SciFi Japan

    DAIMAJIN KANON: The Complete Series Guide

    An Exclusive Look at the 2010 Series with Photos and Details from Kadokawa Authors: Keith Aiken, Elizabeth Ellis and Alicia Ashby Source: Kadokawa Pictures Translations and Additional Materials: Elizabeth Ellis and Alicia Ashby Official Site: Special Thanks to Naoko Sato, Asako Suzuki and Chiyako Tasai


    SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details for a recent Japanese television series not yet available in English speaking countries.

    DAIMAJIN KANON is the story of Kanon Misaki, a young woman who forges through a series of dramatic changes in her life while surrounded by a menagerie of fantastic creatures... and all under the imposing presence of Daimajin. MAJIN is a Japanese period film, rich in overwhelming special effects, that was created in 1966. It tells the tale of a giant stone idol that comes to life in answer to the prayers of a young girl to save her fellow villagers from the tyranny of the local chamberlain. The unforgettable image of Daimajin who— with a piercing look in his eyes— punishes the villains, destroys the town and the chamberlain’s fortress, and moves on unchallenged and unstoppable, was received with critical acclaim and became a part of Japanese film culture. Today it stands as a symbol of a powerful and loyal guardian deity. Now Daimajin, whose name has become synonymous with overwhelming power, is making the long-awaited transition from the silver screen to television as he returns with an overhauled look. The keyword of the new Daimajin is “prayer.” In the past, “wrath” was the aspect of the Daimajin movies that attracted the greatest attention, but the new TV series puts the accent on the young girl who prays to the idol, and explores the essence of the prayer that breathes life into Daimajin. - Kadokawa Pictures publicity materials for DAIMAJIN KANON

    History of Daimajin

    Daimajin in a colorized publicity still for the first film, MAJIN. Photo courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment. © Kadokawa Pictures, Inc. NHFN/1966

    In the mid-to-late 1960s, the Daiei Motion Picture Company produced a trio of tokusatsu (special effects) film series about giant monsters and/or supernatural creatures. The most recognized and financially successful of these, both in Japan and abroad, were the Gamera movies which launched with the original GAMERA (Daikaiju Gamera) in 1965 and followed with a new sequel every year through 1971. Daiei also made THE HUNDRED MONSTERS (Yokai Hyaku Monogatari, 1968), SPOOK WARFARE (Yokai Daisenso, 1968), and ALONG WITH GHOSTS (Tokaido Obake Dochu, 1969); three films about the strange mystical beings and apparitions from Japanese folklore known as yokai. While popular in Japan, the yokai movies were not officially available in the United States until all three were released on DVD as the “Yokai Monsters” series in 2003. Last but certainly not least was the Daimajin trilogy of MAJIN (???, Daimajin), RETURN OF MAJIN (?????, Daimajin Ikaru), and MAJIN STRIKES AGAIN (?????, Daimajin Gyakushu), which combined elements of the kaiju eiga (monster movie) genre with Daiei`s extremely popular jidai-geki (period stories) and chanbara (sword-fighting) films. Written by Tetsuro Yoshida and set during Japan`s Sengoku (Warring States) period, these three fantasy films each followed a similar pattern; telling the story of a giant statue of Daimajin (the name roughly meaning "Great Angry God") that would come to life in times of need to punish evildoers. Inspired by the German silent movie THE GOLEM (Der Golem, 1915) as well as ancient Japanese beliefs about the supernatural and the forces of nature, the Daimajin films featured high-quality special effects by Yoshiyuki Kuroda and a more serious tone than Daiei`s other FX franchises of the era. Surprisingly, all three movies were theatrically released in Japan during 1966. The first two Daimajin films were sold to distributor American International Pictures and syndicated directly to US television in 1968 as MAJIN, THE MONSTER OF TERROR and THE RETURN OF THE GIANT MAJIN. The final film in the series was not commercially available in the US until ADV Films acquired the rights to all three movies and distributed them on VHS in 1999 (and three years later on DVD). While the home video releases finally allowed American fans to see the complete series in the original Japanese with English subtitles, ADV confused the order and titles of the Majin films, naming the second movie WRATH OF DAIMAJIN and the third RETURN OF DAIMAJIN. The films` order and titles were corrected when Mill Creek Entertainment released the DAIMAJIN Triple Feature Blu-ray in September, 2012.

    The Majin trilogy was created during a time of dramatic changes in the Japanese film industry. The major studios like Toho and Nikkatsu increasingly struggled against the growing popularity of television, and theater attendance dropped dramatically throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. Daiei still managed to produce and distribute a number of profitable movies, but was done in by executive mismanagement that drove the company to bankruptcy in late 1971. The studio was purchased by the Tokuma Shoten Publishing company in 1974 and resumed production on a much more limited scale. By the late 1980s/early 1990s, Japan`s movie business had rebounded somewhat and the studios again began to amp up production of live action FX programming. Toho`s Godzilla movies resumed after a nine year break, while Tsuburaya Pro`s Ultraman and Toei`s Kamen Rider series were returning to cinemas, home video and/or television. Daiei also began to look into reviving their own tokusatsu franchises. In 1991, the industry trade magazine Kinema Junpo revealed that Daiei was considering co-producing a new Daimajin movie with Golden Harvest Films, the Hong Kong studio behind such favorites as ENTER THE DRAGON (1973), POLICE STORY (1985), and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990). Unfortunately, that intriguing-sounding international project never developed beyond the early news reports. Daiei shifted their attention to Gamera, bringing the monster turtle back for an acclaimed trio of films released from 1995 to 1999. In 2002, Tokuma sold Daiei to Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd., who merged the studio with their own film division to form the new Kadokawa Pictures. Kadokawa soon announced plans to produce new feature films based on Daiei`s classic FX franchises. Up first was the yokai update THE GREAT YOKAI WAR (Yokai Daisenso, 2005) from internationally renowned director Takashi Miike (AUDITION, ICHI THE KILLER, 13 ASSASSINS). THE GREAT YOKAI WAR was a box office hit, and the studio quickly entered into talks with Miike about directing a new Daimajin movie. But Kadokawa had much less success when they attempted to relaunch the Gamera series yet again with GAMERA THE BRAVE (Chiisaki Yusha-tachi Gamera, 2006), which brought in only $2.6 million during its domestic theatrical run. The poor turnout for GAMERA THE BRAVE and other recent daikaiju films like Toho`s GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (Gojira: Fainaru Uozu, 2004) convinced Kadokawa that Japanese moviegoers were no longer interested in the giant monster genre. Plans for Takashi Miike`s Daimajin film were canceled.

    Return of Daimajin

    Daimajin`s big screen revival had stalled out for a second time, but Kadokawa Pictures still had not given up on the giant idol. In April 2009, Kadokawa`s magazine Newtype The Live announced that the studio had begun work on a new venture for the guardian god: after 43 years Majin would return -- not to theaters, but in a new television series that would air late nights on TV Tokyo and affiliated stations. This show would be named DAIMAJIN KANON (??????). While post-midnight TV in the United States is often little more than a wasteland of informercials, talk shows, and reruns, Japanese stations such as TV Tokyo, NTV, TBS, and TV Asahi will often show first-run programming targeting specific demographics (college students, women, otaku, history buffs, etc). Without having to cater to a broader primetime audience, these shows have greater freedom to explore more mature themes -- which may include violence, adult humor, nudity, sex, religion, and politics -- and take more time to develop storylines and concepts gradually over several episodes. In recent years, late night Japanese programming has included a number of popular anime series, dramas (known as doramas), samurai and period shows, and cult-favorite tokusatsu productions such as ULTRA Q: DARK FANTASY (Urutora Kyuu Daaku Fantajii, 2004), GARO (2005), and ULTRASEVEN X (Urutorasebun Ekkusu, 2007).

    Put in charge of Majin`s comeback were executive producer Shinichirou Inoue and producer Shigenori Takatera, two men with years of experience in their fields. Inoue had already been with Kadokawa for over a decade prior to DAIMAJIN KANON; supervising the company`s Gundam Ace magazine and producing numerous anime projects such as the .hack//SIGN television series and its various spin-offs, and also the international award-winning feature films THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME (Toki o Kakeru Shojo, 2006) and SUMMER WARS (Samaa Woozu, 2009). Takatera`s background was in live action FX programming for Toei Company, starting as an assistant producer on Sentai and Kamen Rider shows like MASKED RIDER BLACK (Kamen Raidaa Burakku, 1987), KAKURANGER (Ninja Sentai Kakurenjaa, 1994), and O-RANGER (Chooriki Sentai Oorenjaa, 1995). He became head producer for a trio of influential Sentai series -- CARRANGER (Gekisoo Sentai Kaarenjaa, 1996), MEGARANGER (Denji Sentai Megarenjaa, 1997), and GINGAMAN (Seijuu Sentai Gingaman, 1998) -- which helped the franchise recover from the near-disaster caused by O-RANGER`s production issues. Shigenori Takatera next brought the Kamen Rider series into a new era with MASKED RIDER KUUGA (Kamen Raidaa Kuuga, 2000), the first Kamen Rider television series in twelve years. KUUGA made significant changes to the franchise by taking a more realistic view of the standard Kamen Rider tropes... the protagonist is not a cyborg, Kuuga does not shout out attack names, and the name "Kamen Rider" is never used in series. The revisions made under Takatera`s supervision shaped much of what the Heisei Kamen Rider franchise would become in the years to follow.

    Producer Shigenori Takatera being interviewed with Daimajin suit actor Makoto Itou. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Takatera`s MASKED RIDER HIBIKI (Kamen Raidaa Hibiki, 2005) was also supposed to be a "complete rebirth" for Kamen Rider; using a completely new design aesthetic for the suits, forgoing the use of the name "Kamen Rider," encouraging more natural/outdoor cinematography, employing an offbeat directorial style, and including musical segments for the first four episodes. The show also cast an already-established actor in the leading role and deviated from prior (and subsequent) Kamen Rider series by using Makoto Itou as the suit actor for the lead Rider instead of longtime performer Seiji Takaiwa. Takatera stepped down from HIBIKI after Episode 29, and following his departure much of what was unique about the series was changed to make it a more of a traditional Kamen Rider program. He would later use many of the elements of MASKED RIDER HIBIKI to better effect in DAIMAJIN KANON. Takatera has a reputation as being a very kind and charming person who is nonetheless strict on the job. Those who work with him say that the job is always "challenging, but very rewarding." The new Daimajin series reunited much of the production staff that had worked with Shigenori Takatera on the Kamen Rider and Sentai shows. Among them was director Taro Sakamoto, well known to tokusatsu fans for his work on ZYURANGER (Kyooryuu Sentai Juurenjaa, 1992), MEGARANGER, TIME RANGER (Mirai Sentai Taimurenjaa, 2000), and the Americanized series POWER RANGERS WILD FORCE (2002). He cut his teeth directing episodes of the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series (Toei Fushigi Komedii Shiriizu), a series of FX programs that ran from 1981-1993. According to an interview he did with Newtype The Live, Sakamoto had convinced Takatera to remove the musical sequences from MASKED RIDER HIBIKI, saying that he "could not see the necessity" of having them. Born in 1939, Sakamoto originally thought he might be too old for DAIMAJIN KANON, but Takatera reminded him that he was already more than 60 years old when he was asked to come to America to direct POWER RANGERS WILD FORCE back in 2001. At that time, Sakamoto`s fellow director Shouhei Toujou (RETURN OF ULTRAMAN, ZYURANGER) had turned down the same offer, saying he was "too old to learn English." But Taro Sakamoto accepted, stating "I`ll go; I`ll direct anything that`s in my power to do," and Takatera used the director`s own words to convince him to do the pilot of DAIMAJIN KANON. Taro Sakamoto would direct almost a third of the series, including the first two and last two episodes. The other directors on DAIMAJIN KANON were Norihiro Suzuki (MASKED RIDER RYUKI, MASKED RIDER 555, MASKED RIDER BLADE, MASKED RIDER HIBIKI, MASKED RIDER KABUTO), Kei Era (TOMICA HERO RESCUE FORCE), Takuji Kitamura (NEGATIVE HAPPY CHAINSAW EDGE), and Atsushi Shimizu (ULTRA Q: DARK FANTASY, TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS).

    Shinji Ooishi was named series planner and head writer for DAIMAJIN KANON. He had been one of the screenwriters for MASKED RIDER HIBIKI, but was replaced following Shigenori Takatera`s departure. Ooishi was involved in developing DAIMAJIN KANON`s basic concept and characters, and also wrote or co-wrote ten of the twenty-six episodes, including the first four and last four of the series. Seven episodes were written by Naruhisa Arakawa. Arakawa`s first tokusatsu writing assignment was for an episode of MASKED RIDER BLACK, and he would go on to become lead writer on the Sentai series ABA RANGER (Bakuryuu Sentai Abarenjaa, 2003) and DEKA RANGER (Tokusoo Sentai Dekarenjaa, 2004). He handled series composition on MASKED RIDER KUUGA and is also the head writer on the Sentai 35th anniversary series, GOKAIGER (Kaizoku Sentai Gookaijaa, 2011). The remaining DAIMAJIN KANON scripts were split up among a team of writers that included Ai Sumikawa, Shinsuke Onishi (KIKAIDER: THE ANIMATION, ULTRAMAN TIGA through ULTRAMAN COSMOS), and Miyuki Sekiguchi. The music for DAIMAJIN KANON was created by famed composer Toshihiko Sahashi. Sahashi`s credits include the soundtracks for dozens of popular anime and tokusatsu series and movies such as ULTRAMAN: THE ULTIMATE HERO (Urutoraman Pawaado, 1993), ULTRAMAN GAIA (Urutoraman Gaia, 1998), MASKED RIDER KUUGA, MASKED RIDER AGITO (Kamen Raidaa Agito, 2001), MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM SEED (Kidoo Senshi Gandamu Shiido, 2002), GUNDAM SEED: DESTINY (Kidoo Senshi Gandamu Shiido Desutinii, 2004), MASKED RIDER HIBIKI, ULTRAMAN MEBIUS (Urutoraman Mebiusu, 2006), ULTRAMAN MEBIUS & ULTRAMAN BROTHERS (Urutoraman Mebiusu & Urutora Kyoodai, 2006), and MASKED RIDER DEN-O (Kamen Raidaa Den-oo, 2007).

    The Onbake heroes Sawamori, Taihei, and Tomosuke. Photo courtesy of Kadokawa Pictures, Inc. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    War Gods and Yokai

    Daimajin`s role in the series was a major story issue for the show`s producers. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    While DAIMAJIN KANON was officially announced by Kadokawa in April of 2009, the project had been quietly in development for well over a year prior. The extended pre-production schedule gave Shinichirou Inoue, Shigenori Takatera, and their crew time to work out a number of different concepts for the series long before the cameras would roll. One of the most important decisions faced by the creative team was how to best present the character of Daimajin to a modern television audience. Back in the 1960s Daiei had maintained a basic formula for the Majin movies that was quite different from the other kaiju eiga. One clear difference was that MAJIN and its sequels took place hundreds of years in the past rather than the current or near-future settings used for most Japanese monster movies. But DAIMAJIN KANON would break with that tradition and be set in the modern day, allowing the show`s crew to take a fresh approach to the Majin story. Another key element of the Daimajin films was that the title character -- while a constant presence in the background of each story -- appears onscreen only briefly. Instead, the majority of each film dealt with the human protagonists who are suffering under and struggling against the oppressive rule of an evil warlord. Only when things take a final turn for the worse in the third act does Daimajin awaken in answer to the prayers of the heroes or the misdeeds of the villains. In a marked contrast from the formats of FX franchises like Ultraman and Kamen Rider, the makers of DAIMAJIN KANON decided to follow the basic pattern of the original films by having the story focus on the characters who attempt to awaken Daimajin in order to stop a growing evil. Daimajin would occasionally appear in the series via flashbacks, dreams, or visions, but only come back to life as the series neared its conclusion.

