Well, that was a flawed but rather interesting first episode of dragon crisis. Lots to like here, starting with a catchy OP sung by none other than Horie Yui, who we’ll be seeing more of later.
Speaking of, this somewhat formulaic DEEN entry has a real All-Star cast – though I really think the world may be over Hiro Shimono playing 14 year-old boys by this point. The rest of the soundtrack is excellent, too – very upbeat and energetic (in a good way).
I was immediately struck by the look of this show – I’ve never seen a DEEN series quite like it. Backgrounds were excellent, action sequences fluid, and I enjoyed the character designs.
Plot-wise, this is kind of a mess – the premiere was really just a bunch of random stuff happening and expensive seiyuu showing their chops. But I’ll give it time to sort that out – this show has a very distinctive look and sound that I’m anxious to get to know better.
Dragon Crisis Episode 1
Character Designer Masashi Ishihama is a heavy-hitter, heaving worked on the likes of Gurren Lagann, Tatami Galaxy, Dennou Coil and Kamichu in various roles – and his designs have something of the cute/lush look of those shows.
I was getting a definite Gainax vibe from this – Eriko looked like a cross between Haruka from “FLCL” and Yoko from TTGL. Acted a lot like Haruka too – and there was a bit of Naota in male lead Ryuuji.
Yes, we get to hear Kugimiya Rie say “Ryuuji!” about a hundred times in a bit of casting that’s just a little too spot-on. But at least she seems to have tucked away the tsundere, this time playing a young red dragon with a rose-colored scale on her hand.
That scale prompts Ryuuji – whom she mysteriously knows from somewhere and adores – to name her “Rose”, which Eriko says shows he has an effeminate mind. During the episode she also compliments his cooking and says he’d make a great mother – not exactly a boost to his masculinity.
And Ryuuji is a pretty domestic guy, for sure – cooking, cleaning, shopping – and the mothering of Rose does seem to come naturally to him. His entire family apparently is part of an organization called “Seven Tails”, some sort of international treasure-hunting society.
Erika is back in town thinking she’s going to find herself an S-class Precious (Gollum, Gollum) though Rose may be something even more valuable than that. We also have a meek yet busty osananajimi who yearns to develop Ryuuji’s manly side.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 2
A pretty solid episode of Dragon Crisis this week, though nothing spectacular. This one is about as squarely in the middle of the pack as a series could be, so far.
What did we learn this week? Well – Ryuuji is a “Level 10 Breaker”. We don’t know exactly what that is, but we do learn from Dragon Researcher Tokura that there are only seven of them in the world. We also learn that Rose, as a dragon, can apparently sense that about Ryuuji and that Eriko is somewhat pissed at only being a Level 7 Breaker herself.
But that’s not the reason Rose liked Ryuuji so much – no, that’s because of something that happened ten years earlier in the mountains of Albania (which is the first Albania mention I’ve heard in an anime). He stumbled upon a dragon’s egg while treasure hunting with his parents, and like a bird Rose imprinted on Ryuuji as her parent.
Rose may be an immature dragon who may or may not have wings, but Onyx isn’t – and he’s the resident baddie of the moment. He’s a full-grown dragon with a black dragon mark, and he comes to Tokura’s research clinic looking for Rose and calling her his “fiancee”.
After laying waste to most of the staff and security he tracks Rose down to the lab, beats up on Ryuuji and Tokura and knocks Eriko unconscious with some kind of noxious gas and drags Rose off in his limo.
On balance, this is a fairly interesting premise. I still think this is an exceptionally interesting-looking show by DEEN’s standards – the animation is nothing special but I like the backgrounds and character designs a lot.
Ryuuji was a little less spineless this week, though he was kind of pouty when he got angry at his mother for calling him for the first time in a year and only asking about the dragon. He took it out on poor Rose and was getting ready to ditch her, though of course once Onyx showed up he was ready (if helpless) to jump to her defense.
All in all the jury’s still out on this one – it didn’t improve substantially in the second ep the way Yumekui Merry did, but it didn’t tank either. I don’t see much chance of this becoming an elite series but I still think it has a chance to be a solid if less than challenging diversion.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 3
No sea changes for me after the third episode. I still see this series as solidly right down the middle. Nothing too exciting but quite watchable, and though the animation is hit-and-miss it has a very distinctive look that’s well above DEEN’s normal standards.
