In 2004, TBS’s producer Nakayama decided to create an adaptation of a popular visual novel to run on TBS’s broadcast satellite channel BS-i. He chose to collaborate with Pony Canyon, Movic, and a studio which had aired its first TV animation production the year prior, Kyoto Animation. That adaptation was very popular and as such Nakayama went back to a Key visual novel for another adaptation, which ran from October 2006 to March 2007. As with most TV series in 2007, it was only released on DVD at the time, despite airing in HD. In late 2009, TBS and Pony Canyon released the highly anticipated Blu-ray Box set. This is a review of that Blu-ray Box for the series Kanon. (Box images courtesy of TMSIDR)
I’ve recently commented on the series itself, so I’ll link that post here for my thoughts on the series and devote this to a review of the Blu-ray Box itself. Kanon was another of TBS’s first Blu-ray releases, and so they chose to package it in a 5 disc stack case on a newly illustrated digipak inserted into a carrier box. With Kanon obviously focusing on snow and summer, the producers went with a yellow days theme for the outer case and the main heroine Ayuu in snow for the newly drawn illustration from anime character designer Kazumi Ikeda on the digipak. The inside has new illustrations for each of the 5 main heroines on the discs and digipak. The cases holding the disc are sized to the digipak and feel studier than the one for AIR. There’s not much creaking with opening the case, but I can predict it’ll get as bad as AIR‘s was pending proper storage.
There are 5 discs for this box with discs 1-4 containing 5 episodes each while disc 5 has 4 and the bonus features. TBS also included a bonus booklet listing the staff for each episode from the translations from ADV.
The image quality is one of the first things that would be noticed. Compared to the prior DVD releases, Kanon finally looks “right” with this BD set. The colors give proper saturation and the effects aren’t blurry anymore. Evidently the masters looked good as well as I hardly noticed any banding outside of a couple of scenes. It’s evident this series was made in 720 as the line art is blurred, but it still looks worlds better than any upscaled production around this time. Filters look properly applied for snowy/flashback scenes and the snow effects look good for the time. The 3D CG can stand out in some scenes, but it’s not terrible.
TBS hired staff to re-master the audio into 5.1 surround sound, which was provided in both lossless Linear PCM and DTS-HD 5.1 as well as Linear PCM stereo. It’s not used to huge effect, though the opening and ending sound nice.
The final disc contains three bonus features. The first is an illustration gallery of promotional art in magazines and key visuals for the show. Unlike the galleries on AIR, illustrations for the DVD covers and disc art were included, likely due to the time between releases. The second bonus feature are the textless opening and ending animations for the show. Finally, the promotional videos used for event promotions/store promotions were included as well. The audio commentary tracks, “making of” clips, and the staff interview are not kept from the DVDs. It’s quite bare. Japanese and English subtitles are provided for everything though. TBS used the subtitles ADV created for their releases in 2008.
And so that is the Kanon BD-Box. It’s evidence of the progress made between 2006 and 2009 in video encoding and the progress between April and October for animation production at Kyoto Animation. The show itself is didn’t entertain me, but I enjoy the technical aspects of the production. TBS’s Key policy of not including extras really bugs me as I’d love to have seen the “making of” clips in the resolution they were shot in to document how things were made in 2006. If you enjoy the series, it’s worth picking up a used copy for ~$125 USD at the current exchange rate since it’s unlikely to see a BD release internationally in English.