Canaan 9 – A Bump in the Speedway

This image is a pretty good representation of this episode as a whole. As awesome as Yun Yun riding in Hakko’s lap ought to be, and as cute as that blush is, no one’s really smiling or excited about it. Think of Yun Yun sitting in Hakko’s lap as the awesomeness inherent in watching Canaan, and the cuteness of the blush as the highlights of the episode, but the worried expressions and furrowed brows as the general disappointment in a subpar episode. Once again, my partner No Name joins me to discuss the ups and downs.

The Negatives

It’s hard to talk negatives with Canaan, because I really love this show and want to do nothing but promote it. However, this episode was a detraction from the series in a pretty good number of ways. It’s nothing too horrible to fix, and every show has their less-than-great episodes (as Ghostlightning puts it in the comments of one of my older posts, “I have yet to find a show where I found every single episode to be ‘Awesome'”), but it’s still disappointing. So let’s start with the technical side of things.

The animation in this episode was not very good – it’s not QUITE a Sunrise-level random drop in quality, but maybe somewhere along the lines of the inconsistencies in the better Gonzo shows. There were a number of really jarring off-model shots, especially with Alphard, who’s animators could not seem to decide on her bust size at all. There were also a lot of animation shortcuts taken, such as dust billowing up (okay, explosions in the desert, there’s going to be dust, but they certainly took advantage of it,) and the couple of action scenes in the episodes were so brief and in-affectionately animated that their presence was an annoyance.

I really liked the consistency of vibrant colors in the show, but some of the last episode and all of this one were really drab. I’ve always been a fan of colorful scenes, so I was disappointed.

What gets me the most is the horrible CG desert. What the fuck is it with anime these days and shitty CG deserts?! There was one in the first FullMetal Alchemist opening a few years back; I seem to remember there being one in episode three of Soul Eater, and Bee Train pulled that shit in the first episode of Phantom (though that’s rather expected of Bee Train). I mean, seriously, what is it that drives people to make deserts in CG if they can’t make it look good after all this practice? I guess everyone just loved the opening to AMV Hell 3 that much….

Anyway, getting past the crappy animation, this episode was paced and tonalized horrendously. The characters just seem to meander around for the whole episode, getting in little bursts of plot exposition between bouts of doing absolutely nothing. Plus, the episode is a real downer, but doesn’t seem to realize it. The dialog in the episode all relates directly to either mass murder or the impending death of the lovable dolt Yun Yun, and yet in spite of all the frowning, crying, and tension, a lot of really ill-placed humor is thrown in that ruins the moment. When Yun Yun is giving a rather stirring explanation of her return to her hometown, Maria beats the shit out of her in a scene that would have been hilarious if it weren’t so awkward and ill-placed.

In regards to Yun Yun dying, I have some questions. If everyone has different drugs to take, where is Canaan getting hers? Iron Strife? What is Iron Strife? Is Canaan even a borner?

In addition, action scenes come out of fucking nowhere, seemingly just for the sake of action scenes. When Yun Yun is about to finish a potentially stirring sentence about her life, a random dude suddenly appears, fights Canaan briefly in a, while meaningful (if horribly placed in that meaning), horrid fight, and then dies. It turns out he was the guy who used to live behind Yun Yun, bla bla bla, and it has no real relevance to the episode except Canaan facing her mortality (which could have WAITED), and some throwaway exposition about the people who don’t get powers from the Ua Virus, which we don’t really seem to have a reason to care about.

It’s not even clear why the hell the old man opened fire on them anyway, or why the fuck he was there.

It’s even worse the second time when Liang Qi, who Alphard has decided to kill, randomly shows up in a helicopter at Canaan’s location to try to blow her away. It’s not really clear how she found them so easily or why she was there, but Alphard shows up semi-immediately to attack her in a chopper of her own. There is then a scene where Cummings convinces Miss Whimsy, Alphard, to spare him and Liang Qi because they are ‘interesting’, a bullshit excuse she loves to use to help the plot go nowhere. And then the Liang Qi flies off, leaving no meaning to the scene. It gets even more meaningless and stupidly convenient when Alphard finds the wounded Canaan only to taunt her some more and tell her she wants to meet and fight again.

I actually have some questions about that confrontation, too. When Alphard is stomping on Canaan. Canaan sees a light brown around Alphard. What brought about her ability again? Strong emotions? Alphard also goes on to say that she’ll destroy everything in order to prevent the tainted flowers from blooming. Is she talking about the Unblooms at the factory? Hopefully this will all come to light.

All of this is pretty annoying and pointless, and there’s not even gratification to be found in the bit of exposition we DO get. The story behind the village being destroyed is that Santana worked for the CIA and they used the village as test subjects for the virus, and of course, his innocent ass was ‘a fool to believe it was for the good of America.’ Oh, anime. So, whereas the whole political side to the show was being handled with a reasonable dose of realism to this point, it’s now been pretty much thrown into the usual anime stereotypes that the government is the god of all buzzkills and wants to buttfuck everything righteous. And all of Santana’s “I destroyed the village” speeches now sound violently underwhelming.

