Crunchyroll premiered the highly anticipated 30-minute OVA of Production I.G.’s animated adaptation of Noblesse titled Noblesse: Awakening on February 4, 2016, and words simply cannot describe how marvelous and beautiful those 30 minutes were. Noblesse, for those who are unaware, is a highly popular Korean LINE Webtoon which first hit the internet in 2007 in Korea and 2014 globally. Written by Son Jae Ho and illustrated by Lee Gwang Su, Noblesse became an overnight hit that has about 392 episodes uploaded on Webtoon’s website.
Noblesse: Awakening was just as good as Noblesse itself with my only criticism being that this is an OVA and not a full-fledged anime series. Noblesse received a prior OVA, which unfortunately was not licensed or brought over to the U.S.
We begin Noblesse: Awakening with the introduction of a mysterious, pearl white coffin with a gold cross layered over it – readers of the Webtoon, such as myself, know where the scene is headed. Of course, there are differences here and there but it’s nothing that takes away from the source material.
Within the coffin is the mysterious Cadis Etrama Di Raizel (who later goes by Rai). Rai is an all-powerful being who has been asleep for 820 years – upon his awakening Rai reunites with his loyal servant Frankenstein and begins high school in an effort to learn about the advancements made by humanity. Rai is befriended by three high school students who become integral parts of the story in the OVA and the Webtoon. We’re also introduced to the sympathetic characters M-21 and M-24 along with villains Jake and Mary.
The animation of Noblesse: Awakening is flawless and crisp – it’s a stunning beauty visually, with an opening that’s just as brilliant as the OVA itself. The character designs, just like the Webtoon, are some of the best and more detailed one’s I’ve seen in an anime. As far as characters themselves go – due to the running length being only a half an hour, the characters aren’t explored in the depth one would hope for. However, the OVA provides just enough to leave viewers thirsting for more. In other words, if you loved Noblesse: Awakening, then the ridiculously addicting Webtoon will more than satisfy you. I highly, highly recommend the series for once you start, you won’t be able to stop!
Fans of who have caught up with Noblesse can look forward to Noblesse: Rai’s Adventure, a 10 episode limited edition spin-off series that focuses on Rai before he entered his deep sleep.
Overall, Noblesse: Awakening (OVA) receives a solid 9.5/10 – I couldn’t allow myself give the OVA a full 10, as I’m still disappointed the fantastic series has not been picked up for a 12 episode anime. Noblesse: Awakening, despite being only 30 minutes, sucks viewers in with its animation, characters, gore and stunning action sequences. Each fight had me at the edge of my seat despite knowing what’s to come.
Fans of Noblesse, the LINE Webtoon or OVA, should check out Betrayal Knows My Name – a series which has elements of Noblesse; the two aren’t the exact same, but audiences will enjoy that title as well.
For those who are curious as to what Noblesse’s full synopsis is, then LINE Webtoon describes the plot as the following:
“Cadis E. di Raizel, the noblest of all vampires, who wakes up from 820-years long sleep and starts a new life as a high school student. His peaceful days as a student are soon interrupted by a group of attackers known as the "Unions." Noblesse follows Raizel and his loyal servant, Frankenstein, as they constantly protect and save Raizel's new human friends from the mysterious threats.”