Scott: Hello everyone and welcome to a pretty fun collaboration project between Mechanical Anime Reviews and Iridium Eye. Since Ospreyshire was kind enough to donate to Ko-Fi a few times, I thought it would be fun to have a little collab project.
Ospreyshire: Salutations, everyone. This is my first collab review, and I’m thankful to be a part of this review project.
S: No problem, thanks for agreeing to this
Info (Found from Mal):
Production Studio: Studio Khara
Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki
Episode Length: 45 Minutes
Basic Plot Synopsis:
The Dragon Dentist takes place in a fictional world where there are nations and states that are built on sentient dragons. In the appropriately named Dragon Country, there are people who have occupations as dragon dentists where they protect their flying scaly deities by fighting against killer bacteria that can give cavities and could lead to destruction to these communities. One such dragon dentist is Nonoko Kishii who’s quite adept at her occupation finds an unconscious soldier named Bell whom she finds inside one of the teeth. Bell supposedly died and was revived inside of the tooth. Unfortunately, he’s from a rival nation and there’s a premonition involved with his presence which could lead to the demise of Dragon Country. Nonoko tries to avert this premonition by training him to be a Dragon Dentist even despite pressure from the rest of society and the impending war against them.
S: The only productions that I’ve seen from Studio Khara before are the Evangelion rebuild films. Those were pretty stellar and beautiful, so I can definitely say the same thing here. For starters, there are so many diverse sets of backgrounds. The battleship scenes the dragon, the dragon’s teeth, and even the many various locations on the ground. The character designs were also very diverse and a lot of fun. Especially with the many outfits that the dragon dentists wore combined with the two sets of military uniforms used throughout Dragon Dentist in which every person had their own variations to keep everyone as an individual. It’s all well done.
O: This was actually my first experience watching something from Studio Khara. Hey, I’m just being honest here as I’ve only recently gotten back into anime. The animation was certainly great and there was a unique design which really adds to the world-building. Having multiple locales built on this giant, multi-limbed, and portly flying dragon was certainly interesting with how it was portrayed. The fight scenes between the cavity mushi and human opponents were certainly creative and well-animated. Khara certainly did a great job with the visual production aspect.
S: Everyone starts somewhere, so that’s completely alright. The Eva films are the only thing that keep me attached to Studio Khara at a minimal level.
O: Makes sense. Since Khara is Anno’s new and current studio in his post-Gainax career, it is understandable as to why anime fans would flock to their works with the Eva movies. I do give Khara props for making some original IPs outside of Eva or any other works that have been involved with Gainax over the past few decades. I do like Khara’s animation style much more than Gainax. Sure, people like their works, but I’ve noticed way more effort in the visuals.
S: I don’t know about you, but these characters felt pretty simple but well explained to me. For starters, Nonoko is yet another bubbly protagonist at first. Then other attributes are added to her like how she is still on the beginning stages of her Dragon Dentist duties and she has an endless amount of resolve that has pushed her through a lot of things. The same for our male protagonist, Bell. He could easily have just been a character that is introduced to the world of Dragon Dentist. Instead, he is given a backstory that makes him infinitely relatable and personable. In Fact, everyone who is at least given a couple minutes of screen time feels the same way. Dragon Dentist has a great cast.
O: I actually agree with your assessment on most of the characters. It was good to give the main characters and some of the supporting protagonists a decent amount of screen time. Nonoko certainly is a simpler protagonist, but at least I can get behind her tenacious nature and her goals for taking up the mantle of being a Dragon Dentist. Bell’s situation is totally relatable and believable if anyone was in his shoes. Okay, it’s strange that I’m talking about a character who was revived inside a dragon tooth, but that’s just semantics. Even some of the other Dragon Dentists and townsfolk living on the dragon seem like real people with a peculiar job.
O: The Dragon Dentist certainly succeeds in it’s unique concept and world-building as I mentioned before. The originality certainly permeates throughout the series which is something I can appreciate. I found Nonoko to be a strong protagonist that is competent in both her job and as a fighter without looking like a Mary Sue. Bell also could’ve been another Shinji Ikari, but he certainly gets a good amount of character development later on. The background music also fit many of the scenes. It wasn’t amazing, but certainly above average.
