CANAAN is the latest anime by Masahiro Ando
and it's based on the Wii visual novel 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de
. But unlike most animes based on visual novels this one is based on one of its side stories and not the main plot and even though it’s a little enjoyable if you’re not familiar with the original you might want to look elsewhere.
CANAAN starts midway through the story of 428
, in Shanghai where a group of people including a mercenary with the power of synesthesia called Canaan
, a journalist called Minoru Minorikawa, his partner Maria Oosawa who are covering an international anti-terrorism convention and an eccentric Chun-Li
look-alike called Yunyun
find themselves caught up in a mystery that involves an incestuous sadist woman
, infected almost super-human people
and the most awesome taxi driver
of all time.
Why is there a catgirl here? wait...wtf is going on?
Not being familiar with the original visual novel (and considering it hasn’t been released outside of Japan I doubt much people is) I found myself completely lost in CANAAN because it seems like the creators assume that everyone watching it has already played the source material. And that’s the biggest mistake they could’ve made in the storytelling.
Yes, the story might seem interesting at first but once you realize that nothing is really happening and that it’s going nowhere you start wondering why they bothered doing it in the first place. And not only is the story poorly told but it also leaves a lot of thing unexplained. If you want to know what Canaan is doing in Shanghai in the first place, or who her employers are or just why they’re after the UA virus, well then you’re screwed because you don’t get the answers to any of that.
The dialogue is also bad, but not in the way that’ll make you bang your head against the wall because of just how stupid it is, because it’s not terrible, it’s just incredibly pretentious and a lot of things are repeated to the point that it gets annoying…in fact, here’s a fun drinking game, every time “she’s my light” is said during the course of the series you take a shot! But I warn you, you might end up with a terrible hangover.
Most of the characters are, like the story, uninteresting and forgettable, though their design is great. The main character, Canaan, is the typical misunderstood killer with a tragic past, combined with a childish personality that almost reminded me of Lucy
, the protagonist of Elfen Lied
. With this series I felt the same that I felt with Naruto
, I might forget the character’s personalities but not how they look like. The only exceptions to this rule are Minoru Minorikawa, Yunyun and the Taxi driver, who don’t get nearly as much screen time as they deserve.
The action is top notch
It’s a real shame that the story is so poorly told because the action scenes are very well done. All the shoot-outs, car chases, knife fights and hand to hand combat are what make the series enjoyable to watch; in fact the two dialogue-heavy episodes that don’t have many action sequences are probably the worst of the series. It really makes you wonder just how great Canaan could’ve been with these action scenes and a better story.
The animation, though not bad is also not great. There are some really nice looking effects like the balloons during the festival in Shanghai in the first episode and the previously mentioned action sequences, but others are less than stellar. It’s never terrible, but I feel like it could’ve been much better in terms of animation, especially coming from a director who worked as animator in great looking movies and series such as Cowboy Bebop
, Ghost in the Shel
l and The End of Evangelion
In the end Canaan is a mixture of really poor story, forgettable but great looking characters and excellent action. If you’re looking for something with a plot don’t expect to find it here, but if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind the story too much and is here for a wild ride, then there might just be something to enjoy in CANAAN for you.