Le noir, ce mot désigne depuis une époque lointaine le nom du destin. Les deux vierges règnent sur la mort. Les mains noires protègent la paix des nouveaux-nés. —- Noir. It is the name of an ancient fate: two maidens who govern death; the peace of the newly-born their black hands protect.
Noir is an action-conspiracy anime which first aired on TV Tokyo in 2001.Nineteen-year-old Mireille Bouquet is a professional assassin operating out of Paris under the pseudonym "Noir". Obsessed with the unsolved murder of her parents when she was a child, Mireille finds an unexpected clue when she receives a mysterious message from a sixteen-year-old girl in Japan named Kirika Yuumura. She flies to Tokyo to meet Kirika, and they team up, both professionally and for the investigation of their respective pasts.Between the various emotionless contract killings that keep food on their table, Mireille and the amnesiac Kirika (who is a deadlier assassin than Mireille herself) delve into their own pasts, even though Kirika eventually begins to doubt whether even her own name is true. Discovering one confusing lead after another, they soon find themselves plunged into a dangerous world of both organized crime and international conspiracies spanning centuries of history. At the end, they will discover who they are, what they mean to each other, and the secret behind the name "Noir".On November 11, 2010 it was announced that the series was to be getting a live-action adaptation with Starz Network from executive producer Sam Raimi (yes THATSamRaimi.) In January 2014, it was announced that Starz would not be moving forward with the series.
Alone in a Crowd: Kirika comments that even when she was "normal", everything felt wrong. Mireille directly refers to this trope, and as Kirika stares at her in astonishment at her wise words, Mireille admits Hemingway came up with it first.
Ancient Conspiracy: Les Soldats, who are more or less an organization of Knights Templar that have made their mission to defend the weak by killing the strong for about a millennium.
Arc Words: "Noir… It is the name of an ancient fate. Two maidens who govern death."
Armor Is Useless: Partially averted at the end, when one of Altena's priestesses wears a Bullet Proof Vest. It allows her to take multiple chest shots without injury (but she clearly stumbles a bit from the impact) but unfortunately doesn't protect her from neck wounds.
The Atoner: Nazarov in "Lost Kitten," who decades ago used his position as officer in a gulag to massacre members of an ethnic group that wiped out all of his own people except him. Now he's an anonymous good Samaritan for the poor.
Badass Adorable: Kirika is an almost perfect example of one. Mireille, although very pretty, doesn't quite make the cut, being neither as approachable nor in need of a hug as her partner. Chloe is more of a...
Back-to-Back Badasses: Kirika and Chloe slaughtering the Soldats footsoldiers stupid dedicated enough to try and surround them.
Bloodless Carnage: Specifically, despite all the gunplay and Chloe's status as a Knife Nut, the most blood we see is from Kirika's bullet wound in episode 7. The bloodlessness is really odd in some circumstances. This was the result of the original TV network on which it aired only allowing a limited amount of blood, and the production team initially planned to add it back once it was on DVD, but decided they liked the effect and changed their minds.
Book Dumb: Kirika, though not in the usual sense. Her skill in killing things is unmatched, and she's fluent in multiple languages, but her knowledge of literature is virtually nil - to the point where she couldn't recognize a reference to Alice in Wonderland. And since Chloe caught the reference, this is a quirk of Kirika's, not a product of Noir training.
Death Seeker: Nazarov in "Lost Kitten." When he sees Kirika pointing a gun at him, he simply closes his eyes.
Dark Messiah: The True Noir become veritable saints in the eyes of Soldats' followers: Holy Warriors on a crusade to destroy injustice in the world... by any means necessary.
And then there's Altena. She rejects the legacy of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, and Sexual Revolution; this is good. She thinks that the best way to get the rest of the world to stop "overflow[ing] with wickedness" (which, in the show's moral universe, it obviously is) is to kill everybody, because people can't sin if they're dead; this is not.
A Day in the Limelight: "Assassination Mission" doesn't feature either of the protagonists at all. The episode is all about Chloe. She even does the intro at the end of the credits, which is different from the intro that is normally spoken by Kirika.
Defusing The Tykebomb: Mireille does this to varying degrees throughout the series. As a result, in the climactic episodes, she manages to break Kirika's brainwashing at the last second.
Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Chloe, twice. In Moonlit Tea Party and Assassination Mission. At that point it isn't clear if she's an enemy or not; all Mirielle and Kirika know is that a highly deadly member of the Soldats has dropped by for a cuppa.
Eldritch Location: The Manor. Said to be be "between France and Spain" (Protip: It's not Andorra), but Kirika gets there by walking from Paris. Its entirely normal (for rural areas in western European countries) landscape—it has fields of grapes and scattered Roman ruins—manages to come across as profoundly unsettling even in bright sunlight. The main building seems to be bigger on the inside and is set over an active volcano.
Elite Mooks: The Knights of Paris and the Soldats High Priestesses are both highly trained Bad Ass armies - yet they're dispatched as easily as any of the several dozen nameless minions the protagonists have killed thus far, rendering their "elite" status something of an Informed Ability. Then there's the one Priestess did have to be shot repeatedly to no avail due to the armour she was wearing and finally took a blade to the back of the neck, which is about as elite as anyone whose name isn't Mireille, Kirika, or Chloe gets in this series.
Emotionless Girl: Kirika feels nothing about killing, which quite distresses her.
