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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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Although the artwork in Noir is not a style I prefer with its triangle chin and noses, and over-sized eyes, the strengths of this anime are its story and its ability to leverage emotional impact. Without difficulty this could have been fit into less than half the number of episodes that are on the seven DVD volume set since each episode reveals only a small part of the mystery, with frequent near-term and long-term flashbacks.
Mireille Bouquet is an assassin for hire that works alone, at least until a mysterious Japanese girl who has lost her memory shows up. She knows herself only as Kirika Yuumura, which she assumes to be a fake name. However it is obvious from the start that she is even more lethal than Mireille, who reluctantly takes her as a roommate because an artifact that Kirika possesses, a music-box watch with an iconic emblem on its cover that looks like a state seal more than anything else. The watch once belonged to Mirelle's father, who was killed with the rest of Mireille's family for reasons she has never learned.
To make her position clear, Mireille promises Kirika, "when all of this is made clear, I will kill you." Kirika accepts this without protest and even something akin to what appears to be relief. "I'll be ready," she says.
So the girls are in the business together, with the leggy, blonde Mireille in the lead and Kirika doing most of what she is told. Although I am no expert, but it would seem to me that if you are an assassin and you continually get into pitched gun battles with dozens of better-armed foes it might be a sign to question whether you are doing it right. Even if you always win. Mireille's favorite working outfit is a scarlet blouse and black miniskirt with a slit up to the waist, which looks good but is hardly practical. Kirika dresses less flamboyantly but you have to wonder just where do those girls carry all those extra ammo clips? Further, if your life depends on your anonymity why would you go about your work dressed so conspicuously? The music track is slick and sophisticated, but it gets ruined by repetition. The first few times you see action scenes with the themed aria, a Latin verse or two that feels like it has religious overtones to it, it works. After the 20th action scene with the same track playing you want to shut it off. The bad guys are almost always virtually lining up to get shot, being such bad shots themselves I suppose they want to get it over with. For all of that the fight choreography well done and fun to watch.
None of this ruins what is the real point of Noir, and that is the relationship between Mireille and Kirika and their mystery, with the introduction of several other strong women characters along the way. There is no sex or even simple nudity anywhere in the plot, which is a shame because although the writers obviously thought it would either cheapen the production or perhaps distract the story, it would have given more opportunities to break up the repetition that drags on too long.
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