a kanon look at remakes

Nothing surprised me more today than seeing a new Kanon series. For people getting excited over a remake of a series three years old, I have three words for ya: Remember My Memories.

Kanon Kazehana

It’s one thing to remake a series after a few decades to inspire a new generation of fans, like what Hollywood has done with Dukes of Hazzard, Brady Bunch, Beverly Hillbillies, Knight Rider 2000, Battlestar Galactica, Shaft, The Longest Yard, and Bad News Bears to name a few. It’s another to remake a series after three years. Last I checked, the last episode of Kanon aired in March 2002 but the Kazehana special was available via coupons during Summer 2003. And looking at my calender today, it’s 2006. Why bother remaking the series? If the only thing that they’re going to change is Yuichi’s chin, why not fix it a la Mai Otome‘s bulge-fix DVD release? To me, this remake of Kanon is nothing more than a money grab to sell more DVDs, sell more PVC models of Ayu and Nayuki, and sell more soundtracks… all without having to bother with coming up with new content. (So, naturally, I’m going to watch it and recycle my old blog content about Kanon.)

The problem with remakes is that they are rarely better than the original. All of those Hollywood remakes that I mentioned earlier? Mostly inferior to their originals (even with Jessica Simpson). Same with anime, with To Heart: Remember My Memories being the standardbearer. Besides taking a different direction with the character design (i.e. hit poor Multi with the ugly stick), they tried to make the series more harem-comedy-ish and sacrificed the gentle slice-of-life elements that made the original special. That’s what separated it from being yet another Phinal Approach, DearS, or Kage Kara Mamoru. Watching RMM vs the original was just startling in how different the pacing and stories were. To me, it seemed like RMM didn’t attract new fans to the series but alienated old fans like myself… and that was a whole fives years between the original and the remake. I wasn’t exactly thinking, “My life would be complete if they just remade To Heart.”

For poor Yuichi, Ayu, and MILF Akito, the problem for Kanon is just that not enough time has passed since the original series, and, judging from the previews, it looks almost like the original, only with Kyoto Animation handling the animation. Somehow, I don’t think the plot is going to change… sadly, Yuichi isn’t hooking up with Akito as a jealous Kaede, on loan from Shuffle, stabs them both to death nor will Mai and Sayuri be involved in any sort of Tomoe x Shizuru action. It’s going to be the same thing. Again. After only three years. I can understand if they want to add more content (a la Belldandy) or take the franchise an exciting new direction (a la Gundam Seed), but it doesn’t look that way.

(Next paragraph has spoilers about Kanon.)

Why do I want a remake of an anime I still remember pretty damn well? I remember Yuichi moving in with Nayuki and Akito… Akito falling ill around episode 5… Nayuki getting jealous after seeing Yuichi and Ayu together episode 11-ish, but she still tells him about the real Ayu that she discovered while at the hospital… happy end with a real reunion for Ayu and Yuichi. The end. Hell, I still remember Elite-Fansubs refusing to translate the signs in the hospital because one said, “Ayu.” (Nowadays, I think whatever groups sub this remake will go overlay crazy with the Ayu sign, but that’s another discussion.) Yep, it’s waaaaaay too soon for a remake if I can still remember the group which fansubbed the original.

(End spoilers.)


The original series was pretty enjoyable, but if I had to choose between watching a remake of it or 13 more episodes of Mushishi, I’d pick Omega Pimp Ginko. Or, better yet, try launching a new franchise like Hayate the Combat Butler (desperately needs an anime). So the cynic in me is viewing this new series as a major money grab… so they may make it slightly better than the original, but was it worth it? Is animedom so out of ideas? It’s not like Kyoto Animation needs a hit… if it wants to print money, just churn out the remaining Full Metal Panic novels. Not only is that somewhat new content, the fanbase (as evidenced by Chidori’s strong run in March Madness) is bigger than Kanon‘s. Why pick Kanon for a remake? Why not Evangelion? Cowboy Bebop (which is older than Kanon, BTW)? Utena? Is Visual Arts/Key (Kanon‘s h-game maker) really that hard up for money and so out of new ideas?

While I am happy to see a less angular Kanon, I’m not happy to see that the animation companies would rather remake a three year old series than grow new franchises. In the end, as someone wise once said: what has been will be again, while has been done will be done again.

19 Responses to “a kanon look at remakes”

  1. I suspect they’re picking on Kanon because it’s an h-game with a harem component (and those have been doing pretty well in the market, the past year and a bit)… and because remakes aren’t doing too badly in terms of sales, to judge by how Evangelion’s pumping out products ten years after its own release. :D

    Now if they’d release “A Very Dancing Merry Christmas” as an OVA, they’d have a winner on their hands.

  2. A Dancing Very Merry Chrismas.

  3. Meh, I don’t think I’ll be interested in this Kanon. Sheesh who would want to watch another hgame-based anime remake? I’d sooner watch actual hanime remakes.

  4. >>The problem with remakes is that they are rarely better than the original.

    Much as I enjoyed Toei’s Kanon, I’d say it’ll not be hard to surpass it. Artwork, story flow/completeness are a few of my complains after I finished the series. There’s so many scenes that could have been a lot more touching if executed right. From AIR, I believe KA has that touch that Toei lacks.

    >>I wasn’t exactly thinking, “My life would be complete if they just remade To Heart.”

    Strange, I was actually thinking that (for a Kyoto-Animation-made Kanon) when AIR was showing :P

    >>all without having to bother with coming up with new content

    Some of the Kanon girls stories in Toei’s versions were incomplete, there’s already a hint of ‘new content’ from the PV (in Mai’s story at least… not new really just more complete).

    >>And looking at my calender today, it’s 2006. Why bother remaking the series?

