Genre: Action
Format: 26 Episodes
Allegiance: Bee Train
Director: Mashimo Koichi, Ohsawa Satoshi
Vintage: 2001
Intelligence Agency Report by: Djudge
Mirielle Bouquet, a talented and resourceful assassin, has her world turned upside-down when she receives a message from an enigmatic stranger that bears a haunting fragment from Mirielle’s past. Soon after, both this beautiful killer and the amnesiac who contacted her, whose abilities at killing are mysteriously even more adept than Mirielle’s, journey together in an effort to discover the truth about the conspiracy shrouding their dark pasts.

Field Agent Report by: Djudge
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
9.00
8.50
8.75
9.00
9.25
Overall 9.25
(not an average)

Noir was practically a title that I just didn’t know what to expect from. The opening sequence from each episode exuded hints of esotericism and all the hallmarks of an alluring action-packed title. Making good on the advertised flair of its opening, Noir finishes its memorable twenty-six episode run with an awkward ending that fails to deliver a sense of closure to its well-developed plot.

When eyeing Noir strictly from a presentation-only standpoint, it is fairly easy to conclude that this series appeals to the viewer in a variety of ways. The animation from start to finish, is done crisply and character movements, even when engaged in fights, are done smoothly. However, I did find that the facial expressions for some characters were quite limited, creating a rigid and plastered look at times. Moving on, Noir had some of the best fight sequences that I have ever seen in any film or animated feature that I’ve seen. Tightly scripted and full of suspense, each time a gunfight ensues in the series you can be sure that you’ll be in for a treat. Personally, what I found as the most enjoyable parts of the series’ action department are the sequences in which several acrobatic techniques are employed; they simply make each kill just ooze with that much more style and are a move away from the “run-hide-shoot” formula present in similar titles. On a side note, the series features little or no blood in its fights. Although realists maybe disconcerted at the missing gore, all fans of good bullet operas will be too engrossed in the on-screen action to care. Also present in Noir are a string of melodies that do an excellent job of portraying the intensity, intrigue, and sometimes even somber atmospheres in each scene. The OSTs easily elevate an already great series to an even finer quality. Without such music supporting each scene, it would be easy to both bypass the human aspect to each of the main characters and to dismiss the vibrant energies present in the fight sequences in the series.

The aesthetic presentation aside, Noir sports a pretty decent story line when it comes to the thriller/suspense department. However, while Noir does not deviate from its main plot, it does have some nagging features that do need to be highlighted. First of all, as with nearly all storylines involving conspiratorial issues, there is an “secret society” of sorts involved. It is around this aspect, represented in the series as the enigmatic “Soldats,” that Noir’s plot revolves. Although it is a fact that the society is indeed mysterious and this in turn helps spurn the viewer to watch more of the series for answers, I would find that Noirapparently does not provide as much about Soldats as I would have liked by the end of the twenty-sixth episode. Couple that with a disturbing scene involving the lead characters in the closing seconds of the show’s finale and you have a somewhat large hole left to satisfy in the imaginations of Noir’s viewers.

Despite its shortcomings, Noir easily establishes itself as an excellent action anime that has a sufficient plot to support and prevent it from being yet another brainless bullet-spray gorefest-type project. If you can forgive its open-ended style at its conclusion, then you can come to appreciate the great series that you have just seen. Definitely give Noir a try if you like your action written with a perfect balance between flair and passion.