Sunday, June 23, 2013

DaWaRou Posts: Kanokon Omnibus, volumes 1-2

School is OUT! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Time for me to kick back and enjoy my summer vacation! But it wouldn't be summer without some heat, would it? And here I am bringing you a review of a very steamy series and I can't believe I'm talking like this. Oh well, might as well roll with it. Ladies and gentlemen, this is my 21st post for...The Broken Infinite.

Today we talk about an utterly generic series. It does nothing new for it's genre, has no stunning innovations or brilliant plot twists. It's just generic. Pure and bland normality right here that, if nothing else, will give more inexperienced male viewers a boner at some point during the whole thing and make more...experienced viewers groan.
Today we look at a relative of Rosario+Vampire called Kanokon. Originally a Light Novel, the series was later adapted into a manga series and, of course, an anime. The series title is actually an abbreviation of  Kanojo wa Kon, to Kawaiku Seki o Shite  which means something along the lines of "She gave a cute little "yip"" or some shit like that. Nevertheless, let's get into Kanokon.

The plot is this: Country boy Kouta Oyamada has just moved into the big city all by himself and this means starting a brand new school. Everything's going good for him until he's handed a love letter from the beautiful Chizuru Minamoto a second year student who's taken a strange interest in him. He meets her after school in the music room and she proceeds to try and rape him when she looses control of herself and inadvertantly reveals that she's a Yokai, more specifically a 400 year old Kitsune (Fox Spirit). As the series stands, where I'm at (since I'll be blogging about future volumes as they hit my local bookstore) Chizuru is not the only Yokai  at this school by a long shot. There's her "brother" Tayura and a few others who attend the school in a way similar to attending Juvenile Hall. See, their school is for Yokai who have a hard time fitting in in mortal society and have caused too much trouble. Not enough trouble for Yokai Prison, but enough to have the higher ups looking at them with raised eyebrows. The series so far follows the unusually fast paced love between Kouta and Chizuru.

So, skipping how the series looks, let's just get into my thoughts on it and why I find this to be so completely unremarkable. My initial thoughts upon picking this up was "Oh shit, it's gonna be another fanservice manga...isn't it?" And I was right. There's a lot of fanservice in this manga and obviously most of it comes from Chizuru. Is it at least...justified fanservice? In a way. Barring the panty shots which have no real reason to exist in any form of media that isn't porn, Chizuru as a Kitsune has the ability to possess people and this ties into traditional Kitsune lore in Japan very nicely as they were known for possessing people. In Kanokon Chizuru only possess Kouta because he's a human who's opened his heart to her and when she enter's his body, she leaves her clothes behind. It's a clever twist, I must admit, in my personal opinion but the novelty wears off rather quickly as I remember seeing nearly the exact same thing used in Shaman King where it made more sense. The characters are barely interesting being typical anime/manga cliches thrown into an inverse Rosario+Vampire setting and left to play around with one each other. Their reactions are all utterly predictable and you can almost see everything coming before it happens. 

As it stands though, at least for now, Kanokon is not a harem or a love triangle series, though considering what I've read about the series that novelty will also wear off very soon. I really don't know what it is with Japan and their repeated use of Harems and Love Triangles, especially in Shonen series. I'd think that it'd be more interesting to see this kind of thing in a Shojo series where its' supposed to be about the emotional melodrama anyways but here where the primary focus is supposed to be action, I find it kind of wasted. The only shonen series that had action and a decent Harem edge to it, in my opinion, was Ranma 1/2 namely because of the interactions between the characters and the fact that Ranma, for the most part, wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of the girls in his harem and found himself around Akane due to his living situation so of course he falls in love with her.  Here in Kanokon, I really don't see much of a use for a love triangle, much less a Harem and I'd more like to see how the relationship between Kouta and Chizuru pans out in a more serious fashion and also learn what the various Yokai at the school have done to be put there, especially Chizuru but I'll assume she tried to rape someone and leave it at that since I doubt that the series will answer any questions I have.

On a note of interest though, I am fascinated at the possession aspect of the series. Why is it so easy for Kouta to open his heart to Chizuru? Why do they fall in love with each other so quickly despite barely knowing anything about each other? Why can they form such large Foxfire blasts when they're in sync? I'll be the first to assume that it's because Kouta was already attracted to Chizuru in the first place that contributes to him being so willing to open his heart to her. That's something that Kanokon actually has in common with reality. The more attracted we are to someone, the easier it it for us to open up to them...I think. I'll also go ahead and assume that because Kouta is, presumably, the very first Human that's accepted Chizuru for what she is wholeheartedly, that's what helped to spark the romantic feelings they share for each other. Then again, Chizuru was innitially attracted to Kouta due to him smelling like the countryside and that's what made her go crazy over him in the first place so I'm willing to bet that him accepting her so easily has helped to fuel her to speak. But why does Kouta love Chizuru so? He comes out and confesses his love for her at the end of the first omnibus which, by that point, is the end of volume 2 of the manga but what incentive doe he have to even begin to feel so strongly for her? Could it be because she's simply the first girl to show any romantic feelings for him?

Now, this series is generic in everything it does. From it's setup to it's premise the series just screams "WE COULD BE DOING MUCH BETTER AND SO COULD YOU AS A VIEWER!" The main male character? The same as any other harem lead, minus his ability to make decisions. The main female? A flirty sex driven cookie cutter slut character who actually means well. The supporting cast? All average in every way. The story? It has points of interest but overall it's basically Rosario+Vampire with Japanese Yokai as opposed to mostly Western Monsters. The art? Meh, I've seen better but I don't have a problem with it.

Despite all this though, I FUCKING love Kanokon so far. I love Kitsune in anime and manga and I love foxes in general since they're my favorite animal. I like that there's something of an air of mystery that surrounds Kouta and Chizuru's relationship and I like the fact that this series reminds me quite a bit of two other favorite manga of mine, Inukami and Rosario+Vampire. Does the series being unambitious and generic make it a "bad" thing? Not necessarily in my opinion. It certainly knows what the hell it is and what it wants to get across and it does that perfectly. The action scenes...are pretty good to be honest. Chizuru is wonderfully badass when she needs to be and I do like that in female characters. I like how the couple jumps immediately to straight up sex, well maybe I'm using the word "couple" loosely here since Chizuru is the one most eager to get into Kouta's pants. I like the crazy "Yokai Reform School" the series is trying to implement and I hope that the series will explore that more in future volumes. I think I've talked enough about this thing as I need to. I'll see y'all next week with a review of Saikano. DaWaRou~!

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