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Anime: Noein

"I'm dreaming again...that summer day's dream."

Full name - Noein: To Your Other Self (Mou Hitori no Kimi e)

Haruka is an average girl, living an average life. Or so she thinks. In fact, she is a Cosmic Keystone being sought by the forces of two alternate dimensions, La'Cryma and Shangri'La. Each represents a possible future for Haruka's world, and Haruka has the power to determine which one becomes reality. La'Cryma is a shattered, dystopian place... but there is something sinister about the seemingly serene Shangri'La as well. Which side should she choose?

Haruka and her friends find themselves in the middle of a war, with multiple factions and rapidly shifting allegiances. Some wish to protect her, while others will go to any length to abduct her. A few important characters include:

  • Haruka: Main character and MacGuffin Girl, despite those two usually being mutually exclusive.
  • Yuu: Haruka's troubled friend/love interest. Emo Teen extraordinare, complete with box cutter.
  • Ai: Haruka's best friend, she's the most Hot-Blooded of Haruka's friends.
  • Isami: Yuu's best friend, he has a fear of ghosts.
  • Miho: A close friend of Haruka's and The Ditz of the group.
  • Karasu: A Future Badass version of Yuu from La'Cryma, sent to abduct Haruka but desiring to protect her.
  • Fukurō: Karasu's closest friend from La'Cryma.
  • Atori: An Ax-Crazy Psycho Electro rival of Karasu, also from La'Cryma.
  • Noein: The eponymous Big Bad, mysterious masked leader of Shangri'La.

The anime relies heavily on the ideas and theories present in quantum mechanics, most notably the idea that there are an infinite number of parallel universes, with a new one created with every decision we make. At one point, it also references the paradox of Schrödinger's Cat. For added fun, watch it with someone who has actually studied quantum physics.

This program includes examples of:

