Thursday, September 29, 2005
Assuming you are all good at looking things up in Wikipedia, I will skip to my review of the series:
I've read it all over the 'net and I agree - I am amazed anyone continues to watch Noir after the first five episodes. They repeat so many scenes over and over, like a blacksmith pounding an anville, I just want to shout, "Enough already!" I suppose it might not of been so bad if I were watching it weekly as it aired on TV but that is not the case with watching it on DVD. Luckily I was prepared with the knowlege that the first eps were like this and so persevered, much to my delight.
The first few episodes are pretty standard as far as story goes. There is some mystery but it's mostly confusing - repetitious flashbacks and the usual Japanese storytelling element of just throwing the audience into the story and making the viewer figure stuff out over time. The story is kind of slow, developmentally, until the third main character, Chloe, shows up. Then the series really takes off: the action sequences are more interesting, the plot becomes more direct, and the characters are now a part of a giant story arc that takes them to the last episode, rather than living more episodically.
As of the first half of the series, I was thinking Noir was okay but not my favorite. After that last half Noir became one of my favorite anime. The limited animation is eased over with good music by Yuki Kajiura (some of the music, like that damn watch song and the opening theme I really don't like), and like Wikipedia says, the lack of blood kind of adds to the stylistic air of it all. I think if there HAD been blood, it might of felt too much like a gore-fest with plot and characters being secondary. Although it pissed me off when OUR characters got hurt and unrealistically nothing came of it except maybe some bandages or a hole in the shirt.
Noir seems pretty unique to me in the world of anime. It's definetly done in a film noir style - in framing, in dialogue, in story, and in action. It's amazing how much can be conveyed in the flinch of an eye rather than giant stretches of dialogue. Noir made me appreciate the subleties that can be achieved on a small budget with anime. Noir even holds up in re-watching and I find that when compared to other gunfighting anime, I like Noir the best - even beyond higher budgeted series like Ghost in the Shell. Noir excells in its simplicity.
I've seen a lot of anime since I originally watched Noir and this is still one of my favorites.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Mogwai is a "post-rock"/progressive band from Scotland, which is a really undescriptive description. It's rather gentle drawn out music based around a single theme for each song. Post rock is to rock what new-age is to folk -- some new age, particularly the more ambient stuff, is drawn out and rather gentle, changing in sound and pattern over time. That's what Mogwai's music is, only with electric guitars and the like - and instrumental. Nice background music.
For the most part Mogwai is made up of electric guitars and drums - little to no vocals (I have most of their songs and there's only a handful of songs with vocals). Even the fastest song is still quite slow by most standards. The songs tend to be very atmospheric and slowly evolve and progress, like trance music.
My favorite songs are those that have some kind of hook and those that build and build, slowly layering on the guitars until they burst.
Some key favorite songs:
New Paths to Helicon, part II (Government Commissions version)
Ratts of the Capital
Burn Girl Prom Queen
You Don't Know Jesus
Waltz for Aidan