A normal high school boy Kisaragi Ryuji's peaceful life is turned into an adventure by the return of his second cousin Eriko. Ryuji and Eriko seize a relic box from a black broker. In the box, they find a red dragon girl Rose. In order to protect Rose from the black organization, Ryuji decides to fight using his power as a relic handler.
The first episode received a free online preview at online streaming service GyaO! starting on Thursday, 16th December, 2010 until Wednesday, 22nd December. 1000 lucky participants in possession of a Yahoo Japan ID were given the chance to see it through an online lottery. The regular television broadcast started on January 11, 2011.
One thing can always be certain when it comes to anime these days, and that's the inclusion of at least show about anthropomorphised creatures of some sort every season. Many people will already be familiar with humanoid cats, foxes, dogs, etc, and with the "popularity" of the types of anime that normally include such characters, it's somewhat surprising to find dragons thrown into the mix.
Now this isn't a new thing, especially as these giant fire breathing lizards have appeared in works of fiction for many, many years (and it's even longer when we start talking mythology - but we won't go there). From
tales of steel clad warriors going toe to toe with something that sees them as canned food, to the stylings of Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern series where humans live and work with the creatures, dragons have long been a source of inspiration, fear, admiration, majesty, and many other things besides.
But aside from their appearances in certain anime, nobody has ever called them cute (or tsundere - more on that later).
Dragon Crisis is, first and foremost, a light novel series by Kizaki Kaya that spans eleven volumes, all of which have been published under Shueisha's Super Dash Bunko line, and as with any reasonably popular written work, it was earmarked for an anime adaptation, this time by Studio DEEN.
Oh goody. More adaptations.
The story is about Kisaragi Ryuuji, a seemingly normal high school boy whose life is suddenly thrown sideways by the return of his treasure seeking cousin Nanao Eriko. She persuades him to join her on her latest venture, but things don't turn out the way she plans when instead of treasure, they find a girl in a suitcase.
Throw into this various other anthropomorphic beings (generally female), magical treasures called Lost Precious, and a very familiar comedy angle and what do you have?
That's right. It's another supernatural harem romantic comedy.
The main issue with the Dragon Crisis is the lack of explanations. There are any number of interesting aspects to the story that really could have been expounded upon, but in the typical manner that is common these days the viewer is expected to simply sit there, accept what they're given, and not want for anything better. The lack of any real detail about The Society, dragons and the Lost Precious puts a strain on the storyline that becomes more pronounced as matters progress.
That said, the plot is actually paced reasonably well, but that's simply based on the even scattering of tokens throughout the series (usually one per episode), and it's pretty clear that a great deal of thought wasn't expended on making the story interesting. Instead Dragon Crisis relies on stereotypical comedy and the generic methodologies applied to almost every other harem rom-com in an effort to move things along, and because of all of this the whole show is about as predictable as the sunrise.
Visually the series isn't bad, but it's not brilliant either. The reliance on generic character types is very obvious from the get-go as it's not something that can really be hidden by changing clothes (or school uniforms), hairstyles and eye colours. That said, the characters are emotive to a degree, and it's nice to see that efforts have been made to allow a bit more expression that one might initially expect from this type of show.
Sadly the typical anime reliance on the European style dragon once again rears its head, and this time they're coloured (which brings into question the issue of dragon racism, but that's a matter for another time).
On the plus side the series features some nicely detailed backgrounds that, although somewhat generic, are also rather appealing. In addition to this there are some well choreographed and interesting CG effects that give the action sequences that little bit more flair, and the quality of the animation is stays at a pretty decent level over the course of the show.
When it comes to music, Dragon Crisis has a range of tracks on offer to suit almost every occasion, from foreboding techno beats to melodic piano pieces, and there are also some rather nice audio effects throughout the series. Unfortunately there are occasions when the two clash, and although the timing is pretty good, this isn't enough to salvage the resulting cacophony.
The opening theme, Immoralist by Horie Yui (who plays the role of Maruga or Margerite, whichever you prefer), is a rather dramatic J-Pop number with martial overtones that feels a little out of place with the concept of Dragon Crisis. As for the ending theme, Mirai Bowl by Momoiro Clover, this rather more playful piece also doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the anime, but that may be due to the rather whimsical beginning to the song.
