Noir is an anime set in the near future. Mireille is a young girl, a lone-wolf type who happens to be one of the most talented assassins in the underworld. One day she receives an e-mail with the name of her next target: Kirika Yumura. The e-mail has an attachment phrase, "Join me on a pilgrimage to the past." and a melody that was playing from a music box (Mireille's father watch) when Mireille's parents were killed. Mireille, whose parents were killed by a mysterious assassin, and Kirika, a girl who has no memory of her past, eventually team up together as assassins. Noir will emphasize plot and story, rather than flashy gunfight sequences and big explosions.
Noir is a Japanese animated television series directed by Koichi Mashimo and written by Ryoe Tsukimura. The Bee Train production aired on TV Tokyo from 6 April 2001 to 27 September 2001, totaling 26 episodes.
A particular aspect of Noir which warrants attention is the effort taken by the production crew to realistically portray and describe the real world. Noir production crew attempted to reproduce realistic sceneries, landscapes and landmarks of Paris and other places around the world (Corsica, Sicily, Switzerland, New York, Middle East, Taiwan), various models of firearms, the distinct sounds of them being fired and the number of bullets fired between reloads and appropriate background music.
Despite the gun play and a sizable body count in the series, Noir features no gore and very little blood. This came about because it was a stipulation from the television network. In limited instances, main characters such as Kirika do display blood, but these instances are unrelated to or not continuous with scenes of violence or gunfire.
The music in Noir is often the most commonly commended aspect of the series, praised for its uniqueness and creativity by 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 battle scenes are intensified by the powerful music which accompanies them. Memorable tracks include "Salva Nos" and "Canta Per Me", which are played in almost every episode.
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 Kajiura's band See-Saw. Yuki Kajiura is also the composer for several other anime series (including Bee Train Productions of Tsubasa Chronicle, .hack//Sign, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja) and video games (Xenosaga Episode II and Xenosaga Episode III), which have a similar musical style. The opening song, "Coppelia no Hitsugi" (Coppélia's Casket), is written and performed by Ali Project, and the ending song, "Kirei na Kanjou" ("Beautiful Emotions", along with its piano-only BGM version), is by Akino Arai.
Project NOIR Official Website
JVC Music Website (Japan)
Koichi Mashimo, Satoshi Ohsawa (OP), Yoko Kikuchi (ED)
Victor Entertainment, ADV Films, Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd.
Japanese, English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Taiwan
The Anime Network, Flag of Japan TV Tokyo, Bandai Channel
In the series Mireille owns a plant which Kirika takes care of. This is most likely another reference to the movie Léon in which the main protagonist Léon always carries a plant around as a referral to his life without "roots in the ground".
Months before ADV Films released the first volume (Noir Vol. 1 Shades of Darkness), a unique ad campaign started where there were one page ads on several anime magazines, notably on NewType USA, asking "What is Noir?" with a silhouette of Kirika in front of a question mark. The ad provided a link to the website whatisnoir.com (no longer active). This is different from the current site Project Noir.
In the first volume of NewType USA, a promotional disk for Noir with the first episode was released as an extra for the magazine.
There are 7 volumes in the American release. In each volume, a hidden message can be found on the back of the DVD booklet that comes with each volume, with the use of 3D glasses or with a pair of red shaded glasses that was packed in with Volume 1 of the anime.
The ‘Noir’ series is famed for its hypnotic music with a collaboration of many types of sound such as techno, opera etc. Noir used the sound effects effectively to create the eerie atmosphere surrounding the dark adventures of Kirika and Mirelle. The sound ranges from dark and intense to positive and bright. It does not emphasise a scene but creates it. The celebrated composer, Yuki Kajiura produced memorable songs for the Noir soundtrack such as “Canta Per Me” (Sing for me) and “Salva Nos” (Save Us). The uplifting tempo and opera vocals in 'Canta Per Me' is often used to build the tension and action whereas 'Salva Nos' has a darker tone and is used to enhance the sadness of the plot. Two albums have been released over the period the anime was on-air along with a third album that included exclusive tracks that were not used in the anime.
Reviews on the Noir Music: Amazon
, Anime Dream