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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Mew Mew's apprentice
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Noir the Complete Collection

ADV Trailer

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DVD cover art taken from amazon.co.uk
All screen caps taken from Noir Complete Collection DVDs


Intro
With the recent release of the R2 Noir Complete Collection, which is a show I have really wanted to watch, I have decided to write a review to hopefully get people’s attention. I actually haven't finished watching the series (up to ep 21), but I think now is a good time to review, and hopefully keep the ending a surprise to me and you.
 
Noir is a complex action anime which follows, initially, two female assassins. Together they are trying to find out the truth about their past and why a certain organisation has targeted them. The series is based in Europe, mainly France, so should be more familiar to a European audience.
 
Characters
Mireille is the first character we see in the series. She has long blonde hair and blue eyes and is a highly trained assassin. However from the start we see she has a troubled past where her parents were killed, and she seeks revenge. Throughout the series you will see how she learns more about this event and reveals more of her personality.

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Kirika finds Mireille at the start of the series when they are both attacked by unknown suits. She has red eyes and black short hair, opposites to Mireille. From the start we can see Kirika is a very skilled killer, almost anything can become a deadly weapon in her hands. However she doesn't remember anything about her past, she doesn't even know if her true identity is the one on her student card.

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These two characters agree to pair up, but Mireille promises to kill Kirika (I don't know why, the start was very confusing to follow) once they know the truth. Both characters are linked also through a watch, which depicts two maidens holding swords. This watch has a ghostly "music box" melody whenever it opens which sends shivers up your spine every time you hear it.
 
Discussion of Key Features
One interesting point about the series is the art style. It is very similar to .hack//SIGN and you might recognise some of the character styles. For example, Kirika sometimes does the Tsukasa depressed face, and Mireille looks like BT. The only problem with the animation is when it zooms out to show a wider picture the characters become blobs with very little definition.
 
Another important feature of this series is music. As mentioned you have an eerie music box melody that is used to change the mood. But there is also a lot of variety with various themes being repeated throughout the series. The opening and ending themes are quite appropriate too. The opening is more action and upbeat, containing various discordant and high pitched squeals to show pain. The ending theme is more relaxed and has been recorded such that you can hear the vocalists lips move open and close, as if someone was whispering in your ear.
 
The series is littered with symbolic items to enhance certain points begin put across. For example at Mireille's apartment she doesn't have any tables, only a snooker table where she does all her work from. This shows she leads a different life from many of us - who will have tables to eat at, tables to work at etc - and it also has gangster connotations, you can picture the classic gangster hanging around a snooker table in a pub. The very title Noir (meaning black in French for those who don't know) suggests a dark plot.
 
Some other points to note is there is next to no blood present. You would think with all the killing involved the series would be covered in it, but no, it reserves blood for more shocking or important scenes. There is also very little fan service. How can two girls run & jump around in short skirts and not expose their panties? Well there's none of that. The most you'll get is a bikini and a shower.

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DVD contents and presentation
The first thing that struck me when I put the DVD in was the surround sound. It was actually present throughout the whole DVD and was marvellous to listen to. Only two other DVDs I own can match up to the standard of the surround sound, and they are Evangelion & Saikano. But that's not all; the picture quality once moving is great. For once it is making full use of my Graphics Card to make the images flow smoothly, which isn't normally present in the DVDs I own. And to top that all off the DVDs in the drive run very quietly. Saikano can match in picture quality and sound quality, but when the DVD drive is roaring like a jet engine it just isn't pleasant.
 
The DVDs contain the usual clean opening/ending, ADV trailers, Concept art sketch thingies; but the best extras are the interviews with the Jap VAs. It's nice to hear what they think of the series and how they recorded it. You also get a silly little Dog Tag, it's just a chain with thin plastic thing saying "Noir".
 
The only complaint I have is some of the DVDs can be a nightmare to get out the box. I’m scared if I don’t remove them carefully they’ll snap, but doing that is difficult since the bits holding them in never want to let go.
 
