Spring 2014: Seikoku no Dragonar
Seikoku no Dragonar – the name of a manga a read a few years ago. A few chapters of it, that is. When I heard it was going to be animated, I was excited. Slowly, that excitement was replaced with doubt.
OP: I don’t like Yui Sakakibara’s singing voice. It’s just too squeaky for my taste. That’s why I didn’t like the opening song of Seikoku no Dragonar anime. The animation on the other hand was okay – many characters were previewed, and everything was shown nicely.
ED: The singing in the ending song was better in my opinion, but now the song itself wasn’t up to the par. The animation showed female characters in cute outfits – moe appeal.
Voice acting: Who would have doubted Kana Hanazawa would be here as well? She once again takes part as the class president, this time at the Dragonar academy. Always nice to hear her voice, even if it appears in every anime. Main character (Ash Blake) is voiced by Kouji Takahashi, a voice actor with roles in just 3 other series (as a side-character), so that’s a new voice to me. I guess it fits his character well – not too deep and not too childish. A more familiar voice is Tomoaki Maeno, who plays the role of protagonist’s best friend Raymond. Voice fits. Finally, there’s one voice which wasn’t heard in this episode yet – Mariya Ise. She will voice the main female character, and I guess she will also fit the character, based on the fact that she was Nakamura in Aku no Hana (the only one I could remember her from). Ayane Sakura has a bit too deep voice for the girl she voices, but I guess that gives off the whole “ice queen” vibe. A relatively good team of seiyuu, I must say.
Visuals: Big breasts everywhere. Not too big, like in some exclusively ecchi series, but still big. Other than that, character designs are nice, and the only thing I disliked, was the colouring of dragons. As the rest of the screen, the dragons are also covered in “spots”, which is the art style here. However, when they move, those spots often stay in the same place, making the dragon’s skin kind of “liquid”. They also don’t really fit into the whole scene.
Characters: There are two main characters: Ash Blake and Eco, his dragon. Eco only appeared at the end of the first episode, so not much is known about her yet. She’s supposed to be a dragon, but looks like a normal girl. Up to her appearance Ash Blake was the only student at Dragonar academy, who did not have his own dragon. He was forced to use his best friend Raymond’s dragon Brigid. Finally, there’s Silvia Lautreamont, the stuck-up princess who nobody likes due to her attitude. She’s generally annoying, but was shown to blush and smile at some points. The arrogance might be just an act because of her insecurity.
Story: As a young boy, Ash Blake wanted to grant a girl’s wish (the girl looks a lot like Silvia from behind, and we are not shown her face). For that, he put his life on the line, and lost his hand. A mysterious female creature/deity restores his hand and grants him a seal. Fast-forward, and Ash is 16 years old. He goes to Ansarivan Dragonar Academy, a school for dragon tamers. However, he still does not have his own dragon – the seal on his hand has not awoken one yet. While using his Raymond’s dragon during a training, he bumps it into Silvia’s dragon, and they get into an argument. Ash promises the girl that he will beat her in the upcoming race, so when the day comes, he participates once again on Brigid. On the way, he helps Silvia get past three girls, who were blocking her, and she blushes. Once Brigid gets tired though (as she is an “Earthia”, a walking dragon, compared to a Maestro, a flying dragon that Silvia has), he decides to withdraw. He then hears a strange sound, and goes to investigate – only to be dragged into an unwinnable fight with two mysterious enemies. When one of them (a masked girl) falls off a cliff, Ash manages to grab her hand (I have no idea how, because he was at least 5 meters away when she started to fall), and she throws him off instead. While falling, Ash wonders if this is the end for him, and at that moment, his dragon finally awakens. But surprise – it’s not really a dragon, but a girl! Ash somehow lands safely on his feet after the long fall.
Conclusion: I tried to be as unbiased as I could when watching this. I wanted to give it every chance an anime deserves. However, I know how this will develop for the next few episodes, so I’m not getting my hopes up. After all, I’m tired of tsunderes and pointless ecchi’ness, and that’s exactly what the first few chapters of the manga had. I hope the anime won’t emphasize those “qualities” too much. The story itself is promising.