tek's rating:

Noein - to your other self, on Chiba TV
ANN; IMDb; Madman; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Funimation; iTunes

Caution: potential spoilers. Sort of. I think.

The main character is a young girl named Haruka Kaminogi. She has several friends, the main one being a boy named Yuu Gotou. There's also a weird girl named Miho Mukai, who's always trying to get her friends to look for ghosts and stuff like that. There's a girl named Ai Hasebe, who likes their other friend, Isami Fujiwara. Isami, meanwhile, has a crush on their teacher, Miss Yukie, but I think eventually he and Ai will get together. Anyway, at some point in the past, Haruka had mentioned the idea of her and Yuu running away from home, which Yuu would like to do because he feels like he's going crazy, since his mother is forcing him to go to cram school over summer break. But Haruka didn't want to do so anymore; she'd just been having a fight with her mother when she said that. Anyway, eventually Yuu will get over his problems with his mother, though it takes awhile. But before that, he'll find new things to trouble him.

But, everything centers around Haruka. There's weird stuff going on, that takes awhile for the series to fully explain. Meanwhile, there are a couple of adults, Ryouko Uchida, and Kyouji Kooriyama. Uchida is a quantum researcher for a scientific project, and she's investigating occurences of quantum phenomena. Kooriyama is her driver and bodyguard. They don't get along too well at first. Of course, nothing that's going on really makes sense to Kooriyama, and it's pretty common to hear him respond to her explanations by saying something like "In English?" (which makes me wonder what he said in the original Japanese version). Anyway, even when he understands what she's saying, he finds it all pretty hard to believe.

But I digress. Sort of. It's a difficult series to really figure out what order to say anything about, not that it matters, because causality will eventually be reversed, anyway. Heh. Um... Part of the story is set in another dimension, 15 years in the future. A dimension called La'cryma, which has been pretty much devastated by some event in the past, in which everyone evolved into "quantum humans," or something. Or at least the people called Dragon Knights did. They have special abilities, for fighting and whatnot. Anyway, they want to secure something called the "Dragon Torque," which exists in Haruka's reality, and in fact turns out to be Haruka. Some of the Knights knew Haruka in the past, and yet this Haruka is not really the one they knew. One Dragon Knight, Karasu, is originally trying to secure her and bring her back to La'cryma, to stabilize their dimension, but eventually he'll give up on that idea, and instead decide to stay in this dimension, and protect her. The twist is, Karasu used to be Yuu. Which Haruka quickly accepts, and makes her trust him, but Yuu has a great deal of trouble accepting it, and it basically makes him feel useless; he too wants to protect Haruka, but can't do it as well as Karasu, of whom he is distrustful and jealous.

Meanwhile, there's another Dragon Knight named Atori, who turns against the other Knights, and stays in the present dimension to try to secure Haruka himself. Or destroy her, or whatever, I dunno. He's kind of crazy. He disconnects himself from the pipeline which connects Knights to La'cryma when they're in the present timespace, as Karasu had done. Supposedly this means they could lose their powers, or disappear, or something, but somehow that never quite seems to happen. Anyway, he's accompanied by another Dragon Knight, Tobi, who seems to be a much nicer and more stable person than Atori, if not so much a fighter. (Wikipedia calls Tobi a "he," though I think Tobi looks like a "she," and at least once in the anime I heard someone call Tobi "she," though this was not one of the Knights, but a kid who could've been mistaken. I forget who it was, probably Haruka. No one ever corrected her if she was wrong, but hell, it could be I misheard, or it could be the dub decided to call Tobi female even if originally he was male... but whatever, I suppose it doesn't matter.) Anyway, Tobi will eventually start working with Uchida and trying to help Haruka's friends.

There are several other Dragon Knights we'll meet in the course of the series. One of them is Amamiku, who is the future version of Ai. Another Dragon Knight is Fukurou, who is the future version of Isami. There's also a Dragon Knight named Kosagi, who was in love with Karasu, but he didn't love her, and she got very upset when he betrayed the Dragon Knights to protect Haruka. Eventually Atori goes really crazy, loses his memory, and when he meets Miho, he at first thinks she's his little sister Sara. After this he becomes more more peaceful and friendly with the main characters, trying to protect Haruka as well; actually he seems rather childlike. And he develops a bond with Miho.

Eventually the last remaining Knight in La'cryma is Kuina, who had tried to betray all the Knights to their enemy, Noein, who is this rather ghostly looking figure from a dimension called Shangri'la. Mostly we just see a strange mask Noein wears. Kuina wanted Noein to take him to Shangri'la, which I suppose is much nicer than La'cryma. Noein also wants to secure the Dragon Torque, as Shangri'la is trying to absorb all the infinite possible dimensions. Or something. It also seems like the project Uchida is involved in could be related to the science used by La'cryma to visit other dimensions, but it could also lead to the destruction of everything in existence. So she tries to put a stop to it. The project also involves Haruka's father, a scientist named Takuya Mayuzumi (who is divorced from Haruka's mother, Asuka).

Yes, I think I'm saying everything out of order and leaving out too many details. It's all very weird. Haruka has powers, she can see other dimensions, sometimes, and she can change things, though it takes her some time to even begin to understand any of this, and doesn't seem to control it at will. Everything is very mysterious. We don't even learn what happened to the Haruka from Karasu's dimension until near the end of the series, but for Karasu and the others, the Haruka they knew has been gone for a long time, and this entire dimension is supposed to be an illusion to them. It is not actually their past, but something they created for a purpose that I wouldn't want to reveal even if I did completely understand it. But it, and Haruka and her friends, all become real to them. We'll eventually learn that for anyone or any dimension to be real, it must be observed, which the Knights have done...

Anyway, after the first episode, I thought there was a good chance I'd get to really like the series. It put me in mind of my old idea from many years ago, in my earliest days of anime fandom, about the inherent weirdness and inexplicability of anime in general. Over the years my perception of anime has changed somewhat, even if I do think it's often still kinda crazy. But it was nice to have that old feeling again. And as I've seen more of the series, well I still think it's a weird and inexplicable show, and nothing makes much sense, but... I'm not liking it as much as I thought I might. Don't get me wrong, I definitely like it. It has some interesting animation and interesting concepts and characters. Definitely an intriguiging story. But I'm not sure if it's something I feel the need to see again. ...It's not really the same kind of weirdness as the old days, and I'm not really in love with that old style of anime weirdness anymore, anyway. This show... is stuck somewhere between my old idea of anime and my new idea of anime, and between my old love of anime and my new love of anime. My feelings about the show, ultimately, are about as confusing and inexplicable and nebulous as is the reality or realities within the show itself....

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