So, on to the acting, and oh look! It's Kugumiya Rie playing yet another clone of Louise/Shana/Taiga, except this time her role is far less tsundere so hopefully the industry will stop typecasting her at some point. Even with that though, she is able to inject a likeability into the character of Rose that is nice to see. Shimono Hiro and Yukana also play their respective roles (Ryuuji and Eriko), passing well, and while the overall series may be tediously generic in many aspects, it's nice to see the seiyuu still working hard to deliver some decent performances.
The unfortunate part is that there's only so much a voice actor/actress can do in certain situations, and this is one of them.
The reliance on genericism severely stunts the characters in certain fundamental ways that prevent even the best seiyuu from delivering a stellar performance, and while part of the problem stems from the anime, the majority of it comes from the source material itself. The simple fact is that each character is designed to deliver a specific plot token into the story, and this makes them objects rather than people. Because of this there is the appearance of development over the course of the series, but in truth this is nothing more than a veneer that covers some truly lazy characterisation. That said, Dragon Crisis does feature some diverting interactions and relationships, and while there is little in the way of real growth, the series does maintain a degree of enjoyability due the inoffensive nature of the characters.
One thing that is a little puzzling though, is the decidedly human nature of the dragons themselves. While this could easily be explained away by stating that they're anthropomorphic creatures who have lived alongside humans and adopted their personality traits, this information has to be extrapolated by the viewer, and this brings up the issue of why they have to act like humans. It would have been far more interesting to see humans and dragons learning to cope with the problems presented by modern day society from the perspective of the dragons. Likewise the prospect of watching the characters adapt to the daily problems faced by each species would have offered some completely different insights, yet still left room for situational comedy.
Dragon Crisis offers little in the way of innovation, but that's pretty much expected from supernatural harem rom-coms these days. While the original concept may have been interesting enough in the beginning the execution leaves a lot to be desired, and there's a mechanical feel to the show due to the "fill in the blanks" approach to the story, and the fact that this is essentially a "production by numbers" (hence Kugimiya Rie in a typecast role).
The series does have its good points, and there are some enjoyable moments to see, but ultimately Dragon Crisis is yet another example of a wasted opportunity, only this time its not the fault of the anime as the source material is to blame.
Dragon Crisis! is a below average to borderline horrible action harem anime that has been done dozens of times before, and done much better. I continue to be perplexed why tripe like this continues to sell and gets made into anime. And I thought Hollywood had hit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to creativity and originality.
The story concept for Dragon Crisis! has been repeated ad nauseum. An ordinary school boy with average looks and the personality of an anvil is suddenly thrust into a secret world of the supernatural including, as the title suggests, dragons. Of course
most of the dragons just happen to be cute girls who naturally flock to the harem of our slack lipped leading man. The plot is virtually nonexistent since the writer seems to have decided to forgo anything resembling a story in order to load up the cast with every type of stereotypical character imaginable. Instead we are inundated with obscure and nonsensical terminology such as "Lost Precious", "Level 10 Breaker", and "Engage".
What little story it does have mostly falls flat on its face. Red Dragon and loli Rose really loves Ryuuji and shows her affections in a very open and honest way, like a child. It actually manages to be both kind of sweet and creepy all at once. Ryuuji, like any red blooded Japanese boy maintains his puritanical values and attempts, unsuccessfully, to fend off all those cooties carrying girls who throw themselves at him. However because just about every episode introduces a new character, the cast becomes bogged down with characters making the execution of any kind of serious story impossible. What we do end up with has all the sophistication of an elementary school creative writing project.
Much like the shows concept, none of the characters are all that special either. They conform to basic harem archetypes and rarely, if ever, deviate from them. A few of them might just be remarkable for how dull pointless they actually are. Probably the best example of this would be Misaki, Ryuuji's shy secret admirer. She is utterly a waste of the art materials, man hours, and computer time necessary to bring her to the screen. She contributes nothing of value. She has no powers and is just an ordinary human and she basically seems to only be in the cast because the "How To Make a Harem Anime" playbook calls for her type to be included. The only positives amongst the characters, I suppose, would be Ai and Eriko. Though it certainly isn't because of any originality on their parts. It's only because they happen to come across as the most fun and enjoyable characters in the show.
