Fukumenkei (Anonymous) Noise is a romantic series that involves a girl loving a boy that moves away. She then meets a boy who happens to be a composer, but he also disappears. She then makes a vow to sing her heart out until the day comes where he voice acts like a beacon, bringing them back together. Now that they are all in high school, that day draws closer than ever! This anime has caught the interest of not only myself, but of Alea and Clinton! Therefore, we’re going to give you a First Reaction from three different perspectives!
First Episode Impressions
This is one of those rare times where I have read (some of) the manga before the anime made its television debut. I began reviewing the series through VIZ Media because the synopsis for the anime really caught my attention. I can finally understand the frustrations of someone who reads the source material because Anonymous Noise skipped a LOT of content in episode one. They didn’t include the entire arc where Nino, Momo and Yuzu were all children and what lead to Nino to, not only, wear a mask, but the whole reason why she sings.
Be that as it may, they did use some of the earlier material by way of flashbacks. The material was covered, just not in a specific order. This is actually a blessing because the first volume of the manga was absolutely atrocious. The pacing was at breakneck speed, the characters spent more time yelling at each other than they did advancing the plot and it was a complete and total mess. Volume 2 is where things picked up, which is where I suspect the next episode will kick off. What they did give us in episode one were the good parts from the first volume of the manga. The three of them were already in high school and Yuzu is a part of the light music club (which they sloppily revealed themselves as the real life band In NO Hurry to Shout.)
They play a song at the school’s orientation when Yuzu and Nino’s eyes meet. This causes Yuzu to run off stage. Nino realizes who it is and chases after him. From there, Miou ends up leaving the band due to Yuzu and Nino’s reacquaintance. This leads to Nino becoming their new lead vocalist.
The first episode did feature some of the cringe-worthy moments of Nino just running up to Yuzu and singing out of nowhere. If it felt awkward to you in the anime, try reading it in the manga. It was even worse! Speaking of cringe-worthy moments, let’s talk about the anime from a production standpoint. Shogakukan has been around for a long time so you’d think that they’d learn about continuity. Every scene, the characters looked like they were drawn completely differently! It’s like they were training animators and artists how to make an anime! There was even one scene where Nino stepped on an elevator and it painfully went from hand drawn animation to CGI. There was no smooth transition!
The concert scenes is where they blew their wad, budget-wise, but even still, the CGI looked really weird. Like, what in the hell was Nino doing when she was up on stage!? I’ve seen demonic possessions on SyFy with better movement than that. I really hope that they clean up their act and fast because the story is about to get REALLY good and it deserve better. The voice acting; however, was spot on. All of the characters sounded exactly how I would have imagined them to sound like and it was an absolute joy to hear them!
After finishing watching Fuuka, I wanted to get my hands on another music based anime and Anonymous Noise happens to be just that. Josh vouched for the story so it was quickly added to my watch list for Spring 2017 anime and I dove in enthusiastically. Upon finishing the first episode there were a few grievances I had, but overall I was still excited to see where the story would go.
Jumping into the show started the viewer with a somber mood. The sadness and hope could be felt from Nino and it lead me to believe I may have gotten myself into another Your Lie In April world of suffering. This may not be the case after all since there are some serious pacing issues afoot. At no point did I expect any comic relief to be present since a comedy tag was not provided with the show description. It is rather disconcerting when two characters are having a touching moment and an unwelcome comment is made to kill the mood. Every instance this happened in episode one felt out of place and derailed the moment and conversations entirely.
Another thing that bothered me were the moments of Nino singing out of nowhere without any lead up or prior context. I understand she is afraid of her friends disappearing again, but it felt too desperate with her singing her heart out like that without prompt. Furthermore, the performance at the end was pretty wild the way Nino decided to clutch her head as if she was having a massive migraine or there were a centipede in her brain. I understand how unstable her emotions are where her childhood friends are concerned but I cannot decide if she is being too over dramatic or not.
Fukumenkei Noise’s first episode is weird to talk about because there is so much good, yet just as much annoying about it. Without going into full on explanation mode, I certainly enjoyed the opening to the episode, where Nino is singing by the beach and it goes through the seasons. I began wondering what the reason for it was, and as the opening act progressed, the pieces started coming together at a nice pace. Once everything came together, however, that’s when things started truly falling off the rails.
While I initially laughed at the whole “Did you shrink?” moment, my second watch of that segment caused me to shake my head in the worst way. It’s some of the worst pacing that a show can put on. Going from an utterly romantic and touching moment, and just car-crashing into comedy just to buffer the heartbreaking moments of the show just drives me up a wall. But there are moments where things feel just right, such as the moment when Nino is singing to Yuzu’s piano melody. The still animation in that segment played to the whimsy and fun times that both of them were having. It was light, it was beautiful, it was appropriate.
