by Timothy Georgi
It's the latest thing in mystery and intrigue from the creators of El Hazard and Arc the Lad. Noir is a story of a young girl and the world's most reliable hired killer.
France. Mireiyu Buke returns home after running some errands. She sits down at her desk and turns on the computer. As the machine starts up, the notification that an email has been received appears. Clicking on the message, the picture of a young girl from Japan appears. Seconds later, a message scrolls across the screen. "Make a pilgrimage for the past, with me." She looks at the message skeptically, then clicks on the attachment in the email as she gets up to leave the room. She stops suddenly as a simple melody is played from the speakers or her computer. The song catches her off guard, causing her to pause in seeming fear as she remembers...
Japan. A high school student named Yumura Kirika waves to some friends as she heads for home. As she walks, she passes by a construction site. From behind, Mireiyu appears. She wants to know who Kirika is and where she got that song from. Little is said before Kirika's hand drops and Mireiyu reaches for her gun in defence. Kirika then opens a pocketwatch as the tune from the email begins to play, causing Mireiyu to stop again in painful reflection. Kirika quickly ducks into the construction area as a chase ensues. But there was more to the chase than just the two of them. Who could be chasing after Kirika and why?
Kirika brings Mireiyu to her home where they talk. Kirika reveals that she has little clue as to her past. Her family, her home and every personal thing she is aware of is an elaborate cover up, though she doesn't know why. With the precision and mastery of a professional assassin, Kirika is able to take care of anyone that comes against her. Despite her abilities, she is confused as to how she can perform such violent acts and not know why or feel any remorse or guilt after she's finished. She shares these observations with Mireiyu and asks here to help her until she can remember who she is and why she does what she does.
Mireiyu takes Kirika back with her to France where the two of them continue on is Mireiyu's work. She decides to let Kirika stay and work with her with the understanding that when she finally finds the answers to her mysterious questions, she will have to kill her.
What lies ahead for the two of them? And who is trying to get their hands on Kirika? Plenty of intrigue, mystery and mayhem awaits.
Noir is an refreshing break from the normal anime equation. There is a nice flair for extravagance as we're taken to France as the setting, a location not typical for an anime series. By changing the setting from the typical Japan or US type location, there are several interesting cultural items that can be woven in to create a new experience for anime viewers. The series contains some great art, incorporating some interesting French elements, everything from the architecture to the food, and the soundtrack fits the series very well, lending to a nice set of mysterious sounds and a feel that helps move the action along. There are a few times that the series seems to go a bit slow as the basis for the story is established, but those are greatly overshadowed by the mystery and all the action sequences throughout the series. If you're looking for a good mystery or like girls with guns, Noir is the way to go!