It’s been a little while since I reviewed the Anonymous Noise anime so it’s time to take a look at the manga. The events between the two titles are pretty much the same except that the anime stops a whole lot earlier while the manga throws in all of the extra drama. Anonymous Noise is one of those titles that’s surprisingly long so prepare for a whole lot of rebounds and constant romances. Nobody ever ends up with their original pick.
I’ll never not find it a little humorous how Nino effectively has two origin stories here. So first she has a next door neighbor named Momo as a kid and together they sing songs and hang out. He is always ready to stick up for her when the bullies show up and enjoys her company. Well, one day he just vanishes out of the blue and Nino gets depressed. Fortunately she meets a boy named Yuzuriha who starts writing music for her. Perhaps if she sings loud enough she will be able to reach Momo some day. Unfortunately one day Yuzuriha vanishes as well so Nino gets depressed all over again.
Fast forward a bunch of years and Nino is now a teenager who always wears a face mask since it contains her need to scream. She has been psychologically scarred by her childhood at this point and so that’s her last safety measure. At her new high school there is a music club so naturally she intends on joining. It turns out that this group is also the secret metal band that has been taking the world by storm. Nino will need a disguise as well and shall be called Alice while performing.
Both of her old friends have really come a long way over the years. Momo is a super successful music writer who works with another band and is acknowledged as a prodigy considering that he’s also still in High School. He no longer wants anything to do with Nino though and treats her quite harshly. Then you have Yuzuriha who also tries avoiding Nino but to no avail as they attend some of the same classes and are in the same club. Nino needs to find out why they are avoiding her and in the meantime she will have to improve her singing voice. Ultimately that is how she will reach the top. She wants Momo to be with her but is it possible that she may like Yuzuriha as well?
The classic love triangle is a plot as old as time. Momo is the mean guy who’s always insulting Nino and yet you know that he has a great chance of winning in the end as a result. Then you have Yuzuriha who is the nice guy in comparison and who gets to spend the most time with Nino. As a result you feel like he is doomed from the start. Who knows maybe the series will surprise you in the end with who Nino chooses….
As a main character I would say Nino is decent. One part of her character that is fairly unique is how she completely ignores the other characters even when they’re talking to her. Deflecting is her chief conversation tactic so if things are starting to get serious she’ll bring up some nonsense to throw the conversation to the side. While you may think this is coincidental, I think it’s far too exaggerated for this to be anything but intentional. Nino knows exactly what she is doing the whole time.
She gets quite a bit of character development as the series goes on. For starters, while she always had a lot of volume, her actual singing ability wasn’t all that great until we got to near the end of the series. She had to approve a lot with different coaches but always put in the work. Where she falters though is in the romance. You really need to be decisive in this kind of thing. Can’t have two guys fighting over you forever. While she does make a choice at the end of the series, it feels like both guys are in the mix for way too long.
She has moments and affairs with both of them at times and while Momo is the only guy she’s ever serious about, she is never fast enough to stop Yuzuriha when he makes a move. He manages to get her while her guard is down several times and it’ll just make you shake your head. Nino always does her best to try and act normal afterwards but she really should have shut the guy down a lot earlier. It’s something that deducts points from all 3 characters throughout the series. It’s one of the reasons why some of the supporting characters tend to be the real hype members.
As for Yuzuriha, well you’ve already heard why I don’t like that guy. The ole Shojo trope of stealing a kiss from the heroine and playing it off like it’s no big deal definitely doesn’t work. He pulls this several times even when he knows that Nino already likes someone else. Sure, you can keep trying to win someone over until they actually start dating someone else but it’s got to be with good discussions, not with just making a move like that.
Yuzuriha also handled their initial reunion rather poorly. I don’t think he or Momo had good reasons for avoiding Nino and being so antagonistic at first. Yuzuriha has an extended plot with his mother as well which at least gives him something to do besides chasing after Nino. Their father died in a crash a long time ago but his mother never truly accepted that fact. So the home situation is a little rough and they’re still trying to battle through that. It’s a pretty serious plot to be sure.
Then you have Momo who is basically an antagonist most of the time. He goes really far with insulting Nino as well as her music. There’s no way to actually sympathize with the guy even after we learn his origin. He also has a situation with his mother but in this case she doesn’t oppose music the way that Yuzuriha’s does. She enjoys it because she wants the money. Basically she uses Momo as her piggy bank to get rich. This doesn’t really cover the Nino aspect though. Effectively Momo wanted to keep her at a distance so his Mom wouldn’t try anything but that always seemed like an overreaction at best.
Momo is also quite successful in his own right and is supposed to be some kind of genius. If he really wanted to then he definitely could have found a way to talk with Nino and explain things. He also chooses the worst possible moments to throw big twists at her like a certain break up scene during the concert. His rivalry with Yuzuriha with Nino thrown in the middle can be a bit much as well.
They fight over her throughout as they keep bragging that they will be the one to claim her voice. It’s certainly a unique dynamic as they both want her to only sing for them. It’s different than the usual fights you would have for the heroine but at the same time I wouldn’t say it puts either one of them in a positive light. I should say this isn’t in a literal sense as they still want her to do concerts and such but they want her to only think of them during the songs. That’s a rather tough order to fulfill though.
Technically the three characters are actually friendly with each other at times by the middle-end of the series but you can never think of it as a true friendship. How can it be when both characters have already told Nino that they don’t see her as a friend? As a result they are quite envious of each other as well so it ends up being more toxic than anything.
