Noir: The Complete Series


On DVD: 
Friday, September 9, 2011

Beautiful landscape textures and bullet-blazing action can't save the boring and seemingly endless mystery of Noir.

 Kirika is an everyday school girl. While her classmates pay attention, however, Kirika appears to be preoccupied with other things. Very troubling and confusing things. See, Kirika has a past. She just can't seem to remember it. Her loss of memory becomes much more clear when she runs into Mireille, an international assassin. Mireille doesn't know who Kirika is, until she murmurs the phrase "Noir". All of a sudden, Kirika can perform incredible stunts and kill a man with her bare hands in mere seconds. What does Noir mean and what kind of past do these two hold? 

The 2001 anime series Noir plays heavy on the mystery but decides to play it safe on the action. Animation is a fun thing. You could draw practically anything. Giant robots, ninjas, explosions. For whatever reason, the animators of Noir decide to keep things easy on this series and focus on the mystery of the two leads' past. Even when action is present, not much is present that will excite the viewers. I'm always a fan of story as oppose to action, but Noir lets go so easily on the stories of both Kirika and Mireille that the audience can't even get enough satisfaction out of the seperate episodes. Without the announcement  of engaging secrets, Noir loses interest at an alarming rate.

It almost becomes a chore after a while to catch up on the next episode just to find out another hint at a secret with no suspense at all. The interaction between Kirika and Mireille could easily be taken to interesting levels, such as the mother/daughter roles, but instead are kept at the obvious I-Need-You-You-Need-Me mentality. Even when secrets are revealed, the importance of these situations are forgotten, thanks to the amount of time it took to unravel the mystery. 

At least Noir boasts some beautiful images. Being an animated series, landscape and scenery is heavily paid attention to. And it pays off. Once every episode or so, I found myelf caring less on the story and more on the beauty of the background. From rich, lively towns to the mean, dark streets of the city, Noir is never far away from some inspired works of art. Unfortunately, not all of the animation is as lovely as the scenery. Each villain seems to look exactly the same: the usual black and white suits, sunglasses and the confident, murderous smirk. Not a bad villain to introduce once or twice, but there seems to be dozens in each episode. Even the opening sequence shows off the identical villains but never cares to explain where they come from. It may be an innocent mistake in detail. Sadly, it only comes off as lazy.

Beautiful landscape textures and bullet-blazing action can't save the boring and seemingly endless mystery of Noir. Kirika and Mireille may be fighting to get back their memories, but you want have to try hard to lose all memory of Noir existing. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook