Manga Review: Fairy Idol Kanon Volume One

Fairy Idol Kanon Volume 1 is manga with the story and art by Mera Hakamada. UDON Entertainment Corp. holds the rights to distribute this manga series in the United States. The first volume of this manga was published in the United States in 2009. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was translated by M. Kirie Hayashi. Fairy Idol Kanon is rated “Kids Age 7+.”

Fairy Idol Kanon Volume 1
Written by: Mera Hakamada
English Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Release Date: June 14, 2009

The main character is Kanon, a fourth grader who enjoys singing, and her two best friends, Marika and Kodama, also like to sing. One day, the three friends find a fairy named Alto, who needs the three girls to sing together, so she can regain her strength. After she is better, Alto explains that the fairies get their energy from the beautiful singing of Earth. However, people have become more interested in trends and what’s popular, instead of appreciating music; thus, fewer beautiful singing voices have been reaching the land of the fairies. Alto convinces the girls that they need to help, so the girls decide that they need to audition and become idols to spread their beautiful music. During this volume, Kanon must convince her mother that she needs to go to an audition, the girls compete in a couple of contests, and even meet a rival idol who has her own fairy.

When I read manga that’s aimed at children, I go into it trying to use my “willing suspension of disbelief” and try to appreciate it. Unfortunately, I discovered rather quickly that I had a very hard time using my “willing suspension of disbelief.” The dialogue is rather poorly written; however, I’m not sure if that’s the fault of the original manga author or of the translator. However, when it comes to the plot, it felt like the manga author knew where they wanted the story to go, but didn’t try very hard to find convincing ways to get from one plot point to the next; a lot of times, it parts of the plot felt rather forced. The whole premise of this manga series comes across as rather laughable. It also feels like the manga artist is sending out a conflicting message: the story is basically saying that people are more interested in trends and popularity than in good music, but these characters who are trying to save the fairies are entering idol contests (and idols are the epitome of trends and popularity). Even if the premise were executed a little better, I still have a hard time believing this story with such young protagonists. Personally, for a story such as this, I think it would have worked better if the protagonists were in late middle school or early high school; I have a hard time believing that fourth graders would be able to compete in idol competitions as easily as these characters, as well as to have people so mesmerized by their singing. Admittedly, their fairy helps them out with their costumes, but it’s never shown that she enhances their singing abilities in any fashion with her magic. I also felt as if the story was being “dumbed down” for the audience, and that it was written by a pre-teen or early teenager.

The art is also rather underwhelming. For the most part, it seemed like the manga artist wasn’t going to a whole lot of effort to include much in the way of details to their art. Perhaps it was felt that simplistic art was more appropriate for a manga series being created for children. When it comes to the American presentation, there’s one scene where the three protagonists are wearing sweatsuits that have their name on the shirt. In most of the panels, their names appear in English; however, there is one panel where this change was missed, so the Japanese characters appear on their shirt instead. After finding such a blatant mistake in this English adaptation, it makes me wonder what other kinds of mistakes may also be in this volume that I missed.

Fairy Idol Kanon is only going to appeal to a young female audience that isn’t going to know better about how the music industry works and can appreciate the story as a “pre-teen fantasy.”

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga that my older daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

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