Posted by psgels on 2 August 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews, Noein



Noein is an outstanding anime. Heck, at the moment, Mahou Shoujotai is the only anime I can think off which has made a bigger impact on me. This anime is that incredible. It’s a science-fiction series, but it cleverly stays away from all of the clichés that the other science-fiction shows are so often plagued by.

Noein has so many good qualities, I don’t know where to start. The story, for one, is something very simple, it contains some often used elements, though it’s extremely creative in what it does. So many interesting plot twists happen during the course of the anime. It really always leaves you guessing. The characters are also amazing. Noein features a huge range of characters, and for some reason it manages to fully develop, explore and give the player the chance to know them in only twenty-four episodes. The result is that you can’t help but care about them during the entire course of the anime.

The pacing also is another very interesting issue in Noein. During some episodes, mostly the intermezzo’s, the pacing is slow. Perhaps a bit too slow, but their contents made up for everything. At other times, the pacing is incredible. So many episodes feature events which succeed each other in an extremely rapid pacing. Surprisingly enough, nothing felt rushed at all.

The moment I saw this anime for the first time, I knew I was looking at something special. The first episode really contained something unique, and as the episodes progressed, the scenes began to get more amazing by the minute. Then, around episode ten, the episodes started to become incredibly good. episode 15 continued with the normal awesomeness, only for the last three episodes to whack me down with scenes which actually managed to be even better than the anime has ever been. The way it ended definately belongs in the category of amazing endings. Even though some issues were left unexplained (PHONE!!??).

And I haven’t even started talking about the graphics and music yet! Seriously, both of these departments are outstandingly done. The entire anime is done in a very experimental art style. Characters and animation look extremely messy, but somehow the effect this has is incredible. Especially if you combine this with the OST. It really is one of the best OSTs ever, and the creators really knew exactly when they had to use it. The battle scenes also are a huge joy to watch. This anime features some amazing looking battle choreography. This works especially good with the character art, as it becomes even more messy during these action scenes. Needless to say that the result is awesome.

Okay, so the anime has a few flaws when you look at the detail. Some of the technobabble may work confusing at times. Especially when you don’t know anything about physics. At times, Haruka may look a bit too much like a damsel in distress. And there are more things like these. But believe me, the good parts totally make up for these.

Overall, I seriously recommend you to check Noein out, if you haven’t already. It may be a science-fiction series, but most of the airtime is actually spent in a normal timezone, instead of the futuristic one. The art is awesome, the characters are awesome, and the antagonist is one of the freakiest one of his kind, able to play his role very well. Watching this anime was amazing. Really amazing.

35 Responses

  1. Avatar Anga says:

    I remember that I wrote something like this on anime forum after seeing first few episodes: “The plot is unique, but I’m not impressed yet.” I think that holds true even now. I don’t watch lot of scifi, because that genre has tendency to include many things I dislike. There were times when I was almost ready to drop Noein because of it’s technobabble, many shows that I watch fall into emo side so quite opposite thing.

    But yeah, music sounds good and the art is awesome. Very good series if considering that it’s scifi.

  2. Avatar TCoFA says:

    Though not having seen the last episode yet, I wish to to say I agree on pretty much here. I’d also like to add that a great element was the fact that they did not use SWORDS or anything like that. Nothing ninja, nothing medieval fantasy magic, but much more unique abilities, and very creative at them(though I found it obvious Karasu’s weapon was inspired by vines). And after a few episodes, you get used to the weirdness, and are actually getting to appreciate it so much more.

    But Noein offers so much more then just fighting scenes, and that’s a good thing. The characters were well denvelopped, and I loved how Atori became a nice guy, though I find it a flaw that he somewhat returned to his former self. Where I would have let him grow into a new personality if it woul’ve been my choice.
    The damsel in distress didn’t bother me much though, as Haruka is still a little girl hardly capable of controlling her own powers. She also tried to do things herself, and wether succesfull or not, she wasn’t waiting in a tower for Karasu to save her.

    The art was most definatley different, but not having seen too much anime, I don’t think it appaeled to me the way it appaeled to you. Still, I liked the style, and the music was very good too.

