The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Noir

Title: Noir
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Bee Train/Victor Entertainment
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 15 Apr 2001 – 28 Sep 2001

Synopsis: Mireille Bouquet is an assassin for hire who gets a mysterious job request from a Japanese school girl, Yumura Kirika. After a quick scuffle with agents from a shady organization, these two girls decide to join forces in order to uncover the truth of their attackers and of themselves.

The Highlights
Music: Fabulous.
Animation: Solid but is often reused.
Story: Good but takes a long time to develop.
Pacing: Slower than .hack//SIGN.

Bee Train has long been infamous for creating pretty anime that move at horrendously slow paces. Regardless, the company does have a handful of good stories that are worth telling. Oozing class and style, Noir definitely has potential, but with horrible execution, all the good ideas simply go to waste.

There are so many ways this anime could have become broken from the chains of mediocrity, but I do not grade on “what ifs.” I will not mince words when I say that Noir is boring. The characters are dry and the story takes a long, long time to unfold. At times, it feels like the creators stretched out 13 episodes of plot into 26 episodes of mush. Save episode 1, the first nine episodes are essentially filler. Yes, these episodes do help create a stronger bond between the two protagonists, but they are devoid of creativity or originality. The anime could have been better told in half the time with a tighter script.

The frequent fight sequences accompanied by a stylish soundtrack help keep things moving along, but they have more problems than I care to fully enumerate. The art is very easy on the eyes and the choreography is creative, but these elements are funded by a very low frame rate. Panning, stills, flashbacks, anything and everything from Gainax’s “book on how to save a buck on animation” is employed in Noir. Repetition quickly becomes redundancy as at least two minutes of reused cels appear in each episode.

When it comes to the fights themselves, I have several qualms I must express. Seriously, why do the antagonists waste precious seconds standing around saying that they will kill protagonist A? Doesn’t the fact that they are pointing a gun at the protagonist’s head imply that much? Furthermore, why use so many dramatic pauses every single episode? Doesn’t it cheapen the dramatic effect when it actually becomes necessary? It may seem like I’m nitpicking, but the show already stretches patience into a paper thin sheet. The complaints above are only the ripping points.

Pretty animation and stylish music do not make a good anime. The story does pick up during the second half, but a snail’s pace is only a step higher than not moving at all. Since the protagonists are cold-hearted assassins, they are hard to like, which probably explains why the overall experience has been so dull. Ultimately, Noir does have a small diamond beneath all of its coal, but why bother taking the time to dig it out? There are plenty of other anime you can spend your precious twelve hours on.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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