There are a handful of things that truly stand out from their peers. Sometimes, just occasionally, a series manages to do everything perfectly, pull together all the strands that things before and since have tried and failed to do. Fullmetal Alchemist is one example from the fantasy field; Ghost in the Shell another among postcyberpunk sci-fi; Azumanga Daioh an example from slice-of-life comedy. And, among the fairly niche girls-with-guns proto-genre, Noir is another.
Noir isn't remarkable in its premise, in fact it's quite a patchwork of worn ideas; an amnesiac who is unsure whether her amazing combat abilities or complete lack of remorse
is more peculiar teams up with a wronged and vengeful assassin to search for the truth about both of their pasts, and they find more than either of them bargained for. Take one part Luc Besson, mix in equal parts HKBO and spy thriller and a pinch of memory loss, and add anime. As the song says, though, "it ain't what'cha do, it's the way that'cha do it"; none of these various concepts are inherently bad, they each have the potential to be interesting, and Noir fulfils it all. The structure of this 26-episode series works as a perfect blend of the overarching plot and episodic formats, in that almost every episode our heroines have someone new to kill, somewhere new to do it and something new to factor into how they do it and how they relate to one another, but each episode a little more is revealed to them about the power behind the shadows - the pacing is slow, but perfect. Not a single episode is filler or side story, the plot is all. It also keeps you guessing, maintaining the atmosphere of mystery superbly; every new piece of the puzzle being put in place changes the picture a little, goalposts shift and new questions need answering. Noir's story is complex, meaty, demanding of attention and, in the final analysis, highly satisfying; this is by far and away the best assassin flick or secret society yarn I have ever seen, and I don't just mean anime.
The cast is small, and dialogue is fairly spare. Kirika Yuumura, Japanese schoolgirl and amnesiac, is a very reserved, very introverted girl, seemingly all but unable to engage with people. Her initial inability to fully come to terms with her own ruthless, cold-hearted lethality is a feature that her business partner, experienced Corsican assassin Mireille Bouquet, does not share. She is a much more outgoing person, yet in some ways much more vulnerable; their relationship is tense, fragile and fascinating. Terrific acting from Kotono Mitsuishi and Houko Kuwashima does a fantastic job of giving the interactions between these two a highly credible, extremely watchable air. Even this excellent dynamic cannot hope to last 26 episodes, though - so, just when you think it's going to get stale, up pops the knife-hurling, child-voiced Chloe. A completely enigmatic character straight from left field, she shakes up these relationships just right and keeps everything nicely off balance. Aya Hisakawa's ingenuous voicing, her straightforward attitude and her innocence bring her a marvellously odd aura, and scenes between these three very distinct characters are tense and electric. All dialogue seems natural, though scripting is, as mentioned, sparse, but every word resonates, and often what is not said is as clear and significant as what is.
The show adopts a very stylised-realistic look, with marvellous European locations and stylings, keeping things interesting, but art style and actual depiction imbuing the world of Noir with an empty, distant air to almost everything that fits the tone of the show perfectly. Character design is a similarly muted but stylised affair; no super assassin ninja suits or rainbow hair here, most characters, protagonists or enemies, simply look like everyday people (Chloe is once again an exception, with her maroon hair and billowing cloak - but that merely makes everyone else more ordinary). Mechanical detail like guns and computers are very detailed and accurate to reality, although some things such as cars are, while adequate, not quite up to the rest of the series' standards. It all contributes to a sense that this is something that really could be going on somewhere out there right now, a sense that I have never felt as strongly with any other anime. In a way, this seems a perfect candidate for live-action adaptation; but the fact that it is animation, in full control of the look of its world, is one of Noir's most subtle and brilliant tricks. Visually, perhaps at odds with its name, Noir is colour-drenched, from the opening credits to the gorgeous watercolour backdrops, but beautiful and bright though the world might be, it only goes to reinforce the darkness and evil that can dwell inside people. Its characters look like everyday people, but they are stylised enough that the amazing feats of agility and skill they accomplish seem like achievable ends, fully in keeping with the world around them. The sense of a visually familiar world is so well evoked that once the backstory begins to become clear, it slots right into the gap between constructed and actual reality with consummate neatness.
Action choreography is another thing that contributes to Noir's sense of credibility. Most episodes of Noir climax with a gunfight; such a sense for creating gunfights that, working within the stylised reality the visuals provide, are believable, yet remain inventive and exciting, I have never seen with such consistency. Not all are as good as each other, but action in noir is entertaining at worst, and at best among the best fight scenes I have ever seen. The lightning-lit, rain-soaked battle across the rooftops of Paris in episode 20 is nothing short of brilliant. One factor that makes them so enjoyable is held in common with numerous other aspects of the series; they are designed in such a way that what you don't see is as important as what you do. Like blood. While at first glance, the lack of any actual visible blood almost seems counter-intuitive, it ends up seeming a lot more real than the red-steeped approach the subject matter more usually elicits; a truly skilled hitwoman kills cleanly, surgically, without mess. The deaths of opponents, crumpling like automatons, also quietly reinforce the idea of an organisation whose influence is great enough to render people nothing more than its puppets, to be used and discarded.
Noir is not among the best-known anime, but by far the best-known aspect of the series is its soundtrack. While she had composed a couple of anime soundtracks previously, Noir's musical score is essentially the thing that catapulted Yuki Kajiura into the eye of anime OST fans, and on lists of the best anime soundtracks ever, Noir is rarely out of the top ten. By blending electronica, operatic grandeur and solemn church music, Kajiura created a unique sound that for me she has so far never bettered. The haunting massed choir chants, soaring, prayer-like Latin vocals and intricate, piercing violin and expressive piano solos are some of the most evocative, atmospheric music anime has ever known, truly a masterpiece. The opening theme, by Ali Project, is also excellent. Anyone interested in the musical side of anime should acquire and watch this series.
Indeed, atmosphere is something that Noir does phenomenally well. The engrossing story, the excellent visuals and the superlative music all conspire to connect the viewer much more deeply to Noir than mere dialogue could. You get a powerful sense of the lonely, isolated, doom-laden feelings that the characters experience; it's splendid minimalist storytelling of the highest calibre.
Obviously, Noir isn't for everyone. The slow pace and frequent flashbacks will frustrate some. The unremittingly serious and generally bleak tone will fail to appeal to some. The lack of any comedy or more than very occasional and mild fanservice will repel some. The spareness and minimalism will alienate some. The realistic setting will fail to interest some. The lack of explicitness and reliance on implication will confuse some. My experience also suggests that this series does not suit marathon viewing well, being more fitted to watching each episode individually. None of this, however, stops Noir from being a truly excellent series in all respects, worthy of the highest praise. Among its peers, Noir remains a series that exemplifies what outstandingly high quality even a story that, at root, revolves mostly around women shooting people can attain.
Noir is another girls-with-guns anime with somewhat of an interesting plot about an ancient fate, however this is overshadowed by the slow development of the show and also the dull and lifeless action sequences.
Mireille Bouquet is a top class assassin and Kirika Yumura is a mysterious Japanese schoolgirl who woke up with no memory at all. This is an action anime about two female assassins, who happened to encounter each other by fate.
After the exciting action packed first episode, not much is explained about this show. Throughout the first half, all there is to go by are the subtle hints and surreal intro
however there’s only one word that can describe this show as it begins, “boring”. It was so boring that people hoping for some form of development, may not be able to continue watching this anime however for those who are patient can enjoy the better half of the show. It is the second half that is somewhat interesting, with a lot of things finally being revealed, like the secret organization behind everything. Though it is interesting it never becomes truly captivating.
The animation style resembles that of “Cowboy Bebop” with the same artistry and fluid animation. This tries to give a little extra by being widescreen format and beautifully drawn characters, nonetheless it losses its greatness once the action kicks in. It isn’t long before you’ll quickly notice the incredibly useless enemies they are up against and the lack of blood. This isn’t an important thing for anime, when it comes to a “Bang! Bang! Shoot-em-up” gunshot wounds are essential and that isn’t found here.
The music is exceptionally great especially when it gets to the action or when it’s building up to it. On the other hand the music lacks variety so it gets tiring to hear the same tunes other and other but what really is annoying is the high pitch watch melody that will pierce through your ear drums whenever you listen to it.
This had the potential of being a great anime, but it took so long for anything about the plot to be revealed that only the second half of the show was enjoyable to watch. This is the major downfall of this, plus other little annoyances like time wasting techniques and the constant, pointless flashbacks. This anime was predominantly filled with gun-battles which were usually great but it didn’t change the fact that the enemies they faced were so rubbish, with a gun, that they couldn’t even hit a parked car. It’s only till the finally 2 episodes when something spectacular happens, but by then this decent show is over, with a BANG!
If you enjoy the odd action packed anime and don’t mind censorship, then by all means check this out.
I initially approached this anime tentatively, having heard mixed opinions on it. Well, I'm glad I gave it a chance.