Santana obviously feels bad about being a part of the whole incident, but what can he even do about it? He hasn’t been seen doing anything useful yet. And what the fuck was with the so-called plot? The village was plagued with an unknown viral disease. In order to prevent an epidemic outbreak, the group disguised as CDC took the opportunity to infect them with the Ua Virus and test their antivirus efficacy. Does this make sense to you? Preventing a viral outbreak with their own virus? “Since the villagers were all ill anyway, lets use them all as guinea pigs to our sick project.” But wouldn’t the previous unknown virus the villagers had affect their test results anyway? How could they get reliable results when they don’t even know what the fuck previous virus was doing to their bodies? I’ll stop here. And don’t even get me started on the whole thing with the NGO chick, none of that made any damn sense.

I think that about covers the negatives. What really pissed me off was just that there was obviously a lot of filler where the plot really needed to move and will now probably have to do so in the next episode. A lot of stupid things like the horrible fights could easily have been removed to make room for more exposition, such as finally explaining what happened on the train with Alphard and Canaan instead of yet another ambiguous teaser. Now, we’ll probably loose time out of other episodes to finish off the exposition, and this episode as well as those may be weaker for it.

The Positives

As many negatives as there are, there are also some really enjoyable elements to this episode. After all, this IS still Canaan. It wouldn’t even be such a disappointing episode if the series itself weren’t so good, and as such, there are still some things that will please as a die-hard fan.

The biggest one is the voice acting, which I suppose is unsurprising since it’s the one thing that isn’t going to fall to pieces when the budget drops. This episode featured plenty of well-delivered lines, especially from Yun Yun. My favorite was at the very beginning where she tried to disguise her voice from the others and convince them that they didn’t want any buns, lol. Liang Qi was a joy to listen to as well. Her lines in this episode were made of win, particularly when she starts thinking about her onee-sama tearing her throat open and playing with her insides. And getting hard on it.

I LULZ HARD when Liang Qi is on the screen :D

There were also a number of the facial expressions and contextual moments that have made this show such a high step above average for me throughout watching. In particular, I loved the moment where the car is approaching the hometown, and Yun Yun’s face lights up while Hakko looks away. It’s interesting to think that they probably had the exact same emotion running through them, but their personalities played upon it differently. There were a couple of these.

I think part of the episode’s weakness was the general lack of it’s two most interesting and driving characters, Maria and Canaan, but both of them got their moments. Even if it was hideously placed in the episode, Canaan facing her mortality was still nice. I also liked her powerless scene at the end, but honestly I just love Canaan no matter what. Maria also had a moment when she was forced to turn her third eye upon the truth of the dead body. The two did manage to sneak some hugging into the background, which I thought was nice.

Unfortunately, those generalized moments were the best compliments I could think of for this episode. It’s an episode that I don’t think will ruin the show or even be a huge blip in the grand scheme of things – if the show is marathoned, this episode might not even be seen as a particular negative. However, viewing the show episodically and with the expectations put in place by it’s incredible predecessors, it’s hard not to be disappointed.

This episode didn’t reveal enough info and wasted a whole lot of time. Now, some things may or may not have been explained in 428:Fusa Sareta Shibuya de. But I haven’t played it so I wouldn’t know, has anyone played it?
Related Posts:

Canaan 9 has been covered by hontou ni, Hanners’, Anime^2, Anime Diet, and A Product of Wasted Time

My Canaan coverage

The best Canaan posts are at Epic Win

10 thoughts on “Canaan 9 – A Bump in the Speedway

  1. WRT speculation re: Canaan’s drug, I suppose it’s Maria. /jk

    Canaan and Alphard could the best case type success the experiments were hoping for. Maria could be the key to the mystery – being treated and (re-)emerging completely normal (well, normal if you count that permanently Levitra-ed ahoge). Nothing beats Daddy’s anti-virus! Speaking of which, since it has worked so well once, why hasn’t Maria Dad produced MOAR of it?

  2. I thought the episode was OK. Agreed about everything involving Yun Yun — could’ve been handled a lot better than it is. I like Yun Yun, and her coming to grips with her pending death and reflecting on her destroyed village is a really genuine plot point, but then everything else comes in and shatters the focus.

    Ah well. Long as there’s more crazy Liang Qi, I am happy.

  3. Agreed with Zyl on Maria being Canaan’s drug lol. I’m not sure if Canaan needs drugs, and I’m still confused as to her origins. Guess I wasn’t paying enough attention since there were other more interesting stuff to look at such as crazy Liang Qi and the romance between Alphard and Canaan.

  4. @Zyl: LOL, and exactly what some of my thoughts were.

    @TJ: Well, Canaan eats those white sticks all the time. Which I’m thinking is similar to what the Borners were taking. idk, just a thought :-|

    I enjoyed the episode, and it was what I had expected following the previous episode. There is certainly a lot more on my mind that I just can’t put into words.

  5. Conversely, I felt like this episode was quite good, with the only really annoying part being Liang Qi and her psycho shenanigans. And Canaan doing her “I’m becoming a real girl with FEELINGS” thing. I guess it’s a matter of what one can tune out.

  6. Pingback: Canaan vs. Black Lagoon: A Battle of Battles – Don’t F This Up (1) « Fuzakenna!

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