I have not played the game that this is based on which is DQ V. And I heard that people were angry they did not used the original Akira animation style. Considering that, I still find the animation very nice. I like the artstyle and the animation is FF7 Advent Children caliber. Very far from the likes of the new Berserk or Kingdom. The plot twist at the end, although im not sure if its a spoiler, but to be on the safe side, i will consider it a plot twist to avoid spoilers, is very nice eventhough this plot
twist element is something i have grown to hate lately as its been used as the main element of most animes.
Overall, I enjoyed the anime very much. I am abit curious though if my opinion would differ if id have played the game.
I really enjoyed this movie, especially the creative twist. Throughout the runtime I was always invested in the characters and plot and captivated by the fight scenes and beautiful art and animation. While the characters are likable, they aren’t very nuanced and leave a little bit to be desired. The score is decent, if a little repetitive and the sub had very good voice acting for the most part while the dub left much to be desired. While the world was believable, it didn’t really seem that livens in or fleshed out. Ultimately, this movie suffers from pacing that just feels to fast and, like
a lot of anime movies, it just feels like it would’ve been better as a series so it could have better plot progression and world building. While there is room for improvement, I wasn’t disappointed by this movie at all.
As someone who has very warm memories of playing this game on the DS back in the day, I was really looking forward to this movie. Dragon Quest games never had the deepest stories, but they're always engaging, and DQV is arguably the game with the best story in the franchise, so it was very exciting to hear that the choose this specific game to adapt into a movie. However, that also leads to one of the biggest obstacles this movie has to face; it choose the game that would be the hardest to live up to.
The main problem with this movie is that it
often doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. On the one hand it seems to base itself almost entirely off nostalgia, meaning that if you don't have fond memories of the game and remember it's story fairly well, you'll probably be at a loss for what the hell is going on most of the time. On the other hand, barely anything that happens in this movie is done as it is in the game, with a lot of characters never even appearing, and the ones that do often acting totally different from how they are in the game. Visually the movie also clearly does it's own thing, which isn't necessarily negative as it's visually quite solid for the most part,but for nostalgic fans (which again, this movie clearly tries to pander to) it may be a bit weird to see these characters look totally different from their original designs by Akira Toriyama.
The entire movie also has an incredibly rushed pace throughout it's runtime, which makes it hard to get attached to the characters, as they're always rushing off to the next goal without ever giving us any breathing room to get to know them better. This means major events like Pankraz's death or the hero's return home after ten years as a slave aren't given enough time to leave any impact on the viewer.
There's also the twist of the movie, which I won't spoil here, but it's fair to say it's a twist most people will either love or hate. I'm guessing most viewers will lean towards the latter. It's not a dumb twist per say, but it IS a confusing one, as it doesn't really add anything to the movie other than a weird, almost cultish, message that encourages escapism to an unhealthy degree. As someone who really adored the game when I first played it, and still occasionally play it to this day, the message didn't resonate with me in the slightest, and I'd honestly be a bit concerned for the people who do. These games are awesome, but in the end they're still games, and should be treated as such.
Sound-wise this movie has a solid soundtrack, but the voice acting is a bit more of a mixed bag, especially if you watch in english. I watched the movie with the English dub, and though the voice actors all do a solid job with what they're given, it's hard to get invested when the script gives them very little to work with. Nearly every line is phrased awkwardly, using wording that sounds either stilted or just plain unnatural, which really took me out of the experience. It also doesn't help that the English lip-syncing is rather poorly done. I watched the movie again in Japanese, and the difference in quality is noticeable enough that I would definitely claim the Japanese dub as superior. Still, kudos to the English voice actors who clearly did their best with what they had.
Overall, this movie clearly tries hard in a lot of areas, but sadly doesn't really live up to any of its many ambitions. It looks and sounds great, but the plot is all over the place with a pace that's so rushed it's hard to ever really care what's happening. It expects you to know the game's story before even watching it, yet at the same time it ignores and glosses over so many major plot events it leaves me wondering who they even made this movie for in the first place. It's not a movie for newcomers, and it's not a movie for nostalgic fans either... It's not really a movie for anyone.
I am legit mad over this bad movie. I was shocked going into this to see this movie didn't make its budget back in Japan. Dragon Quest is like a religion in Japan, how could it not be the biggest earning movie ever. Now I know why. It is because it's trash.
Obviously most of the time people are only driven to review something if they really enjoyed it or really hated it, and as stated I am the latter. In fact I am still riding the high of how disappointed I am so keep that in mind while reading.
I will start with good.
The art is
actually pretty good. I know a lot of people wanted the OG Toriyama style but it is still a pretty movie. The effects are probably hands down my favorite thing about the movie, they really hit it out of the park with the partical effects.
Music is classic DQ, so there is that. Even though the scene you first hear the overture in kind of ends with imagery that doesn't match the triumphant tune.
And that is all that I liked...
