Le noir, ce mot désigne depuis une époque lointaine le nom du destin.
Les deux vierges règnent sur la mort.
Les mains noires protègant la paix des nouveaux-nés.

“Make a pilgrimage for the Past, with me.” That message leads Mireille Bouquet, an assassin for hire, to meet Kirika Yuumura, a mysterious young girl who has in her possession a strange and familiar pocket watch that links the haunting and unknown pasts of these two ladies. In order to learn more, they team up to become an assassin team under the alias ‘Noir.’ Together they hope to discover the pieces of their disjointed pasts. To do so however, they must hunt down a mysterious organization who has the answers while at the same time, be hunted.

The series starts slow. The first few episodes after Mireille and Kirika team up help you become familiar with what kind of person they are and their lives as assassins. The episodes show you that death is their specialty and they carry out their jobs professionally. Most of the series is of Noir carrying out their assassination duties while picking up clues of the mysterious organization. The clues they gather lead them on to more clues. The more they discover the more questions appear for both, the audience and the main characters. A friend who also saw the series was aggravated at how slow and confusing the story was. However, he did make a point at how that was probably how the characters were feeling. So, maybe that’s true.

There’s a little something of the story I have to complain a bit about. It’s the long, incomplete, flashback scenes that the audience will see over and over again. The flashbacks will be completed towards the end of the series. I can understand why it’s needed. The characters are searching for their pasts, but the exact same scene is seen in nearly every episode. Anyway, moving on…

The music, done by Yuki Kajiura, is outstanding. Yuki Kajiura, who also did compositions for the popular anime .Hack//Sign, made the music dark and haunting, yet amazingly beautiful. The music is not really meant to amplify or go along with the character’s emotions. I don’t really believe the music “touches” the characters at all. The tracks of Noir instead, touch the scenes and the actions in the scenes. Especially when there is no dialogue present at the moment. The opening theme of Noir, “Coppelia’s Casket”, had me a bit lost for a while. It’s not really a song I’d expect to hear from an anime like Noir, but is still lovely. The ending theme, “Beautiful Emotions”, is another one that threw me for a loop. It doesn’t really fit with the series. It seems more like a love song. There’s no romance in the series, but the song is still very nice. I’d really recommend getting a hold of the soundtrack of the series. It’s amazing! The tracks “Lullaby” and “Salva Nos” are favorites of others of those who have seen Noir. “Salva Nos” is perhaps the strongest song in the series. The female vocals of the Latin prayer are wonderful!

The background animations look gorgeous. From the streets of Paris, France to an abandoned construction yard in Japan, the locations and backgrounds of Noir look realistic. It’s like staring at a painting. Here are some screen shots (Click Below):

|| Shop Windows || Housing in France || Abandoned Construction Yard || Vineyard || City in Japan ||

The audience could perhaps forget that their viewing an anime because of some cliché-ish characteristics that are absent in Noir. For example, there’s no fan service. Yup! That’s right! There’s perhaps this 3 second shower scene with Mireille, but that isn’t even enough there to satisfy anyone (I don’t think). Those funny anime expressions, such as the sweat drop and blank expressions are nowhere to be found. The enemies they target are killed instantly and in addition, there’s no blood. That sounds a bit odd, I know. An anime about assassins should have blood, but there’s a reason blood and wounds was left out.

The “humble” look and feel (ex. no blood) keeps you from being distracted to anything outside of Noir’s storyline. If you read the production notes that come with the DVD (if you choose to purchase it) you’ll find out that a reason the animation’s average is because the makers wanted you to focus on the characters—how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking—by their movements and emotions. The characters and plot is suppose to draw you into the series.

If you’re looking for a good laugh or a nice love story this definitely is not the anime to pick up. Recommending it for those looking for an action series is kind of iffy, because the plot, not the killing is what will attract someone to Noir. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy a quiet, steady and dark story.

The Characters:

Mireille Bouquet.

A contract assassin, and one of the best and most well known in her business. The beautiful Corsican is haunted by a past memory of the slaughter of her family. By teaming up with Kirika, Mireille hopes to discover why her family was killed and have her revenge on the ones responsible.

Kirika Yuumeru.

Kirika is a girl of few words. Her assassination abilities are unmatched. Her skills perhaps surpass those of Mirielle. She kills so easily, yet she feels no sorrow or regret for what she’s done. Because her memory was erased, she cannot understand why she has these abilities. By teaming up with Mireille she hopes to find out more about what she is.



DVD and Episode listings

DVD 1: Shades of darkness
Episode 1: Maidens with Black Hands
Episode 2: Daily Bread
Episode 3: The Assassination Play
Episode 4: The Sound of Waves
Episode 5: Les Soldats
DVD 2: The Hit List
Episode 6: Lost Kitten
Episode 7: The Black Thread of Fate
Episode 8: Intoccabile Acte I
Episode 9: Intoccabile Acte II
DVD 3: The Firing Chamber
Episode 10: The True Noir
Episode 11: Moonlit Tea Party
Episode 12: Assassination Mission
DVD 4: Death Warrant
Episode 13: Season of Hell
Episode 14: A Bouquet of Flowers for Mireille
Episode 15: The Cold-Blooded Killer Acte I
Episode 16: The Cold-Blooded Killer Acte II
DVD 5: Terminal Velocity
Episode 17: Return to Corsica
Episode 18: The Darkness Within Me
Episode 19: The Two Hands of the Soldats
DVD 6: Cloaks and Daggers
Episode 20: The Sin Within the Sin
Episode 21: Morning Without Dawn
Episode 22: Journey’s End
Episode 23: Sentiments for the Remaining Flower
DVD 7: End of the Matter
Episode 24: Dark Return
Episode 25: The Depths of Hell’s Fire
Episode 26: Birth

Gah, I hate giving grades and scores. I know people who would prefer them though. Here’s just a little something-something for those people.

Grade: A-+ Music (deserves mucho points)
+ Pretty Backgrounds
– Moves a bit slow
+ “Humble” animation
– Flashbacks and more flashbacks

By Bounty Huntress


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