Noir Vol. #7: The End of the Matter - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Noir

Noir Vol. #7: The End of the Matter

By Chris Beveridge     October 18, 2003
Release Date: October 28, 2003


Noir Vol. #7: The End of the Matter
© ADV Films


What They Say
In a place forgotten by time, the darkest ritual of the Soldats has begun. At long last, all of the mysteries that set Mireille and Kirika on their journey have been answered. However, there is one question that has yet to be decided: who will live and who will die? Four deadly women come together for the ultimate battle in the seventh and final volume of NOIR.


The Review!
The final volume in the series brings the journey to an end in the only way possible with this series ?a whole lotta bullets!

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The 5.1 does an excellent job of bringing out the warmth of the great music score and in providing some really sharp clear moments of vocal directionality, but very little seemed to go to the rear speakers during these episodes. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and we noted no distortions or dropouts. As we learned previously, the 5.1 soundtrack was created by the Japanese but has as of this writing, not been used or released onto a home video format in that country.

Video:
The transfer looks very close to what I?ve seen on my region 2 copies of the series, which means it has lush colors, no cross coloration and hardly any aliasing that I could see. The color palette of the series is very well done for this series, in that they gave it a very definite color shading and feel, where there?s a number of very solid colors making up areas that almost look grainy but really aren?t. Watching this on the HDTV was just a real pleasure as there wasn?t anything I could really find flaw with. Watching it in letterbox mode on the non-widescreen sets is interesting as well, as the bars definitely give it an interesting feel, almost more like miniature movies than a TV series.

Packaging:
Second only to the really fanservice oriented cover previously, this cover features a gorgeous image of Mireille and Kirika face to face while holding onto the swords like in the old images. It?s a striking looking cover and really symbolizes elements from these final episodes. The back cover is much more vibrant as the background is covered up with lots of shots from each of the. The discs summary, features and extras are clearly listed. The technical information continues to be presented just as I like it with everything in a nice easy to read box at the bottom. The spine continues to be the only place for volume numbering. The insert has the full artwork from the twelfth Japanese DVD release and opens up to two panels worth of items talking about the final episodes and a note from the director about the series.

Menu:
Done in anamorphic widescreen as well, the menu layout here is a bit confusing with the remotes in moving around. The opening menu features an angled hallway with episode selections being marked by each window and the discs features below it, but navigating to where you want to go is a bit awkward at times. Access times are nice and fast with a quick transitional piece of animation playing, but returning from submenus is faster without that. The layout is pretty standard fare but looks good with its striking colors and motifs from the opening sequence of the series.

Extras:
The final round of extras has the regular items we?ve seen since the beginning, such as the textless opening and closing and a round of production sketches. The new extra included here is a final interview session with four of the English voice actresses; Monica Rial, Hilary Haag, Shelly Black and Tiffany Grant. The twenty-five minute piece kicks right off with what they thought of the ending of the series. You?d think I?d learn to NOT watch these things first while waiting to start up the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final volume, the three episode arc brings the series to a close and ties up a variety of small loose ends created throughout. With the number of ways the show could have ended, this one worked out well. Though I think the entire lava flow bit was somewhat over the top.

After the previous events that led to the split between Mireille and Kirika, much time is spent on Kirika?s arrival and indoctrination into the lifestyle that Altena has created for the ?saplings? of Noir that come home. Chloe is beside herself with excitement over having Kirika there and the two play spar fairly frequently and show off their skills. The difference being that there?s no sense of joy or exhilaration in Kirika?s moves, whereas Chloe seems to be living to the thrill of the moment. Kirika simply looks dead to the moment but pulls off each movement perfectly.

As she becomes more and more part of the place she learns more of the past, and we come back to the time again where as a child she killed Mireille?s parents. Things become clearer as we see Chloe coming across that situation as a child also and the glee in her face as she finds herself attracted in a strange way to the young Kirika. Having Mireille as a child also brought into the picture and her discovery of the situation only adds to the tragic nature of it all. With all three of them, more details are brought to bear that eventually begin to turn Kirika away from Altena?s attempts at controlling her.

When Mireille finally makes her way into the seemingly hidden country where the Manor is so that she can deal with the past and all that it?s caused, the series shifts into high gear for the final couple of episodes as the various sides set into the confrontation that?s been building for awhile. Learning over the recent episodes about the split within the Soldats over the Great Retour and the way that various powers within the organization have been manipulating events all comes down to the visual moments here of the young women in battle. There?s just something poetic in the way that Kirika and Chloe go at it at one point, each wearing faux Greek style outfits while inside the ruins of the arena structure of the area.

Noir has been a great ride from start to finish. At the outset of the series we were in love with the pure style of the show and enjoyed the way the single episode stories played out. Bits of plot continued to be woven into the background and a second viewing with knowing the ending provides more clues to all of these pieces that were dropped in. As the single episodes fell to the wayside and the more plot oriented ones kicked in, the show transitioned perfectly and each new point got us even more interested in seeing how the Soldats were set up and what the plan really was for the girls who had been raised to become the pure blade that would save Soldats from itself.

The only downside is that this is all there is. With the seven volumes being released within nine months, it?s been a great way of getting a fix practically every month and letting the adrenaline get pumped with it. Noir is one of those shows that?s put on almost the minute it comes into the house. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Interviews with English-language voice actors,Production sketches,Clean opening and closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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