Akemi's Anime World

Noir Anime Review

Noir Box Art


4 stars / TV Series / Action / 15-up

Bottom Line

Though sometimes leaving us in the dark, Noir manages to stay in the light.

It’s Like...

...Gunslinger Girl meets Kite without the porn.

Second Opinion

If you're a total geek like me, and enjoy working your brain for no particular reason, then chances are you'll like Noir (pronounced no-are. It's French for black.). Noir is the story of Mireille Bouquet and Kirika Yuumura, two assassins-for-hire under the code name Noir. The unlikely pair teamed up in search of their pasts. Mireille wants to find out who murdered her family when she was a small child and Kirika just wants to know who she is and why she can kill easily and without any remorse.

The anime starts out slow. While there is much action and gratuitous violence to be had, you don't find out much in the first volume. But don't let that keep you from watching. As the series progresses, more clues are revealed, shocking revelations are made, and new characters that don't die within the span of one episode are introduced. My favorite is Chloe, but I won't ruin it for you by telling you what her significance is.

Noir has a bit of everything. There's action and mystery, drama, and the occasional bit of witty humor. Sorry FLCL fans, no outrageous antics here. Or sci-fi for that matter. Another thing that plays a huge role in Noir is the music. Noir has a beautiful soundtrack, surpassed in beauty only by it's animation. What I have dubbed "Techno Opera" (opera-esque singers with techno in the background), which I think is fairly decent music, plays in the background whenever the girls are on an assignment. The opening and closing themes are wonderful sequences. Just don't try to make sense of the English lyric translation of the opening theme. That is, unless you WANT your brain to fry from the effort.

Now as I said before, the best thing in Noir is the animation. It's so fluid and real that sometimes I forget that I'm watching an anime show. While most animes strive for this, Noir really pulls it off. Why, you ask? Simple. Different nationalities speak with different accents and they look different too. And in a world of anime where everyone speaks Japanese (or English is you're watching dubbed anime) in the same accent and all have different looks than their nationality suggests (for example: Heero from Gundam Wing. The last time I checked, Japanese did not have naturally brown hair and blue eyes), that is a refreshing breeze my friend.

There is one thing I can complain about. And that is flashbacks. Characters have flashbacks often, and many times it is the same flashback over and over again. This is an old anime trick that animators use so they don't have to produce a full 30 minutes of animation for one episode. It's a useful practice, but it can be overused. Noir is a great example of that very thing happening.

Overall, Noir is a great anime. Confusing, but elegant and intriguing. Noir does a great job of making you feel empathy for it's heroines, even if that means sharing their frustration of not knowing what's going on sometimes. I've only seen four volumes out of six, but I can tell right now Noir is going to leave us amazed and wanting even more when the seventh and final volume comes out on October 28th, 2003.