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Manhwa Review: Noblesse Chapters 1-10

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Status: First 10 chapters of English scanlations
Author: Son Keo
Artist: Lee Kwangsoo
Version: Easy Going Scans
Noblesse Online: Wikipedia, Mangakiss, Mangafox, WebToons, MangaFreak, MangaTown  
Genre: Supernatural + Fantasy + Urban Fantasy + Drama???

I decided to check out this manhwa (Korean version of Manga) after seeing some clips of the anime adaptation. What began as a webtoon seems to have really gained a following over the last few years. And with good reason, as the art is lovely and the story seems to offer a lot to readers. I decided to read the first ten chapters to see if it was something that I would likely want to read in the long-term.

The story begins with the main character Rai, waking from an 820-year slumber in an abandoned building located in modern-day Korea. Given that he’s been away for a long time, our supernatural protagonist has to negotiate the language and culture of a world different from the one that he left. This leads to him meeting his old but loyal vassal and current principal of a high school, Frankenstein. It also leads to numerous questions about why he left in the first place and how he managed to wake up in a building erected in the past few years by owners unknown. He also has to deal with the annoying issue of his telepathy not working.

To begin with, I really like the line and colouring work for this webtoon. It is a slightly different style to webtoons such as the shounen series The Gamer or the “mature” harem series Sweet Guy, but it manages to work well with the dark and moody vibe of the series. If you notice the close up images of the eyes of certain characters, you will likely detect some similarities to the later chapters of the Naruto manga.
To the characters, we don’t get to learn much about them as the first ten chapters don’t give us much background. Sure, we do get that Rai and Frankenstein are old souls and that there are multiple factions that will likely make a move once they become aware of Rai’s return. However, we do not glean much from the dialogue other than that Rai might be in for some annoyance and potential danger in the future. Rai is also a lot less animated than his flunky. As for the humans at the school, we see them oddly aware that Rai is an attractive dude. The guys tend to be self-conscious because of how being around him will affect their chances with chicks… because… vagina?!! As for the hulking teacher, he is a difficult one to wrap my head around because he comes off a bit too flat. I hope that this character is developed a bit more though as Rai seems to recognise some value in him from their earlier interactions.
To the plot, I would say that the first ten chapters hooked me enough with the various questions posed that I am intrigued enough to read more of the series. However, some folks will understandably be annoyed that a lot of aspects have been left a complete mystery. That being said, these mysteries do seem to offer the chance at delivering information in a timely manner instead of an info dump.
I suppose that I should go into what is lacking so far. So far the only conflicts offered relate to Rai’s arrival. This has not led to any physical altercations yet, but I expect that there will be some fisty-cuffs once the other factions are introduced. There is no romance or magic girls, not that I expect the latter in this sort of series. There is also no epic cooking demonstration leading to people having a food orgasm. Nope, none of that stuff. I don’t mind, though, as the first ten chapters foreshadow some interesting world-building and conflict.

In conclusion, whilst this series is a bit slow off the blocks, there is a lot of potential for some solid storytelling. As such, I will try to post ongoing updates as I continue the series. I recommend it to folks looking for a story with supernatural themes and are willing to take their time to discover things about the characters and the world.

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Author: keikomushi

Reader, Writer, New Media Buff, Anime Fangirl, Gnome Hunter, Last Action Femme Fatale, Appreciator of Nature, Jack-of-all-trades.

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