Posted by: Dante Sangria | July 8, 2009

CANAAN Episode 1 Review!

NOTES: Intense day. Damn – really busy, and I rushed to get around to this review with much frustration and relief upon its completion. I know it’s late upon coming, my apologies! I was busy all weekend so my next review will likely be Umineko episode 2!

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Something about those last two pics just screams Jigoku Shoujo.

SUMMARY:

Long summary, skip down to Feedback for the overall run-down.

Balloons are floating about in a city as we see a capped sniper shoot them. There seems to be a festival in the city with lots of stands and balloons.

We see a man drop a magazine from his handgun and run through the alleys, out of breath and panting. Suddenly he drops dead, mysteriously, a smear of blood behind him. Then a festival-like masked group of people that surround the body get up and leave. The sniper will "pick up" the body later. Some kids come running through the alleys and land in the puddle of blood. They start to play…

The scene changes for some comic relief, a journalist complaining that he has to travel all the way to Shanghai for a costume festival. His novice yet passionate camerawoman seems to get on his nerves as well. She then says that there is nothing hidden, that cannot be seen – if you can’t see it, it is because you intentionally turn a blind eye. You do this because if you see it, it will be sad or painful. That’s why your eyes are closed to begin with.

The backdrop of this narration is a guy in the festival crowd with a giant mask. Someone removes it and this man goes insane, thrashing around. And everyone joins in crazily jumping around.

We see the mysterious sniper chick returns to a shabby apartment room where she is lectured by a woman in a white lab-coat, seemingly her superior. She advises her to be more careful, as some of their agents were arrested by the CIA.

Back to the crazed man in the crowd – he stumbles off a bridge and falls into the water, nose bleeding. The crowd above watches and laughs at the sight of this man going crazy, and jump in after him. As they pass underneath the bridge, a hand shoots out of the water and clutches the air, a purple blotch on it’s wrist. Then it sinks into the water.

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This flowa’ goes lovely with my Hawaiian shirt! (Left)
Bang! Juiz, clean this up.
(Right)

Now in Shanghai, the journalist and camerawoman are taking pictures. Suddenly the journalist spots the old man from the TV in the crowd, in guise of a bandana and blue traditional garb.

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The proverbial flowers make a cameo, replacing fig leaves (Left).

We then see a group of men from "DAEDALUS Corporation" meeting in a skyscraper, a blond one among them mentions "Synthesists" – those who can use all five senses simultaneously [to perceive something (that I gather can only be sensed by one by normal people – such as the smell of an object’s appearance)] – and their potential to advance "IFF" technology. We see a mysterious woman through the next wall over who is not a "synthesist," but who can perceive her "sister" through "purification" – bathing in such waters, she achieves this. She then stands up and extends her arms toward the window, as a sleazy fat ogling man blushes and "ooh’s" and "ah’s". The blond remarks that it is his secretary, and the Sleazy Guy turns away blushing and takes a sip from his teacup. Suddenly the door from the bath opens and it is by the meeting room. The secretary steps out naked, and the Sleazy Guy spurts coffee all over himself in surprise. The blond man addresses her as Liang Qi, his “secretary” and asks her to hand him a report.

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GODZILLA! (Center)

In the Shanghai crowd, the camerawoman is looking for Mino. (The journalist.) Suddenly a giant dragon float appears. Suddenly the dragon spurts out a red/pink liquid over the crowd who all use umbrellas and jackets to cover themselves. Suddenly two masked figures bump into the camerawoman, who are in a nervous rush and hurry away while grunting.

Suddenly the spray of the dragon hits a masked man. His mask flies off, revealing his insane smile and the purple blotch on his neck. Children laugh and point at him. He vomits blood, and flips over dead as the camerawoman takes pictures of the children. Then she realizes (how ignorant these people are!) the dead body on the ground, as she takes a picture of it. The masked assassins approach her from behind, one on each side. They snatch her hand, narrowly escapes as they shoot at her.

The red assassin from earlier, "Canaan," appears from nowhere and drags Oosawa to safety through the crowd. Apparently they are old friends. Ducking into an alley, Canaan and the camerawoman hide. Canaan ties the girl up, who is opposed to hiding.