What Dragon Crisis! does do exceptionally well is its music. Yui Horie's "Immoralist" OP is really a great upbeat and exciting table setter for the show. The real shame that the feelings and action displayed in the OP do not really materialize within the show itself. Overall though I think this is easily the best song from any of the anime from the Winter '11 season. On the flip side, the ED "Mirai Bowl" is a playful and naughty and at first glance seems out of place for this anime. It features extreme chibi abuse, which raises it up in my favorability rating but it’s just so damn cute and adorable that I really looked forward to seeing it each week. Of course this also meant the episode was over, which might have contributed to me liking it so much.
The seiyuu cast is also very strong and chalk full of talented actors. They are mostly wasted on this and none of their performances are really memorable enough to worth mentioning. However it should be noted that this is yet again another loli role for veteran Rie Kugimiya. I honestly love Kugimiya to death as an actress but it is really quite distressing to see her continue to be pigeonholed as the same damn character repeatedly either through her own poor judgment or from studio typecasting. Though her role as Rose is not your typical loli tsundere per see, it certainly would be nice to see her try to expand her range a bit. Honestly the been there, done that nature of her performance is one of the reasons this anime comes across as so lame and uninspired.
When you get right down to it my entire experience with Dragon Crisis! was neither good nor bad. A viewer is as unlikely to really hate it as he is unlikely to love it. One can certainly do better, so unless you simply must see every anime about dragons you would be advised to give this one a pass and watch something better.
Ah, Dragon Crisis. The title is a little strange considering the fact that the phrase itself is only used once in the series, and it's never really explained when mentioned. For me to find an anime about anthropomorphic human-like people usually means that I'll watch it, to some extent. Whatever the case, onto the review.
Story (6.47/10): Story...isn't exactly Dragon Crisis's strong suit. The beginning is very Angel Beats-esque, where the audience, and the main character are thrown into these set of circumstances without any explanation whatsoever for the sake of moving the plot. Usually, unless there's the mystery element to
the story that the main character tries to find out, I will drop it without hesitation. (Good exposition is something I like) Though it was a bit strange to be thrown into this random scenario, I was still rather intrigued, and still continued watching.
As the series went on, however, I felt that it was really arc heavy. The 12 episode run is very clearly split into separate arcs, that detail the main character, Ryuuji, helping out random girls that he literally just met, only to have them be sucked into his mini harem by the end of the series. It was kind of awkward for me to watch, and it felt quite side-story like, seeing as how the series immediately jumped to a new idea, and even new characters, making the old ones drop off the face of the earth. (For a few episodes that is.)
The story in the end was still somewhat generic, with the anthropomorphic twist on some of the girls, leading up to a really, really, really cheesy ending that you may like, if you're into that kind of thing. Overall, the story of Dragon Crisis was watchable, at the very least. It's not extraordinary by any means, but it is a good in its own way, like Dog days.
Character (5.87/10): Character development is a key factor for an anime's success. Without proper development of the characters, with good pacing, the anime can fall flat on its face without a second's notice. The characters weren't bad, but they weren't fantastic.
Ryuuji, our main protagonist, is our run of the mill, nice guy, overpowered main protagonist character, who meets a young girl via coming out of a suitcase, (yes, you read that right), and promptly takes care of her by basically raising her as his daughter, sort of. While he does have some redeeming qualities, such as getting the most possible development in this show, as well as being the main protagonist, I find him rather dull and lacking. He doesn't really seem to have a personality of his own, rather, gets influenced by people around him to get sucked into the situations he ends up in, like contemplating shit at the end of the series for what he's done. We've all seen this kind of anime troupe before, so there's not really much to explain beyond that.
Rose, as the aforementioned Dragon, of this series, is...a child. That's really all I need to say. She loves Ryuuji, (way too obviously expressed), and that's pretty much it for about 9 or so episodes. Towards the end, however, she gets this sort of, what I feel, unneeded development through some magical bullshit, that makes the show kind of stupid towards the end. Though I personally liked Rose's character due to how adorable and awesome she could be at times, I wasn't fully happy with how she herself turned out over the course of the series.
The side character cast is filled to the brim with overused troupes that I could go on and on about. (like right now). Let's see...comic relief/best friend character, big breasted fanservice, the shy girl, the shy girl's best friend that tries to hook up said shy girl with main character, the crazy scientist, the tsundere girl who's also a fox (My personal favorite), overly flamboyant looking main antagonist, and the parents that seems to never exist. None of these characters get any development whatsoever, and some of them appear so late, that I even question why they were implemented in the first place. (There's even one guy that's like a marvel villain rip-off. WTF Japan?)
