five episodes into the show.
@ Michael: O RLY?
@ drmchsr0: I may have read your spoilers, but since I wouldn’t have recognised the names they wouldn’t have stayed in my head.
I’d question the value of making something which is built with the sole aim of provoking tears. I mean, I can always buy an onion and grate it an inch away from my face. More seriously, can a show which wears its manipulative intentions on its sleeve succeed, if I’m sitting there going ‘Well, this is obviously just an attempt to make me cry’?
@ lelangir: The snow’s another of the animation’s fine points. It looks really like snow, or like how we’d like snow to look like.
@ Demian: Well, I’d argue that way the characters’ eyes are drawn is an example of a (relatively minor) objective flaw with Kanon – or rather, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to ask questions about its quality just as I do about other anime. And Gundam X is rather good, so far.
@ Shin: Yes, you can rely on me to complicate things! I’m probably watching Kanon partly because it’s not what I or anyone else would expect me to watch.
@ A Day Without Me: So far, I’m really enjoying X, though as I said in the entry, I would’ve gotten around to watching it at some point. The Gundam I’m really not looking forward to watching is Wing, because the episodes of it I’ve seen had entirely unexciting action sequences. And, whether or not it’s the best one, Turn-A is my favourite!
@ Jeff Lawson: Hmm. I noticed that the opening was the same, but I didn’t know that the game’s soundtrack as a whole had been used. It does explain a lot and (as you say) I can understand the use of the original soundtrack – but I can’t excuse it!
I don’t think an artistic decision can simply be justified on the grounds of the art’s being targeted at a particular group of people. Shakespeare’s audience probably wanted the standard, simple, Marlovian tragedy of blood, but they got Hamlet.
Of course, we can say that it’s inappropriate to be asking questions of Kanon as though it’s something artistic – but in that case the whole argument has been lost: if it can’t be assessed on a higher level than as something aimed at fans, then the show really is fundamentally immature and really does have no claim to survive (has no chance to become canonical, so to speak).
Kanon is good. One of my first anime as an otaku, and at my time of watching one of my top favorites, but Key and I have had sort of a falling out and it’s been a long time, so I don’t know how I feel about it.
Post-ef I have had a really hard time enjoying any kind of romance >_<
well first off michael already said what I was going to
second off I would be careful about throwing around the renton name. He was my absolute least favorite hero in a long time and I’m only 15 episodes into Eureka Seven
FINISH IT. Renton is my single favorite shounen hero EVER. He’s a real man, and my candidate for best-developed character ever. Almost no one earns my respect like him.
The attack is super-effective!
The Emperor Penguin is frozen solid!
It cannot believe
it’s not butterThe Animanachronism is watching Kanon!
I must say that I can almost feel your dislike for Kanon through the text. The way any Key adaption should be watched, to answer your implicit ending question, is with all disbelief suspended, while sumberging oneself in the work. The quality lies mostly on their ability to slop your emotions around the room with a soaked trout of pure melodrama.
CLANNAD was really good though IKnight, I recommend it.
It helps that CLANNAD thankfully doesn’t do that all the time, and when they do, it comes out much better than the “CRY HERE NOW” vibe I got from AIR. I feel like I still need to watch Kanon in the future though, just for that experience of feeling like I’m being forced to cry (and that’s something I dislike), I like I had with AIR.
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@ Barclay & 21stcenturydigitalboy: Renton’s a good comparison in situation rather than entirely in character – GARrod is (as his name suggests) quicker to sort his mind out and leap into action. He also does more: as the motivational poster has it, in the first two episodes Garrod manages to hijack a mobile suit using only a pistol, then steal a Gundam, then unleash a superweapon and then put his girlfriend in a coma!
And as digitalboy says, Renton by episode 50 of Eureka Seven is a far cry from Renton at episode 15. Though I wouldn’t say he’s quite ‘a real man’ in the sense that someone like Harry Ord is.
@ Kaiserpingvin: I want to like Kanon, if it’ll let me. But I’m suspicious of the idea of total immersion – I suppose I’m more of a fan of being alienated than I thought, which is odd as I used to think I was on the Aristotelian side of the Aristotle vs. Brecht debate over theatre.
@ Nagato: Thank you for the recommendation, but recommendations in themselves are part of the problem!
