Anime Spotlight: Noein: To Your Other Self

Noein: To Your Other Self is a science fiction anime series that was produced by Satelight. Kazuki Akane and Kenji Yasuda directed the series. The series aired on Japanese television from October 12, 2005-March 29, 2006.

In the United States, Noein: To Your Other Self aired on the SyFy Channel as part of the network’s Ani-Monday block, and the series began airing on the block on June 18, 2007. Manga Entertainment held the North American license for the series, and released it as both five individual DVDs, which were then compiled into a complete series box set.

As of this writing, it appears that Manga Entertainment no longer holds the license for Noein: To Your Other Self, and that no other North American licensor has acquired the rights to the series.

Noein: To Your Other Self takes place 15 years in the future, where a violent battle is taking place between two “timespaces”: La’cryma and Shangri’la.

La’cryma is a possible future of our own universe, which is 15 years in the future from where the main characters of the series are. In this timespace, all beings have been transformed into quantum beings at a macro level due to an incident that occurred in the past. There is a group in this timespace known as the Dragon Knights, who protect La’cryma from Shangri’la and enter into other timespaces to find the Dragon Torque. It is believed that the Dragon Torque is the key to stopping Shangri’la’s invasion.

Shangri’la is dimension that is intent on the destruction of all space and time. This timespace was created by a being known as Noein.

The main characters of the series live in present day Hakodate. At the beginning of the series, a 12-year-old girl named Haruka Kaminogi and her friend Yu Goto are about to run away from home. Before they can leave, they meet Karasu, a member of the Dragon Knights. Karasu believes that Haruka is the Dragon Torque, and it appears that Karasu is Yu from 15 years in the future.

The series follows Haruka, Yu, and their friends as they find themselves getting mixed up in the battle between La’cryma and Shangri’la.

I was first exposed to Noein: To Your Other Self through seeing the first episode on a sampler DVD that was included in the December 2007 issue of Otaku USA. My husband and I were so impressed with what we saw in the first episode that we bought the five-disc DVD box set. By the time we finished the series, we were just as impressed with what we saw as we were at the end of the first episode.

Noein: To Your Other Self does wander into the realm of quantum physics, specifically the theory of parallel universes. The series also includes science fiction, action, and even some romance. All these elements come together in such a way that the series works really well and is an enjoyable viewing experience.

While I enjoyed the entire series, a couple of things that really stood out to me were the explanation of the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat that appears during the series and how the climax of the series was executed.

The animation in Noein: To Your Other Self is also very pleasing to look at. The combination of traditional animation and computer graphics actually works for the feel that the series was aiming for. The thing about the animation that really impressed me was when I learned from the bonus features in the DVD box set that the animators went to a lot of care and effort to recreate a lot of the details of Hakodate; the buildings, ports, and environments in the show look exactly like their real-life counterparts.

Noein: To Your Other Self is a great series, both in its storytelling and in its animation. It’s actually a shame that none of the North American licensors currently have the rights to this series. I’m glad that I was able to sample it through the Otaku USA sampler, and that my husband and I were able to purchase a copy of the DVD set while it was still in print.

This is a series I would recommend to anime viewers who can enjoy or appreciate storytelling that combines drama, science fiction, and quantum physics. However, since Noein: To Your Other Self is currently unlicensed in North America, I don’t know how easy it would be for someone to be able to see this series in a legal manner.

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