December 26, 2014

I read the mixed reviews about Noir here and there on the internet. Some were praising how good this show was while others were harping on its weaknesses and the missed opportunities and the what-ifs and what-nots. And since it is that time for another retro and old school anime, the best and only way that would determine that is to watch it myself. At least the enigmatic synopsis was partly responsible for making me decide to check this out. Two female assassins (one of which is an amnesiac) embarking on a journey to seek answers and mysteries from their past. Of course there is more than meets the eyes as they find themselves digging deeper and deeper and the dangers that await them from enemies of a secret organization.

Episode 1
Mireille Bouquet receives an email from Kirika Yuumura to make a pilgrimage to the past with her. She doesn’t believe but soon changes her mind. She finds and confronts Kirika but the latter runs and thus begins a cat and mouse game in some building under construction. By the time she corners her, several MIBs start shooting at them. You know they’re going to be useless because all the shots they fired at Mireille, they missed. Unlike this hot chick who only needs to pump 1 bullet into them. Yeah, they’re dumb enough to stand out in the open. The chase continues again and it seems the agents are also after Kirika. Mireille is tricked to let her guard down when one of the agents pretend to surrender. She is going to be killed off but Kirika shoots and kills all of them. Now it is her turn to show us some acrobatic action of hers. Once she disposes the last of them, she notes that she can kill this easily but wonder why she doesn’t feel sad. But she’s crying… Doesn’t that mean she is sad? Kirika takes Mireille back to her home to bandage her arm. As Kirika introduces herself, Mireille knows that name of hers isn’t real. She has done some research and everything about her is fake. All documents she handed in were fake. Including the story of her family who is supposed to be transferred to USA for work and thus she is living alone. They were actually missing after they moved overseas. Kirika explains she doesn’t have memories of herself. One day she woke up in this room and the only thing she remembers is Noir. Mireille knows other than her gun, Kirika is hiding something else. A timepiece. It also plays some music that reminds Mireille of something she doesn’t want to remember. She knows Mireille is a hired assassin and the reason she contacted her since MIBs have been hunting her ever since. Mireille tells her 2 things. One, her jobs is to kill people and not help them. Two, she works alone. Kirika pleads to help her so she eventually she agrees to team up with her because now that she knows what she does for a living, she cannot let her live. Knowing the baddies will come after them again, there is something she wants to ask them. Once this is over, she will kill her. They both take a flight to France.

Episode 2
An average guy goes home to his average family. His home explodes!!!!! OMG! At his funeral, the vice chief of the police talks to Jean Jacques Legrand the director of France’s National Public Peace Department that his is already the third case of the killing of national anti-terrorist unit called GIGN. Their identities are supposed to be secret and the only thing that this could happen is there is leak of information. Of course this Legrand guy turns out to be the biggest mole as he meets the key officer, Pierre Cressoy of People’s Armed Alliance (basically a terrorist organization) to get his payment. Mireille already has this info that Legrand sold the roster to Cressoy and is on the case since their client is from another faction of People’s Armed Alliance who is out to finish Legrand and Cressoy in one shot. They stake out their meeting, their huge base and even have the blueprints to chart the exit and entry points. Heck, they even have time to do some shooting practice in the sewers and assemble their guns. Cressoy calls Legrand to the base to inform he caught an opposing member and made him spill the beans. All he knew was some codename called Noir. Legrand knows something about it. It is quite well known in the past and the National Public Peace Department once engaged their services in the 70’s. He wonders if they have been revived or somebody is impersonating that name. Mireille and Kirika ambush the place and kill all the guys including Cressoy. I don’t know how Kirika allowed this guy to creep behind her and strangle her with his wire but she was smart enough to break his glasses and use the temple to stab his neck. Legrand sees this and fears she is Noir. She shoots him. Easy peasy. As they leave, Kirika once again laments she makes a living by killing and is like her daily bread and yet she cannot feel sad. But she’s crying… Mireille’s reply: If they could find that out, she’ll be able to kill her and be done with it.

Episode 3
Albert Dux is their next target. Vanier’s young president died in an accident in which nobody close to him believes it is so. Their client is his widow. Marielle might have seen her before because they go to pay their respects at the same grave. As Dux is remodelling his hotel and staying there, this is the best opportunity to get him. They sneak into it and when Marielle enters the room where he is, it is like they were waiting for her and she is forced to drop her weapon. She is surprised to see the widow with him. Thanks to Kirika, that distraction was enough for the ladies to escape. Dux is surprised that Noir is a team. Marielle is sore since everything was a trap and setup. Wondering why they are targeting them, Kirika deduces that since they are pros like them, somebody else must have hired them in this little game that deals with lives. Their enemy might be the same people who took Kirika’s memories. Because the duo are living up to the Noir legend killing everyone efficiently in their escape (I thought the baddies were just being noisy running everywhere), Dux cuts all power and with his men they use night vision goggles to snuff out the duo. Thankfully in the bar where the duo are trapped, Kirika has laced the place with popcorn and broken glasses so whenever the baddies step on them, she knows where the sound comes from and just shoots in that direction. Cool! All the baddies including Dux get killed this way. The widow creeps up on Mireille and could have killed her if not for the machine gun flashlight and Mireille saw her in time to take action. Once Kirika reactivates the power, the widow is in her dying breath. They even have time to chat about graves and death. Mireille wants to know who hired them but she won’t tell. Would she if she was in her place? Nope. As she asks her name, the widow doesn’t think it matter because it won’t be carved onto their graves either. And now she’s officially dead. In the aftermath, Mireille can’t help wonder if the enemy hired Dux to kill them, why didn’t they reveal their identity. Maybe it was all a game and they are just pieces. The enemy is always watching them from somewhere and they have no choice but to keep winning this game.

Episode 4
Mireille and Kirika infiltrate some party and kill members of a company responsible in providing the necessaries for coup d’état. Yeah. There’s business in war. The most WTF moment was Mireille flirting with one of the men, going up real close to him, run her hands all over him, takes his gun and shoots him! Was that guy really stunned by her beauty? There are 3 targets left, Hammond the boss and his 2 henchmen, Burke and Wellman. Of course Hammond is not going to let this plan fail after planning it for years and will crush those who stand in the way. The ladies stake out Hammond at the airport and they see his daughter, Rosalie. He slaps her for coming uninvited and wants her to board tomorrow’s plane home to New York where her mom is (the parents are divorced). Can it be the day after tomorrow? Because it’s her birthday. No can do. This sucks… Subsequently he changes his mind and she can stay here for a week. Yippee! Burke and Wellman receive a strange note that pinpoints Noir’s location. Hammond thinks of utilizing the mini army nearby. Mireille and Kirika realize they are surrounded and it must have been them who sent information of their whereabouts. Kirika goes out unarmed as the army frisks her. They have searched the house and there is no one. As they start asking her questions, they are shot one by one. Yeah. They never checked the roof, huh? This is the best ironic part. The army in panic and calling for a retreat! WTF?! They can’t even beat a girl on a roof with s pistol compared to their machine guns?! Screw this! Kirika just picks up their machine gun and slaughters all of them! Cool! The ladies are heading to Hammond’s place as the henchmen receive word the scouting army has been annihilated. As they are going to take action, Mireille kills the henchmen before they can start their car. Kirika walks into Hammond’s room and he doesn’t panic. He knew this was coming. Kirika shoots him. He messed up the table… And Rosalie’s present… On the way back, Kirika bumps into happy Rosalie coming in the opposite direction and helps pick up her dropped orange. Then she walks away like nothing happened.

