Archives for : Noir

Noir: The Complete Series (anime review)

NoirTitle: Noir: The Complete Series Anime Classics on Blu-ray

Director: Koichi Mashimo

Studio: Bee Train

U.S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U.S. Release Date: April 14th, 2015

Format: DVD /Blu-ray / 650 minutes / 26 episodes

Genre: Action,  Adventure, Girls with Guns

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Titles: Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja, Gunslinger Girls

Can ones past ever be forgotten and is it possible to completely deny ones Fate? If love can kill the surely hatred can save!


Noir is the story of three female assassins who are drawn together because of their unknown past and through their partnership they discover the truth to their existence. Mireille Bouquet is the first of these women we meet, she is a powerful assassin for hire and works outside the bounds of any organization. She receives a strange e-mail that leads her to the next of these women, Kirika Yuumura. Kirika is a teenage girl who has no recollection of her past but does possess something that has meaning to both Mireille and her past. Mireille notices it right away and takes Kirika under her wing with a simple vow, once they discover the truth she will kill Kirika.

In their quest to find the truth they discover who is behind everything, it is an ancient group know as Les Soldats (“The Soldiers”). This hidden group have their fingers into all walks of life and see Mireille and Kirika as targets and continue to have them killed. This become more and more difficult and finally these two come into contact with the third assassin, Chloe. Chloe turns out to be both a friend and a foe who has a critical part to play in the outcome of this journey of discovery.


Following the Girls with Guns genre set forth by classics like Bubble Gum Crisis and Dirty Pair, Noir provides something a little more involved. The psychological drama that plays out between these strong women is the real power of the series. This is also highlighted by the minimal graphic violence shown in the series. There is very little splattering blood and most to the time you only see a hole in a victims clothing to evidence that have been shot. The emotional bond built between these women is the point and even thought Kirika and Chloe have rather monotone personalities there are those underlying emotions that as they surface have the most impact.

Honestly it has been a real pleasure visiting this older series that laid the groundwork for some more recent series that are also sure to be classics such as Gunslinger Girls and Phantom: Requiem of a Phantom. In the case of Phantom it is very easy to see the connection that Koichi Mashimo brought to it based on what we see in Noir. The loss of soul or should I say the implied lack of emotion that the girls possess is at the center of these heavy dramas and Noir displays it in a much darker fashion.

The artistic stylings may be a bit dated but it was standard TV animation for 2001 and it does a splendid job of convening the essence of the series but it does also tend to lead to some rather flat moments, but overall it fits well with the story. The music and soundtrack is much better suited for the series and both the opening and closing songs frame the series well.

Overall Grade: B+

This series proves that it has all the making of the classic moniker that has been bestowed up on it and also provides a solid drama for all those fans of the darker side of life.

When Koichi Mashimo made Noir he had the trilogy planned out and it wasn’t until 2007 that he was able to complete it so you should check out both Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja. But, if you really enjoy this style of story then you should also see Gunslinger Girls and Phantom; Requiem for a Phantom.

Cowboy Bebop (anime review)

Cowboy BebopTitle: Cowboy Bebop

Director: Shinichiro Watanabe

Written by: Keiko Nobumoto

Music By: Yoko Kanno

Studio: Sunrise

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

Re-release Date: Dec. 9th, 2014

Format: DVD or Blu-ray / 26 episodes

Genre: Space Western, Sci Fi, Noir

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A


The Bebop crew is just trying to make a buck. This motley lot of intergalactic loners teams up to track down fugitives and turn them in for cold hard cash. Spike is a hero whose cool facade hides a dark and deadly past. The pilot Jet is a bruiser of a brute who can’t wait to collect the next bounty. Faye Valentine is a femme fatale prone to breaking hearts and separating fools from their money. Along for the ride are the brilliant-but-weird hacker Ed and a super-genius Welsh Corgi named Ein. On their own, any one of them would be likely to get lost in the sprawl of space, but together, they’re the most entertaining gang of bounty hunters in the year 2071.


Well, the wait is over. Funimation stepped up and took over the U. S. licensee for this iconic series. Of course it was just a matter of time and it really was never gone, because it is an annual mainstay for Toonami. I can honestly say that I am glad to see it get a renewed interest and opportunity to be discovered by a new group of soon to be fans.

The story itself feels like a very episodic series but in the end it all ties up together and makes even more sense. Trigun is much the same way and is also born the same year. 1998 was a very special year and most studios were very busy. To think that the same studio that gave us Gundam we also got one of the most complicated spec westerns ever made is some what puzzling, but wonderful no matter how you look at it.

Cowboy Bebop provides some of the richest and complex characters that turn into a very special show that no matter how old it gets it will continue to stand out for what it is. The animation isn’t all that special, for 1998 it was very good, but it is not about the animation it is all about the writing.

Overall Grade: A

Ok, it is clear that I believe that Cowboy Bebop is one of the top anime ever made, but there are still some things about it I may never get over. I think that the attention to the main characters was so important that some of the secondary characters were left drifting in the wind. Im not saying that they needed to change much, I just believe that they could have woven a few side stories into the main plot that could have given us a better understanding of the rest of this wild world they lived in. I also felt like they took some things for ganged and expected the fan base to give them a pass on some of the total denial of physics and how life in space was viewed even in 1998. Some things just say take us serious and other things said “hey, we really don’t care if it is believable”.

Cowboy Bebop is a lot of things, but the one thing that makes it really stands out as a great anime is that it set the bar very high for well written and acted anime to come. There is a reason we don’t see a lot of space westerns anymore, and the high standard that Cowboy Bebop and some of the other anime made in the late 1990’s set for the future.

If for some reason you haven’t seen this series, I can only say that you need to spend some time and give it a try. I believe you will walk away from it with a better understanding of how a great series should be made and also how music can play a big role in the overall feel of a story. Also, if you like Cowboy Bebop you really need to see Kids on the Slope, you will be pleased in what you discover.

Thanks Funimation for keeping this iconic series alive and well!