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Manga / Kanon (Chiho Saito)

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Thank goodness she has the violin, everything else in her life is a mess.

Shoujo mangaka Chiho Saito is best known as the creator of the manga versions of Revolutionary Girl Utena. This series, Kanon (花音 in Japanese), is her next best known work, having won the 42nd Shogakukan Manga Award for shoujo in 1997; in fact, it's part of what influenced Utena director Kunihiko Ikuhara to invite Saito-sensei to join Be-PaPas. It predates and foreshadows many of the themes and trends in Utena, sometimes to the point where one wonders if certain ideas and scenes from Kanon were simply recycled in order to make whole segments of the famous shoujo mindscrew.

Kanon Hayashi is an 18-year-old Japanese girl with a wild, freedom-loving spirit, who has an amazing talent for playing the violin. She lives in Mongolia with her mother. The two have lived there, a simple life among shepherds, for as long as Kanon can remember.

Kanon's mother dies from serious injuries, but leaves her the knowledge that her Japanese father is alive and is a famous musician. (She's unable to reveal his name, unfortunately.) Along with Tendou Kawahara, a young composer who had been visiting Mongolia for inspiration, Kanon travels to Tokyo in search of her mysterious father. She meets by chance Gen Mikami, genius composer and director of a boarding music school, who is impressed by Kanon's gift for music. He decides to help her find her father and teaches her violin to bring her talent out. Kanon eventually falls in love with handsome 30-something Mikami, and he returns her feelings. They start a torrid romantic/sexual affair...

... and then, in a twist that shows well Saito's love for breaking taboos, they find that Mikami is actually Kanon's father.

Kanon was serialised in Shogakukan's "Petit Comic" magazine from 1995 to 1997, and was collected into six paper volumes for its initial release and three volumes for its later bunko rerelease. The series was translated and published with great success in several countries, including Italy, France and Spain, but has never had an official English-language release.

Absolutely not to be confused with the other well-known Kanon (カノン in Japanese), a seinen Visual Novel and anime.

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Alternative Title(s): Kanon By Chiho Saito