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Anime ● Review: SYNDUALITY Noir

Title: SYNDUALITY Noir

Director(s): Yamamoto Yuusuke

Screenwriter(s): Aoshima Takashi & Kamoshida Hajime

Studio: 8bit

Released: 2023

Runtime: 12 episodes, ~24m each.

Starring: Koga Aoi, Ootsuka Takeo, Kobayashi Yuusuke, Inagaki Konomi, Aoyama Nagisa, Komatsu Fuminori


My Verdict: Typical sci-fi premise and setting. Decent voice acting and production. But plot is derivative. Nothing spectacular, mildly enjoyable.


SYNDUALITY Noir

● Set in the year 2242, humanity lives in fortified domed cities to protect them from swarms of monsters known as “Enders”. Depending on conditions, people do go outside to travel between cities, for recreation or to mine crystals. “Drifters”, basically freelancers, take their “carrier” trucks with their mechs referred to as “Coffins” to do these mining/retrieval jobs or to kill Enders. A drifter is paired with a robot called “Magus” that assists their mech piloting.


● The plot follows a young aspiring Drifter named Kanata. He lives in Rock Town with his friend, who is a highly skilled Drifter, named Tokio and his Magus named Mouton. One day, whilst exploring some ruins, Kanata finds a sleeping Magus who has no memory other than her name, Noir. Ultimately, the story is about Kanata and Noir, and the mysteries that surround her.


Noir and Kanata in the cockpit.
Noir and Kanata in the cockpit.

● There is nothing particularly original about the setting and premise, which are cyberpunk-like although the tone is mostly not dark nor gritty. That is fine but the plot is not particularly gripping either.


● There are hints of the history as to why humanity lives in fortified cities. The origins of the Enders and Magus are initially not explained. These mysteries are mildly intriguing.


● There is, not surprisingly, a love triangle between Kanata, Noir and the former’s childhood friend Ellie. This is fine in itself except the romantic-comedy tries a bit too hard. As more female characters, including another Magus, enter the scene, it leans too much toward the harem genre.


● It is good that there are no chunky expositions right at the start about the background regarding the Enders and Magus. This is not a bad thing but the series spends too much time almost exclusively on Kanata as a character and his relationships. Not neglecting characters and their relationships is a good thing but it leaves it too late to delve into the history and the intrigue. In other words, the worldbuilding can be much worse but it can also be better.


● There are references to “storms” throughout the series as these are somehow tied to the Enders. The origins and the nature of the Enders are, however, mostly not explained. [Potential Minor Spoiler] There is mention of a cataclysmic event that occurred 20 years ago. Obviously, the younger characters don’t know much about it and the older characters do. However, 20 years isn’t that long and some of the adults seemingly not knowing much about it doesn’t make sense. They may have been young but they were still witnesses and/or know witnesses. If it’s meant to be that mysterious, the writers should make it at least 50 years.


● The designs try to be semi-realistic. For example, the mechs are clunky and do not have the sleek look that is common in mecha anime. The Enders, however, are odd in the sense that there seems to be little consistency between the variations and, overall, don’t convey what they are.


● Nonetheless, the production and voice acting are generally good. As already mentioned, there is nothing original in the setting and premise, which is fine, but the plot unfortunately is also too derivative and the series structure is somewhat clumsy. All that being the case, it is still not a poor series and it is mildly enjoyable. It does not end on a cliffhanger but it does not explain everything either, clearly setting up for sequels.


Rock Town
Rock Town
 

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