Noblesse

Noblesse

Noblesse anime series cover art
Noblesse

Series Overview

Noblesse (NOBLESSE -ノブレス-) is the third of Webtoon’s “big three” shounen series. The other two are Tower of God and God of High School. Together, these three series are supposed to be on par with the “big three” of Japanese shounen series: One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach.

Unfortunately for Noblesse fans, after watching this series, I don’t see how you could include it in any sort of “big three.” To be fair, the source material is allegedly good. And as I’ll discuss later on, there’s a major factor weighing the Noblesse anime down. But even with this in mind, I don’t think it’s good.

So, to explain what Noblesse is all about, let’s take a look at the genres it’s tagged as on MyAnimeList. These are action, supernatural, vampire, and school (which is a setting, not a genre). Is there action? Yes, but not good action. Is it supernatural? Yes, because there are vampires.

However, the most important tag here is actually “school.” Why? Because at least half of this series is pointless, slice of life content set in a school.

More realistic tags for this series would be slice of life, shoujo, bishounen, and school. From what I saw of this series, I’m definitely not the target audience. This is effectively the Twilight of anime. It’s just a bunch of beautiful vampire boys hanging out at school with some random romance thrown in.

If you’re a shounen fan, I don’t think you’re going to like this series. If you’re a bishounen fan, you might.

Oh, and the first season of this anime isn’t actually where you start if you’re thinking about watching it. There’s an OVA called Noblesse: Awakening (which I’m not doing an individual review on) that covers the first arc of the series.

Main Characters

Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, or just Raizel for short, is the protagonist and titular noblesse. In this series, vampires are referred to as nobles, with the noblesse being a sort of “noble among nobles.” What exactly the noblesse is isn’t explained all that well. They’re not the leader of the nobles, but they are at the same time.

Raizel was asleep for 800 years leading up to the start of the series. So what does he do when he awakens to find himself in Japan? He enrolls in a local high school, of course.

Frankenstein is Raizel’s devoted retainer. With a name like Frankenstein, you might think that he’s some sort of human-composite, zombie-like monster. Or, since this series is about vampires, you may think he’s one of those. Well, neither is the case. He’s just a human — though he does have magical powers for some reason.

Cadis Etrama Di Raizel from the anime series Noblesse
Cadis Etrama Di Raizel

M-21 is a man-made noble. There’s probably an actual word for what he is, but I don’t really feel like looking into it. He’s not a homunculus because he’s a real human. But he’s been experimented on and turned into a cheap imitation of a noble.

The last two characters worth mentioning are Regis K. Landegre and Seira J. Loyard. They’re nobles who attend the same high school as Raizel. However, they’re significantly younger than he is. Regis is the grandson of one of the noble clan leaders, and Seira is the leader of another noble clan.

There are a lot of other characters who simply don’t matter enough to go over. These include the humans Raizel befriends at school, other man-made nobles, and all of the other true nobles. Even the main antagonist of the season isn’t worth mentioning since this is a slice of life series at the end of the day.

Crunchyroll Original Anime

In case you didn’t already figure it out, the biggest problem with Noblesse, aside from the fact that I think the premise is fundamentally boring, is that it’s a Crunchyroll original anime. So far, the best Crunchyroll original anime I’ve seen is Tower of God, which I gave a low 7/10.

So why is Crunchyroll failing to produce great anime despite the source material for these series being so beloved? It all comes down to the fact that Webtoons are an unproven source for anime. The companies who partner with Crunchyroll aren’t convinced that these sources can be profitable for them, and so they don’t commit fully.

What this results in are a bunch of anime that attempt to speedrun the source and deliver what they believe the target audience wants to see most. Why spend a lot of time building up a series, its world, and its characters if there’s a chance it’s going to flop before it gets to the “good part.”

Raizel from the anime series Noblesse
Raizel

With Tower of God, all of the world-building was thrown out the window so that the anime could rush through the prologue in one cour. For God of High School, all of the plot was brushed aside so that they could pack in as much action as possible. And in Noblesse, it seems that the slice of life aspects of the series are what were brought to the forefront.

But, I should point out that while I think Noblesse is worse than the other two of the “big three” Webtoon series Crunchyroll has helped produce, it’s actually much better than the two Crunchyroll originals I’m watching this season which are based on a manga and light novel.

Conclusion

If I had to describe the Noblesse anime in a single word, it would be “mediocre.” There’s nothing about this series that I would call good. But at the same time, it doesn’t really do anything all that bad either. It just exists as a completely average series. And for that, I have to give it a 5/10.

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