I know some of you at this point are probably wondering why I’ve been posting so much anime (“Doesn’t she ever READ something?”). Of course I read…but while the Altador Cup is going on—while I’m playing mindless Flash games that devour my soul—I can’t read. So I usually put on some movies or a TV show in the background. In the past, I’ve mostly stuck to the classics I love—Phantom of the Opera, Labyrinth, Willow, etc.—but this year I decided that it was a good time to try out some of the shows on my To-Watch list. Every time I go to ACEN, I leave the convention with a list of at least a dozen new anime or movies I need to check out.
That’s why the influx of anime reviews. I apologize if anime isn’t your thing, but the genre is quite a large influence on me, right up there with classic epic fantasy.
So I’m going to tell you about Noein: To Your Other Self.
I learned about this one at a panel for voice actor Richard Epcar. He told the story of how he and some other voice actors were goofing around one day and did different voice overs for the same clips. It’s sort of what any of us would do when the boss is away, just for fun. It was an amusing story to hear because several of the voice actors were all for the idea, while one in particular wasn’t really feeling it. However, as we watched the clips progress, you could tell that even he was starting to have fun with it (and it was hilarious). Before or after the story and the amusing voice overs, though (I can’t remember which), the panelist told us about what the anime was actually about.
The brief description of Noein is that it’s about dimensional travel and the concept of the Multiverse. The Multiverse theory is that there’s an infinite number of parallel dimensions, fractured and fractured again depending on all of the fate-changing choices that we make throughout our lives. According to this theory, basically there are infinite versions of yourself. Some of you are alive, some are dead. Some are happy, some are miserable, and so on and so forth.
The concept of Noein in regards to this theory is that there’s one girl who solidifies the true dimension. She is known as the Dragon Torc and her name is Haruka. Simply by observing and believing in a choice or dimension, that is the dimension that becomes real at the expense of the other dimensions that would have occurred otherwise.
Fifteen years in the future from the current time and space, there are two major yet unstable dimensions at odds with one another. One is called Shangri-La, and it’s the ‘Ideal’ Dimension, where apparently everyone is happy and everything is wonderful. The other is Lacryma, where apparently everything is miserable and the people are trying desperately to save their world. In both dimensions, there are future versions of all of the main and secondary characters in the current time and space. Lacryma and Shangri-La both have an interest in finding and acquiring the Dragon Torc to be able to go back in time and basically force her to solidify the correct decisions to stabilize their dimension. Shangri-La wants to be the One True Dimension, so to speak. Lacryma wants to save its failing world.
The story of Noein basically focuses on Haruka as she learns about the two dimensions and her abilities. She is assisted in this by her close friend Yu and a mysterious Dragon Knight of the future named Karasu. Karasu went back in time to try to capture Haruka for Lacryma, but when he met her, he balked at his mission and chose to become her protector instead.
Throughout the 24-episode anime, the emotional themes of friendship and family are the backbone of the psychological interest. The plot revolves around loyalty and the theories of quantum physics, as well as the consequences of choices and mistakes.
It’s odd…as I watched this anime, I wasn’t completely on board with it. Usually, science fiction isn’t my thing, and I really dislike learning about physics. Time travel, dimensional travel, and hard sci-fi tend to exhaust me. I think I spend too much time trying to make sense of who is what and where it is, being confused about which timeline we are in and what’s going on. It tends to confuse me into not being able to enjoy it. Instead, as I write this, I’m realizing that I did enjoy it. It’s sticking with me. It was interesting, and it can be fun to think about what we may become in the future based on the on-the-fly decisions we make.
So I liked Noein. If this kind of sci-fi is in your interests, then I definitely recommend it for you. For me, simply because it’s not my usual genre, it doesn’t quite make it to my top ten.
However, because the list of anime I have watched keeps growing, I’m able to recognize the voices of a number of voice actors now. I have a few favorites from Naruto. Much like with live actors, I like to follow them around to their works and support them that way. Noein has Crispin Freeman (Itachi), Yuri Lowenthal (Sasuke), Mona Marshall (Inari), Steve Kramer (Sarutobi Hiruzen), and Richard Epcar (Hanzo, Manda). Crispin Freeman is a particular favorite of mine. To have been able to see another anime with these great names in it is always a treat.
Comments are always appreciated. I’d love to know if you enjoy the same things I enjoy or if you have any suggestions. My to-watch and to-read lists are never long enough.
Thanks for your support!