Series Name: Noblesse, 노블레스
Year of Serialization: December,2007
Author(s): Son Jae Ho
Artist(s): Lee Gwang Su
Current Status: On hiatus for 6 weeks (started May 27th).
Moment of Reviewing: Chapter 286, last chapter before hiatus.
Other Formats: -
After 820 years of slumber, Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, or Rai, awakens in a new world, where mankind seems to have made huge steps of improvement. While seeking to familiarize himself with this era and consort with the new technology and lifestyle, he pinpoints his loyal servant Frankenstein, who is currently the principal of a South Korean high school. Rai decides that the high school is the perfect place to learn about the “new world” and try to build a new life. He manages to blend in with the teenagers and even make new friends. But Rai isn’t a normal being neither is Frankenstein a regular high school principal.
The series follow the often dangerous adventures of the two, while trying to unveil Rai’s past. During the years he was sleeping, many events took place in the world. Humans managed to attain power in the levels of higher creatures and his people seem to come through an uproar in their world. His efforts to live a normal life with his servant and friend are disturbed by a mysterious yet dangerous organization. Power hungry and arrogant, the leaders of the organization will not hesitate to resort to cruel and atrocious acts to gain what they want. But how did they manage to posses such power? And why is Rai forsaken even by his own people?
In their attempt to discover the events behinds Rai’s mysterious slumber and their efforts to protect their new friends, Rai and Frankenstein will get involved in many dangerous and mysterious situations and they will find out that things are not always they way they appear to be.
Noblesse seems to be revolved around a rather trite theme, however the author manages to overcome the banality by introducing new things and keeping an original tint. The first introductory chapters are somehow boring but very quickly the plot starts evolving in many interesting ways. Throughout the whole series, the author manages to keep a mysterious and suspenseful atmosphere and even though some patterns of events are repeating, the series manage to be interesting, even in those predicted moments.
Dramatic and funny in the same time, Son Jae Ho knows how to defuse emotionally strong or action related scenes with humor and funny situations. Rai’s confusion about the human world and his attempts to blend in and familiarize with the new technology, offer many comical moments. Same with Frankenstein’s sadistic and arrogant personality that always seem to surprise his friends in an unexpected way. Having nothing more in common than a mysterious bond that binds them in the same cause, Rai, Frankenstein and their group manage to get caught up in many dangerous, offbeat and funny situations. Even at times that their adventures seem to come to an end, the author introduces new facts and situations that blend in perfectly with the plot.
A great aspect of this manga is the fact that my love for edgy yet not corny and exaggerated characters is satisfied, as most of them have a great development in the series. Mysterious but with a certain attitude to become memorable, most characters are much more than meets the eye. The calm, pacifist and kindhearted man, becomes a powerful avenger when the circumstances require it and the loyal, humble man with the angelic characteristics hides a devil inside him, arrogant, sadistic and revengeful. As a person who dislikes clichés, I find the configuration of the characters very playful, as characteristics and traits that are mostly found in villains are often part of the good guys personalities and the other way around.
The artwork of the series was one of the first things that grasped my attention. Personally, I always preferred manga over anime, as I believe to give more space for imagination to develop. Lee Gwang Su, the artist, manages to create a dark and mysterious yet friendly and comfortable atmosphere with his artwork. His ability to draw great facial expressions that manages to get across the emotion and the tense of the moment along with his imperfect but unique style, that manages to create strong moments, is admirable and a key point to convey the feeling of the series.
Noblesse is also a perfect recommendation for those who enjoy action/fighting scenes but dislike it when they occupy a great amount of the series time. In this case, the fights are more tactical and organized with epic moments of Frankenstein’s and Rai’s unique attitudes and lines.
Not very famous due to the fact that isn’t animated yet, Noblesse is a great manga, especially for older audiences, as it has an interesting and suspenseful plot but also gives attention to the details, like developing the characters, even if they are just supporting and keeping a very high quality artwork.
Many thanks to Kyo4 for his contribution!