  • Amicable Exes: Haruka's parents, although it took them a long time after a very bitter divorce to get to that point, and even in the present tempers can sometimes flare up. Despite this, near the end Haruka's father asks her mother to "bring Haruka to the park together, like old times," possibly implying an attempt to reconcile with her for good.
  • Art Shift: An intentional example. Alternates per episode; only two animators, so only two styles.
  • After the End: La'Cryma.
  • Alien Blood: The Dragon Knights bleed blue Layze/Reizu.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Tobi.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Atori.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Apocalypse Maiden: La'Cryma certainly think Haruka is one.
  • Arc Words: "I'm dreaming again...that summer day's dream," at the beginning of each preview.
    • "Blue snow?"
  • Artificial Limbs: Kuina.
  • Assimilation Plot: Shangri'La is composed of all of the other realities that Noein wishes to prevent from happening. The inhabitants of Shangri'La are all humans whom Noein has absorbed into his cause.
  • Badass Cape: The Dragon Knights.
  • Bad Future: La'Cryma, but arguably Shangri'La as well. At one point Noein shows Haruka a bad future where each of her friends ends up getting broken. Creepily enough, the specific injuries the other characters sustain imply that the timestream Noein shows to Haruka is Lacryma's past.
  • Best of All Possible Worlds: Deconstructed and back. Haruka has the ability to jump dimensions, and spends an episode or two observing possible parallel or future time lines. One is 'perfect' in a Stepford Smiler kind of way, one is seriously post-apocalyptic, and most are pretty average, but after all of it she comes to decide there really isn't a best world, and even if there was, it's really not where she belongs.
  • Big Bad: The title Noein.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Baron.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Noein's plans have been thwarted, but Haruka has to say goodbye to the other-dimensional Karasu, and she will still likely face her untimely death a few years later in one way or the other.
  • Bland-Name Product
  • Bloodless Carnage: Due to extensive bodily alterations, the Dragon Knights don't bleed actual blood when being wounded, which makes their fight scenes much less gory than they could have been.
  • Bloody Hand Print: The last we see of Haruka in Noein's past.
  • Body Horror: The Dragon Knights' powers involve some very uncomfortable transformations of their physical selves. Atori's power-up mode in particular is disturbing, given how unstable he is.
    • Every time Kuina jumps between dimensions some or all of his body starts to degrade. The longer the series progresses, the more prosthetics and patches he needs to wear to hold his body together.
    • Noein is a goldmine of this—he can transform his arms into Combat Tentacles and his true form looks like Karasu if he were starved almost to death.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: Yuu's feelings for Haruka, which Karasu encourages him to confess. Ditto for Ai and Isami.
  • Cast as a Mask: English dub only: The title character is originally voiced by Richard Epcar, until his mask comes off, at which point he's voiced by Crispin Freeman, Karasu's voice actor.
  • Catch Phrase: Isami thinks that it is impossible for him to have a catch phrase.
  • Cat Fight: Haruka gets into one with Ai, who is jealous over what she believes to be a budding romantic relationship between Haruka and Isami, despite Haruka's attempts to explain. The audience knows from the get-go that it's not too serious, though, as it's accompanied by playful, cheerful background music (and they make up at the end of the episode).
    • Lampshaded by a cut to a pair of lazy cats observing the proceedings.
  • Character Development: Yuu and Atori, and in varying doses the entire cast.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Throughout the series, Uchida makes repeated attempts to get in touch with a "Dr. Mayuzumi", apparently one of the scientists in charge of overseeing the Magic Circle Project. He turns out to be Haruka's father.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Miho.
  • Combat Tentacles: Karasu's wire-like attacks. Noein can transform his arms [into these as well.
  • Conspicuous CG
  • Cool Old Guy: Kōriyama. Although some might call him sleazy rather than cool. And he's not that old.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Shinohara, the head of the Magic Circle Project.
  • Crapsack World: La'Cryma and Shangri-La.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Both in Japanese and Western varieties.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Yuu's mother, Miyuki, was hit pretty hard by the death of her sister Emi when they were teenagers. It didn't help that their parents seemed to favor Emi for her better grades and achievements. This is the main reason she's pushing her son to get a good education.
    • There's also Karasu, who, while not necessarily cynical, is so hell-bent on protecting Haruka after seeing the Haruka from his own dimension willingly sacrifice herself to try to keep La'Cryma safe.
    • And finally we have Noein, who...really didn't take it very well after the death of his own dimension's Haruka in a car crash.
  • Damsel in Distress: Haruka.
  • Dan Browned: Quantum physics don't work this way. It's all for the sake of the story, though, so we forgive it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It may well be that every Dragon Knight has these—we know Karasu, Fukurou, Atori, and Tobi do, and Kuina's words to Kosagi imply that he and she do as well.
    • Also, Noein.
  • Dead Partner: Kōriyama's partner was murdered during a botched espionage mission several years before the events of the story. Due to the nature of the mission, it was covered up as a suicide.
  • Designated Love Interest: Yuu is a toy ship version of this to Haruka.
  • Determinator: Karasu. He'll go through Hell and back twice to keep Haruka safe because he feels he failed to protect the Haruka of his own dimension.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: The "future" shown to Haruka by Noein in episode 22, where she sees all of her friends' lives ruined. In quick summary, Isami turns into a delinquent and loses his eye in a fight, Ai is told her leg must be amputated, effectively ruining her future of being an all-star soccer player, and Miho becomes a depressed Hikikomori due to bullying. The episode itself ends on a high note, though.
