Noodle (Gorillaz)

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Gorillaz Noodle.jpg
Background information
Born (1990-10-31) 31 October 1990 (age 23)
Origin Osaka, Japan
Genres Alternative Rock, Alternative hip-hop, Trip hop
Occupations Musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Bass guitar, Keyboard, Synthesizer, Melodica
Years active 1998–2006; 2010–present
Labels Parlophone, Virgin, Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts Gorillaz
Website Official

Noodle (born 31 October 1990) is a fictional Japanese musician and member of the virtual band Gorillaz. She provides the guitar, as well as some main and backing vocals for the band. Noodle has been voiced by the likes of Japanese actress Haruka Kuroda, singer-songwriter Miho Hatori of trip-hop group Cibo Matto, Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth, and solo musician Rosie Walker aka Roses Gabor. Like all other band members of Gorillaz, she was created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett.


Noodle arrived on Murdoc Niccals' doorstep in a FedEx crate, in immediate response to the ad they placed for a guitarist in NME. She couldn't speak English beyond the word "Noodle", thus earning her name. She quickly got settled in England with the Gorillaz, and was accepted as the fourth member of the band.

In Rise of the Ogre, it is revealed that during the band's hiatus in November 2003, Noodle went back to Japan to find out the truth about her past after being haunted by strange nightmares while on tour. Upon her return to Japan, Noodle regained her memory after hearing the code-phrase "ocean bacon" at a restaurant. There she coincidentally met with her creator/mentor, Mr. Kyuzo, who was working as the head chef in the restaurant. Kyuzo helped her make sense of her lost memories: Noodle is, in fact, part of a secret government super soldier project, trained specially as a musician. As a result, she is a master of many weapons, languages, and musical instruments, with a specialty in the guitar, both as a musical instrument, and a weapon. Out of the 23 children created for the project, Noodle was the only one to survive; the others were all destroyed by the government when the project was scrapped. Kyuzo had smuggled her to safety in England after reading the aforementioned ad placed by the other three Gorillaz members in NME.

Noodle regained the ability to speak English, along with her memories, and was the first member of Gorillaz to return to Kong Studios after their failed international tour. She was alone at Kong Studios for nearly six months; during that time she composed the majority of the Demon Days album as a response to the chaotic cultural climate at the time. Her composition of the album crafted a specific message, as opposed to the debut which was composed by Russel, which had a grimier, more spontaneous sound. Despite her quiet nature, she became the most vocal of the band when it came to describing the album.

"El Mañana"[edit]

In March 2006, the Gorillaz video "El Mañana" was released. In the days preceding the release of the video, cardboard boxes were found in the Kong Studios lobby. The boxes soon moved to Noodle's room, and each day her room was shown to be more and more packed away until the room was entirely barren. At the same time, the Slowboat (aka Windmill Island) from the "Feel Good Inc." music video appeared outside of Kong Studios on the website's splash page. Shortly before the release of "El Mañana", the windmill was seen flying away.

The video is a continuation of the "Feel Good Inc." video, once again depicting Noodle on the Slowboat, although she appears to be much older in the "El Mañana" video than when she is shown in the "Feel Good Inc" video. The video concludes with the helicopters bombing the crashed windmill. Two days after the video's release, cracks appeared on the walls of Noodle's room on the website (which spread to the ground floor lobby) and the clock on her wall labelled "Armageddon" (the only piece of furniture left behind) gained a fourth hand, and fell to the floor. The cracks grew to the point that part of the roof collapsed, exposing the sky. Near the end of the month, more boxes were found in the Kong Studios lobby, one of which was labelled "DedEx". They disappeared after the lobby was destroyed.

In the book Rise of the Ogre, Murdoc reveals that the "El Mañana" video was indeed "staged" and that Noodle is still "alive". It is stated by Murdoc that Noodle had been planning to leave after Demon Days. According to Murdoc, Noodle is in the Maldives "chilling out", though the interview is before receiving a transmission from Noodle.

Trapped in hell[edit]

When the Gorillaz web site still allowed visitors to tour Kong Studios, a radio could be heard in the basement, broadcasting a distress call from Noodle. The message was printed as an epilogue in the Gorillaz book, Rise of the Ogre:

Murdoc! Russel... Is anybody there?! It's me, Noodle... Is there anybody there! You need to reply... Helllloooo! Come In ... It's Noodle ... I've found the missing code ... They're coming! ... (quieter) The reception here is really terrible ... (Back to normal volume) MURDOC! ... Murdoc, you got to get the combin ...! Come in! They know where you ... Mur ... You must get out! ... It's coming from BENEATH the building! You have to get out! ... Murdoc, hurry before it's too late. MAYDAY ... MAYDAY ... Murdoc! COME IN GORILLAZ!'
—Transmission from Noodle (In the epilogue of Rise of the Ogre)

According to an interview with Q magazine, Murdoc found that Noodle had fallen foul of another attempt to take his soul, this time by a group of spirits who had taken advantage of Russel's spirit-channelling capabilities. Armed with an ancient spellbook, he set off into the underworld, but failed to find her.

