OP: 「聖剣なんていらない」 (Seiken nante Iranai) by 榊原ゆい (Sakakibara Yui)
「少年と竜」 (Shounen to Ryuu)
“A Boy and His Dragon”
Generic in both story and form.
Exposition & Introductions
Seikoku no Dragonar simultaneously did something very well and very poorly, and that thing was introducing characters and the world (exposition, in other words). Where it did it well was the very first scene. Unlike the opening scene for Selector Infected WIXOSS, which provided so little context I’ve already forgotten everything that happens in that scene, the opening scene of Dragonar did a good job of getting me interested. An unconscious girl, a bloodied boy, and a mysterious being that grows his arm back – yeah, interested! There was enough to pique my interest without giving too much away. That was nice.
Then there was the rest of the episode. Over half of the episode was given over to character introductions of blunt exposition that I can only call unsubtle. I know it was for the benefit of us, the audience, but they talked about information that all of the characters – being advanced Senios students and all that – should already know. Likewise with the character introductions – they listed out all this information, giving character’s life stories with little provocation. They did slip in how Ash is an exception to the you-can-only-ride-your-own-dragon rule nicely, though.
Honestly, if there were more going on this might not have annoyed me – as I think back on it, some of my favorite series did exactly this. Sometimes it’s necessary. Perhaps it’s the fact that none of what they said was particularly interesting that made me notice it.
Art & Acting
To my eyes, the color palette in this series looks cheap. It looks like something that would air 5-7 years ago in 4:3, not an HD anime airing in 2014. The acting, too–okay, honestly most of it isn’t bad. Takahashi Kouji is decent as Ash Blake, and I liked Inoue Marina as the amazing Rebecca Randall, but the first time I heard Silvia Lautreamont (Sakura Ayane) speak, I thought a boy was talking! I don’t know why Sakura Ayane is using such a low voice – she sounds like a boyish Saber, something which her hairstyle for part of the episode didn’t help – which, combined the fact that she was an asshole to Ash for no good reason, makes me not predisposed to like her. Which isn’t ideal when she’s a main character.
Is it just me, or did the incessant gossip all of the minor characters engaged in about Ash, Silvia, and others really annoy any of you? I’m reminded of the first episode of Witch Craft Works, where the entire student body abused the main character so much I started off with a really bad impression of the series. Which was a shame, because I ended up liking it a lot! I don’t know if the same will happen with Seikoku no Dragonar, but the way that every minor character was badmouthing people behind their backs all the time…ugh. Was I just oblivious to that in school, or is it really bad in Japanese schools? Because I’d flip out all the time if I were Ash as well.
Looking Ahead – Final Thoughts
In all truth, this show isn’t bad. I’ve watched (and enjoyed) much worse than Dragonar earlier in my anime-watching career. What’s making it less enjoyable for me is that I’ve seen so much anime – much of which was like Dragonar, being the magical fantasy nut I am – that this comes out looking like a shallow imitation of better stories. If it’s still early in your anime-watching career, or you’re not used to watching fantasy shows of this sort, this might be worth the three episode rule at least. For me, I’ll see how I feel next week, but it’s going to have to start astounding for me to watch it all the way through. We still haven’t heard a peep from Eco (Ise Mariya) though, so maybe that’ll do the trick.
This may go without saying, but I don’t have any plans to continue blogging this show any further. Thanks for reading, and look forward to the (many) other introductory posts I and the other writers will be doing for the spring season!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Okay plot, average characters, cheap colors… Not the greatest start. And what’s with Sakura Ayane’s voice!? #doragner 01
- Ash Blake, heh. His name is two first names!
- What the hell–suddenly, transforming superhero battle armor in the OP? Not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad one. Terribly conflicted.
- My favorite character: Raymond (Maeno Tomoaki), hands down. When Rebecca-kaichou offered the day-long date to whoever wins, I instantly thought “Someone lend me a dragon, I need to win!” Then Raymond says the same thing, HAH! Way to good, Raymond. By your absence from the promotional art, I’m sure we won’t see much of you from now on ;_;
- That masked guy looked silly, and the way his ninja partner just watched Ash drop was unnatural. She wasn’t shocked or cold, just…nothing. Blank. I wonder why she hesitated, though…
- And Ash lands safely from falling off a cliff, because reasons. What is this I don’t even.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Missing the point; You don’t get credit for the words you don’t write; Right, not best; and Three lessons from the editing desk.
ED: 「MOST以上の“MOSTEST”」 (MOST Ijou no “MOSTEST”) by 伊瀬茉莉也, 佐倉綾音, 井上麻里奈 (Mariya Ise, Sakura Ayane, & Inoue Marina)