Yuri Anime: Noir, Volume 3

August 15th, 2005

Just as a reminder, it’ll be a short week for Okazu, since Otakon is coming up on Thursday. I’ll have my computer, and there’s a small chance that I’ll be updating, but no promises! ^_^

Okay, so despite the fact that my life is nearly 100% Maria-sama ga Miteru right now, I thought I’d move off it for a sec, and harken back to the golden days of yesteryear, when yuri anime existed, and women who carried guns ruled the small screen. That’s right, its time for Noir. (You can use the search feature up on the top of the page to find my reviews of Volumes 1 and 2, because I’m too lazy to look them up for you. Just stick in the word “Noir” and the links’ll be the top ones.)

In this third volume several significant things happen. For one thing, the gradual character development of the second volume is left behind, and the sense that something important is looming just ahead is notched up several, erm, notches. The character Chloe is introduced in this volume and, most importantly, in Episode 10, one of the faceless henchmen actually gets *wounds* when he is shot! And here I have been saying that that never happens. Wrong again, Erica.

Before I comment on Chloe, let me first mention Altena. Altena was a completely wasted character. For someone who got so much build-up through the series, they really never *did* anything with her. She was supposed to have been the other Soldats branch, supporting the “pure,” ritualistic Noir, as opposed to the crime syndicate assassin-for-hire Noir, but they really never managed it. Bee Train has improved at stroy writing since this anime, so I won’t beat it to death, but really, Altena was a waste. Which is a shame, ’cause she might have been cool. (Not as cool as Inccontabile, who I still think would have made a better adversary.)

And then there is Chloe and her spork. (Damn you Dreiser, for destroying my brain with that image!)

Chloe is meant to be creepy and cool and scarily ubercompetent. And fandom seems to agree, overwhelmingly. But I think she’s pretty boring, myself. In the Volume 3 liner notes, we learn that of the four major characters Mirielle and Kirika were created by one woman, Chloe by another and Altena by a third. The three characters designs were integrated for the story. I don’t think it worked, sorry. Chloe would be great in say, ./hack‘s The World, but in France, she seems utterly ridiculous. I realize that I am in a minority of one when I say that Chloe and Kirika together as a couple would not only be horribly unsexy, but utterly, mind-numbingly boring. And don’t get me started on that cape. LOL And it’s a damn shame, because as everyone knows, Chloe’s voice is done by the utterly fabulous Hisakawa Aya, for whom I have nothing but the most immense respect. She does her best to bring some depth to this role, but its a doomed effort, since Chloe really just doesn’t have any. I will say for Chloe that in this volume, at least, she gets some modicum of personality – and we get the glimmer of Chloe’s genuine desire to be paired wth Kirika. So that works whether I like it or not. ^_^

Be that as it may, Volume 3 starts to pick up the action a bit from the slightly slower and more melancholic Volume 2. In general, it’s a great set of episodes, with a hint of the “40 versus 1” that will come in the future, in which Kirika can stand in a open space and not be shot by the several dozen men shooting at her, while she takes them down with a bullet each. Totally realistic. ;-)

Ratings:

Art – 7 (Chloe’s face is often uneven and the people stand out as really bad in front of lovely detailed backgrounds.)
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Music – 9
Yuri – 6

Overall – 8

Watching Noir is like the old potato chip tagline – you can’t watch only one. It simply *begs* for a 26-episode all night carbohydrate and alcohol-laden marathon. Great, goofy, henchmen-slaughtering fun.

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