Sunday, 2 September 2007

Yuki Kajiura - Noir OST I & II

"Pour faire un film, il vous faut obligatoirement une fille et un pistolet."


Next to "Serial Experiments Lain", "Noir" is easily my favourite animated series, without regard to year or country of production (fair enough, i was never really fond of American animation, and after the first chapters of Ice Age and Shrek which indeed were reasonably enjoyable, the myriad of computer-animated productions of the last years exacerbated me to some extent).
Now, "Noir" is no action series, as, let's say, Shyamalan's "The Village" is no horror movie. In the end, they both deal with aspects of more philosophical and emotional natures. I'm not sure if "Noir" happened to mislead the expectations of many people, but the promotion of "The Village" surely did as i've just recently experienced once again (i hope the person i lent the DVD to will appreciate the film for what it actually is and not dismiss it in a paroxysm of malcontentedness because of what it was suggested to be and ultimately wasn't).

When i first saw "Noir" on German television - i think it was a scene from episode 19 - i was definitely repulsed, mostly due to that "weird purple-haired girl wearing a green cloak and throwing knives" and that "disturbing techno music featuring latin chant". About two years and a personal metamorphosis later, i had obviously acquired enough tolerance to give the series another chance, et voilà, everything about it, now, is very much endearing and mind-blowing and devastating and dithyrambic to me. Since i came to cherish this series, i've always liked the indwelling antagonism of the gunfights and the quietness of Mireille and Kirika's relationship, and also how the producers, in general, worked unconventionally in a lot of ways. The focus on physiognomy, especially the eyes of the characters, to me, succeeds in adding realism to the series, but also makes it more difficult to follow around, at least for a mainstream audience. I can very well imagine that people were discouraged by the lack of verbal communication and expressiveness and scenes which appeared stretched, but ultimately incited me to envisage what the character was thinking in that particular moment. Another element adding to that natural and transcendent feel is that the viewer just like Kirika and Mireille only gets crumbs of the ultimate truth revealed per episode. It's as if you're directly accompanying them on their "pilgrimage to the past" and are just as clueless in the beginning as the two of them.

An additional factor which manages to satisfy even those that criticize everything i appreciate about "Noir" is its eclectic soundtrack by Yuki Kajiura who also composed the music to "Noir"'s spiritual successors "Madlax" and "El Cazador de la Bruja". Apart from its European feel evident in songs like "Corsican Corridor", "Romance" and "In Memory of You" (the series takes place in Paris most of the time), the soundtrack comprises more classical and minimalistic works such as "Zero Hour", the "Kirei na Kanjou" piano instrumental and the heavy string piece "Sorrow" as well as the afore-mentioned techno behemoth "Salva Nos". My favourites include "Canta per me", "Black is Black", the lovely ending theme "Kirei na Kanjou" (by Akino Arai) and the funnily dissonant opening theme "Copperia no hitsugi" (by ALI Project).

(A little side-note: the English dub is far superior than the German one. I mean choosing someone named Black (okay, Calene-Black) to voice one of the main characters is predestined to be suitable and in my humble opinion, her embodiment of Mireille is nearly perfect.)


7ana said...

Noir is the best no question about that,I love everything about it the story, the music,everything.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love your review. I share many of your feelings about Noir...definitely one of the absolute best animes I have ever seen.

Alfred said...

Why did I found this review 2 years after I first saw this series, beats me. Nonetheless, I'm glad I read it.

Anonymous said...