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Anime: Canaan
Canaan & Maria

Welcome to The Unholy Land! Colors have scent. Sounds possess images. In this future world, where biochemical weapons have changed the game, an unlucky few have their senses blended. They are gifted with abilities beyond what normal humans feel. They possess synesthesia. This makes them the perfect assassin. And a perfect target. Welcome to the new world. Welcome to the war.

Neophyte professional photographer Maria Osawa travels from Japan to Shanghai to report on the annual festival, where she also hopes to meet Canaan, a mysterious Action Girl who saved her life a couple of years ago and has been fascinating her ever since. However, things get ugly when a Nebulous Evil Organization targets Maria. Known as the "Snakes", they are led by Canaan's arch-rival Alphard and are somehow involved with the "Ua Virus"—the biological weapon that left Maria the only known survivor of the deadly Shibuya terrorist attack. Fortunately for Maria, Canaan shows up to save her again, much to her (and the fans') excitement.

Canaan is an anime series based upon a scenario from the Wii mystery Adventure Game titled 428: Fuusasareta Shibuya de, which (the scenario, not the whole game) was created by Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi of Type-Moon fame (at which point many tropers rush off to leech it from the Internet, no further questions asked). Since the game is really obscure outside of Japan (its notability in the West basically being "that Visual Novel Famitsu gave a 40"), here's a detailed synopsis of 428 in English.

The creation of the show has resulted in a franchise that includes manga and light novel adaptations.


Canaan contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Canaan.
  • A-Cup Angst: Yunyun, who stuffs rolls and meatbuns (and in the final episode watermelons) down her shirt to make herself look bigger.
  • Alliterative Name: Alphard Alshaya and Minoru Minorikawa.
  • All Part of the Show: In the first episode, multiple people are shot and killed (or die horribly from the Ua Virus), and everyone thinks it's just part of the festival. Maria's partner Mino, however, attests that it's something else.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Hakko does this after Liang Qi tricks her into using her voice on Santana. He was already dying and requested that the last words he heard are "I love you."
    • Cummings to Liang Qi seconds before he shoots her. She was dying anyway.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: Yunyun.
  • Arc Tune: The melody Alphard and Syam have been humming seems to be shaping into this.
  • Attention Whore: Liang Qi, oh so much. It's not hard to extrapolate that her revealing attire is her attempt at attracting Alphard's attention.
  • Ax-Crazy: Liang Qi
  • Badass Bystander: The taxi driver. Also an example of Crazy Awesome. Being voiced by Joji Nakata really helps.
  • Badass Boast: Subverted when Yunyun appears to be going to give one after taking Maria hostage, but she just states her name.
  • Badass Longcoat: Alphard's favorite accessory
  • Badass Normal: Some characters take awesome risks. Mino first tries to run into the virus infected area... not even eight SWAT men can force him to move, he also risks being killed in a precision airstrike trying to save Maria and delivers a Cooldown Hug to Hakko even whilst she's shooting at him. Cummings twice risks getting shot for real by Liang and Alphard herself.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Alphard and Yunyun are fond of this.
  • Bathing Beauty: Liang Qi is the craziest one ever.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Canaan rescues Maria from Malevolent Masked Men. Then proceeds to kill them all from long range with a pistol.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Lots and lots of Chinese, and also a smattering of English, is used in the series due to the Shanghai setting. Levels of accuracy vary.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Canaan leaves Maria in the end, because their lifestyles are too different. Maria will be with Canaan "in her heart."
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In gratuitous amounts. Liang Qi in specific produces torrents of the stuff.
  • Book Ends: Canaan up in a tower with a sniper rifle, with some sort of candy stick in her mouth.
  • Break the Cutie: Maria, then Yunyun, then Hakko...
  • Bring Out Your Gay Dead: Liang Qi.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Canaan loses her ability to "see colors" at the end of episode 7. She gets it back later, but only after getting hit indirectly by a missile, and confronting Alphard.
  • Brown Note: The fact that Hakko's voice can kill is only noticeable by the responses of other people.
