Posted by psgels on 26 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Canaan



Canaan is, without a doubt, the series with the biggest budget and best graphics of all the series that debuted the past Summer Season. With this, PA Works have really established themselves as a company with a number of amazing artists, with an amazing attention to detail. Canaan is a bit iffy on its plot, but it nevertheless turned out to be a great action series.

Especially the first episode is a masterpiece in terms of direction: there is so much happening at the same time, and there’s lots of stuff moving ont he screen at the same time. The rest of the series is toned down a bit in comparison, but nevertheless continuously puts forth well-animated and directed climaxes, in which the action ranges from subtle to over the top, but always packs a punch.

The problems in this series come from the fact that it can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be taken seriously or not. On one hand, it has this deep subplot of Canaan’s past, and her friendship with Maria. On the other hand, there is the American President and Liang “Psycho Bitch from Hell” Qi. These characters are so ridiculously over the top that it becomes really hard to take them seriously, especially among the rest of the series that does want to be taken seriously.

The back-story behind this series is also nothing special, and the plot has no real surprised. It’s something about a virus from some village being evil, and Canaan’s mortal enemy Alphard having something to do with it. This really is a series for the action.

Thankfully though, the rest of the cast manages to save this series from being yet another action series that fails to stand out at everything else. Canaan, Maria and Alphard are a great cast of main characters, and the side-characters also have their own issues that make them interesting to watch. The cast is colourful, and while nothing like the best of this season, they do manage to carry the weight of this series.

There have been a lot of action series during the past half year, and while Canaan isn’t the best, it did manage to stay interesting, and despite the few over the top characters it did manage to pick itself up again and delivered a very strong finale that only has one real problem: breaking the “people die when they’re killed”-rule. Some of the resurrections in this series are a tad hard to buy. But hey, it’s an action-series, so it shouldn’t be that surprising.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 7/10

9 Responses

  1. PL says:

    Actually, there is quite a bit more to the backstory and plot than an evil virus and alphard having something to do with it, and it comes out in the last 4 episodes or so…

    spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler

    Alphard was Siam’s first protege, and had the name “Canaan” first and he dropped her when he found Canaan because Canaan had the potential to become the perfect soldier, who brings utter despair to those she encounters on the battlefield, and he decided that Alphard would never be good enough. So Alphard killed Siam, to take him away from Canaan, and then set about developing this virus which had the side effect of giving certain genotypes the same abilities to use synesthesia on the battlefield that Canaan has. Then she tries to lay everything at Canaan’s feet and give Canaan the same sense of despair Siam trained her to bring to others, by saying if Canaan had never been born, she would never have done all these things and nobody would have created all these monsters trying to harness her battle abilities. So, there is a pretty heavy theme there about what is our fault and what is outside of our control. And really, even my summary does a weak job conveying the power of it all, but I found the series quite impressive.

  2. WatcherZero says:

    It is based on a mystery game visual novel, the intricate conspiracy thats slowly unravelled is part of the series attraction.

  3. TJ says:

    The action and production quality were the show’s strong suits, but the story was needlessly confusing. Deep down it’s not actually that complicated, but they decided to sprinkle in a bunch of other stuff that, while somewhat interesting, never amounted to anything.

  4. specracer says:

    The show overall was your basic “B” action show. The finale was looking pretty strong and I loved the whole Liang Qi’s complete break down, but people should die when they’re killed.

    I was really disappointed by the way it all ended. The way Alphard just kinda lost her cool really felt forced. The show was good but no where near any of Bee Train’s “girls with guns” shows. 80/100 sounds about right.

  5. Aryo says:

    The show was good, a B+ in my opinion.

    The action scenes were very well done, but could have packed a little more punch and brutality for my taste, given the combat prowess’ of the 2 Canaans, especially against each other – oh and a bit longer please! :)

    Nothing to complain about the production values, they were very impressive.

    I guess it would’ve been easier to unfold the story over 26 eps.

  6. windy says:

    I pretty liked the character of Liang Xi, she stands out in her own way, hysterical, crazy, out of measure, she’s all this… but for that same reason I loved her character so much!

  7. vee says:

    “Breaking the ‘people die when they’re killed’ rule”?

    I’m not sure what you mean here. The rule that was really broken was the “gun shot wounds are life-threatening” rule :).

    I don’t get how Maria survived hers without immediate medical attention. Sure, it’s not completely out of the realms of belief that Yun Yun could have saved her from the explosion, but it’s highly unlikely if not completely improbable that she wouldn’t have bled to death long before Minoru came upon them.

    I also don’t get how Alphard didn’t bleed out from her self-amputated arm. Even if she survived the fall into the water, you’d expect she’d be haemorrhaging like crazy. Blood isn’t exactly the kind of thing you can do without for a while :).

    Nevertheless, neither of these characters were actually killed, so I can’t say that I personally found the finale too hard on the suspension of disbelief.

    For me, there really wasn’t anywhere these episodes could go but up after they finally got rid of Liang Qi. That woman was really grating on my last nerve. Plus, I adore Canaan’s line after mock shooting at the plane carrying Maria away from her: “Bang. That’s mine.”

    Here’s hoping for a second season :).

  8. Brhoom says:

    The character Canaan is probably from palestine (the land of Canaan).
    The author prob wanted to point out the israeli invasion of Palestine in 1948, and is try to convey thru Siam that the Palestinian lands can’t be taken back by hatred- even if israel destroyed your villages and killed your people.
    Something else might be that Alphard may be a reference to the arabic word for “the individual” while her last name AlShua may be translated as “The light” in Arabic.

  9. emily says:

    While I agree with other peoples comments that it was a good series. I think the ending could have been a bit better.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:32 AM)
    If a series wants to be sophisticated about complex concepts like war and conflict, then it has to presuppose the fact that it is part of human nature. Resources are limited, and even aside from that, greed exists. There is no way to take out a few head figures to stop a war- there will be a vacuum that will almost immediately be filled by a similar, if not worse, individual. A world “where no one cries” or suffers, or dies, etc, cannot exist as long as we have free will.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:26 AM)
    F/SN delved into this deeply with the Shirou/Archer dichotomy, but then it pussied out at the decisive moment. Archer was right, his arguments made perfect sense, yet the arrogant naive Shirou had to pull thru by sheer will alone, and a vague hope and promise that he’ll find a way somehow. I swear, I’m not sure if Nasu gave in to pressure to make a so-called “good prevails” ending, or that he honestly believes in it. Looking at his material, I’ll bet on the former.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:22 AM)
    hehe … that’s why you don’t get me started on Eva or Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:20 AM)
    It also delved into the depth of what a desperate goodie-two-shoes people-pleaser protagonist would actually be like, and the reception he would get from his peers, specially the women. That alone right there was a deconstruction of the majority of shonen main characters.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.

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