Got it, thanks.
So, as far as I can tell, everything looks normal. I wasn't able to get inside the portion of the evap canister pointed at in red, but it seems to me that part is not meant for disassembly:
What should I expect to see on the filter housed in part  if everything is functioning correctly? Because mine is just a little dusty but otherwise looks clean, no smell of fuel.
I want to document a few things in case it's helpful for others, because I had a tough time wrapping my head around the system's routing without taking everything apart (it's not obvious from the parts catalogue to a dumbo like me) and there's very little information out there about the 987[/997?] in this regard.
There are of course two tubes that connect to the canister at its bottom side. The tube designated  in the above schematic runs from the bottom of the canister (the driver side connection) to the top of the gas tank -- right underneath the battery. We'll call this "Tank Tube" for this post.
If I'm not mistaken, the other (smaller) hose connected to the bottom of the canister (and specifically the connection on the passenger side) is the super long part  in the picture that follows:
If i'm not mistaken, that particular long tube  runs all the way to the purge valve in the intake. We'll call it "Purge Tube" here.
To remove the canister, I disconnected the Purge Tube first. It's not easy, as it has two tabs -- one hidden and obstructed, facing ~2 o'clock and the other visible at ~8 o'clock (if the rear of the car is at 12:00). I don't think there's enough room for fuel line pliers. I figured out a way to get it off by carefully levering a right angle pick against the thicker Tank Tube into the tab facing 2:00.
The Tank Tube by contrast has a large tab encompassing roughly 8:00 to 2:00 that requires some contortion if you have big hands but is relatively easy to get off once the Purge Tube is disconnected.
My Tank Tube (again referring to  in the first schematic) is clear with no obstructions, and I smelled gas when I disconnected it from the tank, so it doesn't appear there's any obstruction inside the tank or fuel pump assembly itself.
By process of elimination, here are what I perceive to be the potential remaining culprits:
--something clogging the inside the sealed part of the evap canister (red arrow above), for example from someone topping off the tank previously
--something inside the fuel filler neck (going to try to put a siphon in it and see if I run into any obstruction on the way down)
--Purge Tube  or the purge valve is obstructed/malfunctioning (but I believe I'd be getting a code if that was the case? In any case I'm going to get into the manifold and make sure there isn't any obstruction in the tube)
--nothing's wrong, my car is just picky, and I need to fill it up slower???