Noir starts out pretty slowly, but episode by episode the plot picks up pace. The story revolves around two young women assassins, one with amnesia and the other with a troubled past, who together are journeying to find out more about their childhoods. Though I feel like it's a mixture of many plots I have seen before, somehow Noir seems to roll them all up and make it interesting all over again. Once the plot picked up pace it kept me engrossed, and I was on
the edge of my seat until the end.
I found myself very attached to the main characters. Initially Kirika struck me as very bland, as she rarely talked at the beginning, but I think that made it all the more enjoyable to watch as she slowly emerged from her shell, and developed a personality as the series progressed. I liked Mirielle as well, for she put up a front of being a no-nonsense and callous assassin who didn't need anyone in her life, but before she knew it was happening found that she had formed an emotional bond with Kirika, whether she wanted to or not. The interaction between the two of them is very interesting, for they balance each other out. Mirielle is outgoing and professional, while Kirika is quiet and very observant. Somehow the two of them really fit together.
To me the art appeared to be alternately gorgeous and a bit off. Some episodes are better animated than others. However, on the whole I thought it was beautiful, and I was able to overlook the bad bits. As a whole, I thought that the actions scenes were excellent. The art really reflects the mood of the series, and I think the style suits it perfectly.
The music is really what I felt pulled the series together. It's really gorgeous, and it really creates the mood of the scene. The only thing I ever had a problem with was that the melody from the watch eventually got tiresome after it was repeated many times. On the whole, though, I was blown away by the beauty of the sound.
One of the only things I have to complain about is that I felt that some characters were a little bit lacking. Chloe, for example, felt really out of place in the series. She was the only person that seemed to really stick out in a bad way. I know she was supposed to stand out, but somehow...the character design just looks wrong. Her clothing looked silly as compared to the more realistic or european style of the others. However, personality-wise she is very interesting. Also, the lack of skilled male adversaries was odd, but I don't think it really stood out enough to irk me. Another thing that annoyed me was that in the beginning was the constant flashbacks. Seriously, I thought I'd kill myself if I had to see that scene with Mirielle as a kid one more time. Some of the plot was a bit unclear at times, but it was very good as a whole.
I'd recommend this series to anyone who likes a mysterious plot with lots of action, and alternately a slower paced, more casual atmosphere, as well as a great soundtrack.
An excellent, stylish anime but strangley lacking in blood considering the subject matter.
PLOT: Noir has a very well worked out plotline. The 1st half of the series is quite slow, episodic and ‘assassination of the week’ orientated, but this is necessary in order to properly flesh out the personalities of Mireille & Kirika and develop their relationship to a point were the viewer actually cares about these two assassins. The second half of the series is much quicker paced as Mireille & Kirika delve further into their connected pasts and become entangled with the shadowy organisation Les Soldats. Light viewing Noir is not, as the
truth that the two girls seek to find is determined to remain hidden – the viewer is required to think as much as Mireille & Kirika, as we are not given much more information than they are at any one time. The character development is superb and all the named characters introduced are all needed to progress the plot. Noir is an impressive piece of storytelling – not what I was expecting from BEE TRAIN at all.
ANIMATION: Really nice very stylish animation, gorgeous realistic backgrounds accurately depict the various locales that the characters travel to to carry out their missions. The gunfight action is extremely well choreographed and exciting to watch and there is excellent use of lighting effects, unusual camera angles and cuts. Character designs are quite nice, but sometimes there is a lack of proper emotion in the faces in close up shots.
The major criticism I have is the completely bloodless violence. You will be hard pressed to find more than a single drop of blood in this entire series! Mireille & Kirika do not hold back on their missions and the death toll is massive, but no one really seems to bleed – all wounds are very clean. It’s irritating as everything else is quite realistically done – a bit more blood would have heightened the drama. Also there’s a bit of James Bond style shooting going on – the girls can stroll through a crowd of machine-gun wielding SPs and never get hit and dispatch their enemies with a single shot from a handgun! But hey they’re the main characters its to be expected, and they look really cool when doing so!
MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The score deserved especial praise – an absolutely beautiful and very memorable soundtrack. I really like Kajiura Yuki’s work and Noir is no exception – grand sweeping melodies, great use of haunting choral pieces, classical scores and thrumming electro perfectly matches the action and intensifies the emotional drama, and all without drowning out the dialogue. The OP is by Ali Project and is quite similar to most of their other songs, but I quite liked it after listening to it a few times (despite the fact I utterly despise Ali Project!), the ED is a nice calm ballad. Voice acting is excellent throughout – a small cast but all are great in their roles.
Overall an extremely good series – highly recommended. Looses a point because of the slow start and the bloodless violence.
There are a multitude of things that mark an anime as particularly terrible. Bad music, medicore art, clumsy and slow reactions, clumsy and slow emotional reactions, a cumbersome plot, a repetitive plot, an immature plot, and cheap attempts at thrilling the viewer are all bad things that Noir accomplishes remarkably well! Not a single episode of this is 'filler' because every episode has the same clumsy plot execution and, at least in almost every episode, a bad shootout, and, sorry to spoil a bit, nearly every shootout involves one of the two messing up in some manner and barely getting saved, but not, of course,
without an absurd pause to allow the barely getting saved to occur. If you want a deep plot with great characters and any intellectual thought, then avoid this series at all cost. If you want a series with exciting action scenes, then avoid this series at all costs. The only reason I finished this was because I am a dumbass.
As to the art, every character has unimaginative hair, a facial structure that is blocky, and utterly lifeless eyes. The music is repetitive like few other series. My assumption is that the creators of the series thought this would be a good way to indicate when you should be excited, but all they do is further ruin nearly every episode of the series with the same already obnoxious music.
Noir for those that don't know is an anime that conforms a trilogy but are not canon, dubbed ''Girls with Guns'' the other two are Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja, like i stated they are not canon but for what i'm seeing their story and characters have similarities and are made by the same producers Bee Train, well lets see what Noir has to offer.
Noir starts like a mistery anime, with a confusing plot and story because it has around 14 eps. that are episodic, in which the protagonists Mireille and Kirika work together as professional killers and take jobs and they named
themself Noir which is also a recurring theme of the plot, in every job they have to kill a target almost always being bad guys other times ex bad guys who in the present are making good deeds and helps people, the story looks unique but the problem is that, it has flaws, the lack of explanation on some important things, the lack of bullet holes on enemies, the lack of blood, the lack of making sense almost always, like in one scene the weapon doesn't have a suppressor and when Mireille is shooting, bam magic happens and a suppressor appears, yeah when you think about it, there was a lot nonesensical plot devices, plot holes, loop holes (?)... the idea of what the story could be interested me more but because of those flaws i didn't like it that much, at some point it was predictable and i already had my thoughts of what was going to happen next and it was like i imagined, i can't decide if i liked the ending or not, i was expecting what happened but in a different way and maybe because i was starting to like the girls in a attachment level, i can point it was a bitter sweet ending, the story is good but if they took the time to polish it this could have been great, but it just reach the good status.
Art & Animation
I like the classic old art style, but i didn't like it on Noir, because it felt cheap, like they didn't have time to draw everything correctly, or like what i stated the lack of details, the bullet holes on enemies, the lack of believable movements in the fights/shoot outs parts, or when they die, it was almost always inconsistent, like i stated, i like old school style, but it could be much better than this for a 2001 anime, but i think it was fine.
The best thing from the anime, the music, the music made the anime watchable, it was enjoyable to listen to the two action tracks, despite being repetitive, it has that something that will not bore you, one of those is like an orchestral song, really great, melodic with a opera like singer, it felt fitting for the drama and the other one (when you knew the action was coming) was like a combination of new wave, dance-trance, the best song, like i said repetitive but never boring despite that, the OP song was really great and the ED reminded me the ED song of S.B. Outlaw Star, i didn't like it in Outlaw Star, but is fitting in Noir tho (both songs being melodic) the voice acting was good but i expected more, and with all of this i could have give a 9 to the sound but the problem is that not always the music background was fitting like that weird song, Ta ta ta ta, i always laughed at that and it was placed at serious parts, i couldn't believe a Mario 64 song (sounded like it) was in the anime, i couldn't take those serious parts seriously because of that song, and the sound effects weren't that good, so overall the sound is very good.
I wasn't attached to the characters, the thing is that the protagonists were good but not appealing to me because of the lack of development they had, we know at the end who they are, but not who they were in the past, well maybe we get to see more for Mireille and who Kirika was in Mireille past and almost in the plot, but not really how she became that? who was she? who is her family? (all these questions about Kirika and is applicable to Chloe too) two importat characters never got development (Kirika and Chloe) and i didn't liked that, i thought at the end i was gonna get answers to my questions, never got them, but at the last episodes i felt little attachment to both and felt sorry for Chloe, overall is just good by little.
What never got me bored was the music, the episodic chapters weren't bad, at the end i liked Mireille and Kirika, and really appreciated the story as a good one, what i hated was the lack of believable deaths, shoot outs, fights, the amount of cliches the non sense in the story etc. if you don't mind that you will enjoy it more than i did, but for me, i took a good enjoyment from it combining everything.
