Anonymous Noise begin their penultimate episode having just finished their final performance together before their year long hiatus. Each member prepares to head off in a different direction during their hiatus looking for new inspiration, friendships, challenges, and courage. Yuzu travels abroad and discovers more about his past. Momo fervently writes a song dedicated to Nino. Nino blossoms and grows more confident as she explores new music with different bands.
Nino and Miou, once rivals, are now duet partners with Nino guest starring on Silent Black Kitty’s newest album. Nino feels free for the first time in her life, not relying on Momo’s absence or Yuzu’s attention for her voice to be strong.
The year long hiatus is over almost as quick as it began with In No Hurry and Silent Black Kitty being invited to the big stage at the Rock Horizon Concert!
Yuzu returns from Europe just in time for the band to get back together and rock their hearts out in rehearsals. He shocks everyone by asking Nino to duet with him for most of their songs on stage. No surprise here, it’s the best they’ve ever sounded.
Momo gets up the courage to show Nino his song he wrote for her. She is overwhelmed by this show of emotion and finally receiving what she’s wanted from him all along.
In No Hurry climbs the Horizon stage at the festival, ready to shock the world with their first performance since the year long hiatus. Nino takes a quiet moment to reflect on her journey to this stage, and how her voice will finally reach the horizon and beyond.
The crowd is a sea of cheering fans, and the concert begins crashing from one nostalgic memory of a song to the next. Nino owns the stage, and draws strength with each memory the songs bring back. The first song she sang on stage, the first time she lost control or her voice, the first song after she broke up with Momo. All the while, Yuzu challenges her to new heights with his singing beside her. Finally, In No Hurry debut a new song that sweeps the crowd into a fervor. In a blink, the concert is through, and Nino is jumping off stage, racing to find Momo and confess her true feelings.
Momo and Yuzu, also once rivals, now composing partners, have both professed their feelings to Nino and agreed to back off and let her make her own choice. Yuzu realizes that Nino’s voice will always be an inspiration to him and he knows they will always find a way to sing together. Momo has finally broken down his walls and exposed his true feelings to Nino in the hopes that he can prove he can be enough for her. Nino speaks with Yuzu and confirms that her voice will always belong to him. This makes Yuzu happy and content knowing he’ll always have that part of her. But it’s Momo who wins her heart. His show of emotion was what she needed to make her commitment. They have both grown enough to realize that they can be independent people, but still rely on each other for support.
The happily ever after shows that Miou is blossoming in a solo career, lovebirds An and Kuro are finally together and Kuro has revealed his secret famous identity. Yuzu is following his father’s footsteps attending a conservatory school abroad. Nino follows her dreams going to college to study music, while Momo continues to support her music career. The future looks bright for our lovable rock legends!
It’s finally here! The long awaited final volumes of Anonymous Noise. It’s been a fun and engaging journey with this cast of characters I’ve come to love. I still have a rather unconventional wish for the characters. I was so hopeful Miou would get a memorable or powerful ending. Or for An and Kuro to get a bit more limelight. But as the final few pages approached and Fukuyama reviewed Nino, Yuzu, and Momo’s intertwined relationship, it was a cute little nostalgic trip that helped me see just how much the characters had grown.
I will say that the story in the last few volumes has really felt rushed. Near the middle of the run it felt like one rock horizon festival could drag on for three or four volumes, but now two whole years have been covered in one and a half volumes. It’s quick, but at the same time the story line is clear and direct. No weird model, side stories, a shorter focus on Momo and Yuzu’s home life, and less teenage angst filled panels about being lost without a boy to love. At the same time, this does mean that the side characters do suffer from quick, one page updates where it feels a bit hard to celebrate their growth or accomplishments. I also never really got behind Momo and Nino’s relationship. He was rude, dismissive, possessive, and selfish while he was with Nino. He claimed to want her but completely shut down and cold shouldered her once they were together. While Yuzu was just as possessive and controlling, at least he consistently opened up to Nino. I found myself wishing that Nino would finally be free of both boys (or end up with Miou. A girl can dream.)
I had been rooting for Miou to be the forceful female lead that didn’t need no man to succeed. Sure in her own way she gets over Yuzu and Momo using her to get to Nino, but her success is a barely mentioned chart topping solo career in the last few pages of the story. She is also, for some reason still putting up with creepy and weird Haruyoshi who waffles somewhere between desperate teen and antagonistic, grossly needy boyfriend. Maybe I’m just misreading Miou’s discomfort every time Haru tries to kiss her, or hold her hand, or show any kind of affection. Maybe she thinks it’s cute to have someone obsess over her like he does? I never quite figured them out.
I think my favorite couple of the manga had to be An and Kuro! Kuro showed, I think, the most growth from any character. I know, I know, both Momo and Yuzu had mommy AND daddy issues. Those story lines never really connected with me though. Maybe they were a little too dark for this teen drama? Maybe not believable enough? But Kuro, falling in love with his older sister-in-law and not feeling safe to fall in love with bandmate An…now that I can get behind. He dealt with complex and complicated emotions and finally, after working hard and tearing himself apart to dissect his feelings, truly gave a relationship with An a fair chance. Also, giving An the matching pair to her In No Hurry drumstick souvenir as a way of revealing his secret identity to her was just precious. I loved it!
The technical aspects of the manga were pretty great for these last two volumes. Or maybe I’m just finally getting the hang of reading this particular artist’s work. I always struggled to follow the conversations, as the text bubbles rarely pointed to who was speaking when. And they also intermixed with character’s internal thoughts or narrative. There were a couple times I’d have to flip back a page to remind myself who was talking or in what order or if there was a conversation jump that I missed. The transitions were usually abrupt and jarring with no art or panel break between scenes or time jumps.
The art is incredible in some places and alien looking in others. I think it’s mostly when In No Hurry is in costume or performing on stage that things get a little funky. They are drawn with larger and longer than life limbs that make them look a bit like noodly aliens. The crowd scenes are gorgeous though, and there’s a few festival panels that are so dynamic and exciting. There’s also the gentle sketch work that usually signifies a time jump or flash back or romantic kiss that make the moments feel soft and sweet.
Ultimately, this series is a great read if you’re looking for some light fun, musically themed teenage romance. As opposite as that is from my average tastes, I ended up really falling for the characters and wanting to see them succeed and grow.