When pressing playing on Netflix’s new original Anime, I was surprised to find that Dragon’s Dogma was based on a video game. One from developer Capcom no less, creators of some of my favourite game series, Resident Evil and Street Fighter. But I had never heard of Dragon’s Dogma. A quick google search and I knew why, it’s kind of like the Dark Souls games, and I tend to steer clear of that corner of the video game dungeon. I like being happy!
The anime is based around hero Ethan, a ripped red-head who’s pregnant wife and village are destroyed by a dragon. Then said dragon rips Ethans heart out. But apparently if a dragon takes your heart, the laws of life don’t apply and you can keep on keepin’ on, coming back as an ‘Arisen’. Obviously Ethan’s sole purpose now is to take revenge on that bastard of a dragon for what it did him. So he sets out with Hannah, a Pawn who’s job is to aid Arisens in their quest and is his guardian angel of sorts, to slay the dragon.
Now after an awesome first episode with the dragon destroying everything important to Ethan, what should’ve been as simple as chasing the dragon down and fighting it, is bogged down as Ethan and Hannah stop along the way to help people with their monster problems. Each episode displays one of humanities seven sins, Sloth, Pride etc. But ultimately I felt like they were just classic anime padding, they didn’t tie that well into the storyline and you could honestly just watch the first and last episodes and get everything you need. I just couldn’t believe that someone so driven by vengeance would stop at all to bother with other people’s issues.
The show does look pretty. Beautiful dark fantasy landscapes compliment the 3D CGI style of animation. But when things move I feel like this style still has a ways to go, some animations just feel sluggish, and that doesn’t really help in a hack n slash epic. I prefer the classic 2D anime personally.
I also prefer it when anime’s don’t take themselves so seriously, anime comedy is it’s own particular brand and when it’s done well it is fantastic. Dragon’s Dogma is played sooooo straight. And when it’s already a pretty straightforward premise, with straight characters, it’s a bit drab.
I found Dragon’s Dogma to be a slog, the only reason I finished it was that it was only seven episodes long. I would recommend other classic anime on Netflix like One Piece or Food Wars, or even originals Drifting Dragons (in the same CGI anime style, done better in my opinion) or my personal fave The Seven Deadly Sins.