I rewatched Volume 4 of Noir in the post-Onna! “marathon of watching and reading things non-stop so I don’t have to talk to people” fest. It’s quite good. And remarkably bad.
Let’s get the plot complication stuff over quickly…the first two episodes are designed to make Mirielle and Kirika seem more human. I think. In the first episode of the volume Kirika befriends an ex-mercenary turned painter and takes up painting herself. Mirielle warns her away from befriending anyone, but Kirika persists, with tragic results. In the second episode, we learn yet another little piece about Mirielle’s past and, if we are not entirely clueless, will come to realize that this is not just “making Mirielle seem more human” but really a hint that her past is quite relevant to the story. Think about it – Kirika has no past and we never, not really, try and figure out who she is. But little by little Mirielle’s family, and their fate, keep popping up, over and over and over….
In any case, this attempt by Mirielle to recreate an old relationship fails in a slightly more tragic way than Kirika’s attempt to make friends. In Kirika’s case, the guy is killed more by circumstance than anything else; in Mirielle’s case, she actually pulls the trigger and kills her beloved uncle.
The second two episodes are ridiculous. I love them, but if they were disappeared the story as a whole would not suffer one iota. A Chinese Tong sends a irresistably goofy assassin to take out Noir, (she kills with poison nails…and wears a fashionable leather jacket, all at the same time!) with predictable results. This is the mini-arc in which we see Kirika’s magic bullet shield on full – she kills about 40 people and not one of them manages to so much as graze her with a scathing look.
But, let’s let that all go and talk about the Yuri. In Volume 4, where Kirika obsesses about a guy and Mirielle about her uncle? Why, yes, now that you mention it.
This one was easy – watch Mirielle react to Kirika’s new hobby. Neutral, a little amused. Then watch Mirielle react to the cause of the new hobby…open jealousy, baby. I never noticed it the first time, but Mirielle spends the entire rest of the episode *bristling* when she thinks about Kirika spending time with that guy. Great voice acting from Mitsuishi Kotono there – she sounds deeply irked and bitchy. ^_^
Then we have the other half of the equation – Mirielle returns with the news that her uncle is in town, yay! Kirika would, assumably, be annoyed, yes? Something to take away from the well-oiled machine that is Noir? Nope. She’s pleased as punch that Mirielle has regained this link to her past. Why – because she can see how happy this has made Mirielle.
Now add those two little things up. They equal a relationship. Not, perhaps one between lovers, but certainly one between people who care, a lot, for each other.
Now, Bee Train has already said about Noir that if you see Yuri, it’s there. I choose to see a relationship that is beginning to leak past professional into personal.
And because, for some reason I cannot fathom, some people like Chloe, I’ll also mention her stalking Kirika to Hong Kong as a sign of her obsession about the other girl. But I strongly feel that the vibe is one-way. While it’s clear that Chloe sees Kirika as her perfect future partner, I don’t get the sense that Kirika even sees Chloe as a an existence, really. Her mind is on her partner *now*. And from my perspective, it stays there…except in the bits where they brainwash her. But I’m getting ahead of myself. ^_^
Art – 6, it’s horribly inconsistent from scene to scene
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Music – 9
Yuri – 5
Overall – 7 and a great way to pass a gloomy Sunday afternoon. On par with a decent kungfu flick. ^_^ There was something terribly important I wanted to say here, but now I’ve forgotten what it was. Oh well.