So the movie has bad pacing issues, which in all honesty I expected as a lot of adaptations have the same issue, especially anything trying to condense a story. I was able to deal with some of it, as I am used to that with a lot of anime adaptation films for tv series. I initially felt it would help if they didn't assume that everyone has played DQV, though I understand those are the people they assume will see it. (Also, in Japan it is probably safe to assume most people have some knowledge of it.) However, it is more than just rushing through the story. Their ability to set up a scene suffers from the pace they try to maintain the whole move. There are few if any establishing shots to give you a feel of an area or give any extra weight to a scene. We go from the Hero being kidnapped, to 10 years later in a prison camp, to them escaping a prison we barely see, through a city we never see again, to him returning home that we only saw for seconds in the beginning of the movie, where we have little to no connection to because the Hero himself barely reacts to being home after 10 years because the plot need to start up again.
The story suffers more than I thought it would after starting it. I figured they would give an abridged version of the first few hours of the game so we could get to the main story. What I didn't think they would do though is introduce characters vital to the story without an actual introduction. It reminded me of G1 Transformers. A character shows up and they are already established and have a connection to the Hero. Bianca gets your typical "Oh I haven't seen you since..." intro but she is the only one. Everyone else, they just start talking like they have always known one another for years and it takes half a conversation before you realize why the Hero knows them already. Not to mention when they just talk about dungeons and quests from the game as if we would have already seen them. Again it is assuming you have played the game but this time it assumes that you have an intimate knowledge if the game.
This is more of a nitpick but they had a few fourth wall moments and "in jokes" that took me out of the movie. Stuff like this always bugs me because it feels like either the screenplay writer or the director throws it in because they don't take the property they are working on seriously. One that really took me out was when the Hunter Mech/Killing Machines were introduced and a comment about robots being "a little random" was thrown in. (wording may be different from subs to actual spoken Japanese in the scene.) It just sucked me out because the Machine Family of monsters has been in this universe since the second game. That is maybe just me being to much of a nerd about it though.
I could have dealt with all that though and walked away with this as like a 6.5 or 7, HOWEVER, once the "twist" ending was revealed it all started to make sense and piss me off. The rushing through the intro to the game along with certain story segments, the stupid little jokes, the painful nods to the camera, and even some of the particle effects used. I tried not to spoil anything in case someone out there really wants to watch this and is reading reviews first, but this twist ending not only killed the whole movie for me but really has me questioning why fantasy as a genre is so stale in Japan right now and why they are so stuck on the big thing at the moment when it comes to "fantasy". Also, the whole idea that people need to grow up and let this story/game/video games in general go and just let them be a fond memory all while faking some kind of sincerity in delivering that message really pissed me off. I am sorry if you can figure out the twist with that, but maybe I saved you some time instead.
In the end, I was really hoping this movie would do good outside of Japan. It could get some more interest in Dragon Quest for new fans and ride the wave of positivity from DQXI. Then maybe we could have gotten a few more games that we never got here (DQX) or just more Dragon Quest stuff in general. That was apparently just me setting the bar WAY to high.
So yeah, I have strong nerd opinions on this one. Watch it if you are interested but I wouldn't recommend it.
Years and years ago I played (most of) Dragon Quest V. It was a game I had become incredibly invested in and when they announced this movie, I felt super excited. However, as time went on and I saw the low Japanese reviews, I worried that this movie wouldn't be all that I hoped for.
In the end, I was disappointed.
The animation and music were the only good parts of this film. Some individual scenes made me chuckle here and there, but that was it.
The rest was horribly paced. It skimmed over several events in the game that
would have taken hours to play through. As a result, emotional scenes weren't very emotional at all due to lack of buildup and investment in the characters. In other words, if you've never played DQV it probably won't make sense and if you have, you'll just be frustrated at all the content they've skipped.
Originally, I gave this movie a 4 until I saw the twist ending, then I dropped a point. I won't spoil it here, but it more or less invalidates the film. (That said, the message of the film was about how the twist does not invalidate it, but I have to disagree.)
Ultimately, this film was just a waste of time. If you want to know the story, play DQV. If you want to know the twist ending, google it or skip to the last ~10 minutes of the film.
My history with Dragon Quest is...non-existent. I only played some of the GameBoy Color games as a kid, but even then, I never completed them because they were hard. But Dragon Quest is a pretty popular game series in Japan, with the most recent game, Echoes of an Elusive Age, being released on the Switch with glowing critical reception. So when it was announced that a movie was being made, based on what many consider to be the best game in the series, Dragon Quest 5, people were ecstatic...until they saw the very end of the movie, which had a very strange plot twist put
in that was so out of place and came out of nowhere that after the fact, reviews poured in that lambasted the movie for it. Even people in Japan hated it, feeling like it was a huge cop-out. As of now, Your Story is on Netflix, and I just finished watching it. What do I think of it? Well...I honestly don't feel it's as bad as people are making it out to be, but even without the twist, the movie still has a lot of problems.
The story focuses on a young man named Luca, who is the son of a famed hero named Pankraz. After his mother is kidnapped by the evil Bishop Ladja, he and his father attempt to save her, but Ladja kills Pankraz and takes Luca and his friend Harry to be slave labor. When he and Harry escape a decade later, Luca decides to return home and find answers. There's a legend about a hero being able to wield a magical sword, and his father left a final message in his diary, thinking that Luca might just be that hero. Armed with this knowledge, and joined by a saber cat and a friendly slime, Luca embarks on a worldwide quest to find the magic sword, stop Ladja from summoning an evil being named Nimzo, save his mother, and by extension, the world.
