A pretty good spy assassination anime.
The plot was good- though somewhat episodic. Mireille had enough depth, Kirika didn’t have much to relate to- due to the amnesia.
The shootout action scenes are good- though sometimes unrealistic. The popcorn bar scene was timeless. That scene alone made the anime worth watching to the end for me.
I found the music incredible; both original and thrilling.
A little too slow for me. Too many flashbacks, in my opinion. It also starts out confusing, but the information about the overarching mystery is incrementally revealed.
They make you endure 2 l3sbian kissing scenes. One was forced on Mireille who fought back, but Kirika just let it happen.
The biggest plot hole was the age difference between the two MCs. They should have been very close to the same age. Instead, one looks like she’s in her mid-to-late 20s and the other looks like she is in her early teens. I didn’t like that at all.
It ended up being above average- it could have been a lot better without the “cons” I outlined in this review. 6/10.
Plot: "Mireille Bouqet has become a reputable assassin working in France. However, all changes after she meets Kirika, a mysterious young girl who knows nothing about her past but possesses killing skills that dwarf hers. Further intrigue unfolds as both characters explore their shadowy past and come to a head with a clandestine organization that seeks to control destiny itself." (site synopsis)
Story: Noir started as the first project of Bee Train studio, exploring the girls with guns theme, a theme that spawned over 3 adaptations, made by the same studio, with many similarities in all aspects but different presentations. Somehow these projects were clearly overlooked since the projects were executed quite well in many aspects, but I have to agree that the aspect that lacks several stuff is indeed the story development. The show starts with introducing the two main protagonists, both of them being females (infact the 3 adaptations only feature main female leads which creates a shoujo-ai subplot that does not have any important role during the whole show, nothing lesbolicious that’s for sure). Mireille Bouquet is a professional assassin leading a comfortable life, the life of a lone wolf, taking different tasks from different clients and making a living over these issues. Her history is covered in mystery since her parents were murdered without a certain reason and it seems that part of her memory is also in fog, she can’t remember several things about her past. That is until she meets a girl named Kirika Yumura, a high-school girl that contacted Mireille with a strange message. Later Mireille receives the task of murdering Kirika however while she attempts to do so, she gets involved in another battle that was targeting this time both of them. Mireille witnesses a spectaculous yet gory show given by Kirika which had some extraordinary gun skills and absolutely no remorse whenever she killed something, making her the equivalent of a robot out of control with no emotions. After Mireille and Kirika managed to get to know stuff about eachother, they decided to form a team and discover they real identity and to uncover the lost memories. From here on the show gets an episodic aspect, since both heroines get caught into the schemes of an organization called The Soldats, which kept sending assassins to kill both of them, or more like to test them. The partnership between Mireille and Kirika is codenamed Noir (which means black in French) a notorious name in the underworld. From the beginning it was easy to realize that between Mireille and Kirika there is a certain connection even though it is not clearly revealed, but the one thing that both of them reacted to was a strange clock carried by Kirika. The sound that the clock made started to make Mireille to remember certain scenes about her past. Nevertheless a deal was made when the partnership was created, Mireille promised Kirika that she will help her explore her past however when she discovers it, she will have to kill her (quote: "You know what i do to make a living. You know that i cannot let you live." "I understand that." "After you find out who you realy are i will kill you." "I cant wait for that moment." – you really got to be insane to accept such a thing, but to happy too? Lol kinda sick if you ask me). The story of this show proves to be like a chain of experiences for both main leads, building up their strength and their skills for a certain battle. The waves sent by The Soldats had only one purpose, to train and test their skills in combat so that they can be prepared for a certain obstacle. Things start to get even more complicated once a girl named Chloe enters in the picture claiming that the duo Kirika and Mireille created is not the real Noir adding that she herself is a part of Noir too. Well this is all I can say about it, the story is kinda slow-paced developing in slow motion but like they say “slowly but surely” it will reach a culminant point. Usually the works of Bee Train focuses a lot on past issues, presenting characters that lost their memories and also developing a fantasy aspect as well which seems to have some references as well.
Animation and Sound: Well we talk about a show produced at the beginning of the third millennium, not a recent one, so of course the animation quality might be a little bit outdated however one cannot deny that the directing and art-style is inferior. Amazingly, a 2001 can pull a spectacular character choreography with cool action sequences and nice use of gun fire, this is how a true assassin show should be like and I have to admit that most of them share the aspects that I mentioned. Soundwise this anime is also amazing, featuring soundtracks created by a very popular Japanese composer called Yuki Kajiura. The opening and ending song themes are not that great but the background songs such as Canta Per Me or Salva Nos who follow the action sequences are very enjoyable.
Characters: Well talking about this anime, it has a nice character development, more and more characters show up and reveal their past and also the role that they will play in the future.In terms of characters this anime is way above average. Only three characters play a more important role in this show. Mireille is like a mother figure of the show, possessing both assassin skills but also the skills of a normal woman as well. Kirika on the other hand has better skills when it comes to using guns but she is a social outcast, because other than her assassin nature she pretty much fails in other mundane issues. Cloe, same like Kirika, at the beginning it gave a feeling of emptiness and darkness hidden within her cloak, however a character that has an important role until the end, being something like a catalist of the other two main leads.
