MAL lists three characters from this series as the main characters, but I Strongly disagree with that notion. There are two other characters who are arguably just as important to the plot of this musically themed love triangl… hmmm… No, this can best be described as a musically themed love pentagon. Most readers may assume the story is a love triangle, because the story is mainly centred around the character, Arisugawa Nino, and the two blokes that mean the most to her, but one thing you’ll learn very early into this romantic manga, is that every action Nino makes has a ripple effect that affects not just her, and the two aforementioned blokes, who we’ll cover in a bit, but also two other characters that I would dispute have just as much stake in the overall plot as they do.
OK, so how about we start this from the beginning and get a grasp of what this story is really about, not just what’s presented to us in the synopsis on the back covers of the volumes.
Nino, the focal point of our pentagon is introduced to us as a young girl dealing with a common family issues, parents arguing. Through the help of her next door neighbor/only friend, Sakaki Momo, Nino is able to overcome her turmoil associated with her parents arguing. The two would sing with each other through the arguing till they passed out, but like almost everything in life this was not to remain a constant. Soon after we are introduced to the characters, Momo is abruptly ripped from Nino’s life, and she is forced to confront the emotions associated with losing her best friend. As Nino progresses through her adolescence her feelings of friendship quickly turn into emotions of love towards Momo. During this time she meets another bloke name Yuzuriha Kanade, who immediately falls head over heals for Nino. Yuzu’s feelings; however, go on noticed by Nino, who views him as just a friend who is always going to be there to support her in her pursuit of Momo.
Yuzu is the quintessential poster boy for the epicenter of the FriendZone.
Though he lover Nino he is afraid of expressing his true feelings to her out of fear of losing her completely.
Don’t worry bud, been there, done that…..
Not too long after their newly kindle friendship began, Yuzu also abruptly leaves Nino. Now here’s one thing that’s important to know about Nino’s character. Though she may be the focal point of the plot, she is also the most infuriating, oblivious character in the entire manga. This is not to say that the other characters are not incognizant, they certainly are, but Nino is on a whole different level from the rest of them. This stems from a paramount idiosyncrasy in her as a character. Nino is one track-minded in that she doesn’t pay attention what others are say if they do not align with her prospective. So, even though Yuzu lets his feelings for her slip out from time to time, her response is always something along the line of, “Huh… did you say something?”. This intrinsic part of her character is predominantly what creates the “love pentagon”.
Based on my experiences she’s no different than most girls you’ll interact with IRL..
So you’re probably wondering who are the other two characters that make up the rest of the pentagon, because Nino, Momo, and Yuzu are only three characters. Well without further adieu, let me introduce Suguri Miou, a girl that is in love with Yuzu. Yuzu unlike Nino is aware of the affections targeted toward him, but he is unapologetic in his disinterest in her. In a way Miou is the character that I feel the most sympathy for, because even though she is also oblivious in her own way, she is also one of the most open characters. When Nino rekindles her friendship with Yuzu, Miou does the mature thing and attempts to move on, notice I used the word “attempts”, because she’s still entangled in this romantic mess thanks in part to the next character in the love pentagon, Haruno Yoshito. Haruyoshi is the final piece to the puzzle, in that he is in love with Miou, but is constantly enabling Miou’s unhealthy pursuit of Yuzu. Remember how I mentioned that though Miou may be the most enlightened of all the characters, she is still oblivious, well this is in relation to Haru, who constantly lets it slip that he likes her, but unlike Nino and Yuzu’s situation, she laughs it off as him joking, and he being a monthly subscriber to friendzone weekly, emboldens that bollocks… -_- This is one of the reasons why I despise Haru as a character, in that he is capable of offering both himself and Miou a way out of pandora’s five sided box, but instead he he just laughs it off and pushes Miou back in every time she tries to leave. Nino is also guilty of this bollocks too, but I give her a pass, because in my opinion she’s an idiot, and idiots can’t be held accountable for doing stupid things, they’re idiots after all. They don’t know any better, unlike Haru who’s just a coward.
All that being said, all the infuriating aspects of each of the character’s personalities is one of the biggest high points of this manga. You see as I see it, those traits make them more human, and thus more relatable to the reader. I know I for one was once a subscriber to friendzone monthly… I’ve since cancelled my subscription, but I can relate in parts to both Yuzu and Haru. I’ve been there, I’ve had girls who I held strong feelings for, but avoided telling them out of concern of losing them. This is intrinsic to the human condition, and one of the things that I enjoyed the most about this particular manga along with one of it’s sub-sub plots related the characters living double lives as famous musicians, while juggling their student life. This extends even further when accounting for Momo’s situation, and reasoning for avoiding Nino… Oh wait, did I not mention that he’s avoiding her?
hihihi … Oh my… ヽ(〃･ω･)ﾉ
Another aspect of Anonymous Noise that greatly appealed to me was the art. I consider Shōjo manga among my top two favorite types of manga, due in part to my love of romantical stuff. This love extends to the way characters in these types of manga tend to be illustrated, in a dare I say a “beautiful manor”. The characters are are very detailed in the way that they are drawn, and all feature slender frames, large eyes, seemly keen fashion sense related to loosely worn clothing, and impressively disheveled hair. The attention to physically appealing features are obviously tailored towards Fujitsu, and thus most of the artistic focus is on the male characters, especially Momo and Yuzu. The shock effect of seeing them both after the time-skip is admittedly blush inspiring, so if you’re prone to nosebleeds when looking at cute lads, then you’re gonna want to have that tissue ready, and brace yourself. THESE BLOKES BE STUNNING AS FRAK!
Anonymous Noise excels in the emotions, and looks department so much that I almost could look past the aspects of it that didn’t resonate with me, almost. I wish I could leave this out; however, it’s hard to overlook something that I struggled with on every page, that being the format/layout of the panels, and words on the pages. This is one of those manga that is accompanied by a lot of internal monologues littered across the page, so much in fact that it’s sometimes hard to understand what you’re reading. There were numerous moments while reading that I had to re-read some pages to figure out if I had missed read something. I never like reading like this, because it results in having to read each page two to three times. Once for the actual plot, another time for the internal monologue, and a final time for context. This is not ideal reading, and almost prevented me from completing the first two volumes. I did eventually suck it up and progress through the books, but it was an arduous undertaking.
Are you Fujoshi?
Well if you insist.
Anonymous Noise is a manga that I found to be particularly targeted to female readers, and blokes like me that like romantical stuff, but if you’re looking for something a with some immediate progression of character development, then this is probably not going to appeal to you. The characters take an insane amount of time to develop, and will likely only start to see serious levels of development in the 4th volume. If that doesn’t put you off then you should find that this is a good read. The characters are likable despite their own individual shortcomings, and the overall plot is an interesting one. It’s not something we haven’t seen before, but that doesn’t take away from its enjoyment factor.
The copies of Volume 1 & 2 of Anonymous Noise used for this review were supplied to us by VIZ Media, and can be purchased physically as well as digitally from VIZ.com as well as all other major manga distributors in the North American and Canadian regions.