In the near future, a violent battle takes place between the dimension La cryma (protector of humanity) and the dimension Shangri-La, bent on the annihilation of all space-time. A group known as the Dragon Calvary is dispatched through space and time, searching for the only thing that can stop the invasion: the Dragon's Torque. In the present, twelve-year old Haruka and her friend Yuu are contemplating running away from home when they meet a member of the Dragon Calvary named Karasu (Crow). He believes that Haruka possesses the Dragon's Torque and claims to be Yuu from fifteen years in the future...
(2005) begins with an innocent ghost hunt by a group of 12-year-olds that expands into a potentially world-threatening experience. Although she appears to be a normal girl, Haruka is the Dragon Torque, whose powers preserve and threaten dimensions across space and time. The inhabitants of La'cryma and Shangri-La want to use Haruka's abilities for their own purposes. With only the friendship of the neurotic Yu as a shield, Haruka must overcome the Dragon Warriors and the masked title character. Noein
mixes elements of Escaflowne
, and other "magical girl" and fantasy series to create a program that suffers from both too much story and too little. The characters from alternate dimensions offer portentous statements about dimensions, time, and destruction; the Earthlings talk about quantum physics. But their speechifying does little to unscramble the plot. Although Haruka is
the Dragon Torque, an Ouroubouros-like necklace appears around her neck, then disappears for no apparent reason other than to resolve story problems. Some episodes feel like filler, while major events end before they really begin. And having characters meet themselves at different ages creates paradoxes more problematic than most time-travel stories. The filmmakers clearly spent most of the budget on the computer-animated effects: The anthropomorphic ships of Shangri-La are strikingly original and disturbing, but the character designs suffer from inconsistencies. Noein
will appeal to viewers who prefer splashy visuals to coherent storytelling. (Unrated, suitable for ages 13 and older: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon