Is KeyAni a bad thing?


A friend of mine pointed me to this article by jaalin of the Random Curiousity blog and it sparked a lively sparring between me and him lasting almost 3 hours. Here’s a little of my own thoughts.

I think it’s a total waste of ability and resources. A studio of KyoAni’s caliber shouldn’t be doing harem shows, which have traditionally just been there for the sake of showing off some more girls in maid outfits or nekomimi or some other ridiculous stuff like that.Not that I don’t appreciate it – it’s just something I feel is better left to the “lesser” studios and not the oharuhiliness that is Kyoto Animation.

Sadly, harem shows have sunk to such a level where harem is equated directly as fanservice. Of course 95% of most harem shows that have been produced are very much fanservice shows and are as she says, “quite ridiculous”. However, is it really true it’s a waste of resources and ability? What I truly think is that Kyoto Animation is trying to breathe life back in to the romance genre, after years of ridiculous fanservice shows that build upon the initial sexual nature of the origin material, totally ignoring the story of the original material. Kanon was never about the sex strictly, there was also a story to be followed and many characters to emphatise with. Besides, “harem” is a very big misnomer on it’s own, as the games just provide multiple choices, not all the choices.

If my understanding is correct, the main reason they picked up Kanon was because of the success of their initial venture into the visual novel genre, AIR.

Of course KyoAni’s venture in to AIR did in part made them take up Kanon, but in the end, they remade Kanon due to fan effort rather than picking on the success off AIR. Everybody who has even a little bit of understanding of the visual novel scene knows that Kanon 2002 did not give true justice to the awesomeness that is the Kanon VN and in fact, it would probably be more of a commercial venture by Toei to make more money off the popularity of Kanon than to truly tell the story of Kanon, while KyoAni is doing directly the opposite, by truly animating Kanon with a full storyline that encompasses the essence of the VN.

The way I see it, it’s like if Studio Ghibli decided they would make more money doing hentai. What if Totoro’s fat tail was on the front side of his body? What if Kiki used her broom for more than just transportation? What if “Laputa” actually meant “La Puta”? Could Ghibli have done it? Sure. But did they go ahead with cheap flattery and quick indulgences to make a quick yen? No way – they took their time to craft masterpiece after masterpiece that audiences around the world have held in the highest regard.In that same way, I’ve always hoped that KyoAni would start picking up material of a higher “moral standard”.

If KyoAni started to animate shows like Ghost in the Shell or Laputa, they won’t be wasting their “time and abilities”? What do you define “higher moral standard” as anyways? There isn’t much of an original moral standard to look upon anyways. Besides KyoAni did take their time with Kanon and even gave it a full 24 episode run, even if it was a remake. I would call that “taking their time to craft a masterpiece”.

So, is KeyAni a bad thing? I don’t really think so. Just like how Sunrise is associated with mecha and Gainax is associated with weirdness, Kyoto Animation’s association with “harem anime” (a misnomer by itself) will be here to stay. At least they’re pulling it off much, much more better than the rest. If Kanon 2006 is a waste of “resources and abilities”, then I’ll say we better not watch anime at all in the first place.


  1. jaalin Said,

    March 25, 2007 @ 6:28 am

    lolikit’s really at my jugular for this one, lol

    As with most of my posts, they’re meant to be taken as a whole package – breaking it down into specific parts isn’t the way I intended it to be read. The piece was written to show my initial bias with the genre, then eventually applying a rational analysis at the end to elucidate the “paradigm shift” that KeyAni has brought about. It’s like you said – KyoAni is breathing life back into the genre, making it less about the fanservice and cheap indulgences (the “lower morality) and focusing more on the depth of the relationships. The way I see it, studios have just settled into the fanservice formula for these shows because it’s guaranteed money, to the point where the plot takes a back seat to a snazzy new character design – Kanon 2006 sets a new standard by reminding everyone that a truly worthy show is propelled by its plot and its relationships, not by whether she’s wearing white or striped or kuma-san pantsu. As I like to put it, there’s just no integrity, no “moral standard” in doing that – is the show so boring that fanservice has to be used to keep audiences interested? (Shuffle and Da Capo being two of the biggest sinners here)

    For this reason I chose to use the word “chaser” at the end – the sweet, fruity juice to wash down the burning hard vodka to make the whole drink enjoyable, rather than leave a bad taste in your mouth.

    Keep in mind, my opinion is just that – my opinion – it’s not there to offend anyone or to rub anyone the wrong way, only there to provide my own unique angle of approach to evaluate what will surely be one of the most memorable and influential anime of our generation.


  2. sagematt Said,

    March 25, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

    He talks as if fanservice is a sin. He believes morals should take an integral part on each animated show.

    Sure, that’s only on your own utopic world. In this one, whatever makes the most profit, is the winning formula. Fanservice is proving to be a winning formula for most animation studios. Would that formula change in a near future? Maybe, and if it does, I’m all for it. It’s not like fanservice is a panacea, and this has been proven by myriads of god-awful fanservice-filled shows.

    A paradigm shift? Yes, it will happen. We are actually experiencing that process. But KyoAni is just joining the best of two worlds. The fanservice is still an integral part of it. And also, the perfect hook.

    Best regards.

    *quickly wears his asbestos suit*

    ps. Also, source material also plays an integral part. At first, we always got manga-anime conversions (and book-anime conversions too, but I won’t get started on that). Then, eroge-anime conversions came along. Now, non-ero visual novel to anime conversions are already happening, along with lots of ero and non ero novels to anime. So, we’ve got lots of diversity, now it’s only a matter of choosing our favorite poison.

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