  3. Avatar Ryan A says:

    I like this review. Noein was damn amazing. I feel one thing that hold ppl back is the character design. The animation is spectacular like you say; the opening had my jaw on the floor, and it only got more intense and interesting.

    Though, all the concepts weren’t sound, the show generally had some fantastically different ways of presenting heros and villains. Great stuff.

  4. Avatar AND HAN says:

    I have to say noein is the best anime i’ve seen. I could almost cry at the end, not because it was sad or happy but because it was such a great anime. I hope they come out with a sequal, but than again, the story is pretty much over and I wouldn’t want the kids to be like 20 or so…

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Well, there indeed won’t be any chance of a sequel. I mean, Noein is dead, most things are resolved, and there just isn’t enough material for a second season. What we can hope for, though, is a new anime, done by the same team. Perhaps they’ll get back together one day and create another masterpiece.

  6. Avatar meg says:

    Noein is wonderful, and I can’t believe that the SciFi channel is actually showing even if its out of sequence. Still I keep wondering if there will be any sequels. At the end of episode 24, Noein said that ‘they’ would come back! What that means, I’m not sure, but that would imply that there is more to the Noein story. Hopefully it center on the characters when they are older.
    Also I have two question 1. What happened to Karasu at the end of episode 24, did he just disappear? And 2. What is the fate of Lacrima? I expected Lacrima to return to what it was before, into a beautiful place.
    Either way I am a major american fan of Noein and look forward to future projects by the anime team behind Noein!

  7. Avatar noein? says:

    I’m enjoying it so far (end of third series) even though are some flaws and some things left un dealt with such as the phone. what is really buging me though is the meaning of “noein”. Can anyone tell me what it means?

  8. psgels psgels says:

    It’s been too long since I finished this series, but if I remember correctly it’s some kind of obscure mythological figure.

  9. Avatar Max says:

    Noein might be related to the being/non being philosophy thema. You can read more below.

    parmenides and the sophis (history of Greek civilisation the being/not-being problem…)

  10. Avatar ippo says:

    I agree with the character design and the overall plot twist,but I felt so bored except during the fight scenes. Just random babble and SLOOOW! episodes. It was a good series but not to the standards you have for it IMO.

  11. Avatar nahrub says:

    i won’t call it ‘random babble’. everything was perfectly explain so that even an imbecile could follow. if you’re dragon ball type of guy, you’ll hate noein, if you don’t mind using you’re head for a change, you’ll grow to love it. it’ll put all time-traveling-dimension-crossing series/movies to shame.

  12. Avatar asdf says:

    Wow thanks to your blog I ran into this as well as El Cazador de la Bruja and Toward the Terra…

    This has got to be my favorite anime ever…just god damn…the fight scenes in this were better then animes BUILT around fighting, the story was so amazing and lots of plot twists and turns, the characters were just amazing as well…

  13. Avatar Elenmire says:

    I can’t believe to my eyes!
    I started to view Noein to verify his fame.
    I ended up feeling myself like crying -due to the strong effects on me I guess- in every single episode. I can’t find an appropriate adjective even in italian, my mother tongue. I just quote every words of yours.

  14. Avatar cdkobasiuk says:

    I loved Noein when I watched it by myself last year and just recently my 11 year old was whinning that she needed a new anime so I whipped Noein out for her and she watched the whole thing in two days. I watched it a gain with her and I loved it all over again. My daughter says it is now one of her favorites. She wasn’t bored by the techno talk and she loved the fight scenes and she enjoyed the character interactions a lot too. I’ll have to buy the box set for her for her birthday I’m sure.

    cdk

  15. Avatar lgp says:

    The box set is a must-have.

    I saw the first few episodes on SciFi channel and immediately pre-ordered the set, which I think I’ve now watched…maybe 5 times? Mostly in Japanese because I’m trying to learn that language–or at least, that’s my excuse.

    This work stays with you because it is not fluff. Every episode is an essay on the role of friendship and community (metaphorically, to echo Ai’s comments in La’Cryma during ep 24, ‘recognizing each other’) in keeping people sane and happy and getting folk through hard times.

