Synduality: Noir Ep 1 Review: I Picked Up A Robot Waifu And Become A Mecha Pilot

This season’s only tv series mecha show – Synduality: Noir – has started broadcast as of 10th July. The series is part of a multi-media franchise by Bandai Namco, which currently has a game, an anime, a manga and 2 novels in the works. The series follow up after Gundam: Witch From Mercury which is both a high bar to overcome as well as a pretty easy challenge if they get the story right. But so far, first impression of this series is the total opposite of G-Witch – whereas we’ve transitioned from order and yuri into chaos and sexual innuendos.

Synduality:Noir started off quite explosively and deliver us right into the thick of it with some fun action scene and a brief look at who the characters are and the core mechanics of the series: the Magus system. We get to meet our main protag: Kanata and his best bro Tokio and Tokio’s Magus Mouton. In just a few minutes they were able to establish pretty clear what sort of person Tokio and Mouton is as supporting char. Tokio is an easy-going guy that will have his best bro’s back while Mouton is basically Alfred Pennyworth. Kanata took a bit more time to show his personality but he has plenty of time to do that. The combat and chase at the start is very well done animation-wise. Love that the color-scheme on Tokio’s Coffins is the Eva-01 color (yes they call the mech Coffins, not a flag at all).

We also got a look at the, uhmm…. Enders(?) Basically CGI monsters that is a mix of Festum and the Flood. They can shoot purple bullets and act in swarms with different classes and different abilities. They are all rendered in 3D as well as the mech but there are some 2D parts and the hand-drawn characters blend in very well. Studio 8bit and Asahi did a very good job!

Then we get to explore the world settings and the side cast. From what we’ve seen, people live in Nest – basically Zion and close themselves off from the outside world to prevent the Enders from coming in. They harvest rare crystals known as “AO Crystals” which presumably used for a lot of things. Tokio and Kanata are basically a start-up company whereas there’s an established corporation called Averture led by Tokio’s rival – Michael. We also got to meet the “big wig” of the Nest – an old Asian grandma who rules with an iron fist (literally). We got to see Kanata’s tsundere friend Ellie, etc… Most things we need to know about the society and people surrounding the main character was explained well in this episode, the relationship dynamic is also quite clear as well and the pacing is reasonable.

Now we come to our main couple. Kanata is, well, a boy who seem complacent at first. But in reality, he’s always looking for an opportunity to become a Drifter – basically a mecha pilot in this world. He’s a good-hearted boy as seen by his willingness to help Noir, and is shown to be relatively skilled when it comes to tinkering with machine. Kinda familiar? Yes he’s basically Amou Shiiba from Kyoukai Senki BUT he has a motivation this time, and is much more interesting to watch.

Noir is basically a blank slate – an oblivious android if you may. She is shown to be attached to Kanata since he was the one that brought her back and started her up. In this world, a Magus is pretty much a sentient android that looks just like human and function just like them. But they have a special ability – which is to interface with Coffins and help the Drifters fight in them much more effectively. This concept is very similar to Fatimas in Five Star Stories – where the Fatimas usually has an intimate relationship with the Headdliner. It’s also a humanoid version of Kyoukai Senki ILeS system. Another series that feature this is Regalia. All of these series have in common is that the Fatimas – the android – will develop a very close relationship and come to possess strong emotions for their master/pilot. It is clear that Noir will also follow this path. We’ll see how this develop for the two of them, especially with a tsundere rival in the way.

The side character is pretty alright. They have their own defining features. They aren’t overly annoying and has a lot of potential to develop into good characters. Especially Michael and Maria – they are pretty funny to watch. One thing I’m worried about is Tokio. The dude is pitch perfect. He’s good at piloting, easy-going and can cover for a bro. He loves to party but he says some very inspirational and encouraging words to Kanata. He’s literally the definition of a Kamina that may or may not meet his demise later. Hopefully Bandai won’t do that.

Now let’s talk about the Coffins – or Cradle Coffin. They are pretty much Koubu-type mech with a big cockpit and small legs and arms attached. There are various weapons that it can equip on both arms as well as shoulders, blade, gun, tonfa, hook, missiles etc you name it. The Magus stand in the backpack and assist the Drifters in piloting the Coffin. While in Magus Drive mode, the cockpit become 360 and the Magus come to stand beside the pilot. That’s pretty much a projection but it will be used to express how their relationship deepen, particularly Noir and Kanata. While the proportions might look a bit odd, the animation was fluid and well done, reminding me of Shin Sakura Taisen anime.

While the series started off pretty normal and there’s nothing groundbreaking just yet, it has a lot of potential to be good if they take the relationship between Kanata and Noir in the right direction. The side cast also has a lot of room to grow so I’m looking forward to it. If they can keep up this production quality, we’re set for a solid Summer 2023.

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