I usually don't write reviews, but I felt compelled to write one about this out of principle.
Kuutei Dragons is a not very well disguised fantasy / glamorization of whaling ships, with "dragons" (these dragons have, uh, tentacles?) as fantasy whales that the crew of an airship hunts and butchers for meat and oil (ie. cooking and lamp fuel, etc – again, this manga isn't exactly subtle). Given that Japan is one of the few nations that still practices illegal whaling (and dolphin hunting), I found this pretty distasteful.
The art is pretty good. The story and characters aren't really anything to write home about. You could
compare this to dungeon meshi as they're both fantasy manga about (more or less) cooking, but that would be a bit of an insult to dungeon meshi, as they're not really alike at anything more than a surface level.
Personally, I got negative enjoyment out of reading this, and have blacklisted both the author and the guy who recommended this to me. I'd be a bit more open minded about this if japan wasn't still actively whaling (typically under the defense of "scientific" research), and home to people who apparently think this is still okay. The crew of these ships still hunt whales (sorry, dragons) because they are "delicious", despite the fact that few people still do this anymore and this is considered a bit old fashioned (or, you know, illegal, and considered an unethical, barbaric practice in most of the world). Most of the manga is focused on different ways to cook dragons, and the MC's sole defining character trait seems to be that he wants to kill and eat dragons. Overall, this seemed a bit on the nose, and seemed uncomfortably close to pro-japanese-whaling propaganda considering the audience.
Read if you'd be interested in reading a manga about the crew of a fantasy whaling airship, and aren't bothered by the ethical considerations of that.
This is only a preliminary review, as just two volumes have been released in English at the time of writing, but 'Drifting Dragons' is my favorite new manga released in 2017.
It's too early to make a judgement call on the story, as so far it's been largely episodic and it's a bit early to tell if Drifting Dragons will stay on that path or it's just setting up the story world before diving into a major, central narrative. The story world itself is quite creative, a fantastical version of the 19th century where airship crews hunt dragons in the same way Nantucket sailors used to
hunt whales. Although, I can't understand why the manga seems intent on going into so much detail on 'How To Cook Your Dragon'- cooking directions in something realistic like 'Sweetness & Lightning' I can understand, but what's the point of a recipe whose main ingredient is a fictional creature?
This has been the top selling point for 'Drifting Dragons'. The illustrations seem like something out of a Ghibili film: incredibly detailed fantasy settings and outfits with characters just 'cartoony' enough to make it fun. It gives this series a distinct visual identity and sometimes I'm left simply looking at the page, soaking it all in and thoroughly impressed. I'd put 'Drifting Dragons' up there with 'Vinland Saga' and 'A Bride's Story' in terms of sheer aesthetic appeal.
Like Story, it's a bit early to give a definitive score on this section. This manga has a ensemble cast, although junior crew member Takita has gotten the most time in the spotlight so far (as the newbie she makes a good point of view character, since as the veteran 'Drakers' explain the trade to her we the audience also learn). Thus far the other major characters haven't had time to expand beyond their initial characterization, but I'm willing to wait a bit longer since they're entertaining and it looks like the story is still in its set-up phase.
Beautiful art and an intriguing world make this series something fans of fantasy adventure should definitely look into, and if a good solid story develops we could have something special here for the whole manga community.
Manga about hunting whal-ehem, dragons. Whole premise is killing these creatures to eat them because they are tasty. You've got your "cool", "non-challant", MC whose main personality trait is "i am hungry", who is obviousy also a kung fu master and is able to take on, by himself, full on armed ship crews and dragons, not before reminding you that he just likes eating dragons for the 40th time, and who is liked by all the totally not over sexualized female characters in this story so you, too, can identify with him and feel "cool".
Art is good, but when you have a manga with such
a bland (and also immoral) plot trying to romanticize killing sky whales, and characters that are as predictable and boring as the last isekai you saw, its hard understand why people like this absolute piece of garbage.
So i bought 4 Volumes of this at once, having high hopes because the art style and the overall feeling of the manga covers reminded me of the ghibli movie 'Nausicaa of the valley of the wind' a lot..
What I expected was an adventure about a skyship and it's crew exploring the world and the dragons in it. The way they live and where they live, how it would be possible to locate and hunt them.. and ultimately how they would actually capture them in some interesting ways.
But all of this IS NOT in this manga.
We are simply following a crew of a dragon hunter
ship, flying from place to place and killing literally every living creature they encounter on the way. The fights or rather.. the catchings are really, really boring and unexciting. They're simply shooting a harpoon onto a dragon and pull it in... that's it. Every single time.
And the whole mindset about eating dragon meat they have is purely disgusting.. because there is literally no thought behind it whatsoever.
Oh, a baby dragon? let's kill and eat it.
Oh, it's angry mother? let's kill and eat it.
Oh, a tiny dragon no one saw before? Let's kill and eat it.
Oh, a legendary dragon who leads ships out of a storm? Let's kill and eat it.
The crew (and all the people in this world in general) seem to be eating nothing but meat, meat, meat every single day. They use dragon parts for literally anything in their life.. while wasting no single thought on the creatures.
Hell, they don't even know what dragons eat?... They simply know nothing about dragons other than how to take their dead bodies apart and how to cook their parts...even brains like wtf. And they have no remorse, no empathy, they don't waste a single thought about anything.
I'ts simply disgusting honestly.
I don't know why watching a group of people slaughtering creatures and then devouring them and overindulging in gluttony is supposed to be entertaining..
There is no deeper meaning to anything in this manga.. there is no thought or story behind it (except maybe that it's okay to eat anything and everything without having to think about it. Sounds like todays problem with the meat industry, doesn't it?). It's honestly the most boring piece of garbage I have ever read and the most shocking thing is to me that this atrocity of a manga is even getting an anime adaptation right now.
I am honestly disappointed in Japan for this. This manga could be very well seen as a representation of the whole whaling and overfishing problem that Japan has..and it offers NOT A SINGLE bit of critic or any food for thought about the whole thing.
It's almost a crime to bring this hymn of devouring and gluttony onto the TV screens in fucking 2020.
That is why this piece of crap is getting a 1 from me. It is nothing but harmful and super lazy.. The pretty art can't change this at all.