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Anime: Noir
People are dolls, exhausted from their dance...

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 THAT Sam Raimi.) In January 2014, it was announced that Starz would not be moving forward with the series.

This show provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Student ID Card
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The "Cold-Eyed Killer" does one guy in with toxic fumes from an incense burner, to which she's completely immune.
  • Almighty Janitor: The most ruthless, efficient killing machine the world will know is...a Japanese schoolgirl. With abandonment issues.
  • 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.
  • Almost Lethal Weapons: Very, very averted.
  • Amazon Brigade: Altena's priestesses.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Kirika, from episodes 21 to 25.
  • Break the Cutie: Kirika and Chloe.
  • Broken Bird: Everyone, but especially Altena. In some circles this is considered Noir's Characteristic Trope.
  • Bring Out Your Gay Dead: Chloe.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Done very often, usually by Kirika, but Mireille and Chloe have used meat shields as well.
  • Bullet Sparks: Depending on the episode's budget, this is either played straight or averted very nicely.
  • Catch Phrase: A minor example, but the director told Kirika's voice actress to insert "There we go." whenever she thought it fit.
  • Cheerful Child: Young Mirielle.
  • Click Hello
  • Close-Call Haircut: Three times, twice to Kirika and once to Mireille.
  • Combat Parkour: Kirika is one of the two most lethal human beings on Earth. Her sheer ability to dodge bullets, and general use of acrobatics, enter her into this category.
  • Companion Cube: The houseplant, possibly inspired by The Professional.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Happens frequently, but very explicitly in episode 3 where they are lured into a trap with a false job. It's actually a Batman Gambit by the Soldats to make them the best.
  • Creepy Child: More than one, but especially the teenaged Lady Silvana.
  • Cry Cute: Kirika-chan. Aww poor baby.
  • Dark Action Girl: Mireille, Chloe, Lady Silvana, Kirika (both her normal self and her "True Noir" mode)
  • Darkened Building Shootout: Episode 3.
  • 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.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Altena takes this to new heights. No mere Emotionless Girl, she has an aura of gentle motherliness and regal tranquility. Her theme music is among the most powerful, least melancholy pieces in the entire soundtrack, and an exercise in undiluted awesome at that. Did we mention she is the Big Bad?
  • Dramatic Wind
  • 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.
  • Enfante Terrible: Kirika, Chloe, Silvana.
  • 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.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Averted in episode 3. Kirika wastes no time in relieving an enemy mook of his machine gun and Night-Vision Goggles.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: As one fan put it: "Kirika isn't a ninja, she is a witch."
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Episode 3.
  • 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°.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Whenever Mireille is shown as a kid in flashbacks, she's holding a teddy bear.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Kirika's eyes become more like Chloe's as she comes under the True Noir's influence.
  • Gratuitous French: Just look at the title.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: A career assassin looking for answers and revenge against a larger group of assassins with the help of another, albeit less-than-willing assassin.
  • The Gunslinger: Mireille.
  • Gun Fu: Kirika-chan's elegant and deadly primary style of combat, with a lot of...
  • Gun Kata: ...thrown into the mix as well.
  • Guns Akimbo: Cold Blooded Killer Part 2.
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Mireille and Kirika. If it isn't Les Yay to you.
  • Hidden Eyes: Kirika as her "true Noir" personality begins to re-emerge.
  • Honor Before Reason
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Justified by Altena's goal.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills
  • 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 Intoccabile arc takes place in the Skylands region of New Jersey.
  • Kill 'em All: The show ends with two thematic gunshots, but since the sound effects used for those two gunshots were the same ones used specifically for Kirika and Mireille's individual pistols recorded by real versions of them not those used for the weapons of the generic grunts, and given that both guns were gone by that point the fans generally accept the theory that this was symbolic more than an indicator of this sort of ending.
  • Kirika and/or Mireille Is About To Shoot You in much of the artwork.
  • Knight Templar: Altena, to the point that the rest of the Soldats think she's dangerous.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: The True Noir are a particularly dark and disturbing twist on this trope.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Kirika.
  • Laser Sight
  • Lovely Angels
  • Magic Skirt: Especially Mireille's.
  • Mafia Princess: Mireille used to be one; Silvana could very well be described as one.
  • Meaningful Name: Chloe's name sounds a lot like "Kuroe" or "Black" in a Japanese accent. "Kiri-ka" is very similar to "one whose job is to kill."
