The story follows Ling Fei-long, a Chinese transfer student living in Japan. Ling is the son of the leader of the White Dragon clan, one of four clans who live in the mountains of China and are descended from mythical beasts. After killing an ordinary human, Ling is banished to Japan so that he might learn about humanity and how to control his powers around them.
Dragon Fist is a misleading OVA that doesn't deliver.
The story starts out like the synopsis here, though there is no mention of the main character, Fei Long, killing anyone. He goes to Japan and attends a school where a strange cloning situation is occurring. There's a few twists and turns in the plot, but there's a ton of info thrust onto the viewer in a few minutes, the entire story being around 40 minutes total, and everything plays out like a soap opera.
The acting is very cheesy and so are the characters. The art is often distorted, characters looking odd in weird angles with limited
animation. The actual designs are okay, though not particularly memorable; you've seen these characters playing these roles before.
The two things I did like were the colors used, a nice cool purple theme, and the awesome musick. The sound effects are mediocre, but the songs are great! There are quite a few lyrical numbers too, making this play out almost like a musical (making it even weirder to be honest). But seriously, I enjoyed all of the musick quite a bit and would potentially buy a soundtrack.
I can't give much praise to the rest of this. It's worth watching to see how strange this story is and how poorly it's executed, "so bad it's good" style.
By some twist of fate you have stumbled across this old and obscure anime called Dragon Fist that less than 300 people scored on MAL. You are now perhaps wondering if you should watch this OVA or not. Do not worry; I'm here to save your time by telling you not to watch it. Seriously don't, unless you really want to see a truly bad anime. I have watched a lot of anime before this and Dragon Fist is still one of the worst I have seen. Let me explain why.
First off I should clarify that Dragon Fist is an OVA, which is important
because OVA's generally imply higher budget and higher budget implies better animation/art than a regular anime series, but unfortunately that is not the case with Dragon Fist. This anime simply looks inferior, it does not even have a 90’s series level of quality, much less of a 90’s OVA level of quality. Dragon Fist noticeably uses a lot of budget saving measures such as still frames and only showing the backs of the characters when they are talking. The latter half of the OVA also has lots of fuck ups, especially in the facial department; you will know what I'm talking about if you watch it. The Artstyle of the anime itself is pretty much generic 90's shounen art, think Yu Yu Hakusho and the like. If you want to watch some neat 90’s high quality OVA action anime, then you are in the wrong place.
Second important thing that I must mention is the fact this anime is an adaptation of a manga by the same name, and while I have not read the original manga (it isn't even translated) it really shows that it is an adaptation. Why you ask? Because the story does not make sense, the characters do not make sense, and because the plot is all over the place and is extremely rushed in terms of pacing. I could easily see a less experienced anime watcher being confused by what is going on in this anime, so I will briefly summarize the story to help those confused viewers.
The Synopsis of this anime is deceptive since it talks about dragons and the protagonist being a kind of half dragon half human, so viewers would naturally think this is a fantasy anime, right? They would be wrong, because this OVA is actually about cloning and has nothing to do with dragons and fantasy, other than the protagonist being one. So the basic setup is already a mess given that it is some weird mix of fantasy and SCI-FI without any natural cohesion, but it gets only worse. We have 4 named characters in this anime, they are as follows: Fei-Long Ling - The Dragon Boy, Katano Fuyuka - Female lead and Clone, Kaga Naoki - Another Clone, and finally Sugiura - the Villain. All of them are students at the same school; Naoki and Sugiura are the masterminds behind the cloning. And that is really all there is to their characters.
We start with some expositional narrating about the Dragon Clan that lasts for a few minutes, there is really no point to it given the fact that the anime does not deal with the dragons at all, so it counts as wasted screen time in my book. After that we are immediately thrown into a Japanese high-school (because of course), where our Chinese dragon protagonist is being bullied by his Japanese classmates. Why is he being bullied? Who knows. It never comes up again in the OVA, so it is simply inserted there to evoke some kind of pity for the protagonist, but it fails to even do that because it comes out of nowhere and ends abruptly, like every other plot point in this anime.
