Noein: To Your Other Self – The Complete Series is a box set released by Manga Entertainment that took the five individually released DVDs for the series and puts them together in one package. The first four discs include five episodes each, while the fifth disc contains the last four episodes of the series. There are bonus features included on all five discs.
La’cryma is a possible future of our own universe, which is 15 years in the future from where the main characters of the series are. In this timespace, all beings have been transformed into quantum beings at a macro level due to an incident that occurred in the past. There is a group in this timespace known as the Dragon Knights, who protect La’cryma from Shangri’la and enter into other timespaces to find the Dragon Torque. It is believed that the Dragon Torque is the key to stopping Shangri’la’s invasion.
Shangri’la is dimension that is intent on the destruction of all space and time. This timespace was created by a being known as Noein.
The main characters of the series live in present day Hakodate. At the beginning of the series, a 12-year-old girl named Haruka Kaminogi and her friend Yu Goto are about to run away from home. Before they can leave, they meet Karasu, a member of the Dragon Knights. Karasu believes that Haruka is the Dragon Torque, and it appears that Karasu is Yu from 15 years in the future.
The series follows Haruka, Yu, and their friends as they find themselves getting mixed up in the battle between La’cryma and Shangri’la.
Noein: To Your Other Self does wander into the realm of quantum physics, specifically the theory of parallel universes. The series also includes science fiction, action, and even some romance. All these elements come together in such a way that the series works really well and is an enjoyable viewing experience.
The animation in Noein: To Your Other Self is also very pleasing to look at. The combination of traditional animation and computer graphics actually works for the feel that the series was aiming for.
As for the DVD set itself, the episodes can be seen with an English dub or with the Japanese audio and English subtitles. Both language tracks are available in 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Stereo. The first three discs, as well as the fifth disc, have a “hidden” link; on the first disc, it’s simply labeled as “Noein,” while on the other discs the link includes the volume number in addition to “Noein.” If you click on the “hidden” link, it takes you to “bloopers” done by the English dub cast; the “bloopers” include dialogue and subject matter that’s aimed at adults, as well as characters mumbling lines. It should be noted that on the fifth disc, the box mentions the bloopers, while the boxes for discs one, two, and three do not.
One of the bonus features in this set has the director of Noein: To Your Other Self, along with the Japanese voice actor for Haruka, going around the city of Hakodate. This feature is split into three parts, and is spread across the first three discs in the set.
Over the course of the feature, the real life counterparts for various landmarks and locations that appear in the series are seen. As I watched the feature, it struck me just how much detail the animators went to in order to recreate as much of Hakodate as they could in the series. This was probably my favorite bonus feature in this DVD box set.
On the first disc, there were two alternate openings included; however, one of the alternate openings felt like it was more of a “coming attraction” teaser than the opening for an anime sees. The second alternate opening includes some exclusive music that isn’t heard anywhere else in the series; this was a great piece, and it’s disappointing that it never found its way into the actual anime series. This disc also includes textless versions of the opening and closing, six Japanese promos for Noein DVD releases, and two promos for CDs recorded by Solua, the artist that recorded the ending theme song for Noein: To Your Other Self.
The second disc has a bonus feature labeled as “Player Cards.” Basically, the concept of a still image gallery was used, except doing it in such a way that it appears to be playing cards. Each card has a picture of one of the “good” characters in the series, which is accompanied by a quote made by the character and which episode the character made their first appearance in.
The third disc has a “storyboard to screen” feature that is about 18 minutes long. Six scenes are included in this feature, and each scene is seen in three forms: full animation, a key frame version, and then a full frame animation version. While I thought this was an interesting feature to include, I do wish it had only been about three or four scenes instead of six. By the time I reached the fourth or fifth scene, I began to lose interest in what I was watching. This disc also includes an image gallery of still shots from episodes that appear on this disc; unfortunately, the framing for the stills could have been a little better.
On the fourth and fifth discs, not as much effort was put into the bonus features. Both discs had an image gallery similar to what appeared on disc three, except the stills were from episodes included on discs four and five, respectively. Both of these discs also included the same textless opening that appeared on the first disc.
Overall, Noein: To Your Other Self – The Complete Series is a decent box set, and is the best way to acquire all of the episodes of the series. Unfortunately, this box set is now out of print, so you will need to look at outlets that sell used DVDs in order to find it.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of Noein: To Your Other Self – The Complete Series that my husband and I purchased.