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Noir is a tale of assassins, in particular one named Mireille Bouquet, a contract killer who receives a message from a young girl with no memory about herself, but is an incredibly efficient killing machine. The story takes us on a pilgrimage to the pasts of both girls, which leads them to Paris, France, and someone is trying to stop them... Written by
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I wasn't a big fan of anime before this, but having recently watched Noir in its entirety, consider me a convert.
The story of Mireille and Kirika is nothing we haven't seen before: girls with guns, amnesia, dark pasts etc. Think Leon + La Femme Nikita + Kill Bill + Bourne with a film noir atmosphere and you're almost there. This isn't new territory, but the magic is in the execution.
Noir is one of those rare TV shows that tell their story without hurry and without stumbling over themselves to provide empty thrills. The plot, while complicated, never overextends itself and always keeps its eye on the prize. Behind the ponderous pace lies deliberate focus, and by the show's closing scene, no loose ends are left untied. There is plenty of violence on show, but the vast majority of it manages to be brutal without being gratuitous. Blood is a very rare sight, and although I was confused by this at first, I came to appreciate it as an effective device that serves to heighten the impact of the (very well-choreographed) action. If the show had been more explicit, not only would that take away from its style, but the viewers would become completely desensitized by the third episode (as you would expect, people die a lot).
The relationship between the two protagonists is fascinating, evolving from a partnership to something that teeters between friendship and animosity. Danger and tragedy lurk around every corner and imbue Noir with palpable tension and pervasive sadness.
The soundtrack is one of the best aspects of this show. It doesn't just support the action, it lifts it to new heights, and does it so well that the music becomes an integral part of the plot.
That said, Noir has many flaws. Overuse of the same flashback scenes over and over, the camera's penchant for extreme closeups (since these are anime characters it just looks weird), etc. In my case however they didn't detract from the experience one bit.
In conclusion: kickass action, awesome music, interesting characters and a multitude of other things make Noir a riveting and surprisingly poignant gem. I hope you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was. Highly recommended.
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