By Alex Sy
Canaan is an anime television series conceptualized by Type-Moon co-founders Kinoko Nasu, and Takashi Takeuchi. The was animated by P.A. Works. The television series was inspired by a scenario from the visual graphic novel 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de. Canaan spans thirteen episodes each being twenty-five minutes long.
The story centers around the title character, Canaan, who is a female mercenary stationed in Shanghai, China. The story also includes her friend Maria Ōsawa, whom she had previously met. Maria is visiting Shanghai to report the anti-terrorist convention with her friend Minoru “Mino” Minorikawa. During her free time at a festival, Maria is attacked by a group of gunman but is rescued, in heroic fashion, by Canaan. Their reunion sparks the story of the series which leads to the question of why she was attacked. They later realize that the altercation was a terrorist attack to infect people with the Ua Virus and it was up to them to stop the plan orchestrated by the terrorist organization, Snake.
Canaan was produced in 2009. The animation was fluid, concentrated, and enjoyable to watch. The actions scenes never skipped a detailed motion. The battle scenes are also impressively angled and choreographed. The music seems slightly above average but fits the story and played at the correct time. The timing of the music makes the fight scenes more and more eye-catching. The things that very few anime series fail to look at are the dubbed translations. Canaan features dialogue that actually makes sense. The character statements aren’t awkward or unusual, in fact, characters give the impression like they actually are from America. It should be said, however, that some statements aren’t as impressive as the previous. The story of Canaan feels uninteresting initially and at times feels confusing but the creators helps clarify with nice flashbacks that adds another dynamic to the story. However, the idea of Canaan still feels a little uninteresting. It just doesn’t pop out like an interesting topic to be interested about. Even so, it still finds a way to keep you watching.
The characters of Canaan are abundant in personality and are lovable from start to finish. Canaan is a white-haired, female mercenary who was trained since childhood. She displays physical prowess, as well as combat intuition. Canaan also has the ability of a special kind of synaesthesia which allows her to spot people’s inner feelings by color whether it be fear (green), murderous (blue), or even hunger (grey). The activation of synaesthesia is characterized by powerful red eyes. And red eyes never looked so cool on a protagonist. This helps in identifying enemy combatants. What I also liked was the fact that Canaan was of Arab decent. It’s unique, original, and a fresh-taste instead of the usual and norm. Canaan’s friend, Maria, is an enthusiastic girl who finds a way to make you like her and hate her at the same time. Maria has so much life that it gets on your nerves but her happiness and gullibility find a way to like the character. Her innocence greatly contributes to why she makes such an interesting character. Characters like Mino, Hakko, and Santana provided scenes, funny or emotional, that make the series even more likable then it already is. Even antagonist like Alphard, a female assassin and leader of the terrorist group, Snake, find a way to impress. Alphard is just a unique character to watch. But my favorite character, Yunyun, provides the comedic part of the show. Yunyun is the main source for comic relief in the show and she is definitely the one character to pay attention too. She holds numerous part-time jobs in Shanghai and resolves in “semi-orthodox” methods of attracting customers. That “semi-orthodox” statement probably means you should watch the series if your not already interested.
