Even after 12 episodes weekly (AND re-watching them in another full sitting if anything else made sense that links any arcs together), it made sense...only a little bit, but much of it lies in the play of politics between countries and governments, both big and small with their different ideals and realism tactics to regain ground, and that's the basis with Dance of the Dragons.
First things off, for those wondering whether to watch this series, approach with absolute warning, because this requires a FULL sitting from start to end to completely understand the gist and gestures of the story setting, I had to dig information from people whom seem to understand the story from an episode-by-episode basis, then combine as a whole into this review (thanks for inspiration and credits to them). If you're like me, you can cast out the entire story with a pen and paper to see the links and how everything becomes full circle towards the end with the unsatisfying but decent conclusion.
Dances of the Dragon showcases the history of politics with the Dragon Empire and the Alliance of the Seven Cities, causing distraught until the peace treaty is held constant by people who call themselves Jushiikists, people who wield swords that channel typical magical powers and spells, being able to defeat the dragons and uphold peace.
Enter the main characters: Gayus Levina Sorel and Gigina Jerde Dolk Melios Ashely Boeuf, two Jushiki swordsmen refined but still dry in their powers. Both are absolutely polar opposites towards one another, with the usual hatred but in need of one another. Gayus is a cowardly, weak but resisting character that has a girlfriend (Jivunya) but of a different race that co-exist among humans. Gigina, aside from being Gayus' partner, comes from the long line of Draken culture, which is the equivalent of victory that defeat is unaccepted, and his bozo liking to furniture knows no bounds, so much so that Gayus despises him for that. Both run the same Jushikist agency, and are given trival tasks to solve because of their powers in the city of Eridana.
Here's where the first problem lies: For the 1st-half of the series, I'm sorry, but you are not gonna be able to follow up to the storytelling because it is all over the place, the only notable things are the relationship between the main MCs and (if you can pick up) the controversies of politics in play that gets the both of them in the radar for something more sinister (e.g. the role of General Mouldeen in being the peacekeeper and tasking Gayus and Gigina into protection him as VIP).
As the main series progresses, Gayus and Gigina's relationship is one of disdain, uncomfort and distortion, so much so that their personal feelings come across to the battleground, and is always the plot drive for the series for the 1st half of the series, so much so that's it's painful to watch and appreciate the original source material.
The 2nd half talks about the forming of a political party of the outskirts of Eridana, particularly the town of Urmun, its independent retaliation crew of Aurora Hammer, the spokesman for the townspeople, the Man-Eating dragon of the sand Zhuo Lu, and the one who started the Urmun Revolution, Remedius. This plot is ACTUALLY more interesting, and unfortunately boring but yet shows the ideals and intentions of wanting to overthrow the existing government (that is the Dragon Empire) and take over the city with some foes and relinquish hostages that have relevance to their mission, all in typical fashion.
Overall, the story is YET convoluted and confusing, so going slow is the best way to go if you really want to get something out of this series, otherwise take it or leave it. Because this series, coming from the light novel adaptation, it was cool for its time but sadly and frustratingly prolonged for more than 10 years, I wished this anime could have premiered last year instead.
The art and animation...really looks OK, but from early production issues, I'd say by the time this has been done, the artwork and animation are leagues down than going up. Now mind you, the one instance that's plastered all over is that the graphics are too dark in the darker scenes, so much so that I can't really make up what's going and had to adjust my computer brightness to make it visible (that's very painful to the eye). Other than that, there's nothing special nor noteworthy to say about, because it's an average, mediocre production. Good try, Seven Arcs for replicating the source material, but more misses than hits.
The same could be said about the music. For one, the OST was done by reputable artists (fripSide, Maon Kurasaki) but it seemed very dull, lifeless and not very appealing at all. As much as the BGM is helping with sorting scenes, it shares the same fare as its OST counterpart, and while presentable, it's not good at all.
It may seem that Dances of the Dragons has more fault than good, and it does, and as comical as it seems, I wouldn't recommend it against the weird story with obnoxious storytelling, dark visuals and sound so poorly made. I wish I could find a good point (I really do), and that comes with a clear mind to start everything afresh and have your take on it.