  • Bullet Time: One of Canaan's many combat abilities.
  • Butt Monkey: Cummings. Poor dude never seems to catch a break, though the events of episode 11 ventures into Woobie territory.
    • Yun Yun as well. It seems like nothing goes right for the poor girl no matter how hard she tries. Let's see, her borner mutation is a second appendix, her boss considers her life disposable but also controls the supply of medication she needs to survive, she had her workplace shot up by her own "allies" twice, she failed an assignment because her boobs were too small to interest the target, and she got interrogated at gunpoint with her own gun (while still wearing the embarrassingly skimpy bunny girl outfit from her failed assignment to boot).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Yunyun. It is even Lamp Shaded by Maria and Mino from episodes 2-5 as they wonder who she is.
  • Child Soldier: Canaan's background. Alphard's, too. Trained by the same man, no less.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Canaan gets one in episode 9.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Maria. As Yunyun put it: "I've just found the Eighth Wonder of the World."
    • Yunyun herself isn't far behind Maria ...
  • Combat Parkour: Canaan does this in addition to her gun fighting skills alongside her synesthesia powers, making her a formidable mercenary.
  • Compilation Movie: Three of them are upcoming, though it remains to be seen if they will actually have any original material, or simply be all the episodes strung together.
  • Conspicuous CG: Every vehicle that shows up, plus the cutesy avatar Liang Qi uses to troll the crowds during episode 6 and the bomb in episode 7
  • Cool Guns: Alphard's FN Five-seveN USG, and Canaan's Beretta PX4 Storm.
    • In a flashback, Canaan is seen using a Beretta 93R when she was being trained by Syam.
    • In Liang Qi's flashback, Alphard has a silenced P90.
  • Cooldown Hug: Mino to Hakko.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Liang Qi, especially in episode 11 when you see her massive stockpile of weapons, grenades and ammo, one will notice shurikens and a freaking chainsaw among the lot.
  • Curtains Match the Window: almost the whole cast. About the only ones who don't are Liang Qi and Cummings.
  • Cute Little Fang: Yunyun.
  • Cute Mute: Hakko, what with being "voiced" by Mamiko Noto. Subverted, since it turns out she can speak. It will just kill you!
  • The Cutie: Maria, oh so very much.
  • Damsel in Distress: Maria
  • Dark Action Girl: Alphard, Liang Qi
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Canaan is a mild version, closer to white than anything. And it's later revealed that this is not natural, since exposure to the Ua virus causes dark hair to turn white if one carries the synesthesia gene complex.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Canaan with Shan/Siam in the last two episodes
  • Death by Despair: Hakko, refusing to leave the collapsing building, seems to have decided to just die next to Santana's corpse.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hakko crosses it after accidentally killing Santana when she thought she was delivering a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Liang Qi.
  • Disease Bleach: In some cases exposure to the Ua virus results in dark hair turning white. This is known to have happened to Canaan, Liang Qi and at least one other girl who was an attempt to make a second Canaan.
  • Dodge the Bullet: One of Canaan's powers, which becomes prevalent in the last episode.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Liang Qi: "She's going to pull my tongue out; slowly and slowly, she's going to cut my neck open, then reach into the wound and churn my insides!"
    • When Mino, sitting on a park bench, is thinking of the previous night when he first met Hakko (in her rather revealing Cat Girl costume), a jet from the fountain suddenly shoots into the air. When she appears later on in the same scene and comes to sit down next to him, a whole bunch of jets go off.
  • Dragon Lady: Liang Qi's choice of dress and sadism gives her elements of this trope, along with The Baroness.
  • The Driver: The taxi driver.
  • Eagleland: Mildly done, but the United States is given a rather unflattering depiction in Canaan; They have a bombastic bozo for a President, a corrupt crook for a Vice President, are shamelessly neoconservative, and the CIA collude with a terrorist/private security organization in the development of biological weapons, using Chinese villagers as test subjects.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Alphard. Besides the obvious example in Liang Qi, she sets the hearts of both the male and female party guests in episode 4 aflutter when she passes by them in her sexy evening gown.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Canaan is referred to as "Synesthesia Girl".
