|▪||RELEASED BY:||ADV FILMS|
4:3 FULL SCREEN
ENGLISH DD 5.1 AND JAPANESE DD 2.0
|▪||RUNNING TIME:||650 MIN|
|▪||REVIEWED BY:||JOSH MOHS|
NOIR is the ambitious coupling of the film-noir cinematic style, oft characterized by “leggy dames” with mysterious pasts, and anime, oft characterized by attractive women with mysterious pasts. But does the “two great tastes taste great together” formula shine through, or does NOIR just leave its viewers in the dark?
The infusion of gritty, film-noir style (think any detective movie starring Humphrey Bogart) nuances into the ever maturing anime genre proves to be a success, as NOIR doesn’t fail to deliver mystery, action, and drama. The series opens with the introduction of Mirielle Bouquet, world-class assassin, who is jolted from her usual routine by a mysterious e-mail promising to help her solve the mysteries of her past. The e-mail leads Mirielle to Kirika, an amnesiac schoolgirl whose own assassination skills make Mirielle look like a rank-and-file amateur. The two decide to go into business together as a way to discover more clues about their mysteriously linked past, and they set up shop under the name “Noir”, a well known moniker in the assassin trade. They two women promise not to stop until their pasts are revealed, at which point Mirielle plans to terminate their partnership via a bullet through Kirika’s brain.
The plot progresses, and the duo eventually find a clue that leas them to discover the existence of “The Soldats”, an Illuminati-esque entity that seems to have governed the flow of Europe’s history for the past millennium. It’s at about this point where we learn that The Soldats were responsible for the death of Mirielle’s family, the heads of a powerful Carpathian crime syndicate.
After hopping from country to country in search of new leads on The Soldats, Mirielle and Kirika are confronted by Chloe, a giddily spastic assassin in the employ of The Soldats who seems to have odd ties to Kirika. A few more assassinations and one very off-kilter tea-party later, it’s up to Mirielle and Kirika to uncover the mysteries behind their own pasts, The Soldats, and the true meaning of Noir.
NOIR does a great job of tying together all its inherent sub-plots into an enjoyable experience. There are some pacing problems, especially towards the beginning of the series, but the strong character interactions are usually enough to pull you through.
Being a complete series with no sequels or spin-offs, NOIR, does a great job of tying up loose ends. The ending itself is left intentionally cryptic, as the director chose to leave the ending open to viewer interpretation. In short, your experience of watching NOIR is meant to be shaped by your own perception. It’s a bold move, but it actually works well in this case.
In addition what seem to have become industry standards (Previews and Textless Opening & Ending sequences), the NOIR discs come with interviews with the various voice-actors that worked on the project. It’s a nice feature that really lets you get into the mind of some of a great cast.
NOIR not only achieves its lofty goal of combining a staple of American cinema with the strong story driven aspect of anime, it even manages to throw a few surprises in as well. While it may at times seem reminiscent of some other series out there, its unique twists and intriguing character dynamic definitely elevate it above the rest of the competition.