Onyx makes a pretty good baddie for so early in the series. He’s full of power and quite the smooth talker to boot. His goal is to force Rose to be his bride – either by force (knocking her unconscious and kidnapping her) deception (telling her that all humans hate dragons, including Ryuuji) or threat (he’ll kill Ryuuji unless she forgets about him).
Rose is not easily convinced but certainly an innocent, and she seems ready to accede to Onyx’s wishes. But there’s more to the story – and Ryuuji – than we’ve seen so far.
Being the “Level 10 Breaker” that he is, Ryuuji is the only one who can unlock the power all the Type S Precious (Gollum, Gollum) his parents left for him, including a short sword that responds to his power and has indeterminate but kickass powers.
He, Eriko and Dr. Tokura head off to the still under-construction high-rise Onyx is using as his hideout. There, as if in a thumb of the nose to his many critics, Ryuuji not only proves himself to be a badass in combat but also declares his love for Rose.
Despite having to deal with Onyx’ dragon form and getting sliced by a scale, good triumphs over evil as Rose and Ryuuji combine their power through magical runes on their hands and she heals his wound with dragon’s breath. It can do that, you know.
Lots happened there, that’s for sure. Ryuuji has pretty much gone the full cycle from total wimp to GAR and declared his love all in the space of three episodes. Not only that but Onyx had the definite feel of a head boss, but we’ve still got most of the series to go so clearly, there’s much development to come.
As mentioned, it’s quite watchable but hardly breaking any new ground. Rose is arguably the weak point of the series so far – as interesting as it is to see KugiRie in a deredere role for a change, Rose is awfully one-note so far – Ryuuji, Erika and Dr. Tokura are far more interesting.
But then, with love declared so early-on perhaps we’ll get some focus on the odd relationship of Ryuuji with his parents, which seems potentially much more interesting than the romance with Rose. Next week, the trend of rushing things along continues as we get the beach episode out of the way in only the 4th episode….
Dragon Crisis – Episode 4
A definite shift to a lighter tone this week, and the introduction of a couple of new characters. After the accelerated events of the first three episodes, probably not a bad thing.
Ryuuji is off to the beach on a pre-arranged trip to the beach with friends, which unfortunately sets Rose off on a panic attack that threatens to destroy the apartment. Eriko’s solution? Secretly sneak off to the same hotel with Rose in tow.
Unfortunately this puts a huge crimp in the plans of osananajimi Misaki to use the trip to get closer to Ryuuji. Of more import is the arrival on the scene of Maruga (Horie Yui, busier than ever this season) apparently another dragon.
She asks Ryuuji to steal back the White Dragon Sword from George Evans, another level 10 breaker living at the Anglican church. But not is all as it seems here – George comes off a pretty nice guy, and though he hates dragons he doesn’t know much about them. He also has a bad habit of destroying things inadvertently when drawing a sword. Worse, he falls for Maruga, having no clue of her true nature.
A twist on St. George and the Dragon is interesting, if perhaps inevitable given the subject matter here. It was nice to see a slow-paced school life episode centered around the comedy.
Ryuuji’s friends seem to be a pretty standard bunch – the childhood friend, the matchmaker, the girl-crazy best friend – but they’re a nice change of pace in this series. George is clearly a character who could go either way, and Maruga appears to be someone who’s going to be around for a while.
Nothing really stands out about this show at this point, but Mondays and Tuesdays are slow this season so I’ll keep blogging it for now. I still think the show has a really nice look to it and I enjoy the character designs, though the animation is nothing special. I’m not expecting many “wow” moments but if it continues to be mildly entertaining from week to week, I won’t complain.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 5
The “St. George and the Dragon” arc lasted only two eps, which was too bad in the sense that I rather liked George Evans as a character. But plot cohesion isn’t the strength of this show so far, and the premise had definitely played itself out by the end of this episode.
Of course it came as no surprise that George ended up spun as a good guy, given how likable he was last week. Turns out his sword isn’t just a lost precious, but a cursed lost precious – embodying the spirit of Marga’a Uncle.
He was killed by her father, the White Dragon King, after going on some sort of murderous rampage. Ryuuji was cursed by a lost precious at some point, apparently, but all we get as far as meat on that bone is a brief flashback.
Now the sword has cursed George too, though he doesn’t know it. Rose tried to convince him not all dragons are bad but the sword will have none of that, driving him to try to eliminate her in the name of his God.
Fortunately Ryuuji intervenes and manages to save the both of them with Rose’s help, destroying the sword in the process. And Misaki is none too thrilled to find out he and Rose are engaged.
