Posted 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
Posted on 1 August 2009 with categories: Canaan



Yeah, I’m going to stop blogging this series after this episode. I’m going to be putting it under “sporadically updated” in case something peculiar does happen, but so far it’s really been much of the same: excellent graphics, great directing, nice character-chemistry, but the storyline still needs a lot of work. I still really like this series, but I’m running out of things to praise it for.

And it’s not like this episode didn’t develop the storyline either: Chinese Waitress Girl got some much-needed depth, and Alphard Side Kick Girl (yeah, I’m too lazy to look up their names) proved herself to be so kickass that she doesn’t need to dry herself after taking a shower because the water seems to just… evaporate apparently(sounds like a bad Chuck Norris joke, doesn’t it?), so kickass that she eats paper (seriously… wtf?) and so kickass that she doesn’t care about the life of her subordinates and just sends them to get killed off. Despite these flaws, I’m interested but you can really see that the storyline is second fodder to the matters that the creators find really important to this show.

My biggest criticism for this series is how it advertised itself, though: “The modern-day story centers on a group of people, from all walks of life, who are brought together in Shanghai by bizarre events with worldwide implications.” That makes it sound like the next Baccano or something, which it clearly isn’t.

Anyway, I can always blog another big budgeted action series. There’s one particular series this season that’s probably never going to appear again after it finishes, and I want to have a shot at it.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 25 July 2009 with categories: Canaan



I can somewhat understand the criticisms against Canaan. It’s in no way the best show of the season, the comedy isn’t the funniest around, and the characters themselves pale in comparison to some of the other shows this season. The plot isn’t the most interesting out there either. And yet as entertainment, it works for me. The reason I’m watching this series is not the characters or plot, but rather the direction, and that one has really been excellent so far. The creators really know how to create gripping action-scenes, and PA Works are definitely establishing themselves as a high-quality animation studio.

In this episode, we delve a bit into the past of Canaan, and are shown how she was rescued by her caretaker, and trained in the art of gunslinging, only for her caretaker to be killed off by Alphard. I assume that this show is going to be a thriller, aiming to kill said assassin. I really didn’t like how she suffers from the “I’m about to kill you but I won’t because that will spoil the fun”-syndrome, but I have to say that that gunfight between her and Canaan was the best this series has shown since the first episode.

At this point, I have no idea whether or not the creators are going to be able to top that first episode. At least the characters seem to be coming together, but I really don’t know whether this is the kind of series that attempts to have a very well animated first episode, only for the budget to continuously drop throughout the rest of the series, or the kind of series that has a bit of budget saved for an awesomely animated finale. Usually I just assume the former, but we are talking about PA Works here, not some sort of mediocre Zexcs or ACGT here. Especially the fight this episode showed that the animation budget has in no way run out yet, if only the pacing would increase to allow for a more creative gunfight.

The reason I’m a big fan of anime is the way it combines visuals, audio, storytelling and characters into one. I’m a big fan of multimedia that manage to combine all into one. And it’s also not like the story and characters are so bad that they make the rest of the series dull either: while they’re not the best, they’re definitely good enough for this series to work with. I’m enjoying this series a lot, because of this.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 18 July 2009 with categories: Canaan



Nice episode. It’s a good thing to see that the creators are delving into the past of the characters early in the series, especially if the series is only going to take up 13 episodes. This episode was all about the friendship between Canaan and Maria, with nice effects now that Maria has learned the darker side around Canaan, and having her actually see her killing someone.

It’s good that this series knows how to keep this series diverse. The first half of this episode was much lighter than the previous episode, the second was much darker. Since this is a series that seems to be going for the entertainment level, it’s good to see that this episode kept me thoroughly entertained this way.

I’m interested to see whether this series can pull off a good and well-rounded storyline this way. After the first episode, it’s definitely shown that it’s capable of directing great action scenes, but there are many potential pitfalls. Like, this series having blown most of its budget on just that episode. I can also see Minoru growing on my nerves if he doesn’t get some development or background. Right now, I’m the most curious for Alphard’s background: there’s too much mystery around her right now for her to be a successful villain.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 12 July 2009 with categories: Canaan



Okay, so this season I’m going to be blogging Canaan. It’s supposed to be a short series, and I’m not going to be expecting the most amazing things from it, but instead what I want from this series is the things it did well in its first episode: fun and well directed action scenes. For that, it’s going to have to correctly develop and characterize the cast, have a storyline that provides interesting and creative situations and a setting that’s dynamic enough to prevent from all those scenes from looking the same.

