What They Say:
Six years ago Momo taught Nino the joy of singing from her heart. When Momo’s family moved away without warning, Nino found herself lost and adrift. Until she met Yuzu, who also had a musical gift that he shared with her until he was suddenly gone as well, leaving nothing but the memory of his music. Before they disappeared, both Momo and Yuzu said the same thing- that Nino should keep singing, because that was how they’d find her again.
Now, as Nino starts high school, their paths are all about to cross again. But while Nino has kept singing and remembering how things were, Momo and Yuzu have changed. Now it may take a miracle to bring them back together when a triangle becomes more than a musical instrument.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track along with the English language dub track in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that doesn’t have what you’d call action to it but it does have some fun little wild take moments and some outlandishness from our lead character along the way. But what helps to make it work really well is the music throughout it, whether it’s the really polished songs or the singing of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. These areas have a lot of good warmth to them and it fleshes out the soundstage nicely to give it a larger and fuller feeling. When it really rocks it it does it in a big way and the mix captures it very well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Brain’s Base, the show has a strong look to it that captures the designs of the original manga really well. It doesn’t go for overly detailed or color designs to it but there’s a good richness to the character designs and the backgrounds feel well lived in both in and out of school. There are a lot of really well done big scenes, mostly the concert performance pieces and the like, and they have a very rich textured feeling to it with some very slick animation. The show is definitely not a budget show but it’s one that uses its budget well to deliver a great looking work. The encoding captures all of this really well with solid colors, smooth and fluid animation, and no problems such as blocking or noise.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case with the two discs held against the interior walls. The front cover uses the familiar key visual of our three lead characters with a lot of nice detail to it and it accents it all with some good designs in the background that uses pinks, purple, and black to give it an eye-catching look. THe logo is a bit more simple and understated but it works well since it doesn’t distract from the artwork. The back cover has some nice artwork of Nino in her done up costume design and there’s a decent selection of small shots from the show itself next to her. We do get a pretty solid summary of the premise and a clean breakdown of the extras that comes with the set. The remainder is given over to the usual with the production credits and the technical grid that breaks it all down cleanly and accurately. No show related inserts are included with this release.
The menu design for this release is pretty nice as it uses the color design from the cover while mixing in some bright blues as well. The bulk of it is given over to character visual material with them in their band moe and in their normal mode so that we get some variety from disc to disc. The navigation is kept along the left with a nice breakdown in black and white with the episodes by number and title while the cat from the band name is used as the cursor. The layout is simple and effective but it’s busy with all that’s included and fits the show well. Submenus load quickly and language selection is breeze, making it a menu that works well both as the main piece and as the pop-up menu during playback.
The extras for this release are pretty straightforward with the clean opening and closing included. That would be the easy way to look at it but there are a lot of those in the series with the openings clocking in at twenty-one minutes and the closings at fifteen minutes. We also get some fun promos for the show along with some of the commercials.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga Fukumenkei Noizu by Ryoko Fukuyama, Anonymous Noise is a twelve episode TV series that aired in the spring 2018 season. The manga, which is seeing release domestically through Viz Media, began in 2013 and has thirteen volumes out as of this release and is ongoing. So we may not get a full and proper ending here in a sense but what we get is a really good story.B rain’s Base animated the project to good effect with some great looking designs and a really strong music design to it as well that helps to bind it all together in a way that makes it pretty exciting even while playing in a familiar area. In fact, one of the things that really sets this apart from other school music series is that the kids involved largely are actively interested in the mechanics of music and spend time working on it rather than just the usual “We’re gonna start a band!” route.
The central focus of the series is on Nino Arisugawa, affectionately known as Alice by a few, who has a strong bond with music. In elementary school, she had a friend in Momo Sakaki who protected her as kids quite a lot. Nino was big into singing but she was getting lots of accusations by others because of how she dominated in groups and that kept her from really feeling welcome. She got comfort from Momo who also wrote a lot of songs for her. When he up and disappeared one day due to his family moving, that left a big hole in her life and her heart. She didn’t exactly fill it later on with Kanade Yuzuriha, someone she met on the beach that she connected with on a musical level as well, though he fell for her in a big way whereas she viewed him as an intensely great friend. They too lost touch with each other though she kept to her dream of singing in order to be a guidepost that would bring her back to Momo.
As a first-year in high school, everything changes for Nino when she checks out a music performance being held and discovers that the group there, “In NO hurry to shout” is singing a song that she knows. This turns into a lot of craziness as it turns out that Kanade had formed it and come up with the “masked” element to give them a cool factor and some anonymity. What becomes hilarious is that Nino basically forces her way into it on stage and belts out the lyrics in a kind of monster approach, fully of sound and fury with great intensity. This ends up pushing out the original singer, who wasn’t that vested in it to begin with, and allows Nino to eventually take on a raven-haired persona with it. Of course, her goal grows quickly when she discovers that Momo has a new last name in Kiryu and is a very famous music producer and songwriter. It’s no surprise that through the school group she’ll try to find a way to get back to him.
The obvious here is obvious in that she’s still mad and madly in love with Momo and oblivious to the real feelings that Kanade has for her. Both young men have their own struggles and operate independent storylines, more so for Momo than Kanade, but it works well to place some distance between them all and let it unfold a bit more naturally. The situation with Kanade and his girlfriend, the now former singer of the band, is a bit more problematic in how easily it’s dealt with but the girl, Miou, essentially realizes that Kanade has been carrying this torch and band for her for a few years and that until it either connects or burns itself out it’s not going to do her any good. In fact, she goes so far as to actually befriend Nino to a good degree and spends time helping her with her singing. All of this serves to avoid some of the usual traps, particularly one Momo exist the school entirely in order to focus on other projects, and we get some decent time with the members of the band coming together but not dominating in a way where we really get to know them and their storylines. I suspect we get more of that in the manga but I’m hopeful that it’s just streamlined out of the anime adaptation to keep us focused on the core trio.
The show works through some good stuff as we get Nino eventually getting her own gear, quickly getting into the whole dynamic with the masked aspect, and I really liked the hair color change for the performance as that combined with the mask she wears during the day paints the picture of an interesting character. The power and intensity of her performances are incredibly striking in a way that avoids every problem I have with the deluge of idol shows in the past decade in that the majority of those are just so utterly saccharine and bland. This one steps to its own beat and embraces it wholly, making for a really engaging run. But it balances all of that with difficult and not easily answered romantic entanglements because of childhood loves that are hard to move past without a lot of self-reflection, which you get only so much with a first-year high school student. There are areas where things don’t work as well as it could simply because it is what it is, but the series does a really good job with what it’s attempting to do.
Anonymous Noise has its flaws as most series do, especially when playing with a field of teenagers that are acting older than they are, but the result on screen is strong. The music performances are fantastic, something I rarely find anymore, the character dynamics are strong with interesting and believable angles being worked with when it comes to them, and the characters are smartly managed with their time so that we don’t end up with a lot of predictable episodes like hot springs, culture festival silliness, and other cliches. It deals with a lot of different things as Nino looks to go after what she wants and wraps it all up in some fantastic performances both as characters and with the music. Sentai’s release is really strong here with a great dub, a strong encoding, and a good chunk of extras to please most fans. Very recommended.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Promos & Commercial, Drama CD’s, Clean Opening Animation, and Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.