Episode 5
Mireille receives message from Vanel to meet as he has some information. However she was too late because he and his entire family got killed. She blames herself that because she tried to do some research after Dux’s incident, she asked Vanel for some information. He must have found out some clue and as a result he and his family paid the price. She goes to visit a bar master who was Vanel’s old superior. He left a bottle in her name. Seems there is a location of a cathedral written on it. On her way back she has a feeling somebody is following her but looks like the coast is clear. Back home, they find mysterious circles and triangles on the bottle’s label over certain alphabets and numbers. They do a brainstorming and they realize it is hidden in the catacombs. Mireille follows the clues on the bottle which are directions to a specific chamber. Beneath the bones is an envelope. Great. The photocopy is all in French. As she leaves, an agent points a gun to her and takes the document. She knew she was being followed and set this up. Kirika fires the gun off his hand. What she wants is information for him. The hidden snipers begin firing so Kirika goes to take care of them while Mireille chases the agent into the cathedral. She corners him and wants him to spill the beans. He is confident she can’t shoot him because only a few know about their existence. But after thinking of Vanel’s death, probably her rage got the better of her. She shoots and kills him. He wasn’t going to tell anyway, right? Anyway from the document, there is this name called Les Soldats. This is the name of their enemy. Mireille explains that back on her hometown of Corsica, her parents and older brother were killed. She doesn’t know who or why they were killed. That was the last time she saw that timepiece. Therefore it was like Kirika brought it from her past. Kirika says she doesn’t have anything but apologizes anyway.

Episode 6
Mireille and Kirika enter a poor USSR community. There is an old charitable man serving food to the poor and doesn’t seek compensation. The local people who idolize him as a saint might not know his name but he is Yuri Nazarov and was formerly from the KGB. Many decades ago he ordered the execution of the ethnic minority Tashkil. Maybe he is doing this out of atonement. But the survivors of Tashkil are the duo’s clients. Hatred and grudge cannot be erased so easily. Kirika seems to have found a lost stray cat (alien eyes?) and takes it in, wondering about its name and how they are alike. Yeah well, the only way is to ask Soldats. One day as she is out with the cat, Nazarov comes by to say its name is Prince Myshkin. It is his cat that went missing a few days ago and thanks her for taking care for it. As he leaves, he starts collapsing in pain. The doctor diagnoses him as pushing too hard and without regard for his own health. He has warned him before but he paid no heed. He has not long to live. The other people visit him and are very grateful to Kirika who saved him. Kirika sees his family photo dated 1951 from Balkutsk. She thought of carrying out the mission tonight but after seeing him with a couple of children, she didn’t have the heart. Mireille searches for the Balkutsk region but couldn’t find it anywhere. She also learns something new from Kirika. Despite her excellent assassination techniques, knowledge of the underworld and fluent in many languages, she doesn’t know anything about Russian literature. Myshkin is a character of some author labelled as an idiot which signifies pure and innocent. She wonders if Kirika can do her mission since whatever the man Nazarov is today doesn’t have anything to do with them. Whatever he is trying to atone now doesn’t resolve anything. Nazarov remembers watching his family being killed. Mireille after doing extra research has found Balkutsk used to be the home of another ethnic minority, Norga. During Stalin’s era, Tashkil assaulted the village and its name doesn’t even appear in today’s map. As Nazarov is a Norga, both ethnic minorities hated each other for centuries and kept killing each other. Mireille says Kirika doesn’t have to do anything since he is dying but she will carry out the mission. She enters his room and points her gun. He knows his time is up and closes his eyes. Before her heart wavers any further, she pulls the trigger.

Episode 7
Balsan, some great revolutionary leader in some Middle East country is dead. His men ring out the betrayer and all the info they got was that he hired Noir to kill that man who defiled this land in the name of revolution. Too bad the betrayer got shot too. Mireille is driving through the desert and looks like Kirika is injured. They need to make it to a designated spot or they’ll miss their ride out. Seems Mireille was careless in her assassination. She let her guard down when she left and let the target fired a few shots through her stomach. More woes because their jeep just ran out of fuel. And all Kirika could think of is her student ID she lost despite everything on it is fake. Taking refuge in some building, Mireille looks like she is going to shoot Kirika. Cutting off her liabilities? Go ahead. Well… She missed! How could she miss at that range?! Actually, she won’t let her take the easy way out. Her main concern is Soldats and once she has them answer her questions, then she’ll kill her. Meanwhile the revolutionaries find the empty jeep. Oh yeah. Easy trail of blood… So while Mireille is out, those guys barge in and are surprised to see a young girl as the assassin. They bring her back to the base and one of the men found her ID card in the hallway. Since she is ‘infatuated’ with it, the boss beats her up and isn’t going to let her die a painless death. After spamming us the same scene with Mireille’s young past of her in some room, we are now shown a little more. Everybody else is dead! Night fall, Mireille infiltrates the base and those guys really aren’t doing their patrolling job well. It took a single woman to take all of them out! Kirika then mumbles about the definition of Noir (something about being double deaths of an ancient fate). The boss is stupid enough to put his face close enough for her to slice his neck! Mireille jumps in to take care of the rest. And to know these guys were fighting for some revolution… As they leave, Kirika can’t help ponder who she is. As Mireille best summarizes, a very deep and pitch black thread that binds them.

Episode 8
Noir just finish disposing some mafia head, Don Lucio Greone. They are doing this to get some ancient contract which contains clues to Soldats. The family’s big head, Don Salvatore quickly summons Intoccabile. He is pleased once Silvana who is also his granddaughter has arrived. He calls her worthy to lead the family because she killed her own father when he broke the family’s code. He entrusts the family to her and gives her the knife she killed her father with. First order of business? Kill grandpa! He accepts this fate for taking away her freedom. Funny, is this how the mafia call love? Meanwhile Mireille gets to know that Intoccabile has been contacted. She once met Silvana when she was young since her father was on friendly terms with the prominent men there. She views Silvana as a very brutal princess. Silvana has snuffed out the traitor, Rizzo who sold the family out and joined forces with the Mexicans. She has her men torture his woman into revealing why he hired Noir for the job. They want this ancient contract but he doesn’t know why. Silvana hires 3 mafia ‘saints’ (Paolo, Dominique and Francesco) but doesn’t want them to hunt Noir down. She knows they’ll come since she has the contract and is going to make it easier to lure them. They kill Rizzo by making look like a suicide. Noir knows it is a trap and although Mireille is shivering in her pants for she knows she cannot defeat Silvana, she still has to go do it. They infiltrate the place that night. Kirika has a tough time with Paolo and Dominique and got slightly injured. Mireille distracts Francesco by shooting the fire extinguisher before ultimately extinguishing his life. Then she enters the room to confront Silvana. For the first time she sees the face of Noir. Francesco hanging on to his last ounce of life barges in and fires all the way. Mireille takes him out and then flees. When Paolo and Dominique return and wonder if Silvana has seen how Noir looks like, she says she didn’t. Noir escapes and Kirika wonders if Silvana has seen her face. She doesn’t know. All she knows is that she blew her chance.

