Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (Episodes 14 – 25) Review

Ending my look at the Winter anime stuff, Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai continues to move forward without many people talking about it, which makes sense! It’s very … plain. There are some good fight scenes but in general it’s your basic good vs. evil JRPG-style story, which again makes sense given it was based on one of the most popular JRPGs of all time. Honestly if I hadn’t already covered what I thought was the first half (but turns out this adaptation is just barrelling forward with no end in sight) I’d probably have dropped it, but since I started let’s strap in and follow this through to the end! … Whenever that will be!

Synopsis:

Dai, Popp and Maam head off to confront the Hot-Cold demon known as Flazzard and save the princess Leona.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Dai stuck mid-air in such a plain background that it looks like an animation frame someone brought off ebay.

So this chunk of episodes can be split in two (though the second part is really the first half of another story arc, but I’ve just decided to review them in cours rather than story arcs due to not knowing anything about this story at all going in…) and the first one is all about rescuing the princess! Yes, that old chestnut. Princes Leona is captured by Flazzard, one of the big lackies of Demon Lord Hadler, who has command over both ice and fire. Dai does well against him until he creates a barrier that weakens our hero, and then encases the Princess in a crystal that will kill her if not rescued within 24 hours. Dai, Popp, Maam and a few of Leona’s personal guard escape, find an old mage in a nearby cave (obviously) and regroup, with a bit of training thrown in. They then attack the two towers that were powering the barrier but are shocked to find two more of Hadlar’s generals at one tower and Hadlar himself at the other. Everyone is in mortal danger until Hyunckel and Crocodine, two generals that Dai had defeated previously, show up and lend a hand, with Hynckle actually managing to defeat Hadler (which is odd given he’s not the lead protagonists…)

Dai heads into the tower and battles Flazzard, eventually defeating the General not once but twice, the second time with some super-powerful armour on. The Princess is saved and everyone’s happy, apart from Maam, who saw her magic-firing gun destroyed and now feels useless. She heads off to train as a martial artist so she can still be useful to the party. Dai, Popp and Leona travel to a nearby market and encounter several dragons which causes Dai to activate his “Dragon Knight” power, which then leads to him travelling to a temple to find more about the Dragon Knights (who apparently appear every so often to destroy one faction out of Man, Monster and Dragon that dominates the Earth and bring balance back) and there he finds the Dragon General of Hadlar’s army: Baran, who turns out to not only also be a Dragon Knight himself but Dai’s father, proper Star Wars style “Let’s join together my son”  “No I’m not like you!” stuff.

Baran’s design certainly reeks of over-design. Does he really need a half mask thing alongside his edited Frieza armour, cape, dragon-headed sword and occasionally glowing forehead?

The two clash and its closer than Baran would like, so he uses his Dragon Knight aura (or “Dragonic Aura”) to wipe Dai’s memory so he can be free of the “pointless human attachments” he’s formed. We leave the story as Baran summons some tough Dragon-riding underlings to help him…

Once again the animation is good, sometimes really good, but the story is very… predictable and safe, which is fine for the intended age group.

The Bad:

Maam is happy to be safe, but soon sad that she no longer feels safe…

Not a lot, beyond the simple plot. As I said it was weird to see Hadlar defeated fair and square by Hyunckel, and I mean defeated as in dead. He’s seen an episode or two later in his lair, with the quick hand-wavy reason that the Dark King Vearn, whom he serves, revived him and gave him a new more powerful body. That’s great and all, but it will make the moment when he’s defeated for good have a lot less drama, that’s for sure…

Overall Thoughts:

Flazzard defeated! That’s what he gets for having a really annoying name.

The next chunk of episodes are much like the first: a pleasant, simple plot that has some well animated fight scenes in it. If you don’t go in expecting anything with shocking twists and amazing moments you’ll be disappointed. I don’t mind it, I wouldn’t be sticking with it if I didn’t, but it only dips from average to good, never touching great.

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