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.