@ TheBigN: Air is similar? I’ll store that away. I do remember reading that Clannad isn’t nearly so much of a tear-machine, but given what’s going to happen I’d hesitate to say that definitively until the whole story’s done with.
Well, actually, I’m not recommending it to you from a blogosphere point of view, it’s because I genuinely enjoyed it. I myself didn’t watch it until about a week or two ago, and only because I was bored out of my mind with nothing to do. People had told me it was good, true, but I’d avoided it since I’d thought it was just another one of those harem comedy animes. It’s not. Well, it’s harem, but…
Anyway, I liked it. xP
2006 Kanon is, as well as a polished reinterpretation, a Kyou-ani cashcow designed to sell more Dakimakura.
I find it harsh that you criticised the music the most. Wasn’t the music originally composed as the background music to PC games? It’s made to be discreetly relaxing while having to be looped. I don’t expect Pachelbel’s Canon because of the namesake, I think what’s used sounded MIDI-esc and apart from yakusoku is unremarkable but unobtrusive. I loved the OP and ED, though I’m a fool for anything remotely related to I’ve sound.
I fondly remember the 2002 production as the one which launched Key’s brand of MOE into the hearts of many. While the animation is noticeably worse, I think the storyline fits the 13/14 episode limitation better since there’s more shock and less ~Uguu.
@21stcenturydigitalboy:okok, I accidentally watched the last episode when it was on adult swim so I already know he’s pretty awesome in the end, but god is he ever so lame right now
@animanachronism: I hope you are referring to harry ord in Turn A Gundam and not the actual Harry Ord
@ Nagato: Well, I’ll bear your recommendation in mind. I’ve enjoyed bad anime and been bored by good anime enough that I often find myself more swayed when people recommend something because they enjoyed it rather than simply because it’s good anime, so your words carry some weight.
@ Teeif: In all fairness, I don’t think financial motivation should be a mark against a show’s quality (otherwise I’d wouldn’t be the Geass fanboy that I am).
I wouldn’t object to the music’s quality if I heard it while playing a visual novel. I object to the use of such obtrusively MIDI-esque and remarkably unremarkable music in connection with such high-quality animation, writing and small-scale pacing, however. And the OP and ED really are good – not as good as ‘Dreams’, but pretty good.
Ironically, I’d say the repetitiveness of the music does make it similar to a (musical) canon, given how they’re built around imitative repetitions of the leader melody.
I haven’t heard much good about the 2002 production, but I’ll bear it in mind. Though with this many girls to keep track of I can’t help but think that so far the story’s more suited to 24 episodes, but you probably know best on that.
@ Berkles: Yeah, I’m referring to the ‘UNIVERSE!’ Harry Ord. Though the real Harry Ord deserves some respect for his pioneering ideas about power-sharing in the Straits Settlements, even if they were rejected by his superiors.
Perhaps it’s because I watched Air first, but it seemed like a less transparent attempt at getting the weepy effect going than Kanon was.
I like to compare Kanon to one of those one-syllable-titled porn rags you might be (un)lucky enough to find in your dad’s closet: it exists to create a specific response, is very effective at creating that response, and makes you feel really dirty after you’re done. It does long and protracted, it does surprise sucker-punches, it does inevitability, but it does them all to get the same basic result.
That said, it does a good job at that, and its repetitive nature and music (the whole “canon” thing, which I think is intentional) make it seem like it’s at least trying to be a little deeper than just a bawl-fest.
I don’t know, I think I like all genres of anime (mecha top on my list), and I happened to watch and like Clannad, but sometimes I just don’t want to deal with all the anime out there nowadays. But I think I should at least try 3 episodes (lowest threshold to keep, or dump) before I judge anymore. I’ll keep Kanon on my to-do list.
Also, I’ve changed my alias from Dorne. (Someone already took it)
Can’t agree with you more about Kanon’s music, much as I enjoy the show. It’s too gamey — in that it’s too reminiscent of an old video game, that is, not in that it tastes like freshly-slain deer (though it might, for all I know). Looking back over the comments, though, it looks like this conclusion has already collectively been reached. /thread
You’ll just have to forgive its slight case of moe-itis. Also, if you decide it’s mature, in the end, I’ll even pay for the mustard. I have some reservations about calling the whole thing mature, myself, but maturity is one of those terms that’s so subjective as to be almost meaningless, if you ask enough people to contribute to the definition. I think you can look at it as a coming-of-age story, though; Lesser-Kyon (lol) acts more like a man at the end than at the beginning.
