Anonymous Noise Manga 1-6 Review
Volumes 1 and 2
Nino Arisugawa is a young, talented (although amateur) high school girl who loves to sing. Her raw, untrained voice is powerful and mesmerizing to all who hear it, except the one person in the whole world who she is desperately trying to reach. Nino and Momo were the best of childhood friends. They did everything together, including their favorite activity, singing to each other out the window whenever their parents fought. They cared deeply for each other and planned to be together forever. Nino’s heart was broken though, when Momo’s family suddenly moved out of town and the only goodbye she had was Momo’s promise that her voice would lead him back to her.
Left alone, Nino coped by running to the beach every day to sing her heart out, hoping Momo would find her. That’s how Kanade ‘Yuzu’ Yuzuriha found her. Entranced by her voice, the young composer quickly made friends with young Nino and began writing her songs to sing. Nino found the joy in life again while singing Yuzu’s songs. Her joy was short lived though, as Yuzu suddenly disappears as well.
Volumes 3 and 4
Life goes on for six lonely years for Nino as she struggles to comprehend her two great losses. As she steps into her new high school as a first year student she is shocked to find that Yuzu also attends the same school and is still making music as part of a Pop Music Club. Immune to Yuzu’s cold-shoulder attitude, she forces her way back into his life and discovers that he is secretly in a hugely popular band with the other students from the Pop Music Club. They keep their identities anonymous by wearing masks, eyepatches, and costumes. After the band’s lead singer quits, Nino manages to land a spot as the lead singer of In NO Hurry to Shout, and launches the band into an even bigger stardom.
Nino’s newfound stardom as ‘Alice”, the band’s lead singer, manages to reach Momo. He also attends the very same high school as Nino and Yuzu! Nino’s hopes for a joyous reunion are dashed when Momo tells her he never wants to see her again and her voice isn’t good enough. Devastated, she throws herself into becoming the best singer possible all with the help of Yuzu. Yuzu, though, is also silently suffering. He desperately wants to profess his love to his ‘Alice’ Nino, but she only has eyes for Momo.
Nino discovers that Momo’s music group is holding auditions for a new member, and she decides to try out in an attempt to reach Momo one more time. Once she makes it through to audition though, she learns that Momo has refused to watch her audition and she breaks down, unable to complete her song. The experience pushes Nino to new heights as she continues her quest to be good enough for Momo.
Volumes 5 and 6
In NO Hurry to Shout is booked for the biggest music festival of the year, Rock Horizon. But there’s a catch. Momo has formed a rival band, Silent Black Kitty, and calls out In No Hurry to Shout to see who can draw the bigger crowd at the festival. To everyone’s surprise, they learn that Miou Suguri, In NO Hurry’s old lead singer, has joined Silent Black Kitty. In NO Hurry must put on the performance of their lives to go up against the talent of Momo and Miou.
Just before the bands take the stage, Momo finds Nino in secret and tells her he was in love with her but had to push her away because he was ashamed of who he had become. He must say goodbye forever and he will disappear again. The shock of this announcement sends Nino crashing through her performance, but it somehow works wonders for the band. Her raw emotions drive the songs to new heights and the band is wildly successful.
Yuzu does his best to lift Nino’s spirits in the months after the Rock Horizon festival. He still struggles with hiding his love for Nino while trying to be a good friend. Everything shifts for him when Momo secretly reaches out to him, challenging him for Nino. Yuzu knows he has to win Nino’s heart, because losing her to Momo would be too much to bear.
Let’s talk Pro’s
There were a lot of things that I did end up liking about this Manga series. The artwork is very stylistic and the story held my interest for the most part. I liked that some of the characters showed growth and I am particularly fond of Yuzu and Miou’s characters. I think they are the thought out and most well-rounded characters in the series. Miou shows the most growth, going from cast aside ex-girlfriend of Yuzu, to powerful lead singer of Silent Black Kitty and one of Nino’s closest friends. Yuzu is a very caring, though sometimes too dramatic, friend to Nino. Although, I think Nino uses him selfishly to climb her way into Momo’s good graces, and he deserves better than her immaturity.
What didn’t work
I’m not the target demographic for this novel. I am more inclined to like action-packed badass hero stories. But this was a fine venture into the world of the shojo genre for me. The author, Ryoko Fukuyama, does a great job fleshing out this world and the characters in it. The characters acted a bit too unpredictably for my taste, flip flopping back and forth between loving and hating each other.
The artwork, which I absolutely loved at first, became a little one note as the series progressed. I had a hard time differentiating a couple characters, as they all had emo hair that covered their face and dark brooding eyes. They are all draw in a hyper-stylized, pointy face, noodle limb art form that can get a bit overwhelming at times.
I also had a hard time with the transitions and jump cuts between scenes, there is no warning when switching between different conversations, locations, or time periods, which didn’t help my inability to tell the main characters apart.
The story was pretty fast paced, but I felt like I was stuck in a bit of a loop. Nino sings for Momo, Momo treats her like crap, Nino stubbornly resolves to do better, Yuzu picks up the pieces. Over and over and over again. At some point one of these characters is going to break. I want to like Momo’s character very badly. I usually enjoy stories about tortured artists. But he’s just plain awful to Nino most of the time, for a completely selfish reason, and yet Nino treats him like he’s some amazing guy. Blech. Have some self-respect Nino.
Overall, I’d recommend this Manga series if you’re really into musically driven, love-triangle, dramas. It’s exciting at times, and a frustrating tease at others. I look forward to seeing what Nino, Yuzu, and Momo do when they all come head to head in the next book!
VIZ Media provided us with a copy of this manga in exchange for a fair review. Want to read Anonymous Noise? Check it out here!