Episode 9
Mireille makes her way to Sicily. Funny, Silvana too. But she is going to investigate about the contract and some father priest that this contract was drawn up by the founder of the Greone family and a noble who gave the family stewardship of the land. In short, this is the origin of the Greone family. Though it is puzzling why Noir would want this. Besides, Greone family only spans back 200 years compared to Noir’s ‘thousand year history of darkness’. We are shown a clip of Mireille and Silvana. Looks like they were friends and played together. When Mireille was close to the cliff, she felt scared. However Silvana says she has no fear, took out her dagger and sliced her flower hair wreath. I supposed it scared the sh*t out of her. In Sicily, Mireille really gets a big surprise when Silvana is there too. Looks like she saw her face after all. Mireille didn’t think she would remember her because they only met once that one time. Silvana clearly remembers her because she was shivering. Just like now. Then she kisses her. It’s not a sign of love. It’s the kiss of death. She’ll be waiting at the temple tomorrow with the contract. It is the place where she killed her father. Kirika squares off with Paolo and Dominique. Another tough battle. She manages to trick Paolo by hiding in the waterfall and then shoot him dead. Dominique keeps firing as Kirika climbs the spiral stairs. He thought he got her when she falls straight down. Actually it was more like bungee. The moment she is the same level with him, she fires her gun. Now it’s Mireille against Silvana. Mireille must be scared sh*t because despite holding a gun, she can’t shoot it as Silvana charges with her knife. She could have been fatally stabbed if not for Kirika firing a shot to break off the knife tip in time. Phew. Then it’s a race to get each other’s weapon. I think the blade must be cursed because now despite Silvana picking up the gun, she’s scared stiff when Mireille charges at her like a mad bull with the broken tip. Yup. Stabbed her this time. Before she dies, she gives the contract. It is believed that the witness on the contract is a member of Soldats. Mireille wonders if the organization has existed this long.

Episode 10
A court case of a corrupted police officer, the judge drops all charges against him. Of course we know this isn’t really justice… However that guy isn’t going to get the last laugh because Noir is on the job to take him out. Surprisingly, somebody else beat them to it. Even all his police escorts are taken out. Noir receive half payment and it seems their client thinks they are the ones who did the job. There is still another half and that is the judge. They go investigate around the black market and it seems that the people think Noir really did a good job on this corrupted officer. But Mireille wonders if they are referring to them or another person impersonating as them. When the judge returns home, he is surprised to see this girl, Chloe warning him that he is on Noir’s hit list. That made him sweat in his pants? Noir goes to confront the judge. I thought it was rather dumb of them to confront him in the face. Shouldn’t they have snipe him from the shadows? Sure, they want to draw the other party out but looks like the judge has surrounded the place with his corrupted police. Now what? Thanks to Chloe’s distraction in killing one of the cops, the duo go into action and start shooting every one of them. If those are the capabilities of those officers, they were never a threat in the first place. Especially this one who just shoot with his eyes close till he ran out of bullets. Then when Kirika pops out coolly before him, he picks up his dead colleague’s gun and fires away. He missed all of his shots!!! Kirika only needs to pump one bullet into him. Now that all the useless cops are dead, Chloe faces off with the judge and kills him. Looks like she beat Noir to it again. I thought his death scream sounded like a monkey. Mireille and Kirika point their gun at Chloe and demand her identity. She calls herself the true Noir. It is wise for them to let her leave because her hand is faster than theirs.

Episode 11
Mireille receives a call saying that he has left something in her post box. It turns out to be another copy of the contract. This has them note that it is taken from the same book but photocopied at different times. Then the mysterious caller calls again and wants to meet them. This elderly guy says he is a loyal Soldats member and is acting under their will. He will reveal the book’s location in 3 days. Before Mireille can further question him, he disappears. No matter how they chase, they lost him. Back at some place, that guy is surprised Chloe visits him and assures he was given permission to make contact with the Noir duo. He cannot understand why she is watching him and deems Altena dangerous. He is going to report this but Chloe mentions it has been decided. I guess it’s the curtains for him. Scores of agents are hunting down the Noir duo but as usual, they kick ass and make them die like ants. Back at Mireille’s place, they ponder if Soldats really wants to kill them when Chloe suddenly drops by. Who the heck invited her in? She’s very sharp too because she knows all the sneaky tricks that they plan to do including all the hidden weapons. And why the heck did Kirika have to invite her to stay for tea?! Mireille is giving that what-the-hell-you-do-that-for-you-b*tch look. Oh, they have tea in the dark because the moonlight is beautiful. Mireille tries to ask some serious questions but isn’t getting any answers because as Altena always told her, the answer you must always search it yourself. Who the heck is Altena anyway? The only thing Chloe says is that the book inscribes everything including why she calls herself the true Noir and is different than them. After that, Chloe leaves like as though she had a fun tea party and keeps a fork that Kirika kept hidden in her sleeve. Kirika could tell that the old guy who is supposed to tell them the book’s location is already dead.

Episode 12
Conrad Zellner punishes and kills his men who failed. A retired German general, Reimann has been living in the Alps when Chloe comes to see him. He knows his time is up so he has Chloe take a stroll with him. He tells her about his days in the German army and did lots of morally questionable deeds. However he has learnt that Soldats is absolute and to never disobey them. Suddenly several men from STG are here to kill him but Chloe dispatches them all with ease. Chloe’s intention isn’t to save him but because nobody shall hinder her task of killing him, she will kill all those who get in the way. Over wine, Reimann tells her that STG used to be East Germany’s national security bureau. After the Berlin Wall came down, Conrad used it to build a criminal organization and smuggle narcotics. He and Zellner although were in the same team, they never liked each other to a point they killed each other’s family. He only realizes it all when Zellner killed his daughter. Chloe also explains she is Noir and he is surprised because he has heard of them but never seen them in person. Now it’s time to die. He hopes she could spare his bodyguard since they know nothing about Soldats. She promises and he gets a swift death. His bodyguard isn’t happy and wants to shoot her but she warns him she would rather keep her promise. Zellner gets word that Reimann is dead but confused that somebody else did it and not his men. He wants to launch an investigation when Chloe comes in and kills everybody. And that’s the end of that. Chloe happily returns to Altena and has so much to tell her. She mentions she has met Kirika and gives the fork to her. Hey… Mireille and Kirika didn’t make a single appearance!