Of course, if there’s a limit to interpreting anime in terms of the bildungsroman, I’m quickly approaching it.
Jun Maeda’s music for Kanon is much weaker than what he came up with for Air and Clannad imo. While Kanon is far from awful Air and Clannad show a lot of improvement in comparison.
Aww! The hatin’ on Kyon (they’re basically the same IMO) surprises me. I enjoyed his performance here as much as in Haruhi, though I don’t think Kanon as a whole stands up to Haruhi (of course.) It does seem to me to be better at its job than both Air and Clannad though.
As for maturity: you’re right, you want to be very careful with that word. My take, though: compared to Gundam 00 or something it’s miles ahead. Compared to stuff like Honey & Clover it doesn’t really stand up.
My best comparison is Black Lagoon. Rather than setting out trying to make a mature story, it sets out to have a good story about something you want to see (Revy shooting things/Naiyuki being dozy and hugging cats) and dresses it up in maturity to make it more palatable. It makes a good enough effort, but if real maturity is what you’re looking for you won’t find it. If you just want the Revy shooting things/Naiyuki hugging cats, of course, then the effort put into making it mature gets it plenty bonus points.
@ otou-san: I’m attracted by the porn-mag analogy, but I’d desperately like to think there’s more to Kanon than that. Though even if the music’s repetitiveness is partly playing on the (musical) canon concept, I don’t think that’s an excuse.
@ highfirex: It’s definitely worth a try – the thing I’m trying not to lose sight of is that in many ways Kanon is a very accomplished performance.
@ Pontifus: Subjectivity’s a brick to throw at any word you want, but if you reread my penultimate proper paragraph I think I’ve set the criteria I’m using for immaturity: Kanon‘s concerns map very closely to those of a young teenager. But as I said, I think the viewer must bear some responsibility, so perhaps all this says is that I’m not as grown-up as I’d like to think! Or (hopefully) there’s a way to watch Kanon without succumbing to its concerns, yet enjoy it nevertheless.
@ Westlo: Really? I’ve heard Air criticised more, but I suppose I’ll have to note it down for future reference.
Dunno about the bildungsroman – novel genres aren’t my business. The show most commonly pointed to as a bildungsroman recently is TTGL, but then we all seem to be able to read whatever we want into TTGL.
@ Shiri: Well, Lesser-Kyon and Kyon may be nearly identical, but True-Kyon is in a very different show, and is used very differently: he narrates the story and filters our experience, and as you say he’s matched against Haruhi. I wouldn’t mind Lesser-Kyon so much if he was facing fickle omnipotence incarnate.
I think I have been careful with the word maturity – as I said to Pontifus, I set the terms of the Maturity Question in the original entry.
Now Gundam 00 is an interesting question. I’d say the hero’s ideals, and the ethos of Celestial Being are fundamentally immature (stop war by killing all the bad guys), but that the show as a whole is not dominated by their viewpoint. In fact, it’s the failure, not the success, of their over-simplistic project which unites the world. I’d hesitate to declare that Gundam 00, or many other parts of the Gundam franchise, actually manage to be grown-up about their subject, though. In subject, however, X beats Kanon hands down.
But as I keep saying, this all could be my fault for being a bad viewer.
Kanon is, IN MY HUMBLE SUBJECTIVE OPINION, the best of the Key game to anime adaptations largely to the whole winter atmosphere it’s got going. It makes it feel sort of like an iyashikei series unlike what it is, an anime based on a porn game.
I don’t think that something concerned with “the minutiae of life and love” assumes that cute girls are the “be all and end all of one’s existence;” in fact, if it’s really concerned with said minutiae, it should probably make a point to the contrary. The thing that gives the Key games some semblance of maturity, for me, is that you have to pick one girl to get a (relatively) happy ending; trying to be a man-whore doesn’t lead anywhere particularly good.
Then again, we’re talking about games with teenage protagonists where the goal is often to get laid. KyoAni made the stories more mature, if anything, by doing away with the sex and emphasizing the emotional side of things, but the source material remains what it is. That’s why I’m reluctant to jump to Kanon’s defense when it comes to maturity.