Miou is one of the main supporting characters and while her role was greatly diminished in the show, she does a whole lot in the manga. She originally liked Yuzuriha but of course that didn’t quite work out so well for her. Miou ends up rebounding with Haruyoshi with the added twist being that they both acknowledge this is a rebound. Haruyoshi is just confident that he can eventually get her to like him for real.
So they go along with this as an experiment but despite Haruyoshi’s tough talk he is soon not satisfied with being the rebound which causes him to be upset a lot. I didn’t care for his character in the end. He likes goofing off and messing with Miou a lot while hiding his true feelings inside. The guy is often a lot more serious than he appears but the contrast just didn’t work for him. I may have liked him more if he had more patience with Miou but considering that they both knew the terms of the deal, I didn’t think he was very consistent.
Back to Miou, one aspect of her character that was particularly strong is how she would tutor and assist Nino throughout the series despite knowing that Nino was effectively taking over her spot on the team and even stealing her man. It proved that Miou was really a good person as not many people would have been able to do that. She always took the high road and had a very consistent character arc. I wasn’t on board with the rebound plot at all to be honest but at least she was someone you could root for.
Kuro is another member of the band but he definitely has the worst plot out of the whole group. So basically he and his brother both liked the same girl back in the day. Kuro was slow to make his move though so his brother confessed and they got married. Fine, good show. Well played by the bro. Kuro should now move on since the girl is no longer an option right? Wrong and that’s the cringe part. Kuro still likes her and even asks her out at one point and confesses his feelings.
That’s a big no no. One of the most basic rules of romance is that as soon as someone is married that’s game over. Honestly, even while dating that person should be off your radar but even more so when marriage has occurred. This was easily the worst romance in the entire series and I couldn’t wait for it to be gone. Of course that inevitably means it had to be replaced with a rebound story arc.
A new girl joins the band near the very end of the series who ends up liking Kuro. It’s certainly convenient for the guy since he needed a rebound at this point. She doesn’t have a lot of character beyond just being added in to finish the romance plots. Her personality is that she tends to play things very cool and not show much emotion but bottling it in like that ends up hurting her on quite a few occasions. A running theme in the series is definitely not to hold everything in and to cry as needed otherwise the characters always end up breaking down.
There are also two adult characters who get a decent sized role here. First is Yana who is the manager for the main band. He’s definitely very good at his job and is always busy booking lots of different gigs for the heroes. Without him they would definitely be quite lost. He’s also got a competitive streak against him and always responds when Momo’s team challenges him. Then you have Kuze who effectively has the same role for Momo’s team. She’s always ready to psychoanalyze him and stay one step ahead of Momo. She’s the only one who consistently flusters him because everyone else is too scared of the guy to talk tough.
There are a few side characters as well like a group of up and coming music stars who also get involved. They made for decent rivals even if I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of them. We did have a fun duel between Nino and one of the singers near the end of the series as she tries to keep up with them in a pretty meta battle about proving that she could sing with the best. She has the volume for it but this is in more of a tempo sense. She can’t just sing loud but has to be able to create an opening and take the lead.
Anonymous Noise definitely treats its music very seriously. It was fun to hear the actual songs in the anime while of course the manga is limited by trying to visually show what it would sound like. You can picture the metal aspect though based on the costumes and how her voice is always supposed to be eat splitting. Quite a few times her voice ends up breaking down so she is simply shouting into the audience but the fans seem to love this so it works out.
Now while the series is very serious, I should mention there can still be light hearted moments and some humor now and again. These scenes are just easy to forget with all the drama going on but this is still a light hearted series at its core. The main characters laugh a lot and get to really enjoy their youth. They make the most of their experiences abroad with the singing careers and even develop solid bonds with each other. By the end of the series everyone is really on good terms with each other.
The series probably could have just lost a few volumes in order to cut out some of the extra drama though. Some characters seem to go back and forth a whole lot before settling down so you could easily cut out a few of the fake outs and that would get things to the point quicker. A certain break up involving the main heroine always comes to mind since it still feels like that was completely unnecessary. So the weakest element in the series is the romance itself.
Now you may be wondering, was this a good series overall though? I would still say yes, the writing is on point and you are engaged with what is going on. While I wasn’t on board with the romance, it also wasn’t bad enough where I would deduct serious points away or anything like that. Kuro’s plot is the only one that would be enough to shave a star off because that was just crazy. You’ll still be blasting through each volume as you arrive at the end of the series. The competitions are always a blast and if anything you wish we could have had more of those. Battle of the Bands is always worth the wait. So in the end, Anonymous Noise is a journey that is worth experiencing. It isn’t the best Shojo or anything like that but it holds its own.
The artwork is also pretty solid. The artist is good at giving everyone a lot of expressions and from letting the characters look too similar. The only time it can be hard to recognize the characters is when they’re in the disguises since a lot of those look so similar. It’s part of the point of having the disguises in the first place though so I’ll cut the series some slack there. I would say the art does the job.
Overall, Anonymous Noise is a good series that gets bogged down by some unnecessary plot lines. We really didn’t need nearly as many romances as what we got. There were rebounds all around so I wouldn’t trust any of the characters. You would never know if you were the first choice or just the runner up. Just about every character in the series had to settle for their second option which is not a very satisfying place to be in. I will say that the final pages of the series were solid though. At least one character dynamic was really solid there and it’s the kind of closing relationship I’d like to see more of in these titles.