    It also comments on such issues as making a conscious decision about how to react to loss or a bad situation, and how sometimes compassion itself can be self-destructive (if the dimension is going to be assimilated anyway why not tear down a dam now and give people a mundane death instead of having to face what may come? or on a larger scale, why not avoid painful futures by…..?) It also comments on not turning away from living life or retreating to fantasy just because life contains some suffering and the risk of pain.

    There’s a lot going on here in terms of philosophy, and overall it is optimistic–a future of infinite choice.

    Hakodate having escaped the fate of La’Cryma, I do wish I knew what happened to these kids in the future that they actually wind up with. Do they remember all that happened this incredible summer? Do they think it was all a dream, or play, or do they forget these events? Do they remain good friends, or drift apart? Do any of the things Noein used to mess with their heads actually come to pass in their dimension (we can guess that La’Cryma’s Fukuro lost his eye in a way similar to what Noein showed; La’Cryma’s Ai, however, stood on her own two feet. So, not everything Noein revealed was necessarily false, but neither was it necessarily true.)?

    As for the fate of LaCryma and its people…I refer you to Schroedinger’s cat. So long as you don’t look, the characters remain in an overlapped state of dimensions in which they are alive, and dimensions in which they are dead. Do you really want to open the box and collapse that ambiguous state into a certainty of life or of death?

    Besides, there’s probably a cadre of dimensions in which each possible outcome occurred; take your pick. ;)

  16. In which country do you live? :)

  17. Avatar mark says:

    Thank you SOOO much for blogging this great series !

    My wife just picked it up @ Right Stuf for 24.98 as a box set.What a steal ! We likely would not have heard of it right away without your help.

  18. Avatar TheBlaah says:

    While I like Noein and believe that it is a very unique anime, I personally don’t think it’s as good as this review makes it out to be. Many of the characters are indeed endearing and its focus on quantum physics was interesting, (I actually understood most of it since my friend is a physics major) the scifi and the “slice of life” portions of the anime just didn’t seem to mesh together well. Also, the talk about quantum physics eventually just became repetitive, even if you don’t watch the episodes back to back. The drastic changes in artstyles between episodes also threw me off a bit, and begs the question as to why they did it.

  19. Avatar Denizen says:

    I really do find it hard to believe I put off watching this for so long. It really is a masterpiece, and definitely one of the best anime I have ever seen.

  20. Avatar senerikfred says:

    Ahah. That really did turn out pretty well. I will say that half the time, the animation actually bordered on crappy, but much of the time(including the aforementioned crappy moments) managed to look cooler than a typical show that at least looks like it has a higher budget does.
    The main issue, though, is everything that they left unexplained. I could appreciate a few random details being unique to different universes, but there was the WTF phone, all the depth they could’ve given to Shangri-la, and whatever was going on with Atori and Kosagi made me feel like I missed something. Seriously, on that last one, did anything get explained with me completely spacing?

    Spoiler-y confusion rant to follow.
    Initially, I was annoyed by most of the characters, and Atori and Kosagi were two of the worst-yet, as the series built up, I grew to like them, and those two were pretty much my favorites. When Atori was going on about Sara, and then called Kosagi Sara, I came to the conclusion she was his sister, and that it’d be entirely natural for him to despise the angst bucket that ignored his sister’s feelings, and for Kosagi to be distancing herself from an unstable brother. And then it turns out that his real sister got blown up in whatever warzone they lived in, which explained Atori being not entirely sane, but made me wonder where Kosagi came in. Then they let the two of them get owned and just left it at that?

  21. Avatar AnimeAngel says:

    WOW, I read your review for this anime and I have spotted this anime before, but I passed it on, thinking it would be a stupid, kids are the saviors of the world thing. But after reading your review, I was interested in it and I’m so glad that I watched it!!
    ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING ANIME’S I’VE EVER SEEN!! Next to fantastic children.

  22. Avatar Toby says:

    Just finished watching this series and although id agree with much of what you said initially id have to disagree overall. While the characters begin compelling and the story interesting (i particularly liked the quantum mechanics side of it) it went downhill towards the end.

    While inconsistent animation i consider to be forgivable. Lackluster storytelling i dont. Towards the end the storyline just sort of slips away into hammy dialogue and completely arbitrary scenes. Theres no real progress, the characters dont feel like they take any action towards the impending peril and it just feels half baked.

