CANAAN first episode

Liang Qi

Liang Qi

“Liang Qi, light of my life, fire of my loins.”

You gotta admit my paraphrase of Lolita sounds good.  Did you know Vladimir Nabokov was a synesthete?  Apparently he associated colors with letters.  I’m not sure if this could have helped him become a master assassin, but killing wasn’t in his character so it didn’t come up [although he did massacre fellow writers with his critiques].

The whole point of this post is to announce that I will be following this show.  Because this is the case, I will concentrate all my criticism in one single sentence, and get it out of the way right now:

Judging from the complexity of the plot as hinted in the first episode, and taking into account that this is projected to be a 13 episode run, chances are that the writers are overextending themselves and the end result will be total plot failure.

OK, on to the positive.  Canaan is the land of milk and honey.  And in this episode we got both of those things in copious quantities.  For example:

milk

milk

honey

honey

The dialogue and situations would have to be hideously bad to offset the visual stimulation this show delivers (assuming it keeps it up).  Maria’s moeity is on the blobby side, sure, but detractors can simply mute their screens and look at the images:

artful

artful

I’m still a total ignoramus when it comes to seiyuu, so I don’t really have an opinion about Miyuki Sawashiro.  A lot of bloggers seemed excited about her “return” with the lead role in this show.  Then I read another blogger complaining she was everywhere these days.  I looked her up and discovered she’s voicing Aoi Arisugawa in Jewel Pet, the runaway hit of the year!  So my amateur assessment is that she’s doing well for herself.

The episode also showcased a sweet array of weaponry, for the I.D.s go to this link.  I’m not a “gun otaku” but I always like to see different tastes being indulged.  According to that site the gun Liang Qi uses in the OP is a Desert Eagle Mark XIX, which is mostly manufactured as an army pistol by Israel.  So there’s a chance connection here with Canaan.  [the Desert Eagle shows up in the game on which Canaan is based on, in Haruhi‘s Mikuru video episode, and elsewhere, check out this link in Japanese]

The “naming fanservice” is cool too.  I learned from Kitsune’s post here that Alphard is the name of a star in the constellation Hydra, corresponding to the heart of this monster.  As the Hydra was a beast with multiple snake heads, this name is perfect for the leader of the Snakes.

Heart of the Hydra

Heart of the Hydra

Incidentally, I searched high and low for Liang Qi’s Chinese characters in both Japanese and English sites and I couldn’t find anything, so I ended up looking through Canaan sites in Chinese.  90% of them use the characters 梁琪 for her name.  Liang (梁) is a very common Chinese surname, Qi (琪) means fine jade.  The neat thing is that Liang also happens to be a star in the constellation Serpentarius, which represents a man holding a snake.  Liang is the hand that holds the snake.  Very interesting thoughts arise.  [my best guess is that the Chinese are assigning characters independently, so far the Japanese writers have kept Liang Qi’s name with katakana…]

All in all, I’m getting Eden of the East vibes from this show: overly fanciful plot and gorgeous art.  The only difference, and what explains me instantly dropping Eden while giving Canaan a chance, is the character design: I’m a sucker for character design.  IRL Japanese call people like me menkui 面食い, which literally means face-eater (a more proper definition is here).

shanghai

THEOLOGICAL NOTE:

Canaan is a paradox.  The land of milk and honey, Canaan is the best of places.  However, it is occupied by the worst of peoples, the Canaanites.  God’s plan is to have the best of peoples, the Israelites, occupy this land.  The perfect situation (the best people dwelling in the best place) is achieved by going through with the worst of acts i.e. the total annihilation of a race (the Canaanites).

Just saying…

~ by Haloed Bane on July 7, 2009.

9 Responses to “CANAAN first episode”

  1. It’s astounding how you painstakingly investigate the little touches on this show. I’ve a better appreciation for the show’s future themes now.

    Miyuki Sawashiro is great because she has some mad range going for her. And Canaan’s shoulders are ❤

  2. Oh lol I just wrote a post on this immediately after I watched it, publishing in a few hours.

    I didn’t read anyone else to write the post, hehehe.

    Very interesting to know that Nabokov is synesthesic. I did get EotE vibes too, (which I also dropped after 4 eps) but this show got me with the production values and the action.

    Like how I responded in your comment about biblical references over at SOS, I like OT reverences… the scandalous gory kinds like what you just shared about the Canaanites.

    We needn’t be philistines about the baiburu lol.

  3. Delicious total plot failure. I find in the long-run I tend to remember more fondly the shows that failed on the basis of overweening ambition, rather than the shows that pandered from the outset.

    Much like Eden of the East, I can also see this show horrendously mangling Biblical allusion in a delightfully Japanese way.

  4. […] who turned out to be a synesthete. I lol’d (animekritik […]

  5. haha That’s a nice paraphrase 🙂 Yes, Nabokov’s wife, mother, and son had synesthesia too. Seeing letters of different colors is interesting, but Kandinsky could hear music while painting 🙂

    Because this series seems to be a continuation of the game’s plot, the anime might have enough time to finish it off, but it will be harder to follow for the uninitiated (I have not played the game).

    As for the seiyuu, this show has one of the best cast this season.

    Oh, that’s an interesting find for Liang Qi’s name 🙂 It seems quite appropriate.

    Yes, character design in Canaan is nice. I’ll do a post about it soon 🙂

  6. @schneider

    shoulder fetish, huh? shoulder schneider you shall be.

    @ghost

    nabokov is interesting in oh so many different ways.

    @vendredi

    overweening ambition trumps pandering, but surely a plot done just right beats overweening ambition, no?

    @Kitsune

    If I could, I’d do character design posts on every show i like, but i don’t have a clue what to say except: “wow, that character design is cool.” I’ll be looking forward to your post.

  7. Well, “a plot done right” is certainly far more satisfying, but that’s the funny thing about the negativity bias; sometimes the shows that fail are just more memorable… actually, that sounds like post material already.

  8. @vendredi

    There’s a whole “aesthetics of defeat” and “beauty of failure” that was popular in intellectual circles in Japan before the war. I think wrote about that in a post, but I can’t remember which. Anyway, I totally get what you’re saying…

  9. thats some cllleeeannnn animation, looks like something I can really get behind. Thanks for sheding some light on this!

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