Episode 13
Ever since Kirika sees a guy painting by the lake, she got interested in sketching and bought some tools to do the same. She might be a good assassin but her art… Ah well, it’s art. Meanwhile Mireille gets her hair done and the hairdresser informs her that Christian Galle has returned to Paris. He was Morgan’s right hand man which Mireille done in a couple of years ago. Despite he was serving time in South America, he has been pardoned and back gathering men to get his revenge. Kirika continues to draw with that guy who even shows her where to buy the best drawing tools. Mireille sees this and since she doesn’t even know his name, she warns Kirika not to see him again. Well, not likely. Because the next day she sees him resting under the tree. When she picks up his coat, a medal falls out. He tells her to keep it as he was once part of the Foreign Legion. He introduces himself as Milosh Havel from Czechoslovakia. He is painting and thinking if he should rejoin the Legion. He asks about Kirika but she seems hesitant. He doesn’t probe further. That night after dinner, Mireille and Kirika know Galle’s men are tailing them. You should see the surprise on their face when they realize the ladies ambushed them. Galle is cornered but luck is on his side since he got away when his man drives by to pick him up. Next day, unheeding Mireille’s advice, Kirika continues to see Milosh. After they part, she sees a rare tile in the paint shop that he wanted and goes to buy for him. As she is about to give him, Galle drives by and opens fire, Mafia style. Kirika is quick to hide but Milosh took all the hits. Kirika for once displays more emotions than her robot face. Milosh sees her gun and understood. That’s it for him. Later, Mireille has got a tip off of Galle’s hideout so the Noir duo head there to get their revenge. Everybody dies. Kirika shoots Galle. In the aftermath, Kirika has this pensive look on her face (isn’t it like always?) while Mireille has this I-told-you-so look. She’s not too happy about it either.

Episode 14
Mireille is thrilled to see her uncle, Claude Feyder in Paris. Her uncle?! Heck, he looks young enough to be her brother! They talk about things especially how if his brother, Laurent didn’t die, they would have not been kicked out of Corsica. When Mireille was young and after her parents were killed, the Bouquet family and syndicate collapsed to a rival syndicate that eventually took over Corsica. Claude fled with Mireille to Paris and has been taking care of her till she becomes independent. Out of the blue he asks if she knows about Noir. She pretends she doesn’t know. She wants to know why he is asking so he says it is okay if she doesn’t know. Claude goes to see his friend Dupois. He wants to hire him to find out the killer who has been going on a high profile killing spree recently. Actually, Claude is that killer! Dupois thought he was joking but I guess it isn’t since Claude shoots him. He was on their hit list too. Claude invites Mireille to his greenhouse but she knows there is more to this. He tells her of a big job he has now. She thought of helping but he wants her to sit back and watch. His next target is Kirika. Mireille realizes Soldats hired him and he is surprised she knows them. He can’t tell her more for their sake as he must finish the mission or he’ll be crushed. This was why Laurent and his family were killed. They were going against Soldats. Because Claude swore loyalty to them and followed their orders without question, it’s the reason he was able to leave Corsica alive with her. He warns her that once Soldats gets a hold of anyone, they’ll never let go. Mireille agrees to bring Kirika here tonight. Mireille’s target practice is off since her heart is troubled and tears welling up in her eyes. That night, Kirika insists she come with Mireille to Claude’s greenhouse. After Mireille goes to see Claude, Kirika knows the bodyguards are laying an ambush for her and kills them first. Claude sees Mireille and realizes what is going to happen after seeing Kirika is still alive. They both draw their gun and fire at the same time. I’m not sure if Claude missed on purpose but Mireille’s shot instantly killed him.

Episode 15
After Minister Song leaves the temple, this woman, Shaoli bumps into him. He notices a scratch on his hand and soon after he dies from the poison. When Noir returns to their home, they see a letter. It’s from Soldats wanting to go to Taiwan for a job. Hong Yiban is a powerful triad organization and their job is to kill their elder, Wu Jihua. Mireille takes on the job but not to complete it. Rather, she will go unmask Soldats. Altena is sad when Chloe left a farewell note to her. Seems Altena was the one who gave the job to the Noir duo. Could it be Chloe is worried about them? Altena will be watching over her. Wu Jihua discusses with his man that they took out Song because he was acting on behalf for Soldats. However Soldats have discovered them behind this and are now out to eliminate them. They are not going to sit back and let them do that and are going to fight back. They have information that Noir has entered Taiwan and that Soldats isn’t unified. There is a picture of this man sent by Soldats and if they keep an eye on him, they’ll eventually catch Noir. Shaoli is assigned to kill Noir. Mireille and Kirika meet up with the Soldats’ man who tells them about Shaoli and also someone leaking information. But Mireille is not interested in that and wants to know more about Soldats. Kirika realizes the place is surrounded so everybody starts shooting and running for cover. Mireille goes after the guy but loses him. Shaoli faces him instead and scratches his face with her poison. Mireille is not pleased her only lead is dead when she is ambushed by Shaoli and falls a few storeys off. At least she missed her poison nails. Meanwhile Kirika almost got bombed and is about to get her brains blown off but Chloe saves her in the nick of time. Mireille continues to struggle against Shaoli.

Episode 16
Mireille is captured as Shaoli runs her fingers through her face and body, teasing like she might scratch her any time. But she won’t kill her and is going to use her as bait to lure the other one out. When they leave the grounds, Kirika is before them. Begins one of the biggest WTF moments. Kirika walks slowly up the stairs as everyone pulls out their guns. Then when she whips hers out and starts firing, it’s too late for them to counter attack. Why the heck didn’t they shoot in the first place? What were they waiting for?! Every shot counts for Kirika while those stupid bodyguards miss each one. Feels like you want to scream at them and go take some shooting lessons but don’t bother because they’re going to die. Yeah. Dropping like flies. Kirika runs off into the bushes. Kirika gets help from Chloe in dispatching the morons and Chloe’s presence throws them off because they didn’t think there is another Noir. Mireille has her behind saved by Chloe. I don’t know how many bullets Kirika pumped but it felt like forever, unlimited ammo cheat code activated. The chicken leader gets away and contacts his buddy to regroup. He is confident they can find a way since they know how Noir looks like. Little does he know his buddy is dead and Mireille picked up the phone. Next time, don’t just start ranting off. You might not even know if it’s the wrong number. Thanks to that, they sneak into their base and shoot everyone including Wu Jihua. No chance! But not everybody is killed by them. Shaoli killed their informant. Later she goes to see Yun Shutong who is the one who also hired her to kill off Hong Yiban. As he is a member of Soldats, he is also the one who leaks information about them for the purpose of allying with the strong. You might have seen this betrayal coming when Yun dies after inhaling the incense. And he thought keeping his distance was enough. But why did Shaoli survive? I don’t see her wearing mask. Does she not breathe? Mireille and Kirika make their way to Yun’s place when they see Chloe who leaves her trails for her to follow. Chloe meets Shaoli who believes she killed Yun to gain entry into Soldats. However Chloe isn’t impressed and only tells her Soldats has no use of her. Shaoli is so mad that I thought the way she clenched her fist, she would have poisoned herself. Anyway, she made the mistake of trying to attack Chloe. She is fast to avoid and slices her. That’s the end of that. Mireille and Kirika now point their gun at her as Kirika asks Chloe if she knows about her. Le Grand Retour. Some great return that they must endure its trials in preparation for it.