    Ive always liked the idea of normal people being put into exceptional circumstances. It seems a very common thing for animes to have kids facing things well beyond their years. which lets face it, is an interesting idea. BUT the point is that they evolve and develop.

    This show suffers from the same reason ive stopped watching Naruto. While i feel Naruto at its peak (a long long long time ago) was a very good anime. It suffers now from the “lets get stronger” ideology. Which i find huugely frustrating. Watching a group of kids stand around saying “lets get stronger together” i find annoying. and to repeat it every episode (like naruto) or ever few (like Noein) is unbearable. Its as if rather than provide actual physical and emotional development to these characters its easier to just have them say “im determined to get stronger!”

    Its the same in Noein. Yuu in particular i found deeply annoying. For a character who had some much screen time he does very little for the story other than proclaim his weakness and desire to get stronger. Karasu on the other hand while being a powerful character and obviously one who creates alot of excellent action scenes throughout, says very little and his motives and dialogue is identical from something like episode 10 to the end. He yells at yuu every few minutes telling him to be stronger and he proclaims his will to protect haruka no matter what. Theres no conflict, no interest.

    I find a similiar show like eureka 7 to be by far better told/ better animiated and with a far more cohesive storyline to boot.

    Now this may come off as an incredibly negative review but in actual fact i watched all of it and had the ending been better my review may have been much more positive. That is to say i enjoyed much of it and kept watching, but the shows ultimate shortcommings left me feeling sour i suppose. it was a disappointment to see how it all ended.

  23. Avatar ~noein~ says:

    so whats noein means?

  24. Avatar vee says:

    Based solely on cover-art and blurb, I wouldn’t have picked Noein off the shelf in a million years if I hadn’t read your review. I still wasn’t absolutely sure, but I braced myself and paid for it based solely on the fact that I’ve enjoyed other series you’ve rated highly.

    I’m so glad I did. This was absolutely fantastic! I did have a few moments of irritation (mostly as Noein kept shoving his depressing future down Haruka’s throat, despite *multiple* episodes having already established and reinforced the lesson that each future was only a possibility, not a certainty), but despite this, I can’t remember the last anime I enjoyed so much.

    So anyway, this is just a quick note to thank you for recommending it.

    Thank you :).

  25. Avatar Dragne says:

    A pretty good anime, though I didn’t think it was nearly as good as you make it out to be. I like that it tried something different.

    One of my biggest problems was the art. I say art and not animation because I think it was animated very well. The art design was not my style and annoyed me to no end (when I say design I mean the actual way characters were drawn). I thought the animation worked nicely however.

    The music was alright, one track stood out but nothing else was memorable.

    The plot was a cross between the matrix and back to the future. Which I enjoyed but never found it engrossing. I think my biggest problem was that the story was about 12 year old children. I find this confusing because it makes the target audience rather ambiguous. Are twelve year olds supposed to understand quantum physics?

    Overall it was good and recommended but not the diamond in the rough I was expecting. Good review though, we just have differing opinions.

  26. Avatar Megris Vernin says:

    I thought Noein was a fairly good show. The English dub of it I checked was very nice. The inconsistent art style annoyed out me for a while, but was usually acceptable during the battle scenes it happened in. I liked that none of the characters, even Atori(he turned cool by the end :)), were one dimensional. Each of the characters had quite a lot of depth. I felt bad for Quinn(wrong spelling?), by the end that guy was almost a robot. I agree with another comment that this wasn’t my favorite anime ever or even top 10. Certainly even though certain aspects confused me I can still appreciate the excellent battle sequences and cool powers of the Dragon Soldiers. It didn’t hit that emotional patch for me that some anime do, but I thought by the end it had become damn near impressive. Definitely my favorite series I’ve seen in about 3 months surpassed only slightly by how much I enjoyed Angel Beats.

    Thanks for all of the reviews you have, and will hopefully continue to do.

