Noir (Japan 2001)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/15/04

Divided into 26 installments

Mireille Bouquet is a young and pretty assassin for hire, with a strong reputation for getting the job done. Her world gets turned around when a mysterious girl named Kirika Yumura shows up with a key to her past. Kirika has a matchless skill for killing, but has no memories of who she is. Mireille reluctantly teams up with her in order to put both of their pasts in order, but they are merely pawns for a deadly and sadistic game.

The girls with guns elements are nice, but the series suffers from its low budget and production values. The animation isn't very smooth, the character designs are uninteresting, the choreography isn't overly impressive, and the amount of recycled animation is downright embarrassing. The pacing is also dreadfully slow, and the show likes to linger uncomfortably on still frames. The writing is average, but seems to be missing any interesting character development, drama, or emotional tension. For such a gun-centric series, the complete lack of blood is really disappointing, and the overall tone of the show is oddly naive and innocent. Shojo manga for the girls with guns crowd? (or vice versa?) While I can forgive a lot of the lapses in logic and reason (complete absense of law enforcement, super accurate good guys, appallingly ineffective bad guys, infinite ammo, instant kills, etc.), the most egregious offense is when Kirika gets shot in the chest at point blank range with her own gun, which only manages to knock her down and knock the wind out of her. Uh, how about a little explanation here?