    The choice to have the series slowly build up to Daimajin`s return was a risky one, and it required the main characters to be interesting and entertaining enough on their own to hold the audience`s attention over the course of twenty or more episodes. The creative team cleverly accomplished that objective by tying DAIMAJIN KANON to another of Kadokawa`s old Daiei tokusatsu franchises... most of the show`s protagonists would be yokai rather than everyday people. The yokai in DAIMAJIN KANON are of a very specific type known as "Onbake". Their name derived from the kanji for "on" (gratitude) and "bakeru" (transform), the Onbake are animals, places, or inanimate objects that were given new life by the love and care shown to them by human beings. These yokai exist out of their gratitude to humans, and they happily make it their job to protect people. They come in all manner of shapes and sizes, with many having both a human form and an Onbake form that reflects their origins. DAIMAJIN KANON features Onbake who were incarnated from a samurai helmet, a dog, a crayfish, a hawk, a cauldron, a goldfish, and even a television set. While possibly an odd concept for Westerners to grasp, the Onbake would be easily understood by Japanese audiences familiar with the classic yokai tales and legends or more modern interpretations such as the Daiei/Kadokawa yokai films, Shigeru Mizuki`s popular manga GeGeGe No Kitaro and it`s spin-offs, or Hayao Miyazaki`s blockbuster anime film SPIRITED AWAY (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001).

    The Great Ipadada, legendary foe of Daimajin. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    But equally familiar in both East and West is the idea of a great evil or malice that continues to exist after death. This concept has been at the heart of countless ghost stories as well as Japanese horror film franchise such as THE RING and JU-ON/THE GRUDGE that have been successfully adapted for American audiences. It is also used as the basis for the Ipadada, the villains of DAIMAJIN KANON. When a human dies with a deep grudge or need for vengeance, that person may be reincarnated as an evil spirit known as an Ipadada. This cycle repeats every twelve years or so. Once reborn, the Ipadada would possess a human body in order to kill victims and absorb their souls. If an Ipadada is able to consume one hundred souls it becomes a gigantic, monstrous Great Ipadada that causes widespread death and destruction. The Onbake are the sworn enemies of the Ipadada, and they work to stop the evil spirit before it can reach full power. But if the Ipadada reaches that final stage, the Great Ipadada can only be destroyed by Daimajin. The producers` approach to the characters and story of DAIMAJIN KANON created some unique opportunities for action director Tatsuro Koike. A stunt coordinator and second unit director with credits both in the United States (DAREDEVIL, LAST SAMURAI, JUMPER) and Japan (K-20: THE FIEND WITH TWENTY FACES), Koike described the filming of a battle between the Onabke Sawamori and Kotaro, a human possessed by the Ipadada, in Episode 1...

    "We thought those expecting the action of a tokusatsu might be a a little shocked by the scene. We went with the concept of using no superfluous movements, and keeping it to movements that humans could do, so we didn`t use any slow motion. No explosions, either. We thought about putting in some flashy roundhouse kicks to make it a better show, but ultimately decided that would be out of character for these two. We`ve heard people say that it`s almost subdued. We knew we`d get that sort of resistance to it, of course... but I don`t think it`s a good thing if everyone likes your work, anyway. Personally, I`m very satisfied by the scene." Koike was also pleased by a stunt involving Kotaro and Sawamori leaping from a parking garage. "We presented this as a one-cut...the stuntmen actually took the fall, and we removed the mat through composite imagery. Others in this business might be impressed by the shot, but it`s a little painful that modern viewers would think we did it with CGI [laughs]. But I think doing it with real actors gives it more impact, so I really wanted to do it this way. The Japanese record for a fall like this is 40 meters, so I wanted to challenge it by doing a 50-meter drop, but we weren`t able to do it. I think if we had managed that, we could have made a legend [laughs]. In reality, we had Kotaro fall 15 meters, and Sawamori fall about 18 meters. In Japan, 10 meters is about what you need for something to feel "high," but in America, we use 45 meter falls as warming up, so the perceptions are very different. So for us, it was like `We can do 12 meters in our sleep!` Sawamori actually twisted his leg doing the fall. I guess that`s what makes it different from superheroics..."

    Kanon Misaki and Taihei -- the human and yokai leads of DAIMAJIN KANON -- with the tiny Onbake Buchinko. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Daimajin Girl

    Shigenori Takatera and Shinichirou Inoue wanted the Daimajin/Onbake storyline to be intertwined with what they saw as the true heart of the series: the personal growth of a troubled young person who is thrown into unusual circumstances. The two producers gave a great deal of thought to the lead human character of the series and eventually decide that character would be a young woman.

    Takatera recalled that, "When I was filming HIBIKI, there were opinions that Asumu [the young boy protagonist of the show] needed to team up with Hibiki as soon as possible. `Asumu is his student, so he should fight,` they said. I wanted to avoid that viewpoint this time, so when thinking of ways to figure out how to circumvent this, I realized that if I made the protagonist a woman, people would be less likely to insist that she fight. Since the main story I wanted to tell was that of a young person`s growth, I didn`t want the secondary thread of battle hero action to supersede that." Developing the lead character in this manner was seen by some members of the DAIMAJIN KANON crew as a cathartic experience for Shigenori Takatera that allowed the producer to recover from the ordeal of HIBIKI while creating a new and more beautiful work. Executive producer Shinichirou Inoue even directly compared Kanon to Takatera in an interview for the first DAIMAJIN KANON Blu-ray set. An additional benefit from Takatera`s decision was that it fulfilled a mandate from Kadokawa that he had been struggling with. Based on the recent crossover success of titles like THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, the company felt that the new Daimajin should also appeal to the large female audience that routinely purchased Kadokawa books, anime, and manga. A female protagonist would give the series the "Kadokawa Shoten" feel the company wanted. In Takatera`s notes from as far back as late April 2008 the main character is named Shinobu and described as a woman "raised with high ideals, but battered by the waves of an unforgiving society" whose misfortunes have caused her to distrust others and develop a bit of a vindictive streak. Also identified is Shinobu`s friend, Taku, "a free-spirited man who seeks coexistence with others and liberates her heart." But before long, Taku was phased out of the planning documents in favor of a new character named Taihei. With the addition of Taihei, the project began evolving into its final form.

    Suzuki Konami Daimajin Musume manga art with the characters Taku, Shinobu and the wooden Daimajin. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    With the story developing into something quite different from previous Daimajin projects, the producers decided to explain it in a very "Kadokawa Shoten" way... as a manga. Written and drawn by Suzuki Konami -- who also created the character designs -- the Daimajin Musume (????, meaning "Daimajin Girl") manga revealed many of the characters and concepts considered during the early stages of production for the new Daimajin. The central character was still known as "Shinobu" at this point, but her backstory was now fairly similar to what would be seen in DAIMAJIN KANON; an innocent college girl who has been emotionally wounded and lost her song since coming to Tokyo. The Onbake were still known as "Yokai." In personality and appearance, Taihei is roughly the same character. Another Onbake known as Totohime would be renamed Ikechiyo for the series. And Kotaro is featured in Daimajin Musume in something close to his modern form -- as Kanon`s ex-boyfriend who wounds her out of selfishness -- but did not appear to be possessed or a major antagonist as he is in the show. Perhaps the biggest difference between the manga and television series was the Daimajin Musume villain, Dokuromi, a computer yokai and "evil schemer" type of character who apparently manipulates Shinobu`s co-worker, a stalker named Eiichi. In the manga, Dokuromi abducts Shonobu in an attempt to revive Daimajin for nefarious purposes. Another change from DAIMAJIN KANON was that Daimajin was awakened from a great tree, rather than being a stone giant. When it came to selecting the cast of DAIMAJIN KANON, Takatera`s policy was to not use any actors with prior experience in "hero shows". And after the headaches he`d dealt with on GINGAMAN, Takatera decided it would be easier to hire actors with a similar worldview to their character rather than trying to coax a naturalistic performance out of someone who may not be suited for their role.

    For Kanon Misaki, the producers knew they wanted "a pure, clumsy girl who had known heartbreak before." More than a thousand women tried out for the part, and Takatera admitted there was some pressure in the auditions after the luck they`d had casting the lead for MASKED RIDER KUUGA. "Would we find another Joe Odagiri?", he wondered. The auditions for Kanon included a singing test, for which the producers chose Kyu Sakamoto`s "Ue o Muite Arukou" (Looking Up As I Walk), the 1963 international hit that topped the US Billboard Charts as "Sukiyaki". After the song, each actress hopeful was asked they regretted most in their life. Takatera recalled that, "Most of the people who answered related a story about saying harsh words to the person closest to them, and then eventually breaking up. About 90% of the girls who answered that way immediately burst out crying. It wasn`t at all what we expected." In the end, Yuka Rikuna was chosen for the role. Initially considered somewhat of a dark horse -- she was described as "someone who should be a friend to the protagonist rather than the protagonist herself" -- Rikuna impressed the producers with her sincerity and concern for the well being of others. When asked the question about her greatest regret, she answered the question as well as she could despite crying so hard she couldn`t stop. "She seemed sort of sweet, sort of earnest, had almost a child-like purity, and she was always talking about her family," Takatera explained. "It was clear that her family meant a lot to her."

    The series offered a bit of

    Takatera`s "no hero show actors" policy went out the window with the casting of Nao Nagasawa (formerly Hurricane Blue) as Ikechiyo and, later, Shouhei Izumi (formerly Time Yellow) as Kaenji. Hidekazu Mashima (Taihei) and Takashi Yamanaka (Tomosuke) were from the same talent agency and auditioned on the same day. Yamanaka went first and then waited for Mashima to finish so that they could walk back to the train station together. "Watching them together, they almost had an air of R2-D2 and C-3PO about them, and I could easily see them as Taihei and Tomosuke," Takatera recalled. The producers offered a bit of "fan service" by casting J-Idols and gravure models like Serina Ogawa (as the falcon Onbake Hashitaka) and race queen Sayuki Matsumoto (as the mantis Onbake Kirinoha). Along with Nao Nagasawa, the models were profiled in the DAIMAJIN KANON tie-in book, Daimajin Girlfriend ?Nao Nagasawa, Serina Ogawa, Sayuki Matsumoto Photo Collection? (??????? ?????????????????Photo Collection?), published by Newtype. Director Taro Sakamoto also had a hand in selecting the DAIMAJIN KANON cast. Nagato Hiroyuki (Jyuzo) had first worked with Sakamoto in 1985 on the set of SUKEBAN KEIJI, and was relieved that he was being directed by "A fellow old man" instead of a younger director. Sakamoto had directed actress Shibata Rie (Otaki) on the Fushigi Comedy series MAGICAL GIRL CHUKANA PAI-PAI (1989); Rie was having trouble fitting DAIMAJIN KANON into her busy schedule but decided to make time when she learned that her old friend was directing.

    Concepts and Design Works

    Top: Daimajin head designs based off a sketch by Takatera. Bottom: Full-body design and a representation of an idea that ancient humans made plate armor for Daimajin`s shoulders and hips. The basic silhouette was used in the final Daimajin design. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    As planning went on, so did the character design process. With the concept of the Onbake as "objects and animals incarnated through human love" locked in place, the artists began experimenting with the rules of their design. The designers kept in mind Shigenori Takatera`s instructions that the characters should always have a "living" quality to them, regardless of their origins. A number of artists -- both independent contractors and those on the DAIMAJIN KANON staff -- submitted designs for the new Daimajin, some even before preliminary discussions regarding the character had taken place. Early on, the crew was leaning towards the depiction of Daimajin as a soldier with a somewhat wooden appearance who has turned into a giant tree. But then it was proposed that, since Taihei and the other Onbake were incarnated from objects, Daimajin might also be a yokai incarnated from something. From that point, the producers and artists started designing Daimajin as being based off a dotaku, a ritual bronze bell from the Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD). The first Taihei designs were done by Tetsuya Aoki from PLEX, a design firm subsidiary of Namco Bandai (one of the companies partnering with Kadokawa on DAIMAJIN KANON). Aoki -- who had previously created designs for the original Transformers -- expanded on the outline of the series he was given, with his take on Taihei drawing heavily from Daimajin`s design. The "full-armored version" earned such high praise from the crew that, even after the design development went in a different direction, plans remained to give Taihei two brothers made from a sword and a suit of armor, who would unite to form "Armor Taihei". While this idea was abandoned for the show, it was later used in writer/artist Seijuro Mizu`s Daimajin Kanon manga (serialized in Kadokawa`s Young Ace magazine).

    Yuka Rikuna is shocked -- but pleased -- to see Taihei wearing only a fundoshi. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Takatera sketched designs for Taihei`s head that incorporated clearly defined eyes and a moving mouth, all in keeping with his view that the Onbake designs should have a living quality to them. Another of Takatera`s head designs was inspired by a kabuto helmet seen in a car commercial. For this version, the "side flaps" on either side of the helmet stood out to the eyes, forming the image of a face. All of the Taihei designs that followed maintained this basic look. Lead concept artist Shinji Ooishi drew a handful of variations of the Taihei head design. At one point, Takatera added a nose to make the character look a bit more human, but this idea was quickly dropped. After several revisions, a final head design was approved and went into the clay-molding phase. Ooishi was worried that Taiehei might end up becoming too much of a stereotypical action hero if they went with the armored design. So he decided to try drawing a full-body design of a "naked version" of Taihei wearing only a fundoshi, a traditional Japanese loincloth. Based on Ooishi`s design, the crew decided that, for all of the Onbake, the head portion would carry the essence of the original object or animal. The human-like body would be an extension that would grow out from the yokai`s head. As Taihei`s design evolved, Tetsuya Aoki proposed the idea of giving the character enlarged muscular protrusions at his shoulders, chest and femurs. The designers also considered imprinting Taihei with body paint and tattoo-like patterns to hide the seams between the the suit actor`s body and any prosthetic appliances. For Taihei`s final design, the seams were covered by various forms of wrapped cloth.

    Designs by Fukuchi and Aoki for an abandoned character; a yokai version of Taihei`s motorcycle. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    In the early planning stages, Taihei`s bike was also going to be a yokai. The preliminary drafts of the scripts for the first two episodes described the character as a talking motorcycle. The screenwriters reportedly liked the motorcycle yokai and had a difficult time abandoning a scene from Episode 1 where it accelerates into a big jump. The character was conceptualized as a CG character, and several designs were drawn up by Hitoshi Fukuchi and Tetsuya Aoki. After it was decided that the head portions were the "real" yokai, Fukuchi drew up a design in which the the head itself was the bike, and a large humanoid body would grow out from underneath it. This concept was planned to first appear around the middle of the series, but was eventually dropped. In addition to his work on Taihei and the motorbike yokai, Tetsuya Aoki also submitted the initial designs for the female Onbake, Totohime/Ikechiyo. Aoki`s artwork depicted both a bird-version of the character as well as the goldfish-version (another version based on a carp was also considered). For some of the yokai designs, "deformed" silhouettes evocative of the works of Hong Kong figure artist Michael Lau were proposed. Lau`s art also influenced the color tests for the Onbake. The design team latched onto the concept that the fantastical characters would be two-tone, and several two-color designs were tried for Taihei and the other yokai.

    Final designs from January 2009 for Taihei, Sawamori, Tomosuke, and Hashitaka. At this stage, Sawamori was temporarily named

    Special Effects

    In the earliest stages of DAIMAJIN KANON, Kadokawa formed a partnership with a handful of companies to help defray costs and share in the development, production and marketing of the series. Known collectively as the DAIMAJIN KANON Partners, the group included TV Tokyo, the video game and toy giant Bandai Co., the international consulting firm T.Y.Entertainment, the film and video production company Omnibus Japan, the production house Dogsugar, the otaku clothing brand Cospa, and the mobile operator NTT DoCoMo Inc. This partnership provided DAIMAJIN KANON with the highest budget to date for a Japanese dorama. Originally set at ¥500 million (approximately $6 million US) it was eventually doubled to ¥1 billion (approximately $12 million US), or more than $450,000 per episode. This amount was nearly five times the budget for a typical late night series.

