Anonymous Noise begins with the time honored shoujo manga cliche of girl meeting her ‘love’ at a very young age, he/she moves away, and then when starting high school, he suddenly appears very changed and not the same person (but, of course, still in love with our heroine). And in this manga’s case, author Fukuyama ups the ante by adding a second boy and a music obsession. cue hospitalization for a medical condition that prevents singing and yes, we’ve seen this plot before with, e.g., Full Moon O Sagashite. But Anonymous Noise does have its own charm and certainly it has all the energy and exuberance of a Tanemura title – just with an older heroine. It also feels much more modern and a bit edgier.
Story: Elementary school age Nino Arisugawa (nicknamed Alice) has lived next door to and been best friends with Momo for most of her young life. Their passion is music and Momo writes for his Alice to sing. But financial troubles culminates in Momo’s family cutting and running – leaving town permanently and leaving Momo devastated. When another boy hears her calling out to the waves at the ocean hoping Momo will hear her voice, he helps her get over her grief by writing a song for her. But she can only see him one day each week and then he suddenly disappears as well. Now in high school, Momo still sings to the waves hoping either of her two friends will some day find her. And then one does at the first day of high school – Yuzu is back but angry with her for some reason. What’s more, Yuzu is in a band writing songs for lead singer ‘Alice’. He had been in a slump until he found Nino and now suddenly is inspired again – causing all kinds of problems with his girlfriend and lead singer – the fake Alice.
This first book is about Nino (Alice) meeting her quirky friend Yuzu again. He isn’t all that interested in being with her at first and clearly that becomes questionable as Nino finds out more about his band (and how everything seems to center around his memories of her). She soon begins to realize that brash and outgoing Yuzu isn’t as unaffected as he appears. At the same time, Yuzu begins to realize that his Alice’s heart will always belong to the quiet Momo – a person he hopes she never finds again, even if that is why she is willing to join Yuzu’s band (so her voice can be a beacon for Momo to find her).
It’s all a big complicated and the energy is somewhat frenetic. Nino is the typical clutzy, shy, unassuming girl who gets noticed because she is a ‘speshul snowflake’ (her voice has presence). Most of this first volume is Nino being told she has no technique, just talent, and that she needs to build it up. Nino and Yuzu feel the power of music and are drawn to each other as a result.
In all, although we aren’t breaking down any new doors here, Anonymous Noise is an enjoyable series with an interesting ‘music’ hook.