Images courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Virtual Crunchyroll Expo gave attendees a closer look at the upcoming fall anime adaptation of “Noblesse”. They invited Director Yasutaka Yamamoto, voice actors Tarusuke Shingaki (Cadis Etrama di Raizel) and Daisuke Hirakawa (Frankenstein) to take part in the panel along with video messages from Webtoon creators Jeho Son and Kwangsu Lee.

The first question from host Kwok-Wai Hanson was how the three handled the changes due to the pandemic. Director Yamamoto said that they wrapped up work on the anime but was exhausted from it. He said he played a lot of video games and watched movies at home. Shingaki said recordings had to stop and took a break to sleep and relax. Hirakawa replied that work also stopped for some time and he tried to look for things to do at home including cleaning everywhere at his house and doing a bit of the “konmari” method. He also mentioned going out for a walk but not without taking the right precautions.

The host then introduced the story of “Noblesse”. It focused on Raizel, the Noblesse who spent the last 820 years asleep. The Noblesse is a pure blooded noble who protects its own with his special powers but the being now finds himself as a student in the modern era. Under the guidance of his servant and the director of the school, he learns how humans live. However,  a threat to both him and people approaches and he must use his powers once again.

Yamamoto then spoke about his involvement in the project, starting from the script development. He also mentioned that he talked with both Shingaki and Hirakawa on their performances and how he participated in each portion of making the anime.

Shingaki talked about his character Raizel, how he is a powerful and old creature but is still beautifully youthful with an appreciation for humanity. Hirakawa then spoke about Raizel’s assistant, Frankenstein, how he stayed loyal to the Noblesse throughout the slumber and now.

When asked about how he started working on “Noblesse”, Yamamoto mentioned the OVA from Production I.G. back in 2016 which he wasn’t a part of. The current adaptation team still listed Shunsuke Tada as chief director since he was during the OVA but said that “he sort of handed off the baton to me.” Regarding the Webtoon, Yamamoto said he was not familiar with it nor Webtoons during its start. He ended up reading it and noticed that Raizel has a “gap moe”. He explained that the cool bishonen-type character has a funny side and liked it about him. Shingaki also replied that he didn’t know about the series before but read it for research and liked the mix of beautiful art and unique cast. Hirakawa was the same with the other two and shared the same sentiments about the striking visuals of the characters. Concerning their first impressions back in the OVA, Shingaki said that Raizel had a massive amount of power and kindness that the voice actor liked about him. Both appreciated Frankenstein’s strong bond to his master. Hirakawa said he was curious why he still followed him after so many years. The host asked if there were any difference between recording the OVA and the anime. Shingaki answered that the OVA was like a preview for the series and things went fast. He also talked about the “gap moe” and the cute moments the Noblesse has. Hirakawa said that in the OVA, Raizel spoke a lot but doesn’t in the anime. They said they had a fun time with the cast of the series.

Yamamoto then answered a question comparing the process of adapting a manhwa versus adapting a manga. He replied that with manga, they are requested not to stray far from the original story.  However with the amount “Noblesse” has and the amount of episodes they could make, Yamamoto said things would end in the middle of a climatic part if they followed the manhwa. He continued saying that that side of the team was fine with changing things up to wrap things up excitingly.

The panel then presented a special video message from female K-Pop idol group OH MY GIRL. They will be performing the “Noblesse” ending theme song. Seunghee provided more information on the story. YooA said that they will be performing the song in English, Japanese and Korean and hoped fans looked forward to hearing it.

The host asked if Shingaki had fun playing Raizel who was unfamiliar with modern life and technology. He answered that the character would still acknowledge things even if awkward with it. He spoke how he tried to bring up memories of his first cellphone in order to feel like Raizel in the show. Yamamoto said “He’s basically like a grandpa that’s trying to figure out how to send messages.” However, he would still communicate with his eyes. In regards to research, Shingaki said again how he read the Webtoon but thought that things might be different with the new series and focused on the script and his performance. He talked about trying to find the balance between expressing emotions and staying stoic. Yamamoto said that Frankenstein said what he wanted, which is an opposite to his master. Hirikawa then spoke how having the other cast members and the visuals helped him in very dramatic scenes. He then elaborated that he would try to push the limits on the more comedic moments. Yamamoto added that some first runs were really good.

When asked if anything about the two characters resonated in them, Shingaki immediately said “We like ramen.” He said he himself also likes sleeping. Yamamoto said that both Raizel and Shingaki have a terrible sense of direction though it was not shown in the anime adaptation. As for Hirikawa and Frankenstein, the voice actor said that he and the character are near opposite except that he does care for Shingaki. Though Hirikawa cleaned his place during the stay-at-home orders, he said he doesn’t regularly.

Regarding the balance between the funny parts and the hard hitting action, Yamamoto said he focused on highlighting the characters. With the longer project, he said he was able to show more of their daily lives and casual things. He hinted more exchanges like banter and jests in the “C” part of the episode of the main characters. The actors said they had a lot of fun recording those scenes.

Musician J-JUN had a video message to fans as he will be performing the opening theme song of “Noblesse”. Like OH MY GIRL, he will be singing in English, Japanese and Korean which he said was a first for him. He said he was curious about the battles in the show and hoped that fans looked forward to the series.

After a screening of the first five minutes of the new show, the panel played an interview with the series creators Jeho Son and Kwangsu Lee along with a video of Lee drawing Raizel.

Son said that he was excited for having “Noblesse” expand with 13 episodes. When asked how he kept working on “Noblesse” for 11 years, he answered that he and Lee met to storyboard and encouraged each other. He also said the fans’ support contributed to the lasting relationship and motivation to finish the story. A frequent question was where he got inspiration from and he said that there was none initially but he takes from people in his surroundings. Regarding the OVA, he mentioned Naver Webtoon led the project and gave feedback. He hoped that fans would take note of the story’s flow in the anime. He acknowledged the limitations of the anime. Son said that Raizel and Frankenstein were his main favorites due to working with them the most over the years but also liked their foes. He explained that he trusted Lee and the way he drew so they didn’t need to talk even though they worked separately. He said that Lee would show him the storyboards and in return, Son provided him with feedback. He also said that he made adjustments in the writing to fit in certain scenes Lee drew. He thanked readers for sticking with them for the 11 years. While that story ended, Lee said that they are working on a new continuation.

Lee was also excited about the upcoming adaptation and explained he wanted to be a writer after watching cartoon movies when he was little. He expressed gratitude for reaching his dream of having an anime adaptation. In regards to maintaining work, he said that he had some difficulty with the weekly schedule but overcame it with the help of fans, family and friends. He then said for the inspiration of the designs that he and Son “put a lot of effort into making it look simple, yet classy.” He commented that Raizel was the hardest to draw due to his perfect state. While he liked all of the characters, he said Frankenstein or Seira for being close to his type of personality. Lee remembered how fans liked when Raizel first used his powers but said it was difficult to draw and other battles. He also said that there is a favorite episode from the manhwa that was adapted to the screen that showed a character more in depth. Lee then spoke about how the two would work together to make “Noblesse”. He then thanked readers and strives to continue to make more high quality work.

In Yamamoto’s closing remarks, he thought that the series will be one anyone will like with the many kinds of moments. Shingaki hoped that he could meet fans in person and hope they would enjoy “Noblesse”. Hikisawa thanked attendees of V-CRX and said they put a lot into the series and hope they see the love they have for the show.

Check out the new anime series of “Noblesse” when it begins showing on Crunchyroll.

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