    Daimajin stands next to a miniature watchtower in a green screen shot by FX supervisor Toshio Miike. This would be combined with additional elements such as fleeing people and a CGI Ipadada. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    DAIMAJIN KANON was originally scheduled to debut on TV Tokyo in October 2009, but was eventually postponed to start in April 2010. The series began production on June 2nd, 2009, with principal photography lasting for seven months, wrapping on December 20th that same year. Special Effects for DAIMAJIN KANON were supervised by Toshio Miike. A highly-regarded art director, production designer and FX supervisor, Miike`s credits include the Toho sci-fi film GUNHED (Ganheedo, 1989), ZEIRAM (Zeiramu, 1991), several Godzilla films from KING GHIDORAH to FINAL WARS, the 1990s Gamera trilogy, Quentin Tarantino`s KILL BILL VOL. 1 (2003), SINKING OF JAPAN (Nihon Chinbotsu, 2006) and ULTRAMAN SAGA (Urutoraman Saaga, 2012). All of the creature suits, props, and animatronics were created by Monsters, Inc., the effects house owned and run by Shinichi Wakasa. Wakasa started as his professional career on Kinji Fukusaku`s cult classic MESSAGE FROM SPACE (Uchukara-no Messeji, 1978) and has worked on a wide variety of film and television projects, including Tsuburaya Productions` ULTRAMAN TIGA (Urutoraman Tiga, 1996) and ULTRAMAN COSMOS (Urutoraman Kosumosu, 2001) television series, GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION (Gamera 2 Legion Shurai, 1996), PYROKINESIS (Kurosufaia, 2000) and DEVILMAN (Debiruman, 2004). Wakasa also produced more than half of Toho`s monsters since 1993, including the Godzilla suits and props for GODZILLA 2000 (Gojira Ni-sen Mireniamu, 1999) and four of the next five films through GODZILLA: FINAL WARS. The visual effects for DAIMAJIN KANON were produced by the computer graphics and post-production house Omnibus Japan. Omnibus` long list of credits includes UMIZARU EVOLUTION (2005), GARO, EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE (Evangelion Shin Gekijoban: Jo, 2007), PACO AND THE MAGICAL BOOK (Pako to Maho no Ehon, 2008), DETROIT METAL CITY (2008), KAIJI: THE ULTIMATE GAMBLER (Kaiji: Jinsei Gyakuten Gemu, 2009), SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION (Uchu Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu Hen, 2010), and GARO THE MOVIE 3D: RED REQUIEM (2010). The video production company Kurofune Products also worked on CGI modeling and animation, matte art and compositing for the series. Kurofune`s credits included a number of music videos, title sequences for TV programs, video games and the Tsuburaya Pro series BIO PLANET WOO (Seibutsu Suisei Woo, 2006) and ULTRA GALAXY: MEGA MONSTER BATTLE (Urutora Gyarakushii Daikaiju Batoru, 2007).

    Interior views of Matsumoto Castle miniature, constructed by Marbling Fine Arts. The miniature was designed and built to be destroyed by the falling Daimajin. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The creation of the special effects sequences would require the combined efforts of technicians and craftsmen from each of these companies. The miniatures -- including a large recreation of Matsumoto Castle -- would often begin as designs sketched by Toshio Miike. From there, the structures would be built by Marbling Fine Arts, the Tokyo-based company behind 90% of the miniature effects in modern Japanese cinema. If a miniature was to be destroyed onscreen, it would be constructed of materials like balsa wood or plaster that would break easily, with no internal framework. On set, the practical effects team may spend an entire work day prepping a miniature, cutting breakaway slits into it and then obscuring the gaps with putty. In some cases, veteran technician Hiroyuki Hatori would add gunpowder to the miniatures to aid in their destruction and create smoke rising from the debris. The miniature effects would be combined with a variety of additional elements -- actors and extras filmed in front of a green screen, stunt actor Makoto Itou in the Daimajin suit, computer generated effects and characters (including the Ipadada), etc -- for a completed shot. One of the key set pieces for the series was Daimajin`s resting place, Bujin Rock, which combined miniature and location elements. The look of Bujin Rock started with storyboards and concept art drawn by Shigeru Okuyama and Yuusuke Kubo. Using the artwork as a guide, location scouts selected Ryuuozaka in Ibaraki Prefecture to represent the site. A miniature of Bujin Rock was created by Shinichi Wakasa`s Monsters Inc., while a surrounding cliff face that would blend with the location footage was built by Miike and the SFX art staff. Composite shots are usually filmed against a green screen, but the green would blend with the color of the trees on location so a blue screen was used, instead. The location footage would also be enhanced it different ways... for example, the staff filmed a miniature waterfall made of pouring sand and blended it with a real waterfall shot at Ryuuozaka. Using a system developed by Omnibus Japan, the directors were able to make temporary composite shots during filming. This process greatly increased the quality of blended elements. "Being able to view the composite shots during filming was a huge help," Toshio Miike explained. "Before now, we would film several takes just to make sure we had what we need, and that took a lot of time. Being able to see it and correct it on the spot greatly increased the accuracy with which we could film the materials."

    Concept art of Bujin Rock, one of the key locations in the series. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The actors who played the lead Onbake also portrayed their former masters in flashback scenes.Top row, left to right: The warlord Juro Chigusa Tokisa (Hidekazu Mashima) with the helmet that would become Taihei. An Ainu man (Tsuyoshi Mori) and his pet crayfish, which would be reborn as Sawamori. Bottom row, left to right: The courtesan (Nao Nagasawa) and her goldfish (Ikechiyo). A falconer (Serina Ogawa) whose pet became Hashitaka. A doctor (Takashi Yamanaka) with his beloved dog, Tomosuke. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Characters and Cast

    ? Daimajin Performed by Makoto Itou Voice performed by Tsunehiko Kamijo

    Daimajin. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The great warrior Bujin-sama is an enormous supernatural being standing 20 meters tall. As the stone idol Daimajin— the first and strongest of the Onbake— Bujin long ago came to the aid of people who were attacked by vicious demons known as Ipadada. Summoned by the prayer song of a local village girl, Daimajin exterminated many Ipadada. He now sleeps in the stony mountains, awaiting the day he is again called by the "Song of the Village". In keeping with Takatera`s modernizations in MASKED RIDER KUUGA, the title character of this series is never referred to by name. He is instead called Bujin by the Onbake, and gives his own name as Omahito (an alternate reading of the three characters used to write “Daimajin” in Japanese). Bujin is himself an Onbake, the very first of them, which gives him a true nature that`s rather unlike the vicious, wrathful Daimajin who appeared in the first two films of the classic Daiei trilogy. Bujin stems more from the ideas of the third and final Daimajin film, which depicts a Daimajin that is moved to act not merely to punish evil humans, but also to defend good ones. The oldest Onbake, Bujin is a great warrior who stands an incredible 20 meters tall. He has no human form, instead appearing as a massive idol of stone and bronze when he awakens. Bujin`s face betrays his origins as a dotaku bell, once rung by ancient villagers as part of their prayers for good harvests. When Bujin rests, he turns into stone, often blending in with the sides of Yamagata`s great mountains. This is, again, very different from the original Daimajin, who was a stone idol that awoke when desecrated by evil men (in the first two films) or called to action by the prayers of the righteous (in the third). In DAIMAJIN KANON, Bujin must be awoken by the Songstress, a young woman with the power to sing the holy Prayer Song that is passed down through her family bloodline. For centuries, Bujin strode the length and breadth of Japan, exterminating Ipadada who had grown too strong for the younger Onbake to handle. The stage for DAIMAJIN KANON is set when, hundreds of years in the past, two Great Ipadada appear in Japan simultaneously. Bujin rushes to defeat first one in the south and then another in the north, but cannot save the northern village from destruction. He was cursed by the grief-stricken inhabitants. Wounded by their bitter words, he fell into a stone sleep that continues unbroken until the start of the story. The Onbake believe that only the Prayer Song, remembered by the Misaki line of Songstresses, can revive him. Although Bujin had grown to the size of a giant monster as a result of his great age, at heart he felt no different than the smaller, human-like Onbake. He had once loved to laugh and cry alongside humans, and most of all, he loved to sing with them. Although Bujin appears rarely throughout DAIMAJIN KANON, the entire story is set into motion by the Onbake`s need to awaken him to face an especially strong Ipadada. In time, the challenge of awakening Bujin develops into a story that encompasses all of DAIMAJIN KANON`s major themes. Bujin is portrayed by suit actor Makoto Itou. Born in 1975, Itou did suit work in various SUPER SENTAI productions and played several villainous members of the Grongi race in MASKED RIDER KUUGA. Most notably, Itou was the exclusive suit actor for popular MASKED RIDER RYUKI character Masked Rider Knight. He has played the character in all of his RYUKI appearances. Bujin`s voice is provided by actor Tsunehiko Kamijo, whose movie credits include several films in the long-running TORA-SAN series, DEATH OF A TEA MASTER (1989), TO LOVE (1997) and the recent QUARTET! (2012). A singer known for his deep voice, Kamijo can be heard in a number of Studio Ghibli anime classics, portraying Mama Aiuto Boss in PORCO ROSSO (1992), Gonza in PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997) and Chichiyaku in SPIRITED AWAY (2001), as well as Sebastian the crab in the Japanese dub of Disney`s THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989). Kamijo also played the recurring character Denichiro Iga in Toei`s SPACE SHERIFF SHARIVAN (Uchuu Keiji Sharivan, aka SHARIBAN, THE SPACE GUARDIAN, 1984) television series. ? Kanon Misaki Performed by Yuka Rikuna?

    Kanon Misaki. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kanon Misaki is the lead character of DAIMAJIN KANON. She is a native of Yamagata, who left the country after high school to attend college at the fictional Keiyo University. She is twenty years old when the story begins. Kanon has a hard time dealing with the harsh realities of life in a big city, and incident after incident leaves her feeling hurt and frustrated. Events come to a head one month before the series begins, when she breaks up with her live-in boyfriend Kotaro after discovering he was cheating on her. Perhaps worse, Kotaro has turned the melody and lyrics of a Yamagatan folk song, the Prayer Song (officially named “Sato no Uta” or “Song of the Village”) into a crass pop song called “To the Top.” Kotaro plays the song with his band, not acknowledging the music`s source, and “To the Top” is beginning to work its way up the pop charts. Kanon sang the Prayer Song for Kotaro once, and now she bitterly regrets it. Kanon lost her mother when she was very young, and essentially was raised by her grandmother. Her grandmother taught her the original Prayer Song, and so Kanon associates the Prayer Song with memories of her recently-departed grandmother. By turning it into an empty pop single, Kotaro has hurt Kanon deeply, and her heart seems to break all over again every time she happens to overhear it. She has fallen into a deep depression and is barely able to function in day-to-day life. Kanon has no knowledge of the Prayer Song`s ability to awaken Bujin, or its original purpose. The Onbake do, however, and one of them sets out to try and mend Kanon`s broken heart so she can sing it once more. Kanon is played by actress Yuka Rikuna. Born on August 31, 1988 in Tokyo, Rikuna has appeared in the films SING, SALMON, SING! (2008) and KUCHISAKE-ONNA RETURNS (2012) Producer Shigenori Takatera wanted the lead of DAIMAJIN KANON to be a woman, because he wished to have a protagonist who wouldn`t be expected to participate in battles directly. He tried a similar tactic by making MASKED RIDER HIBIKI`s protagonist a young boy who served as a point-of-view character, but many fans still complained that he contributed nothing to the fighting. By turning the point-of-view character into a woman, he hoped to avoid such complaints. Takatera admits that Kanon is a character loosely modeled on himself. It is not difficult to find parallels between Kanon`s fictional struggle with the Prayer Song and “To the Top,” and the real life incident in which Takatera was dismissed from the production of MASKED RIDER HIBIKI. Recalling her experiences making DAIMAJIN KANON, Rikuna explained, "In the dorama, Kanon is able to experience personal growth despite the cold-hearted and painful life in the city. Just like her, I was able to learn a lot during the filming and think that I grew up a bit myself." ? Taihei Performed by Hidekazu Mashima

    Taiehei in his human and Onbake forms. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Taihei is one of the friendly Onbake, born 320 years ago in the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu. He usually appears as a man in his late 20s or early 30s, while his warrior form is inspired by the appearance of a late 17th century samurai helmet. Taihei now lives near the deep mountains in Yamagata where Bujin rests, his body sleeping in the stone of a mountainside. Taihei was told stories of Bujin`s great deeds, and came to greatly admire the ancient Onbake`s legend. Taihei is ordered by Jyuzo to go to Tokyo to seek out this generation`s Songstress. Taihei finds Kanon easily, but soon realizes that some great hurt is preventing her from singing. While he wishes to fight the Ipadada directly with his friends, he comes to understand that helping Kanon is just as important a mission. Taihei is unsophisticated and straightforward. He believes that the only way to approach people is with love and kindness and in that regard reminds Kanon of her departed grandmother. Early in the series, Kanon is incapable of accepting Taihei`s kindnesses at face value, and the two clash many times. Taihei is stubborn, though, and deep down, Kanon does not truly wish to be unhappy. Taihei was incarnated through the love of a warlord named Juro Chigusa Tokisa who lived during the final days of the Warring States period. Tokisa made offerings to the helmet and washed it with fine wines before battle. Taihei`s fondest wish would be to somehow share a drink with Tokisa, and Taihei seems to share a portion of his ancient master`s love of alcohol. Taihei is played by actor Hidekazu Mashima, whose credits include JU-ON: THE GRUDGE 2 (2003), SWING GIRLS (2004), REINCARNATION (2005), SCRAP HEAVEN (2005), HULA GIRLS (2006), THE FOREIGN DUCK, THE NATIVE DUCK AND GOD IN A COIN LOCKER (2007), FISH STORY (2009) and VILLON`S WIFE (2009). Stuntman Makoto Itou (who plays Daimajin) is the suit actor for Taihei`s Onbake form. But Taihei became a striking example of Shigenori Takatera`s belief that there would be little drama involving the characters of DAIMAJIN KANON if all they did was fight. It was established that, compared to Onbake like Sawamori, Taihei himself was not particularly strong or skillful in combat. Therefore, Taihei was rarely seen in his Onbake form following Episode 9 of the series. ? Ikechiyo Performed by Nao Nagasawa

    Ikechiyo. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Ikechiyo is the goldfish Onbake. Originally from the Tohoku region, she is an old friend of Taihei. Although her human form appears to be a woman in her 20s, she is about a decade older than Taihei, and the second-eldest of the group of Onbake that head to Tokyo to combat the Ipadada and help Kanon. Because of this, Ikechiyo plays the role of the group`s big sister, advising and supporting the others. Her powers aren`t useful for direct physical battles, but can support the warriors by healing their wounds. There is a certain languidness about her, as if she is bored with the world, but this is simply the result of her being the most worldly and cautious of the Onbake group sent to Tokyo. The goldfish that would become Ikechiyo was originally owned by courtesan who lived in Shimabara, then an infamous red light district of Kyoto. She was the most beautiful of the city`s courtesans, and the highest ranking, but she hated her existence. Her goldfish was her most prized possession, and the courtesan deeply wished that she might be a goldfish in her next life. Eventually, the courtesan fell ill. She lost her beauty, her station, and, in time, her life. To the end, the courtesan kept and cared for her goldfish. With her dying breath, she released the goldfish into a river, and so Ikechiyo was born. Ikechiyo is played by actress, model and singer Nao Nagasawa, who starred as Hurricane Blue in Toei`s NINJA WIND SQUADRON HURRICANGER (Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, 2002) TV series and films. She has also had guest roles on the genre shows ULTRAMAN MAX (Urutoraman Makkusu, 2005), KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE (2010) and KAMEN RIDER FOURZE (2011).

    Sawamori. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Sawamori Performed by Tsuyoshi Mori Sawamori is the crayfish Onbake. At 340 years old, he is the oldest of the group of Onbake sent to Tokyo to fight the Ipadada and support Taihei`s mission. As the eldest Onbake, Sawamori acts as the group`s commander, but his physical appearance is that of a young man in his 20s. Sawamori is earnest and stoic, and famed among other Onbake for his skills as a warrior. He is considered one of the most powerful Onbake in the country, an honor that Sawamori tries to accept with conscientious humility. He commands Tomosuke and Hashitaka directly, leading them in many battles against the Ipadada and its soul drones. The crayfish that would become Sawamori was originally from Russia. He traveled through the seas until he reached Hokkaido, where he became an Ainu man`s pet. To this day Sawamori remembers the name his master called him: Tekumbe-kor-Kamui, “the little god in my handbag.” Because of his origins, Sawamori has an exotic, half-foreign look in his human form. Sawamori`s Onbake form is played by stuntman Junya Matsugami. ? Tomosuke Performed by Takashi Yamanaka

    Tomosuke. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Tomosuke is the dog Onbake, and so acts as the group`s tracker. He is Taihei`s best friend and partner in crime, the two often getting into trouble as a result of Taihei`s attempts to help Kanon and other citizens of Tokyo. Tomosuke is only 310 years old, and rather naïve. He appears as a man in his 20s, but has a much simpler personality. Tomosuke still retains the character of the faithful dog he was before he became an Onbake. He will never decline a request and always strives to complete his tasks, no matter how much he might suffer or how impossible it might be. He has very strong legs and can run exceedingly fast, in addition to a very sharp sense of smell. He can fight an Ipadada`s small soul drones well, but needs help from stronger fighters to handle large creatures. As a dog, Tomosuke was scorned as a stray by everyone except his master, a country doctor. The doctor doted on Tomosuke, and Tomosuke returned the man`s feelings as best a dog can. He always waited in front of the house when his master left on a house call, and his master always praised him when he returned. One day, his master did not return, and so Tomosuke waited until he became an Onbake. Tomosuke is played by Takashi Yamanaka, an actor whose credits include numerous television dramas as well as feature films like THE INVESTIGATION GAME (2007), FISH STORY (2009), AIR DOLL (2009) and SHOCK LABYRINTH (2009). Tomosuke`s Onbake form is performed by stuntman Hideki Sugiguchi (KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT).

