Welcome to the week that I discuss adaptations of video games that I’ve never played before. That title is a bit too long, but I’ve never been good with titles. This is the last one of two, but it’s the decided running theme that I am going with because I feel like it. My blog, my rules. Then again, I suppose last week had Castlevania so this might counts as a week and a half. So, why did I watch Netflix’s latest series centered on fantasy action? I like the South Korean production studio, Studio Mir. If you know Avatar: Legend of Korra and the newest Voltron series, you know their work. They have very distinctive character designs, decent writing at a minimum behind their productions, and the animation is always stellar. I will watch whatever they decide to create and that lead to Dragon’s Blood.
The story behind Dragon’s Blood is full of classic fantasy tropes and concepts. Our protagonist, Davion the Dragon Slayer, is hired to kill yet another dragon by a fantasy town. This time, his target is a baby dragon. Still, he is a hero that has killed many dragons before and knows a great detail of background knowledge behind them. He kills a baby dragon during the day with a larger dragon called an Eldewyrm that can cause chaos across the land. Later that night, with the guy Captain Fruhring complaining about Davion not have killed it during Davion’s victory celebration, Davion runs into the mysterious elf by the name of Mirana and her mute and incredibly strong companion by the name of Marci. This is the last normal night that Davion will ever live.
What happens next is deep lore elements of this world thrown right at you that change Davion’s life forever. Don’t worry, these aren’t spoilers because they happen early. Captain Fruhring, the one who hired Davion in the first place and is now drunk during an after party is completely upset and decides to attack the Eldewyrm and by the time Davion gets there, the captain is dead. What Davion does see is the war between the literal demon known as Terrorblade that will set the world on fire vs the powerful dragon Uldorak. Davion inserts himself into this conflict and absorbs the soul of Uldorak which results in him turning into a dragon. He also gets caught into an elvish war plot with the Exiled Princess of the Silverwood, Mirana, who seeks a McGuffin called the lotuses to bring her people back to power while they are at war with a rebel group of elves. These two things guide the story of this show.
On a character level, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood has very archetypal characters that have very simple arcs. You know, like a lot of fantasy series. Davion is an attractive and charismatic hero that attracts a lot of ladies and sleeps around. When Davion is told about what Fruhring did, he’s sleeping with a woman. Because of the dragon chaos, Davion also has that classic hulk kind of story to where the dragon is starting to take over his body and he has to resist. Mirana is a classic elvish princess who is very bad ass with deadly accuracy on a bow from incredibly long distances. As one would expect, Davion and Mirana start falling in love with each other as they travel which is what you expect. What you might not expect is Davion being a fanservice character because he ends up naked quite a bit and has to borrow clothing from Marci all the time.
The only character in this specific dnd group that shakes the norm is Marci because she is the normally silent strong man but she’s a little girl that can lift heavy weights over her head and is completely mute. No one expects this and that is why Marci is the best character. Do I have to prove why? She’s fantastic, adorable, and so kind hearted. The rest of the world is filled with all sorts of characters that you expect to see. Angry Elven generals who kill everyone, bartenders who know everything, bandits who move in groups and steal from the protagonist, rebel elves who Marci, Davian, and Mirana have to work with to get home, and other character types. And you know what? There isn’t anything wrong with classic fantasy characters when they are done well and they are.
What I had some difficulty with what was going in the series sometimes because the lore is heavily tapped into without much lead up or enough breathing room. I think that is fine considering that this first portion is only eight episodes in length and has to unload all of that into the story somehow. The story itself is very simple. It’s very much like a classic D&D campaign with characters traveling place to place with each other and dealing with all sorts of environmental things like random monsters and dragons. There are also some parts where Mirana and Marci have to deal with racism from horrible human beings as well. The lore and the world of the story itself add a lot of complexity to the show right away because more and more characters get inserted into everything at a very quick pace with characters beyond imagination as well.
I don’t just mean lots of characters and conflicts, but god like characters who have the power to at least hold back Davion’s dragon hulk problem for a little bit. There is also an entire elven war which adds a lot of texture to the story as well as long as the Dragon Slayers who have their own group which adds another layer. Also, the older Eldewyrm also have their little council with Davion too for some reason. So yes, the world feels very well lived in with lots of things seen here and some cities and other locations we haven’t seen yet but are alluded too. The best part is somehow, all of this evens out in the end and gives a good pay off to some of the conflicts and expands on other bits of lore and conflicts to be seen in other seasons. The second season has already been announced, so don’t worry about this right now. What matter is that it’s interesting and it is.
It goes without saying, but DOTA: Dragon’s Blood looks really good. I already mentioned that its Studio Mir, right? Yeah, that says enough honestly. There are the classic Studio Mir hallmarks with the characters having pointed chins that are like blades and the action animation that is fluid and distinct in their own style and execution. I mean seriously, no one else can make elements and fire move like they make them move. The character designs are also incredibly distinct and have tons of personality and the background art from the world are so well detailed and lived in. It fits everything in the story so well and creates an atmosphere that not a lot of series can pull off. Studio Mir put a lot of effort into these eight episodes and it shows. Very classic stuff in a way that never feels boring. If you like fantasy series, give it a shot. So yes, it’s a good one.