The initial premise of the story is actually very good, Kirika wakes up one day not knowing anything apart from a name - Noir, a pocket watch, a , and a school uniform and ID. Oh and a great skill in assassination. She contacts Mirelle, another assassin with whom she makes a pact to find out who this Noir is and what has been controlling their lives. Being a big fan of mafia and spy movies, the premise sounds great, but from an early stage I could feel this early promise slipping through some horrific sub-plots and plot gaps.
For example the first thing that Mirelle asks Kirika is about how she found out about her (With Kirika being in what I'm guessing is Japan and Mirelle working in Paris it’s a fair question) to which an answer is never given, thinking we will overlook this as Kirika has amnesia and probably knew in the past I let this first one go.
Secondly, Mirelle promises to kill Kirika when she's done helping her find out about her past since she knows her face, a huge matter of importance for an assassin. However this secret identity swiftly goes out the window by the third episode which has the pair assassinating a crime boss in broad daylight at a party with hundreds of guests without a disguise. Then a couple of episodes later they are worried about a crime boss having seen their face again, consistency is something that this anime is severely lacking in.
Thirdly, I guess I should clear up that this is most definitely a girls with guns anime, not anything realistic or assassin related, men in this anime are confined to the same fate as the red shirts in the original star trek, even when the pair are in a position where it seems unlikely that they could at least not be injured, the incompetent men seem to be able to spray everything around them, even after just taking out their previous target with some nifty sharp shooting. This left any conflict in the anime a joke, you could have scripted in generic mass of men with guns, somehow surround/capture one of our heroines, other heroine kills everyone without breaking a sweat.
All this is actually quite sad, because once you get past the dull storylines and into the proper story (about episode 18), the story suddenly begins to live up to itself. The last 8 episodes merit a much higher score on their own than when included with the previous 17 episodes, with the story actually getting down to the nitty gritty stuff and making headway. Unfortunately this comes far too late in the anime, with over half of the episodes done very poorly, the scoring has to be way down. This could have made an excellent 12 episode anime, with the events until the 18th episode could be summed up in at most 4 episodes in terms of any actual story and scene setting.
The animation is pretty good actually, the backgrounds are especially impressive, Paris looks like Paris and Corsica looks like Corsica. The animation style is typical early 00's so looks slightly dated now, but there’s no problem with that, as it does not hinder the story telling.
My main gripe with the animation is the lack of blood in the anime, not that I think any anime should be smeared in huge amounts of blood, but it does look bizarre when someone is injured and holding there arm like its bleeding, only it’s not... also anyone killed just seems like they are having a lie down, this is further impressed by Mirelle’s flashbacks from her childhood which contains characters with blood, it seems odd to have it there for one scene and then not for the rest of the anime, again consistency is the main problem.
The sound is another very good part, the soundtrack has won the composer some acclaim, and the title track is really good, however a slight few of the scores really grated on me, especially the tata one (you’ll know it when you hear it), managing to be the most irritating noise in the animation and usually came on in scenes which really would have benefited from the same excellent music in the rest of the anime. Apart from that gripe, the characters are often silent through thought and the music played at these times usually does well to add to the mood of these scenes and enhance the understanding of the characters. The other good point with the sound, is the pronunciation of the French and Italian words in the animation, which is spot on. Recently I have cringed at Japanese attempts at English (Revy in Black Lagoon's English for example), and it’s really refreshing to hear them get it spot on.
I only consider Mirelle and Kirika to be main characters in this anime rarely do any of the other characters which are introduced last more than one episode. The exception to this being Chloe and Altena, of whom I consider to be main supporting as they do not get enough character development on the whole to consider them main characters.
Both of the main characters are well written, and the way in which both of the characters feelings are portrayed throughout the anime, lets you into the characters well and you can actually see their pain about what has happened to them. My main criticism on this point is again going back to consistency, with some of the characters reactions to various situations changing throughout the course of the anime where there has been no character development which would influence them in these situations.
Both the main and supporting main characters could also perhaps have done with a greater look into their pasts, for Kirika – what happened before she got amnesia and ended up in Japan with Mirelle – what she did between leaving Corsica and living in Paris (although this is briefly touched on). For there to be such a small group of main character in a long anime series, it would be expected to investigate all the major time periods that build up the characters into who they eventually are in the present time, which is done to an extent, but at the end I was still looking for more answers about the characters.
Unfortunately this ended up a bit of a slog to watch. The story telling for the first episodes was terrible, and it also took me a while to connect with the characters and by the time I did understand them more, the bland scripting of the first episodes had reduced me to not really caring too much what happened to them and eventually, it was a case of watching because I had started.
There is a very good anime here screaming to get out, the decision to run for 26 episodes was a huge mistake in my opinion, with more than half the episodes being below par in terms of storytelling and enjoyment. As put in the story section, this would make a great 12 episode series, without detracting anything from the story itself. However if you like girls with guns, don’t mind a bit of Character Shielding and can put up with some crass storylines, you’ll be treated to a very good closing sequence with an ending which is the envy of much better told stories.
How often do we see an action anime that showcases the usage of literature in the plot, and where plot progression inherently relies on the literature used? And how often do we see an anime that has bloodless gunfights? Lost for words? Noir is one such anime.
The story starts with Mireille Bouquet; a renowned freelance assassin, coming into contact with Kirika Yumura, who knows nothing of her past due to amnesia. Except that she possesses the skills of an assassin and the word ‘Noir,’ which becomes their leading clue in the future. The reason for their encounter lies in the things they hold in common
– a chime played from a pocket watch and an inscrutable monolith that has some connection with their past. Thus, they embark on a journey to track down this organization and uncover the truth behind their existence.
The premise, kept simple despite the many underlying mysteries and twists, starts off at a slow pace. Mireille and Kirika take on many assassination jobs with their new codename, Noir, hoping that The Organization may react to their name. The first half focuses on episodic missions, their growth as a team and skeptical leads about the organization, that sometimes turns out to be a wild goose chase, and most of the episodes end with realistic but bloodless gun-battles. It isn’t until the second half that some new characters, Chloe and Altena, are introduced and the story starts to flow in a deliberate direction. Now, the highlights of the show are the clues inspired by literature. Generally, clues used in many anime are names, places, dates, times, or encrypted codes. However in Noir, literature is used to convey the meaning behind the existence of Noir and The Organization, which, in a way, has its own appeal. The series manages to do a fine job in answering most of the questions that popped up in the beginning.
Noir is definitely a story-driven anime and offers very little room for character interactions and development. Both Kirika and Mireille are left one dimensional; just like puppets acting according to where the story goes, at least in the first half. Some life is given to them in the second half, making them question their feelings, their motives, judge their situations, and act accordingly. Kirika, after losing all her memories is like a lost child; overflowing with innocence, yet oftentimes emotionless which makes her a formidable assassin. On the other hand, Mireille, who was brought up by her uncle, is more rational and can easily blend in with a group. While the production house tried to develop the characters, they do not leave a lasting impression on the viewers.
At first glance Noir’s animation is just plain, nothing that catches the eye. Due to the anime’s realistic approach, the reach of the action scenes are confined by the somewhat lackluster laws of physics. There are no flashy moves or unbelievably fast close combat fights. Every fight is limited to what is necessary. Due to which they are sometimes unappealing to the viewers. Even after restricting themselves to real life action sequels, I found one dubious element in them; whenever there is a gunfight, all the agents do is shoot, run around, and get shot down themselves by the end of it. They never manage to get a singlehit on either Kirika or Mireille. That aside, none of these unfortunately doomed agents even get close to hitting either of them; instead they act as practice targets for Kirika and Mireille to improve their own skills. This is usually how the gunfights ended up, but luckily the case is different when they are facing an expert assassin. And lastly, where was the blood? A lot of agents from The Organization are shot dead and there is not a single drop of blood. Yeah, the production house tried to stick to the nature of the show and avoided heavy bloodsheds, gore and violence. But, at least a small amount of blood wouldn't be bad.
Back to animation, since the setting is based in Europe, the background animation is unexpectedly good, close to how a European society looks and neat for the most part. Character designs are simple and are relatable to their backgrounds. At least they can be easily distinguished, unlike many anime nowadays where all the characters look the same with different hair styles and color. Mireille is designed to look more attractive than Kirika. Kirika’s looks are akin to an Asian high school girl. Mireille is given a matured figure and looks older than Kirika and Chloe, despite the fact that they should be around the same age.
Sound was also kept realistic and at many times minimal. Action sequences were played along with a couple of sound tracks. They didn’t have much appeal in the beginning, but as the series progresses and is given a historical touch, the soundtracks befit the nature of the show.
