I want to state first that this is NOT sarcasm, I’m not joking, and I’m not exaggerating. It’s not because it has ‘lolbewbs’ and it’s not a way of being contrary. Kanokon is, honestly, not only one of my favorite, but one of the best anime so far this year, and easily one of the best ecchi shows of all time. It is purely coincidental that I am saying good things about a show many hate after a bad review of a show many love – I started them around the same time, I though it was weird, too.
When it comes to ecchi, I’ve seen my fair share, and I don’t care for them at all. A lot of people hate them because of the fanservice, but I have nothing against fanservice. I won’t lie – I watch a lot of hentai. The trouble with ecchi and harem shows is that they are almost always cheaply and poorly made, and always the same thing. Kanokon fully rectifies both of those problems and sure enough, it fucking works.
The place to start with ecchi is with the characters. Ecchi shows pretty much follow a simple formula – take a guy who is pure pussy-repellent, surround him by different moe cliches that are deeply in love with him for no immediately apparent reason, and then add in some kind of twist. I’d like to compare this strategy, if I may, to an episode of Edd Ed n’ Eddy. In one episode the Eds create a place that is essentially a shooting range to get your own raccoon. They talk in country accents and put up lots of pictures of forest creatures. At first everyone is excited, but Jimmy ruins it when he cries about animals having feelings. So the Eds redesign the place to be the same thing, only with Martians. The plan fails again, and they continue to try and change the theme until no one is interested anymore. Of course in real life, you probably get even more attention, and rather than customers, what never comes back is quality.
Kanokon is what would happen if instead of you trying to shoot whatever Raccoon substitute the Eds came up with, you were a raccoon yourself taking shots at humans. Rather than offensive and harmful, the game becomes a fun parody in which the raccoons get deserved revenge and you can shoot things with a sense of moral justice. In other words, its a genuine new take on the ecchi comedy thing, and in that regard it’s a barrel of fun.
As mentioned before, Kanokon has the opposite of the problems with ecchi shows, the first of which is cliche characters. I have nothing against moe, but it does get old after a while. For you rare few who are in the dark about moe, basically its when girls are vulnerable, weak, perhaps suffer some illness, or perhaps their personality lends them to helplessness. This is where the ‘appeal’ of tsundere come in – girls who are weak and in love on the inside, but put on a front of strength and pride. However Kanokon dodges the moe bullet by a mile with the leading female Chizuru. This girl is a fucking rapist. She isn’t shy at all – she’s brazen, outlandish, and constantly attempting to rape the main character boy. Sure, you could say it’s part of the fanservice that she will take her clothes off in front of large amounts of people, but come on man! Isn’t that awesome?! Best of all, she isn’t weak at all – she is incredibly strong-willed and strong hearted. It’s true that the is in love with Kouta and her life evolves around him, but she doesn’t have some flaw that he has to compensate for. It’s unconditional love! How sweet!
Beyond Chizuru, most of the cast is your average comedy troupe, but there’s nothing wrong with that at all. They are funny, they don’t feel unnecessary, they get enough screen time, and some are even interesting! If you’ve seen pictures of Kanokon, you know about the white haired loli Nozomu (who, I will get out of the way now, is possibly one of the hottest and best characters evar.) I was misled into thinkking that she was a third corner in a love triangle, but she isn’t – this is a pure romance between Kouta and Chizuru, Nozomu is just Chizuru’s hilarious foil and fellow rapist. Now of all times I should probably bring up that at times, the interplay between Chizuru and Nozomu as well as the interactions between chizuru and the class rep got a little stale, but at times they were fucking GOLDEN.
That’s the next part. We’ve got good, original characters, so we need to tackle the other problem with ecchi shows – being poorly made. There are a few things that I think constitute whether or not a show is made well – animation, art, dialog, and directing (or style might be a better word since the director isn’t always where all the credit goes) and once again, Kanokon does a great job across the board. Art-wise, the character designs are….. arousing, and the backgrounds are highly detailed and vibrantly colored. There are some really cool special effects and fight scenes that just add that necessary touch. Sure you could have a show where jokes are told standing relatively still, or where there are only some short, cheesy fights for the hell of it, but you could also have a show whee the characters are always moving and the fights are flashy and awesome. I’ll take choice two. But the biggest thing I was fangirling over was the directing, and I was simultaneously disappointed and impressed that this is the guy’s first directing job. There were no shortage of great or memorable shots and ‘yes’ moments.
As far as writing goes, this definitely takes the cake for ecchi comedies. While the situations and dialog are familiar to everyone who’s seen any ecchi comedy, they’ve got that unique twist and at times even seems to be a deliberate parody of other ecchi comedies. I actually cracked up laughing out loud a number of times during the show, and even when I didn’t I appreciated the impeccable comedic timing the show had. The absolute funniest episode had to be when, after having smothered Kouta with her breasts all day, Chizuru is given a poison which makes her breasts disappear. We’ve already caught on to the fact that Kouta acts like he doesn’t like being near-raped constantly, but really loves it, and when it comes to the moment where they seem to be about to fuck, he always says ‘grandpa, I’m going to become a man’, but he is never outright about it. However when Chizuru looses her breasts he gets completely devastated and even admits to being in a world of despair. The best part is how when Chizuru had breasts he was always embarrassed about her even being in her bra and would come near the breasts willingly, but when they disappear he doesn’t even flinch staring at her flat chest.
Aside from all that, though, we haven’t gotten to what really made me like this show. The biggest thing I’ve always had against anime romance, whether ecchi, harem, visual novel, or otherwise, is their nature in constantly being traditional. The guys and girls always treat sex and love as some HUGE deal and usually are lucky to kiss more than once or twice in the whole show. The only time I’ve seen a show tackle this issue (besides the non-shounen stuff like Nana) is in ef, wherein one of the characters is obsessed with the conventional romantic ideals only for her foothold of ignorance to be dissolved from under her. Kanokon is the opposite of tradition – Kouta and Chizuru make out quite a few times as both for comedic value and at other times, in genuine romantic interest. Even though the show sometimes plays off Chizuru’s rape as flippant fanservice, you can really see how much Chizuru and Kouta care about each other, especially when their LOVE CONQUERS ALL and when they actually, you know, hook up. They are a REAL COUPLE.
I can’t wrap this up yet though, because I haven’t gotten to the single moment that, depending on how awesome the DVD specials turn out to be, may push Kanokon onto my ever-lengthening favorites list. It is, indeed, a CROWNING MOMENT OF AWESOME. This moment actually comes in the form of the very last scene, after the credits have rolled (so, spoilers.) Kouta has admitted his love for Chizuru and they are finally about to have concensual sex, when nozomu shows up, repeating what she’d said before that while she acknowledged them as a couple, she won’t simply leave the picture. Chizuru says something like ‘don’t ruin my moment as Kouta’s newleywed wife!’ and then it happens.
THE GREATEST DIALOG EXCHANGE IN ROMANCE ANIME HISTORY:
Nozomu: “Well if you’re Kouta’s wife, then I am his mistress!”
Chizuru: “I see… well I guess that’s fine.”
Chizuru: “yeah. Lets just enjoy ourselves, why not?”
THERE IS A GOD!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!! If you don’t understand, don’t trouble me to explain. I am fully aware that this is purely a ‘me’ thing, but oh my god is it fucking glorious.