    Hashitaka. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Hashitaka Performed by Serina Ogawa? Hashitaka is the falcon Onbake and the youngest of her group, at only 280 years old. Her human form is a woman in her 20s. She eagerly battles the Ipadada and its soul drones alongside Sawamori and the others, taking advantage of her ability to sprout wings from her head and fly. She is a bit naïve and impulsive, and exceedingly fond of ice cream. Kadokawa`s English publicity materials for DAIMAJIN KANON note that "Hashitaka has large breasts." Hashitaka`s master was a woman who dabbled in falconry in the early 18th century. She was uncommonly good at her art, soon outstripping all other women and most men who practiced it. Hashitaka`s master did not care that others criticized her for behaving like a man, and instead rejoiced in her falcons. She raised Hashitaka from a hatchling, and Hashitaka regards her as her mother. Actress Serina Ogawa has appeared in a number of straight-to-DVD "Gravure Heroines" titles include PREMIER KNIGHTS MINERVA (2006), FEMALE COMBATANTS STORY (2006), CUTIE IDOL WRESTLING (2007) and HEROINE SUPER FIGHT!! (2007).

    ? Buchinko and Tamakko Buchinko voice performed by Junko Minagawa Tamakko voice performed by Nozomi Sasaki Buchinko is the haniwa Onbake, originally from the Tohoku region. Buchinko does not speak human languages, but can make himself understood to other Onbake. He is exceedingly small, only 8 centimeters tall, so he cannot fight. Instead, Buchinko serves as a spy. He often likes to sneak from place to place by hitching a ride in an attractive girl`s cleavage, often Ikechiyo`s. Buchinko begins working with Taihei to help restore Kanon`s ability to sing after he comes to Tokyo. He sneaks into Kanon`s home, where he develops a great fondness for fish sausages. Once Kanon becomes aware of Buchinko she grows somewhat attached to him, treating him as a sort of bizarre pet. Although he is small, Buchinko plays an instrumental role in the plan to revive Bujin. Tamakko is Buchinko`s counterpart. Her role is to watch over Bujin, and she can project any sound heard by Buchinko to other yokai who might be nearby her. This makes the two tiny Onbake excellent for transmitting messages. Buchinko`s voice is supplied by Junko Minagawa, a veteran voice actress with dozens of credits including the anime CHRONO CRUSADE, CODE GEASS, D.GRAY-MAN, LOVELESS, PRINCE OF TENNIS and the DEAD OR ALIVE video game series. Minagawa also provides the narration for DAIMAJIN KANON. ? Kento Saeki/Ipadada Performed by Naoki Taki?

    Ipadada. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The Ipadada is an evil spirit that arrives roughly once every twelve years, the reincarnation of a human who died bearing enormous hatred in his or her heart. In the 21st century, the Ipadada is the soul of Kento Saeki, a serial killer convicted of murdering eight people (including his parents). When newly born, the Ipadada is weak and must possess a living human host before it can begin its murderous work. As it uses the host to consume souls, the Ipadada grows slowly more powerful. It begins killing small animals, then larger ones, and finally can begin killing and enslaving the souls of human beings. If the Ipadada kills long enough, it becomes a city-destroying giant called the Great Ipadada. At this level of power, it transcends the consciousness of the individual who reincarnated into it. It begins acting on instinct, blindly destroying all it sees as part of a primal urge to destroy the entire human race. Those killed by the Ipadada are absorbed into it, and can be used by it as tamashiki or soul drones. The soul drones resemble whatever lives the Ipadada took, beginning as small creatures like frogs and over time resembling human beings. The larger the Ipadada`s soul drones become, the more difficult they are to fight. ? The Great Ipadada The evil spirit Ipadada keeps murdering people and swallowing their souls. As a result it becomes bigger and more powerful, and turns into the Great Ipadada. As the Great Ipadada, it transcends the spirit of the individual men whose soul it possesses, begins to sow destruction by acting from instinct, and unconsciously plots the extermination of the entire human race.

    Kotaro Koukon. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Kotaro Ushirone Performed by Enoku Shimegi A Tokyo native, twenty-one-year-old Kotaro is the leader of rock group 0°C, whose first hit single is “To the Top.” Kotaro is handsome, charismatic, and extremely manipulative. He is Kanon`s ex-boyfriend, but seems to have forgotten all about her. Kotaro is a hedonistic narcissist, largely concerned with getting what he wants at the moment. He doesn`t care who he has to hurt to get his way. Kotaro takes no interest in events that aren`t immediately relevant to him. His vanity and the emptiness of his desires make him an ideal host for the newly-reborn Ipadada. The Ipadada invades Kotaro`s body in his sleep and begins using him as part of “sleepwalking” episodes that leave Kotaro increasingly exhausted and worn-down. Kotaro is portrayed by actor Enoku Shimegi, one of the stars of the drama series HANAZAKARI NO KIMITACHI E (2007). Shimegi also appeared in the films GOKUSEN: THE MOVIE (2009) and OH! INVISIBLE MAN (2010).

    Saki Uehara. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Saki Uehara Performed by Natsuna Watanabe Another Tokyo native, twenty-year-old Saki Uehara replaced Kanon as the lead vocalist in 0°C. Saki is everything that Kanon isn`t at the show`s beginning: tough, hip, and cool. Saki is also a very perceptive woman, and is quickly able to figure out that Kotaro didn`t actually write “To the Top” all by himself. Saki`s reaction to Kotaro`s act of plagiarism marks a turning point in Kanon`s struggle to cope with her depression. Saki Uehara was played by then up-and-coming actress Natsuna Watanabe, who has appeared in the TV dramas MEMORIES OF MATSUKO (2006), MOP GIRL (2007) and QUARTET (2011). Her breakout role came in the film GANTZ, where she played female lead Kei Kishimoto. She now goes by the shortened stage name "Natsuna". ? Ikki and Shinya Ikki performed by Keisuke Tarumi Shinya performed by Hiroshi Yoshimi These conniving young men are the drummer and bassist (respectively) for 0°C. They are perfectly aware that Kotaro copied some lyrics and the melody line of “To the Top” from Kanon`s Prayer Song, and basically don`t care. These two young men have no ambitions aside from becoming famous. As the series begins, they`re putting pressure on Kotaro to write something the band can use as a follow-up single.

    Otaki. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Otaki Performed by Rie Shibata Otaki is the Onbake in charge of all Onbake who operate in the Tokyo region, born from a cauldron used as a stock pot. She`s loud, nosy, and bossy, commanding the others in a distinctly feminine way. Taihei`s team check in with her immediately after they come to the city and often frequent her ramen shop, Dai-chan. Otaki never displays any supernatural power in the series or shows her true Onbake form. Instead, she guides the other Onbake through her great wisdom. She is an old acquaintance of Jyuzo and doesn`t always agree with his methods. The two often bicker like an old married couple. That said, Otaki can often see the real Jyuzo better than the old man can himself. Otaki is played by actress Rie Shibata, whose long list of credits includes THE QUIET LIFE (1995), SECRET (1999) and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006). Shibata had previously worked with DAIMAJIN KANON head director, Taro Sakamoto, on the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series MAGICAL GIRL CHUKANA PAI-PAI (1989).
    ? Jyuzo Performed by Hiroyuki Nagato

    Jyuzo. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Jyuzo is the stone lantern Onbake, and the Onbake in charge of all who operate in the Tohoku region (where Yamagata is located). His human form is an old man, with an irascible and stubborn personality to match. Taihei`s team answers to Jyuzo as much as Otaki, and frequently communicate with him. Trying to re-awaken Bujin is Jyuzo`s major goal throughout the series, which leads him to assign Taihei to helping Kanon sing again. Jyuzo, in his human form, dwells in Kanon`s hometown with the young Onbake Shouta. Jyuzo usually gives Taihei instructions via telephone. Jyuzo was played by Hiroyuki Nagato, who had starred in the films SEASON OF THE SUN (1956), ENDLESS DESIRE (1958), STOLEN DESIRE (1958), PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS (1961), YO-YO GIRL COP (2006) and SHINJUKU INCIDENT (2009). Nagato passed away on May 21, 2011.

    Shouta. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Shouta Performed by Fuku Suzuki By far the youngest of the Onbake, Shouta is not even one hundred years old yet. He is the television set Onbake and lives with Jyuzo in Kanon`s hometown. He sometimes helps the others by carrying messages. Child actor Fuku Suzuki works steadily in television, including one of the lead roles in the drama YOKAI NINGEN BEM (2011). ? Kaenji and Yumonji Kaenji performed by Shuhei Izumi Yumonji performed by Nao Kinomoto Kaenji is the stove Onbake, and Yumonji is the kettle Onbake. They both protected a peaceful village in the countryside that the Ipadada callously destroys. To try and stop it from getting any more powerful, Kaenji and Yumonji join Sawamori`s pursuit group.

    Gombei. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Gombei Voice performed by Seizo Kato Gombei is an Onbake born from a bonshou bell. His power is similar to Bujin`s, but he is younger and therefore much weaker. He`s still a giant compared to the other battle-worthy Onbake, and can handle Ipadada that are far greater in power. No one is sure if he can handle a fight with a Great Ipadada, but the other Onbake hope that Gombei might be able to defeat the Ipadada before it completes its transformation. Gombei is certainly willing to try, as he`s a proud and cocky Onbake who never turns down a battle. ? Kazahana Voice performed by Nozomi Sasaki A tiny Onbake whose head is wrapped in a flowing scarf. While she is too small to be effective in combat, she uses her powers of flight to provide air reconnaissance for the other Onbake. Named "Hillary" in the early character designs by concept artist Shinji Ooishi, Kazahana suited the "adorable" image producer Shigenori Takatera wanted for some of the Onbake.

    Tamekichi. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    ? Tamekichi and Doukan Performed by Ken Maeda Doukan voice performed by Nobuo Tanaka Tamekichi is the safe Onbake. The fortune-telling coin Onbake Doukan dwells in his head. When the Ipadada leaves Tokyo and takes to the countryside, Sawamori`s team is able to draw upon Doukan`s powers to protect its movements. Tamekichi is played by Ken Maeda, who is primarily a professional choreographer and dancer. In particular, he choreographs the 3D animated dance sequences that appear during the endings of Toei`s various PRETTY CURE animated series. ? Kirinoha Performed by Sayuki Matsumoto Kirinoha is an Onbake born from a praying mantis. Because of this, she is a powerful hand-to-hand combatant who gives a great deal of help to Sawamori`s team as they chase the Ipadada through the countryside. Actress Sayuki Matsumoto is a former race queen and gravure idol who has appeared in the films PACO AND THE MAGICAL PICTURE BOOK (2008), HANDSOME SUIT (2008), LALA PIPO: A LOT OF PEOPLE (2009) and CHOCOLATE DERRINGER (2009).

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode Guide

    Starting April 2, 2010, new episodes of DAIMAJIN KANON would debut each Friday (save one) at 1:23am on TV Tokyo. The episodes would later air outside the Tokyo area on Television Aichi, TV Setouchi, TVQ Kyushu, Television Osaka, Nico Nico and Toei Satellite TV. The episode titles for DAIMAJIN KANON are all written with kanji that can be read as “ka” and “on.” When read out loud together, all of the twenty-six episode titles would sound like the name “Kanon” to Japanese ears. These titles are translated here based on the literal meanings of the characters, which always relate to the events of an episode.

    Episode 1: DISTANT SONG. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 1: DISTANT SONG (??) Original Airdate: April 2, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writers: Shinji Ooishi and Ai Sumikawa

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    "This is the story of a girl who lost her way in the city, then used her song to make a miracle occur... a fable for the 21st century." A girl named Kanon Misaki has come to Tokyo from the Japanese countryside to pursue her dream of becoming a singer by studying at a music college, but has since entered a hopeless depression after a painful breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Kotaro Ushirone. Without permission, Kotaro took the tune of a Yamagatan folk song Kanon sang for him and turned it into catchy yet soulless pop song called “To The Top” performed by his band, 0°C. To Kanon that song was a precious memory of her grandmother, defiled by Kotaro’s greed. As “To The Top” climbs the Japanese pop charts, it seems as if the city itself torments Kanon. A supernatural threat is brewing alongside Kanon’s personal crisis. Kanon has nightmares about an enormous demon and a tremendous stone giant. A man named Kento Saiki is executed after being convicted of the murders of his parents and five other people. Although Kotaro seems to care about little but his band’s success, the empty look in Kento’s eyes haunts him. A terrible bond is formed between Kento’s spirit and Kotaro’s hollow soul. That night, Kento’s spirit seizes control of Kotaro’s body as the young man walks the streets.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The scene shifts to Japan’s rural Yamagata prefecture, just outside of Kanon`s hometown. Atop a mountainside, a strange man named Taihei beseeches the man-shaped mountain called Bujin to return to life. Although Bujin was said to once be a legendary warrior who defeated hundreds of demons, something happened that caused Bujin to turn himself to stone. The old man Jyuzo sends Taihei to Tokyo with his tiny sidekick Buchinko to discover a way to revive Bujin. At Dai-chan, the old woman Otaki’s old-fashioned ramen shop in Tokyo, Taihei meets up with other persons like himself: seductive Ikechiyo, spirited Hashitaka, hapless Tomosuke, and steadfast Sawamori. Together they hunt the Ipadada, a murderous demon that was born as Kento Saiki’s hate-filled spirit failed to pass properly into the afterlife. Together, the five warriors must work to defeat the Ipadada themselves while also seeking a way to revive Bujin, in case the Ipadada grows too powerful for them. They must find the next in the lineage of the Yamagatan Songstresses, who can use their pure voices to sing the Prayer Song that revives Bujin. Taihei knew the next Songstress when she was but a little girl and is certain that he can convince her to help, if only he can find her. Ignorant of the supernatural melodrama unfolding around her, Kanon is drawn toward the comforting smells and sounds of Otaki’s country-style ramen shop...

    Episode 2: HIS SONG. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 2: HIS SONG (??) Original Airdate: April 9, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writers: Shinji Ooishi and Ai Sumikawa Taihei fails to recognize Kanon in Otaki’s ramen shop, realizing her identity as the Songstress only after she leaves. He vows to find her and secure her aid in the war against the Ipadada. Meanwhile, in Yamagata, Jyuzo recalls the battle centuries ago when a Songstress summoned Bujin for the last time. Although Bujin defeated the enormous ancient Ipadada, after the battle he fell into the stone sleep that still freezes him today.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Sawamori and Tomosuke track the Ipadada using a lock of its hair, obtained in previous battle. Tomosuke has supernatural dog-like powers and can track the Ipadada by scent. The Ipadada is prepared for them, using Kotaro’s body to consume frogs. Once the Ipadada has consumed a living creature, it can absorb its soul and then send it out as a drone-like attacker. The Ipadada escapes while Sawamori and Tomosuke, aided by Taihei, battle the frog-drones. Once the Ipadada returns to Kotaro’s apartment, the young man collapses in exhaustion. When he awakens, Kotaro is confronted by 0°C’s lead singer, Saki, over his disappearance the night before. Kotaro can’t account for his whereabouts, which Saki takes as an insulting refusal. She leaves Kotaro behind. Taihei secures Tomosuke’s help the next day to try and track down Kanon by her scent. He finds her apartment, but Kanon is nowhere to be found. She is out securing a part-time job as a waitress. Taihei leaves Buchinko behind to hide in Kanon’s apartment, as a spy. Heartened by a small victory in her otherwise joyless life, Kanon visits a music store where she runs into Saki and the other two members of 0°C, Ikki and Shinya. Saki is enthused to meet the band’s former lead singer, but Kanon is mortified. Kanon flees to her apartment, tormented by the memory of when she discovered that Kotaro was cheating on her. She hears Taihei humming the Prayer Song outside her room and, curious, goes outside to meet him. Taihei tries to be friendly and talks about the Prayer Song, saying it’s so wonderful that anyone can sing it. Kanon’s depression turns into anger as she’s reminded again of Kotaro’s betrayal. She stuns Taihei with the harshness of her words before she runs off.

