REVIEW: ‘Noblesse,’ Episode 1 – “What Must Be Protected / Ordinary”

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Noblesse Episode 1
‘Noblesse,’ Episode 1 – “What Must Be Protected / Ordinary”

The latest offering in the Crunchyroll Originals lineup is perfect for October, Noblesse from Production I.G. is adapted from the webtoon of the same name and is campy good fun. It is important for viewers to have watched the 2016 OVA Noblesse: Awakening, as it essentially serves as a prequel, and the premiere episode’s events take place directly after the OVA. Nobles are powerful immortal beings that secretly inhabit the human world (they’re basically vampires in all but name). Raizel, the protector of the nobles, has awakened, and now begins to try and blend in at the high school his servant, Frankenstein, is in charge of. 

Much of this episode is setting up the core team of characters after the events of the OVA. Raizel suggests M-21 stays with them. He agrees and begins serving as a school security guard. His personal journey to reconcile his existence as an experimental being and determine what he wants to do next becomes a point of focus in this episode. When a group of men break into the school grounds and start threatening students, he is confronted with balancing his job as school security with not revealing his power.

While this all sounds, and is, melodramatic, the series cleverly doesn’t take itself too seriously. Comical self-aware nods, such as characters remarking in shock when the girls all suddenly have literal heart-eyes in Raizel’s presence, keep the mood of the show a lot more lighthearted and endearing than what one might expect.

Raizel is a man of very few words, but the lines he has are hysterical. For being a super-powered immortal being, he clearly doesn’t see himself as “better than.” He is fascinated by the nuances of high school life. His newfound friends introduce him to ramen and teach him to use a smartphone. These comic moments are well-written, and instead of being a jarring tonal shift give this show a unique tone of its own.

We don’t spend much time with the other characters. Frankenstein is Raizel’s servant, but it also feels as though he is a bit parental when introducing his master to the modern era. Hopefully, future episodes will make this relationship be more than a one-note bit. Raizel’s classmates Shinwoo and Ik-Han serve as straight-men in this episode. Raizel altered their memories after the OVA, so they still do not know his identity or the existence of supernatural beings. Twice now they’ve gotten pulled into more violent antics, so it will be interesting to see how long in the show they will be kept out of the loop.

The animation fits the theme of “classy vampire.” All the characters are beautiful, and the brief action scene, in the beginning, is slick and speedy. The rest is just okay. I’m the furthest from an animation expert, but it does feel a little flat in comparison to other shows. The nobles harken back to the classics of vampire lore. Information in the show isn’t given directly. The downside to this premiere is that viewers need to watch the OVA beforehand, otherwise they will be completely lost.

All in all, episode 1 of Noblesse proves to be a solid start to a show that clearly has a lot of fun to offer. Campy, melodramatic, and self-aware, the episode knows not to take itself too seriously, and the characters shine as a result. If an endearing vampire anime that promises future action sounds like a fun October, this is the show for you.

Noblesse Episode 1 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.

'Noblesse' Episode 1 - "What Must Be Protected / Ordinary"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

All in all, episode 1 of Noblesse proves to be a solid start to a show that clearly has a lot of fun to offer. Campy, melodramatic, and self-aware, the episode knows not to take itself too seriously, and the characters shine as a result. If an endearing vampire anime that promises future action sounds like a fun October, this is the show for you.