After the defeat of the demon lord Hadlar all of the monsters were unleashed from his evil will and moved to the island of Delmurin to live in peace. Dai is the only human living on the island. Having been raised by the kindly monster Brass, Dai's dream is to grow up to be a hero. He gets to become one when Hadlar is resurrected and the previous hero, Avan, comes to train Dai to help in the battle. But Hadlar, announcing that he now works for an even more powerful demon lord, comes to kill Avan. To save his students Avan uses a Self-Sacrifice spell to attack, but is unable to defeat Hadlar. When it seems that Dai and Avan's other student Pop are doomed a mark appears on Dai's forehead and he suddenly gains super powers and is able to fend off Hadlar. The two students then go off on a journey to avenge Avan and bring peace back to the world.
Before I start, I would like to say that I have never played any of the Dragon Quest games, therefore I won’t make any parallels between them and the manga that I’m reviewing.
Born from the partnership between Koji Inada (art) and Riku Sanjo (story), Dragon Quest – Dai no Daibouken can be initially seen as just propaganda to increase the games sale. And indeed that was probably the idea when they first started developing it, seeing how it was supposed to be a 2-chapter story, which led to another 3-chapter arc, and consequent serialization. This increasing popularity only comes to show that even a money-maker
series can be of quality.
The basic plot is pretty standard in both anime and RPG: a small boy with mysterious powers goes on a journey where he makes friends, grows stronger and defeats evil. It might sound cliché (and it is), but fortunately the author managed to give the old formula a new feel, keeping it exciting until the end. In order to achieve such feat, he used (actually overused) plot twists. In fact, that is the main problem with the story: in order to keep emotion at a maximum, Sanjo constantly had the heroes in desperate and seemingly inescapable situations, only to be saved by a plot device that, even though usually creative and interesting, would occasionally disappoint the reader or get the plot one step back.
Even with Sanjo’s ability to keep the plot fresh and entertaining, the quality of a story rests heavily in its characters, and that is an aspect in which Dai no Daibouken excels. With a charismatic cast of protagonists, a wide range of supporting characters and great chemistry between all of them, it’s impossible not to find at least one to relate to. However, in spite of the tri-dimensionality shown by part of the cast, most of them are somewhat Manichean, justifying their evil/good actions with a “just because”, however this can be relieved when you take in account the audience the authors needed to reach.
As happens with most artists, during the serialization, it’s highly noticeable the evolution in Inada’s drawings. This improvement is more apparent in two aspects: the characters designs and expressions, which start sillier and more comedic, but later develops, becoming more shounen-like; and the overall cleanness of drawings, that seem blurry and dirty at first. As a whole, the art can be considered average, even going by the usual shounen standards.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Dragon Quest – Dai no Daibouken succeeds in presenting an entertaining story, which should be the main goal of all mangas. However, it leaves a little to be desired in crucial aspects, such as character development and plot presentation, making the experience of reading it worthwhile, but not mandatory for fans of the medium.
PS - If you look at my list, you’ll see that I gave this series a 9, while here it’s an 8. The reason is: I tend to give an extra point to series that contain that something else (in this case it was Pop, one of my favorite characters), but as this is a review, I tried to be more impartial and subtracted that point.
*Note: Despite still 'reading' as I am typing this, I know how the story will develop, have read later on chapters as well and know the in -and outs of this story more than any other.
A manga from the legendary Dragon Quest franchise. It's quite old -while typing this review- as of now; but is it still -and especially for in that time- worth the read?
Yeah, it is. But only if you like Dragon Quest and/or rpg stories with a typical set-up. Give me the chance to explain.
Dragon Quest Dai no Daibouken is a story revolving around a kid, destined to be 'a hero'. Which
is stereotyping todays adventure RPG's. Kid is destined, gets a party, has loads of fights with bosses and eventually wants to save the world. These however are no spoilers, as it is obvious what formula this series is using right after the first few chapters.
As the story progresses; just like in RPG's, the hero obviously gains friends (a party) and discovers more about being a hero and vice versa.
So then why, if you do not like an RPG story, should you read Dai no Daibouken? To be honest, all in all the series ain't that spectacular. Hundreds of chapters for a reused formula (every saga is pretty much the same). Artwork isn't all that impressive, which is logical seeing how it's outdated. The framework is decent and NOT chaotic. Which makes things easier to read. So if you asked me as to 'why' to read this if not liking adventure RPG's, then I would say: "don't read it". Besides the adventures there isn't much this manga has to offer.
It's repetitive, can get boring and it's not all too exciting too. That's why it's, simple as that, only enjoyable for people that like Dragon Quest and/or adventure RPG's.
I myself have always liked Dragon Quest and therefore enjoyed every bit of this manga, which resembles not only the stories of Dragon Quest a lot, but also Dragonball in a way. Sure the artwork is outdated; but the development throughout the story is really well done.
But for anyone (I am becoming repetitive myself!) who likes Dragon Quest / RPG's, this is an enjoyable read. If so, definitely check Dragon Quest Dai no Daibouken out!