Noir (anime)

From Academic Kids

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Noir title screen

Noir, a 26-episode anime series from 2001, is a story of two young female assassins who are seeking answers about their past and why are they doing the job they are, while they are lured into more and more traps by the same people who employ them, a cryptic secret organization which calls themselves The Soldats.

It was produced by the Japanese animation studio Bee Train and was licensed for American distribution by ADV Films.

"Noir" is also the French word for "black", and noir is a genre of film. Noir takes its title from both of these; it takes place in France and is a fairly dark and violent anime. The furigana given for the title, a guide for japanese readers unfamiliar with roman script is ノワール Nowaaru.


The series

Noir begins as a fairly normal action anime, but later (with the appearance of Chloe) becomes more psychological. The series has a very small recurring cast, all women. It has been interpreted as having been influenced by the novel Foucault's Pendulum but it is unknown if this was intentional on the part of the series creators.

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Two maidens who govern death

In the beginning of each episode, after the opening, a short sequence appears which says: Noir it is the name of an ancient fate, two maidens who govern death, the peace of the newly born, their black hands protect.

Despite the gunplay and a sizeable body count, Noir features no gore and very little blood. Originally a simple consideration for network TV, the DVD released remains bloodless, intriguing fans. It is said this makes the death of many suited agents less troubling, becoming faceless "storm troopers" popularly termed mooks. However, in limited instances, main characters such as Kirika display blood, perhaps to show their humanity and will over the thoughtless soldiers following orders.

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Noir artwork

The music in Noir is often the most commended aspect of the series, often praised for its uniqueness and creativity, mixing a blend of techno, opera, and French-flaired music. It has also been noted as having influenced viewer perceptions on analysis of the series. The series composer for all music except the opening and end themes is Yuki Kajiura, who is accompanied by primary vocalist Yuriko Kaida, secondary vocalist Yuri Kasahara, and Yuki's band See-Saw. Yuki Kajiura is also the composer for .hack//SIGN, which has a similar musical style. The opening song, "KOPPERIA no Hitsugi" (Coppélia's Coffin), is written and performed by ALI PROJECT, and the ending song, "Kirei na Kanjou" (along with its piano-only BGM version), is by Akino Arai.


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Kirika Yuumura
  • Kirika Yuumura - Kirika is a schoolgirl who has lost all memories of her past, knowing only that her true name is Noir. It is not known whether her real name is Kirika Yuumura, as the only thing that links her to this name is a student card of her with that name on it. She meets up with Mireille in the first episode with an offer to take a pilgrimage to the past. Ironically, when Kirika was a young child, she killed Mireille's family. Before dying, Mireille's mother asked Kirika to take care of Mireille. She is an excellent marksman and uses a Beretta M1934, but can also use a great deal of mundane objects as well. Kirika's theme music is 'Canta Per Me'.
  • Mireille Bouquet - A Corsican woman born into a powerful family, Mireille is the sole survivor of a brutal attack on her family. The reason behind the murder of her family was that her parents refused to have Mireille raised to become Noir by the Soldats. After her family's murder, she would later be trained by her uncle to become an assassin. Already a well-established assassin, she receives an email from Kirika with an attachment of a familiar melody. She agrees to work with Kirika because of a watch that Kirika has which is identical to one her father had. However, she tells Kirika that once the truth is revealed, she would kill Kirika. Ironically, the codename Mireille chooses to work under, after teaming up with Kirika, is Noir, assuming the role that her parents wished for Mireille not to have. Mireille uses a Walther P99. Some people generalize her nationality as French rather than specifically Corsican. Mireille's theme music is 'Corsican Corridor'.
  • Chloe - A mysterious figure that appears about halfway through the series, she claims to be the True Noir. Though she is about Kirika's age, she is extremely skilled as an assassin, a quite remarkable fact since she uses throwing knives instead of guns. Chloe is very faithful to Altena and is working on the side of Soldats. She was witness to the murder of the Bouquet family by Kirika, an event which would cause her to look up to Kirika. Chloe's theme music is 'Secret Game' (in addition to the instrumental song 'Chloe').
  • Altena - A motherly figure who is high-ranking in Soldats, who seems to be working for "Le Grand Retour" (The Great Return). She resides in a place called "The Manor" which is a vineyard run with medieval technology. The Manor is between the border of France and Spain, and is a "forgotten place" to the world. It appears she had a tragic childhood, though the details are unknown. Altena's theme music is 'Lullaby'.


Although having a light subtext, the creators of Noir are aware of its sizeable yuri fan base, due to the slight ambiguity of Mireille and Kirika's relationship later in the series, and Chloe's child-like but unsettling obsession with Kirika. The former was even addressed in an Easter egg in the official American DVD release, featuring an amusing sock puppet segment by the two American dub voice actresses of Kirika and Mireille.

External links

de:Noir_(Anime) it:Noir (anime) ja:NOIR pl:Noir


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