Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blue Dragon DVD vol. 1 Impression

Meet Shu, obnoxious young boy who aspires to be a hero, traversing the land on heroic adventures gaining fame and glory. Little does Shu realize that his dreams are closer than they appear, but as the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for. No sooner does the powerful Zola and her companion Jiro enter Shu’s town does it come under attack by the Grankingdoms troops who are searching for something, but what? The answer, gather up the young kids, but why? Shadows are the name of the game as both Zola and Jiro unleash their counterpart shadows to do battle. During the conflict Shu unleashes his own shadow for the first time, the legendary Blue Dragon, who does anything but listen to his master. With the fight won Zola decides to have Jiro accompany them in search of the descendants of the legendary heroes, each who controlled a shadow. Shu packs up as does childhood friend Kluke and they hit the road. As he trains to control his shadow the group encounters a Devee Tribe member, Marumaro, with his own shadow (and a spot for the ladies in his heart), a duo of commanders wielding manufactured shadows and an old acquaintance of Zola who controls a powerful shadow. The adventure begins, but will the group assemble the legendary descendants in time to challenge the Grankingdom?

Ah, Blue Dragon, a well designed, fun it not completely memorable role-playing game for the Xbox 360 that is now a younger targeted anime. The design and simplicity put forth by the game remains the anime with all the core shadow abilities intact, but the story twisted a bit. The voice work is on par with any of a hundred anime these days, solid with each character sounding like they look with no depth beyond their stereotypes. The animation is flat, very basic and colorful, kids will enjoy but not on the top tier of animation seen in other shows. Listening to and watching Blue Dragon reminds a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon. Not bad company, but will give a feel for production. Going back to the story, sticking to what the game offered would not leave much incentive for fans (the target audience) of the game to re-engage in another media format, so twisting relationships, how powers are revealed and the path of the journey is a good thing. New characters can be introduced, and are, but the core players are still engaged. The action does not take too long to build up, again this is not a deep anime, just a very entertaining one. The voice work, design, animation and story melt together into a good anime that is only separated from the rest by it’s association with the game. With a new card game hitting shelves and a new DS title upcoming it’s a good time to be a Blue Dragon fan, and the anime, well it’s for you.

There is a lot of good anime with excellent animation and voice work, not to mention storylines, on the shelves thanks to the efforts of Viz as well as groups like FUNimation. Blue Dragon is a worthy addition to the smaller kids market, and has enough appeal that older gamers, fans of Blue Dragon will want to give this one a look. Know this, with Blue Dragon, what you see on the cover is what you get. It’s animation 101 for young boys, good but not great.

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