Noir is one of the few anime where the OSTs contribute higher than animation in building the tension needed during action scenes. The OP is a J-pop song which is somewhat influenced by western pop, and comparatively, the ED is an authentic J-pop song both in lyrics and the style. The ending was especially more enjoyable since it somehow relays Kirika’s feelings of uncertainty. I admire the seiyuus' spirited approach to these characters since there was very little to adapt from the script. Despite having repetitive lines and a script that often sounded monotonous, they did a good job from what little they had.
One of the main reasons why Noir will fail to entertain the viewers is due to the lack of tension in the series. There are hardly any attempts made to intensify the gravity of a particular situation. In one of the episodes where Mireille is to face-off with an old acquaintance, Intoccabile-who supposedly is one of the most ferocious assassins, there is a lack of viciousness in her presence, which brings down the tension and enjoyment in the situation. And this is not evident in only one case; the viewer experiences this troubling trend throughout the series. Noir would be more enjoyable if the viewer is watching it with some intervals. If watched in continuity, completing the series in one go becomes an arduous task rather than a feast to relish.
Noir is an anime that tries to present a realistic approach to the life of an assassin on a journey to find her origins and, for the most part, it succeeds in doing so with the help of commendable animation and sound. And it does manage to explain some of its plot holes.
Like NGE, Monster, Cowboy Bebop and many other anime, Noir is more rewarding after every re-watch. Noir is just one step away from being a remarkable anime, but that elusive one step is the one many action anime fail to overcome.
I wasnt originally going to write a review for this series as i really didnt enjoy it and i get wound up when other people write overly critical reviews of shows. But here i am and i hope someone will appreciate where i am coming from with this
For anyone who hasnt read the summary of this show its about 2 female assassins who are trying to discover more about their mysterious pasts, while being hunted by an underground society.
That sounded like the makings of a great plot to me, but unfortunately it didnt deliver. The plot was too slow to develop,
the first 10 episodes are pointless killings with neither link nor development between them, from here the show painfully dragged through the history of the underground organisation, the show didnt really kick in until about episode 20 when all is revealed (and it really does get quite good after around this point, so if you do watch it stick with it to the end) but it is fairly predictable even after this point.
The art was a flop for me, the recurring memory scene involved flourescent orangey red blood and personally i couldnt get past that, also with the amount of on screen kiling we see there are very few wounds on victims.
The OP and ED didnt really sparkle me in this series and on top of that there were occassions where gun sounds to gun shots didnt add up or the shots were too close together.
The characters showed so much promise and yet they werent developed enough, i think that episodes 1 to 19 would have been much more enjoyable if they had bulked out at least the 2 main characters during this period
Overall this show really sucked for me, but i can see why you might enjoy it, so if character development and detail arent as important to you, you should definately check this series out. If not, steer well clear.
Noir is an original Bee Train series written by Tsukimura Ryoe. It's also the first part of their “girls with guns” trilogy of unconnected anime that are thematically similar. Those of you who are familiar with my previous reviews may know Bee Train as one of the studios that did the main production for Murder Princess, Phantom Requiem & Shinrei Tantei Yakumo. All of which were pretty solid works earning 8, 8 & 7 from me, respectively. Let's see if Noir can continue that tradition of quality.
We open with a young lady, Mireille, receiving a strange email asking her to take a journey to the
past with the sender. Something about the message piques Mireille's curiosity and she tracks down the sender, Kirika. After an altercation with some suits, Mireille agrees to help Kirika track down her past on the condition that, when it's over, she'll kill her. Kirika agrees and begins helping Mireille with her assassination work. They call themselves “Noir” and eventually uncover information about a strange organisation called “Soldats” an organisation which may very well hold the key to Kirka's past. If the pair can unravel its mystery and survive the experience.
The biggest story problem with the series is that the questions are more compelling than the answers turn out to be. The whole mystery of Kirika's missing memory is interesting, but the ultimate answer you get for it is kind of weak. The twist that comes with her regained memory is pretty good but the answer to how she lost them is weak. The mystery surrounding the Soldats organisation is interesting as well but the actual explanation for its origins is pretty generic.
That being said, the narrative leading up to those reveals is compelling and well done, even with the weak pay-offs. The ending itself is fantastic. The romance sub-plot with our leading ladies is nicely done, developing over time and ending up as an endearing element for the series. The pacing is good as well. There are some slow, tense scenes. Some fast, intense sequences and the underlying narrative slowly and effectively builds. The early episodes start by giving you small pieces of the underlying plot while Kirika and Mireille take on missions and, from there, the episodes start to have more and more to do with Soldats and the mystery thereof until the story reaches the home stretch and becomes all about it.
The only real issue with the characters is that a particular character undergoes a heel shift for no adequately explored reason and then returns to normal pretty easily. Aside from that, the characters are phenomenal. They have personalities with verisimilitude, clear motivations, some of which shift as a natural result of character development and superb interactions. That doesn't just hold true for the main heroines either. The antagonists are the same way. I particularly like Chloe. What makes her really interesting is that she's an antagonist but not much of one. She likes the heroines, particularly Kirika and even aids them at times. She's actually quite the sweet heart, wanting to be on friendly terms with Mireille and more than friends with Kirika. What ultimately puts her at odds with Kirika and Mireille is her loyalty to her superior within Soldats and some jealousy over the dynamic they share. I suggest polyamory as a solution.
The art is pretty good. It's not among the best out there, and it does suffer some from Bee Train's propensity for strange angles without any reason. But the character designs are distinct. The action sequences are nicely done and the backgrounds have some nice detailing to them.
The acting is fantastic. The best performances coming from our main heroines voiced by Kuwashima Houko & Mitsuishi Kotono and our adorable little antagonist voiced by Hisakawa Aya (who also came up in my review of Gunsmith Cats last week). The music, handled by Furukawa Masayoshi, Kaida Yuriko & Kajiura Yuki, is really good as well. The opening theme is really catchy and will be in your head for a while, but it's really good so you won't mind. It was performed by ALI Project, who also performed songs for Code Geass, Another & Phantom Requiem to name a few.
A lot of the major character dynamics are driven by les-yay. In addition to the budding romance betwixt Mireille & Kirika, there's Chloe's interest in Kirika.
And there we have Noir. How well does it hold up? Well, the narrative build up is compelling and leads to both strong moments and some weak pay-offs. The characters and their dynamics are fantastic. The art is good. The acting is excellent. Overall, it is a great series. My final rating is going to stand at an 8/10. Next week I'll continue girls with guns month with Upotte.
About the review:
Just like my recent review of Rurouni Kenshin: Ishinshishi e no Requiem, this review was written by me some time ago, i.e. before I was a member on MyAnimeList. Therefore, I have no score on Enjoyment and you wont find any section called Enjoyment in this review. I think you will do fine without it, though. ^^
I'd like to use the expression "What kind of trickery is this?", but since it wouldn't be appropriate, I won't. I'm not really sure, though, why I decided to watch Noir. Somehow it attracted me, making me imagine a thrilling story about a skilled assassin
somewhere in Europe. That's not what I got.
Then what did I get? I got a repetitive story about two women, Mireille Bouqet and Kirika. Mireille, is a successful assassin in France. She meets Kirika, a mysterious young girl, with killing skills worth mentioning.
Mirieille is tormented by her past, partially unknown. Kirika's past is a total mystery. The pair of them decides that two is better than one and start doing Mireilles assignments together. At the same time they try to solve the mystery of their pasts.
Throughout the series Mireille is experiencing flashback from the time she was young. I don't think that there's anything wrong with flashbacks, as long as they don't appear to often — like in Noir.
After several episodes I was sick and tired of the series. My only oasis in the vast desert of repeating flashbacks and more or less boring assignments, was the not so boring and sometimes exciting gun fights. However, the gun fights had some quite annoying elements, like the protagonists never being hit despite having hordes of enemies emptying magazines in their way — or the total lack of blood!
Then why this lack of variation? Is it that the creators hasn't heard of variation, or is it that the Noir really shouldn't be 26 episodes long? I think it is the latter one. Noir simply does not contain as much material as would be required to create a 26 episodes fast-paced exciting action series. Instead, the creators gave us a slow-paced, repetitive and sometimes boring action series.
Back to the story: Mireille and Kirika soon discovers a large (and evil) organization — as expected of a series with protagonists with a mysterious past. Of course I won't tell you if they ultimately succeeded, but on the way they really uncovered some things worth watching.
Noir's story isn't really bad, but it is stretched paper thin. I really enjoyed some parts of Noir, but they drowned in the swamp of Reiteration.
The animation is pretty good, actually. Especially the lighting is great, with dark scenes lit by gunfire, cities by night and luminescent windows. Don't get too excited though, Noir does not have the impossible flawless animation that every anime fan keeps dreaming about: the colours are sometimes strong and appealing, and sometimes flat and boring. In short terms: artistic, yet unreal with varying quality and results. However, all this is powered by a low frame rate — which takes away a part of the impression, lowering the score.
