Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (Episodes 51 – 67) Review

I was going to open with a joke about it being nearly time to review another load of episodes (because yes, the series is somehow still going strong…) but thanks to a certain Toei Animation hacking incident the show went off the air for a month, so this review actually isn’t that far behind despite the delay of finishing it on my end. So, Adventure of Dai, eh? Yes, I really want to put “looks like its entered its final arc” but I’ve made that mistake before, so let’s just say “thinks have picked up” and leave it at that…

We kick these episodes off with the heroic party deciding to finally assault Vearn Palace and attack the head honcho himself. Dai’s daddy Baran agrees to join forces with his estranged son because he finds out that Vearn wishes to wipe out the entire world and replace it with his evil underworld instead of conquering and ruling over the populace as he’d been led to believe. As some of the side-characters like Hyunckel, Popp and Maam fight the shiny Royal Guard Dai and Baran break into the palace and square off with Hadlar and his new powerful body. Despite Dai and Baran being more than capable of defeating him they find out that inside Hadlar is a “Black Core” bomb that would annihilate the entire area if damaged. Hadlar is unaware of this and when he does find out he despairs as all he wanted was a fair fight against Dai before his new super-body gives out.

Two once purely evil villains duke it out after having received some actual character development over the past 60 odd episodes…

While I’m trying to avoid spoilers in this section I will say that after the showdown with Hadlar our main crew come face to face with Dark King Vearn himself, who soon shows his immense power and overwhelms our heroes. This leads to yet another period of Dai and Popp re-finding the confidence to fight again and training some more before this block of episodes ends with the hero party actually arriving on Vearn Palace, which is now flying by the way, ready for the final showdown while every other side character who has appeared up to this point fights a large army of generic monster on the surface. If THIS isn’t the final arc I’m going to be … mildly annoyed. Again. Also going into the final (?) fight was an episode focused entirely on the backstory of Avan, who has been dead for 60 odd episodes, so I don’t really see the purpose in doing that at this point!

The animation was strong throughout, the fight between Hadlar, Baran and Dai was good and a subsequent moment involving Hyunckel and his old nemesis Myst-Vearn was also fun to watch. It still has to be said though that the series is really… REALLY stretching its “evil person is trying to destroy the fantasy world with his army” plot extremely thin. The fact we’ve gone past the standard 64 episode or four cour run and still show no signs of stopping is just plain weird for a show so basic in its story telling. At least Dragon Ball changed up its antagonists a bit!

Overall Thoughts:

Lon Berk and Myst-Vearn clash swords in what is sort-of a spoiler but I took these screenshots before I changed my review format and the other two pictures are extremely spoilery, so… This’ll have to do!

Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai continues to very slowly push forward, with some admittedly fun fights and well animated scenes, but frankly by this point you’re either still watching (because you like it or because of a sense of “if you think I’ve come this far to NOT see Vearn defeated then you’ve got another thing coming!”) or you’re not watching at all, and I don’t think I can recommend anyone commit to this amount of episodes for so little in return…

The major incident here is that Baran gives up his life to save Dai and contain the Black Core, then after Dai and co. are nearly killed by Vearn Dai arrives in the realm of the “Mother Dragon” who tells him that with his death the Dragon Knights have come to an end, but Baran’s spirit arrives and convinces it to restore Dai to life and give him a second chance. It was an … odd situation, but hey, it sort of worked. Hadlar was the one who ended up saving Dai and co. from Vearn as he attacked the Dark King himself out of anger for the whole deadly bomb thing. Hadlar escapes with the remaining three members of his Royal Guard, so that plot isn’t even finished yet!

The “Mother Dragon” talks to Dai and Baran… Didn’t see this weird stuff coming at the start of the series!

Also Dai’s sword bloody broke AGAIN, leading to Lon Berk the smith restoring it (as well as repairing or creating new items for Hyunckel, Popp, Maam and Crocodine) and Hyunckel and Crocodine are captured and about to be executed until the former accepts a bunch of evil energy from Myst-Vearn, which he resists and turns against him. A good moment, if nothing else. Princess Leona has an actual story in this chunk, being given the symbol of a disciple of Avan and having to travel deep into a labyrinth to find a spell that could break down the barrier to Vearn Palace, so that was nice to see.

Dark Lord Vearn and Hadlar clash in what was actually a really fun moment.

Finally as the five disciples of Avan create the path to Vearn Palace (and priestess Merle nearly sacrifices her life to save Popp and snap him out of his 50th bout of depression) Lon Berk and Myst-Vearn reveal a past and a have a great, very Dragon Ball-y battle.

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