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Almost all of the Mooks seen are men, and the few female villains tend to be a lot tougher and harder to take down. A level of Fridge Brilliance when you take into account Altena's plans.
  • The Men in Black: The hordes of Mooks sent after Mirielle and Kirika; actually referred to by "knights" by the other Soldats.
  • Mind Rape: It's heavily implied that the "mundane" version was a major part of Kirika and Chloe's training.
  • Mini Dress Of Power
  • Moe Couplet: Mireille and Kirika in their happier moments, especially early in the show.
  • Moe Stare: Rosalie Hammond in Episode 4 and fake!Kirika in Episode 1. This expression is symbolic of innocence about to be shattered in Noir.
  • Monochrome Casting: Sort of. It can be kind of hard to tell with an anime, but it seems that every single extra in France is white when 20% of the population of Paris wasn't even born in France.
  • Multinational Team: Sort of.
  • Mysterious Past: Kirika's is one of the driving forces of the plot.
  • Myth Arc
  • 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.
  • Nun Too Holy: The Soldat nuns.
  • Odd Friendship: Amiable, savvy, and cynical Mirielle Boquet and the amnesiac, near-silent and more child-like Kirika Yuumura.
  • 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.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Chloe saves a man she has been sent to kill from assassins sent by an old enemy of his because killing him is her job.
  • 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.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Silvana.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Mireille is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, pale-skinned Corsican. Not entirely impossible, but there's no way Silvanna looks even remotely Sicillian.
  • Professional Killer: The leading duo.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Chloe, possibly Silvana.
  • Qurac: The unnamed Middle Eastern nation in "The Black Thread Of Fate".
  • Rape as Drama: Altena's reason for villainy.
  • Red String of Fate: Mireille: "The thread that binds you and I is the color black, of this I am sure. Blacker than pitch...blacker than night...blacker than the darkness itself."
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Chloe's affection for Kirika, though it's one sided.
  • Screw Destiny: Mireille near the end of the series.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A visual shout-out to Zardoz of all things: the word 'Noir' in print (diegetically) is often 'bubbled' across the screen in the same way that 'Zardoz' was.
    • Mireille's potted plant is reminiscent of Leon's in The Professional.
    • In an early episode, Kirika and Mireille walk into a shop. We can see the shop name backwards in the window. "Bee Train."
    • In a bizarre digression in the second episode, when Kirika is chopping vegetables in Mireille's kitchen, she's wearing an apron with...uh...the Wu-Tang Clan symbol on it. We're... really not sure why.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Altena. She's very beautiful, motherly, soft-spoken, sincere about what she believes in - but considering what she is so dedicated to, she's also creepy as hell.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Kirika resorts to machine guns a few times, though the creators specifically made her usual gun being fairly low caliber.
  • Spanner in the Works: Holy shit, Mireille.
  • Sound-Only Death: The family of the Mafia boss being tortured in the next room by Silvana aka Intoccabile, which just makes it more horrific.
  • Take My Hand: The ending. "I'm begging you to live..."
  • There Can Be Only One: Well, only TWO True Noir actually... the "loser" of the contest is considered completely expendable in the grand scheme of Soldats' Ancient Conspiracy.... poor Chloe.
  • That Liar Lies: The response to Chloe telling Mireille that Kirika killed the rest of the Bouquets.
  • 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.
  • Troubled, but Cute: The sad but adorably cute Kirika.
  • Trigger Phrase: "Receive the final guidance." * gunshot*
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: While made in 2001, internal detail indicates the series is set around the year 2010. Not that it's actually noticeable and overall it seems fairly contemporaneous.
  • Tykebomb: Again, Kirika.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Chloe.
  • 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 Grace Mireille 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).
  • Wolverine Claws: "The Cold-Eyed Killer's" method of execution is a scratch with poison nails.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kirika. Holy shit, Kirika.
  • World of Action Girls: Not is only almost every member of the cast some kind of badass assassin, but most of the cast are also women.
  • When She Smiles: Kirika-chan, Over Nine Thousand in sheer cuteness when she smiles for the very first time in Episode 6.
  • X Meets Y: Word of God calls this anime a Gender Flipped version of The Killer by John Woo, with Kirika as Chow Yun Fat and Mirelle as Danny Lee.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Most characters have natural hair colors. And then you have Chloe, with her violet Peek-a-Bangs, for whom the Curtains Match the Window, no less.
    • Also Intoccabile with her blue-gray hair.

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