Episode 17
Mireille returns to Corsica alone after a long while. She visits her old mansion. The rubbles are still standing. Bringing back those dreaded memories? Her old servant, Mary is surprised to see her and invites her to her home but Mireille soon have to leave because she knows that many old people who saw her got this uncomfortable feeling and she doesn’t want to get them involved. The bodyguards of Bertonie pick her up to see him. She assures she is not here for revenge but to visit the graves. She asks about her parents and he assures he didn’t kill them. There are rumours that some colossal power eliminated Laurent and that power came from outside Corsica. He advises her to see George Madelin, Laurent’s old right hand man as he may know more. Mireille thought he is dead but according to Bertonie he is still alive. His other advice is to leave this island quickly. When Mireille goes to see George, he has this big shock on his face and rushes back into his house and wouldn’t let her in, forcing her to leave. But she doesn’t give up and sees him while he is in the bar. She asks about the timepiece that belongs to her father. George is again surprised but won’t say it here. He will tell everything tomorrow at their old mansion. The Bouquet family held power in Corsica for generations because of their link to a big organization. Can you guess? Yup. Soldats. Her parents are member of Soldats and the timepiece is proof of their ‘membership’. Mireille finds it hard to believe since Soldats killed them. True. Suddenly a sniper shoots George. In his last breath, he reveals they were killed because of trying to protect her. Mireille goes after the sniper and plays a cat and mouse game till she gets him. Surprisingly Chloe is here too. She mentions the sniper’s mission to eliminate all those who tries opening the seal to Corsica’s past. She is not here to help or hinder him. Sightseeing? You wish. Corsica hols a special place for her and Kirika. She has a request. If Kirika wishes to return home, please do not stop her. For Chloe will make the journey with her. Otherwise she will kill her. Of course she won’t want it that way as she would love to be friends with her. After all, she is a child of Soldats. Mireille returns home and tells Kirika what she has learnt and starts crying.

Episode 18
Mireille must be under a lot of stress. She points her gun at Kirika, asking who she is about being true Noir and the likes. Yeah. This even makes Kirika cry. Despite she acknowledge her assassin skills which could even be better than hers, she calls her a disturbing enigma. She needs time for herself so she tells Kirika to leave. Reluctantly (and heartbroken?), Kirika did just that and starts thinking about who the hell she is. Then she gets picked up by a Soldats messenger. He is not here to kill her or anything despite the order of sanctioning Noir has been given out. Also, Chloe is not the one to sanction them as she is under Altena’s control. She only listens to her. She is an influential person in Soldats and wishes for Le Grand Retour. However some believe her methods are dangerous. He tells her the address where she can get more information. But when she arrives, that guy is already dead. In his hands are photocopies from the book. He contacts the messenger from his handphone and asks for the copies. He is reluctant since he senses he is in danger but soon agrees to meet up one last time. On her way back, Chloe stands before her. She is here to warn something is about to happen to Mireille. You know those sanctions? She is sure Mireille will not miss this opportunity to meet but this is a trap. Normally Chloe won’t give a damn but felt compelled to tell her since Mireille is Kirika’s friend. Mireille is already waiting at the square at the designated time. Kirika is rushing as fast as she can. Mireille is being cautious but she couldn’t have guessed who in this crowded area. Before she can be shot by an old man, Kirika stabs him in the neck with something sharp. Right on time. In the aftermath, Kirika lets Mireille see the copies. Probably it is sarcasm when she quips she decided to save her instead of following up on the lead for these copies. But I guess that’s her way of saying thanks and they’re back on good terms again. Mireille knows Kirika’s pain is deeper than hers that it’s unbearable but Kirika needs to know what it is.

Episode 19
Mireille gets mail of another clue. This leads them to a historical documents researcher who tells them the photocopy is from a reference book of ancient documents from the Middle Ages. It is called Langonel Manuscript since it was transcribed secretly in a Langonel Monastery. However nothing is known about the original. There are books in Paris and Berlin but were burnt down during the war. However the proof of these photocopies indicates that the manuscript still exists somewhere. The duo continue their research and it leads them to an old multi-millionaire in Austria. Meanwhile the higher up of Soldats lament they have to kill the Noir duo although they would love to have them join their ranks. It’s because Altena’s influence is growing and they sent orders to their best knights under the pretence of a trial to sanction them. Mireille and Kirika hit another dead end because the Austrian dude tells them the manuscript was burnt down in his library. Feel free to examine the remains. As they rue another dead end, here comes Chloe. She hints that Noir has roots and origins in Soldats. Noir is supposed to be the blades of Soldats. Through time, the ritual of accession to Noir was lost and only terror elicited by that name remained in the underworld. Many outlaws claim themselves to be Noir while not knowing its true meaning. Mireille remembers she coincidentally picked that name as codename for them but from what Chloe says it seems their twisted strings of fate is entangling all over them. Suddenly agents try to kill them. Chloe is also target. Perhaps this is what this trial is all about. To see if they are fit to become Noir. Of course the girls kick ass while those guys are just useless. As worthless as dummy practice dolls. Mireille sees Kirika and Chloe killing in sync. They’re so natural… Once it’s over, Chloe whispers to Kirika that Soldats is not her enemy. They were born and raised in the nest of Soldats to become the greatest assassins and thus the true Noir. Therefore Soldats is her home. Although Kirika may have lost her memories, she believes she remembers everything. Kirika can’t take it anymore and tells her to stop. When Chloe starts reciting some Noir line and salute, Kirika automatically follows suit. I guess it’s true then. Mireille couldn’t believe at what she is seeing. Chloe will see her one more time in the future and by then she will bring her to the Manor. Kirika has a deep thought about wanting to believe that a normal her existed somewhere. Now she regrets knowing. Especially with Mireille looking at her with those eyes.

Episode 20
Chloe returns to Altena and loves hearing this ‘bedtime story’. From what I understand, it is how Soldats was founded. Thousands of years ago, there was this plot to gain power and many were killed. Those who survived vowed to protect the weak and persecuted. So they swore loyalty and secrecy and that was how Soldats was formed to seek revenge against the world. The Soldats higher ups are also talking about preserving this world by continuing to be active but Altena is trying to realize Soldats’ ideal by reviving Noir. They view that as a farce. However if she champions its cause, they cannot openly oppose her. But if the ritual is performed, she will become the next high priestess and become the highest authority in Soldats. Her view is that if love can kill, then hate will save. Mireille talks to Kirika that Noir wasn’t the beginning of it but the very reason they came after them. Although they have been sanctioned, yet their identities have been hidden from the assassins nor are they being attacked in their home. Because this is part of the rules and fate of those who are to become Noir. Mireille is still bothered by Chloe’s words that she and Kirika are the true Noir. So what does this make her? Feeling left out? Soldats higher ups get word that Chloe has begun to move so they are going to send their knights to finish them. Mireille and Kirika are ambushed. However those knights are just like any ordinary useless agents. Except they wear some white mask. Quantity over quality. Once all of them are finished, Chloe appears before them to congratulate them for passing the ritual. She is here to give the final guidance to the Manor where the ascension to become Noir will take place. Then it’s like Kirika becomes hypnotized. Chloe asks to hand over her gun in which she did. Then Chloe shoots her.