Plot is definitely not what this show does best – the whole Marga/Cursed Sword thing never really came together. What Dragon Crisis does do pretty well are individual moments and scenes, both dialogue-driven and action-driven.
The characters are interesting and the show flows well in short bursts, but the problem is they never really seem interconnected – lots of stuff just happens and sort of makes sense, a little exposition creeps in, and things move along a little farther.
That’s not the worst thing in the world but it does prevent the series from packing any real weight. I still think it looks great for a DEEN series and I enjoy seeing the interactions among the leads, but right now it’s really just a montage more than a real show.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 6
It struck me tonight (probably because I watched this episode right after Fairy Tail 66) that Kugimiya Rie’s Rose voice is almost identical to her “Happy” voice. Stick a pair of wings on a land animal and I guess KugiRie’s got her character down.
As for the episode itself, it was primarily notable for the introduction of Odd Eye – a 15 year-old wolf girl who’s been pressed into a life of stealing lost preciouses(es) by a baddie ex-researcher named Furomori.
He’s 70 but looks 30, and acts all nice at the Society party the gang attends early on in the episode. Ryuuji saves Odd Eye (real name Ai) when she falls off a branch trying to save a stranded cat. No cliches there.
This is really all an elaborate setup to get Ryuuji and Ai tied together by a spell gone wrong, which happens when she shows up at the house planning to steal Eriko’s lost precious earring. Which is also really an elaborate setup to show Rose in full on jealous mode, the closest to tsun deredere Rose has been in this series.
She doesn’t like Ryuuji and Ai being together one bit, much less literally joined at the wrist. This desperation for attention prompts her to show off her new flying ability, which frankly still needs some work.
As things stand, Furomori knocks out our heroes and kidnaps Ryuuji, still tied to Ai. While Ai claims her master is some sort of Lost Precious Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to share the wealth amongst all mankind, there’s healthy skepticism that a man who would use a 15 year-old to steal for him is morally much to write home about. And just how does he look so young – another lost precious, perhaps?
Dragon Crisis – Episode 7
For my money that was clearly the best episode of Dragon Crisis since the premiere, and maybe period. It was well-paced, exciting, had a couple of nice hooks and tied up the Ai arc (for now) very neatly.
Turns out Furomori is a former Society member pissed off because they refused to let him use a lost precious he needed to save a female colleague, presumably a lover. He was part of an experiment to fuse lost precious with breakers – and so was Ai. Both their powers come from the lost precious embedded in their bodies – she was a normal human girl once.
And how does she know this? The pair of earrings – half of which was in Eriko’s possession – grant the wearer the ability to hear the truth behind the words of the person speaking to them. Thus Ai finds out that she was actually kidnapped 15 years earlier, and that Furomori basically thinks of her as a pet dog.
She also finds out that Ryuji is trustworthy and wants to protect her – which he tries to do when Furomori catches them in the act of his attempted escape (with her help). Furomori has 5 LPs embedded and Ryuji, without a single LP on him, is no match for his wicked powers.
Fortunately Rose, courtesy of Eriko’s insane driving, arrives just in time with the dagger and the battle is joined. Ryuji is still in trouble but Rose manages to free him with a sort of cleansing flame, which burns four of Furomori’s LPs away. Rather than allow himself to be captured by the hated Society he uses the fifth to immolate himself, leaving Ai in tears.
All that was played out really well – it carried a lot of dramatic impact. The same can be said of the little dramatic twist in the end, where Tokura informs Ai that she was in fact the kidnapped daughter of the Society member we met at the party – Makihara, the guy who was heartbroken when his child was stolen 15 years earlier. That was clever. Armed with the knowledge that she has a family after all, Ai goes off to Makihara – surely destined to return, given that she appears in the ED.
That was a very nice, solid, well-paced episode that did it’s job beautifully and featured some really nicely written material. I hope the rest of the series is as good as this ep was.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 8
Every season usually offers a show or two that don’t do anything to particularly to knock your socks off, but just has a quality to it that makes you like it. Wagaya no Oiniri-sama is a series that comes to mind for me, as does Yoshinaga San’chi no Gargoyle.
They weren’t great series but I just couldn’t help but root for the characters, and there was a nice quirkiness that took the predictable just a bit off center. I won’t call Dragon Crisis their equal, but it’s the same type of series for me.
While the production values aren’t anything spectacular, I’ve felt from the premiere that the show had a really nice look to it – I like the character designs a lot, and the backgrounds have a vibrant, alive quality that agrees with my senses.
