The first thing you’ll notice about Noein is that it’s beautiful; not in a conventional way though. It stretches and bends the normal sense of the physical that most anime adheres to. Sometimes it’s only slight – the sketchy, jerky way the characters are rendered and move; and sometimes it’s more extreme, like the stunning opening action sequence in the first episode, for example. Perspective is a malleable thing, which is a little ironic considering the story involves multiple universes and the instability of uncertain reality.
Haruka is a reasonably normal girl with the very special ability to decide what is and isn’t real, or more to the point, the ability to perceive reality as it exists in more than one state and stabilize it. This sounds like a lesson in post-modern psychology or astrophysics, and in a way is sort of is, because strange things are afoot, the least of which is her school friends’ desire to go ghost hunting in the local cemetery. It’s no irony that they find what they are looking for, after a fashion. A team of shock troops – for want of a better word -arrive from another dimension looking for Haruka in order to use her abilities to stop the destruction of their own reality. And somehow Haruka’s childhood friend, the troubled, angry (and a bit whiny) Yuu, is caught up in it all connected to the mysterious warrior Karasu.
Noein is a little slow to start, but the relationships between the characters are more than enough to carry interest while the drama gains mass. Soon enough there is division in the ranks of the interdimensional troops, and Haruka starts to learn whether she’s willing or not that quantum particles don’t care weather you’re dead or alive, here or there, because actually, you’re both. And now what you’re probably wondering is: Do I have to have a Wiki-level grasp of quantum mechanics to really appreciate this show? Well, no, of course not. On a fundamental level, it’s a transformation story – you have the power to make your own happiness and your own future. Expositions can get a little complicated though, and the point of the drama does rely quite heavily on throwaway statements like ‘that’s what caused the Gestalt Effect!’ and other ideas that most of us have only a popular cultural point of reference for.
If that kind of thing bugs you, or you haven’t quite gotten around to finishing that copy of Particle Physics for Dummies, you might want to want access to that aforementioned Wiki to help you through. Otherwise, it doesn’t really affect your ability to enjoy the show, its great look, its engaging characters and its fascinating narrative. Noein is an adventure, overflowing with all the right elements right across that divide between your screen and you.