Movie: One of the best anime series on the market today is NOIR. The series is centered on a couple of female assassins in France who take only the most difficult assignments and usually for the "right" reasons. One of the leads has amnesia and struggles to regain her sense of self while the other appears to be quite a mercenary. In the latest volume of the series, NOIR 5: Terminal Velocity, the story is beginning to quickly reach a conclusion as the team of assassins learns more about their past. Both are sworn enemies of a criminal syndicate, Soldats, which has a contract on the team's heads. Both ladies want to learn about their pasts, even if it means their demise. The series is somewhat exceptional based on it's quality of animation, it's music, and it's story lines that appear to have plenty of thought going into them. Sadly, there were only 3 episodes this time, with no additional extras to compensate for it. It's a great show for those who like high-end production values, clever writing, solid voice acting, and cool music.
Episode 17: Return To Corsica:
Mireille returns to Corsica to seek answers about her long-dead family. As her past continues to unfold, she finds out that the past may well prove deadly and that you really can't "go back".
Episode 18: The Darkness Within Me:
Chloe warns Kirika about the continuing contract on Mireille's life but the tension between the two lead characters grows, as their pasts get closer to unveiling themselves. Chloe never does anything for anyone unless she stands to gain from it and her angle this time is unclear.
Episode 19: The Two Hands Of The Soldats:
It becomes apparent to Mireille that Chloe and Kirika are destined to be the "true" NOIR when she sees them fight side by side. How long will it be before Chloe makes her move to replace Mireille? Temptations abound but Kirika, for the moment at least, rejects such an alliance.
I think this dvd is worth a rating of Recommended for the 3 solid episodes but would've been worth more had there been the additional 4th episode most fans expect of a full priced dvd. In any case, if you like the show, you'll want to get this one and if you're new to the show, start with the First Volume, since that sets the stage rather well but most fans of anime will want to check out the whole series, it's that good.
Picture: The picture is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and again looks great. I didn't see any problems with the transfer or the print itself. Very sharp and crystal clear as usual.
Sound: The sound was presented in both Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby Digital Stereo with optional English subtitles. This is another area where the series shines. The vocals, especially the Japanese vocals, were crisp and clear with plenty of separation between the channels. The music was exceptionally good too and a series soundtrack is available too.
Extras: The best extra here was the interview with Japanese vocal performer, Tarako who discussed a lot about her role as Altena. The other extras consisted of some sketches, a clean opening and closing, some trailers, and a paper insert that provides some background notes about the series, this time, focusing on Altena, the male characters, and a brief regarding fans.
Final Thoughts: In Volume 4, the show started accelerating towards it's ultimate finish and this dvd continued that trend with good results. I only wish the dvd had more episodes since 4 per dvd is becoming a de-facto standard these days. In any case, this is one of the best anime series on the market today. The music, anime style, and other production values are matched by the writing and acting so check it out.