The cons about this series are minimal but annoying to have. The biggest con is the character Liang Qi who finds a way to ruin not only segments of the show, but a whole episode. Her demands for “love” get repetitive and annoying. Her slow drive to madness gets harder and harder to watch. Her insanity is dedicated to Episode 11. I highly recommend that if you watch this series and enjoy it, that you, at the most, don’t watch and, at the least, skim past episode 11 if you want to keep your ideal feelings about this series intact. Episode 11 starts off weird and it eventually becomes disturbing. Beware Episode 11. Another con is the somewhat repetitive and unrealistic dialogue that drags on excessively. At first it’s really compassionate but it gets somewhat annoying to watch. I really didn’t like the plot-holes in the show as well. There were many instances where I wonder, “How did that happen?”, “How does that happen?”, and “Why does that happen?” And as good as the flashbacks are, we never really get a sense of who Siam, trainer and mentor of Canaan, really is. A very small con, probably not noticeable, is the decline in quality. The decline is minuscule but at a span of 13 episodes, it really should be unnoticeable. I saw animation not as good as the previous. Dialogue never really seemed as good as it was before, and the story declines in interest toward the final three episodes. Actions scenes were not as spectacular as the ones before. Other than that its still a very good series to watch. In review, Canaan is nicely, impressively, and amazingly animated. What would have initially become a boring idea was made into an interesting story. If you can get past the weird and disturbing parts, which is very difficult to do, then you will enjoy this anime series. For a mature and violent show, it gets somewhat childish in a equally good and bad way. Even though we never really get a full understanding of synaesthesia, I’m confident that many of us would conclude it to be awesome. Canaan offers a funny, suspenseful, action-packed, creative, original , to an extent, emotional and romantic, and entertaining animated series that keeps you at the edge of your seat. It’s flaws hold it back though, as many of the cons keep you at the back of your seat. Still, Canaan upbringing impresses me and a loyal fan-base. I hope they come out with a second season, the series is set up for one. B+
By Alex Sy
Gundam Unicorn is the next installment to one of the best anime sagas in history, Gundam. Gundam Unicorn is a mecha series divided into seven episodes that span an hour long in content. After the success of Gundam 00, the creators added another story to the original timeline of their series.
Gundam Unicorn takes place in the 0096 Universal Century where armed conflict revolves around giant machines known as mobile suits. Armed conflict is between the Earth Federation and the space immigrants that live in space colonies, The Sleeves. Armed conflict also revolves around a relic that is known as Laplace’s Box, and is said to be able to overthrow the Federation and destroy the world. The OVA centers around the story of a boy named Banagher Links. Banagher Links is a 16 year-old electronics student. Banagher’s colony was under crossfire between the Sleeves and the Federation and he stumbles into the Vist Foundation that has manufactured a new mobile suit known as the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam named after Gundam, being the first Mobile Suit developed by the Federation in 0078 UC. In that building he is entrusted with that Gundam which is the key to Laplace’s Box.
This OVA is directed like a movie, unlike any other Gundam series ever created before. The animation is amazing and the art is awesome looking. The fight scenes are great to watch. There is CGI in the film but it is so well integrated that it blends in with the animation. The music is epic and is perfectly integrated into every scene.
Gundam was my childhood as I remember watching almost every day until its end in American broadcast. This new OVA is amazing and fun to watch and brings so much nostalgia to me. Recommend to watch this OVA as it is amazing and in every step of the way and extremely compelling to watch. A+
Last year’s collection of Super Bowl commercials was awful, and while this year’s collection wasn’t totally impressive, it was a big step up creatively.
The big winners: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, Audi and Bridgestone (pretty much anything car related). Audi kicked it off in style with stylish hounds, a luxury prison, and Kenny G. Chevrolet impressed with the Lassie nostalgia bit, something usually dominated by Budweiser. Kia’s epic ride commercial was nothing short of its billing, and Bridgestone had a couple creative ones involving the beaver and the emails (not nearly as dirty as it sounds). Little Darth Vader stole the show in Volkswagen’s ad, by far the cutest one of the night.
The most impressive one, however, was from Chrysler. Going for the serious bit, their profile of Detroit and the hopeful resurrection of the American auto industry was stirring. Eminem, who was a clown during the Brisk ad, represented the Motor City well, and though I have no idea what their new cars are going to be like, I felt confident that they are heading in the right direction.
While the pile of garbage this year is smaller than last year, we couldn’t escape some terrible excuses for ads.
Doritos should be ashamed. In their three years of serious Super Bowl advertising, their one good commercial came this year, involving the use of Dorito crumbs as a reviver. Otherwise, their ads are mean, painful to watch, and sometimes revolting (i.e. licking Dorito dust off another person’s finger/pants).
Snickers, E*Trade, and CareerBuilder.com have had some winning spots over the past few years, but this year saw a return of the talking baby, monkey bosses, and obscure celebrities behaving badly due to hunger. It doesn’t work more than once.
What happened to Coke and Pepsi? Coke went twice for the cuteness factor, only to come off as boring despite vivid colors and decent premises. Pepsi’s bits were stereotyping both men and women, and none of their commercials were clever.
