Noein Volume 2

Why is it in anime that the future is always a bleak place? I’ve always wondered this… Following up on the first volume’s cliffhanger, Haruka finds herself in Karasu’s dimension, La ‘cryma, only to learn that the fate that has befallen his dimension may also become her own. Meanwhile, Karasu is imprisoned by the other Dragon Knights who are worried that Karasu is confusing Haruka’s dimension as his own past. Despite this, Karasu is determined to protect Haruka at all costs.

Rescuing Haruka, Karasu returns her to her own dimension, ultimately deciding to sever his link with La ‘cryma, which is seen as an act of treachery by his fellow Dragon Knights. What’s interesting is how the different sets of characters view friendship. Haruka sees a friend as a friend, whilst to the adults in La ‘cryma, friendships are often marred by betrayal and the inability to forgive. The stark contrast made me think – are adult friendships always supposed to be so complicated? Perhaps Haruka’s child like simplicity is actually right, maybe grown ups make things more complicated than they need to be.

Yuu suddenly appears at Haruka’s house having run away from home. Left alone with Karasu, Yuu is uneasy in his presence. Karasu dislikes the cowardly Yuu saying that if he always runs away, he will lose and that if he doesn’t want to lose, he should find the courage to fight. But Yuu doesn’t accept Karasu as his future self, after all, how could Karasu be him when he doesn’t understand him at all? Whilst there is a lot of serious drama in this volume there is also a lot of light humor too; especially when Haruka tries to hide Karasu in her house. When a suspicious looking Haruka claims she isn’t hiding anything, we learn that Haruka always used to hide things that she didn’t want her mother to find in a certain room.

This volume also explores the fraught relationship between Yuu and his mother, Miyuki. Miyuki did not feel properly loved as a child – she felt her deceased sister received more attention by her mother. After her mother’s death Miyuki started pushing Yuu to live the life her sister never got to live. It also emerges that both Yuu and Haruka’s mothers were both childhood friends but drifted apart due to jealousy. Even though these are essentially filler episodes, they certainly don’t feel like filler. Instead, this is a well written side story about loss, looking back to what was hoped for, realising disappointments and facing up to the reality of how life is now.

In summary

On the surface, Noein is a sci-fi story, but take a closer look and you will find thoughtful stories about the ups and downs of friendship. With two best friends forced to battle against each other, this volume ends on one hell of a cliffhanger. Truly nail biting stuff!

8 / 10