  • Fan Disservice: A Squicky Twofer from episode 11.
    • First, there's Liang Qi's bloody, Rasputinian death scene, all with her wearing skimpy lingerie.
    • Second, there's Hakko's sex scene with Santana's corpse.
  • Fingore: In episode 12, when Alphard has a gun pressed to Canaan's head, Canaan has her finger behind the trigger, and when Alphard pulls it her nail visibly cracks and bleeds.
  • Furo Scene: Liang Qi has upwards of half a dozen.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Done by Maria of all people who delivers a punch combo to Yunyun's face when she's being fatalistic regarding her condition.
  • Girls with Guns
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Canaan's Synesthesia abilities induce this (whether it's literal or for the audience's benefit is not established).
  • Gratuitous English: Episode 7 HOOLEE SHIT!
    • A lot of the Americans' dialogue in that episode.
    • "GET SOME GET SOME GET SOME GET SOME"
    • ULTRAVIOLET AND NOISE-CANCELING HELMET!
    • Episode 2, when the trucks get attacked... "GOGOGO!GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!"
  • Gun Fu: Canaan's primary style of combat, with a healthy dose of Gun Kata thrown into the mix.
  • Gunpoint Banter
  • Gun Stripping
  • Heel-Face Turn: Yun Yun. Not that it takes her very long.
  • Heroic Bloodshed
  • Heroic BSOD: Hakko's actions after the death of Santana could bee seen as such.
  • Heroic RROD: Canaan gets one of these in Episode 7, when she realizes her Synesthesia abilities don't work anymore.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Canaan and Maria.
  • Hyper Awareness
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The crazy old Unbloom guy who Canaan fights early in the series.
  • Idiot Hair: Maria has it. Canaan even lampshades this in episode three.
  • Idol Singer: Nene.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Liang Qi
  • Irrevocable Order: The vice president cannot call off a B-2 about to bomb the president.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Someone forgot to inform the animation staff that B2 stealth bombers do not have vertical stabilizers, or afterburner nozzles on the engines.
  • Karma Houdini: At the end of the series Canaan is still working with Natsumi despite the fact that Natsumi would have killed Maria without the timely intervention of Alphard.
  • Kick the Dog: Liang Qi, all the time.
  • Life or Limb Decision: A zig-zaggy, blurry, sort-of-inverted example. In the final episode, Alphard shoots her own arm off, but it's not really to save her life, it's to get rid of what's left of Siam. She does survive, though.
  • Location Theme Naming: Canaan.
    • Syam or Siam may refer the region now known as Syria. Or the name of Thailand in the old days.
  • Love Hurts: Any romantic subplot in Canaan.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Liang Qi, so much so that she does not take Alphard abandoning her very well.
  • Love Martyr: Cummings to Liang Qi.
  • Magic Skirt: Despite the extremely short hemline and often sitting with her legs apart, while in her qipao Liang Qi somehow never manages to flash the audience, mainly through creative use of camera angles. As she becomes (even more) unhinged she quits with the skirt altogether and just goes around in lingerie.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Which actually makes sense, since the scene takes place during a carnival.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Natsume
  • Meaningful Name: "Canaan".
    • "Alphard" means "the solitary one" in Arabic. It's also the name of the brightest star in the constellation Hydra, marking the heart of the snake. She wasn't quite modest when she chose her new name.
    • Written in kanji, Hakkō can mean "misfortune" (薄幸).
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Yunyun
  • Mistress and Servant Boy: Liang Qi and Cummings are a particularly dark and violent version of this trope. Liang Qi couldn't care less about Cummings and mainly takes her frustration out on him, but Cummings has a (one sided) infatuation with her and seems to like the abuse he suffers. He loves her so much, in fact, that he's the one who gives her a Mercy Kill, and he becomes a monk at the end of the series.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Liang Qi. She likes long baths.