The most common weapon in the arsenal of Noir is — of course — the pistol. There are some variations to it (I think I can spot some Walthers and Desert Eagles), but the sound effects are — most of the time — the same. I might be mistaken, but I think I've heard that sound effect in some computer game, probably in one of the numerous games based on the Source engine. I can't say I like it, though. It demonstrates power comparable to a cap pistol. In a series with at least one gun fight in every episode, I'd like to be able to actually hear the power of the gun. Well, all right. To be fair, I have to admit that at least one or two of the guns in Noir really demonstrates power.
Despite the lack of variation in the gun sounds directory, the ambient sounds and details in sound flora are (generally) nice. I didn't really expect hearing the sound of empty shells falling to the floor or the sound of chirping birds in the background.
Now to the music: it is great. It really does what it is supposed to. However, with the risk of being too picky: I would have liked a few more tracks.
I watched a movie the other day: Taken (2008, starring Liam Neeson). Long story short: in the movie, the protagonist does some very cruel things to his enemies. Even though his enemies are mere characters in a movie — and evil — I feel for them.
Mireille and Kirika, especially the latter, are cold-hearted assassins. That's not the kind of person that usually gets a lot of sympathy. However, in Noir, the assassins are not portrayed as evil. They are just doing their job and the only thing they really know (?).
Despite their obvious lack of morale, I can't say that I dislike them, nor question their acts (as in Taken). I guess one of the reasons is that their enemies aren't real people. They are nothing more than pictures on a screen. This is one of the strengths (or requirements) of Noir. When watching the last episodes, I heard an expression: "When a person dies, a whole world dies", a world of thoughts, feelings, relations and actions.
Noir pays no heed to human value. That gives Mireilles and Kirikas killings less importance, making it easier to like them. Instead of putting emphasis on the protagonists actions, focus is laid on their desire to find out about their past and their true identity. Their striving make them more human.
Noir poses a few questions, e.g. Kirika: "I can kill people easily. However, I wonder: Why don't I feel regretful?". That's not an uninteresting question, but why not pose more interesting and serious questions? Noir has a superb opportunity to deliver a message! Noir is a series that's ultimately about killing people, so why not use that? All right, maybe Noir isn't really the right forum for serious philosophical questions, but still!
The music is good and the animation is great, but they certainly do not compensate for a thin (or more accurately: not so thin stretched to very thin) plot — and neither do flashbacks! Noir really has the potential, but the creators do not exploit the potential the right way. Noir could have been great and engaging, but ended up with an all too slow pace. I'm pretty sure that Noir would've been much better as a 13 episode series, instead of 26.
You might be thinking: "Should I really watch Noir?". As long as you don't get the wrong expectations, I'd say: Go ahead, but be warned!
First off, you must know that "Noir" deserves its name (Noir means black in French). It is a very dark story which only shows real glimmers of hope and sanity toward its very end. So if you intend to watch this, you had better be patient.
I have given an overall rating of 6/10 to this animated series because I am not much of a fan of bleak drama that is not quite sure whether it is realistic or symbolic. There are however quite a few things of worth in this anime so I would not discourage people from watching it.
I shall try, in this
review, to explore all the aspects of this series that I feel capable of commenting upon. Beware, however, as this analysis will contain a certain amount of spoilers, though hopefully not enough to discourage you from watching the show!
In my opinion, the story deserves no more than 6/10 because it has a few major flaws.The first of these being the existence, in the world of "Noir", of a mysterious organization called "Soldats" (soldiers in French). This strange cult-like organization supposedly underhanddedly controls pretty much the whole world. This ridiculous idea reminds me of the myth that was once built about the "free masons", painting them as a secret society which ruled the occidental world. Conspirationnist theories such as these simply cannot be made to fit reality and the fact that this is the basis of the whole plot makes the story very unrealistic. Another flaw is the choice of having two teenage girls being assasins. It is quite obvious that the choice was made so as to satisfy a "girls with guns" fetish. Indeed, it seems that phallic women are a turn-on for many males, though I have no sufficient knowledge to analyze this to any depth. I must say, however, that no convincing reason is given for the choice of maidens as the elite assasins of the "Soldats" and that contributes to making the story that more unlikely.
The plot, however, is not altogether unninteresting, far from it. The "Soldats", though fictitious, reminds me of many criminal organizations having actually existed. The most obvious being the "Assasin's sect" which was born during the dark time of the European "crusades" in the middle east. Indeed the "Soldats" are supposed to have appeared in times of war and terror when warriors and civilians alike were murdered. The "Assasin's sect" like the fictional "Soldats" were a group of fanatics that thought to fight the "horror of mankind" by killing those they viewed as sinners. The "Soldats", however were apparently not born in reaction to an invasion by a foreign power. Though they are clearly mystical the "Soldats" are not religious, while the "Assasiyoun"clearly were. The "Soldats" aimed to cleanse society of evil by the practice of targetted murder and in that aspect seem very much like the "Red brigades", that Italian organisation that killed high ranking politicians and businessmen in a attempt to bring down capitalism. Though the power gained by the "Soldats" in "Noir" is unrealistic, the appearance of such a group is not unlikely as people will often turn into fearsome monsters in an attempt to overcome the horror around them. The fact that as they gained power the "Soldats" grew further and further away from their original ideals (such as they were...) is also quite realistic as this has been seen to happen in almost every single organization ever to have existed.
The story's end is one of the best there could be considering what led up to it. It is indeed a relief to see people turn away from a path that madmen had built for them. It is however insufficient to lighten the sadness and horror felt before.The overall bleakness of the plot makes it quite depressing and for that final flaw, I have decided not to rate the story above 6/10.
The personnalities of the main characters, namely: Kirika, Mireille (that, btw, is a VERY old-fashioned French name), Chloe and Altena, are all very dark but well-built and rather interesting. Each of these characters has had a horrific childhood and each of them has turned to a form of madness to overcome fear. The most monstrous of all is Altena while the most pitiful is Chloe.
Altena, the root of evil in this story, was originally a lost child in a terrible war. It is made clear, in one of the last episodes, that she was the victim of rape at the hands of a soldier when she was but a child. Clearly traumatized by the horrors of her past, she seeks refuge in blind faith in the fascist ideals of the "Soldats". She is convinced that a pair of skilled, emotionless assassins will serve to make the world a better place. She carries out the "Soldats'" tradition of abducting and brain-washing children so as to train them into becoming murderers. The scenes where she is seen to hug Chloe or smile gently are truly scary because Altena is absolutely convinced of doing what is right while what she is doing is so obviously wrong. One of her pet phrases (quoted from the "Noir manuscript") is: "Hatred can save people".
Chloe is the only child to remain with Altena and is the weakest of the main characters. Though a very dangerous assassin of skill greater than that of Mireille, she has an obsessive attachment to Altena, the woman who stole her childhood and made her into a murderer. Chloe also has a twisted but boundless admiration for Kirika whom she sees as the perfect assassin and a role model. Her admiration verges on desire and she is in fact seen kissing Kirika during a "purification" ritual. Chloe is a frightened teen who accepts all the lies she is fed because she cannot bear the thought of being abandonned. All in all, she is a character that inspires pity.
Mireille, the daughter of a Corsican crime-lord, was trained as an assassin since her very childhood. She claims to have chosen her lifestyle though that couldn't be further from the truth. Under the wrong guidance, she became very much alike to the people who brought tragedy into her life. When Kirika asks her for help, she can only accept her into her life by promising to murder her when she is no longer of any use. Love and life are completely absent in her world except for her ambiguous friendship with Kirika.
Kirika is the third "Noir" candidate and apparently the most skilled assassin. Kirika was initially a brainwashed child craving the life of a normal human and is very grateful for the almost-friendship she shares with Mireille.
There are many other characters but none explored in as much depth as the above four. All in all, the work done on these is quite good and deserves 7/10.
I am no mucisian or music critic and while I find the music in "Noir" not really to my taste, I must admit that is seems quite appropriate. I give it 6/10 because it does what it is supposed to do and no less.
The animation seems quite good to my untrained eye but I will not be a judge of it as my knowledge in the matter is quite limited. The art is quite good and most scenes be it in Paris or elsewhere are rather well rendered and pleasant. The characters do not always have the appearance that suits their age and that is a minus. The fact that despite an incredible amount of deaths, blood and gore has been kept to a strict minimum is a plus. 7/10 from me.
Noir is not a show that entertains but more one that sometimes makes one think. It was interesting enough not to make me want to stop watching but it hardly was a joy ride.
Many qualities, certainly a little more than there were flaws. An anime worth watching despite its shortcomings.
This is what ushered anime into the new millennium. Noir is the very first classic of the third millennia A.D., and as such is a very interesting specimen of times gone.
Now, I must stress that the score I gave it is not an accurate measure of Noir’s actual value. True, Noir is a must watch for anybody who loves japanese animation, but it achieves this by doing absolutely everything wrong. There is so much not right in Noir that calling everything bad in in out is almost as singular an experience as watching the series itself. And yet, it is perhaps exactly this absolutely wrong
approach Bee Train took to Noir’s creation that seperates it from much of the rest of anime and elevates it into levels reserved for things that must be seen to be believed.