Episode 21
Mireille checks Kirika’s pulse and good thing is that she is still alive. Chloe explains she did this as the final guidance. The traveller relies upon guidance to advance through the wilderness. If she remembers, she will reach home. Otherwise she will forever be lost in the darkness. She also tells Mireille the truth as she Altena has ordered her to. After all that teasing, you might have already guessed that young Kirika was the one who killed Mireille’s family. She doesn’t believe and what proof does she have? Chloe doesn’t but she was there too and saw it with her own eyes (she looked f*cking awed). The newly born who receive Soldats’ high priest’s blessing at the time of their birth. Those who are chosen from among them go through the trials to become Noir. Mireille also received their blessing but her parents refused to hand her over to Soldats and were executed for that. Mireille can’t take this and runs away. Kirika wakes up and wanders around like a zombie. But when agents come to kill her, she automatically becomes like a killing machine. Finally Mireille and Kirika face off. Kirika admits she was the one who killed her parents and can’t atone her sins. Reminding her of the promise that once the truth becomes clear and to take her life, she wants Mireille to do just that. But Mireille hesitates. She can’t. Kirika is BEGGING for Mireille to shoot her! Mireille says she will keep her promise the next time they meet. WTF. Is this goodbye? This leaves Kirika depressed and frustrated, still begging for Mireille to kill her. She’s gone, sis. And you’re all alone.

Episode 22
Mireille can’t understand it either. Why didn’t she shoot? But looks like Kirika has wondered far enough to reach the Himalayas. Okay, maybe some remote village near the border of Spain and France. She is taken in by a nice old man, Tristan and his wife, Margaret. Seems that they know and expect her. She is then made to go to an old stone monument at the village’s edge. Along the way, it seems everyone acknowledges her and knows who she is. The stone bears the maiden logo of Soldats. One of the young girls resembles a lot like Mireille and this forces Kirika to remember she killed her parents. The young girl coolly says she is not Mireille and also knows who she is. Kirika enters the meeting with Tristan, Thibault the village chief. Also there are agents who want their will to be told to Kirika. However Tristan doesn’t think it is necessary as their beliefs have not changed. He then shoots all the agents dead! The rest of the villagers also kill the remaining agents. He explains those agents are those who oppose Le Grand Retour. This means they don’t want her to see the Lady. As they have lived here together with a great cause, they will continue to do so. Everyone gets down and bow to Kirika. Tristan reveals they are Soldats.

He continues to explain there are many places in the world that does not belong to any country and aren’t on the map. This is one of them and thus lies the Manor. Kirika unconsciously followed the path to the Manor because she is Noir. Beyond here is the sacred grounds and interfering in its affairs is strictly taboo. That’s why those agents were trying to keep her away from this village. The people here are descendants of Soldats. Continuing the roots of Soldats before they went underground and changed into something worldly, Le Grand Retour means returning to the roots of Soldats and the ascension is proof of that. Of course some in Soldats do not desire change as they think Soldats is the world itself. The purpose of this village is to guard the Manor because Soldats are with the truth of the world of man. The Lady also knows this and she is no other than Altena. She has been guarding it for a long time and believes Soldats must regain the hands they have lost. Tristan knows Soldats will make their move tonight. Which is about now because they sent in the army! Margaret leads Kirika out as the villagers fight back. Despite the army have machine guys, fear still runs through them because the villagers do not fear death. Including women and children. Thibault must have got the best position as the sniper but eventually he got bazooka-ed. So the entire village is slaughtered. Kirika cannot understand why this is happening and Margaret believes she understands because she is Noir. Because Soldats also commits sins like men. Sin comes naturally to men. That is the truth of man. After Margaret is killed by the soldiers, Kirika becomes a mean emotionless killing machine. Nobody survives. She continues her journey till she reaches the Manor.

Episode 23
Mireille is visited by a man from Soldats, Breffort. He invites her to join them since she has the qualifications. In actually, some had suggested inviting her earlier along with her partner. Speaking of Kirika, she is already at the Manor and beyond their reach. Altena was the one thoroughly against drawing Mireille into Soldats and was adamant about giving the saplings the greatest trials (all those agents chasing after Kirika in the earlier episodes). Now that 2 of the saplings have gone to Altena, Mireille only remains. That’s why they want to join forces with her. However he gives her a condition. Go to the Manor and kill either Chloe or Kirika. Altena will have no choice but to accept her despite knowing she has been influenced by them. Of course she has no choice but to do this as she knows too much and Soldats will not leave any dangerous element alone. He gives her 2 days to decide. And so this is her answer. She finds out where this guy’s office is, kills all his bodyguards and points her gun at him. She reminds him Soldats killed her parents and have nothing to do with their internal squabble. Soldats will always be her enemy. He dares her to shoot him but doing so will end her career right now. He knew she would come as he wanted her to realize there is no way out of this world. He also reminds her about Claude’s advice not to make the same mistake as her parents. Had Mireille been hand over, her family would have remained in power but they chose the path of destruction instead. He tells her not to make that mistake and think about it thoroughly. After reading Kirika’s letter of gratitude that night, Mireille goes to see Breffort the next day and decides to go to the Manor. But she’s doing it for her own sake and not theirs (they always say that). Soldats will remain her enemy. He asks if she would want to stay an assassin forever. Because she can get more power than her parents ever did. Mireille figured out why her parents didn’t her over to Soldats. Her partner lived with a darkness that was planted in her heart. They didn’t want their daughter to be like that. Although they are Soldats, they are still parents who love their daughter. As for who she will kill when she reaches the Manor, she isn’t sure yet but she wants to see the face of the person who manipulated her parents and partner. Breffort agrees and will email to her the Manor’s location. Whatever the outcome, it will be interesting for Soldats. Finally, Kirika reaches the Manor and meets Altena.

Episode 24
Chloe’s face lights up upon seeing Kirika reaching the Manor. Altena welcomes her as they talk about things. Like how Kirika although wasn’t born here, she spent her important part of life at this place. Altena praises her for showing signs of a great sapling. She also explains the different conditions and situations given to different saplings and the one that overcomes the darkness and it all is worthy to become Noir. Chloe also talks to Kirika and the reason why she decided to become an assassin was that fateful day she saw Kirika gunned down Mireille’s parents in cold blooded fashion. Kirika makes herself at home as Altena puts her to bed. She must be tired from the journey and tomorrow they’ll be busy preparing for the ritual. Next day as Kirika and Chloe have a sword duel, Altena meets her fellow believers who praise her for her valiant efforts. It is now bearing fruit. They also discuss about how Altena’s absolute power will be realized if Le Grand Retour is complete. Altena is willing to do what it takes to accomplish the return of the old Soldats even if something happens to her. The sword fight ends with Kirika the winner. Chloe’s sword broke. When they bath together, Chloe shows the fork she is still keeping. She hopes to invite Mireille over for tea once the ritual is over. However Kirika notes they do not need a third wheel. The ritual continues with Altena returning a gun to Kirika. I don’t know why but she starts having traumatic memories of something similar. Altena gave her that gun in which she used to shoot Mireille’s parents. Kirika then points the gun at Altena, much to Chloe’s horror although Kirika hesitates to shoot. Altena is cool and even wants her to shoot. She talks about darkness, sins and the answer she is looking for is right here. This is the only place she will now peace. Eventually Kirika couldn’t do it. Chloe is so relieved. Don’t forget Mireille. She’s making her way through the barren wastelands.