By Alex Sercel and Christian Romo
Children and pre-teen television programming has developed a couple new faces recently. Recently, there’s been a renaissance of hand-drawn cartoons, most notably on Cartoon Network, aimed at the very generation that created the demand for entire channels of children’s programming. Shows like Animaniacs, Rugrats, and SpongeBob Squarepants brought us into the animated realm; Adventure Time with Finn and Jake and Regular Show are slowly bringing us back.
AS: Cartoon Network’s animated series Adventure Time with Finn and Jake is one of the best shows on television. Adventure Time chronicles the adventures of its two main characters, Finn the human and Jake the dog, as they explore the Land of Ooo. Finn is a twelve-year-old boy whose main motivation in life is to slay evil; Jake is a magic dog with the ability to change the size and shape of his body at will.
What sets Adventure Time apart from all other animated shows on the air today is Finn’s sense of right and wrong. Finn follows a strict moral code which leads him to defend the innocent and to vanquish wrong-doers. Besides the morality, the show is surprisingly funny. The sense of humor is often bizarre to say the least, but Adventure Time is a joy to watch. Its vibrant animation and quirky writing make it an excellent series which has something everyone will enjoy. A
CR: On the surface, Regular Show is a typical buddy comedy about a stoic blue jay named Mordecai and an eccentric raccoon named Rigby. The twenty-something bff’s work for and rent from Benson, the ill-tempered gumball machine, and are periodically visited by Skips the yeti, Pops the jolly British lollipop-shaped man, the High Five Ghost, Muscle Man, and Margaret the cardinal, Mordecai’s love interest. It’s a bizarre premise for a TV-PG rated show, but it has also caught our interest.
The interactions between Mordecai and Rigby are a little like that of Dag and Norbert from The Angry Beavers, but other than that it’s hard to find something that isn’t completely unique. In the show’s pilot episode, the two heroes create a choreographed dance routine with the help of a magical keyboard to coerce their friends to give them money. Rigby, however, abuses the power and accidently sends Skips, a bunch of baby ducks, and a soda machine to the Moon. It would take an inordinate amount of space to describe the rest of the plot.
Regular Show is undoubtedly targeted to males 13-24, but it brings me back to Saturday mornings, sugary cereal, and staying in my pajamas until lunchtime. It’s a landmark achievement, and I look forward to continue watching. B+
By Julian Vischer and Tim Nguyen
Photo Courtesy: NBC/Universal
Outsourced is the most recent sitcom added to the NBC “Comedy Thursday” line-up. It’s a show about an American employee of a novelties company who must move to Mumbai, India to keep his position. The premise is that he must work with his Indian employees and explain to them the American culture while trying to understand the Indian culture himself.
The show stars Ben Rappaport as Todd Dempsey, the Kansas-born native who must transfer to India to be the head of a company called Mid America Novelties. Second in command is Rajiv Gidwani, played by Rizwan Manji, who is sarcastic, stern, and always looking to get Todd’s job as manager. Todd has some very unusual employees. Take Manmeet, for example, played by Sacha Dhawan, a master flirter on the phone but a goofball when he meets women in person. Gupta, played by Parvesh Cheena, can never stop talking, but does have a sensitive side. Asha, played by Rebecca Hazlewood, is Todd’s love interest. Todd actively tries to pursue her but is hindered by her arranged marriage ideals. Todd finds familiarity in Charlie, another American manager who had to be transferred.
TN: Already into its sixth episode, I have grown to enjoy this series. It has quite a charm to it. It is not one of those slapstick or random sitcoms like The Office or 30 Rock. It ran a little slow at the beginning, but it is starting to build up. It has its quirks and moments. Ben Rappaport plays the charming manager well, and his relationship with Asha is beginning to grow. The story for Outsourced has started off slowly, but it could definitely end with a bang. B
JV: I can’t stand Outsourced. Every joke is based around the fact that Indian culture is different from American culture. Seriously, how many times do we need to hear Todd Dempsey say “Oh my God…” to which Gupta replies “Which one?” The jokes get old fast and I am ashamed to see that people would rather watch this trash than NBC’s Parks and Recreation, which it replaced. My Thursday night line-up used to be perfect with Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and finally a recorded episode of South Park from the night before. Outsourced is quickly turning from a minor annoyance to an obnoxious stain on the formerly pristine shirt of television. NBC, I am disappointed. D-