Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (Episodes 26 – 37) Review

In case you were wondering I haven’t forgotten about this series, it was the last of the reviews that were partly done when my personal tragedy occurred and I’ve only now got round to finishing it off / getting pictures. So what happened in the third chunk of Dragon Quest Adventures of Dai episodes? Well, quite a lot actually, including a very high-budget showdown between our titular hero and his father… Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Dai has had his memories erased by his father Baran, who hopes that by removing his son’s attachments to other people he will become a true Dragon Knight like himself. Dai’s friends have other ideas…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

And this isn’t even his final form! …. Oh wait, yes it is. Never mind.

This chunk of episodes can be neatly cut into two parts (or really the latter half of one arc and the whole of a second). In the previous chunk we found out that not only is Dai’s Dad the Dragon Knight Baran but also that Dai has Dragon Knight powers but is refusing to use them to hurt humans, so Baran wiped his son’s mind and left for a bit so he can reclaim his son shortly. Before he does this he summons his powerful Dragon Masters to fight by his side… for no real reason honestly, other than it gives some of Dai’s allies something to do before the big showdown… and that it does! Popp runs away from his allies under the guise of being cowardly but actually so he can slow Baran down and hope he buys enough time for Dai to be cured and while he manages to damage one enemy he’s soon overwhelmed until the timely arrival of Hyunckel. He defeats one enemy, Pop defeats another before passing out, and then Hyunckel struggles against the final enemy as he has a spear version of his magic sword/armour and outclasses him. Our favourite anti-hero stereotype manages to pull off a last ditch attack that secures him victory at the cost of his blade, but he takes the Spear instead…

Meanwhile Baran appears at the castle where Dai is and easily disposes of his son’s other allies before Dai arrives on the scene. Popp and Hyunckel return as well but also get a beating for their trouble, with Popp actually being outright killed, the sight of which trigger’s Dai memories and sends him into a rage. He pushes Baran to the point where he unleashes his most powerful form (full of “Draconic Aura”) while Dai pushes himself to the limit to try and take him on, the two fighting in the sky like a true Dragon Ball fighters… oh right, Dragon QUEST fighters… still, they do battle with energy blasts and swords until the body of Popp fires a random blast that distracts Baran enough to get damaged by a last ditch attack from his son. Out of respect his brings Popp back to life using his Draconic powers (why not?) and leaves, claiming he won’t go easy next time. Everyone celebrates being alive, if not severely wounded. It was certainly an exciting fight to watch, the definite highlight of the series so far.

Dai grazes Baran’s chest…

A short while later Dai laments the fact his sword broke while fighting with Baran and that he claimed only his own sword had the strength to withstand the power of a Dragon Knight. Dai hears of a Sword of Heroes that would be able to withstand his power and that it was up for grabs as a reward in a fighting tournament so he and Popp head over and meet back up with Maam, who in this short time has become something of a martial arts expert. I was expecting a tournament arc but instead the son of Dark Army mage Zaboera, Zamza, uses the tournament to gather up strong fighters to use as test subjects for his “Superior Being” experiments, eventually mutating into a massive Superior Being himself. Maam does good damage to him but it is of course Dai who saves the day. Zamza sends his data to his father to help him his experiments before he dies… It was okay, but the design of the lead enemy was a bit naff and Dai winning despite the whole arc being about Maam was rather annoying.

The Bad:

I can’t take an arc seriously when THAT is the main villain…

The night while they’re all recovering from the fight with Baran the Dark Lord himself, Hadlar, arrives for a final last ditch attempt to defeat Dai and appease his Master but fails due to a combination of Popp and his Master Matoriv. Man that was annoying, I get it was supposed to be him hitting rock bottom so he accepts the help of his top mage Zaboera but in reality he could’ve been threatened by Dark King Vearn and done it out of fear or something. Hopefully he’ll rebound and actually have a good send off, I haven’t sat through 30 odd episodes of decidedly average Shonen storytelling to not get my big bad guy send off…

During the sort-of-fighting-tournament arc we are introduced to a mouse character that has been training with Maam called Chiu. He’s your classic “acts brave but is actually cowardly until the big moment when he finds his bravery” character but this late in the game he feels somewhat pointless. I guess now Popp isn’t a coward any more they felt the need to have a replacement?

After episode 37 we got a recap episode. Now it wasn’t called Episode 38 but it still happened! Why?! The entire manga ended a decade or two ago, there is literally no reason to do a recap episode one week to fill time. Really annoying. I assume the fact it wasn’t called “Episode 38” means it will probably be absent from DVD/Blu-Ray releases, but still… Really annoying to see in 2021, where even on-going Shonen adaptations often find ways to avoid them…

Overall Thoughts:

Dai grazes Zamza’s chest… mouth?

The showdown with Baran was nearly good enough to recommend sitting through the mostly generic near-30 other episodes to watch but the back-to-form generic story arc that followed put everything back in perspective. Track the fight down on YouTube, otherwise I still can’t recommend watching the show despite good animation, though now I’ve invested this amount of time you better believe I’m sticking through to the end! It gets a 4 for the Baran fight, but the arc after is up there with the rest of the series’ 3s.

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