With Voltron: Legendary Defenders completing it’s run by limply making it to the finish line, I needed another western anime series/cartoon to keep me interested. I spend a lot more time watching anime then fictional and creative media from my own country recently. At this moment, The Dragon Prince has filled that void for me. I hope it gets a lot more seasons and spin offs after these last two seasons. Also, I hope it’s gotten a good enough following to at least continue it’s entire run. How is it possible that this show has only eighteen episodes, yet completed so much already?
Following the first season, where you can see my opinions plot synopses on that season here, season two feels like a middle chapter. I say this because everyone is still by either trying to do something or going somewhere. The Young Prince Ezran, his older half brother Prince Callum, their elf friend Rayla are still on their adventure to Xadia to return the dragon prince. The egg from last season needed to be hatched and the resulting young dragon hasn’t been to master flight yet. Their chasers, the dorky, jock Soran and the fun nerd, Claudia meet up with them in order to bring them back home then don’t because they’ve been out witted. All of that happens while Viren tries his best to declare war against Xadia for some reason. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense for those who haven’t followed along with the story and that’s ok. I still feel like I have to sort out so many things that went on in my head and that is one way for me to do that.
I know that I said this last time, but the best part of The Dragon Prince will always be the characters. Everyone is at least a subversion of what you would expect them to be in a quirky way, and that adds so much more to these characters then what you would expect. Take the side character , Lujanne the Moon Mage, who is a master of illusions. Her powers are being a complete fraud and she knows it, but she attempts to give out words of wisdom anyway. And that goes along with everything she does. The food she feeds our protagonists. It’s grubs/worms, but looks like food and might even taste like it if you don’t think about it. That’s all you need to know about Lujanne’s character. And it’s a fun joke that only takes up a portion of the first three episodes, so it never gets the chance to become old. I hope the crew runs into her again, because she’s so much fun.
And the subversions and mixed expectations just keep going in the character department. As I said before in September, the whole series is very Tolkieneque in it’s plot construction and character construction in some ways. You know, the medieval fantasy world and taking the object to a deadly place to save the world. I mean seriously, “One does simply walk into Xadia” is obviously a LOTR movie reference and Callum says that a lot in this arc. Callum, who I am going to call the main protagonist of this show, is some one who had no level of skill for combat or anything until he discovered he can do magic. With his object that allowed him to do magic gone, his arc in season two is not only coming to terms with his father dying, but finding a way to do magical the elven way. Quite a few things happen that help him on his journey.
Callum has a fantastic relationship going on with the female Moonshadow Elf, Rayla who is trained to be an assassin but hasn’t killed anyone. It’s a very Gimli and Legolas sort of relationship which is a lot of fun and education for both of them. I don’t think that Reyla has much of an arc in this book, but she is still as entertaining as she can be and that’s ok. The last protagonist is the young, Prince Ezran and he’s not a swordsman either. He’s a druid because he can talk to animals and transmit his mind to other places. Something that is going to come in handy as works his arc on not running away and taking his role as king. A lot of good things happens in this show.
The “villains” and villains are just as interesting. Claudia and Soren still have a good standing relationship with Ezran and Callum, which is why I am hesitant to call them villains. Yes, they are assigned to take the princes back, but I can’t call them bad people because they care. Soren may be the bone headed jock that causes more trouble then he can handle, but he does have a heart and that’s why it’s impossible to hate him. Bless his heart, and some people say. Claudia is the interesting one because her powers rely on the dead creatures and plants she carries with her and her personality is the dorky kind of personality that you would expect from a character like that. You know, completely strange and insane slightly. She’s great. The true villain of the group is Claudia and Soren’s father, Viren. It’s pretty clear that he wants to not only rule the world. And because Viren is not as smart as he thinks he is, Viren has failed completely at obtaining his goal because he lost his bid from a child queen to mobilize troops around the human kingdoms because she didn’t trust him and he’s now a traitor stuck in prison. He set up the conflict between elven and human kind, so this entire conflict is because of his idiocy. Poor Viren, I’m glad the show is giving him the respect he deserves. None.
With The Dragon Prince’s story and characters being completely interesting, it’s sad that the graphics behind the show are still lacking. They are improved from last season because food isn’t just copied and pasted bits of bread and there are more interesting set locations to look at and have the cast interact with. I mean, there is a cool boat with an awesome blind captain, walking pads in lava that slowly sink as you step on them and so on. No complaints on the amount of settings in The Dragon Prince, but the show still moves the same as last time. Yes, the action choreography is still good, but all the frame rate for normal walking and other animations are still noticeably laggy and horrible. Maybe this is a low budget show that or maybe there were some compromises behind the scenes that none of us Netflix users know anything about. If that is the compromise that Dragon Prince needs to take for more of it to exist, then I will take it. I’m loving it so far.
I think you guys know everything that I have to say right? Netflix’s The Dragon Prince: Book of Sky was a great piece of animated fantasy fiction. It was lacking in a lot of visual quality in some ways, but also made up for that with expanded settings, characters, settings, and story elements. All of those things which easily break way from the Tolkieneque set up in it’s own unique, Avatar-like way. The people behind The Last Airbender know how to write a story and it shows extremely well in the work they put behind this show. Give it a try. It’s only eighteen episodes, so it won’t take you too long. I don’t think that I can recommend The Dragon Prince’s two seasons enough.