The beginning of the end of nothing.
(I know you’d all rather be reading Scamp’s Hetalia’s reviews, and so I thank you for your time.)
It begins with the completion of a tragic love story. At first, Santana’s death had been, for the most part (and most especially in my opinion), useless. Add Hakko’s death and you’ve got true tragedy. It was sad to see Santana die not because he was dead but because he hadn’t managed to do anything productive for the most part: he wasn’t able to protect the Unblooms who died one by one running around the streets of Shanghai; he stood by while Natsume worked with Canaan to divert the conference centre bombing. He did drive everyone to the Village That Disappeared though… Hakko’s character, however, may be one of the only characters who changed drastically in the anime – or perhaps it wasn’t so much of a change rather than a revealing of her true nature. Initially depicted as a rather naïve and simple woman working at an erotic karaoke bar, she’s revealed throughout the series to be much more than that, bearing the mark of the Ua Virus, originating from the Village That Disappeared, and in the end, stepping up to protect the one she loved – and killing him in the end. Her inability to live without Santana is topped only by her lying naked with his dead body while partaking in “lovers talk” – something they had never been able to do when he was alive.
Next is the uncharacteristic death of Liang Qi. It was nice to see her fighting with Alphard; a little unsettling to see her getting so excited over it though… For most of the series, I felt that Cummings’ feelings for Liang Qi were comedic, like a fool loving a queen, and so, to see it end like this, it feels wrong. Was Liang Qi so obsessed with Canaan that she would submit to Cummings just because he promised to kill her (and, incidentally, Liang Qi was only looking at her own reflection after she’d taken the drugs which caused her to “look” like Canaan)? After Cummings shot “Canaan”, I was convinced Liang Qi would turn around and continue to pistol whip him. The entire sequence – thrilling though it was – was a prelude to a weak end for one so energetic and sadistic.
In the end, you would think that Alphard would have to die, that in order for the series to end in a satiating way, she could no longer exist. And for a moment, it seems like that. Our main antagonist, however, confuses me: First she allows Canaan to live, but for what reason? To what greater cause? It seems that Alphard intended to recreate the scene in which she had killed Siam, only instead of Siam, she uses Maria – who has become Canaan’s light and greatest source of strength. (I wonder if she was behind their car breaking down as well, thus forcing Maria, Yun Yun, and Canaan to take the train back to Shanghai. “Siphon all their gas, muahahaha!”) A spectacular fight scene ensues, only pausing momentarily when it seems that Alphard has gained the upper hand as the train trapping Yun Yun and Maria explodes. However, despite not being able to sense Maria’s colour, Canaan is sure that she’s still alive, thus being able to continue fighting calmly. She also brings to light that Alphard’s colour shifts between a light brown – the same colour she often saw emanating from Siam – and a pure white, indicating death. Canaan surmises that Alphard’s heart had died when she killed Siam. Alphard realizes that she had been caught up in her past, unable to move forward. Siam had taken her in, trained her, named her Canaan, and in the end, he was always looking to someone beyond her. Perhaps, in defeating Canaan, she had hoped to detach herself from a man who abandoned her. When she tumbles off the train and the only thing keeping her from death is Canaan who commands Alphard to live, she removes herself from both Canaan and Siam the only way she can: by severing the arm bearing the mark she shares with them – and the arm that Canaan is holding onto her by. As the train enters a tunnel, Alphard drops out of screen.
Following this series had been frustrating. It feels like nothing happened even though it was packed with thirteen episodes of stuff. We learned about Borners, Unblooms, and the Ua Virus; the experimentation on the Village That Disappeared was revealed as well as the Snake’s relationship with both government and non-government organizations. We meet and lose characters who were great and only great because of others. But at the end of the series, Maria is still longing for Canaan. Yun Yun falls back into her usual antics with a new job. Mino returns to Japan without a breaking story about humans used as weapons in biological warfare; he might have a future in writing romantic novels, though. Even Alphard makes a reappearance – minus one arm. I don’t see how any of the characters have grown or developed through the events displayed in the series… Maria becomes a little less naïve, I suppose, in realizing that Canaan isn’t just a normal girl, and therefore, they have to live apart from each other, the distance between their worlds too far to bridge. Canaan, in a completely different way, learns to absorb everything as truth. Honestly, I don’t know what that means, but it helped her defeat Alphard and move on with her life. Oh: Cummings becomes a monk; that’s drastically different, although he wasn’t a particularly important character.
And so we leave the series known as Canaan having gained very little. To be fair, I most certainly have to acknowledge that the art and animation was good, and that most of the action sequences were well put together and exciting to watch. If only the plot line held up as well…
Apparently there’s going to be three separate movies made as a compilation of all thirteen episodes of the Canaan anime series. …Yeah: I’m not going to wait in line to see that.