S: I feel like I am being a little bit o a debbie downer here, because the only things that I found stellar where the action scenes and the flight scenes. Each one of those scenes was extremely well choreographed and grounded in their own ways that made everything feel realistic and easy to follow. There was a lot of spectacle around those scenes involving their unique scenery too. If this was centered around just those things, I would have enjoyed this a lot more. I do like Nonoko and a lot of the characters.
O: You won’t get any disagreement with me about the fight scenes. They were creative and well-animated.
S: They definitely were, that’s for sure.
O: Now here comes the part where I have to be THAT guy and talk about the weaknesses. While the cast got a surprising amount of attention, I still felt multiple characters were quite underdeveloped. The biggest example to me was the main villain who was just forgettable. Blanco was your typical greedy soldier who didn’t stand out. I also thought the plot could’ve been expanded. If this had three or four episodes of that length, there could have been much more time to give attention to the world and the characters.
S: I’m going to be that guy too, because I felt the same way. This ova’s story was way more complicated than it should have been in the allotted time it gave itself. Why was did there have to be a war against an enemy nation? What’s with all this political nonsense, this thing about classes, or how the dragon dentists came to be and their deaths? Based on everything I’ve seen, there was enough things to keep these 90 minute interesting just by the day to day lives of the Dragon Dentist themselves. Everything else felt extremely pointless to me. If this was longer, maybe all of this would make sense together. At this point? Nope. This is where everything falls apart.
O: Good call. It wasn’t just a matter of making thing more complicated than it should be, but rather just a forced element of putting everything together at once. If this were a longer series and had a few episodes building on what it’s like to be a Dragon Dentist as you suggested, then the storytelling and viewing experience could’ve been stronger. I get that the army aspect had to be mentioned because of Bell’s original occupation of being a soldier, but they hammered the military and political intrigue way too much in the 2nd episode. They should’ve had more build up if they wanted to go that route.
S: Yeah, I think you explained everything better. I wonder if Studio Khara thought there wouldn’t be time for a part two, so this is the result of compromises. Something that happens quite often in the industry. This would be something to ask the staff behind the show if an opportunity presents itself.
O: You did a fine job of explaining things, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about it.
O: The Dragon Dentist was certainly a creative anime, but the execution didn’t always match the aim of what the creators have tried. I certainly enjoyed the animation quality and the worldbuilding aspect like how civilizations being built on dragons were certainly fascinating. Some of the characters were likable and relatable enough which kept me watching. Unfortunately, the parts of the whole anime weren’t as coalescent as one would expect. I wished The Dragon Dentist had more development at large and at least a few more episodes for it to be in the top echelon of anime. Studio Khara should be applauded for their visual production efforts, but the storytelling and plotting should’ve been handled with more care. On a completely random tangent, am I the only one who thinks it was funny with Godo being played by Koichi Yamadera and Shibana played by Megumi Hayashibara? Just imagine either Spike Spiegel and Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop or Dr. Osanai and Dr. Atsuko Chiba/Paprika from Satoshi Kon’s last film every time the two characters talk to each other. If this were on Iridium Eye, that would’ve been a Hilarious in Hindsight Fun Fact for me. Hahaha! 😛
S: I agree with everything that you said. Studio Khara did a great job with some of the characters and the animation and are at all top notch. I feel like I am repeating a lot of your points, because the genre idea of The Dragon Dentist was very innovative and unique. Adding a pretty basic war plot with a villain that isn’t fully developed muddled a lot of the creativity and heart behind the show. Still worth a watch, but it shouldn’t be considered a high priority.
Oh, I had no idea about the seiyuus between Godo and Shibana. I always watched Cowboy Bebop dubbed, so now I want Steve Blum and Wendy Lee to voice the two characters in a dub. Seems like something that would naturally work. Once again, thank you for joining in on my shenanigans and providing your insight. This was a lot of fun.
O: No problem, Scott. It was a great time collaborating on this review. Thank you for being the first blogger to co-write an article with me.
S: You’re welcome. Let me know if you want to do another one in the future.