Oh hey, my life has been full of anime, manga, and even video games recently, that I think it’s time to do something slightly different. Ok, only kind of different because of it’s still an animated series on Netflix. A place that I’ve been watching a lot of anime recently. This time though, we are talking The Dragon Prince. A little animated series that seems to have caught some steam and a fanbase on netflix and here we are two seasons later. Oh, I have actually been watching some live action things too. I just finished The Good Place Season 3 and at the moment that I am writing this, watching Killing Eve season 2 and The Witcher. Some good stuff. Regardless of that though, let’s talk about Dragon Prince Season 3. My least favorite season of this show so far. Almost like the creators had a lot of ideas and didn’t have enough time to form them in a nine episode time frame.
Better watch out, I’m going to spoil a lot more things in this post then I did for the last couple seasons. Be warned. I am doing this because I’m not as happy with this season as I was for the past few.
If you want to look at everything that happened from this point on, click here for my Dragon Prince Season 1 Review and here for my Season 2 Review. I suppose if you don’t want to do that, I can write a quick synopsis for both seasons for you. Season 1 was the set up season. In the land called Xadia, human kind who uses dark magic lives on one side and the elves who live on the other side and use all sorts of natural elemental magic. The story starts when the human kind stole the dragon egg from the Elf Side of Xadia meaning elves assassinate one of the many human kinds and start an all out war scenario. To stop that, two step princes (Callum and young Ezran) and a moon elf (Reyla, best girl) find the dragon egg and start going on their journey to take it back. You know, to save the world and set up for peace?
Season 2 is the expansion from season 1. The grand advisor (Viren) from the last human kingdom starts attempting to form the armies together and storm the opposite side of Xadia against the elves. All of that happens while the same guy sends his kids (Soren and Claudia) after the two princes in order to assassinate them and bring the egg back. Neither of those things actually happen. Viren is thrown into jail for a little bit after talking to a magical mirror for a while and is forming evil, our three characters made it inside Xadia. Lastly, Ezran decides to step back into his home kingdom in order to become king. That’s where season 3 starts. So much for a quick synopsis, but this should at least catch you up to it so you can pay attention to everything with full context.
With all of that set up and established, I feel like Season 3 was a bit of a mess and also too fast with what it tried to do. At least, that’s in my eyes. It’s like what would happen if you compressed at least two different nine episode seasons into one of them. Let’s start with the good things first though. I really do like Callum and Reyla’s journey through Xadia. It’s nice to see the elf’s side of Xadia after being stuck in the human lands and only meeting Reyla and illusion lady through this journey. It’s nice seeing what the magical side is life besides all of the dark, smuggy towers and everything. It’s a little bit Lord of the Rings style with some extra bonuses. Hidden villages. Reyla’s home is hidden away with a secret dance which a lot of them must be which is cool and saves on animation from the other elven villages that they must have passed in the elven woods.
Plus, there were other areas attached to this. I really liked our new thieving friend Nyx. You know, the flying elf? She helped Reyla and Callum across the desert while also stealing the now hatched egg Zim to bring the egg back to the Dragon Queen who is dying. Almost like they could have done that and just continue on the journey because almost nothing would be different because the Queen would be revived and she wouldn’t hate Reyla and Callum apparently. With this portion, I’m not sure about how I feel about Callum and Reyla becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. I do think they have good chemistry together, but it was never romantic chemistry to me. It was instead best friend chemistry which is what I hope that it would be. The relationship thing has kind of became cliché, which is what the Dragon Prince has mostly been able to avoid.
That lead to where I have more complaints about this series. It felt like almost a minimal amount of things that happened around Ezran, Viren, and Amaya (captured by elves) in the first three episodes didn’t amount to much. Yes, Ezran came back home to be king. So he was a king for a few days until he made an ultimate sacrifice from a bluff to release Viren again and causing tyranny across the land again. Why? Because his kingdom was threatened to fight against all the other human kingdoms if he didn’t. One of those lose lose situations you place on a king. Either side would have resulted in some development for Ezran which would have been positive, but I am still a little frustrated by this show.
I almost wish he made the harder choice and fought for his ideals insteading of giving up so soldiers that we haven’t seen before can go home and not fight or die. With Ezran just giving up and flying back to Callum and Reyla, he did make a choice that resulted in him learning from his inexperience, but never make the stance of fighting against evil. That would have been more interesting and something that would be in tone with the series. Human lives do have a cost, but that decision just amounted to a small amount of soldiers going home and the rest fighting. That’s it. What about a third option? What if Ezran and his army left to head straight for the Dragon Queen’s mountain before the rebellion happened? That would have had a better taste in my mouth, but that’s just me. Something else to what would have happened would have been better. I suppose the show didn’t want to animate all that fighting. Fine then.
Then there are the smaller things that were established in the first things centered on Amaya being captured by the Sun Fire Elves and breaking down the way characters can get from one side of Xadia to the other. Both that are paid off in the last third by a bridge being formed and Viren taking over the Sun Fire Elve’s magic where he makes the elves into zombies as he takes on the three friends and their dragon in the last conflict of this series. It’s almost like the entire last portion of season 2 didn’t matter and we could have just jumped into this current situation, with some scenes here and there not taking place perhaps, but that’s about it.
With all that came the quick “humans and elves are somehow friends” in front of a Dragon Queen. These are groups that barely met each other three seconds ago on screen. There is a good cliff hanger for the next season, but they have to rush to get there. Did they only have four seasons to put things together? It’s all pretty simply done here. The fast pace also makes everyone feel extremely dumb which didn’t help this cast at all. The only person that seems smart on screen besides the young queen that shows up later and Amaya who can’t talk. I do have some questions for how the evil guys got to the dragon queen’s mountain fast because they had to cross an entire desert. I know they are on horses and our three were on foot, but it should take a little longer honestly. But blah, I guess I shouldn’t care about the geography thing.
Ok, I don’t want to end the non visual portion of this review without bringing up some more good points. I really do like how Soren and Claudia grew in this season in alternative ways. It’s very interesting to see Claudia and Soren switch places as being the good and bad sibling. Soren learned from last season and knew he was being manipulated, so him attacking his father makes sense. It’s now Claudia’s turn to be manipulated now and it seems to happen somewhat naturally. There was some decent writing in this season. Viren’s growing bug of evil showing his mentality is pretty powerful too. So on this point, it’s pretty fine. Did everything have to happen in this part though? Will it end next season or what will happen now?
With all of that, I do think the visual effects have approved greatly. I watched a “we should never have looked down on Season 1” video for The Dragon Prince, and the visuals were the major point of growth of that video. Not the narrative. Yay extremely shallow youtubers? They aren’t wrong though. The frame rate was better, the character movements weren’t as stiff, and the character animation itself grew quite a bit. There was a lot of effort put into all of it and such. Same with the art work, sets, and foods that aren’t just solid chunk pieces of bread now. Not many things to dislike here. There was honestly a lot of experimentation, thought, and such put into elven backgrounds and magic. So good.
So where does the third season of Dragon Prince on my list? It’s an ok. It’s entirely watchable and written well in parts, but the pacing was too fast and some character and story writing could have gone in better directions the way the writers did for Avatar. These are the same people after all and they knew how to pull things into more interesting and thoughtful directions in that show and even in Korra’s later seasons. Why didn’t they for this show. Other then those things, it was a good experience seeing this show come back for a nine episode season. I hope that season 4 builds on everything happening at once and Viren’s evil escape and makes it much
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