I’ve always live in this town, but cold is cold. But I love this town… In winter, it’s covered by white snow… In spring, the streets are full of falling sakura petals… In summer, it’s noisy with cicadas… In autumn, I’m surrounded by the falling leaves and then, the snow starts to fall, and the winter that I love begins again. This town is nice, isn’t it?
– Nayuki Minase from the Kanon Visual Novel
Winter is a few weeks away and with the latest snow storm that hit where I live reminds me of something. What is it?
Well of course, Kanon, a 1999 visual novel by Key/VisualArts, which is one of the first (maybe not the first since there is Moon and One which is made by Tactics before they formed Key) and most acclaimed visual novel that focuses more on plot-heavy Utsuge instead of focusing mainly on hentai scenes. Thanks to the model Kanon uses, it led to other companies to make visual novels that uses that model such as Circus’s Da Capo (and I still wonder how much longer they will milk that franchise…) , Kana: Little Sister (a big cliche storm), etc… The funny thing is that a typical Key story starts off in a happy mood with some comedy and you suddenly get hit with a lot of melodrama… A typical story have a lot more impact by shedding manly-tears (or girly tears) and also allow us to sympathise with the character. In comparison of Air (another visual novel by Key) and Kanon, Kanon features a happy ending opposed to a bittersweet ending.
So why am I talking about Kanon all the sudden? Well, the Visual Novel goes alot more in depth than the Anime. The Anime is just the icing of the cake and leaves some or alot of the parts out because the first girl always wins. The game comes in two versions, a standard version with all the eroge and a all-ages version (which is the only one included in the memorial box and the console port)
If you have watched Kanon (2006 remake), you might be disappointed with the CG in the visual novel. Of course, since they didn’t have the technology like we did now, but it’s not that horrible… except the eroge scenes… They absolutely don’t make any sense and they are So Bad It’s Good (who does it on a school desk when there is demons… seriously), so I pretty much disabled the scenes with a few files in the English translation. The funny part is that once the ero scene had happened, they make no mention of it for the rest of the story, which I find pretty odd. Also, there is a lot of scenery porn, although not a lot compared to KyoAni’s anime production.
The good thing is that they did improve the CG in the later works (Air, Clannad, etc)…
The music if you hear it the first time will make you surprised on how good it is. It seems that Key’s visual novels always had good music from what I heard so far. This is the same exact music used in the Anime (well, the Anime included songs from Kanon Recollections.).
Last regrets is the opening song, although slow moving, it sets the mood of the story basically… The closing song, Kaze no Tadori Tsuku Basho is ironically a pretty happy and upbeat song… and both of them have the 90s feel and also used in Kyoto Animation’s remake.
The Anime fails to tell some of this… basically due to time constraints… Anyways, Yuuichi goes back to his childhood town since his parents recently moved to Africa. The story starts on Wednesday January 6, 1999 (Wow, it’s nearly 10 years old, going on to 11 years.) with Yuuichi meets Nayuki at the train station. One day while Nayuki goes in to buy some groceries, a mysterious girl named Ayu bumps into Yuuichi while trying to run away from the Taiyaki stand owner. Yuuichi drags her back to apologize and he pays for it. Later on, he meets Shiori after Ayu bumps into the tree in trying to hug Yuuichi. Mai, at night in the school trying to fight “demons” and Makoto, which Yuuichi brings her home since she fainted of being hungry. As time goes on, he begins to regain the memories he had lost from his childhood. In addition, Yuuichi helps these girls individually with their problems.
My favorite arc in Kanon, of course is Shiori’s…. You should of known that… I don’t need to go in details since I have wrote on Nayuki’s, Mai’s, Sayuri’s and Shiori’s arcs already (they can be found on the Kanon category)
Like with all visual novels, It’s really addictive to the point that it have the Tetris Effect and Kanon is no exception…. Like with most people, they want to know what happens in the story and when they stop playing, the story takes over your life until you finish that arc. You may also find it taking all your time since if you pick the wrong flag/choice, you may end up at the bad ending and having to go back to a save point or starting the whole game over… Kanon is no exception… it will take over your life, temporarily since each arc takes 15 hours to complete at least, unless you are a fast reader.
Kanon, although a Utsuge, it’s not terribly depressing like Air. Every arc features a happy ending (well, maybe not Makoto’s arc since she is a fox after all) with a miracle happening. Funny how Kanon is called a Utsuge when the story gets very depressing, which makes you want to cry your eyes out and something good happening at the end when the plot is resolved… Don’t think that it will be true with the other visual novels Key made… simply not true (especially with Air and Planetarian).
Ken Sugisaki might get disappointed with Kanon… Why? While it looks like a harem since Yuuichi meets all of these pretty Bishoujos, you can only pick one girl… just one girl, not more than one since the story pretty much sets you to a character’s arc without the ability to change for another girl.
Watch the anime first before playing the visual novel so you have some idea how the story goes. If you complete the visual novel first, you may end up disappointed since some parts are changed in the story. Although the CG looks a bit outdated, it still tolerable and you will get by it (took awhile for me to get use to it).
Do I recommend it? Hell yes. It’s a lot of reading, but it’s one of the best Bishoujo games out there (besides from Clannad of course) and also a masterpiece. Also, there is a complete English patch out there, so there is no problem trying to play it (except obtaining it)… Now excuse me, I have to finish Makoto’s and Ayu’s arc.
Fanart used in this post is made by Okota