  • Disappeared Dad: Yuu's father is never seen in story, though we see his mother talking to him once on the phone.
  • Disney Death: Yuu in episode 20, and Kōriyama in the final episode.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Noein's backstory— Yuu is so bent out of shape over losing Haruka in a car crash that he decides he must destroy all potential futures to end suffering!
  • Dissonant Serenity: When we finally see behind the mask, Noein manages to act in a manner that can be described as being filled with rage and depression, but he does it with a creepy smile and a calm voice.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Miss Yukie, driving completely off the road. Justified in that she was trying to lose someone, but she was clearly enjoying herself.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Noein at one point drapes his arms around Haruka, and also asks her to "become one" with him for the sake of his goals.
  • Dubtitle: In the UK release.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Tobi. The English dub just flat out makes Tobi female.
  • Dystopia
  • Education Mama: Yuu's mother.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Shangri-La's ships
  • Epiphany Therapy: Yuu's mom gets over a life-long hang-up in just a day. Possibly In Vino Veritas.
  • Evil Albino: Noein.
  • Evil Phone: In one episode, after things start getting strange, Haruka asks her mother if she's ever encountered anything paranormal, and her mother mentions that her old house phone once rang, even though it was unplugged. At the end of the episode, the same unplugged phone rings again when Haruka's alone, so she picks it up, and realizes the person on the other side is her mother in the past. Haruka's mother is puzzled, while Haruka is very amused by the situation... and then her mother gets disconnected, and Haruka finds herself talking to herself from an alternate future. Her future self sounds so sad, and combined with the advice she offers, our Haruka is left quite shaken up by a vague hint at something terrible.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Dragon Knights can turn themselves into huge beings of energy, but it is very dangerous.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After the Ax-Crazy Atori loses all his memories and powers, his pointed bangs become rounded and curled up at the end. It's reverted back by the final episode, though he never regains his sadistic tendencies.
  • Eye Scream: Isami in the Bad Future of episode 22 loses an eye after being stabbed during a robbery. It's implied that this is where Fukuro's scar came from.
  • The Faceless: Future Haruka. Except for the future in which she dies in a car accident.
  • Flash Step: The Dragon Knights use something similar to this.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Seen with Fukuro's death.
  • Foreign Queasine: Although it's not technically foreign, and actually pretty tasty.
  • Furo Scene: Haruka gets several.
  • Future Badass: Karasu and Fukuro.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Yuu is scared by how cold and intense Karasu is. Karasu is disgusted by his cowardly former self. Furthermore, Noein is yet another future version of Yuu, who despises both of them.
    • Karasu glaring at Yuu earned the honor of page picture for this trope for a very good reason.
  • Gas Leak Coverup: The first appearance of the Shangri'La attackers was explained to the public as a meteorological phenomena. Given their incredible obliviousness, probably it worked for the second time as well.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Miho. Haruka also wore her hair this way as a very young child.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The Haruka of Karasu's dimension.
    • Also, Tobi in the final episode.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Kōriyama and Shinohara, repectively.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Yuu is jealous of Karasu because he takes up a lot of Haruka's attention.
  • Hacker Cave: Tobi sets one up with some Extreme Graphical Representation thrown in for good measure.
  • Hair Antennae: Isuka and Noein.
  • Hair Colors
  • Hair Decorations: Haruka's pink ribbon.
  • Happier Home Movie: One episode begins with Haruka watching a videotape of herself as a little girl, playing with her now-deceased grandmother.
  • Happily Ever Before: Quite possibly, as it's doubtful how many of the Bad Futures Haruka and her friends actually managed to avert by vanquishing Noein (if they managed to avert any of them at all). As such, there is a chance that Haruka may die young one day despite everything.
  • Harmful to Minors: Atori's backstory. As a child, he was from a war-torn country and watched his friend be blown apart after coming into contact with a landmine. According to him, this is also how his sister died.
    • There's also Haruka and Yuu being forced to watch their Bad Future by Noein, Haruka having to watch Karasu and Fukurou fight each other, and then having to watch Noein kill Fukurou...
  • Heel-Face Turn: Atori and Kosagi.
  • Heroic Albino: Karasu.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Future Haruka.
    • Also Atori, in the finale.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Much to the English cast's surprise and glee many of their outtakes, ad-libs, and general screwing around was preserved on the official DVDs.
  • Horned Hairdo: Lady Amamiku of La'Cryma who is revealed to be that dimension's Ai. She lets her hair down again later, looking much more like her younger self afterward.
  • Hot for Teacher: Isami shows shades of being attracted to Miss Yukie. It's Played for Laughs and subverted when he seems to reciprocate Ai's feelings by the end of the series.
  • Hot Scientist: Uchida-chan.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Ai is shown towering over her female classmates while in high school.
  • Ignored Expert: Nobody listens to the warnings given by the experts on quantum physics, which include Uchida and Mayuzumi. The result is not pretty.
