Synopsis: Canaan is a 2009 P.A. Works production. This was only P.A. Works second anime, Angel Beats! was their third, and Another was their fifth. So Canaan follows a tabloid writer and his photographer who travel to Shanghai, China, where Maria (the photographer) becomes reunited with an old friend, known only as Canaan. Canaan is a synethesia, meaning that all her senses are connected, she can sense color, and taste shapes and so on (sorry if I really butchered that meaning, but that’s what I understand it to mean). Maria and Canaan, along with Minoru (the reporter) find themselves tangled in a web of biological terror, and government conspiracies.
As fair warning before I get into the nitty gritty of this review, my relationship with this show is…lets just say complicated. Anywho, lets dive in.
Animation: Well it’s P.A. Works, so the animation is amazing, it is both consistent and fluid, I have no complaints. The expressions the animators gave to Liang Qi (a fucking psycho who is sexually attracted to her “sister”, Alphard, and enjoys making borderline orgasm sounds when thinking about Alphard) were stunningly accurate for someone slipping quickly into the oblivion of madness. In addition, in the first two episodes there were two action scenes that absolutely blew me out of the water, and this is coming from a person who has watched a metric shit load of action anime. Really, I don’t know how to effectively convey my admiration for these scenes; none of the characters have real special powers, so there is no powering up or super special attacks, it was just fabulous choreography/animation, plain and simple. It was very parkour-esque, their movements so fluid and calculated, yet free and flowing. So these two scenes set the bar for the rest of the action through out the show very high, and the show in no way lived up to my expectations. I was left stunningly unfulfilled by the action the rest of the show displayed. In addition, this may seem like a small qualm, but Alphard’s ponytail looked awful, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it, it was weird and short, and far too thin (please refrain from dick jokes, even though that’s all I can think of XP ).
8.5/10 (I really want to have this be better, but I guess I’m still sour from the unfulfilling nature of the action display through out the show)
Characters: Yet another let down. I felt that there was inadequate character development. The writers failed to make me really care about two of the main characters. There is, what is supposed to be an incredibly moving scene, where I felt nothing for either of the characters. Yet another let down, I truly did want to be moved, but it just wasn’t happening. That being said, at the end of the series, I thought I really didn’t feel anything for any of the characters, so I was surprised when I was moved by their predicament (can’t go into detail because of spoilers). I did feel like they did a great job with developing Canaan’s character, through out the show she goes through what can only be described as somewhat of an identity crisis, but in the end she comes full circle. So that was intriguing to watch. Even though they missed the mark with some characters, overall they did a decent job with the rest.
Sound: The opening was pretty good, not anything special, just some run of the mill JPop, the vast majority of the time I would actually just skip it, anxious to get to the actual episode. The ending, on the other hand, was too slow for my liking; I must admit that I am partial to JPop, so after listening to the ending completely through twice I skipped it every other time. To me the ending theme was just plain boring. The background was mostly instrumental, containing a lot of piano and violins for the more emotional scenes, and I must say, this was very effective. The voice acting was also good, nothing that really impressed me, but nothing disappointing either. All in all it was a solid dub.
Plot: The writers had the great ability to give the audience just enough information to keep them watching, but too little information for me to actually fully understand what was transpiring. The plot is ripe with government plots and conspiracies tangled with assassins and terrorists. Though I feel that this show was greatly rushed because, maybe I’m just being obtuse, but in the end I still don’t really understand everything that happened in this 12 episode whirlwind. My major contention with the plot of this show was the rushed and nearly inconclusive nature of the ending.
Overall: The visuals of this anime were fabulous, and if you want to watch a fast paced action anime just for fun, then Canaan may be the anime for you. Something else, kind of random, that I did really enjoy was the foul language that the characters of this show were spewing. Lines like, “I don’t give a shit” and “I’ll fucking kill you!” or “Don’t fuck with me!” It was just amusing and refreshingly realistic.
Thanks for reading, hope this review was helpful!