The final sequence had its ups and downs as well. The transition in animation bothered the hell out of me. The animation shifts put me off, especially the brief CGI pan across the stage. Outside of that, the simulated camera shake and lighting effects led itself to the chaotic and unstable mindset that was going through both Nino and Yuzu’s minds at the same time during that set.
The seiyus did an excellent job conveying the feelings and emotions of the respective characters. This is notably hardest when the writing is terrible, as it was in certain parts of this episode, however, they masterfully pulled this off. I was most impressed with the voice actor for Nino, having to play such a socially awkward individual. I wonder how they’ll pull the character off if and when it comes to the United States, but the Japanese seiyu definitely put that work in.
OP & ED Impressions
The opening song, “High School [ANIME SIDE]” by Ayahi Takagaki wasn’t included in the first episode of the anime in a traditional sense as it was saved for the Light Music Club’s performance during the opening ceremony. Because it was presented in such a way, it could have easily been mistaken as an Insert Song, as was the case with me. However, after doing a quick search on YouTube and listening to the full version, I can tell that the song is full of high energy. Ayahi Takagaki’s voice has a certain dissonance about it that resonates with the song which makes for an interesting coupling. Kind of surprised the full version of this out already, but nevertheless, it should make for a pretty solid opening once it is implemented correctly. There seems to be a second version of this song sung by Saori Hayami. Makes me wonder where and when they’ll use that version.
The ending, “Allegro” by Saori Hayami, WILL find its way onto a future playlist of mine as well! This was a pretty powerful song that was not only catchy, but it held your interest from beginning to end! It’s sung by the seiyu for Nino who has a voice that’s similar to LiSA’s, but just on the lighter side. They often say that animes are nothing more than advertisements to get us to buy stuff…well…sign me up for the album because she has me sold. Also, her performance during the concert at the end really showed what she is capable of as a singer and MY GOD, does her talent shine through. If she continues to be this impressive throughout the series, she will have a brand new fan for life!
The anime’s opening was not included at the beginning of the episode but it was actually included in the show during the Light Music Club’s performance. It is very catchy from what can be observed and I cannot wait to see what the opening sequence looks like with the music. It’s high tempo enough to make it onto my anime music list and I honestly really enjoyed the vibe it gave off, similar to the band Girls Dead Monster in Angel Beats.
As for the ending theme Allegro, I feel like once I listen to it enough and fall in love with the show I will want it on my playlist. Honestly, it is already enjoyable and catchy so it doesn’t require much warming up to to be entertaining. Hopefully the talented LeeandLie on YouTube will make an English cover so I am able to sing along and not attempt to sing butchered Japanese loudly in my car.
I’m not always one to pay attention to the opening and ending themes if it’s not a movie, however, I have to say that I really liked the ending more than I enjoyed the opening (or what I thought was the opening.) I found myself tapping my feet to “Allegro”, because of the catchy, yet powerful melody that seemed to sing along with the ending sequence. That’s not something to sneeze at, it seems like the song was written for the ending exclusively, and that’s more than beautiful.
YES – Despite my issues with the source material adaptation (Which has been a blessing and a curse at the same time) and quality of the production, the first episode told a very intriguing story. Even if I hadn’t read the manga, the initial episode of Fukumenkei Noise did enough to set up an amazing romantic tale that I want to see play through. As a manga reader, I know the story is going to start getting really good so I do have to cheat and give my recommendation based on that! This is probably going to be one of the sleeper hits of the season! Take my word on that!
YES – Due to Josh promising this show will get better I will continue to watch and hope that my grievances with the story writing improve. Looking past the issues I had with the show, it has a good setup for plot and character development. I want to see where the relationships go with the whole love triangle situation since “We’re hiding how we truly feel”. We are aware of two of the main character’s feelings, so hopefully by the next episode we’ll get to properly meet the third and be able to gauge the situation here. My opinion on the matter is give it a shot.
MAYBE – I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with the first episode, however, it kept me intrigued enough to see what happens next. Typically, I’d drop an anime like this, because of the disjointed production value and some of the out-of-place elements, the story set-up at the beginning and the end kept me hooked, and that’s what any good anime should do. However, your mileage may vary, as dependent on how you approach Fukumenkei Noise, you may not want to stick around to see how it plays out, or you may want to take a wait and see approach. It’s certainly left up to taste.