So yeah, Noir tells the story of two females. The first one we are introduced to is Mireille Bouqet. She works as a professionsal assassin. The second female is Kirika Yuumura, a japanese high school student who sends a mysterious message to Mireille, asking to meet her.
That is the basic setup of the first episode, and the entire story itself. What follows from there onward is the exact same thing throughout twenty six episodes that we see in the first one. Let me go into a little detail about this.
But first, a truism: There is a song named „All you need is love”. That title is actually correct. You REALLY only need love when it comes to creating a story. If you love the story you write –and I mean REALLY love it-, you’ll instinctively know exactly what is wrong with your story and exactly how to fix it. Even if it won’t be original, it will be good to experience because the love you have for it simply won’t let you leave it a bad experience. It is also important to note that the creative drive of many –if not all- of the stories created primarily out of their author’s love for them – that is, the creation of their story- can have their origin traced back to a single idea the author had, that the author wanted to expand upon.
Another truism: It is not enough for a story to merely expand upon a single idea in order to be heralded among the greatest of stories. For that, a story must also be about something different by the end. Death Note started out being about a notebook that can kill people, and it ended up being about the battle of wits between two deductive geniouses and a question about the nature of justice. Spice & Wolf started out being about a wolf- goddess, and ended up being about economics. Etcetera.
One of the stunning things about Noir is that it actually IS one of the greatest stories despite violating both of these truisms. It starts out being about women commiting preposterous action sequences, and stays being about women commiting preposterous action sequences. Now let’s examine this closely:
First episode. In the space of a single cut, Mireille goes from France to Japan, and meets with Kirika. not soon after she arrives, both of them get ambushed by black suits. It turns out that not only Mireille, but also Kirika can kill people pretty well (with the phrase „pretty well” being both an overstatement and an understatement at the same time here). Kirika, in particular, has no idea why she can kill so well: she lost all her memories, and all she can remember is the name „Noir”. Which, incidentally, is the pseudonym Mireille works under as an asassin. Mireille takes interest in Kirika because she has a pocketwatch that may or may not play music when it’s lid opens up, and definitely has something to do with the death of Mireilles parents when Mireille was a small child.
The events described above already contained the two things every episode of Noir builds on: building the relationship between Mireille and Kirika, and a ludicrous action sequence. (And let me just say that it’s rare to find an anime series so reliable outside of the magical girl genre or things like Pokémon or Digimon – seriously, in 26 episodes, you get 26 times the girls fire a gun.)
The action sequences of Noir: This is it; this is the meat and potatoes of Bee Train. These sequences are the very core ideas implanted into Ryoe Tsukimura’s and Koichi Mashimo’s brains, they are the very reasons Noir exists, and they are also the hallmarks of the series. In every episode, the girls assassinate various targets, ranging from corrupt politicians, judges and corporate executives to war criminals and “revolutionaries”. And every time Kirika and Mireille leap into action, Noir turns into a unique mixture of tragicomedy and trash.
You see, the action sequences of Noir suck! They are preposterous, unrealistic, ludicrous, ridiculous and some other mean words. An action scene in Noir goes like this: Mireille and Kirika enter the compound of their target, at which place they are greeted by the bodyguards of the target. A surreal shootout ensues. Surreal, because of what these scenes are based upon: the concept that even the viewer could take on the enemies Mireille and Kirika face. There are two things you need to know about the people those two gun down on a regular basis: 1) they are always male; 2) they suck at their job! Enemies in Noir could not hit the broad side of a bus, even with unlimited ammo, from three feet away; they stand in the line of open fire, practically freeze in place when they run out of bullets, and never look behind themselves. Their reaction time is about the same as that of your grandmother playing Modern Warfare 2 for the first time on the Xbox 360. They never stop firing when the girls are behind cover. They never move back behind cover. They never so much as slightly injure the girls. They all act like complete morons.
The girls, on the other hand, might as well be godlike beings who almost never miss, can hit a target in the span of half a second after spotting it, constantly show up behind the backs of their targets (they violate the laws of physics and time-space almost every episode), and have this uncanny ability to somehow force their opponents to wait for the girls to shoot first.
Other times, they are the worst assassins ever. They make no plans about approaching their targets at their most vulnerable, opting instead to fight their way through the bodyguards of their target. They make almost no attempts at stealth, and have half- minute long staring contests with their targets before executing them.
Consider a video game adaptation of Noir that is 100% faithful to the source material. You control either Mireille of Kirika, against hordes of mooks who stand in place firing everywhere all over the place, except for that one spot where you are standing. They keep standing there when they run out of bullets. The body of your character has no hit detection in the first place, and the game constantly has auto- aim turned on for you, ensuring that every shot is a direct hit, without even having to aim. You have unlimited magazines for your pistol, and you can spot enemies from a hundred yards away, whereas they can only see about five feet in front of themselves. You can stand in the way of open fire and literally never get hit no matter what happens. Also, you can pause the game at any time, select a location on the map, and teleport your character there, with no regards to distance and height of the destination.
At times, Noir throws all common sense out the window! Two people are fighting, one holding a pistol, the other wielding a knife, and THEY BOTH JUST STAND THERE LIKE THEY SAW A FUCKING GHOST! A staircase full of armed suits simply lets the girls walk up in front of them for half a minute!
This is why I said Noir violates those two truisms: Bee Train obvious loved these action scenes and put a lot of work into conceiving them, but despite all that, they fail to entertain in the way they are supposed to.
Instead, they entertain in a completely different way! You see, it’s important for a story to maintain the illusion that the main character could fail. This is what brings tension into a story. But with Noir, after the first two episodes, you lose all sense of worry over Mireille and Kirika: you know full well that they could send an entire army against those two and the girls would come out unscathed, with every soldier lying dead in front of them. However, this opens the door to an entirely different way to enjoy Noir: what zany way of killing a hundred people will they think of next? Getting deep into Noir, a strange kind of curiosity starts to overtake you. You become fascinated with how these ridiculous gunfights get pulled off with a completely straight face, and you’ll want to see how the girls break the laws of physics and space-time in the next episode. By the end, you’ll be outright laughing at the absurd ways the scenes play out, and you’ll actually start enjoying yourself! It’s the strangest sort of entertainment, but nonetheless, it’s working, and it’s one of the most fascinating things you’ll ever see.
Interesting side note: Although Bee Train was originally conceived in order to “rehabilitate animators”; you’ll be hard pressed to find another piece of Japanese animation made in the 00’s that cuts more corners in terms of actual animation than Noir. Conversations are littered with still shots, collapsing dead bodies are obscured by the environment (or outright cut away from), and there’s no blood at all. (Thankfully, this cheapskate approach does not carry over to the beautifully detailed backgrounds and razor sharp character designs – Mireille in particular, has character design as slick as Chadwardenn’s hair.(Dat hair man (Mireille’s), dat hair!))
The good news is that this all adds up to Noir’s style: when you get down to it, all Noir cares about is it’s plot. So it takes no time building the world around the two girls, neither does it care about any sense of time or place (if one scene plays out with the girls in Corsica, but the plot requires them to be in Paris in the next scene, they’ll simply be there, without a single shot of their travel – Kirika and Mireille are the most unlikely jet setter of all anime). So gunfights are mere obstacles in the way of Noir’s plot advancement, and it actually fits that it can pull off stuff like Mireille holding a gun on a poor bastard without him even knowing it, but never showing her actually shooting the guy. It kind of makes you not care about budget restraints.
So, it only cares about the plot, right? Then it must mean it’s good, right? No, not really. Noir’s plot is a farce, a mere vehicle to get the girls from one ridiculous action scene to the next, even if even then it cares more about advancing itself then producing a situation in which we would worry for the girls.
So then, is at least it’s presentation engaging? Well…
It’s the most straightforward plot in existence, really. It doesn’t care about side characters or side storylines (every character that returns for more than one episode in Noir is a main character). Once the target of the week has been established, it’s off to his (it’s almost always male) execution, with nothing in between. During the time it takes to establish the target, however, that bit I mentioned earlier about the relationship between Mireille and Kirika comes into play. Know this: Noir isn’t really heavy on dialog. Most of the relationship between the two girls plays out in facial expressions and long silences with equally long stills of the girls and their surroundings. This wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself, but the directing in these scenes is so static and lifeless, that if it wasn’t for the action sequences and the nigh constant (and pretty freaking awesome) background music, Noir could be the first animated television series that could get certified for Dogma 95.
Taking the above into account: yes, watching multiple episodes of Noir in a single sitting is a chore. The action scenes have no tension, the non- action scenes are mostly boring, and the characters sometimes have quite frankly infuriating emotions, either from the standpoint of common sense or ethics. (By the way, this is why Noir is such a good glimpse into times gone. Modern day anime pulls out all the stops and doesn’t care what it does until it successfully forced you with’ it’s emotional manipulation into whatever state of mind it wants you to be. Noir is satisfied with merely showing it’s characters having those emotions, however dumbfounding or unsympathetic those emotions may be – they aren’t forcing them on the viewer.) (And it’s not like any character in Noir is that interesting or well written either.)