Canaan doesn’t seem to be a true adaptation, but rather a sequel. This is a plus, since the creators now aren’t bound by the length of the original source material, and instead can go in their own way and plan the story over 13 episodes accordingly. With this, they should be able to wrap up everything properly.

I haven’t read the original source material, and I don’t really think that I’m going to do so in the future. I’m not sure for how many others this goes, but I do hope that the creators take account of the ones who are unfamiliar with 428, rather than assuming that everyone already knows everyone’s back-story. And at the same time they’re obviously going to have to include this back-story, without boring the ones who did bother to read through 428.

I’m interested in the director, because this guy did Sword of the Stranger, which was a great movie in terms of action. If he can apply the same thing here for Canaan, it’s going to be a pretty enjoyable series while it lasts. The guy behind the seres composition wrote scripts for Simoun, has written the progress of series as True Tears, Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club, but unfortunately also a bunch of mediocre series, most notably Vampire Knight… I hope that with Canaan, we get to see his good side. And hey, the music is done by the composer of Noein and Phantom. That’s a plus too.

In this episode, we learn that for some reason, Maria and Minoru are now targeted, because they photographed something they shouldn’t have. Probably those strange infected people back then. The nature of the disease still is a bit of a mystery, because this episode shows an old guy with that strange mark on his face who can safely move in the open air.

My biggest fear right now with this series is that the creators are overplaying the chemistry between Maria and Minoru a bit. I can see them getting annoying quite fast if something doesn’t happen.
Rating: (Enjoyable)
Nice enough action sequence, but nothing special yet.

Posted on 4 July 2009 with categories: Canaan, Some Quick First Impressions

Element Hunters

Short Synopsis: Our lead characters travel to another world and hunt monsters.
Chance of me Blogging: 0% (Nope)
Well, so finally we have a bad series again. Element Hunters is an attempt to bring back the parallel world children’s adventures genre (like Digimon, Flint the Time Detective and others), but in the end it’s just lazy and uninspired. Basically we have a bunch of kids who travel to some parallel world with chemical element themes, but the reason why they end up there is virtually non-existent: from out of nowhere, they just run into a gate that transports them, and from out of nowhere they just start fighting some weird monsters like they’ve been doing since they were three. While I admit that the characters have their charms and nice voice actors, but that’s also the only thing that’s inspired about this episode. Also, for a series about chemistry this episode also showed that the creators know absolutely nothing of their subject: this episode was about nitrogen, and instead of discussing its practical uses, or the fact that 80% of the air we breathe consists of it, the only thing it can think of is some weird nitroglycerin flowers. I mean, seriously? This series is in every single way inferior to that other science show that’s currently airing (Marie & Gali).

Canaan

Short Synopsis: Our lead characters kills a bunch of people during a big festival
Chance of me Blogging: 70% (Choosing the shows to blog this season is going to be HELL)
As if this season didn’t already have enough awesome shows: here’s the next one. It’s awesome to see P.A. Works back with their next series, and it shows. This episode had by far the best animation of the season so far. But that’s not what I’m excited about. What really set this series apart was how well it portrayed such a big festival, in which so many things were happening at the same time. The creators didn’t just tell a story, but they also brought the entire festival alive during this episode. Everything and everyone was moving and there was always something going on, from random people having fun to people shooting each other and others going insane and poking their own eyes out. There were so many details stuffed into just this episode, it’s really amazing and it’s going to be awesome if the rest of the climaxes of this series are going to be the same thing. This series has now already shown that it can deliver a great action scene. Now all that’s left is to develop the plot and characters.

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is in despair.
Chance of me Blogging: 0% (haven’t blogged the first two seasons, ain’t gonna blog it this time either)
And so, the third installment of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei has started. I do have to say that the creators are going to have to put in some real effort to prevent this from turning into one of those franchises that refuses to bloody DIE. The original premise went past its expiration date halfway through the second season, and with this season the creators are really going to have to do more than just repeat the same formula over and over yet again. This episode was… decent. It wasn’t good nor bad, it had some amusing moments, but I really fear that I’m going to get tired of the series in no time if it doesn’t get more interesting.

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