Length: 13 episodes
Rating: 15 for lesbian subtext
Two years ago, Shibuya was ravaged by a biological terrorist attack using the deadly Ua virus. Maria Osawa was saved when her father inoculated her against the virus, but is left with partial amnesia from the episode. Canaan, also exposed to the Ua virus when it was “tested” on her village in rural China, experienced a somewhat different outcome. She gained synesthesia, which results in hyper-alertness, spatial awareness and an all-round ability to merge her senses together for a complete picture of the world around her (think frosh from Crest of the Stars). Now working as a camerawoman for an investigative journalist, Maria meets Canaan in Hong Kong. The two friends (through some unexplained past meeting) set out on a voyage of discovery to seek out the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the village, and with it, Canaan’s past.
The real winner with this series is the mystery element. I watched with a genuine interest to know more about Canaan, her history, what made her into the creature she is today, and how the people around her moulded that character. There’s also quite detailed development of other characters, both major and minor, which takes the series down a few side alleys – but none of which end up irrelevant to the main plot line.
“Girls with Guns” series are notoriously difficult to review. Although nearly a decade old, Noir defined the genre and set a benchmark. To my mind, nothing has yet pushed it from that podium. Canaan is an undoubtedly good series, with plenty of original direction, yet not ashamed to take bits from Noir where appropriate. While it doesn’t exactly pay homage to Noir in the way that Madlax perhaps does, there are definite similarities between the series. Those who have watched Noir will enjoy Canaan’s similarites and differences, and those who haven’t watched Noir might use this as a good stepping stone to it.