Anime Academy

Noir

noir-2
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Bee Train
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 4/15/2001 to 9/28/2001

Kirika’s past is a total mystery to her. All she has is a feeling of emptiness and an unbelievable array of killing techniques. Together with Mireille, they are two deadly assassins currently working under the codename Noir. Little do they know that word’s fated meaning for the pair. Soon they begin to unravel a mystery over a thousand years old while also being marked for death by the one of the most powerful societies the world has ever known. They are barraged with question after question that only lead to dead ends, and dead bodies.

summary by Mugs

 

Reviewed: 04/28/2004 by
Grade: 92% av-Mugs

Highs: Story; style; music

Lows: Repeated flashbacks; slow beginning

If someone asked me what this anime was like, I’d have to tell them that it is the anti-Di Gi Charat. One of the best words to describe this series would have to be “depressing”. Kirika and Mireille are assassins (not bounty hunters like the Bebop cast). They don’t get to choose their victims and will work for anyone who pays them. If there’s a theme to this series it’s that if you ever do anything wrong at some point in your life, no matter if you repent and live like Mother Teresa, an assassin will hunt you down.

The show is extremely stylish, complete with lavish mansions and constant use of shadows. The settings range from scenes in lush forests to decrepit crypts, many locales that time hath forgot. The fighting is often fast and furious with multiple adversaries attacking at once. Everything is well animated and looks quite good. Tying it all together is an intricate plot tying the two with a centuries old secret society more powerful than the world will ever know. The series really lives up to its namesake films. Noir is filled with characters seemingly devoid of any morals; this general feeling is one of the series largest delving points.

There were really only two problems with this anime. The first, and probably biggest problem, was that the series starts out extremely slowly, and we don’t learn much at all for the first eight or so episodes. I fear that the slow beginning will turn some people off, but stick with it and you’ll be amply rewarded. The second flaw was minor but annoying; essentially they showed the same freaking flashback in various stages of completeness an extreme multitude of times.

Overall a great experience. I really can’t find a close match with in any of the anime that I have seen. If you have the patience to get through the first couple episodes you should find a real winner.

 

Reviewed: 04/28/2004 by
Grade: 91% av-Gatts

Highs: Original plot; stylish action; wonderful OST

Lows: Some pacing problems early on

A recent trend in anime has been a focus on stylish presentation. Unfortunately, in most cases this results in a very unbalanced final product which is very impressive to look at but lacks the substance to be entertaining. Noir succeeds as a series inundated with style, but beneath that lies an intriguing plot full of unexpected twists and turns.

From the very opening, Noir won me over with its absolutely beautiful and unique musical score. The background music really creates a sense of atmosphere with a wide range of vocal and instrumental pieces. Kajiura Yuki’s score complements the action sequences perfectly and adds an entirely new aspect to the already impressive visuals. A few songs are used a few too many times over the course of the series, but it never is that detrimental.

The early episodes are slow and formulaic, but they are important in creating the dark world of assassination and betrayal that the characters inhabit. After making it past the pacing problems at the beginning of the series, the plot really picks up speed. The action sequences are fast-paced and frequent, but they always serve to reveal more of the plot that is shrouded in mystery.

Noir is an excellent example of a stylish anime done properly. With its excellent soundtrack, pleasing visuals and captivating plot, it is an experience that is unique and enjoyable. While the dark nature of it may not be appealing to all audiences, this is a must for anyone looking for a mature action series.

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