Mino, the journalist is still wandering through the crowd. Finally realizing Oosawa (the camerawoman) is gone, he looks around and sees Canaan running across the rooftops while ricocheting bullets hit around her. An insane man with a big mask passes him, then a second one (the Assassin one with the smaller masks) drops dead as blood flies out of him. Mino looks up in shock as he sees Canaan exchange fire with another assassin, and rubble flies off of nearby buildings as Mino takes cover.

No one in the crowd seems to notice as they all run to the dragon. He realizes that it’s not that they think it is part of the festival – they realize everything that is going on. The only thing is, they are purposely ignoring it. Now that is creepy. Or is it just downright how people act?

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A helicopter with Liang Qi (now clothed!) on board is flying through the mountains. Her boss is on board as well, and apparently has a foot fetish. She answers the phone and suddenly kicks her boss in the face out of the shock of hearing the name of "Canaan" mentioned on the phone. Canaan is now at the top of a building, still dodging bullets. Her eyes perceive in a thermal vision/x-ray fashion, and she dashes from behind her cover, stlishly sliding down a pole whilst shooting gunmen everywhere. She shoots the dragon and uses it to jump on, as it crashes to the ground.

In a nearby alley one of the big-masked ("crazy") men is taken by a mysterious couple in a van. Hakko, the woman, is to stay with the crazy man at the van as the man runs off to investigate things. Oosawa looks on after Canaan from the crowd below, as an explosion flashes from an alley (presumably the one just shown). Canaan makes her escape from the scene, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.

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Now in a soldier’s transport truck, Liang Qi is humming. Liang Qi is apparenlty the leader of the "Snakes," a terrorist group. Suddenly an explosion hits a humvee in front of them head on and it flies into the truck’s path(caused by an IED, presumably – and apparently they’re still an issue in the future). The van is stopped immediately as ordered and despite the chaos, Liang Qi still hums and the scene fades to black. [End of episode]

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Liang Qi rockin’ dat Chinese swagga’ (left)
This is the Shiki pose (right) – same image bank?

FEEDBACK:

Overall it’s a 6/5. But for the sake of convention, 5/5 will suffice…!

This anime looks amazing. The art is fantastic and animations are fluid and slick. This is especially visible in the awesome OP video. The story thus far is really fast-moving, yet intriguing. Just enough is left to whet your appetite, yet so much has happened! For a first episode, this is truly splendid. I’ve rarely seen anime do this as well as Type-Moon-based anime. Let’s see how this will continue, and I think our expectations will be met and exceeded. =)

The plot is great, and I think it has a good and really interesting meaning to it: How many things are going on under our noses just as good as these crazy murders that we turn a blind eye to, afraid to awaken to reality? If we just dig under the surface, under what the illusion of the mass, look a little farther, deeper, and accept those things most people would normally disregard?

“Synthesists” may be representative of truth-searching people (or the minority of non-ignorant ones), according to the plot.

I wonder if they’ll be able to take on this theme throughout the anime, and of course it has the supernatural and sci-fi setting to boot. Which makes it seem very dystopian and futuristic, and you know I like that.

And before you think that CANAAN’s seemingly crazy people are only to be found in fiction check out the earlier link if you haven’t.

As for the meaning of the word “Canaan”:

Canaan (Phoenician: כנענ, Kana’n, Hebrew: כנען kna-an, Arabic: كنعان Kanaʿān) is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel and Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt.” [Source]

Now that Eden of the East is over, I’m hoping this will be as good as or fill the empty spot that the ending of that anime has left. But since it’s Type-Moon, I’m sold. ;P

Ah and CANAAN is by “Type-Moon co-founders Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi, based on the scenario that they created for the Nintendo Wii visual novel 428: Fūsasareta Shibuya de.” More of a “video novel,” if you will. Really cool. [Source] And while we’re on Type-Moon, doesn’t Canaan remind you a bit of Shiki from Kara no Kyoukai? She does remind me of her… which is… okay, but Shiki is just pure awesome. Too awesome. At least, I can safely think that at this point, but CANAAN is already on its way to becoming pure awesome. I hope it keeps up. XD

Episode Two, A Cruel Game… the preview was interesting and action-packed, as short as it was. Keep your eyes peeled!

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