Art and Sound (7.48/10): The art itself is pretty pleasing to look at, actually. It's quite clear what style they were going for, and it's easy to distinguish who is what race in this series. I quite enjoyed it, since none of the characters looked particularly bad, and none of the animation was jarring to look at. Actually, the fight scenes looked pretty good and fluid. (Especially when mystical, dragon energy is involved.)
The sound is actually pretty good. The OP was a rather interesting sounding one, starting off as a generic shounen song, with these really quiet and soft parts that actually made it somewhat worth listening to. It wasn't the greatest song the world, but it was quite enjoyable to watch and listen to. The ED was the OP's contrast, featuring a rather bubbly song that I felt didn't fit in all too well with the show's idea. It was good, but it felt a little weird. The mood fillers of the series were actually somewhat good, as they sounded like some effort was put into it.
Personal Enjoyment (6.46/10): With the combination of a somewhat generic, arcic story, generic characters, and above average music and art, all combined with Rie's role as Rose, (I'm sure the majority of people are familiar with her work), Dragon Crisis was a mix of fun and confusion. They didn't really explain the supernatural part of the show too well, as the idea of the "Lost Precious's" weren't explained too in-depth as I would've wanted it to be in. There was also a backstory that was mentioned MANY times throughout the series, that never seemed to get any explanation, which really was a big put-off, since the series already didn't explain much of anything. Massive story holes aside, Dragon Crisis was an interesting enough show for me to keep watching, and I was entertained while watching this, so it does get a plus for that. By no means is this a show everyone must watch, god no, but it does help kill time when you want it to. Besides, a fire dragon with blonde hair, in the body of what looks to be a 10 year old, kicking ass? What's not to love?
Whenever a new season rolls around I'm sure many of us go over a chart or list to see what series are coming out. While performing this seasonal task I'm sure there are a number of us that came across Dragon Crisis. Being a series that I've never heard of, I didn't know what to expect (other then the fact there were going to be dragons)
Our main protagonist, Ryuuji seems like another average teenager attending highschool but there is more than that. It turns out that he is a level 10 "breaker" which is pretty strong considering it is the highest level there is.
Soon after, Ryuuji's cousin, Eriko randomly comes in and takes Ryuuji away to steal a briefcase from this organization. As the two are being pursued, the briefcase opens and a red dragon, Rose comes out, and from here the adventures begin.
Dragon Crisis does not follow one story, instead we are given many different stories which focus on a certain character, which seems pretty common these days. However the problem I find with this is that after each story is done, the character that it focused on would just move to the background making it feel like the story that was irrelevant. I feel like the story could have been executed better as I found the original story that it was on to be alright. The story isn't bad but it wasn't great either.
Our main protagonist Ryuuji although being well develop, doesn't seem to stand out from protagonists from other anime. I'm not saying that he is a bad protagonist, I find that he has a pretty likable personality actually but he just seems so similar to protagonists from other anime that he's not a memorable character. However like I said before he's not bad for a main protagonist, there are way worse out there.
The other main character in this series is Rose, who I think is a very likable character. Also she does go through major development towards the end of the series which is a plus but in the middle of the series she is cast to the side a little. I would've liked to see Rose get a little more screen time and development there but I don't find that a big problem.
There is also a number of side characters who all have likable personalities and all undergo development in their own arc. However Ryuuji's school friends did get a bit annoying sometimes and I feel that Misaki's crush was only there to make Ryuuji's love life more complicated than it already was. Overall the characters weren't bad but not very memorable either.
The art is on par with many of the series out there today and the backgrounds I felt were actually drawn pretty well, the battles were done pretty well and I have no complaints about this section.
The sound was also pretty good too, the opening was really catchy (I think I listened to it the most out of the openings this season that I have). I also like the ending too. The voice actors also did a pretty good job, the voices matched each character pretty well, but that's what I expect from such a well known cast.
The series itself is character driven, which I am finding is getting more common these days. I find no problem with that but others may not find it suitable for them. The series did entertain me though and never did I have to force myself to continue.
Overall Dragon Crisis is an alright series with a number of flaws like most anime, and it isn't a very memorable series but it manages to entertain and is certainly not a bad time waster
They are fiery, majestic, powerful, towering beasts... and they are here to make you shiver in your socks! Here's a list of the 15 most epic anime dragons in existence, sure to scare you and bring you a bit of nostalgia at the same time.