Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995 and works in and around the anime industry.
At first glance, Noir is clearly something special. The incredible opening theme tune, with it's eerie violins are enough to make most anime fans sit up and take notice. Added to that are the beautifully rich and detailed backgrounds, and the atmosphere that oozes from the screen is very impressive. The French setting is an unusual choice (although one of the two protagonists is very much Japanese, right down to the schoolgirl uniform...) and the whole thing oozes class.
So what is it about? Noir is a tale of assassins, in particular one named Mirielle Bouquet, (or is it Bucket? ^_^) a contract killer who receives a message from a young girl with no memory about herself, but is an incredibly efficient killing machine. The story takes us on a pilgrimage to the pasts of both girls, and someone is trying to stop them...
The direction is very strong, and there are very few wasted scenes - it's tight as a drum, and when the action speeds up, the panning shots change to very stylish and tightly choreographed acrobatics. One nice touch is the way the "camera" moves in reaction to gunfire or fast movement, as if its trying to keep up.
Animation is crisp and detailed, and it's backed up by the most impressive soundtrack I've heard since Macross Plus. It's haunting and very sinister, and the switch between the tune of the pocket watch to a full techno beat when fighting ensues really is incredible, as is the female choir that accompanies much of the action. Mark Mancina eat your heart out ^_-
La Femme Nikita with more bite and an amazing soundtrack.