  27. Avatar Noein fan1 says:

    I loved this anime when i first came across this anime i thought it would be stupid. But i was WRONG. Big time wrong. If anyone of you think that noein is bad you are sadly misstaken. This show is so good i watched the series at least 4 or 5 times. I just couldn’t stop watching this that I barly did anything, I really didn’t even eat that much because I was so int this show that I lost track of time and I ended up watching noein all day

  28. Avatar mbarbosa says:

    The so called “babble” is actually a legitimate field of study now. Its quite possible we have many dimensions. I just liked it due to its ability to go for the alternate versions. Its allot better to read quantum psychics before you watch or after. Because if you do before you go o i know what their saying. After it works too cause you go oh i see. lol makes you wonder how the other yous are like.

  29. Avatar LouNa says:

    to the ones of you who are asking about the meaning of the word “noein”… after a visit to the wikipedia page it seems that the word could refer to the ancient greek word νοεῖν which means “to think” , “to observe” and also to a coptic one which means “to tremble”.

    P.S one of the best animes i’ve watched !!

  30. Avatar oroboros says:

    Excellent anime, and thank you Pgsels for reviewing it. I would have never seen it if it wasn’t for your high praise.

    For me, as a scifi buff, I enjoyed the series. The science was plausible and the explanations were consistent.

    But as an artist, I had some reservations about the animation – its quality seemed to drop dramatically during action scenes (I mean, sketchy lines and no color – manga effect?) and the cgi scenes were repeated a gadzillion times. Also, some of the designs seemed similar from Tweeny Witches, but had none of that show’s brilliant animation.

    The story seemed to cover the same ground over and over – Haruka is kidnapped again! Nothing will stop Karasu from saving her!

    Also, I felt there was too little focus on the future dystopia or Shangri’la (probably for effect) and that leaves some threads open or unresolved.

    All in all, the show belongs in the category of great series, along with Evangelion, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Magica Madoka.

  31. Avatar Vanny says:

    The plot is unique, but the pacing was too slow to my liking. I was on the verge of dropping the show, but I kept on watching anyways. The anime started to shine around the mid-end of the series and every episode after that was well done.

    Art was interesting, music was okay (very small selection but good soundtrack), character & development was good, and the ending was somewhat satisfying.
    I also cried on epi21 like you did >_<

    I'm just really annoyed they did not explain who was the mysterious old time traveler. At first I thought it could be another version of Yuu, but he didn't sound like him at all… He seems to be so knowledgeable about everything too.

  32. Avatar Cynthia says:

    I watched this series as I found it one time on a local channel. Basically, the channel was marathoning it, but the episodes were all out of order and it got marathoned several times in a row (or within hours of one marathon ending, another started). If you live in Canada, you might know the channel, IFC. Anyway, it was during the Christmas period of 2010, or around that time anyway, that I saw the dub. I only saw the dub, and I found the voice acting to be somewhat craptastic, but the story is good enough that it didn’t bother me much. To date, I haven’t yet hunted down the sub, and I know I really should. This series managed to be fascinating despite having, to me anyway, an odd animation style and a few annoying characters.

  33. Avatar kurini says:

    I just finished this anime! It’s pretty amazing!
    There is just a major thing I’m not satisfied with : THE PHONE CALL!

    It’s thanks to you that I watched such a great anime, thanks Pgsels! :D

  34. Avatar Seregon says:

    Well started watching it…the drawing wasnt too good.

    The story is not understandable.

    For example: (Spoiler) At the beginning this electricity guy with the blond hair and Karasu got into a serious fight. They are in some kind of military organisation (knights of …). Well…alone attacking a comrade is in realty a serious crime (which leads to prison and removement from office) and on top of that failing the mission because of it is something to hide your ass the rest of your life. But no conesquence here. They can both participate in the next mission as if nothing happened.

    Its as if people in 15 years in future are complete dumbasses. Without rules and no strategy to catch a single girl…if its future pls dont just add some technology but also a damn brain to the people.

    And than he swaps sides and protects the girl. Why ? I cant see a reason, why he should kill some comrade and help her. It makes no sense at all. Leaving all the people in his dimension to die , because she gave him water..wtf.

    Thats some lame ass plot.

    Its just my guess but lets see: They send brainless people after them (not too many and too strong..because then the main chars would eventually die) and the protagonist and all good guys survive and are happy. End. Lame

  35. Avatar Jedman says:

    I really like the setting in this anime, would like to actually visit that part of japan in real life.

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