Sunday, January 16, 2011

Anime Review: Canaan

I don't think I've seen any of the other "girls with guns" anime (been meaning to, just haven't gotten around to it) and since I ended up enjoying Canaan I think I'll move them up higher on my list (and this is another one that goes on my "BR to buy someday" list).


Summary: The indirect sequel to the 2008 game "428: In a Blockaded Shibuya"* Marie Owasa and Minoru Minorikawa, a photographer and writer respectively, are sent to Shangai to cover the upcoming anti-terrorist conference. While there Marie runs into trouble and is rescued by an old friend of hers, Canaan, and both of them quickly get tangled up in the actives that Canaan's old rival Alphard is planning.

The Good: I'm not usually a fan of summer blockbuster action flicks but that's essentially what Canaan is and I loved it. It looked good, sounded good, and the action never lets up for very long. By and large the characters were fun (with the taxi driver being the coolest unnamed character ever) and the setting was neat as well (both the parts in Shangai and somewhere in the Middle East). I have a weak spot for characters who are photographers**, even if Marie isn't the most likable character in the series she's likeable enough. Even though most parts of this anime don't stand out on their own there was just something about the composition that made this series work and I enjoyed it for what it was.

The Bad: I was glancing over a review of the series as I was watching it (never a good thing) and it pointed out that Alphard never has a real reason for any of the things she does in the show. And since the majority of this show's plot is in response to Alphards actions that's a big failing. Her backstory fails to explain her current actions and doesn't explain her previous actions as well and Canann's backstory doesn't completely explain how she got to where she was in the beginning of the anime either. The story lives for the moment and, while it doesn't create as many fridge logic moments as you would expect, the plot suffers for it.

The Art: I often don't like watching action movies because either there are too many wide shots where you can't see all the action or the camera jumps around more than a monkey on steroids and it's still hard to see what's going on. The nice thing about animation is the lack of a real camera so the animators can technically draw any shot they want and the action in Canaan looks gorgeous for it. The first episode sticks out the most to me and between the festival and Canaan's fight it's one of the best looking things I've seen all year.

The Music: I actually saw the first half of this series dubbed and the second half subbed and I really liked the dub a lot better. I can't believe that Alphard's VA is a newbie, I really liked her take on the character better than the Japanese one, and I know more than a few people who were alarmed of the fact that the psychotic Liang Chi is played by the same VA who did Chiyo in Azumanga Diaoh. A very good dub and the opening song was very catchy and high energy as well. The closer was less memorable but the show has some very solid voice acting and music in it. 

I came for an action flick and got some very nice action with enough of a plot to keep me happy (although the plot is steadily less and less present as the series goes on and I'll admit that I didn't like the ending but to explain why is spoliery). I do wish the plot was stronger, and that I could find the 428 game in English, but I'm content with how the series is.

*No you don't need to play the game or even know what it's about to watch the anime, I only looked up stuff about it after I finished the series. Sure there were parts where I could tell there was more backstory than the anime was going to tell but nothing that interfered with the plot or characters.
**even if I had to laugh at the idea of a modern day photographer still shooting film and developing it in the hotel bathroom, especially since I believe this is set twenty minutes into the future.