Episode 25
Before the ritual starts, Chloe and Kirika have the cleanse themselves. In the pool, Chloe kisses Kirika! And then she happily hugs her! Since when did this series turn yuri? After bath, Kirika can sense someone familiar approaching. It’s Mireille. Kirika points her gun. There is no place for her. If this is how it’s going to be, Mireille does the same. Then it begins, a cat and mouse shooting game. I don’t know. Did they turn on the cheat code for unlimited bullets? Just when Kirika thought she had cornered Mireille, the latter throws her timepiece in the air. When they are both at point blank distance, the timepiece lands and breaks. I don’t know why but this causes Kirika to become traumatic thinking about the time she killed Mireille parents. Suddenly the cold hearted killer becomes a trauma girl? Maybe it must be something to do with Mireille’s mom telling her to take care of her daughter. Chloe assists in beating up Mireille while Kirika is in the midst of her trauma. In contrast of Altena’s believe, Kirika also remembers Mireille’s mom saying that although love can hurt, but hatred can never save people. Never. So she’s feeling guilty about it now? Before Chloe can slit Mireille’s throat, Kirika shoots the tip off Chloe’s knife. Chloe is a sad girl. Why? WHY?! Now Chloe is a mad girl and tries to kill Kirika for this betrayal. She sounds like she has been jealous with Kirika living with Mireille the entire time because it could have been her. Kirika pleads her to stop this. Well, Chloe has an idea. She’s going to kill Mireille. She sprints over but Kirika is faster. Kirika stabs Chloe with the fork. Holy sh*t! Guns and knives couldn’t kill but the fork did?! Then it’s like Kirika gets a little poetic. She says Chloe was like a part of her. Because she can kill, it saddens her. Uh… What? After they put lifeless Chloe on the altar, Mireille calls Kirika to come home because it’s not over yet. Kirika is overcome with emotions like an emo girl.

Episode 26
The Soldats higher ups are making their way to the Manor because Altena summoned them. It can’t be help since this is tradition. Damn tradition… Kirika patches up Mireille as they talk about the legend of Noir (a recap to us what it is really about). Then the duo go guns ablazing (actually just a bullet for each enemy would suffice) by killing all the sisters. I thought this scene was funny because the sisters were hiding in the orchard. Then they pop up just to get shot. Just like whack-a-mole, only you shoot them. Real funny. The slaughter continues as they enter the Manor. A follower informs Altena of Chloe’s death and Noir’s betrayal. However it seems Altena has intended for all this to happen. From what I understand, she doesn’t care what happens to Soldats as long as the true Noir revives because Soldats has changed and became corrupted. She then shoots her follower before the duo enter. She is glad they made it this far and will have them begin their final trial. She runs into an underground passage. After a few scenes of war time atrocities, the passage leads them to a room whereby falling down this hole means you’ll be burnt alive by the lava. Altena wants them to finish her and rants about that Noir crap. A lot of people have died by their hands so do not let their deaths go to waste. When she mentions about Mireille’s mom being a sacrificial lamb for this, Mireille gets upset. She feels mad. She feels sad. But she won’t kill her because she is not worth it. Because of this, Altena shoots her but stops short of killing her. She dares Kirika to kill her or she will kill her friend. Kirika has something to say too. Sure, they have sinned and their hands are black. She will accept those sins as Kirika but not as Noir. They are not what she thinks they are. Kirika takes in a bullet meant for Mireille. Don’t worry she didn’t die. Then she pushes Altena into the hole. They’re grabbing on for their lives. Kirika says goodbye. Mireille won’t. Altena drops like a rock. Mireille clings on to Kirika’s hand as tightly as she can. Tears are flowing. Please don’t go. Please. Change of heart? By the time the Soldats higher ups arrive, they see the duo and make way for them. I guess Altena is gone so this means nothing else threatens them anymore unless you want to test the duo’s patience. Although Breffort mentions this is by no means the end, Mireille says that they will live on as they see fit. So what does Mireille want to do now? Go back to Paris and have a nice hot cup of tea.

All Roads Lead To Soldats…
I don’t even know what to say after that kind of ending. I don’t know whether it is good or bad but I know I wasn’t satisfied. So this is the end (or rather beginning) of their journey? After sitting through 26 episodes of drama and gun fights, I thought it would end better this way. So they get to leave just like that? I don’t know. Even weirder was that lava part in the final fight scene. Like as though it is to give us a variety on somebody’s death because all the while we have been seeing people die by gun shots and since Altena is the ‘big boss’, she gets to die differently by falling into the lava. She should have just dropped into it in the first place. Maybe so and perhaps she just wanted to be killed by Noir instead of doing it herself. I don’t know. It just feels twisted. And to think that almost everyone in the world in some ways are related to Soldats, truly you can’t escape from their grasp wherever you go. So can Mireille and Kirika walk away just like that?

Sad to say that despite the series claiming its better parts are the drama rather than focusing on the fight and gunshot scenes, I feel that the action scenes are much more entertaining. Because those drama parts just feel draggy. If I should say so myself, an episode can be finished in half its original duration of 24 minutes. They put in lots of repeated scenes especially of those flashbacks from the past or from previous episodes. And then they prolong certain scenes that really have nothing much ado. This may drag out the drama effects but personally I thought it felt draggy and unnecessary. Therefore personally I would find the action scenes to be a much welcome relief and something to look forward to for each episode. Plus, the first half of the series felt like fillers because we see Noir taking on job requests as they kill different targets while the series drops us tiny bits of pieces about their past and the hidden and future enemy they will be facing.

Although I said that the action parts are entertaining, however I have to note that most of them feel lame. Sure, I can blame old school animation but that is not the point. Especially when Mireille and Kirika are kicking Soldats’ underlings’ ass, those low level agents just feel like they are those low level minions you see in video games. Uh huh. It feels like a video game because Soldats keep unleashing wave after wave of men to go after girls. I don’t know how big Soldats is but it seems they have lots of men at their disposal. Even so, they’re so unskilled. It’s like they exist to get killed. If I should say so myself, they don’t possess the slightest threat to the duo. Some of Noir’s assassination techniques are good but it feels doing them on these low lives is like a big waste. That’s why I said the action is lame. And those bad guys are so unskilled that even if you give them unlimited ammo cheat code, they can never shoot straight. They always miss! Somebody please train them for heaven’s sake! Sometimes when they show Mireille and Kirika doing their makeshift shooting practice in the sewer, is it supposed to justify why their shots always count? Yeah, agents only walk around with guns looking cool and to provide the body count. Besides, I think you’ll lose track doing so. They’ve racked up more body kills than Rambo blitzing his way in the jungles of Vietnam. And thus in every episode, there is guarantee to be deaths. Somebody dies. Whether it is the supporting character for that episode or some unimportant extra. That way, you don’t have to keep up by tying loose ends and care about them anymore.