Overall, if I were to use one word to describe this movie, it would be overstuffed. Being that Your Story is adapted from a video game that can be about 20-30 hours long, it's inevitable that a lot would get lost in the transition from game to movie, since that's plagued video game movies for years. However, Your Story is clearly trying to adapt as much material as possible within a one hour and forty-five minute time frame, but at the expense of pacing. The pacing in this movie is very fast, so you'll never feel bored, as there's always something going on. However, some segments, which should have been more fleshed out in order to make us care about the characters, such as Luca and Bianca's entire childhood together, aren't given any focus at all, so when we actually meet those characters, the audience is confused as to why she's so important and why they should even care about her or her relationship with Luca. It doesn't help that the very beginning of the movie just blatantly uses footage from the game to set up said relationship and just glaze over the events that led to the entire plot, which to me is just lazy. Honestly, that part bothered me more than the plot twist, because using game footage in favor of, you know, doing your own interpretation of the beginning of the game with your own fingerprints just makes you seem lazy and insecure. The game footage was completely unnecessary, because the creators could have used that time to show Luca being born into the world and flesh out his character more.
It's especially insulting from an animation standpoint, because in all honesty, the CG animation here is absolutely stunning. Like, practically Pixar-level quality. I've never seen a CG anime movie that looked this amazing before now. This makes Land of the Lustrous look like Rapsittie Street Kids. The textures and overall look of the movie are amazing to look at, with the environments all rendered in exquisite detail. If you didn't know any better, you'd think the environments were live-action. The human characters actually look like people, and not like polygonish-looking humans with weird faces and awkward mouth movements. One other thing people didn't like about the movie was that Akira Toriyama's designs weren't used in the movie. To be honest, I don't really mind, as I think he's kind of overrated, and I figure his style would be really hard to animate, especially in a CGI movie, so I think the animators dodged a bullet on that one. I also really like that the animation doesn't skimp on really small details, like the scars and scratches people get on their bodies when they're fighting monsters, the texture and myriad of strands in someone's hair, or the transluscence of a slime's body. Those little things really make the setting and the animation feel much more alive. The actual character motion is just as amazing, and every movement is fluid and smooth, with little to no sluggishness or choppy frames. Seriously, Japan really set a new standard for CG movies, and considering their CG movies tend to have a bad rep, they should really learn from Your Story.
The soundtrack is pretty great too, with big, epic orchestral pieces that really make you feel like you're on an adventure to save the world. From what I've heard, these are redone versions of pieces from the game soundtrack, and I think they've been rendered pretty well here. However, in light of some really disgusting things fans have learned about Koichi Sugiyama and his political views, that's the only thing I'm going to say about the soundtrack. I like the music, but I don't like the composer as a person. But that's neither here nor there, so I won't waste time dwelling on it.
Because of the movie's brisk pacing and its attempts to tell a huge story in a limited format, the characters don't the development and fleshing out that they deserve. As a result, they all come off as bland archetypes that we've seen in a million other fantasy movies of this caliber before. Luca's the idealistic hero, Bianca is the tomboyish childhood friend, Nera is the friendly princess, Ladja is yet another Saturday morning cartoon villain who is just evil for the sake of it, so on and so forth. I'm sure they got a lot more depth and development in the game, but again, I haven't played the game, so I can only judge them based on how the movie portrays them. Honestly, Ladja was just terrible. He was just a stereotypically evil villain who's there to just laugh all the time and be a dick to the hero. Nimzo was basically a non-entity as a character, and he only appears for a few minutes and that's it.
The story itself isn't really anything special. It's just another sword hero saving the world plot, only he gets married and has a kid later on. That's not a spoiler, by the way. The game does this, too. As for the controversial twist in the movie...well, I agree that it did come out of nowhere and seem lazy in concept, but I don't hate it nearly as much as other people do. Don't get me wrong, I do hate the twist, but considering the movie's other problems, the twist is only a small part of a very flawed product overall. Honestly, I thought the Ni no Kuni movie's final twist was much worse, more out of place, and much more mean spirited. Do I feel like Your Story could have benefitted from leaving this twist out? Absolutely? It would have just been another fantasy movie if it did so, but I'm okay with that. From what I heard, the creators meant for this movie to be a love letter to fans of the franchise, so the twist was put in there to appeal to them specifically. But when you put it like that, you wind up alienating audiences who have never played Dragon Quest, me being one of those people, when the movie could have done just fine without it. Sometimes trying to add in a bunch of out of nowhere twists can hurt a product rather than make it better (Looking at you, Guilty Crown). They say less is more, after all.
Do I think Your Story is bad? Actually, no, I don't. True, there are a ton of other movies that are way better, but for what it is, it's a fairly decent, if very flawed and bumpy fantasy romp. But unless you're a diehard Dragon Quest fan, I doubt it'll appeal to you specifically.