Plastic Beach[edit]

On 22 January 2010, Murdoc hijacked the online NME Radio and Yahoo! radio broadcasts to promote the new Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach. Murdoc claimed that Noodle was never rescued after the "El Mañana" video, and that his supposed rescue attempt was a drunken delusion. With Russel's whereabouts still unknown, he and 2D have been working on the third album with the help of a Noodle cyborg constructed from Noodle's DNA from the windmill wreckage. However, due to the improbability of anything Murdoc says and the fact that only DNA was gathered, the status of the real Noodle was in question. It has since been confirmed that the real Noodle is alive. Recently, Murdoc has called Noodle his greatest asset.

Noodle is confirmed to be alive in an exclusive new Gorillaz video for the single "On Melancholy Hill". In the video, a luxury cruise ship (called the "M. Harriet") is being bombed by pirate WWII Corsairs flying overhead. A crew member rushes over to cabin 13 to warn Noodle (who is sitting, wearing an oni mask) that the ship is under attack by pirates and to take her to the lifeboats. Noodle walks over to her briefcase and opens it, revealing a Thompson submachine gun. She then passes the confused crew member and heads out to face the pirates. She kills one of the pirates, but the other drops a bomb on the ship, sinking it. Noodle is seen floating out to sea in a lifeboat which is later picked up by the now-giant Russel. Murdoc has since posted on his Twitter page that he was surprised to see the real Noodle alive and is claiming to be on his way to retrieve her. In one of the visuals for the live show, Noodle is seen playing a melodica to the track "Broken".

In the storyboard for the potential video for "Rhinestone Eyes", Noodle is seen to be carried on the top of the giant Russel's head as he swims towards Plastic Beach. Once the fighting stops near the end of the storyboard, she is seen to step out of Russel's mouth, and removes her cat oni mask, revealing some scarring to her face and eye. Murdoc later on Murdoc Spotify Radio 1 reveals that when her cyborg clone malfunctioned and tried to kill him, Noodle destroyed it.

She had also performed guitar for the single, "DoYaThing". In the music video, 2D looks into her room to see her sleeping in her bed, meaning that she came back from Plastic Beach safely.

Character appearance[edit]

In Phase One, Noodle's look was markedly male. During this period, she sported shoulder-length black hair, and wearing her trademark helmet which included two antennae on each side. Her wardrobe mainly consisted of oversized coats, shorts, and sneakers.

Noodle's appearance is modeled after fellow female guitarist Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders from Phase Two and on. For the Demon Days album, Noodle was seen with a notably different look, no longer sporting her radio helmet as well as having a noticeably more feminine fashion style and lighter skin tone. She was also noticeably taller with thinner legs, and occasionally seen sporting a monkey named Mike. In the video for "El Mañana" she has green eyes, which contradicts the previous videos where her eyes are seen: "19-2000", "Rock the House", and "Dare". In these videos she is depicted as having black eyes with no irises or pupils, unlike 2-D whose eyes were fractured by Murdoc's stolen Vauxhall Astra, but this difference is likely because the pan of the video was zoomed entirely on her eye, making the green noticeable. Most of the time, though, Noodle's eyes are covered by her hair, which became longer, and more violet-tinted as compared to her solid black hair on the Gorillaz album. In a recent Q&A, Jamie Hewlett stated that Noodle's eye color varies depending on distance; when far away, they're black. When up close, they're green.

According to the original promotional booklet, Noodle was sixteen as of January 2006. It was confirmed by a Gorillaz e-mail sent out on Halloween that she was born on that day, 31 October, in 1990.

In "On Melancholy Hill", her body is noticeably more matured with her height and body structure, since she should be 19 years old in this video (that is, if the Gorillaz have been paying attention to dates). She is also seen wearing a white and green cat mask. Underneath the cat mask is a large, dark bruise on the right side of her face. (As shown in videos: "Empire Ants" and "Rhinestone Eyes.")

In the video for "DoYaThing" Noodle is briefly seen in one scene as 2D looks into her room. She appears to have no visible scarring to her face in direct conflict to the "Rhinestone Eyes" storyboard, where the right side of her face is visibly injured. However, only the left side of her face is shown in the video.

Character personality[edit]

During Phase One of Gorillaz, Noodle could only speak Japanese, with the exceptions of her bandmates' names and small words such as "duh" or "yeah", and Russel had translated for her; but she had done vocals in English: the chorus for "19-2000" and backup in several tracks in the first album. She also did an alternately Japanese and English vocal narration for the track "Left Hand Suzuki Method", originally from the G-Sides album. It was not until Phase Two with the Demon Days album that anyone actually heard her fluently speak English conversationally.

