It's not uncommon for an anime to drift away from the adapted material. Sometimes it's good, sometimes very bad.
When Crunchyroll announced the anime adaptations of 3 major webtoons — Tower of God, The God of High School and Noblesse, I was pretty thrilled. It was desire fulfilled of watching webtoons being animated. After watching numerous manga turning into anime, it was time to enjoy something new. But alas, it didn't work out well. So far, all the adaptations coproduced by Crunchyroll have been utter garbage. They've done everything they can to promote themselves even if it hurdles the story or makes it less enjoyable. And Noblesse has been a victim of this.
The very first OVA of Noblesse — Noblesse: Awakening, animated by Production I.G. is mesmerizing. Even though there were some minor details removed and the story was changed, it was amazing. Every single moment of that OVA was worth watching. I was really impressed with I.G. and was hoping they'd do great with this anime too. Alas, I was mistaken.
This adaptation of Noblesse is nothing more than to give hatred to webtoons in general. None of the adapted webtoons gave a sense of "hype" nor "promote" the webtoons. Here are some of the major faults in Noblesse anime:
1. The anime started from the point where the OVA (Noblesse: Awakening) ended.
They didn't bother to give some highlights of what happened before. Majority of the audience were clueless about the scenario and had to do a little bit of research before continuing. But not all of them were to energetic for it, as they simply dropped it and rated it 1 and moved on. Just shows how awful the direction of the first episode was.
2. The anime changed the location from South Korea to Japan.
Now this is something that sticks out for me. Why change the location entirely just because it's being animated in Japan? Personally, this felt like they're either trying to claim that Noblesse is a Japanese story or have a superior mentality that anything animated in Japan will have the details of Japan only. Which in my opinion, is a very bad move. Not only did they change the location, but also changed the names of the characters from Korean to Japanese. This also happened with Tower of God where Bam's name was changed to Yoru to accommodate a Japanese name. But that too was a bad idea.
The idea of changing something entirely to a native perspective by discrediting the official name is disrespectful. It's like Japanese mangaka creating a new Batman story, but instead of naming Batman as Bruce Wayne, they name him Wozaru Koto. Did that make any sense? Nope. So, in general, I found this pretty bad and it made me enjoy the story less.
3. The plot was changed as per the studio's need to adapt only certain things to fill in 13 episodes.
It's not a new thing for the anime to be different than the adapted material. But to literally change everything? That's a no bueno. As far as I can see, they butchered major parts of the story. When the poster was revealed for the anime, Raskreia was also included in there. Which pretty much made me confirm that the anime was adapting everything till the end of Lukedonia. As a person who read the entire webtoon of Noblesse, I knew it was going to be horsecrap. The anime robbed us of key moments such as thrills, excitement, and the joy of learning something new in the story by skipping most of the things.
4. The characters are weird, weak and too emotional.
After watching Episode 13, I couldn't help but facepalm. They made Raskreia out of all characters to be a normal girl with feelings. No, that's not the Raskreia we know. In the webtoon, Raskreia doesn't know it's Cadis who has infiltrated in Lukedonia until he steps in the tomb room. She does have the idea that Cadis was a traitor, but doesn't know his whereabouts for centuries. She's mostly shown as a proud character who can take her own decisions without hesitation. Though she does take a few bad decisions. And for the love of god, she doesn't grovel like a girl who has just been dumped by her crush. So far, all I saw was how they belittled the anime that it's not even funny to laugh at.
5. Character Designs
Almost 50% of the characters shown in the anime have a weak design as compared to the webtoon. Raizel's entire body is weak, with his hair being totally different; Seira's face and hair are different; Gejutel's beard is different; etc. In short, their main plan to make the anime bad worked.
6. Voice Actors
Now, I don't really want to be picky in terms of voices, but I need to state it. The studio didn't do a good job hiring appropriate voice actors. In my opinion, it felt as if they just chose whoever signed up for it. When reading the webtoon, I always read Regis' lines in the voice of Toshiro from Bleach, since it resembles him a bit. But here, the impact wasn't the same, but it wasn't that bad either. And Karias' voice was very different. That I didn't like.
In the end, I'd like to say that this was a very adaptation of the webtoon. Crunchyroll did a very bad job in promoting it. Though they got what they wanted — Publicity. If you're wondering to watch the anime of Noblesse, I suggest you stop right away. You'll miss out on a lot of things and won't get the joy of reading the original story. That is all.