Welcome to the final #AniTwitWatches Kanon (2006) post! Today I’ll be covering the last four episodes of the series. This is going to be a little different than the previous mutterings as I’ve gone ahead and watched segments twenty-one through twenty-four and shall be talking about them collectively today, along with my overall feelings about the series as a whole.
To catch my previous episodic mutterings for this segment, check out the bottom of the post where I have all those posts linked up.
In episodes twenty-one and twenty-two, Yūichi tries to deal with the disappearance of Ayu hoping that she’ll return to him. His cousin, Nayuki does the best she can in trying to cheer him up, however, when her mum gets into a terrible accident, Nayuki falls into a deep pit of depression and hopelessness. She starts fearing the concept of losing her loved ones and works to alienate Yūichi as a way of protecting herself and him. One evening after trying to cajole Nayuki, Yūichi dreams about Ayu from several years ago, learning about her past. A snowstorm begins, he leaves in the storm and collapses and sees Makoto before he passes out.
Watching these segments was challenging for me because I love Nayuki’s mum, Akiko. I think she’s such a darling and kind-hearted woman. So, the risk of her dying made me supremely angry and frustrated. I ended up having to Google her fate before I decided to see the last two segments because I wanted to brace myself for the worst if she were to die. Because I feel so strongly for this mother figure, Nayuki’s strong emotional turmoil of impending grief and stress hit me really fucking hard. Plus, my mum almost died in December, so combining all these things together messed up my mental state.
Aside from what was happening with Akiko, I also felt incredibly bad for Yūichi. You can see the instability that all of the losses he’s faced with the girls making their impact on him and then something of this calibre happens, shifting his thoughts and priorities drastically. In some ways, I appreciated that he had an entirely different crisis to think about, it kept him distracted and forced him to care for others, which is something he’s grown into doing quite well. Yet, on the other hand, I felt bad that he hadn’t had a proper chance to let everything sink in.
The overarching theme of appreciating what you have while you have it becomes strongly apparent in these segments. Because Yūichi experiences so much loss and various forms of abandonment, it prevents him from really appreciating his cousin and his aunt the way he should’ve. With the ladies, he doesn’t truly realise what they mean to him on an intimate level (romantic and platonic) until he was confronted the reality of their absence from his life. Every realisation of loss stems from a “too late to make a difference” scenario. It’s a humongously strong theme that, while frustrating at times, I felt was done well in the grand scheme.
Episode twenty-three shows us a sort of reunion between Yūichi and Ayu, where she wishes he could forget her, which he obviously turns down. They end up spending some time together before she disappears again. Nayuki also finally withdraws from her depression and tries to help comfort her cousin so that he may also find his way out of his own bout of sombreness.
This truly felt like an anime finale with a few loose ends. I’m curious as to why Ayu is the one that appears to Yūichi rather than one of the girls who had a mysterious sort of end to their arc, but really these ponderings are pretty minor overall. I mean, Ayu and Yūichi do have the best chemistry and her story was far more unfulfilled when she disappeared than the others. Still… just things I can’t help wondering here and there.
Even though there as been so much loss, the fact that Yūichi still has the comfort and companionship of his cousin, Nayuki, made the ending have that bittersweet vibe that I was hoping for. I’m sad for the young dude for the fact that every girl he loved or cared deeply for ended up leaving in their own ways. It’s like the anime was pushing for Nayuki to be his finale babe, but their severe lack of chemistry and awkward exchanges (mostly due to his annoyance with her more often than not) would’ve made that coupling a horrible, atrocious way to call it quits. Either way, I would’ve been mostly happy with this being the end. Then we get episode twenty-four…
A huge ass miracle of sorts happens, and everyone is reunited and back together. Akiko comes home from the hospital (thank the fucking Lords for that one); Mai, Sayuri, and Shiori are all back at school again; Yūichi learns that Ayu hasn’t disappeared but has been in a coma in the hospital for an extended period of time. He hopes that she’ll eventually wake up. By the last couple minutes, we even see a small silhouette of a fox, indicating Makoto is also still around.
It was great to see Akiko returning home and the ladies back at school, however, the ambiguity of Ayu’s disappearance felt pretty compelling to me. The revelation about her comatose situation came off as terribly convenient and, while I’m happy that it can give Yūichi some semblance of closure, I wish that were one thread that remained dangling. I liked not knowing what happened. That air of mystery was neat. The same thing crossed my mind with the flash of the fox too. Not having the fox show up would’ve faired far better from a storytelling perspective, otherwise everything is way too happy and cheery after extensive emotional trauma (yes, even though Ayu is in a coma, I still consider it cheery because that hope of her waking up is a big thing in the wake of all the shit Yūichi experiences). It makes all those hot mess of emotions feel like a tiny bit of a waste, and defeats the point of the lesson to cherish what is most precious to us in the moment while we have them.
Overall, Kanon wasn’t a bad anime experience. I liked a lot of aspects of it, but there’s also a neat stack of the things I didn’t care for. Given that I’ve had a very tough December (when I started watching this), it could be that picking up a show of this calibre may have been a gigantic mistake on my part. I was craving feel-good, fluffy, pick-me-uppers (like the Bounty paper towels!), and this is decidedly not that… by far. Even so, I am happy that I watched it as I doubt I would’ve without the nudging of the #AniTwitWatches community. At the very least, it gave me food for thought with regard to individuals in my own life and the ways that I can improve my gratitude for their presences around me.
I would recommend Kanon to anyone who enjoys anime adaptations of romance visual novels, people looking for snowy and wintery settings in anime, and folx that were fans of Clannad, as the ambiance is quite similar here. Kanon is streaming over on Funimation in both subbed and dubbed editions.