a.k.a. Onkyo Seimeitai Noiseman
In a futuristic world, a scientist by the name of Franken makes the mistake of his life by bringing into existence a creature he calls Noiseman. This newly created yellow blob decides to take control of people’s minds and forces them to gather Noises, little street-roaming ghosts. After breaking free of Noiseman’s influence, two kids take on this monster, discovering they are far from being alone in this fight.
summary by Kjeldoran
Highs: 3D rendering at its best; beautiful designs and score
Lows: Bites off more than it can chew
The last time Morimoto Koji and Kanno Yoko worked together, we were blessed by a short film I never grow weary of praising: Magnetic Rose from Memories. At only fifteen minutes, Noiseman Sound Insect is much shorter than the year-younger masterpiece, which seems to affect it in more ways than one… with rather disappointing results.
Noiseman Sound Insect is not missing much as an amazing short full of symbolism and spirit. Just a few explanations here and there to tie everything up would have done the trick. Yet, because of its short length, it seems Morimoto Koji had to cut down on storyline explanations to fit in all the CGI chases. This is not as bad as I make it sound, being some amazing computer imagery we are talking about here. My appreciation for the three-dimensional animation is not based solely on fluidity but how it stays just as detailed as the two-dimensional artwork. This is especially remarkable when considering the enormous amount of detail in every scenery. Considerable effort was put into making sure this universe looked nothing like ours.
Another big plus is the music. Its originality fits perfectly with everything else and even diverts attention from Noiseman’s annoyingly squeaky voice. Not like she needs to, but Kanno Yoko proves yet again she has one of the widest musical ranges in the industry. Sweet lullabies and trash can drumming are on the menu, along with anything else you care to imagine.
There is obviously more to Noiseman than meets the eye, but it is lost on viewers who do not want to see it more than ten times and read official synopses and reviews to get an idea of the possible symbolism involved. I am one of such viewers. However, when it comes down to it, being submerged in eye and ear candy is a good way to spend fifteen minutes.
Highs: Eclectic menagerie of sights and sounds
Lows: Sensory overload for those not hopped up on stimulants; bright pastel color scheme fades together and blurs lines
Kanno Yoko is perhaps the most recognized composer in anime today. She has over the years shown tremendous range, from classical (Vision of Escalfowne) to jazz (Cowboy Bebop) to electronica (Macross Plus). She’s at her best when she sticks with just one theme throughout any given anime. In Noiseman Sound Insect, her music is that kid we all knew growing up who goes to the soda fountain and fills his cup with each flavor, creating a brownish concoction only few would enjoy.
I must admit, however, that the screeching melodies blend in perfectly with the seizure-inducing imagery. Noiseman Sound Insect is the ice cream headache of anime, but even if I could have enjoyed it at a leisurely pace, there still wouldn’t be enough flavor to tantalize my taste buds. It’s almost like this anime was forced to move quickly because there was so little to show.
An interesting choice was the use of soft, faded pastel colors to mimic a dream-like state. Too often, though, with the blink-and-you-missed-it animation, it became difficult to make out shapes amongst the clutter.
It became readily apparent to me after finishing this anime that every nuance of it was thought out in great detail beforehand. From the frenetic pace to the varying music to the exaggerated character motions, each item was carefully choreographed to complement one another. In this case, however, the whole is less than the sum of its parts… and I wasn’t crazy about the parts to begin with.
Noiseman Sound Insect can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE. This release also includes the two DVD specials.