    • Hakko in her hostess club outfit counts for this as well.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Poor Hakko just can't let go of Santana after he dies.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Liang Qi is always attempting to kill Canaan because she believes that Canaan 'changed' her beloved "Nee-sama".
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Liang Qi's stomach-churningly vicious beating of Maria.
  • Non-Action Guy: Minoru
  • No One Could Survive That: Maria's dad, though his "death" was revealed to be but a sly trick by the Snakes to make US bomb their own president.
    • Maria's later exploding train ride. Not much explanation is given, although Yunyun appears to have a major hand in it.
    • Finally, Alphard survives falling off a train trestle, as seen in the epilogue.
  • The Obi-Wan: Syam to Canaan.
  • One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce: Canaan's power doesn't come with a corresponding weakness unlike the rest of the Borners.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Alphard towards Canaan. She even delivers a speech to that effect to Canaan in episode 9.
  • Onee-sama: Liang Qi refers and relates to Alphard this way.
  • Orgasmic Combat: Holy shit, Liang Qi.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Yunyun.
  • Plucky Girl: Yun Yun in the last episode, pulling Maria out of a train car that's about to explode and then carrying her who even knows how far. By the time Mino finds them, she's completely out of it and thinks the three of them are in Buddhist heaven.
  • Post-Mortem One-Liner: "... and play cat's cradle."
  • Private Military Contractors: The Daedala Corporation. But they aren't entirely a PMC considering that most of its personnel, if not all, are Snake terrorists.
  • Product Placement: That red detonator Liang Qi uses in episode 6 looks suspiciously like a red Wiimote Nunchuk; the aforementioned airsoft pistols Liang Qi uses to torment Cummings.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Liang Qi is obsessed with her "nee-sama". They are not biological sisters, though, as Liang is Chinese, while Alphard is a Middle-Easterner.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Liang Qi's usual facial expression.
  • Qipao: Liang Qi's favorite attire.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Subverted and played straight at the same time in episode 10. Hakko tries twice to kill Liang Qi with one of these, only to have Liang Qi troll her on both accounts and then deliver her own Reason You Suck Speech right back at Hakko each time. To add insult to injury, Hakko finds to her dismay that she accidentally killed Santana with her second speech, which Liang Qi all too gleefully informs her of during her second Speech.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Canaan
  • Red String of Fate: Used to play "Cat's Cradle".
  • Rescue Romance: Maria attempts to replay her first meeting with Canaan by getting in trouble.
    • Liang Qi had set up a trap for Alphard to get captured in the beginning so that Liang Qi would get to rescue her. Alphard was very aware of this, and went along with it merely because she was curious where Liang Qi was going with it.
  • Running Gag: Liang Qi's airsoft pistol, which gets used in a minor Gambit Roulette set up by Alphard in episode 9.
  • Rule of Cool: Synesthesia does not work that way! Who cares?
  • Save the Villain: Canaan saves Alphard from falling at the end of their climactic duel. How does the rescuee respond? By shooting off her arm and falling... though, see under No One Could Survive That.
  • Scenery Censor: Liang Qi's first scene, in which she gets out of the bath in Cumming's office and, still nude, goes to retrieve some documents for him. As she bends over to hand them to him, a conveniently-placed plant on the table in the foreground acts as Censor Foliage.
  • Sequel Hook: Canaan gets the assignment to kill a "one-armed woman".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Liang Qi is quite poetic at times, especially in regards to hurting people.
  • Sex is Violence: It certainly is for Liang Qi, a potential poster child for this trope.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Canaan's shirt.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Only demonstrated in episode one, Liang Qi is the BEST SECRETARY EVER! All other things considered.
  • Shout-Out: The US President is clearly a fan of Trigun, he managed to get the entire crowd and other world leaders screaming 'LOVE AND PEACE!!'
  • Shower Scene: Alphard gets a vaguely plot-important scene where we first see that she has the same tattoo as Canaan.
  • Shown Their Work: other then the of glaring errors with the stealth bomber the creators clearly spent some time researching everything from US military uniforms through Chinese railroads to the local cuisine of Xinjiang province.