    Episode 3: SMALL WARMTH. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 3: SMALL WARMTH (??) Original Airdate: April 16, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writers: Shinji Ooishi and Ai Sumikawa

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kanon’s new employers at the restaurant comment on the strangeness of her application, which included statements like “I don’t know” written where she was asked to list her hobbies. If not for her prior experience as a waitress, Kanon might not have been hired. Head waitress Maruyama and other employees struggle to befriend Kanon during her first day, but Kanon remains distant. Maruyama nevertheless invites Kanon to a welcome party the restaurant is throwing in her honor, an invitation that Kanon cannot bring herself to refuse. Taihei reports that he’s found the next Songstress, Kanon, in a phone call with Jyuzo. Taihei admits that he upset Kanon while speaking with her, even making her so angry that she said she hated the Prayer Song. Jyuzo is furious. He instructs Taihei that dealing with the Songstress is a delicate matter, so he cannot upset Kanon. Jyzuo commands Taihei to find her and apologize, then wonders what could drive such a nice young girl to hate such a good song. Taihei returns to Kanon’s apartment, Ikechiyo tagging along to help smooth over Taihei’s rough manners. Taihei, Jyuzo, and the other warriors from Yamagata are magical beings called Onbake. They are born when a human loves an object so much they invest a part of their souls in it. When the human dies, the object comes to life as an Onbake, resembling the human who loved it. Onbake do good deeds for humans, trying to express their gratitude. An Onbake lives only because a human loved it, once, when it was unable to show love in return. The Onbake are immortal and their physical bodies do not age over time.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Taihei reminisces about when he met Kanon, back when she was a little girl, when she looked very different and he looked exactly the same. Taihei had saved Kanon from a sudden landslide. Kanon’s grandmother had the little girl sing the Prayer Song to Taihei in thanks, as was her family’s custom. At that time, Kanon’s grandmother called the Prayer Song a precious family heirloom, and Taihei was overjoyed to hear it. Kotaro meets with his band mates, to show them a demo of the song he hopes will become their next hit single. The demo song is awful, even though Kotaro claimed he worked on it all night. The other members of 0°C leave Kotaro’s apartment, afraid that the band may become a one-hit wonder. Later that day in the restaurant, Kanon sees a man gruffly knock down an old women as he hurries to get to the salad bar. Kanon helps the woman, but is overwhelmed by the sight of the man’s senseless cruelty toward the old woman. It reminds her too much of the senseless cruelty she’s endured ever since coming to Tokyo. Overcome by her own grief and sadness, she flees into the back of the cafe as a stunned Maruyama watches.

    Episode 4: EXCESS DRINK. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 4: EXCESS DRINK (??) Original Airdate: April 23, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writers: Shinji Ooishi and Ai Sumikawa Taihei and Ikechiyo see a man steal a bike, in broad daylight. Both are shocked. Taihei goes to great lengths to recover the bike. While he’s congratulated by the other Onbake, Sawamori scolds him for being naïve. He says that in a big city like Tokyo, things aren’t as simple as they are out in Yamagata and Taihei can’t expect to right every wrong he sees.

    Kanon does her best to endure the loud, drunken party the restaurant staff hold for her that night. Maruyama can see her distress and regrets inviting Kanon to come. While the other employees carouse, Maruyama asks her about the incident earlier that day, when she fled the cafe. Kanon admits that she was so upset by what she saw that she hid in the back of the store and cried. Maruyama is incredulous and asks Kanon why she was crying. Kanon cannot answer her. The noise of the party swallows up the question. Taihei goes to Kanon’s apartment to apologize again, but she’s away at the party. Taihei tries to wait for her, but is accosted by one of Kanon’s neighbors. Walking the streets, Taihei feels dejected and admits to himself that maybe Sawamori was right. At that time another tiny Onbake, the flying spy Kazahana, informs Taihei that a soul drone is active in the area. Taihei rushes off to battle it. Maruyama and Kanon leave the party together, both a bit drunk. Maruyama invites Kanon back to her apartment for a drink, so they can talk a bit more in a quiet place. Once she’s at Maruyama’s place, Kanon becomes drunk enough to begin confessing what’s happened to her since she came to Tokyo. Her experiences in the city have betrayed everything her grandmother taught her about trusting and helping others. Maruyama listens sympathetically.

    Episode 5: TORTUROUS FAVOR. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 5: TORTUROUS FAVOR (??) Original Airdate: April 30, 2010 Director: Atsushi Shimizu Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa Kanon awakens after spending the night at Maruyama’s apartment, since she’d grown too drunk to walk home. After she leaves Maruyama’s, Kanon receives a call from Kaname Fukatsu, one of her college classmates. Kaname says that Kanon is in big trouble and needs to meet her at the school’s campus.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The Onbake gather at Otaki’s ramen shop. The Ipadada has used its soul drones to stage two attacks in a row. It is now stronger than anything the Onbake have battled before. Taihei goes to meet Kanon again while the others patrol and this time catches her while she’s on the way to school. Taihei follows her, trying to apologize, but Kanon refuses to listen. She finds him strange and suspicious. Taihei returns to the ramen shop, dejected. Ikechiyo sings a song for him, pointing out that music is often the best way for people to make their feelings clear to each other. Taihei is struck by sudden inspiration. Kanon meets Kaname at the school campus. Kaname warns Kanon that she’s been absent so many times she’s in danger of failing one of her classes. Kaname takes Kanon to see the class’s professor so Kanon can explain herself. The professor excuses Kanon’s absences. When Kanon thanks Kaname for her help, Kaname instructs Kanon to fill in her name on the attendance sheet for her third and fourth period classes.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kanon is shocked and feels betrayed. She tries to refuse Kaname’s request, but Kaname claims she needs to miss class to see her sick grandmother. Kanon covers for Kaname, then gets a call from the restaurant to come in and help with an evening shift. Kanon says she can’t go because something came up at school, but promises to get there as soon as she can. Later, girls from Kaname’s class pull Kanon aside and inform her that Kaname lies like this to get people to cover for her absences all the time. Kanon is deeply embarrassed. She leaves in a rush for the restaurant, hoping to redeem herself. When Kanon reaches the restaurant, she finds that another employee has arrived to cover the shift. Her trip was for nothing. Taihei and Tomosuke have gone to Kanon’s campus, hoping to meet her after class. While they wait, Taihei entertains a crowd by singing Ikechiyo’s song. When he asks for requests, a girl in the crowd asks him to sing “To The Top.” Taihei says he’s never heard it before. He is shocked when the girl plays the song for him on her cell phone. Notes: TORTUROUS FAVOR`s plot revolves around a characteristic of Japanese Universities that might be confusing to Westerners; namely that class attendance is far more important than participation. Many lectures put so much weight on attendance that they don`t even bother with a final exam. Since attendance is usually taken by passing an attendance sheet through the class, daihen (??) -- filling in someone else`s attendance information so that they can skip without negative consequences -- is a reasonably common activity.

    Episode 6: ADDED WARMTH. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 6: ADDED WARMTH (??) Original Airdate: May 7, 2010 Director: Atsushi Shimizu Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa While the other Onbake continue to battle the Ipadada’s soul drones, Taihei once more returns to Otaki’s ramen shop in defeat. He failed to catch Kanon before she left campus earlier, so he’s once again blown a chance to apologize to her. He feels even more useless when Hashitaka returns to the ramen shop, injured from an earlier battle. Taihei calls Jyuzo and asks to be released from the mission of securing Kanon’s help. Jyuzo is furious and says that what Taihei is doing with Kanon is every bit as important as the battles the other Onbake are fighting right now. His spirits lifted, Taihei agrees to keep trying to get through to Kanon.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Worn down by the events of the day, Kanon returns to her apartment and cries. When her tears dry, she vows not to make the mistake of caring too much about others ever again. Buchinko overhears her vow. The next day, Taihei returns to Kanon’s apartment. She’s already left for class. Buchinko reports what he heard earlier to Taihei, who is alarmed. Taihei finds Kanon at a bus stop ignoring a woman who’s dropped her groceries all over the sidewalk. Taihei helps the woman and then chews out Kanon for her heartless behavior. Kanon explodes at him, wanting to know why he even cares. She says Taihei doesn’t know anything about her, but Taihei says that he did, once. Kanon threatens to call the police if Taihei doesn’t leave her alone. Kanon sits through her classes, Taihei’s accusations ringing in her ears. Based on intel from Buchiko, Taihei, waits around a pet shop where he thinks Kanon will stop to buy food for her pet turtle. Kanon rushes away when she sees him. Taihei pursues, but loses track of her. Dejected, Taihei walks through a park and wonders if Kanon really has become totally different than the little girl he once knew. While he’s walking, Taihei sees two young men bullying an older man. Taihei intervenes to stop them, continuing to smile even when the bullies begin trying to beat him up. When the bullies see that their blows mean nothing to Taihei they run, saying that he’s crazy. Kanon sees this and is touched. She approaches Taihei and asks if he is all right. Kanon and Taihei are finally able to speak with each other. Taihei finds out how the Prayer Song was stolen and remade into “To The Top.” Kanon apologizes for her behavior. Taihei invites her back to Otaki’s shop for ramen.

    Episode 7: HIDDEN SONG. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 7: HIDDEN SONG (??) Original Airdate: May 14, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writer: Shinsuke Onishi At Otaki’s, Kanon meets the other Onbake and tells them what happened to the Prayer Song. She’s surprised to see how deeply the Onbake share her grief over the incident. Taihei suggest that Kanon lift everyone’s spirits by singing the real Prayer Song to them. Kanon sings it, but it seems to Taihei that something is missing in the song… as if Kanon can’t put her whole heart into it anymore. Taihei decides to track down 0°C and make them apologize.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    In his dreams, Kotaro sees memories from the Kento Saiki’s painful past. He awakens, disturbed, with Saki angrily waiting outside his apartment. She’s there to take him to a club meeting, saying it looks bad for 0°C when he doesn’t attend. After the meeting, Saki urges Kotaro to attend classes again, but Kotaro doesn’t care. Saki leaves him behind, irritated. As Saki tries to leave campus, she crosses paths with Taihei, who’s gone there to find 0°C. After someone tells Taihei that Saki is the band’s vocalist, he marches up to her and begins chewing her out for stealing things from other people. Saki is bewildered at first, but slowly realizes what must have happened between Kotaro and Kanon. Over Taihei’s protests, she goes to speak with Kanon alone at her apartment. Kanon tells Saki her story. Using Dai-chan as a headquarters, the other Onbake try to learn more about the Ipadada and how it’s grown so powerful. Right now the Ipadada is a monosoul. It is bound to a single host and can only take over the host’s body if it is asleep or otherwise unconscious. If it grows strong enough to become a decasoul, it will gain the ability to control its host at any time and move freely to another suitable host whenever it wishes.

    Episode 8: WHIRLING SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 8: WHIRLING SOUND (??) Original Airdate: May 21, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writer: Shinsuke Onishi The Onbake battle the Ipadada, finally drawing near to its current host, Kotaro. They fail to catch him, leaving Kotaro to once again awaken tired and confused. Taihei splits off to take care of the situation with 0°C while the other Onbake remain on the Ipadada’s trail. At campus, Kotaro crosses paths with Kanon, but brushes him off coldly. Kotaro next meets Saki, who wants to talk about where he got “To The Top.”

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Saki later confronts the entire band, finding out that Ikki and Shinya knew about Kotaro’s theft all along. Saki threatens not to sing the song at 0°C’s planned concert that night, but instead to get up on stage and admit the plagiarism in front of all their fans. Once they’re onsite, the band’s manager congratulates them on reaching #9 on the pop charts. Saki tries to tell their manager about the plagiarism, but isn’t able to get a word in edgewise. Taihei meets Kanon and finds out that Saki gave her an apology. Taihei hopes this means that everything’s okay now, but Kanon has realized that her problems with the Prayer Song run deeper than she realized. Although the theft of the song hurt her, what really keeps her from enjoying the Prayer Song any more is a feeling of distance between her current self and her happy childhood in Yamagata with her grandmother. She’s not sure she can ever sing the Prayer Song and mean it again. Taihei can’t bear to see Kanon so depressed and tries to cheer her up by taking her to Dai-chan.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Saki tries to announce the plagiarism onstage before 0°C’s concert begins, but can`t bring herself to disappoint the excited fans in the crowd. Instead, she sings “To The Top” to open the concert. After the performance is over, the other members of 0°C hope that Saki has decided she’d rather be famous than honest. Instead, Saki remains disgusted with the entire situation. The next day, when Saki’s sister tries to congratulate her on her success, all Saki can say is that “To The Top” isn’t her song. At Dai-chan, the Onbake teach Kanon a Yamagatan festival song. The familiar rhythms of folk music and the company of the friendly Onbake does indeed help Kanon shake off some of her depression. After returning home, Kanon realizes the true source of her unhappiness is that she can no longer express herself through music. She once wrote lyrics all the time, but has never been able to do so after her breakup with Kotaro. Notes: WHIRLING SOUND is yet another DAIMAJIN KANON episode full of music, from the lyrics in Kanon`s notebook to the Onbake song that will prove significant later in the series. The "Onja Onja" chant appears to be a corruption of "Oni ja Oni ja", meaning "There`s the oni!". The phrase is famously shouted at Oni-Chasing Festivals, post-New Year celebrations which have existed since the Heian era. The servants would dress up like oni (Japanese demons), and get chased around by their lords to symbolize the driving away of sickness and ill fortune.

    Episode 9: SUMMER SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 9: SUMMER SOUND (??) Original Airdate: June 4, 2010 Director: Yasuhiro Ohmine Writer: Miyuki Sekiguchi When Kanon arrives home from school, she finds the Onbake gathered in her apartment, waiting to welcome her home. The Onbake invite Kanon to go to the summer festival with them and help run Dai-chan’s stall. Kanon agrees, so the Onbake urge her to try one some of the yukata they’ve brought for her to wear at the festival. Once Kanon’s made a choice, the Onbake leave for Dai-chan’s. Kanon promises to meet them, but while she’s getting ready, finds that food is missing from her refrigerator again.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The Onbake are excited to participate in a Tokyo festival, though they lament how commercial things have gotten these days. Taihei gets nostalgic about his past and the man whose gratitude made him an Onbake. The nostalgia spreads to the other Onbake, who all begin talking about the people and incidents that transformed them. When Kanon arrives, she’s a bit annoyed because all of the beef sausages she keeps in her fridge have disappeared over the past few weeks. She at first suspects Tomosuke of eating it all, but instead he apologizes for eating all of her ice. When she suspects Sawamori, he apologizes for drinking all of her jasmine tea. Eventually, Taihei realizes the culprit must be Buchinko, who he left there to spy on Kanon. He explains the situation to her and apologizes. Hashitaka and Ikechiyo also apologize, which leads to Hashitaka admitting that she ate all of Kanon’s ice cream. Kanon accepts everyone’s apology and prepares to go with them to have fun at the festival. At that moment, the tiny spy Onbake Edonoha arrives, saying that the Ipadada is terrorizing the city. The Onbake split up, with Kanon and the girls heading off to help with Otaki’s stall while Taihei, Tomosuke, and Sawamori prepare to go battle the Ipadada. Notes: The broadcast of this episode was delayed one week by live TV coverage of the World Table Tennis Championship in Moscow. SUMMER SOUND provides the first direct connection between the television series and the classic Daimajin movies when Taihei reveals that his patron was the warlord Juro Chigusa Tokisa, hero of the second Daimajin film, RETURN OF MAJIN. In that film, Tokisa was played by actor Kojiro Hongo, a popular leading man at Daiei who is best known today for his starring role in BUDDHA (1961), several Gamera movies starting with GAMERA VS BARUGON (1966), and the yokai film ALONG WITH GHOSTS. In DAIMAJIN KANON the character is portrayed by Hidekazu Mashima, the same actor playing Taihei. In fact, all of the "masters" shown in the flashback scenes are played by the same actors starring as DAIMAJIN KANON`s Onbake. The opening narration is subtly revised to "This is the story of a girl who struggled with her faith in people, then used her song to summon a miracle... a fable for the 21st century."

