What They Say:
Kouta, a country boy who lives with his grandfather, is moving to the city to attend high school. Changes come with his new home and new school, but nothing could have prepared the gentle young man for girls, specifically a bombshell fox spirit named Chizuru! As if her aggressive advances weren’t enough, he also catches the attention of a frosty wolf spirit named Nozomu.
Kouta is dragged into supernatural events as a result of his contact with the two girls, and his school life only gets more chaotic by the day. But with a girl who gives “foxy” new meaning and another howling after him, things are looking up for his love life.
Kanokon gets a decent bilingual release as we get a pair of stereo tracks encoded at 192kbps. The show is all about the dialogue and wacky sound effects that come in during the goofy moments so it has a rather predictable but serviceable mix where there are some moments of directionality and even a bit of depth but it’s mostly a center channel affair. The dialogue comes across well in both tracks and the silliness is captured nicely which leads it to being a fun presentation overall, but not one that dominates what the show is trying to convey. We listened to it in its entirety in Japanese and spot checked in English and had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show was originally meant to be single disc releases, though only the first was released, and this collection uses those discs so we get twelve episodes spread across three discs with four episodes per disc. The show has a fairly standard design to it since it’s a traditional high school romantic comedy with lots of smuttiness so there are the typical colors, uniforms and a good bit of detail associated with them. The transfer captures this nicely as the show moves between some soft scenes here and there to the clearer ones which are a bit more striking at times, particularly when we see some sunset scenes from both the inside and outside. There’s some line noise to be had during panning motions, though those are fairly few overall compared to some other shows, and cross coloration is blissfully absent. Colors generally look quite good with a bit of natural noise to them and flesh tones in particular are given a bit more attention overall.
This complete collection has the three discs inside a single sized keepcase with a hinge inside to hold them all securely. The front cover lets you know what to expect pretty easily as it has Kota inbetween Chizuru and Nozomu with his face put right into Chizuru’s breasts while her knee goes exploring a little further. It doesn’t hurt that Nozomu is all over him either so you know it’s going to be a dirty series. The back cover uses the same reds that dominates the background on the front and it lets us see Chizuru in her transformed mode with a lot of skin showing as well as a nice selection of shots from the show done up as photographs spread across it. The summary is pretty minimal for a complete collection, but the series is rather basic with what it’s about so it kind of fits. The discs features are clearly listed and the production credits are rather minimal overall but are clearly presented, if a touch hard to read since they’re so small. The technical grid covers everything without issue and is easy to read. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for this release are good in their overall design but are some of the more sluggish ones I’ve seen in awhile, something that feels like it’s becoming a bit more common with Media Blasters releases. The main menu uses the character artwork from the cover with the same kind of color scheme to it for the background so it has a bit of a softy wispy feeling to it that plays up the sensuality of the characters. The navigation is straightforward though there’s a lot here because the extras are listed on the top menu instead of a separate submenu, which is fine since there’s not all that much to it. The languages default to English with sign/song subtitles instead of reading the player’s presets and there’s a sluggish feeling in getting the cursor back once you make a selection.
There aren’t too many extras included in this release but we do get the standards with the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences on the first disc. The other two discs have some brief shorts that are all about the fanservice as they focus on a particular character for a couple of minutes with a lot of lingering shots.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novels and manga of the same name, Kanokon is a twelve episode series that revolves around standard high school hijinks but with a smutty fox and a wanton wolf in the midst. Because of its sexual nature, the show got a lot of notice during its initial run, both positive and negative, since shows that try to push boundaries even a little tend to go that way. With the first four episodes, we get the basic setup of the series with a bit of flashing back in order to get things rolling for the general hilarity and sexuality.
The series revolves around high school freshman Kota who has arrived from the countryside and now goes to school in the big city. He’s a diminutive sort that you imagine is easily picked on but he ends up having something very strange happen; he becomes the object of affection of a very busty young woman named Chizuru who is in the same grade as him. Chizuru is very open about her affection for him and flaunts it publicly, much to the chagrin of the class president and others who constantly rail against her for the way she acts. Kota isn’t sure about it all and it embarrasses him greatly but he’s weak against her charms and general physical outgoing nature.