    Actually I want a remake of DCSS and it’s produced in 2005. I’m not sure why others are excited about the Kanon remake but personally, I just felt that, like Kotori, the Kanon girls deserve better. :)

    Yes, I suppose I’m one of those crazy Tsukimiya Ayu fanboys. :)

  5. The previous Kanon was a miserable and ugly sight. When Kyoto Animation made AIR it was something totally different, because it made justice to the original Key game. Now that this studio has picked Kanon, we finally may expect to hear the original title theme, Last Regrets, in anime too. That alone justifies the new Kanon. Not to mention the chinny character design at Toei!

  6. new (and possibly better) artwork is all well and good, but unless it’s being re-made as hentai, Kanon lives and dies by its plot. the tragic background of each of the girls is still fresh in my mind, so what would i be watching for? some new animation? the chance to see if it’s as bad as Traduce My Memories?

    if Visual Arts/Key need to sell more game units, couldn’t they at least finance an anime sequel or spinoff?

  7. As we are here then today to all this will be then the most of all then that would it be that it has the most of all this part that we are gather then that negima is the best ever of all this matter the then wil be the most of all that we are having the best of all this part of the animation cartoon series I wish then they will release then the movie or the’dd purchase the whole entire series then let me get going the seeee ya”

  8. @JER:… ever heard of a period or comma?

    @jason: while it is true that just remaking a series to change the art a bit, and maybe the music ( and according to some, possibly providing more story on other characters) is a bit unneeded unless the series is extremely old, I personally would enjoy such a remake, mainly because the Toei Kanon left such a large distaste for that type of art style…. I almost didn’t watch Air because it looked to be along the same lines (thankfully, the gray matter upstairs was bored and wanted something new)… They (meaning visual arts/key) are probably redoing it just to drive brand recognition, or to remind people that, yes, they do make other things beyond Air XD… oh well, we’ll see how Kyoto handles kanon, and if it was even worth reinvesting in the franchise later on this year (hopefully ;D)

  9. BTW… I was reading another blog over the sea… this time are going to be 24 episodes of Kanon.

    So… fastend your seatbells and ready to take off!

  10. Kyoto Animation is doing it? Wow, I might look forward to that, so far the stuff made by Kyoto Animation had been pretty solid: Full Metal Panic Fumoffu and Second Raid

  11. I, for one, will be watching for a better looking Akito. =] I think that’s about my only reason for watching this remake. Don’t let me down Kyoto~

  12. Aww…. Looks like they’re finally adding the Makoto X Yuuichi part! How cute! ^^ Of course, I always thought Yuuichi and Nayuki should ‘ve ended up together. Nayuki’s so kewt! ^_____________^

  13. Here’s what I think.

    Folks over at Key: Hey, Tomoyo After’s selling like hotcakes. How’s Little Busters? Uhhhhh……we haven’t thought of anything yet. Shit! What are we gonna do? (We shouldn’t have fired Suzumoto… Shutup! He was more interested in writing!) I know! Let’s remake Kanon! W00t! Yeah! (>o

  14. Key FTW. Rather than diss a remake on his purpose to grab more money and establish a new generation fanbase, why not view it as a good deed done for loyal fans? Of course, non-Key fans like you people won’t appreciate it. And don’t even think of exploiting Little Busters to prove your stand. Natsume Rin’s mine.

    However…. I’d have really preferred a CLANNAD anime to a Kanon remake. sigh…

  15. I must say that I am looking forward to this remake, and I just finished watching the 2002 version a couple of weeks ago. There’s lots of people who’ve never watched the original, and these are the people who’d really benefit from the remake. The 02 version was decent, but the art was not so good, and the individual girl’s stories were cut too short. A lot of the impact of the stories is taken away because they were so rushed.

    I wanted to have my friends watch Kanon, but I know they won’t go for the artwork. I almost didn’t watch it because the artwork was so weird. I can’t wait for the KyoAni version.

    And then they can do Clannad next… yeah!

  16. I wish they would do Planetarian…even as an OVA.

  17. honestly, im kinda glad theyre remaking the kanon series. for one thing the 13 episode ova left things hanging in many respects. for one the mai storyline. you get something of the fantasy feeling and the hint of it being shattered. but there are elements that were not included. like why yuichi wants to help so bad and what he really helped her to see (such as letting go of the past and linging more for the present). also, the makoto storyline was summed up in one episode and the explanations for everything was hurried. you didnt have that nostalagic feeling like the game did, nor did it have that sorrow you felt when makoto passed on in the game. but you know, i hope they do have that feeling. i noticed in one of the preview scenes, that it had makoto standing in a field with a wedding viel on (familiar from the game) so if nothing else, it tells me the story will be alot better than the original tale told and would help to have completion as well.

    thats my story and im stickin to it

  18. Personally, I am one of those people who is looking forward to the remake but has never seen the original. I got interested and was close to checking it out, but the artwork made me question it. When I saw that a remake was on it’s way, I decided to wait until then. After seeing Air quite recently, it has become one of my favorite anime series and got me interested in the other Key works. I am hoping that I will enjoy this remake just as much (if not more) as I had Air.

  19. I really enjoyed the original Kanon series. At first I didn’t know what to expect, but I was definitely hooked after a few episodes. It was good enough that I convinced my boyfriend to watch it and even he enjoyed it. I was really surprised to see a new series as well. I was rather hoping for some kind of a spinoff that took place before or after the original. I haven’t gotten around to watching the first episode yet, but it should be interesting. I like the way the animation looks now, but in some ways I think Yuuichi looks far too old now. I also really loved the older animation so it will be interesting to see how this series looks overall.

    keep the faith,

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