After the bullying scene we are greeted with a rooftop scene where our dragon protagonist decided to angst and be a loner, coincidentally this causes him to witness 3 nameless goons trying to kidnap Katano Fuyuka, the clone girl. He being the hero of the story obviously threatens the goons to stop, who despite outnumbering Ling; decide to leave with a classic "I'll not forget this." This event obviously causes our male protagonist and our female lead to be introduced to each other. Fuyuka immediately reveals to Ling that she is a clone and that she escaped from a facility (and for some reason escaped into a school), Ling does not really react or give a fuck about this revelation, he just takes it naturally, because this is the character quality in this anime. Anyway Ling promises to Fuyuka that he will protect her no matter what, despite only knowing her for about 5 minutes.
Hilariously 1 second after making that proclamation, Ling leaves Fuyuka alone, who is immediately ambushed by Naoki first and then by the 3 same goons from before. This was so hilarious that I couldn't help but laugh. This anime kind of functions as an unintentional comedy given how terribly constructed it is. Anyway the 3 goons kidnap Fuyuka and bring her back to the cloning facility; Ling who was doing god knows what notices the absence of Fuyuka and heads after her. This is where I'll stop summarizing the story and start talking about the important matters.
This is easily one of the most rushed anime I have seen, it goes through what seems to be like a few episodes worth of anime material in the span of 40 minutes, which goes horribly with the fact that the anime tries to be very melodramatic in its drama. For example Fuyuka goes from wanting to live to wanting to die in 5 minutes then wanting to live again in another 5 minutes, because reasons. The characters also pretend to have known each other for a longer period of time, despite having only met each other for a day. Fuyuka for example admires Ling and has feelings for him despite only meeting him that day and speaking with him for less than 5 minutes. Naoki and Sugiura also know of Ling despite never meeting him before, because properly introducing the villains to the protagonist is for good anime only. Dragon Fist is also full of "dramatic revelations" that come out of nowhere, except they don't have any dramatic effects because of how incredibly rushed everything is.
Ling despite being a powerful dragon is somehow able to be pushed around and almost beaten by the 3 nameless human goons, until of course he decides to transform in traditional shounen fashion into his dragon form and beat everyone. Naoki only exists as a plot device character who can stall for time by sacrificing his own life, so that Ling can rescue Fuyuka from the villain, which also makes little sense seeing Ling in his dragon form was super fast yet it still took him minutes to catch up to Fuyuka and Sugiura.
While we are on the note of Sugiura, let's talk about him and his motivations as a villain. Like everything else in this OVA, he too makes zero sense. It is revealed that the reason Sugiura conducted the cloning experiment was so he could clone his mother who was suffering from heart problems. Both Naoki and Fuyuka were successful clones albeit with defects, Fuyuka escapes the facility and he wastes time trying to recapture her, even though he has no reason to do so. Once he has captured her, Sugiura tortures Fuyuka by revealing the fact that her lifespan is limited, even though he has no reason to torture her. Then when Ling rescues Fuyuka, Sugiura heads after them in order to kill Fuyuka, even though he has no reason to do so, because Fuyuka will die in a couple more minutes even if he doesn't do anything. As a whole the villain makes zero sense, he just wants to kill the other 3 characters because he is retarded.
The music for Dragon Fist was made by Kenji Kawai, who is one of my favourite Japanese composers, his instrumental performance in Dragon Fist is pretty solid and arguably the only decent aspect of the anime, but I must unfortunately mention the fact that is only true for the instrumental music in this anime. Dragon Fist plays 2 really awkward vocal songs during its run time and they simply feel awkward because they do not fit into their respective scenes and come out of nowhere, further ruining the already messed up tone of the anime.
Who would I recommend this OVA to? Nobody.
As I said the only reason to watch this mess is if you want to see some truly bad anime or if you want to treat it as an unintentional comedy.