【Anime】CANAAN

Old news anime…

Click to enarlge. (Illust: 関口可奈味)

Title: CANAAN
Studio: P.A. Works
Original Scenario: 奈須きのこ (NASU Kinoko)
Character Designs: 武内崇(TAKEUCHI Takashi)
Episodes: 13
Genre: Seinen (Action)
Status: Completed, not licensed.
My Rating: 7.8/10

OOSAWA Maria is an aspiring camerawoman who travels to Shanghai with her co-worker, reporter MINORIKAWA Minoru, in hopes of getting a big scoop. While they’re on the job, they get caught up in terrorist-related activities which have to do with a lethal virus called the Ua virus and its victims. The anime is based on a bonus scenario written by NASU Kinoko for the game 428.

To be honest, I’ve never really read/seen any of Nasu’s works before (5 paragraphs of Tsukihime doesn’t count!), so I’m not sure if CANAAN is the regular, awesome Nasu affair, but CANAAN’s story was pretty great, in my opinion. I wanted to watch this for four reasons:

1. 428 got 40/40 from Famitsu.
2. Alphard reminded me of Revy from Black Lagoon, who is awesome, and is voiced by Sakamoto Maaya
3. The OP sequence’s ranking as interpreted by Baka-Raptor.
4. The ED theme was sung by Annabel, one of my favourite doujin artists.

There was a lot of progression each episode, and the sequence for how they revealed everything (from the initial individual encounters to the reasons behind the whole grand plan), was done really coherently, and the best thing was that after everything was revealed, they went back to the characters and developed them a little more so that at the end they didn’t seem shallow at all. There weren’t a lot of plotholes that I noticed either, and even the silly mascot helmets were explained. Unfortunately, I thought the actual concept itself was pretty over-the-top. A superstrong virus, world government leaders, fighter planes, synethesia to this extent…It’s good to try and incorporate some real world stuff into elaborate stories like these, but here it just seemed a little out of place, especially when the whole thing is centered around relatively unserious large-eyed characters.

I should also note that the animation was seriously impeccable. After seeing a certain slideshow anime, I forgot that anime was supposed to immerse the audience with animation, but CANAAN reminded me with every second I watched. GJ P.A. Works!

The characters were in general awesome, but with a large, important exception: Maria. Maria is absolutely useless. She cannot take pictures, she cannot fight, and her most outstanding skill seems to be getting kidnapped so people can get a certain character to fight with them. I really felt that she was just there to act as a plot device to develop other characters and trigger events, and other than that, she didn’t seem at all like a character. Her voice is also not sugoi. Other than Maria, though, the rest were almost more than awesome, and I could say that the entire main cast (except Maria) was above average in terms of likeability. Here’s my ranking:

1. Hakko – Mute, beautiful, slightly deadly woman who stole every scene she was in despite not talking. So awesome.
2. Alphard – More like 1.02, because she’s equivalent to Hakko in coolness, but she really didn’t have enough scenes in the series, and if she appeared more often, she’d be my absolute favourite. At first she reminded me of Revy from Black Lagoon (Tattoo, ponytail, shorts, nonexistent fashion sense), but she is more composed and slick. She’s also voiced by Sakamoto Maaya, whom we all love.
3. Canaan – So unemotional and strong she is awesome. Although it seems like she likes Maria in a really yuri way to most people, it seemed to me that she just loved Maria since Canaan doesn’t really have anybody else to love. Crazy fighting style and pretty eyes, too, but just how old is she anyways?
4. Liang Qi – Psycho, sadistic villian who would’ve been my top favourite if she fit in with the rest of the too-chill cast. She is very entertaining to watch, and her dialogue is so incredibly interesting, but is far too exaggerated and insane. I couldn’t believe she was voiced by Tanaka Rie. Must’ve been a mistake in the credits…or not.

Overall, CANAAN was a really satisfying series to watch, especially because the fights were so well choreographed and animated. Great characters and a coherent plot that doesn’t make you think TOO much makes this series above average, but the existence of Maria pulls it down a bit, and the themes are not life-changingly deep. (Actually, it is slightly shallow.) Recommended if you want a quick, beautiful action fix with an awesome cast.