The OP (Yui Horie) and the ED are catchy, clever songs with good animation. The supporting characters in each of the arc have been above-average for sure – George and Maruga, Ai, Bianca, Onyx – all s little better than the stock characters they might have been.
Misato’s frustrated osananajimi insecurity is some of the best I’ve seen since Misaki from the aforementioned Wagaya no Oiniri-sama. Mao, Masato, Tokura – they’re all more than they might have been in a less interesting series with less heart.
At the center of it all, of course, are Ryuuji, Rose and Eriko – and they’re likable as well. Ryuuji finally confronts his breaker nature this week, as the Society’s San Francisco branch sends Biana to examine him.
This involves some fairly cliched embarrassment scenes, but Masato and Mao make these a little funnier than most. As you’d expect, it’s only when he engages with Rose that Ryuuji’s “L Levels” go off the charts – makes me wonder if Bianca planned that equipment malfunction all along.
The prospect of a Level 10 Breaker and a dragon living next door is enough to convince Bianca to move in as Ryuuji’s neighbor and keep the investigation going, but she has another connection – she was saved by Ryuuji’s father from a runaway golem of her own when she was a little girl. Indeed, Ryuuji’s parents are the great untapped mystery and plot device in this show – I expect to see a lot more of them in the weeks ahead.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 9
Another entertaining, stylish episode of Dragon Crisis this week. While this isn’t breaking much new ground, the show just has a certain something I find appealing – a sense of style and slightly offbeat wit.
This week was a heavily Misaki focused episode. She was doing her best Makoto (Kanon) impression this week with all her “Au!” but she was cute. You can’t help but feel for her, just as you couldn’t help but feel for Misaki in Wagaya no Oiniri Sama – She’s been waiting patiently on her man for years and all of a sudden he’s got a harem of hotties way more interesting that she is. It’s as cliched a character as you’ll see, but it’s endearing when done well.
Speaking of hotties, Ai shows up again this week – this time with both eyes the same color – with a basket of treats for Ryuji, just like Misaki has. Unfortunately arriving before either of them was a lost precious for Eriko to appraise, which turns out to be a cursed precious.
It’s a painting of an American town somewhere on Route 66, and it turns out to be a trap that lures women inside it and asks them embarrassingly personal questions. Soon all four of our main ladies are trapped in the paining and the rest of the episode is a rather fun spoof/homage to horror films, especially American ones. Fortunately all the girls have to do to stay alive is answer “Ryuji!” in one form or another and new neighbor Bianca shows up to help Ryuji rescue his harem.
As is the norm for this show, there was nothing especially flashy about the episode but I really enjoyed it. The BGM was again interesting, I like the backgrounds even if the animation itself isn’t lavish, and it simply projects a likability that most series don’t. I’m also really enjoying the fact that the two most neurotic osananajimi of recent memory are both named Misaki…
Dragon Crisis – Episode 10
Dragon Crisis is back, with the first of back-to-back episodes. And as this series usually does, it delivers exactly what you expected – no more and no less.
Another new character this week, and with it another mega-star seiyuu, Emiri Katou. This series is full of above the title voice talent, and there’s no doubt that it does elevate the material a little.
She plays Sapphie, the newest dragon to be introduced. The difference is, this one is pretty useless in combat – she’s a water dragon but can’t do anything more useful than get her opponent slightly damp (when she isn’t accidentally dousing herself).
The gang meets her on a camping trip, and she claims to be Onyx’ bride-to-be. She’s seeking revenge on Ryuji for his defeat of her fiancee’, but that doesn’t work out so well.
Being that Sapphie is a ditz as well as a pushover in battle, Onyx doesn’t seem to take her too seriously – but she makes up for it in how seriously she takes herself. She ends up being asked in by Rose – conveniently unchaperoned for a change – to dry herself off after a self-soaking, and fulfills her role in the story – telling Rose about the dragon coming-of-age ritual.
Seemingly innocuous – the boy kisses the girl on her “dragon spot” – it seems to launch a rapid-fire insta-puberty. And just like that, Rose is all hot flashes, tears and sultry glances – and she can’t have Ryuji touch her without boiling over. Fortunately Eriko is there to deliver her twisted adult wisdom in the form of a birds and bees talk for both.
So it looks as if this episode filled two roles – it launched the romance onto another level, and it set up the return on Onyx as the final boss. My question is this – knows that she’s a real teenager, does that mean Kugimiya Rie is going to turn into a Tsundere?