Conclusion
So to summarise, Noir is an action anime following two assassins and their quest into the past. The series has many great features, such as the use of music and symbolic items. The DVDs are very well presented by ADV, and if you have powerful equipment you can gain the full potential from it. Plus the complete collection is available now, go buy it now!
 

So far I've really been enjoying this series with the plot twists, and Kirika has to be my favourite female character in any anime that I've seen. The only thing that could muck this up is if the ending is really bad and leaves things open. I'm also watching the Japanese voices with subs, I have yet to hear the English dub of this.

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BT


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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:59 pm 
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One question, how's the European setting?

Sometimes when a series attempts to show a setting foreign to the country it's produced in, it all goes a bit clogs and bowler hats.


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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:12 pm 
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kodama wrote:
One question, how's the European setting?

Sometimes when a series attempts to show a setting foreign to the country it's produced in, it all goes a bit clogs and bowler hats.


I don't think that's the focus of the series. It's not like Hellsing where they think we all worship the queen. And there's no crazy French men with huge taches dressed in black and white stripes, little red hat, playing the accordion outside a bread shop. They travel to many different parts of the world, one episode is in Taiwan and has the usual things you would expect to see there (red temples etc); but it never goes over the top with the various countries visited.

BT


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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:13 pm 
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I thought it had the same art style as .hack, research reveals that it was done by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (who also did Evangelion).

I like the use of pictures in the review. I would make my own reviews look more organised and presentable, but I cannot be bothered as I'm too busy writing it up.

I'm not sure if I will watch this series one day, although the mention of there being little fan-service means that there is at least one selling point for me.

Not a bad review, definitely looks more professional than mine. Shows you take more time in making them. All I do is write them up, look for any mistakes in spelling/grammar, get told that my tea is nearly ready and therefore have to rush the rest so I can post. Then when I come back I spot more spelling mistakes that I overlooked. :x

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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:17 pm 
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Well that's one plus point then, that episode of GitS:SAC set in the UK still sets my teeth on edge even now.

Nice review BT.


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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:15 am 
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yeah, if only the UK was really that peaceful xD

I have to say this is a very nice review, and I feel as if I have just read it out of a newspaper (one of those newspapers with good reviews!). Quick question though, on average, how much does to boxset cost?

I like your use of images, as it breaks up the text making it an easier read, unlike mine which are just blocks of text. A nice little feature, and just from looking at the pictures, the animation style is very similar to .hack//SIGN. Overall, this series does sound pretty good....shame I'm skint xD (Haruhi extorted all my moneys from me!)

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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:25 am 
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It's £44.99 on Play;
http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/5398049/Noir-The-Complete-Boxset/Product.html
I think I'll wait for the price to come down before picking it up.

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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:25 pm 
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Captain Kuchiki wrote:
Quick question though, on average, how much does to boxset cost?


I got mine for £42.98 on amazon.co.uk. But it's gone up to £44.98 if you check the price now.

It's still cheaper than buying the 7 single DVDs since they seem to stay glued at ~£20 each. I doubt it will come down in price for a while as well since it's just been released. There is a R1 boxset available too, it might be cheaper if that's a viable option for you.

BT


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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:51 pm 
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Yeah true. I don't want to have to go through another Elfen Lied again (I brought the boxset for £40, about a half a year later the price dropped to £25!!!).

By the time I find a job it will probably be in the bargain bucket xD

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 Post subject: Noir Complete Collection
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Nice review, i enjoyed watching this anime, it was good but nothing fantastic, there was enough there to keep watching, the story was intriguing and well thought out, well at least it wasn't Madlax :wink:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Madlax sucked :wink:


One of the things I really enjoyed about this anime was the soundtrack 'Salva Nos' was just an awesome piece of music that suited the emotion of the character as well as the current situations, this was pretty much the same for all the music but Salva Nos was my favourite :D

I personally thought the dub was ok could have been better but hey-ho there are worse dubs out there, the original language was more suited to the characters..

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