    Episode 10: NO PROFIT. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 10: NO PROFIT (??) Original Airdate: June 11, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa Two weeks later, Kanon is beginning to feel better about herself thanks to Taihei’s constant attention, but still isn’t able to sing the Prayer Song with her whole heart. While eating lunch near campus, Kanon and Taihei see Professor Moriya begging another member of the faculty for work. He’s turned down, and dejectedly climbs to the top of a building. Taihei fears that Moriya intends to commit suicide and chases after, intending to talk him down.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    It turns out Moriya just climbed the building so he could sing out his frustrations. Once Taihei is calmed down, Moriya tells his story. Moriya was an assistant professor at Jonan University until last spring, when he was abruptly laid off because the department head didn’t like him. The other professors wouldn’t risk helping Moriya and the department head made sure that the grievance committee wouldn’t hear his complaint. Taihei is outraged, forcing Kanon to calm him down. Taihei stays to speak more with Moriya, who was the lead singer of a band in his younger days, while Kanon goes to class. In class, Kanon wonders why she didn’t stay to listen to Moriya, too. After class, she finds that Moriya and Taihei have begun writing a satirical song about layoffs together. Kanon listens to them sing it and is reminded of the pure emotions she felt when she first sang the Prayer Song to Kotaro. When Taihei invites her to help him and Moriya write the song’s second verse, she panics and refuses to participate. Kanon retreats to Dai-chan, where she pours out her troubles to Otaki. Kanon is troubled as Otaki describes Taihei as someone who just doesn’t think ahead. Ikechiyo invites Kanon for a walk. As Ikechiyo suspected, Kanon has realized that Otaki’s description of Taihei was also a description of the person she used to be. Kanon confesses that she’s afraid of what will happen to Taihei if something goes wrong with his attempt to help Moriya. Ikechiyo says that she feels Kanon and Taihei are two halves of a whole and that whatever happens, it’ll be better if she and Taihei are together. Kanon realizes that Ikechiyo is right. Fighting down her fears, she joins Moriya and Taihei at the bar where they’re drinking after completing the Layoff Song. They tell Kanon about their plan to perform their song on the streets to help drum up sympathy for Moriya (and earn a little money). Kanon silently vows to do whatever she can to help them.

    Episode 11: REGRETTED WARMTH. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 11: REGRETTED WARMTH (??) Original Airdate: June 18, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Taihei and Moriya begin to perform the Layoff Song in public at train stations together, wearing a tiger (tora) and squirrel (risu) costume (respectively) to pun off of the “restructuring” (risutora) excuse offered when Moriya was fired. Kanon decides to help them by uploading a video of their performance onto a streaming video site much like YouTube. The next day, she finds the video has gone viral worldwide after being posted in an American actor`s blog. Once this success is explained to Taihei, he eagerly seeks out Moriya at his home to share the good news. At Moriya`s home, Taihei and Kanon meet Moriya`s pregnant wife Minori and their first child. Right now, the family is packing up to move, as they expect to lose their house. Minori thanks Taihei and Kanon for cheering Moriya up, as she feared he was going to commit suicide. Taihei and Kanon arrange to meet with Moriya later in the day at a train station, but Moriya doesn`t show up. Having consumed the lives of many insects and frogs, the Ipadada is growing more active. The news reports sixteen dogs slain the Chofu area, victims of the Ipadada`s drive to increase its power. Now that it`s strong enough to consume dogs, it can begin menacing the city with dog-drone monsters. As the Onbake track down the Ipadada, Tomosuke says that the scent of the Ipadada`s human host is growing weaker.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Taihei and Kanon eventually track down Moriya, who says that he will no longer perform the Layoff Song in public. The university contacted him after the Layoff Song video went viral, fearing that its popularity would generate bad publicity. Moriya was offered his old job back, on the condition that he never sings the Layoff Song again. Moriya accepted the offer so his family could remain in their home. Taihei can`t understand what seems to be, to him, Moriya betraying his principles for money. Taihei begs Moriya to continue to sing the song, so he can be happy. Moriya said that he`s had his fill of happiness and now, he must face the reality of supporting his family. Kanon is devastated to see this as the outcome of her actions. She returns to her apartment and cries. Ikechiyo arrives to comfort Kanon, and says they should go see Taihei at Dai-chan. There, they find Taihei deeply drunk and miserable. He hiccups, accidentally reverting to his Onbake warrior form. Kanon can only stare at him, shocked. Notes: Episode 11 includes a handful of jokes that will most likely be lost on Western audiences. In the first, Taihei and Moriya dress up as a tiger and a squirrel because of a ridiculous pun. "Risu" is the Japanese word for "squirrel", and "tora" is the word for "tiger." The Japanese word "risutora" is also a corruption of the English word "restructuring", which was of course the pretense for Moriya`s layoff. So when Taihei holds up a banner that reads "Risutora wa nanda?!", it simultaneously means both "What`s up with these layoffs?!" and "What`s up with the squirrel and the tiger?!" There`s an even more incredibly obscure in-joke during the early scene where Kanon is naming train stations. Rie Shibata, the actress playing Otaki, previously played a character named Sayuri Sangenjaya in the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series MAGICAL GIRL CHUKANA PAI-PAI (Mahou Shoujo Chuukana Paipai, 1989), which was directed by DAIMAJIN KANON`s head director, Taro Sakamoto. Sangenjaya is also the name of a train station in the Setagaya region of Tokyo, and the camera cuts to Otaki just as Kanon names that station.

    Episode 12: GRATEFUL CHANGE. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 12: GRATEFUL CHANGE (??) Original Airdate: June 25, 2010 Director: Takuji Kitamura Writer: Shinji Ooishi Kanon deletes the Layoff Song video from the streaming service where it was hosted. Ikechiyo writes her a letter, explaining to her what the Onbake are and why Taihei feels so strongly about people needing to trust in each other. Kanon realizes for the first time that her friends at Dai-chan aren`t humans. She goes to Dai-chan to thank Ikechiyo for her letter.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    At Dai-chan, the Onbake are incredibly busy. Otaki is leaving to seek a substitute who could try to fight the Ipadada if it reaches its full power before Kanon can awaken Bujin. A new fighter, the diminutive but powerful sword Onbake Tobei, has arrived to help deal with the escalating danger. Jyuzo and Shouta have also traveled to Tokyo, and meet Kanon for the first time. Jyuzo immediately recognizes Kanon as the Songstress. Hashitaka, Tomosuke, and Tobei set out to fight the Ipadada, guided by Kazehana. Meanwhile, Jyuzo explains the nature of the Ipadada to Kanon. An Ipadada is a human who dies bearing great hatred and returns as a vengeful spirit. Ipadadas appear roughly every dozen years or so and it is the duty of Onbake to defeat them. As Kanon takes this in, the harmonica Onbake Fukumatsu arrives, along with the friendly human Wakamatsu.

    Episode 13: MISPLACED RESENTMENT. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 13: MISPLACED RESENTMENT (??) Original Airdate: July 2, 2010 Director: Takuji Kitamura Writer: Shinji Ooishi

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    With Tobei`s help, Hashitaka and Tomosuke have finally captured the Ipadada. The Onbake close down Dai-chan so everyone can work toward exorcizing the Ipadada`s spirit from Kotaro`s body. While the Onbake chant, an unconscious Kotaro sees more scenes from the troubled life of Kento Saiki. Kento confesses that he murdered his overbearing mother to free himself of her and says that he intends to keep killing using as many “hands” as he can. The Onbake try to drive the Ipadada`s spirit into Sawamori so he can cleanse its spirit, but the Ipadada has already grown far too strong. The Ipadada escapes. The Onbake realize that Kotaro was the Ipadada`s host all along; Ikechiyo is unsurprised. The Ipadada cannot possess Kotaro again, but now that it`s free, it`s only a matter of time until it finds another host. Tobei speculates that the Ipadada must already be stronger than a decasoul, perhaps approaching a hectosoul level of power.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Jyuzo says that the Onbake will need Bujin`s power soon. The other Onbake are shocked, because they believed Bujin was dead. To the Onbake, Bujin is an ancestral figure, because he was the first-ever Onbake. Because of that, Bujin developed the power to fight hectosoul Ipadadas. After answering many calls from Songstresses to battle Ipadada in ancient times, Bujin`s own soul become scarred from cleansing them. Eventually, when he arrived late to save a village from a hectosoul Ipadada, the villagers cursed him. Bujin sank into depression, the depths of his depression turning his body to stone. Jyuzo thinks that if Kanon could since the Prayer Song for him one more time, it would awaken Bujin. Meanwhile, Kanon goes to dinner with Wakamatsu. They discuss the Onbake and how strange it is that human gratitude can create them, when humans often treat other humans callously. Wakamatsu reveals that he went through a period of depression that eased when he met Fukumatsu. It reminds Kanon of how Taihei helped bring her out of her own bout of depression. Wakamatsu says that since humans can create Onbake, they can`t be all bad. After the meal, Kanon returns to Dai-chan. Taihei and Jyzuo are waiting for her. Notes: This episode features an exorcism scene. Both the sake that Sawamori drinks and the Sakaki branch he waves are traditional instruments of Shinto exorcism, as is the Sanskrit that the other Onbake chant during the ritual. That`s right, Buddhist chants are a traditional part of Shinto exorcisms. Religion in Japan is really complicated.

    Episode 14: OBSCURED SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 14: OBSCURED SOUND (??) Original Airdate: July 9, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa Ikechiyo watches over Kotaro as he recovers from the Ipadada’s possession. Jyuzo has taken over the Dai-chan ramen shop, but his ramen is far from tasty. The Onbake decide not to reveal to Kanon that Kotaro was possessed by the Ipadada during its murder spree, since they fear it might upset her too much.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The other members of 0°C have no idea why Kotaro has disappeared and are forced to perform a concert without him. After the concert, Saki reflects upon her dissatisfaction with 0°C and how she came to join the band. Hashitaka and Sawamori meet up with Tamekichi, the safe Onbake, and Doukan, the coin Onbake that dwells within Tamekichi`s head. Doukan uses his powers to track the Ipadada’s movements, allowing the others to pursue it. They later meet up with another new Onbake who plans to help them, the kettle Onbake Yumonji. Later that day, Saki is contacted by 0°C’s manager, Fujita. He wants to disband the current iteration of the band and from a new one with Saki as the leader and Kotaro removed from the line-up. He says that the company has received some complaints about Kotaro’s songwriting, specifically that “To The Top” copied parts of a folk song without attribution. The record company now believes that Kotaro is a bad investment.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Saki immediately contacts Kanon and asks to meet with her. Taihei is convinced it’s some sort of trick, but Kanon decides to meet with Saki anyway. Saki apologizes for continuing to sing "To The Top" even after she knew that it was plagiarized. Kanon accepts her apology, but is stunned by Saki’s next request: Saki asks Kanon to work with her to write a new song that the new 0°C can use as a debut single. Saki found Kanon’s old lyric notebook at the music club, was blown away by the quality of the lyrics and wants Kanon to write songs for them. Kanon says she can’t make a decision like that on the spot. Saki asks Kanon to listen to her sing one of Kanon’s old songs before she makes a final decision. Saki begins to sing for Kanon on the spot, with all of her heart. Notes: This episode premieres a revised OP (opening) with new footage and a second verse added to the theme song, and a new ED (ending) by the artist Lia, who had also performed the original closing song for this series. The updated sequences maintain the established look of previous episodes while also allowing for the change in tone as the series progresses.

    Episode 15: BEAUTIFUL SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 15: BEAUTIFUL SOUND (??) Original Airdate: July 16, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa Kanon is amazed as Saki sings her arrangement of Kanon’s old lyrics to her. When Saki is finished, though, Kanon realizes that she simply cannot work with Saki, though she cannot explain why. Saki is frustrated and accuses Kanon of running away from her problems rather than facing them by making music. Before she leaves, Saki says she’ll be waiting for Kanon in the music club room tomorrow.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    At Dai-chan, Kanon explains what happened to Taihei and the other Onbake. Kanon says that Saki’s song brought tears to her eyes, which makes Taihei think it was because Saki hurt Kanon’s feelings. Kanon says that wasn’t the case. Taihei then asks her if it was because her old lyrics were so good. Kanon says that wasn’t the case, either... she can’t actually explain why at all. Taihei assumes that Saki’s actions must have been somehow malicious, but Kanon says that wasn’t the case. When Kanon returns home, she finds that her father Baroku has abruptly come to visit her from Yamagata, moving into her apartment without even asking her permission. He wants to know why Kanon left 0°C and accuses her of giving up on music, even though he’s still paying for her rent and tuition. Kanon gets defensive, but Baroku quotes a saying from a phrase-a-day calendar at her: “You can`t move a mountain by thinking at it.” On television, Kanon watches Saki publicly announce that 0°C is breaking up and that she will no longer sing “To The Top” in the future. Kanon is amazed by Saki’s willingness to brave the interviewer’s questions when she’s clearly upset. Meanwhile, Baroku tries to throw out Kanon’s keyboard without asking her. Kanon is furious and stops him, but Baroku says it doesn’t matter because it will just gather dust anyway. He implores Kanon to come back to Yamagata with him when he leaves. He says he can see in Kanon’s face that she’s grown afraid of Tokyo. Kanon thinks about Saki’s courage and realizes that her father is right. She decides to go see Saki at the music club.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Saki asks Kanon if she’ll accept her offer. Kanon says she has reservations, so Saki offers to chase them away. Saki takes Kanon to a scenic overlook of Tokyo and explains how, before she joined 0°C, she’d been so shaken by her experiences in Tokyo that she’d thought of giving up on being a musician. Instead, she continued on because she loved the melody of the song she believed to be “To The Top” so much. Through that song, Saki realized her ambition to use music to make others happy. Kanon agrees that she feels the same way and shared the same ambition, but she still refuses to work immediately with Saki. Instead, Kanon says that she won’t sing new songs again until she can sing the Prayer Song again with all of her heart. Only when she can sing the Prayer Song again can Kanon be the person she used to be, the person Saki wants to work with. Saki understands and tells a story about her past. Saki used to write love songs in middle school, ones all her friends said were very good. Then she fell in love herself and realized how embarrassingly awful her old songs were. Saki says she thinks Kanon has gone through a life-changing experience like that and suggests that she try putting her feelings into new song lyrics. Kanon is startled by the idea and thinks it might work. Saki says that she will wait for Kanon to work through her grief, if Kanon promises to come work with her then. Kanon agrees, relieved. Notes: This episode finally introduces Kanon`s father, Baroku Misaki (played by esteemed drama actor Ikkei Watanabe), who has appeared in the opening titles of DAIMAJIN KANON since the start of the series. Kanon Misaki speaks with her native-Yamagatan accent for the first time in the series. Also, there is a little in-joke when Kanon turns on the TV: a commercial is airing that includes material taken right from the commercials for the DAIMAJIN KANON Blu-ray set. Continuing the musical them of the show, Saki sings a song with lyrics written by Kanon. There`s a sweet, subtle metaphor running through the song that doesn`t seem apparent at first, but which brilliantly reflects both Kanon`s spirit and the through-arc of the show.