And forgive my double posting here, but I should add that, as far as I’m concerned, a story that effectively deals with the concerns of teenagers can still be a good story, maturity be damned. I place humanity several steps above maturity in my list of artistic descriptors. Themes and grand ideas aside, it all comes down to the characters, in the end.
But then, I’m a novel guy.
I didn’t mean you were not being careful with the word, I was reinforcing what you already said about having to be careful about it.
And I just can’t buy 00 as a mature story – not only the subject matter but the way it’s told. I’d think you have to have both the dressing and the underlying principle. Anyway, it doesn’t have to be gundam 00, that’s just one example of a show I know I’ve seen which you also have (our viewing habits don’t seem to overlap much for some reason.) The main point was that it comes somewhere between that kind of show – you could substitute Bleach or Naruto but that feels unrealistically low to be worth comparing with – and something like Honey & Clover, and I believe it’s for the reasons I described.
“@ Westlo: Really? I’ve heard Air criticised more, but I suppose I’ll have to note it down for future reference.”
Actually I thought Air was probably the most praised Key title in regards to music from what I’ve read but I could be wrong.
As far as I’m concerned I can think of one standout bgm in Kanon while Air has at least half a dozen with ease. I prefer the summer vibe to the music though..
What a troll…
There is one angle to the Gundam X/Kanon comparison that I’d like to see, and that is the historical, genre setting methodology. Granted I think To-Heart anime probably lays more claim to that than Kanon but that applies equally to Gundam X. How do second-generational works in established-but-not-quite genres walk the walk and talk the talk?
But that’s probably beyond people who are hung up on things being “mature” or “canonical” or not.
@ Uguu~: It’s the best winter atmosphere I’ve seen in anime – in fact, Kanon‘s sense of time and place is outstanding.
@ Pontifus: Sorry, I didn’t mean there to be a causal connection between the two statements – I meant that the show is both obsessed with those minutiae and also suggests that life is reduced to tearful moe. I take your point about the contrast between the anime and the game, though.
And you’re right that a story dealing with the concerns of teenagers can be a good story. Kanon may well be a good story. Sadly I don’t have a very good eye for a good story. Though I suspect character-focused storytelling is only one way of doing it (albeit the dominant one at the moment).
@ Shiri: Oh. Sorry for jumping on that, then. As I said above, I’m not too good with the intricacies of storytelling. 00 usually stuck very closely to the Gundam Pacing (title mobile suit fights to close each episode), something X is more willing to ignore. I think I see now what you meant about Black Lagoon and Kanon though. Perhaps again the problem’s with me: I should make an effort to be more interested in Nayuki hugging cats.
@ Westlo: Noted down. I’ll have to try watching Air at some point, I guess.
@ omo: A troll? Perhaps. All I can say in my post’s defence is that it was honestly written, on the basis that comparing Gundam X to Kanon and examining my relationship to both would be interesting. And if there’s an edge of satire to the writing, well, satire is meant to have a purpose and here I think it does.
Genre setting is an interesting angle, but not one I can cover: I’m only an aspiring Gundam fan, and Kanon lies entirely outside my expertise. Write about it yourself, if you’re qualified.
I’ll concede ‘maturity’, but I don’t think I ever discussed either show’s canonicity in this entry, beyond the bad pun at the end. Your concern for genre life-cycles comes much closer to the issue of anime canon than I do.
Well, there is nothing wrong with trolling per se. In fact all good bloggers do it; it is just how it is received that separates the boys from men.
The problem I have with your post is that if satire is to have an edge, well, the edge is the size of a two-by-four.
If there is something that is truly insightful about your post, it would be how one could simply compare any two anime under the sun. It doesn’t invalidate what you say, but it leaves one fairly unsympathetic to your perspective. It’s a perspective fortified by ignorance, not by insight. That might sound harsh, but I hope you do not take it as so; it’s a pretty common problem all sophist bloggers run into at some point.
I don’t know if something I can’t detect while I’m writing, and which doesn’t distinguish between good and bad bloggers, is a useful word. Unless you want to expand on the separation between men and boys.
The ignorance is there, true, though I think there’s some merit in it – does the otakusphere have space for holy fools? From what you’re saying, it sounds as though this post may be the first time this blog has resembled what you might expect on a blog – a reflection of the writer’s personal feelings and expertise (or lack of expertise, when it comes to Kanon).
