Fanservice in anime is, in many cases, divorced from actual sex–actual foreplay, actual intent to copulate, have intercourse, do the nasty, get to home plate. Shower scenes, wind on short skirts, awkward positions that happen post-stumble-and-fall: they are almost always presented as accidents.
Well, not in Kanokon. That uniqueness, of course, doesn’t save it from being utter crap.
I don’t think I need to rehearse the usual reasons why most ecchi romance comedies and harem shows are not worthwhile stories. Kanokon exhibits the usual traits: a girl with inexplicable attraction to the protagonist, who is a wimp–doubly reinforced here by his appearing to be five or six years below his stated age.* This is, as Fig. 1 demonstrates, Unrealistic Fetish #1. Shouta-cons are generally rare in real life. A lot of them end up in jail, after all.
One of the few sparks of life in this show is that there is a dim realization of the pervyness of the situation. Our protagonist Kouta is even, half-jokingly, called a pimp, a Love Master! What most of the characters don’t know, of course, is that big-boobed girl is not, in fact, human, but instead has that long furry tail, giving rise to Fetish #2: Furries.
For this appear so soon after the comparatively mild Spice and Wolf makes for an interesting contrast. Look at the way nudity or near-nudity is presented in the two shows below in Fig. 3: Nudity Isn’t Always Fanservice:
This shows that fanservice is much more of an attitude than a depiction; it’s not the what, it’s the how. The dialogue, the camera angle in Kanokon 1 is, as one blogger noted, on just this side of porn. I suppose part of the appeal that we are supposed to feel is contained in the fact that she combines several fetishes into one convenient package (FIg. 4):
The punch, of course, is that she is available and willing and initiates actual sex. The fantasy is complete–in episode 1, no less. In that way, by the standards of usual anime ecchi romance, it fails–much of the pleasure of these shows is the teasing, the flirting, that fanservice crudely simulates. (Except, perhaps, that the actual sex scene is shown offcamera at the very end. But otherwise they get straight to the point.) Were this a better show, I’d speculate that maybe they’re trying to get it out of the way to move on to other things, but I have no such confidence for this one. Undoubtedly, rivals will appear–we already see potential ones in the schoolmarmish class president and perhaps the twin girls whose lunches were ruined by the former’s antics. They, too, will probably attempt to actually bed our prepubescent-looking hero who, in an odd reversal of type and ordinary reality, seems to consider sex an emasculating experience. (OK, I suppose some people might find that amusing, though in this case, there doesn’t appear to be much to emasculate anyway.)
This concludes my unbiased and scientific analysis of Kanokon episode 1. Am I going to be watching this show any further. No. This is just one of those times when the review was more pleasurable to write than watching the show. Writing negative reviews is more fun, after all. (However, if you want some extended thoughts on what I think fanservice and sex in anime is all about, see my extremely verbose article on anime sexuality and gender for the Anime Blogging Collective.)