Also, Noir’s BIG PLOT TWIST is just illogical and dumb. Somehow, nobody was around the Bee Train studios to tell them that people do NOT age selectively – that is, 10+ years of aging for one person is 10+ years of aging for another person too.
Still, despite all those things (or perhaps maybe even precisely due to those things), as an experience, there is nothing in the World like Noir. Even Bee Train couldn’t reproduce it, seeing as Madlax, produced by Bee Train right after Noir, took the ideas of Noir’s action scenes to their logical extremes and ended up with something that is both gut- busting hilarious and migraine- inducing dumb at the same time (no, that does not mean it’s intentional (yes, that means it’s unwatchable)).
Make no mistake: Noir isn’t “so bad it’s good”, it’s a legitimately memorable viewing experience, one that is comparable to nothing in existence, even though the sum of it’s parts would in any other way suggest otherwise, and something that should be mandatory viewing for any person who claims that he/she loves anime, if only to know: “yes, there are thing like this in the World too”.
Noir is a fairly decent anime to watch, but nothing stellar, and therefore should be taken as the superficial “girls with guns” anime that it is. The story is centered around two young women with mysterious pasts tied to some secret mafia-type organization known as the Soldats. There is a great deal of violence in this series, expect lots of shootings, stabbings and poisonings but for all that,the action and scenes are surprisingly not gory and practically bloodless. This is but one of the many things I found peculiar with the series apart from the generic vanilla plot and the emotionally static characters.
art and animation is good but considered standard, as is the color palette for this show. This appears to be a regular 2D anime series with no CGI that I could notice. However, there are some minor [but cool] animation f/x like when there is a face-off between assassin [i.e. Mireille and X] the camera gets kind of jerky, which adds to the “panic” of that moment. The action scenes are decent, nothing flashy, but still suspenseful and well-executed.
Ten points. And I'll tell ya why! 3 things:
1. ALI Project
2. Shelley Calene-Black
3. Hilary Haag.
But in all seriousness, the whole English cast was great. Monica Rial and Tiffany Grant are also pretty big names in the anime industry. As far as music is concerned..., well like I said AIL Project is at the top of my list. Coppelia's Casket, like all their music, is fresh and unique with it's quirky lyrical flow and addictive beat. But this is one of the few series I've seen where I can say that all the music throughout the show was great, even the music for the pocket-watch [and the remixed version] were cool sounding. I would say the soundtrack is worth getting.
If you like shows that fall into the “Girls/Babes with guns” category then you will like this show. I'm reluctant to say Noir has a strong plot because it's the “Girls with guns” gimmick that will tempt you to pick up this title and it's the action scenes with all the shooting that keeps you watching. But the plot isn't weak either. Maybe a good word to describe the story style would be formulaic or generic which is to say that Noir uses the somewhat tried and true, paint by numbers method of narration. They start out slow, giving you glimpses of the underlying theme through flashbacks and other such tactics, and then they [unnecessarily] stretch this out across 20 or so episodes then drop the supposed bombshell....that most people probably had figured out long before then. On the whole I don't have too much to say about the story because it's kind of simple and straightforward even for a mystery. I take greater issue with the characters and how credible they are.
I think that if they had done the “big reveal” a little earlier then it probably would have helped the show a little better because in this way that particular “big revelation” element could have been used for character building purposes [which I think they kinda needed....desperately] Both Mireille and Kirika seem only half developed, let's see:
First, we have Mireille is this beautiful, leggy assassin right? But her beauty seems purely incidental [OK there was that ONE salon scene....and even that was to gather intel for an operation.] She never once uses her looks or sex-appeal to her advantage for anything and even if you say, “OK she's a hitman” you still never see her enjoy her femininity on her downtime. The only thing that seems to preoccupy her mind is figuring out who killed her parents and why. And while this is completely understandable on the one hand, you then have her gunning down her own uncle [and only remaining family member] with little or no remorse, with the other hand. And what do we get? Just a slumped shoulder [when she killed him....which was really to trick the viewer] and a paltry flashback. She [the character...NOT the actress] needed more emotions so we can connect with her on that human level. That said, she is still the best character of the series.
OK so the other emotionally deficient character of the hour is Ms. Kirika.....and I mean severely so! With Kirika, we are to take into consideration the fact that she has no memory and I'm not a brain surgeon so I'm not sure if and how that ties to a person's emotions. I guess that it could be possible so we more or less just have to tolerate her silence and her inability to fully express herself emotionally as part and parcel to whatever mysteries she keeps locked inside. Personally I can't accept it though. It's like a stretch in character for there to be such a person to not have any memories and yet be so cool and calm about it. There are no questions about parents or siblings, school or even about favorite foods or color...Not to mention the glaringly obvious fact that she's Asian with a supposed Japanese school uniform and ID card in the middle of France! Nope, she just seems kind of complacent about it all and is equally complacent about being a killer.
The rest of the characters...forgeddaboutit, they are all under-cooked and underdeveloped, strictly 2-dimensional.
The one last thing I have an issue with is the fact the fact that Kirika [and Chloe] APPEARS a whole lot younger than Mireille, They seem to be mid-teens [Kirika even has a HS uniform] and Mireille seems to be early twenties so I would say roughly a 5 – 6 year gap right? So explain to me how during the flash back, they are all the same age not to mention the whole toddler-assassin thing? Is that what they teach in preschool these days?
~ The Verdict
Like I said...a decent show overall. It could probably have been cut to a 13 episode series and still have the same value. There is lots of action and therefore you won't be bored however if you are looking for sympathetic characters you might be disappointed
"Noir" That is the name of the anime that you are reading the review of right now and you likely never seen this anime before and are looking up what other people thought of it in order to make a decision on whether or not this is the anime for you and to you I advise that I am only one person and this review is of my opinion that may be contrary to your own so keep that in mind and as for the people who have already seen this anime and are reading this, well you guys are just along for the ride.
story is something that I can only describe as a masterpiece, though there is no doubt there are better stories out there but I have to put this down as one of the greatest stories I have seen in anime as there is an almost perfect balance of story telling and action. However at first I had a little trouble really getting into the show with just the first episode but after that it was all good. One thing that I especially liked was the pacing as at first most of the episodes seemed rather self contained but everything seemed to build up until the very end leaving me rather satisfied.
All in all I really don't have anything bad to say about the story.
The characters on the other hand were a little bit weaker as I found myself liking some more than others for instance Kirika and Mireille, Kirika was this awesome character who on missions seemed to pull most of the weight while Mireille kind of sits back and maybe shoots a couple of guys; kind of like The Green Hornet and Kato (Kirika being Kato).
However despite that there is a lot of character development as these two characters develop a very strong bond. This anime does a good job a fleshing out most of it's characters though I do feel that they missed one or two.
Noir is one of the last anime series to be hand drawn through CEL and after over 10 year I think the animation has aged rather well though at times I feel it slips up a little like when people in this show are shot and killed there is hardly any blood nor indication that they have been shot other than a mello dramatic fall to the ground which at times seems kind of cheesy and almost looks like censorship, keep in mind that this is true for both subbed and dubbed versions of the show.
The soundtrack was decent and kept pace with the show; really adding to it but there were times that it felt kind of cheesy like from the 90's or something.
Most of the time when being critical about this topic I usually believe that a large portion of anime are about 50/50 in terms of subbed and dubbed versions and I could really care less which version you watch and there is only a small portion where one is better than the other and for this anime I think that is the case.
The Japanese VA for this anime was just weak, there are many there are many anime's that it think sound bland and think they all sound alike in japanese but not weak. I watched the first episode subbed and pretty much had no interest in watching the rest. As for the dub, it is not the greatest dub ever, they even reuse a couple of VA's for side characters, but the dub wasn't weak and the characters actually sounded right, not to mention the vast majority of this show doesn't even take place in japan.
I normally don't like Monical Rial, mainly because I feel like she's a really over used VA and the voice she normally uses is annoying but Kirika is probably one of my favorite performances by her and goes to show that the one type of character that she is best at playing is the quiet mysterious type.
I'm giving this a 9/10 considering that to me this anime was almost perfect and despite some of it's drawbacks it's definitely worth watching.
looking for a great anime? well your search is over!!noir is the best anime i have seen,heard or even made up in my head!! i am not kidding!!the story follows threw with no second quessing. the art work in it my seem a little dated but i do not see that as a fault at all. the sound from the begging theme to the end is well done and not sound like it came from another anime.you will love each character in it as well!! my favorite is chole! she uses knives and has a steady head on her shoulders. i have never meet any
one who has seen noir who did not like it!!!it is just too good of a series!!