Dragon Crisis – Episode 11
The penultimate episode of Dragon Crisis and things have come full circle – Onyx has come back and custody of Rose is the matter of the day, once again.
Turns out Sapphie inadvertently set the stage for the current sequence of events by pushing Rose to complete the coming-of-age ceremony with Ryuji. Apparently the problem is, Ryuji isn’t a dragon.
Even worse, he’s not a human but himself a lost precious. Or so Onyx – in non-corporeal form – tells Ryuji on the rooftop of Society HQ while Rose is strapped to a table in the lab, sweating with fever and apparently about to expire.
Onyx tells Ryuji that only he can fix her. I’m not quite sure I’d believe anything Onyx tells him if I were Ryuji, but he’s desperate to save Rose so he agrees to turn Rose over to Onyx’ custody. The Society is none too pleased at Ryuji or Eriko for this but that’s just what happens, and Ryuji spends a rough couple of weeks depressed over what’s happening and fending off Ai’s advances as school.
It looks for a fleeting moment that Misaki may finally be about to confess to him, but she just wants to confront him about Rose – and finally, Moruga turns up at Ryuji’s door – with valuable information about Rose, no doubt.
I’m disappointed the awkward, hormonal interplay between Rose and Ryuji didn’t last longer – I really enjoyed it, and the effect it was having on Eriko. There’s no small similarity between she and Misato Katsuragi, now I think about it – sharing the apartment with the cherry boy with the special abilities who likes to cook, acting like a slob, getting trashed on beer.
I enjoy her and I enjoy pretty much all the major characters here, which always makes this series worth watching even when it really isn’t doing anything exceptional. I’m sure things will end with Ryuji and Rose together in a chaste, non-threatening relationship – this isn’t the sort of show I expect to give me any surprises in the finale.
And that’s fine – I have no complaints about knowing where this is going. It’s easy to watch and doesn’t require an excess of analysis, and a couple of those every season are a Godsend.
Dragon Crisis – Episode 12 (End)
Dragon Crisis ends as it ran, with an enjoyable though unexceptional conclusion. It was nothing if not comprehensive though, I’ll give it that.
The good? For starters, we got not only a confession of love from Ryuji, but an actual kiss. How many romance series never even give the audience that much closure? We also got a rather adorable twintails Rose at the end, and just about every character in the series managed to at least make an appearance at one point or another that was relevant to the conclusion. We even got a pop-in from Ryuji’s parents, at long last.
Not so good was the action sequence leading up to the end. A couple of moments were genuinely cringeworthy, especially Eriko driving her car over a helicopter and onto the roof of Onyx’ jet. There was also a bit too much deux ex machina to have everybody show up at just the right moment, which is the downside of a comprehensive ending.
On balance, it was a pleasant conclusion. I think Ryuji and Rose not shying away from growing up was the right decision. I like the fact that Ryuji – and the series – made an actual choice and didn’t leave the stereotypical harem end. Given the limitations of this show I don’t think I could reasonably have expected any more than that.
Dragon Crisis – Series Review
I’ll admit it up front – there’s not a whole lot that’s original about Dragon Crisis. There’s nothing that’s going to change your life, or the way you think about anime. It doesn’t possess spectacular animation or background music. But in spite of all that, I rather liked it.
I don’t think there’s any question that the strong cast helped elevate this series beyond what it might otherwise have been. There was some awfully good work here – Hiro Shimono, Emiri Katou, Yui Horie, Yukana… They brought the right sense of whimsical energy to the material.
Although it’s nowhere near expansive, I enjoyed the look of the show. The character designs were interesting and the backgrounds had a definitive sense of style that generic series usually lack. The characters were likable, with Ryuji and Rose providing a nice anchor at the center and the supporting characters – especially Eriko, Ai and Tokura – providing a lot of nice moments. The premise, while hardly groundbreaking, was at least somewhat distinctive and coherent.
For all that, I’ll be the first to say this is not a great show, or even a very good one – just decent. But like Wagaya no Oiniri-sama – to which I’ve already compared it – the final product ended up appealing to me more than the sum of the parts. It’s pedestrian, yes – but just a bit more quirky, stylish and likeable than it had to be.
I certainly don’t mind a series here and there that doesn’t require much from me to follow it – I wouldn’t want all my shows to be that way, of course, but you can’t be passionate about all of them. Dragon Crisis is certainly less ambitious than many of it’s competitors from the winter season, but it’s also totally unpretentious about it. In the end, that’s enough to earn a mild recommendation from me.