Anonymous Noise Volume 5 by Ryoko Fukuyama
I think Fukuyama should give other mangaka lessons on designing compelling covers. The cover for this volume of Anonymous Noise features a great image of Miou rocking out with her guitar. Speaking of Miou, in my mind, I think the best possible ending for this series would be for Nino and Miou to forswear all men, and run off to form an all girl supergroup. This being shoujo manga, I think the series is going to continue along with some conventional love triangles until everything is resolved.
I tend to prefer Anonymous Noise when it focuses more on the music than the romantic drama aspects of the story, so I was looking forward to this volume, where Nino and Yuzu’s band In No Hurry goes up against Momo and Miou’s Silent Black Kitty in a battle of the bands. At 5 volumes in, I’m still not finding the romance storylines in this series very compelling, as Nino is revered as a muse and pulled back and forth by her two childhood friends as though they are squabbling over a shiny toy. I did enjoy seeing Nino’s determination as she approaches practicing for her big concert, and there was a great scene of sassy comebacks as the rival bands unexpectedly find themselves on a radio show together, where they argue about who is the most angsty. I wish the series had a few more self-aware humorous bits like this.
Momo has an emotional confrontation with Nino right before she’s about to perform, which is an action I think is so overwhelmingly selfish, it causes me to not be very invested in the whole Nino/Momo romance that this series has built up over several volumes. Nino’s reaction to her emotional trauma is to take her fugue-like state while singing to the next level, and she responds with an incredible performance, even if she is emotionally out of control. The art is consistently super stylish, and I enjoy the dynamic performance scenes of Nino scream-singing. While I might not be very invested in the romance side of Anonymous Noise, it reliably brings the drama with every volume, and I do enjoy the series when the focus is centered more on the music that the characters all love.