A-Z Movie Challenge: Unmasked Noise

English manga readers know this one as Anonymous Noise, and anime watchers know it as Fukumenkei Noise. Why the English title of the live action was settled on as Unmasked Noise, I’ll never know but I’ll take it.

This was another title where I needed a ‘U’ entry, and just plucked the first one that I thought would be interesting or recognized. Considering I’ve read about seven volumes of the manga, several years ago, I figured I’d have a better chance of enjoying it then going completely random. I certainly wasn’t expecting the coming result though.

Unmasked Noise is the story Arisugawa Nino (Nakajo Ayami), and the boys that occupy her musicial entanglements. First was Momo (Koseki Yuta), who loved nothing more then Nino’s voice, but moved away suddenly. Then there was Yuzu (Shison Jun), the brilliant young composer with a vocal disease, who then also parts with Yuzu. Both boys promised Nino that they would meet again through her singing, thus she pursues it – managing to meet again with Yuzu in high school, but is still desperately searching for Momo.

How to say this… I thought I might be a bit burnt out from watching so many movies back to back. I couldn’t really settle into my movie mode with this one. I don’t think I’ve ever checked the time left on a movie as many times I did with this one. Which is surprising since Unmasked Noise has all the components of being an amazing adaptation.

The first point being the locations. The school has that oddly cozy, very relatable feeling to it, especially the music rooms of course. The cafes, homes, coast locations and recording studios all looked and felt so appropriate for the mood which were striking and well used. There might not have been any bokeh filters, but there was a dampened shojo spark to each scene.

The second big point was the music. A lot of music based manga, rarely actually rely on the music to help carry the story. Performances are lead up to, implied, but rarely fully performed. Meanwhile Unmasked Noise made a point to have multiple musical numbers. Large in part due to the fact that the band in charge of the music production and direction was none other than MAN WITH A MISSON (i.e. the wolf head band).

I wasn’t particularly blown away with any particular song, but I appreciate that the movie didn’t cut corners in this regard. I’m curious if Nakajo Ayami was the actual vocalist, and if the rest of the group could play their instruments. Nothing looked too out of place if they were lip synching, or air playing either way. Then again, I couldn’t help but feel that they took some inspiration from a certain senior film near and dear to my heart but now’s not the time for that comparison.

Another point being the cast. I rarely find myself impressed with child actors, but I really liked the child actors cast for Nino, Momo and Yuzu. They were cute and felt like real children verses being too crazily coached. Of course, their teen counterparts are absolutely star studded as previously mentioned, and individually everyone was incredibly striking.

Unfortunately, Unmasked Noise despite having the groundwork laid to be outstanding felt entirely soulless to me.

The story felt long, and I never once got into it. This being despite the fact the film was no longer then usual, and I was familiar with the series already. Individually the monologues and voice overs were great, but the cast chemistry was incredibly lacking. Especially considering there’s a love triangle and a secondary couple I thought at some point I’d get my heart fluttering but alas…

Unmasked Noise wasn’t disappointing, as it’s still on par with it’s peers for what it is. However, it does demonstrate that you can have all the ideal circumstances and still end up with something lackluster. Alas, not quite a dud but certainly not a film I’d really recommend this time around.


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