Greetings! For today, I picked out a story I started long ago but for some reason or other put on hold, and recently picked it up again. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of the fantasy genre but the art style captivated me immediately so I gave it a go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do if you decide to give it a chance!
Author & Artist: KaixJu
Release Year: 2017
Status: Ongoing, 126 chapters are out. Updates 3 times a month, on Mondays.
Licensed? (Y/N): Yes, on Webtoon.
Novae is set in the year 1672, in Paris. Raziol is an apprentice astronomer, working under the well-known physicist Professor Huygens. He helps with mathematical calculations, observation, and charting. Mostly holed up in the academy’s library, forgetting food or sleep exists, Raziol loves to research and devotes himself entirely. One day, while Raziol is working, Professor Huygens walks into the library with a stranger doning a cape. Raziol quickly hides, embarrassed about not having been near a bath for the past couple of days but Huygens knows he’s there. Where else he could be! Raziol’s first impression of this young man named Sulvain is that he’s ‘peculiar’, but after learning that he knows Arabic and can help to fix Raziol’s mistakes made in a sleep-deprived state, he is overjoyed. Sulvain is introduced as a world traveler and an expert in physiology, and these two spend their following days exploring the wonders of the universe, and each other.
This webtoon isn’t too fixated on being historically accurate, but there are real historical figures and cultural bits here and there. Raziol is from Hindustan, which used to cover the whole Indian subcontinent but now is solely used for the Republic of India, while Sulvain was born in Paris and lived in Hindustan for some time. Huygens is a real-life physicist and an important figure in astrophysics as well. Considering they picked the name Novae, plural form of nova, which is related to binary star systems, the artists must have done a lot of research! That’s so sweet.
Reading Novae reminded me of the first time I’ve heard of music defined as “the rational organization of sounds and silences passing through time”. I don’t think I’ve ever considered we needed timely silences in music as much as we needed sounds or more like I wasn’t consciously aware of its presence. From then on, I started to take notice of the incorporation of silence in music, theatre, and movies including animation. And also notice how hard it can be to properly pull off, particularly in plot-driven or dialogue-heavy pieces. Of course, Sulvain being mute plays a part in this. However, this webtoon was so silent and calm in its storytelling and conversations between its characters, I could only feel awe towards how it could be possible to achieve such a thing on a media that’s ‘static’ by nature, so to speak.
Manga/webtoon readers may agree with me on this but, sometimes I get a headache when reading certain series because the characters are too loud and too hyper. Not that it’s bad, it’s certainly fun to read such titles from time to time. Reading Novae, on the other hand, definitely felt like that cozy late-night snuggling with a blanket on the couch, fragrant aroma from a warm drink, and a good book kind of warm. I liked that a lot. Although the story was heartbreaking at times, I’m glad I got to meet this beautiful piece.
At first, 126 chapters may be intimidating. I sure know I dread getting into a series when there is a lot to cover. However, Novae’s chapters are much shorter than the usual webtoon chapter length. In actuality, it takes less time to read. Plus, the narrative flow is smooth and the visuals are so enchanting, I forgot how time passed by. I recommend this series if you enjoy delving into a story that has a nice balance of soft and harsh, with beautiful imagery and a splash of magic and astronomy.
A — Ameiro Paradox
B — Blue Sky Complex
C — Coyote
D — Dear, My God
E — Endou-kun no Kansatsu Nikki
F — Full…
G — The Good Teacher
H — Hakujon to Kurobotan
I — Itadakimasu Gochisousama
J — Jealousy
K — Koi wo Suru Tsumori wa Nakatta
L — Love Tractor
M — Momo to Manji
N — Novae