    Episode 16: VALUED SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 16: VALUED SOUND (??) Original Airdate: July 23, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writer: Shinsuke Onishi Taihei says he can’t pick Kanon up from college today because he has to do a favor for someone else. In fact, Taihei is moving Kotaro’s body back to his apartment with Tomosuke. Ikechiyo has purged all traces of the Ipadada’s hatred from Kotaro`s body, so he shouldn’t remember anything that happened. Kotaro awakens, believing only that he somehow slept for four days.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    While she’s at work, Kanon overhears a girl playing the “To The Top” on a piano. Kanon is touched by the beauty her playing brings to the Prayer Song’s melody. Her manager later reveals that the girl’s name is Kurara and that she’s a genius piano player. The manager says that Kurara’s mother is a ruthless perfectionist who forces a strict practice regimen on Kurara. Kanon tries to befriend Kurara, but the girl remains indifferent to her. Otaki returns to Dai-chan just before Taihei and Tomosuke return, her search for a substitute finished. She is furious that Jyuzo drank all of her cooking wine and sends Taihei out to buy more. At the grocery store, Taihei crosses paths with Kanon, who is doing her own grocery shopping. Taihei sees a little girl trying to shoplift; the girl is Kurara. She makes a scene, which ends with both of them in the back room of the grocery store with the police.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kanon tries to defuse the situation, but Kurara is rebellious at every turn until her mother arrives. Kurara’s mother immediately drags Kurara out of the grocery store, refusing even to speak with the manager about what happened. Kanon and Taihei protest her mother’s treatment of Kurara and everyone else around her, but to Kurara’s mother they’re nothing but inconveniences. Kanon is appalled by the woman’s selfish behavior. As Kurara’s mother pulls her away, Kurara complains that her hand hurts. Out in the countryside, the Ipadada has grown strong enough to begin killing humans. As Hashitaka and the others track the Ipadada, they begin passing through villages where all the residents have been slaughtered. In the ruins of one village they find Kaenji, the stove Onbake, who tells them what happened. The Ipadada is now unimaginably powerful, driven by a grudge like nothing Kaenji has ever seen before. Sawamori remarks that during the brief time he tried to hold the Ipadada in his body, he felt a deep sense of fear beneath the relentless need to kill in Kento Saiki’s soul.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kanon complains about Kurara’s mother to Baroku, who tells her that everyone’s selfish and she’s overreacting. Kanon thinks he’s just being negative and says she’s going to try to help Kurara anyway. Baroku asks her if she’s ready to take responsibility if her actions end up hurting Kurara more. Kanon says she is, but doesn’t really understand what he’s talking about. At Dai-chan, Taihei is complaining to Otaki about Kurara’s mother while Kanon visits. Unexpectedly, Kurara’s mother barges into the shop. She says that Kurara can no longer play piano because of her hand and blames Taihei, who grabbed Kurara’s wrist earlier in the grocery store. Taihei says that the accusation is ridiculous, but Kurara’s mother still expects him to take responsibility somehow. Otaki asks her how she expects Taihei to take responsibility for something like that, since he’s completely broke. Kurara’s mother doesn’t answer, but reiterates her demand to Taihei before leaving. After she’s gone, Otaki comments on the woman’s poisonous attitude and poor parenting. Everyone feels sorry for Kurara. Kanon feels concerned for Kurara. Kanon believes Kurara is in a situation like her own, her ability to express her love of music damaged by someone else’s selfishness. Kanon goes to see Kurara at her house while the girl’s mother is out. Kurara lets her in, but isn’t happy to see Kanon. Instead, she demands to know why Kanon cares so much about what happens to her.

    Episode 17: SHACKLED SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 17: SHACKLED SOUND (??) Original Airdate: July 30, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writer: Shinsuke Onishi Kanon explains that she heard Kurara playing “To The Top” and was touched by her rendition of it on the piano. Kurara asks if that’s why Kanon tried to keep her from getting into trouble at the grocery store. Kanon agrees, adding that she doesn’t think anyone who played the song so well could really be a bad person. Kurara’s mother arrives home just then, prompting Kurara to escape the house with Kanon.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kurara says that her mother was always controlling, but has been unbearable since she said her hand hurt back at the grocery store. Kanon says that she’s probably just worried about her, but Kurara doesn’t agree. Kurara believes her mother only cares about her ability to play the piano, so she simply lied about her hand being injured to see if it would get her mother to lay off. Impulsively, Kanon asks Kurara to come home with her, then leads her away from her house. Once at Kanon’s home, Kurara feigns being unable to play the piano again when she sits before Kanon’s keyboard. Kanon encourages her not to lie and just to play what she wants. Kurara begins Kanon about her home situation, saying that her mother’s obsession began when she divorced her father. Kurara was taught the piano by her father, a classical pianist. Now Kurara believes her mother is using her to get revenge on her father, by trying to push her to the top of the world of classical piano in record time. It makes Kurara miserable, because she wants to play all kinds of songs on the piano, but her mother won’t allow her to play pop music like “To The Top.” Kanon invites Kurara to play whatever she likes. Kurara describes the feeling of freedom she enjoys when she plays music she loves on the piano, free of her mother’s pressure. Kanon, who knows she can’t keep Kurara in her apartment forever, suggests that she do something to show her mother how she feels, perhaps by playing a song she truly loves for her on the piano. Kanon hopes to reconcile the two that way. Meanwhile, Kurara’s mother has barged into Dai-chan, demanding the return of her daughter. When Otaki loudly points out that they don’t know where she is, Kurara’s mother insists that they go look for her.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    With Doukan’s power, Hashitaka’s team of Onbake have tracked the Ipadada down to another village. During the battle, Kaenji tries to absorb the Ipadada into his own body so he can exorcise it. The Ipadada completely overwhelms him, leaving him unconscious and traumatized by the Ipadada’s growing hatred. Kanon explains her plan to Baroku when he returns to her apartment. He seems ambivalent about it, suggesting that the gambit may not work. He says that the bond between parent and child is a strong one, perhaps too strong for Kanon to affect. Kurara’s mother eventually finds her upon her return to Dai-chan. She immediately tries to drag Kurara home, speaking about her as if she wasn’t there. Kanon and Taihei implore Kurara’s mother to listen to her daughter’s feelings and let her decide her own future. Kurara hesitantly tries to tell her mother that she doesn’t really want to play Classical music. Kurara’s mother briskly replies that she doesn’t care what Kurara wants. The Onbake at Dai-chan try to get Kurara’s mother to listen to Kurara’s song, but she refuses.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    After Kaenji regains consciousness, he says that he saw Kento as a boy and heard a cold, self-righteous voice constantly admonishing him. Kaenji saw the same memories of Kento that Kotaro did: Kento bent over a desk as a child, his mother standing behind him and criticizing his every pen-stroke with “Kento! Kento! Kento!”. Kento apologizes, but she is never satisfied. Kaenji screams at the woman to stop, but she will not. Kaenji then tries to lead the child Kento away. Kento`s mother calls him back. The child Kento begins to strangle Kaenji, as Kento`s child-like face morphs into the Ipadada`s. After that, Kaenji woke up. Kaenji says that he believes Kento’s grudge is against everyone and that he views every person, especially his mother, as his enemy. Kento’s fear and hatred of his mother drives him onward, making him easy prey for the Ipadada. Kanon has gone out to meet Kurara, sending her a text that she should meet her outside her house. When Kanon arrives there, she sees Kurara’s mother packing the family’s belongings into a car. Kurara’s mother is furious to see Kanon and asks her if she intends to take responsibility for everything she’s put Kurara through. Kanon says she’s done nothing wrong. Kurara’s mother says that she’s leaving the country with Kurara, to help ensure her success as a classical pianist. Kanon is shocked and asks if Kurara agreed to that. Kurara’s mother says that her daughter always agrees with what she says, sooner or later. Kurara’s mother drives away, with Kurara sitting silently in the back seat of the car. Kanon stumbles home to her father, wondering what she should have done. Notes: Kanon`s dad prepares another crazy Yamagatan specialty here, translated here as `rolled konjac.` Konjac is a firm gelatin-like substance made from the devil`s tongue plant. It`s typically sold in rectangular blocks for slicing, but the Yamagatan preparation has it rolled into little spheres and marinated in dashi base, soy sauce, sake, and sugar.

    Episode 18: DISTANT ANSWER. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 18: DISTANT ANSWER (??) Original Airdate: August 6, 2010 Director: Atsushi Shimizu Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa Kotaro meets with 0°C’s former manager, Fujita. He curtly explains to Kotaro that the 0°C is simply over and the label has no further interest in working with Kotaro. The other members of 0°C are all looking to join other bands now except Saki, who the company sent to New York to study. Kotaro says he’d like to go to New York to study. Fujita says it’s too bad that Kotaro didn’t say that much earlier.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    At Dai-chan, Kanon struggles to rewrite the Prayer Song. Her new lyrics always seem to come out too negative, especially now that the failure with Kurara weighs on her mind. Taihei encourages her to try singing the original version. Kanon does so, with Buchinko secretly carrying her song to Bujin’s ears through his partner Onbake, Tamakko, who is stationed in Yamagata. As Kanon reaches the end of the song, Bujin’s thunderous voice cries out for her to stop. Bujin awakens long enough to declare that he hates the Prayer Song. He says the lyrics are nothing but lies and demands that Kanon never sing it in his presence again. Taihei is furious at Bujin’s reaction and decides to go to Yamagata to demand to Bujin’s stone face that he tell Taihei what part of the Prayer Song is a lie. At campus, one of Kanon’s classmates tells her that Kotaro has begun dealing drugs and seems to be getting his current girlfriend involved in it. It turns out Kotaro is currently dating Kaname, the girl who tricked Kanon into attending her classes for her several weeks ago. Kanon is horrified and tries to go talk to Kotaro about it, but he simply sneers at her. He’s pleased that Kaname will do whatever he asks and plans to keep using her in his drug deals.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The news that Bujin rejected the Prayer Song is grim for Hashitaka’s team. They expect that the Ipadada will become a hectosoul by the end of the month. Right now, the plan when that happens is to have Gombei, the bonshou bell Onbake, try to fight the Ipadada in Bujin’s place. Taihei says that even Gombei doesn’t stand a chance against a hectosoul Ipadada. At Dai-chan’s, Kanon mulls over her feelings. Otaki asks Kanon if she even really liked Kaname, and Kanon admits that she didn’t. Otaki urges her to remember what happened with Kurara, and Kanon is forced to admit that she didn`t really see things through to the end in that case. When her mother made Kurara leave the country, Kanon was unable to follow. She decides to try and handle the situation with Kaname better, seeing it through even if it makes her look like a busybody. She asks around at campus and finds out that Kaname kept a blog in high school. Kanon finds its contents heartbreaking when she reads it. Notes: As a feeling of hope begins to grow in Kanon, another slight change is made to the opening narration: "This is the story of a girl who wished to have faith in people, then used her song to summon a miracle... a fable for the 21st century."

    Episode 19: TRAGIC WARMTH. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 19: TRAGIC WARMTH (??) Original Airdate: August 13, 2010 Director: Atsushi Shimizu Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa Kanon reads through Kaname`s blog, realizing that Kaname is the result of a neglectful childhood and still afraid of being abandoned. She wonders if dealing with Kaname`s problems would be too much for her. Later that night, she tries to talk things out with Taihei. She asks Taihei if he would help Moriya, the man who wrote and then abandoned the layoff song, if he saw him in trouble. Taihei replies that he would, because he is fundamentally an Onbake and wants to love people. Kanon suddenly understands her feelings.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The next day, she tries to talk to Kaname, who brushes her off coldly and calls her a hypocrite. Kanon endures and changes tactics, instead tracking down Kotaro. She demands that he leave Kaname alone, but Kotaro simply mocks her until it`s too much for Kanon to bear. She storms out, where Taihei and Tomosuke quickly find her. Buchinko has kept tabs on Kaname, and says that she is going to a drug exchange to attend that night in Roppongi. Tomosuke takes Kanon there, where she has a second encounter with Kaname. This time, Kanon refuses to back down, even as Kaname insults her. Kanon says that she read Kaname`s blog, and even tries to hold her hand (as in the Prayer Song`s lyrics). Kaname calls Kanon an idiot, but leaves the meeting place in Roppongi without getting involved in the drug deal. The next day, the newspaper carries headlines detailing Kotaro`s arrest on drug trafficking charges. Kanon decides that even if things won`t work out as simply and easily as the Prayer Song suggests, people should still keep trying to connect with each other.

    Episode 20: WITHERED SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 20: WITHERED SOUND (??) Original Airdate: August 20, 2010 Director: Kei Era Writer: Shinsuke Onishi Kanon asks her father, Baroku, exactly how long he plans to crash with her. Baroku informs her that he`s fallen in love, so it`ll just be until he asks his new love to marry him. Kanon is shocked and unsure how to react. Instead of keeping her feelings bottled up, she tries to talk about things with Maruyama at her waitressing job. While at work, a woman named Akari who works at a local retirement home comes by, looking for a patient who`s wandered away. Kanon helps her find the man.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    It turns out Akari`s retirement home is specifically for seniors born in Yamagata who now reside in Tokyo. Akari is very grateful for Kanon`s help and asks her to come by the retirement home for tea. Kanon can`t help but feel nostalgic for her grandmother, and stays to help Akari with the seniors for a bit. Kanon is shocked when Akari appears speaking to her father moments later -- it seems Akari is the woman he`s fallen in love with, and her father has also been helping with the seniors in the retirement home. The old ladies at the retirement home make a great fuss over Kanon. When they find out her hobby is singing, Akari and the retirees ask Kanon to come and sing along with them in their chorus. Kanon happily agrees. Baroku is embarrassed by all of the attention for Kanon, because he didn`t want Kanon to meet Akari until after he`d asked Akari to marry him. Kanon tells him he`s selfish, and that she enjoyed getting to know Akari. The experience makes Kanon think of her mother for the first time in a long while, too. In the countryside, the battle against the Ipadada grows more desperate. Soon all of the Onbake lingering in Tokyo, even Ikechiyo and Tomosuke, must leave to join Hashitaka`s team. Otaki has already left to make arrangements with Gombei. Only Taihei and Buchinko are spared, so they can watch over Kanon as she tries to rewrite the Prayer Song. That evening, Baroku asks Akari to marry him. She refuses him, if regretfully, saying that she never intends to marry again. Crushed, Baroku returns to Kanon`s apartment more drunk than she`s ever seen him in her entire life.

    Episode 21: ELEVATING SOUND. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 21: ELEVATING SOUND (??) Original Airdate: August 27, 2010 Director: Kei Era Writer: Shinsuke Onishi

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Hashitaka`s team confirms that the Ipadada will soon attain hectosoul state. Taihei feels uncertain about remaining in Tokyo when the others are out fighting, though Fukumatsu says that he should do what he feels is right. Kanon, not knowing the full extent of the danger the others are in, asks Taihei to come sing with her at the retirement home. Taihei agrees. The seniors enjoy his company, and gossip to Kanon about Akari refusing Baroku`s proposal. An elderly woman in a wheelchair rudely interrupts the chorus`s singing, forcing Akari to step out to calm her. The woman, Sayuri, was once a singer, but an illness caused her to lose use of her vocal chords. The sound of the chorus upsets her and she often acts out against them, ultimately listening only to Akari. After chorus, Kanon asks Akari why she refused Baroku. Akari is unable to give Kanon a straight answer, instead assuring Kanon that she loves and respects her father. Akari met Baroku fifteen years ago, when he argued passionately to help keep the retirement home open in the wake of a misconduct scandal caused by the previous director (who Akari replaced). Baroku was only prefectural coordinator, so keeping the retirement home open wasn`t even his job. His actions touched Akari deeply.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The seniors ask Kanon about her visit with Akari and resolve to meddle, as they want Akari and Baroku to get married even if it means Akari must leave her job. They ask Kanon to write a song to express the feelings of the seniors. Kanon is hesitant, but Taihei encourages her to try it out. Baroku and Akari are separately invited to listen to the chorus, and the seniors sing Kanon`s song. Akari is touched, and after the song is over, the seniors urge her to leave and find happiness. Akari tries to refuse, but then Sayuri enters the room. She begins singing with the others with her weak, damaged voice, because she also wants Akari to be happy. Finally, Akari accepts Baroku`s proposal. Kanon weeps tears of joy, and realizes that she can begin rewriting the Prayer Song now. Notes: The rest home director`s name is Akari, which means "light." This wordplay takes on additional meaning during the final song of the episode.

    Episode 22: PENETRATING WARMTH. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 22: PENETRATING WARMTH (??) Original Airdate: September 3, 2010 Director: Yasuhiro Ohmine Writer: Miyuki Sekiguchi This episode is primarily formed of clips from throughout the series, with a focus on the show`s more recent episodes. In the framing sequences, Ikechiyo goes to an aquarium, so she can refresh her healing powers by being near fish and water. Wakamatsu, an employee of the aquarium, talks to Ikechiyo about the developing situation with the Ipadada. Ikechiyo explains that Ipadada are humans who have known no love, and had their souls consumed by hatred. Once a person becomes an Ipadada, they must be exorcized or their hatred will grow until it touches the sky. Notes: Episode 22 is a clip show, meant to crystallize DAIMAJIN KANON`s themes before heading into the crazy final stretch of the series` last four episodes. The episode was not included in the Region 2 (Japanese) DVD release of DAIMAJIN KANON, but is available in the third Blu-ray box set for the show. One fairly important note for those unfamiliar with Japanese culture: the little bag Wakamatsu wears on his belt is an o-mamori, a type of charm. O-mamori can be purchased reasonably cheaply at Japanese shrines and temples, and they`re supposed to offer good luck or divine protection to the bearer. Some even offer specific protections such as academic success, success in love, or even safe driving.