Noodle is a fan of Miyazaki's films. She enjoyed Spirited Away and got inspiration for her floating island in the "Feel Good Inc." video from Castle in the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle. According to the bio presented during Gorillaz' appearance on MTV Cribs, her listed interests are Johnny Thunders and Richie Sambora. Also, on her computer in Kong, it is shown in the file '23_facts' that she is interested in that number. This file also features a reference to Prince.

In Rise of the Ogre, many pictures of Noodle include her holding a guitar in her left hand, showing that she is right-handed (you use your main hand to strum the guitar and the other hand to press chords and notes on the strings), and in Gorillaz' Popworld interview she is shown drawing with her right hand. However, in pictures for the Gorillaz bite "Search for a Star", she can be seen holding a pencil in her left hand. This is further supported in the "On Melancholy Hill" music video, where in which both she and her cyborg clone are shown firing their guns in a left-handed fashion.

We have yet to see how she has changed character and personality wise since El Mañana and escaping from Hell. The four-year gap does raise a lot of questions to be answered.

Cyborg Noodle[edit]

Cyborg Noodle
Also known as Android or Evil Noodle, Robotic Noodle (By Noodle), Noodle the Doppelgänger (By Russel)
Genres Electronic rock
Occupations Musician, Auto-Tuned singer, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboard, melodica, bass guitar, banjo, piano
Years active 2010–2011
Labels Parlophone, Virgin
Associated acts Gorillaz

Cyborg Noodle was the newest member for virtual band Gorillaz created for their album Plastic Beach. In the storyline, she was created by the band leader, Murdoc, as a replacement for the band's original guitarist, Noodle, whose whereabouts were allegedly unknown. She was created through the use of cybernetic prosthetics as well as some DNA samples of Noodle that were salvaged from the wreckage of the flying windmill island which was destroyed in the "El Mañana" music video. She serves as both a guitarist and a "gun-slinging bodyguard" for self-proclaimed band leader, Murdoc.

Aside from her built-in knowledge of musical instruments and theory, Cyborg Noodle also has a vast knowledge of weapons and fighting techniques, as well as basic skills, much like Noodle. Unlike the original Noodle's reserved and calm nature, Cyborg Noodle was programmed by Murdoc to take on even the riskiest tasks without hesitation by any means necessary, making her in some ways a robotic mercenary. She seems to malfunction in "Stylo" due to a thunderstorm halfway through the video and having been previously shot in the head, but later repairs herself, as seen in "On Melancholy Hill". Also in "On Melancholy Hill" she appears to have a grudge with 2D as she repaired herself, somehow spat out an octopus, and glared at him.

Murdoc revealed in a Murdoc Spotify radio interview that she malfunctioned and tried to kill him, then Noodle destroyed the cyborg. Along with this, Murdoc also revealed that the band now reunited were no longer living on Plastic Beach because it had been destroyed by pirates. They were living in an apartment in England. This apartment was the filming location for the band's video for their single, "DoYaThing."

Appearance and personality[edit]

The cyborg replica retains all of Noodle's physical characteristics and mannerisms but not her memories or tastes. It is also trained to obey Murdoc's every command. The cyborg gave an interview for the tabloid magazine Us Weekly, in which it revealed that it prefers pop music, unlike the original Noodle's "rock-chick" style. It also claims to enjoy the Twilight films and their starring actor, Robert Pattinson. This further tells of the incomplete nature of the cyborg, as the real Noodle would have rejected both as "False Icons", in accordance with the ideals she spoke of in Rise of the Ogre. This is also intended to show the following of "False Icons" as robotic. Cyborg Noodle first appeared in the music video for the Plastic Beach track "Stylo", where it has been shot multiple times, and shut down shortly after firing upon a police car. The cyborg survives, and Murdoc explains in the Plastic Beach Experience video that she is in constant need of charging whenever not being used. In the documentary that comes with the Experience edition of the album, Jamie Hewlett refers to the cyborg as "Evil Noodle".

In the "Rhinestone Eyes" music video, she is shown hiding behind some palm trees clutching two Uzis as the island is being attacked by the Boogieman and pirates. A small group of collaborators, who seem to be Snoop Dogg, Gruff Rhys and De La Soul, are hiding against a wall. Cyborg Noodle locks eyes with one of the De La Soul members and she is seen smiling. Fluid is seen leaking out of her eye, nose, and mouth, the cause unknown.

Murdoc announced on one of his Pirate Radio shows that Cyborg Noodle was malfunctioning and tried to kill him which led the real Noodle to destroy her.

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