Overall: Some people may say that this anime is rather confusing and weird in terms of story but i wana mention that stuff get realy simple around the ending, understandable at least.It was very enjoying since i havent seen many animes with this mixture of tags, cant call it a masterpiece but Noir has a place of its own.It has scenes filled with action and turns of events, never a boring moment, and always coming up with more and more surprizing stuff reaching a culminant point in the end.In other words it worths watching.
~Enjoy and Cya Around~
This anime, in my humble opinion deserves a perfect 10 and here's why.
Story: Slow paced, but not in a boring way. The way the story unfolds for the characters is actually something that re-inspired me to write once again. I was literally blown away by the characterization builds. Couldn't have done a better job myself to be honest. Normally in an anime you get some form of a cheesy ending but not in this one. Noir brings something to the table that I firmly believe many anime need to follow and use.
Animation: Yes it gets a ten. Well drawn action sequences that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Sound: In a word, priceless. Crystal clear without the annoying wanna be ambiant sounds that you'd normally hear in anime.
Characters: I started speaking a bit about this in story, so I'll get a tad bit deeper without spoiling anything for you. Besides being well drawn out and such, each characters story brought something to the table. Even the minor characters storylines were played out perfectly.
Overall: No arguing, if you haven't watched this yet smack yourself in the face really hard then go watch or find someone who has the dvd's and ask them to lend it to you. A must have if you're a collector, the box art is absolutely beautiful. So yeah it's a MUST watch for you anime fan boys and girls out there.
Yes im probably went a little crazy with the 10's but i honestly feel this is one of the best anime's I have seen as far as series goes. This is an anime for those of us who enjoy our stories slow, allowing us to get to know our characters and get attached to them. Throw in some awesome action scenes and some of the best music in an anime and you got a perfect series. For some people this series will be to slow for you but i encourage you to just keep watching it and by the end of the series you are going to want to watch it again. The ending is usually one of things that bothers me about a lot of animes but in this one the ending is just perfect.
My feelings on Noir ended up being kind of mixed. While I loved the premise of a girl who has the muscle memory of an assassin but no memory of why she became that way, I felt like the anime dragged its feet a bit too long before going anywhere. While the story didn't live up to my expectations, Noir's sound and animation made up for it.
Characters - Noir's two main characters are Kirika and Mireille. These two are not exactly an average pair. Mireille is an experienced assassin who always works alone, but she finds herself working with Kirika who is a much more skilled assassin, but she lost her memories. What I found interesting about these characters is Kirika who wears casual clothes and has a tomboyish haircut seemed very feminine and willing to go with the flow. On the other hand, Mirelle had long blonde hair, and often wore make up and wore dressy outfits including high heels took on much more of a masculine leadership role. Another semi main character who got introduced later was Chloe. She was also an elite assassin but much more enigmatic and mysterious then either of the main characters.
Story - While I liked the premise of 2 unlikely assissins finding each other and forming a team, working together on various gigs until Kirika can eventually discover who she is, the first half of the anime accomplished very little toward that goal. I also felt that a lot of episodes felt kind of disconnected from each other and never really flowed very well until the second half of the anime. Toward the second half when major plot points started coming together it became more enjoyable to watch, but before then there were hints that the episode was going to lead somewhere but in the end it was just a vague clue about what is going on.
Animation - No assassin anime would be complete without a few good battles and this is one of the places where Noir shined. Kirika's battle tactics were often brilliant, a few examples are spreading popcorn all over a dark room to identify where her enemies are by the sound of popcorn beneath their feet, and concentrating fire on a single point of a wall to eventually shoot through the wall and hit the targets behind it. While sometimes I admired the brilliant battle tactics, there were other times when Kirika and Mireille were clearly out in the open but their enemies were either not shooting at them or their shots were missing. These situations did more to make the enemies feel incompetent then it did to make the main characters feel bad ass.
Sound is where this anime really shined for me. The OP was fantastic and did a great job putting me into the mood for each episode that I watched. Other then the OP there was a French style choir that played in the buildup to a shoot out, when the shooting started some instruments got added to turn it into a trance like remix of it, and there was also a music box version of the main theme that the anime associated with memories. The way this anime used music to capture the right mood for each scene was excellent.
Voice acting was also excellent. Shelley CALENE-BLACK is a voice actress who I typically associate with successful business women. An assassin is not what would immediately comes to mind when you think of a business woman, Mireille did think of her work as a business and Shelley fit the role pretty well.
Monica Rial is a voice actress who I typically associate with characters who are outgoing to the point of being obnoxious. Kirika is the polar opposite of that, she is quiet and reserved but with the instinct of a killer. I was very surprised to find out that Monica was the voice actress, but she did play the role well.
Hillary Haag is a voice actress who I typically associate with mysterious girls. Chloe was a perfect fit for her.
The only complaint I have about sound is that there were a few occasions where the voice volume was drowned out by the music volume, it could have been balanced better.
Overall Noir was an anime where each episode was generally enjoyable to watch, but not compelling enough to give me that "I can't wait to watch the next episode to see what happens next" kind of feeling. A 7 out of 10.