I enjoyed Noir. Enough to watch it three times, even. When I first saw Noir, my first thought was not "oh, so it's Trigun but darker and more violent." But, after seeing Trigun, this is the inevitable conclusion I have to draw.
Two badasses, one wearing weird clothing (a bright red jacket with more buttons than an elevator operating on 50 floors, and a school uniform), one wearing mildly appropriate clothing, who are good at shooting things stumble upon each other and end up working together to foil the big bad secret agency. The first half is made up of a bunch of episodic episodes
that are tangentially or completely unrelated to the overarching plot, and are generally the better part of the series. The main character is a complete engima with choice pieces of information revealed over each episode. They both don't have an ending.
No, you say? That's most anime plots from the '90s and early 2000s, you say? Well, you've got me there. Maybe Noir isn't anything special in terms of its plot, except for the last third being a complete fucking travesty with only small moments of good to keep you watching more, but it makes up for that with a fucking awesome sense of style. Seriously, the constant mythical-sounding Latin overtures when something cool is happening (which is captured with some stunning cinematography) is easily some of the coolest shit I've ever born witness to in anime. Sorry, but Bee Train's Phantom doesn't hold a fucking candle to Noir when it's at its best. This is easily the best anime they've produced.
Noir is what convinced me that being for style over substance is not only completely okay, but can easily out-do the best-told (but worst-presented) stories this medium has to offer. It's a very simple show, and it mostly sticks to what it's good at. As mentioned before, the show is episodic until about the halfway point, although there are some plot-focused episodes before then. Just watching the interaction between the two female leads is fun because of the weird chemistry they have, and also in the ways they clash. There's also a lot of murdering in this show, which is fun too.
Occasionally, an episode that may even speak to your soul can come along and surprise you. "What is this shit? I came here to watch two girls kill people, and you give me a well-told story with decent dialogue, and THEN you get to the murdering?" Noir is at its best when it doesn't have to drag around the big, clumsy, stupid overarching plot that really only serves as a contrivance to bring the two women together. And I'm fine with that. If you want to string together a bunch of cool vignettes with some plot cohesion, consistency and progression, go right ahead! I don't care, as long as the vignettes are interesting. Because they're the main point. Right?
Noir disagrees. Noir is an original anime, which there aren't many of these days, and it wants to prove its worth by not only being a cool show about two contract killers killing a bunch of unrelated people with no main goal in sight, but by trying to "say something" and "push the characters into a corner" by coming up with the most contrived, stupid bullshit I've ever seen and shoving it in my face. [Please imagine me making speech mark gestures with my hands.] This show actually turns into a shounen for the last few episodes. You know how these two women are badasses and are good at killing people? Well, let's amp that shit up! Let's give them superpowers! Let's come up with a generic bad guy secret organisation, but make it Latin so it seems mysterious and old! Why would you do that, Bee Train?
I'll admit I was happy to finally see the character's past being explored since they were teasing it so hard every episode, but I would happily retcon Mirielle into an office lady who got bored with her job, killed her boss and became a world-renowned contract killer, and Kirika as a schizophrenic who can't remember her name half the time, let alone where she is. But she does have a good shooting arm. And Mirielle is constantly trying to get her back on track so they can kill more people and earn their pay. You know, like a family-friendly version of Cowboy Bebop! That would be less stupid than what the writers were forcing me to swallow. Or maybe not more stupid, because that was pretty stupid, but the real backstories are boring, contrived and not realistically believable in this basically realistic world they've set up.
But hey, the last episode is A-OK in my book. It says "fuck you!" to the arc up until that point and briefly brings back some of the elements that made it great before then. And it finishes on a relative high note, but it never got a sequel, and you'll never convince me to watch another episode of Madlax. I like to ignore most of the later episodes and think of them as this weird spin-off I never have to watch again. The episodic plots and plot build-up before then is great, which is good enough for me. I still listen to the OST years after finishing this anime. This might be one of Yuki Kajiura's best work, in my opinion.
Nowadays, there aren't many original anime coming out, because no one's willing to take a risk. And why should they? There's plenty of successful source material to draw from, whether it be manga, light novels, or visual novels. Noir took a risk. It took a lot of risks toward the end, in fact, and it did a lot of stupid things, but I look at it as a general success. I liked it, I hope you like it, I hope a lot of people who watched it liked it. But it seems like Noir is slowly being relegated to the forgotten past of anime, and it's often overshadowed by giants like Cowboy Bebop and Trigun whenever the past does get brought up. That's a real shame. Noir is not that good, but it's certainly not outright bad. It's consistently okay entertainment with a lot of style.
Noir is cool. It's cooler than a lot of shows. It gets the art, animation, sound and music right 90% of the time, and the dialogue is a worthy companion. It's also very bingeable, despite the episodic nature. That should be enough.
This special snowflake disappoints. Let us take a closer look why.
# In the interrogation room: Noir #
# # # PRO # # #
# Bob Ross like backgrounds
# Strong OST
# OP was like a female japanese version of james bond, thus pretty stylish
# Ending was decent
# # # CON # # #
# Weird gunbattles (enemies braindead, unauthentic, unspectacular for the most part)
# Very „dark“ themend anime with lots of kills, lots of gunbattles, but no blood...
# Weak characters
# Constant flashbacks that kill the enjoyment fast
# Overuse of OST till it becomes annoying
# Overall bleak
This anime is really bad and that in multiple ways.
with good things first: The OST is very good. I like the OP, it feels like a japanese, female version of a James Bond movie and is very catchy (sure isn´t for everyone though). So the OST is generally a stronger point of the anime, however it is kind of overused. Sometimes it´s the melody of a pocket watch, sometimes choir like singing. It gets a bit annoying at some point. Fair enough to say that I marathoned it though.
Now a quick note on the backgrounds. While watching we meet a lot of places and different countries and while doing so we get served with many beautiful background pictures. Feels like Bob Ross man!
That´s about it. The rest is a bleak and tiresome journey with little value. The journey consists of little short stories that take place around the globe with our main plot being revealed slowly. The first half focuses more on the completion of tasks where the second half picks up the pace with focus on the main story.
So a big part are the gunbattles where hundreds of faceless men are killed. Therefore I wanna mention that watching it just doesn´t feel right, they are way too stupid and fail every shot. The setting is very dark, mysterious and mature, yet the producers censored this show (No blood). First I think this is a very bad choice designwise, second it adds to the already pretty dumb gunfights making them look even more weird. See where I am getting at? Take a 2017 action blockbuster. You go into the cinema knowing that the plot is bad, but at least you get eye candy in form of special effects and decent fights.
The characters are weak aswell. They have little life and personality, add lack of conversations and the situation becomes disadvantegeous. We have one character who is amnesiac and emotionless. That´s okay, but what about her companion? Where are the emotions? Where is the anger, the sadness, the passion, everything? Noir tries to show instead to tell. For me it didn´t click.
This brings me to my last point. The biggest turn off since episode two were the incredible amounts of flashbacks. I always thought every second of screentime is worth of gold. I always thought producers have the problem of bringing the plot meaningful to screen without ever wasting time. Noir is the complete opposite. They tried to buy time whenever they could. I was thinking of dropping this series more than once. Dear producers, are you assuming most of us viewers are cursed with alzheimer?
I rate this show with a 5. The beautiful backgrounds and OST work for me. Unfortunately the rest does not.
Noir I´m sorry, we´re not becoming friends.
If I could rate this show an 11, I would! Noir is my absolute favorite anime, and this is the 2nd time of me watching it at the time of writing this review.
Story: The Story starts out shrouded in mystery as Kirika and Mirelle unravel the secrets of a mysterious organization known as the "Soldats". As each episode progresses, more of the mystery and a prophecy involving two assassins both known as "Noir" becomes clearer. Lots of exciting plot twists. The story is very exciting to follow! 10/10
Art: The art is excellent by early 2000's standards and has aged well in my opinion. The backgrounds
appear to be painted by hand with an oil based paint and are beautiful. Objects in the background look realistic and fit the rest of the artstyle. The animation quality is good in my opinion as well. 10/10
Sound: Realistic gun noises, excellent music, decent dialogue (at least for the subbed Japanese version). What more can be said? 10/10
Character: The characters have unique personalities that are fun to follow and watch progress throughout the show. 10/10
Enjoyment: Every episode is action packed and leaves you at the edge of your seat! 10/10
In the end Noir does have some interesting elements, such as sound and art but the story and its presentation is lacking, which makes the anime less engrossing as it could have been.
Interesting individual stories in the episodes as well as the european settings. As aforementioned the OST is fantastic. It's rare that an anime has so many good tracks in an OST. No fan service, which keeps the series on the reflective side as opposed to simply big boobed girls running around and killing tough big guys.
While the story seems somewhat interesting - it's slow. For the 26 episodes its way too
big, that is there are some scenes that play the same thing over and over again and it just becomes tedious. The flashback sequens in particular seem to be overused. The plot itself seems a bit shallow, with no suspense, read "everyone dies, but the assassians do not get so much as a scratch" nearly 100% of the time.