Empathy Doll Shot: In the flashback to Altena's childhood, she carries a battered doll. The camera focuses on it in the scene where she is raped by a soldier.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: President Hammond of Atride is an amoral bastard who makes a living by inciting unstable countries to civil war, so it's not a surprise that he's divorced from his wife and greeted his daughter Rosalie with a slap. Still, he apparently takes their picture with him to his job sites and tries to make amends with Rosalie by letting her stay and getting her a birthday present.
Flashback: There are Flashbacks in flashbacks in this series, done completely straight.
Friends Rent Control: Averted, and also justified. Mireille's apartment isn't too implausibly large for Paris and only has one room with a divider between the bedroom and living area, and it's heavily implied that she's fairly wealthy from her inheritance, assistance from her Uncle Claude (who lives in a friggin' mansion) and from the jobs she gets, which are implied to be fairly high priced for assassinations.
Gangsta Style: Kirika, though in many cases the gun is only tilted a few degrees to the side, rather than the full 90° or even 45°.
Gun Stripping: Mireille and Kirika clean their guns pretty regularly.
Heroic Bloodshed: Cited by Bee Train studios as one of the main sources of inspiration for this series: Just switch Chow Yun Fat and Danny Lee from The Killer with Kirika and Mirelle respectively and you'll have a John Woo film starring beautiful girls.
Improbable Weapon User: Kirika. In addition to her gun, she has killed with forks, her student ID, a necktie, and a disassembled toy truck. She has also used a man's sunglasses and a popcorn machine as tools in her missions.
Joisey: Part of the Intoccabilearc takes place in the Skylands region of New Jersey.
Kill 'em All: The show ends with two thematic gunshots, creating debate in the fanbase of whether the pair actually did get shot.
It has also been suggested that the sound effects used for those two gunshots were the same ones used specifically for Kirika and Mireille's pistols, not those used for the weapons of the generic grunts, adding to the potential for alternate interpretations.
It's accepted by the fanbase by now that this is the case. Berettas and Walthers have quite distinct sounds, and somebody actually bothered to do sound analysis of this. Given that both guns were gone at this point this seems to put the Kill 'em All into doubt.
Kirika uses a Beretta Model 1934 chambered for 9x17. That's a World War 2 era pistol that doesn't sound like the modern Berettas which use the same cartridge. The sound effect used for Kirika firing her pistol was recorded from the firing of a Beretta Model 1934.
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Mirelle does not speak in a French or Corsican accent, not even in the English dub. However, the reason for this was because ADV Films wanted to avoid confusion to those unfamiliar with the Corsican language.
Off Model: The show's low budget really shows at times, and it's very clear when different animation teams have done episodes. How Mirielle's hair was drawn in particular seemed to shift a lot, sometimes looking like this◊ while other times like this◊.
Ominous Latin Chanting: When the choir starts singing "Salva Nos", rest assured that the body count is about to skyrocket. Bonus points for the chanting actually being in Latin.
Only a Flesh Wound: Mostly averted. Kirika gets shot a few times over the series, and it seriously compromises her ability to pull off her usual feats of death-dealing. In one episode, she has to tape her gun to her hand since an arm wound has rendered her incapable of gripping the weapon properly.
Parental Abandonment: Mirielle's parents are dead. Nobody knows what happened with Kirika's. And when she found herself as an amnesiac schoolgirl, nobody posed as a parent, despite her having an apparently forged picture depicting them. This makes the "abandonment" feeling worse.
Chloe's parents are also never mentioned, but she considered Altena to be her mother figure. It is implied that Kirika had done the same before her amnesia.
TARAKO usually plays Moe characters. She plays Altena here. Uuuuh...
Fun fact: Mashimo Kouichi, during recording, referred to Tarako as "Altena-chan". I swear.
Same with Tiffany Grant, her English VA, who is best known for Asuka and other young characters. The voice director, who happens to be married to Tiffany, said that he knew she could pull off Altena when she spoke in her sleep about putting a body on the table.
The entire English cast. During an interview with the cast (on the last DVD) the director asked the actresses why they think they were cast for the roles. They all looked at him quietly before throwing that question back into his face and promptly talked about how each character was different than what they were used to playing. Hilary Haag spoke on length on how hard Chloe was for her.
Token Yuri Girls: Kirika and Mireille are not shown being physically intimate, but they share a bed (episode 8) and by the end of the series are emotionally dependent on each other. Also, Chloe exhibits a rather warped (and mostly frustrated) desire for Kirika.
Viewers Are Geniuses: Do you enjoy digressions into the history of the Mafia, ethnic minorities in the former USSR, the nature of sin and redemption, how to make wine with medieval technology, all sorts of Author Appeal about the Catholic Church, and more? If so, Hamartiology: The Anime is the show for you!
Villain's Dying GraceMireille decides not to kill Altena in the end, though Altena forces Kirika's hand. And then, dangling over the Lava Pit, Altena sacrifices herself to throw Kirika into Mireille's reach.
Villains Out Shopping: Altena is mostly seen in the beginning of the series...picking grapes, writing letters, and taking walks in the sunshine. This has the effect of making her more creepy than the previous mafioso punks and thugs.
And while she's one of the protagonists, the first thing you see of Mirielle is her out in sunny Paris, doing her grocery shopping and motoring back to her apartment on a sunshine-yellow scooter. Then you look over her shoulder as she opens her e-mail. For her job. As an assassin.
Kirika and Mireille enjoying a spring day, eating ice cream cones in the park... while planning their next hit.
Villainous Valor: In the final episode, several of the Soldat nuns put up a surprisingly valiant fight against Kirika and Mirielle, but ultimately are defeated.
Waif-Fu: Kirika and Mirielle are never shown using firearms which require rifle rounds (which are much larger than the pistol rounds that they do use).