One Voice Shaping Three Lives
- Episodes : Fukuyama, Ryoko
- Genre : VIZ
- Airing Date : Music, Romance, Shoujo
- Producers : March 2017
Fukumenkei Noise (Anonymous Noise) Introduction
Arisugawa Nino has always used singing as a coping mechanism when things became too much for her. With her childhood friend Momo, she thought they could face anything singing together. Her young life crumbles when Momo unexpectedly moves away in 4th grade. She leads a lonely existence until an unexpected encounter with a young composer, Yuzu, who writes music on the beach. Singing the notes he writes stills her screaming heart and she begins to find peace again. Yuzu sees Nino as the perfect voice he’s been searching for to bring his music to life, but even he too disappears. Believing the only way to connect with her treasured friends again is to sing, Nino continues through the years. Music is a powerful force and in high school, it seems that Nino’s long-held dream of being reunited with her friends may be realized.
Comparing volume one of the manga to episode 1 of the anime brings up some interesting differences. In the manga, Nino’s childhood and her reason for isolating herself and singing are made very clear. We see how her relationship with Momo progresses for years and how close the two were. We then see her heartbreak following his disappearance and how Yuzu helps her open up again. Young Nino talks about both her relationship with Momo and Yuzu and how important they were in giving her the strength to keep singing even when she felt that her heart would break.
In the anime, we jump right into Nino’s first day of high school with no explanation as to why she doesn’t talk to anyone else or sings on the beach every day. While out of order, the scenes do play out very faithfully to the manga. The decision to bring the viewers in at the point where Nino reunites with Yuzu might serve two purposes. While you can’t hear music from the manga, the music is probably one of the biggest selling points of the anime and as such, it makes sense to introduce the viewers to it as soon as possible. Arguably, they could have still used Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and more ‘la-la’-ing of Yuzu’s melodies, but it wouldn’t have had as strong an impact. It also presents the double-edged sword of creating mystery for the audience. Some people will feel compelled to keep watching so they can understand why these characters are so emotionally invested in each other and others will be unable to feel much at would otherwise be very emotional reunions.
During the scene where the music club (including Yuzu) are playing during opening ceremonies, we have a mounting excitement as we know exactly who Yuzu is and we can imagine the effect meeting again will have on him and Nino. Their reunion is pretty much the same in the manga and anime, only we have little idea over why Yuzu is so personally affected by Nino. It’s clear he has Miou to sing for him, so without the scenes from their childhood, we have little to go on. The manga also provides us with some inner monologue to explain Yuzu’s strange hostility even as he wishes to console Nino. This clears up a lot of confusion people would otherwise have at seeing high schools so incredibly affected by music.
The anime chooses an interesting way to show when Yuzu and Nino sing and play together continuing the song from 6 years ago. Using stills that seem to come straight out of the manga, their smiles are made clear to see. In place of animating, an almost magical coloring seems to bring new life to them making their smiles all the more powerful. Not a bad move considering animators rarely matched Nino’s mouth to how it would look singing ‘la-la-la’.
One part that the anime did differently that makes for a dramatic change is when Nino replaces Miou as the lead singer following her disappearance and she and Yuzu monologue about what the performance means to them. In the manga, on one page we have Yuzu saying Nino’s voice belongs to him and on the other page, Nino says her voice belongs to Momo. In the anime, these lines are delivered simultaneously which makes the reveal of their differing feelings more powerful.
Episode 2 takes a step back and gives the background on just how intricately involved Momo, Yuzu, and Nino are. It finishes up pretty much at the end of volume 1 of the manga where we learn despite his kind words, Yuzu hopes Momo and Nino never meet again so she’ll look at Yuzu instead. Miou has Nino replace her as she can’t stand to be a second-rate substitute and Yuzu and Momo unknowingly become friends without knowing each other’s relationship to Nino.
If you don’t like guessing at why something is important or seeing extreme emotional outburst with seemingly no reason, the manga will be more enjoyable for you. It does a good job of making sure you knew what memories belong to who and showing the characters’ current motivations. It also spends a little more time on the non-main characters like the student council club and people at the recording studio which makes the story seem a little less contained. If you’re not a big alternative rock fan, you can simply imagine your own music as you read and not be forced to hear something you can’t believe compels anyone.
If you like a little mystery and confusion, the anime does a good job of delivering that. It’s not going to spoon feed you information and as you learn new things about characters it can be kind of fun to piece everything together. Also, the music is of course, on a whole other level. Instead of just imagining tunes, we have the ability to directly hear what the others find so fascinating and compelling. As we know both the music and words mean a lot to our characters, it can help us understand them better. It really puts the ‘noise’ in Fukumenkei Noise as our characters are not clear-cut proper musicians. They have a powerful, unpolished sound inside of them longing to get out, matching their uncontrollable determination to achieve their dreams.
Fukumenkei Noise volume one does a great job of telling a story and leading us through the events and thoughts that shape our characters. With complicated relationships and feelings, it helps to put us on the same page as Nino, Yuzu, and Momo. Even if you don’t care for music, seeing how these three lives are so interwoven creates a fun and dramatic story about how so much changes yet remains the same.