As for sophist bloggers, I read somewhere that Plato gave the sophists an undeserved bad press, from which they’ve never recovered. How true that is I’ve no idea.
>> does the otakusphere have space for holy fools?
Yes, but it would be hard to imagine one that matches the style of your blog.
I’m not sure elevated diction and literary allusion make what’s actually being said more or less foolish.
So you have that thing where the more people fawn over a show the more you are put off by it association too? I wonder what it is that causes that thing we share in common. That’s at least one of the things that’s resulted in me keeping Kyoani shows at arms length for so long and I know it’s completely irrational, but I can’t change the way my brain works apparently. Something about my senses causes a gag reflex when confronted with what I can only define as too much outside influence expecting me to react a certain way. So I react the opposite way.
My friend calls it my anti-fanboy alert and says it makes what I might otherwise find enjoyable somehow revolting….I wonder sometimes if he might be right. That’s not really the full story though….
With regard to Gundam X I’m glad you like the ending of episode 02 as well. To me the moment where Tifa screamed in pain at the end of the episode was more powerful then anything I saw in Kanon because it felt more natural and truly unanticipated (dare I say terrifying) then anything I can recall in Kanon. Then again Kanon is a much smaller more localized story with Gundam X that isn’t even on the same scope as either it or Gundam 00.
I also wouldn’t call Kanon more mature then either Gundam X or Gundam 00 (of course this is from the perspective of a mecha fan). The difference between Gundam and Kanon (key in general) is often in interpretation. Often in Gundam there’s more then one way to inpret events (for some reason every blogger that isn’t you or me always seems to pick whatever the most negative interpetation is in terms of how it makes the writing look) whereas Kanon knows how it wants you to interpret things (and it pretty much relies on things being interpreted in a certain way in order to succeed as a series, but then the fanbase is often more than willing to go along) and kind of hits you over the head with it. In some cases I felt like it was taking me for an idiot who lacked the ability to understand it’s narrative and thus just came across as aimed at a less mature audience with how it portrayed it’s themes.
Anyway, comparing music from Gundam X to Kanon seems unfair because in my opinion the music in Kanon seems more like an afterthought. In fact (Key)oani has never made a big impression on me with their music so much as their visual style which is instantly recognizable, whereas Gundam frequently sports some of the most memorable BGM around in my opinion. Anyone here who has seen Gundam 00 and heard the Celestial Being theme, the Union’s theme or Setsuna’s theme in Gundam 00 should know what I’ m talking about.
So I think the biggest thing that causes me to enjoy Gundam more then Kanon and such is that I feel that Gundam challenges me more to think then to feel and really as a person that people have described as almost Vulcan like in his disposition it’s safe to say that I would prefer Gundam as a form of entertainment to Kanon.
Thanks for providing me the perfect opportunity to get off my chest why exactly it is that I prefer to talk about and delve into science-fiction mecha series more than the Kyoani stuff that seems to be all the rage these days.
Oh and Kanon wishes it had Human Touch as a theme song. :P
I wrote a post a few months back explaining how I (and, I guess, plenty of others) get turned off by people heaping praise on shows. Like you say, it’s irrational, but there seems to be no way to avoid it. All I can do is recognise it (and turn it into blog fodder).
That scream at the end of the second episode remains very powerful for me; I’ve gone back and rewatched it several times after writing this post, and I still thenk the mix of Tifa’s voice and the (slightly dissonant? music’s not my forte) blast from the orchestra is a brilliant moment.
As for comparing the soundtracks . . . it’s unavoidably true that Gundam X‘s is better than Kanon. While you and other commenters have pointed out that it’s perhaps an unfair comparison to make in the first place, as Kanon‘s music was taken from the original game, I think it’s worth pointing out the disparity. Though the Musical King of the mecha franchises might be Macross; that must be an argument for another day.
I take your point about Kanon having one, and only one, preferred viewer reaction. I hadn’t thought of that, and that may be another reason why I failed to watch it in the right way. X isn’t the most complex part of the Gundam franchise, but it’s up to us to decide what we think of characters like, for example, Enil El – and Gundam 00 sometimes defiantly refused to tell us what to feel (which may have been why I struggled to engage with it emotionally, but that too is another story), though at other times it could be fairly simplistic.
And I’m fairly sure quite a few shows would give their eye teeth for ‘Human Touch’ . . .
Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.
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