Even in the penultimate episode where there is nobody around, I thought they were going to break the streak of having no deaths. And then Chloe gets killed. The death combo continues… And expected, Altena also dies. So much so I thought Mireille and Kirika should have just shoot and kill all those Soldats higher ups and save them the trouble of them hunting them down in the future. I mean, I thought the reason they show up was just to get killed. After seeing the pace of this series, this is how I came to think. It’s ‘sad’ that they live ;p. They might not be dangerous now but even they said it themselves, they don’t know what lies in the future. Better be safe than sorry. Besides, weren’t they the ones who made the calls to assassinate them? Oh why oh why didn’t you just kill them and end the series with you both as just the survivors? And if Kirika actually went down with Altena, Mireille will be the only survivor. Good or bad thing? Don’t know. Oh, and here is the oddest part. Despite all the deaths, stabbing and shooting… There is no blood! It’s like their bodies are empty to begin with.

Character wise, I suppose there is some characterization (how deep I don’t know) between Mireille and Kirika, the bonds that they share between them. Since I got caught in the draggy drama, I can’t really tell how much but I’m sure it’s there. I think. It feels weird how their relationship changes of odd partners brought together by fate into close buddies. Because after that few reminders that Mireille would kill Kirika after everything is over, she changed her mind. She wants her. She needs her. If that was a promise, she’d be making the biggest sin of breaking it. Because if Kirika is gone, Mireille would be a lonely soul. And it’s not a good thing for a young lass to be single in Paris even though you’re a hot assassin chick. So perhaps Mireille understood her past and connected the dots that changed her mind in not wanting to kill Kirika.

Kirika on the other hand has this lethargic feel like as though she just woke up from a nap or something thanks to her emotionless behaviour. I don’t remember or know how she got into her amnesiac state in the first place (maybe I wasn’t paying attention) so it felt weird that she started remembering everything the first time Chloe shot her. Like as though it was a seal or something. And when she temporarily turned into a badass version of her emotionless state, it just feels out of place. Her eyes make her look like as though she is a distant relative of the snake. Even weirder how that timepiece broke and she snapped out of her state. From hero to zero. It just feels pathetic. I mean, badass killer girl who needs no one else suddenly becomes emo girl begging for all this to stop? She killed so many in her hands and this? Doesn’t make sense. Well, like she said, they are not what we think they are. Good. Because I don’t want to further think about it. I’m getting a headache in addition to the draggy drama.

Other characters don’t feel much even with Chloe and Altena being the main supporting characters. Altena seems to be cooked up in the Manor which is located in the midst of some barren land. I guess that is why she is so cuckoo because she is cooked up in this place thinking only about returning Noir to its roots. Despite her intentions may sound noble but it still doesn’t solve about the world’s problem like the sin of men. Okay, maybe she’s not God but trying to do this Le Grand Retour already feels like she is playing God. Then there is Chloe who gives an air of mystery when she first appeared. She is more skilful than the duo and has this cunning and confident look in their face whereby it makes you think twice if you want to pull a fast one over her. Then it turns out she was just being obsessed about Kirika and having a crush on her. So when Kirika ‘betrayed’ her love or trust or something (because to me it certainly looked like Kirika wasn’t willing to go down the yuri road. Not at least with her and seemingly with the other woman), she got really mad and met her fate. Other minor characters that only appear for an episode or two also don’t feel much. You’ll forget many of them even if they share a past with the duo like Silvana. Still remember who? Easily forgotten.

The art and drawing looks okay. And as usual since it is old school anime and from that era, there is nothing to shout about or complain. Although there are some dark and gloomy scenes, there are those bright and beautiful sceneries too. Some of the locations are exotic especially in the early part of the series where Noir travel to different places carrying out their mission. But I’m not praising it too much and calling those sceneries as breath taking. Bee Train is the studio that produces this anime. They made animes like Tsubasa Chronicle, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja (the latter 2 shows in which along with Noir are considered the girls with guns trilogy with Noir being the first of the instalment and the rest borrowing elements heavily from it).

When I first heard some of the background music in the first few episodes, it dawned to me how similar they sound to Mai-HiME. It is no surprise since both series had their music composed by the same person, Yuki Kajiura. Especially those background music with choir voices driving it, I think those are quite nicely done and could have easily been my favourite if not for this single ‘flaw’. Despite a wide range of variety of background music, they keep repeating and playing a handful of them many times! Spamming already existed this long. It really gets irritating after a while. It made me go, “Oh. This song again. Don’t they have any other songs? I mean, this song is not too bad but, really, again?”. For example. You love fried chicken to the max. How about eating them for every meal and every day for the rest of the year? You get sick of it, right? Otherwise I don’t have any qualms with the music as its varieties are exciting enough. Though, I think I would wait for a long while before hearing them again. However I want to note that there is one background music that stands out. And I mean it in an odd and eyebrow raising way. This music whereby this voice goes “Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta”! Was that even a background music? It made me go WTF! It sounds so out of place! And to play it in this kind of show, it just feels weird. I don’t know I am supposed to laugh or cringe upon hearing this. I know varieties are a good thing. But this one is not one of it. It would be better to leave this one out.

The opening theme, Coppelia No Hitsugi strikes me. Upon hearing it for the first time, I suddenly recognize the singer’s voice as Ali Project! Yes, it is that gothic style of singing. However something doesn’t feel like this is the Ali Project that I used to hear (not that I heard every song from them). Because this song feels a little tamer and toned down if you compared it to their ‘naughtier’ ones like in Kaibutsu Oujo, Rozen Maiden and Linebarrels Of Iron. As for the ending theme, it is Kirei Na Kanjou by Akino Arai. This is a very slow and calming piece, which is somewhat ironic for the pace and genre of this anime. Actually it sounds quite beautiful and nice if you don’t actually try to relate and think that this is the show’s ending theme.

Overall, this anime have both its supporters and detractors. If you love retro animes and the kind of style that they display, I’m sure you’ll be giving double thumbs up and calling this a classic. For those who don’t, the draggy drama and prolonged scenes, lame action scenes (although it can get violent) and the dark and melancholic feel may be a turn off to some. But this series reminds me of the conspiracy that anything and everything you do, either some government division or shady underworld organization that controls the government on puppet strings are always watching. You’re always been watched. That’s why you can never outrun or hide from them. But don’t worry. As long as you got your gun with unlimited ammo, you can easily take them out with your eyes closed. They’ll somehow hit, I tell you.

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