Jun 22, 2008
Zeinzu-sama (All reviews)
It would appear GONZO seem to think they can use their unique release format to gloss over the fact this series is riddled with flaws. There are three experiences to be had from Druaga, a hilarious comedy one, a somewhat below average action one and a dire fantasy one. It is literally a lottery as to which genre will be dominant in each episode.

The storyline couldn't possibly be any more generic; explore dungeon, defeat evil boss, find legendary treasure etc., its not even well executed. When its not being generic, it's being downright predictable, major plot points are seen coming a mile off. The pacing is atrocious, the characters will spend multiple episodes in floors relatively close to each other then magically be much further in the dungeon just so the series can finish within the episode count. Much of which is taken up by almost filler like pointless episodes that do nothing to progress what little plot there is (episode 6 in particular). GONZO have tried to justify this shambles by confirming a second series to continue the storyline, but such a weak reason doesn't excuse this mess. A real shame after a genuinely fantastic opening episode, that made it look like the series wiould break a lot of these clichés, sadly it fails. If the storyline can't even meet its own expectations, what chance does the viewer have?

Animation is top notch, nice to see GONZO are still capable of doing something right. Very impressive scenery and backgrounds throughout the series, with some solid, likeable character designs. The enemies are also (for the most part) very well designed.

The audio is another highlight, very nice opening and ending themes that fit the series well enough. The background music is good enough and usually appropriate to whatever is going on. Voice acting is another strong point, with an impressive display from the seiyuu's.

Character wise, Druaga once again fails to live up to its own expectations, the cast is initially nothing short of excellent; likeable characters with interesting personalities, unfortunately there is next to no character development in he entire series, kind of to be expected when there are more characters than episodes though. Once again the excuse "it'll be fixed in the next series" isn't valid in an analysis of this series. As a result of little character development, it is hard for the viewer to get attached to the characters and the dramatic scenes lose much of their impact.

Druaga remains an enjoyable enough experience despite these flaws, thanks mostly to comedy episodes, but it can be a genuine atruggle to get through some of other episodes. The comedy episodes if reviewed individually would get nines and tens, whilst the rest of the series would get between four and seven. It keeps the viewers attention with the promise of better future episodes, which is sort of admirable. It'd be a lot better if it were a 26 episode series, that'd allow fleshing of the plot and characters as well as removing the rushed feel to the series. Worth a watch regardless.