Well, I guess it’s a real good thing I decided to watch that OVA cause the first episode would have been really hard to follow otherwise. If you watched episode 1 of Noblesse and were left wondering who was who or why Raizell was waiting for his ramen to “multiply”, do yourself a favour and just go back and watch the OVA. It’s just as long as a normal episode. No big investment.
As for me, this was going to be my first real indicator of what I’m in for. Let me share my thoughts with you, succinctly!
Let me just get thins random thought out of the way first. For reasons I cannot explain, I thought the OP was hilarious. In a good way! Don’t ask me why or how I just giggled all through it and I don’t understand myself.
This first episode of Noblesse started out on what looked like the front lines of some military combat and I was all like, whoa what the hecks is happenin? I figured there might have been a time jump or a flashback with regard to the OVA or that maybe the OVA was only going to be tangentially related which was a bit of a bummer but then, nopes, right back at school we go.
In fact, they managed to pick up right after the OVA while negating any tricky circumstances by pulling the old memory wipe trick. Normally find memory wipes to be rather lazy writing but I kinda like it here. I’m not looking for some literary masterpiece, I want some good ridiculous fun and I don’t have time to be bothering with every little detail. The vampire did it. I’m good with that!
And the episode did serve up some nice fun moments. Surprisingly from Raizel who was shaping up as an extremely unlikely comic relief. What with all the aloof innocence and obsession with games. For me, the best moments were seeing him interact with Han and Ik-Han (wait is that right??? awesome!) and then exasperating Frankie with what he’s learned. I honestly would have been ok if the entire series was just a school-based SoL comedy with that as the premise. (^^)v is my new favourite emoji. Accordingly, I’m going to add it to my work email signature.
This said I was actually quite psyched to see that M-21 actually made it to the Noblesse series. I wasn’t sure what would become of him and it wouldn’t have surprised me if he had ended up an OVA only character. I had to go back through my screencaps because he looked way younger to me in the OVA. And he still does even though there’s almost no difference in his design. I think it’s because the grey of his hair is much more cool-toned now and the shape of his eyebrows has changed a bit. Honestly, it’s just about the only differences I could see. Yet though he was the same age as the students n the OVA and now he looks like their grandpa. I guess it doesn’t help that everyone else is calling him old.
So M-21 has an honestly touching if cliché backstory and a great starting point for a poignant character arc. It’s just completely parallel to who I thought the main characters were. So it’s odd to frame the first episode around him… Odd but not bad. Sure I would have liked to see more of the goofballs but it’s a decent start and a good way to get all those mystical organisation plot elements in.
Also, I really liked the animated eyecatch. You rarely see eyecatches anymore, let alone animated ones. It feels nostalgic.
The fight scene felt a bit obligatory. Like the writers went, oh man this is an action anime, better get a fight scene in. I didn’t hate it mind you. I physically cringed when Han got a blow to his cast so it managed to pull me in. But I don’t think it was in any way necessary for the episode. Still, it was satisfying to have M-21 get a chance at glory. He’s actually been beaten down by the plot pretty badly.
However, I did get a laugh at the idea that Han is the only person in the entire school with red hair. That’s gotta make all those ginger jokes sting extra hard!
In the final scenes, Noblesse finally looped back by bringing the characters from the start to Japan. I don’t really know much about them yet but they do seem like a delightful bunch of weirdos. I can’t see the show taking them too seriously. Purely on gut instinct and first impressions, my favourite is the guy with the black and white bowl cut and off the shoulder shirt. Anime guys with off the shoulder shirts just get me.
I don’t mind the action but I hope that future episodes incorporate more goofball elements and just casual school life for Raizel. If it was entirely up to me, I would love for him to turn out as somewhat of an airhead. I think it would fit the mood well.
Finally, we also saw two completely new characters after the ED which don’t seem affiliated with any of the groups. For the record, those groups as per my understanding are: Raizel and the school, the Union which made M-21 and seems to be creating mutants for some unknown purpose, those army guys who I guess are paramilitary or maybe just plain old guns for hire and the pretty white-haired folks.
So far, so good.
Oh, one last thing. The visuals are fine but there’s nothing special about them other than I like them on a purely subjective level. And that’s what I thought of the first episode of Noblesse.