  • Shoot the Dog: Cummings has to kill Liang Qi after her attempt to give herself Synesthesia...really, really doesn't end well.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Arguably most of the main cast has this going for each other, but Liang Qi for Alphard and Cummings for Liang Qi are the most obvious. Cummings even becomes a monk after he has to Mercy Kill Liang Qi.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Liang Qi, again.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Canaan.
  • Super Soldier: What the Snakes and the CIA had done in Xinjiang with the supposed plans to use the Ua virus in the first place.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Alphard's humming in the first episode.
    • China Kibun de High Tension plays during a life-or-death chase scene, in which the taxi Maria is in is being pursued by an insane old man with an Uzi.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Canaan and Alphard's mentor, Siam/Syam/Cham, suffers from this. Judging by the envelope Alphard carries, Siam seems to be the correct spelling.
  • Spit Take: A businessman's reaction to a naked and dripping wet Liang Qi casually walking into the room.
  • Stereotypes of Chinese People: Well, it does take place in Shanghai.
  • The Stoic: Alphard and Syam
  • Super Power Lottery: The kind of mutation a Borner gets, along with its strengths and drawbacks, seem to be entirely random. Hayatori in episode 2 has two hearts, granting him immense agility and premature aging, while his brother in episode 3 can contort and squeeze inside small spaces, though he's physically trapped in a child's body. Meanwhile Yunyun has been granted... two appendixes.
    • The "winner" until now is Hakko: She can kill you with her voice!
  • Surprisingly Good English: Episode 7. The English in the stealth bomber scene. The Chinese (it isn't English, but still!) used by the Chinese army is also surprising good.
    • There's also a little bit of Surprisingly Good German in this episode...
    • The Delta Force commandos in the 11th Episode. Averted in the North American release as the lines were removed.
  • Take My Hand: This is how Canaan and Alphard's ultimate duel ends, but Alphard really doesn't want to be rescued by her... She survives, nonetheless.
  • Thirteen Episode Anime
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Liang Qi's assistant Cummings eventually starts enjoying her constant abuse.
    • Liang Qi herself would appear to be getting very excited when Alphard is beating her down in episode 11.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Canaan and those sugar candy stick things she's often shown munching on.
  • Triang Relations: Alphard, Liang Qi and Cummings are in a Type 5, since Cummings loves Liang Qi, who only has eyes for Alphard, and Alphard doesn't seem to care about either of them.
  • Tyke Bomb: Liang Qi.
  • The Virus: Obviously.
  • Unfortunate Names: Maria Osawa, bearing a too-close-for-comfort name of Maria Ozawa, a Japanese porn star.
  • Vapor Ware: The announced three theatrical releases have yet to appear. The revamped website do not advertise the supposed movies, which confirms the trope.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Episode 11 has a truly horrific and heartbreaking one of these on the part of Liang Qi.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Alphard helps all countries go to war with each other and takes money from everybody; and she also helps countries go to peace (since peace also results in rearmamenting and sales opportunities).
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Yunyun is a Borner mutant... with two appendices.
  • Where It All Began: The train (possibly the same train, but at least the same make) was both the setting for the beginning of Canaan and Alphard's feud (when Alphard killed Syam) and their climactic duel.
    • The airport that Alphard is sitting in during the epilogue would seem to be the same one from the last scene in 428.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Yunyun, lampshaded by Minoru and Maria, and then explained in episode 5 as she is spying on them as per Liang Qi's orders. Could also be a reference to the potential after effects of China's economic growth spurt as Yunyun mentions that many in the slums take up several part-time jobs to make ends meet.
  • Yan-Fucking-Dere: Liang-Qi.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Alphard with regard to Liang Qi. Liang Qi with regard to Yunyun.
  • Your Head A Splode: Hakko's power, to a degree.
  • Your Mom: In episode 5, Santana and Minorikawa eventually devolve into slinging this back and forth.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Liang Qi manages to combine this with a cheongsam.
    • Maria sports it on one occasion as well.


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alternative title(s): Canaan
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