    Episode 23: CIRCULAR ORIGIN. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 23: CIRCULAR ORIGIN (??) Original Airdate: September 10, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writer: Shinji Ooishi

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    With a cry of excitement, Kanon finishes the lyrics to the new Prayer Song. Her father, surprised and pleased, asks Kanon if she`d like to sing it at his upcoming wedding ceremony. The next day, Kanon puts in for her time off at the restaurant where she works so she can return to Yamagata for the ceremony. She`s interrupted by waitresses laughing at Shinya and Ikki, former members of 0°C who haven`t yet realized that their fifteen minutes of fame are over. Kanon confronts them, calmly and firmly asking them never to sing “To The Top” again. The fallen stars squirm in embarrassment. Meanwhile, Taihei waits at Dai-chan to fulfill a curious request from Kanon, that he explain the Songstress`s connection to Bujin. Of the other Onbake, only Fukumatsu and Buchinko remain. When Kanon arrives, Taihei explains that all the others had “pressing business” to the north. In truth, the others are fighting the Ipadada in Yamagata, with the aid of the priest Hakkoku, but Kanon does not know this. Innocently, Kanon announces that she intends to go back to Yamagata for the wedding, and wants to speak with Bujin while she`s there. Taihei explains the situation to her, including the danger posed by the Ipadada.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    When Taihei is finished and steps out for a moment, Kanon realizes that Taihei entered her life and worked so hard to help her because he needed the Songstress to sing the Prayer Song. She wonders if Taihei was only just using her, but Fukumatsu points out that Taihei did lots of things for her that had nothing to do with getting her to sing. At the end of the day, Taihei is still an Onbake, and ultimately he wanted to help Kanon because helping others is his nature. Kanon feels that Fukumatsu must be right. When Taihei returns, he closes down Dai-chan so he can take Kanon to Yamagata on his bike. It`s a long trip, much longer than going by train, but Taihei needs to show Kanon where Bujin is sleeping. Buchinko tags along. Hakkoku is exhausted by the battle, though his spells draw the Ipadada deep into the mountains where the other massed Onbake can battle its many soul drones. Sawamori leads the other Onbake in the charge, though the Ipadada has clearly grown beyond their strength. The Ipadada mocks Sawamori`s attempts to contain him, and says he will grow to touch the sky. Meanwhile, Otaki, Shouta, and Jyuzo watch over Hakkoku while he rests, far from the battlefield. Jyuzo wonders if his plan to use Taihei has ultimately failed. Otaki says that she believes Taihei will succeed, because only he possesses the qualities that could put Kanon in touch with Bujin.

    Episode 24: FULFILLED DESTINY. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 24: FULFILLED DESTINY (??) Original Airdate: September 17, 2010 Director: Norihiro Suzuki Writer: Shinji Ooishi

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The embattled Onbake desperately try to hold out a bit longer, so Gombei has time to arrive. They drive the Ipadada as far into the mountains as they can, but soon the Ipadada will be much too large and strong for them. All has gone according to Otaki`s plan, and she`s pleased to receive news from Jyuzo that Taihei and Kanon are on their way to Yamagata. Taihei and Kanon stop to get a meal and rest a bit on the way to Yamagata. Kanon shows Taihei the words of the new Prayer Song. He`s impressed, and hopes Bujin will be swayed by them. He explains that when Ipadada grow strong enough, they become over a hundred feet tall. Only Bujin has the power to exorcise an Ipadada of that size. At one time, Bujin did that duty willingly, though it was hard on him. Villagers once sang the Prayer Song to gather the wishes of each generation, but as time passed, they began to sing it largely to summon Bujin. Taihei wonders if Bujin, embittered by the rebuke that followed his last battle with the Ipadada, has forgotten what the Prayer Song originally meant to him. Kanon realizes that she has much in common with Bujin.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Once they resume the drive back to Yamagata, Kanon tells Taihei that she knows why he came to Tokyo to help her. Taihei is embarrassed and tries to apologize, but instead Kanon thanks him. She says that to repay the Onbake for all their help, she will definitely sing to Bujin. Taihei is overjoyed. He, in turn, reveals that he was the super-strong man who saved Kanon from that landslide, many years ago. When Taihei and Kanon enter her family`s house, Shouta is waiting for them. He brings news of the battle to the north, which Gombei is ready to join. If Gombei fails, the Ipadada will continue to grow and then only Bujin can stop it. Shouta asks Kanon to work hard, then goes to return to Otaki and Jyuzo. Kanon goes to visit her elderly uncle Gyosaku, and has a sudden insight into the meaning of her experiences. She realizes people are happiest when they are being true to themselves. She and Taihei begin climbing up the mountain where Bujin rests, with Buchinko tagging along. She asks Taihei what it would mean for Bujin to be true to himself. Taihei says it would probably mean helping others, since Bujin is an Onbake, too. The two finally reach Bujin`s stone body, where Buchinko`s counterpart Tamakko awaits. Kanon greets Bujin in the loudest voice she can muster. Notes: The Bridge of Bonds (Kizuna-bashi) that Taihei and Kanon use as their entrance to Yamagata is not the actual name of the bridge.

    Episode 25: HIS DISTANCE. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 25: HIS DISTANCE (??) Original Airdate: September 24, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writer: Shinji Ooishi

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    The Ipadada is closer to hectosoul form, its body now far more massive than any human`s. It is impossible for any Onbake save Gombei to fight it. Gombei arrives and enters the battle, pushing back the Ipadada with his great strength. Hashitaka flies off to seek out one of Hakkoku`s spell scrolls, so they can try to support Gombei. Tomosuke follows her. Kanon apologizes to Bujin on behalf of the human race, and begins to sing her new Prayer Song. Bujin interrupts her during the first verse, asking why she sings. Kanon says she signs to remind Bujin that he`s more than some rock on a mountain. Bujin curtly says that he doesn`t need to be reminded of his identity, that he knows it all too well. Bujin asks Kanon what singing means to her. Kanon says that songs are like beautiful letters that convey one`s feelings to another. Bujin agrees with her, and reminisces about the days when he originally sang the Prayer Song to express his gratitude to the humans that gave him life, as the very first Onbake. Taihei asks Bujin to sing the Prayer Song with them, but Bujin bitterly says that he no longer has the heart to sing the Prayer Song for humans.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Bujin goes silent, and Taihei and Kanon begin to leave. Tamakko begs them to stay, and reveals that Bujin sometimes feels like singing, and has Tamakko sing for him. Kanon and Taihei hesitate, but Bujin angrily says that he will not trust any human. Because of that, the Prayer Song is lost to him, and he would be no use against an Ipadada even if he awoke. The Prayer Song was the weapon Bujin used to seal Ipadada, drawing extra strength from all who sang it. He subdued Ipadada by communicating the beauty of life to them with the Prayer Song, quelling the hatred that gives an Ipadada strength. If the Prayer Song is lost to him, then he has no weapons and cannot fulfill his duty. Taihei begs Bujin to trust Kanon, but Bujin says that humans are traitors by nature. Kanon agrees with Bujin, but says that it`s important to have faith in others anyway. Until you trust others, you cannot sing with them.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Bujin goes silent again. Kanon refuses to leave, declaring that she believes in him. Bujin awakens and berates Kanon for being a busybody. Kanon says that she and the other Onbake all want to sing with him, and berates him for instead wishing to be alone. While it`s true that there are people who betray each other in the world, there are also those who trust each other and feel gratitude. If there weren`t, then Bujin could not exist. By rejecting human goodness along with human evil, Bujin is failing to be true to himself. Taihei joins Kanon, begging Bujin to listen to her song, reminding Bujin that he helps others out of admiration for Bujin`s own good deeds. Hashitaka arrives where Jyuzo, Otaki, and Shouta keep watch over Hakkoku. He awakens and gives her the scroll of binding, which should slow the Ipadada`s movements and give Gombei an edge. With the aid of the scroll`s spell, Gombei overwhelms the Ipadada and absorbs it into his body. It appears that the Onbake have emerged victorious. Bujin will not be moved by Taihei or Kanon. Eventually, Kanon faints from exhaustion. Taihei takes her back down the mountain to the Misaki family home, cursing Bujin`s stubbornness. Baroku is there, as well as Ikechiyo. As the others explain the situation to Baroku, Ikechiyo conveys the news of Gombei`s apparent victory to Taihei. Ikeichiyo is worried about Gombei, though...

    Episode 26: GRATEFUL SONG. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Episode 26: GRATEFUL SONG (??) Original Airdate: October 1, 2010 Director: Taro Sakamoto Writer: Shinji Ooishi

    Ikechiyo`s worry has spread to the other Onbake. The Ipadada isn`t struggling inside Gombei`s body, which leaves them wondering if it`s really being exorcised. This Ipadada is the strongest in the recorded history of the human-sized Onbake, and so should be putting up a vicious fight. Ikechiyo and Shouta visit Bujin. Ikechiyo scolds him for refusing to even listen to Kanon. Bujin rouses and asks Ikechiyo why she cares. Ikechiyo tells Bujin about the pain Kanon experienced when 0°C stole the Prayer Song and mutilated it into “To The Top.” Back at the Misaki house, the wedding ceremony is proceeding. Baroku introduces Kanon to the gathered members of the family (including Kanon`s older brother, Fuuga). As Kanon prepares to sing the new Prayer Song, Taihei has a fit of inspiration. Buchinko hides in Kanon`s cleavage, while Taihei races with Tamakko up the mountain to Bujin`s resting place. Taihei is able to make it up the mountain very quickly by himself, where he begs Bujin to listen.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Meanwhile, a few remaining fragments of the Ipadada that Gombei did not ingest turn into soul drones. The drones race to Gombei`s resting place and pull away the magical sealing spells on Gombei`s stomach. The Ipadada breaks free of Gombei in a desperate rush of power, reabsorbing its drones. Finally, the Ipadada assumes full hectosoul form, standing one hundred feet tall. The new Prayer Song that Kanon sings for her father`s remarriage resonates through Buchinko to Tamakko. Bujin finally listens. When the song is finished, the wedding party applauds. The mountainside rumbles, stone falling away in a great avalanche. Bujin assumes his true form and arises. He sings Kanon`s Prayer Song joyfully, striding across the land with massive steps to reach the wedding party. He thanks Kanon for her song and apologizes for what he said before. Kanon`s Prayer Song has given Bujin the strength to sing again. Kazehana arrives, carrying desperate news of Gombei`s fall and the Ipadada`s terrible new form. Bujin assures the others that he will take care of it. Kanon says she wants to go with him, and help. Bujin instructs her to sing with him. The two go off, Kanon riding high upon Bujin`s shoulder, the two singing the new Prayer Song together. The gathered Misaki family are amazed, but quickly recognize that Kanon must be the new Songstress.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Bujin pursues the Ipadada through the countryside, to the bridge that Taihei and Kanon crossed when they entered Kanon`s hometown. There they have a final contest of wills, the countryside ringing and mountains crumbling at their footsteps. Bujin sings through the battle. Kanon sings with him, heedless of the danger, and the Onbake and Hakkoku quickly arrive to sing with her. The Ipadada is overwhelmed and tries to flee, but Bujin locks it in an unbreakable grapple. Bujin calls upon the Ipadada to trust him, but the Ipadada cries that it will trust no one. Bujin`s will proves stronger, and he takes the Ipadada into his body. The battle won, Bujin takes a seat by the mountainside and slowly turns into stone again. Kanon panics, but Hakkoku explains that Bujin must rest now. Kanon apologized to Bujin, but he says that she has no reason to be sorry. He was glad to hear her song and glad to sing again. He will be glad to have a long talk with the Ipadada while he sleeps in the stone, until such time as the Ipadada`s rage is no more. Bujin asks only that Kanon come sing to him, from time to time.

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Kanon wonders if she may meet Bujin again one day, perhaps when she is an old woman. She asks Taihei if she will see him in Dai-chan when he returns to Tokyo, but Taihei regretfully says that as an Onbake, he should seek out others who need his help. Kanon then asks if he`d come to help her again, if she needed him one day. Taihei says that maybe he will. In the meantime, she can simply see him whenever she visits Yamagata and sings to Bujin. The series ends with Kanon and Saki singing the new Prayer Song together for Kanon`s gathered family and friends in Yamagata. Ikechiyo speaks in narration, wishing for all humans to hear Kanon`s song. Taihei wishes that, though her song, more Onbake might come into the world. Kanon asks if Bujin can hear them. He says yes, and thanks her once more. Notes: The dinner scene in this episode includes a number of cameos from the show`s writing and directing staff. There is also a rather notable cameo by actor Joe Odagiri (BRIGHT FUTURE, AZUMI, MUSHI-SHI: THE MOVIE, ADRIFT IN TOKYO, MY WAY). Fans of producer Takatera`s previous works should recognize Odagiri as the lead character Yuusuke Godai in MASKED RIDER KUUGA. The episode presents one last, subtle change to the opening narration: "This is the story of a girl who chose to have faith in people, then used her song to summon a miracle... a fable for the 21st century."

    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners

    Daimajin poses with members of the special effects crew after completing a key shot for Episode 2. © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners


    © 2009 DAIMAJIN KANON Partners (Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd., Kadokawa Pictures Inc., Omnibus Japan, TV Tokyo, Dogsugar, T.Y.Entertainment Inc., Cospa Inc., Bandai Co. Ltd., Namco Bandai Games Inc., NTT DoCoMo Inc) Planning: Takashi Watanabe (Kadokawa Shoten), Takahumi Ishibashi (Kadokawa Pictures), Hiroyasu Asami (NTT DoCoMo), Tsutomu Horiuchi (Omnibus Japan), Yoshiyuki Matsunaga (Cospa), Daisuke Honji (T.Y.Entertainment), Makoto Shiraishi (TV Tokyo), Kazutaka Katashima (Dogsugar), Kazuhiro Takenaka (Bandai), Kazuto Goka (Namco Bandai) Executive Producer: Shinichirou Inoue Producers: Shigenori Takatera, Yoshikazu Benitani (TV Tokyo) Associate Producer: Kikuti Takeshi Co-producers: Naoto Monma, Kei Era Line Producer: Mitsuzou Andou Concept: Shinji Ooishi Directors: Taro Sakamoto, Norihiro Suzuki, Yasuhiro Ohmine, Atsushi Shimizu, Kei Era, Takuji Kitamura Screenwriters: Shinji Ooishi, Ai Sumikawa, Naruhisa Arakawa, Shinsuke Onishi, Miyuki Sekiguchi Art Director/FX Director: Toshio Miike Cinematographer: Jiro Nomura Action Director: Tatsuro Koike VFX Supervisor: Kazuyori Kosaka VFX: Omnibus Japan, Oxybot, Kurofune Products Sculptor: Shinichi Wakasa Technical Cooperation: Panasonic OP·ED Director: Koichi Kofuji Production Studo: Dogsugar Narrator: Junko Minagawa Music: Toshihiko Sahashi Theme Song: "Sing Your Heart Out" Vocals: Ryoko Moriyama Lyrics: Seiko Huzibayashi (Shoko Fujibayashi) Music: Toshihiko Sahashi End Theme for Episodes 1-13: "Tomorrow the Weather Will Change" (?????????) Vocals: Lia Lyrics: Seiko Huzibayashi Music: Toshihiko Sahashi End Theme for Episodes 14-26: "Walking Home" (??????) Vocals: Lia Lyrics: Seiko Huzibayashi Music: Toshihiko Sahashi

    About Kadokawa Pictures

    Kadokawa Pictures, a division of Japanese entertainment giant Kadokawa Holdings, Inc., develops, finances, produces and distributes live action and anime films theatrically and for TV throughout Japan and Asia and boasts a state-of-the art production facility in Tokyo. Films that have garnered worldwide attention from Kadokawa`s library of over 2,000 titles include THE RING, DARK WATER, PULSE and SHALL WE DANCE?

    For more information on Daimajin please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:

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