  • I Have the High Ground: All of the Dragon Knights do this.
  • I'm Crying But I Don't Know Why: Ai, after Fukuro's death.
  • Innocent Fanservice Guy: Noein, sort of—he's not much good for Fanservice but he clearly has no shame about being naked, even in front of Haruka and Yuu.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Ai, in the alternative Bad Future shown by Noein. Isami arrives Just in Time.
    • Bad Future Miho attempts to overdose, but is stopped by Atori.
  • Jerk Ass: Shinohara. Not only does he shoot Kōriyama, he actually digs his foot into the wound while Kōriyama tries to get up.
  • Large Ham: Atori, Kuina
  • Light Is Not Good / Dark Is Not Evil: While Karasu slings dark lightning bolts around in their duel, Ax-Crazy Atori throws white lightning. Noein, similarly, decorates his realm like a Buddhist paradise and is clad in pure white.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Considering the span of time the story encompasses, some characters change clothes very rarely.
    • Haruka changes frequently but seems to have three outfits.
  • Love Makes You Evil / Love Makes You Crazy: This has Noein written all over it.
  • Look Both Ways: A disoriented and amnesiac Atori wanders into the road at one point, completely ignoring the truck headed straight for him. He's saved by Tobi at the last moment.
  • MacGuffin Girl: Haruka, aka the Dragon Torque.
  • Magic Skirt: Despite all the running, jumping and climbing Haruka does while wearing a very short skirt, the viewer never gets subjected to any panty shots.
  • Mask Power: Noein often appears as a floating mask.
  • May-December Romance: One-sided, anyway—Kuina is in love with Kosagi but appears to be much older than her.
  • Meaningful Name: "Noein" is Greek (νοεῖν), which roughly translates to "I think/I know". More specifically, it refers to something that is known, but not through the traditional senses of the human body, only in thought. In other words, an existence defined solely by thought.
  • Merged Reality: Noein's goal.
  • My Future Self and Me
  • Mood Whiplash: There are a few, but the car crash that killed Haruka and the others in Noein's timeline is exceptionally jarring. Probably because it was realistic.
  • Morality Pet: Miho turns into one for Atori. Before her, Tobi fills the role (to a lesser extent).
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Of a sort. For the Dragon Knights, thanks to mechanical replacements and the bizarre way they take damage, its as if they were made of a uniform shiny substance underneath their skin. Kuina is an exception, however.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Noein, oh dear god, Noein!
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Noein's ultimate plan for utopia is to erase the entire multiverse and start it again from scratch.
  • One-Way Trip: The removal of the plugs connecting the Dragon Knights to their dimension.
  • Open-Minded Parent: While she's the kids' teacher rather than a legal guardian, Miss Yukie certainly fits the bill. When Kurasu lies mortally injured after a battle with the forces of Shangri'La, she is completely unfazed by the fact that the person her students are helping is missing a limb, is bleeding blue sparkles and has no recognizable internal anatomy whatsoever.
  • Ouija Board: Paranormal-obsessed Miho suggests using one to figure out the weird stuff going on with Haruka early in the series. It spells "Noein", but at the time none of the characters present had ever heard the name, so they chalked it up to nonsense.
  • Ouroboros: The motif appears with all the crazy quantum time wizzywigging. A giant one even serves as a portal to (effectively) The Legions of Hell.
  • Panty Shot: Averted, despite Haruka's penchant for wearing very short skirts.
  • Parental Obliviousness: It takes the house disappearing before Haruka's mother realizes something strange might be going on.
    • Rather hilariously averted in the outtakes, where she flat-out asks Haruka, "You brought in a weirdo from another dimension, didn't you?!"
  • Parrot Exposition: Kōriyama-san. Almost any scene with him talking to Uchida-san eventually descends into her effectively talking to herself.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Karasu. Sometimes Atori, too.
  • Pet the Dog: Haruka's dog, Baron, doesn't seem remotely intimidated by Karasu and allows the Dragon Knight to pet him. Atori's treatment of Miho counts too.
  • Pinky Swear: Haruka remembers moving from Tokyo years ago, making one of these with her friend Aya to write to her every day. She later runs into Aya in the present day, and is excited to see her again...until she learns Aya doesn't remember her.
  • Power Born of Madness: Noein. He was an ordinary high school student until a car crash killed his true love in front of him, after which it's suggested that his single-minded rage alone propelled him to gather followers, take over his Earth, master interdimensional travel and nearly succeed in obliterating everything in the multiverse. By contrast, Karasu is a badass hero, but Uchida's technobabble baffles him.
  • Power Tattoo: The Dragon Knights.
  • Psycho Electro: Atori. He seems to lose his sadistic tendencies after getting and recovering from amnesia, and changing sides in the process. But then he gets left alone with the enemy...
  • Punctuation Shaker
  • Razor Floss: This is Karasu's signature weapon. He can generate seemingly infinite amounts of it from his forearms.
  • Reality Warper: Haruka.
    • Noein has some elements of this as well. Unlike the Dragon Knights, whose bizarre powers are explained as being the result of Sufficiently Advanced Technology, Noein doesn't seem to use machinery at all, and can just do things. He started off as an ordinary human. How did he become the dimension-hopping Humanoid Abomination he is now? No one knows.
  • Real Place Background: The series takes place in the Japanese town of Hakodate. There is a lot of emphasis on the spectacular view from Mt. Hakodate, and the ropeway to its summit plays an important role in one scene.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Atori.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The moment we realize that that's not Karasu.