Where things go in an unusual direction is when Chizuru squirrels him away to a quiet room at the school and decides that she can’t wait any longer and intends to take him. The kisses end up causing quite a problem though as the intensity of it all causes Chizuru to lose control of herself which reveals that she’s actually a fox yokai, a blonde one instead of a brunette with large ears and a very bushy tail. This reveal breaks the rules as it turns out there are others like Chizuru in the school, such as her brother and some of the faculty, and the whole thing causes Kota to become much more involved in Chizuru’s world because of it. The kiss and intimacy has sealed quite a bond between the two
While there is much hilarity to be had between the two with the way they act, and the way others cope with them, a little extra fun is brought in as well. Riding in on the back of a motorcycle is another high school student named Nozomu who finds herself in town and going about in a rather blissfully ignorant way. So much so that she eats a ton of food without having any money. Luckily for her, Kota comes across her and helps her out, though the twist is that he recognizes here as a yokai like Chizuru which speaks to him being a little something more than your average high school student. Nozomu, quiet and flat as a washing board, decides that she’s going to pursue him and make him hers, which of course runs up against Chizuru in a quick and ugly fashion. And funny.
The introduction of Nozomu certainly adds more competition to things and it raises Kota’s status as a real eros king to some of the others now that he has two very attractive classmates pursuing him like crazy. Much of the show revolves around all kinds of sexuality comedy routines since there’s a lot of tension and outward displays of affection. One episode involves a huge amount of time where Chizuru comes across a bunny suit in a storage closet and decides to wear it so she can be extra flirty with Kota. It turns out that the suit is actually cursed though as it starts sucking out her life, but it also causes everyone she comes near to have their clothes changed to various kinds of cosplay outfits. It’s certainly cute and they get away with a bit of cross gender play as well.
With this basic setup, Kanokon puts the primary characters through the usual series of hurdles as Chizuru and Kota slowly do get closer together, but not without Nozomu interfering plenty out of her own designs and their friends in general that add their own elements to it. The series works through expected plot points, like a beach episode that is very high on the skin and silliness, but it also has the testing aspect as well as a ninja type young woman arrives to see if Kota is truly worthy of Chizuru. There’s even a segment where twin female ninjas the same age as them are sent to take out Chizuru so that the person who contracted them can get Kota to themselves. The twins are actually pretty amusing as they’re decent ninjas, but they’re more focused on how amazing the world is that they’ve been kept away from as they only eat crusts of bread and little more. The real world is very different and they end up getting befriended by everyone which makes them a pleasant if mild addition to the cast with some cute moments.
Much of the show revolves around the competition between the two girls, though Nozomu at least approaches it with a bit of quiet. She’s not as out there as Chizuru is and that adds to her appeal since Chizuru really insults her over the top at times. And that angle works pretty well as both characters have a lot of appeal with their visual designs, though Chizuru is just a touch too busty. Her blonde form doesn’t get used all that much, which I think is a plus, as she looks better in her disguise. Kota is your typical milksop for a lot of it but there are some moments that really mark a change in approach. In one instance, Kota gets forceful with Chizuru when she does something untoward and he yells her her a bit. When they’re alone later, she insists that he spanks her for a punishment. It turns incredibly dirty very quickly as she does it with her panties down and she really gets into it. Kota knows he’s been tricked, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t enjoy it a whole lot too. And that kind of edge to the show moves it along nicely as it goes and gives it a much different feel at times.
Kanokon as a whole essentially carries through with what the first few episodes set up and doesn’t deviate all that much. It wanders about with the stories in that it’s not really trying to get anywhere, but there are some challenging moments for the cast as Chizuru and Kota get closer, but Chizuru deals with issues that tests Kota at times, such as when she suddenly becomes flat chested. There’s the obvious end storyline that ramps things up a bit more, but even that didn’t feel like it was really going in a terrible direction that the rest of the series didn’t. Chizuru and Nozomu go at it from start to finish and it has its moments. But what it does do that stands out is the sexuality of it all which will certainly bother some. It’s surprisingly well animated at times with it, especially the outfit designs, and that adds a real flavor of sensuality about it. Kanokon isn’t a deep title, but it’s one I had a lot of fun watching because it knows it’s not meant to be taken seriously. And it goes further in a lot of ways with its sexuality yet doesn’t feel completely over the top. But my standards probably aren’t the norm after watching these kinds of shows for twenty years…
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Media Blasters
Running Time: 300
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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