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Noir - Shades of Darkness (Vol. 1)

4.3 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A mysterious email; a haunting melody. Professional assassin Mireille Bouquet's world is knocked askew by an unnerving contact from a young amnesiac, Yumura Kirika, whose killing skills are as deadly as Mireille's, and whose missing memory may unlock the mystery of Mireille's life as well. With their pasts inextricably linked, Mireille conditionally admits Yumura into her confidence. In uneasy partnership, the two-as NOIR-face a conspiracy that quickly calls on all of their lethal resources. It is a journey through the darkness, searching for a truth that they know will mean their deaths.


In Paris, professional assassin Mireille Bouquet meets emotionally shattered Kirika Yumura: neither woman can remember her past, but they're both extremely good at killing people. (Kirika doesn't even look--she just points the gun and fires and her victim falls.) The two women form a partnership as "Noir," but after a couple of murders for hire, they realize someone is trying to kill them. The mysterious Soldats seem to be everywhere, so it's kill or be killed. The only recurring characters in Noir are amnesiacs, who are essentially blank slates and therefore not very interesting. Director Kouichi Mashimo may set a new record for repeating footage in an animated series--some shots crop up three times in a single episode, including portentous images whose significance is more apparent than real. The result feels like a watered-down combination of Gunsmith Cats and Serial Experiments Lain. (Rated 15 and older: violence, grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Christine M. Auten, Victor Carsrud, Mandy Clark, Melinda DeKay, Jason Douglas (IV)
  • Directors: Matt Greenfield, Kôichi Mashimo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007KK2K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,295 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Noir - Shades of Darkness (Vol. 1)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 3, 2002
Format: DVD
The people who brought you Bubblegum Crisis, Tenchi Muyo, El Hazard, Dual, and Photon are back, and this time they've created something truly spectacular. Although the character designs for this series are somewhat derivitive (Mirelle looks like a blonde Sylia/Ifurita/Mitski Rara) the animation itself is crisp, fluid, and beautiful all around. The settings are stunning; be it Paris, Corsica, or a little town on the French/Spanish border the settings are vivid, capturing all the flare of a European city. The background music for Noir is a brilliant mixture of 'local sound' and fast paced J-Pop. Several of the songs are sung in latin, a language with plot-related significance to the series. And, although I have not yet heard the English dub, the Japanese voice acting is superb.
But, above all of that stands the most sterling, indepth plot AIC has ever given us. Even the classics like Gall Force, El Hazard, and Bubblegum Crisis have to stand aside. Noir features the story of two assassins, one seeking vengence for her family's murder and the other searching for her lost identity. The pair, Mirelle and Kirika (respectively) team up to form a team called 'Noir'. However, by doing so they attract the attention of a powerful, mysterious group. And, as if that wasn't enough, they must also contend with a mysterious woman who claims to be the 'True Noir'.
Mirelle and Kirika must go on a 'pilgrimage to the past', each coming to terms with the half-forgotten events of ten years previous.
Beyond the mind-bending mystery, the plot also focuses on the relationship between the two women. Though they begin their partnership with some degree of reluctance, the pair soon grow on one another. How their friendship stands the test of time, however...
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1 Comment 34 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
First off, if I was reviewing this in terms of Noir as an anime rather than the Noir DVD as a package, it would get five stars unquestioningly. Noir is a stunningly beautiful, masterfully-constructed, heart-rending tour de force of an anime. It's not like every other anime in the world, and for that reason alone many people will hate it; ultimately Noir is about people entangled in a bitter, brutal and convoluted battle for truth and survival, and how those people and their relationships grow, develop and are slowly unravelled. If you fail to empathise with the characters in the first instance, Noir will not work for you; if they capture your heart, then Noir will instantly become your favourite anime and stay that way for time immemorial, such will its words and images sear themselves into your mind, heart and soul. It is not a "style over substance" anime as many claim; indeed, there are times when Noir is very much *not* about style, with the animation rather primitive in places, but it's more that the substance is very difficult to reach if you're just not the type to care about the characters. There's nothing quite like it out there, and for that reason alone, you need to try it; there's a chance that it simply will not mesh with you, but if you are one of those who its appeal captures, you're in line for one of anime's greatest mental, emotional and spiritual rollercoasters since Evangelion.
I loved Noir long before I bought this first DVD; I'd seen the fansub. The DVD has all those nice little extra features you'd expect, with character sketches, original Japanese promo trailers, clean opening and closing sequences and a selection of other ADV previews, and outside of the disc content, a beautiful set of liner notes illustrating may of the production team's thoughts on the series.
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Comment 30 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
In my opinion, the editorial review dishonors Tsukimura Ryoue's rather remarkable script, because it stands on incorrect premises concerning the two main heroines of the story, Yuumura Kirika and Mireille Bouquet. Let me make the following two points.
1. The implication that Mireille met Kirika in Paris, is an oversimplification, if not a downright misunderstanding. The implication is particularly inappropriate if it refers specifically to their first meeting told in the first episode. In the first episode, Mireille in Paris receives an email from one Yuumura Kirika and travels to Japan to find out what this girl was. Mireille was attracted to go there because the piece of tune attached to the email could be associated with the painful memory of her childhood. The location of their first meeting, where the first battle sequence also takes place, is in Kanagawa Prefecture, in the southwest vicinity of Tokyo. This information is presented to the audience by means of Kirika's school ID card. Only in the later part of the first episode, Mireille returns to Paris with Kirika, to start their half bitter honeymoon as the team Noir.
2. The statements, "neither woman can remember her past" and "the only recurring characters in Noir are amnesiacs" are not correct. Of all the dramatis personae, only Kirika could be quite said to be an amnesiac. Other main characters, Mireille, Chloe and Altena seem to remember their pasts quite clearly. Even for Kirika, a "blank slate" would be imprecise words to describe her personality and abilities. A part of her memory had been concealed from herself. This was done hypnotically by an unknown party to suit their design, as will be revealed in the episodes 20 and 21.
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1 Comment 20 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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