  • Say My Name: played rather masterfully in Episode 13 when Karasu is mortally wounded
  • Schrödinger's Cat: The Schrodinger's Cat scenario is actually an important plot point on two occasions.
    • It's arguable that the entire plot can be boiled down to a schrodinger's cat. Yuu is indecisive about the future. Therefore, many possible futures exist. When he takes control and decides what he's going to do, the path he did not choose disappears.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong
  • The Shangri-La: Shangri'La, obviously.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Tobi was made female in the English dub, due to his feminine hairstyle and possibly as an effort to avoid implications of Ho Yay between him and Atori.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Kōriyama looks like he has this.
  • Significant Double Casting: Karasu and Noein, who are voiced by Kazuya Nakai in the original Japanese, and turn out to be the same person from alternate timelines. The dub is bit different...
  • Snow Means Death: Subverted for the Bad Future of episode 22. While it's snowing when Ai makes her way to the hospital roof and Miho prepares to overdose, they're both interrupted.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Kosagi. The English dub averts this with Tobi.
  • Sole Survivor: Noein's backstory: Yuu was the only one to survive a car crash that killed Haruka and his friends, so he was driven insane with grief and became Noein.
    • Seems to have been the case with Atori as well, in his backstory.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening song at times seems unfit for the show.
    • If you bought the DVD, you know they should have chosen one of those alt openings!
    • The song over the ending credits, too, could fall into this.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Miho
  • Stalker with a Crush / Yandere: Kosagi followed Karasu to Haruka's dimension in order to kill both of them, after realizing her feelings for Karasu were unrequited.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Everyone in the story. For some weird reason, they all instantly identify Layze particles (glowing blue sparks floating upside down in a small area) as blue snow.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: That little Genki Girl with the pink hair and pigtails, running around La'Cryma? Yep, that's Miho's daughter.
  • The Stoic: Karasu, at least whenever Haruka isn't in danger...
  • Techno Babble: Uchida provides quite a lot of this, much to Kōriyama's annoyance.
  • Techno Wizard / Wrench Wench: Tobi falls somewhere between these two tropes.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • The Heartless: The forces of Shangri'La are people who surrendered their humanity to go along with Noein's plans.
  • The Mole: Kuina.
  • Theme Naming: The Dragon Knights are all named after birds; Karasu is the Japanese word for crow, for example.
    • Also the names of two of the futures: Shangri-La is a fictional utopia in the novel Lost Horizon (as well as a term for utopias in general). The lacrimal (La'Cryma) ducts are where tears come from.
      • Actually, "lacrima" means "tear" in Latin. Which is why it's ridiculous that even the official translation went with the nonsensical La'Cryma spelling as if it was just a random fantasy name. (Incidentally, this spelling for "lacrima" comes from the J-Rock band La'Cryma Christi).
  • The Multiverse: With each alternate reality being caused by a For Want of a Nail situation.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: One of these rules La'Cryma.
  • The Power of Friendship: One of the important points of the series.
  • The Power of Love: This is what ultimately allows Karasu and Yuu to defeat Noein.
  • The President's Daughter: Haruka.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: An instrumental version of "Idea" appears in the last episode.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Said by a twelve year old girl. A twelve year old Reality Warper, mind you.
  • Time Stands Still: Dragon Knights stop time before engaging in battle to make sure there are no bystanders.
  • Time Travel
  • Title Drop: During the first few episodes, each mention of Noein makes the viewer sit up and take notice.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ai and Miho respectively, with Haruka falling somewhere in the middle.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The Dragon Knights had their quantum structure changed in order to receive super powers.
  • Tsundere: Ai for Isami.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Karasu, whenever Haruka is in danger.
  • The Unfavorite: Part of the backstory of Yuu's mother. She felt her parents saw her this way compared to her older sister, Yuu's Aunt Emi.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Noein used to be Yuu of all people!
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: Haruka is able to catch Yuu by jumping off a cliff after him.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: You can understand quantum mechanics, right? Good. (or maybe not so good, considering the research slip-ups.)
  • Villainous Valor: Atori is at first unlikable, yet eventually his steadfast determination turns out to be quite an admirable trait. Even if you don't consider him a villain at the end, the trope still rings true in retrospect.
    • Kuina, to accomplish his goals, is willing to jump dimensions even though it causes his body to fall apart, and fight with Karasu even if it means losing still more of his body.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Haruka has a "date" with her dad once every three months, and they still get on well.
  • The Watson: Kyoji's primary purpose is to have Ryoko explain quantum mechanics to him.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Isuka.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Noein.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Noein and Kuina.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Atori, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Haruka dies young in pretty much every timeline we see, though there is room for doubt as to whether it has to be that way.

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alternative title(s): Noein
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