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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dragonaut: The Resonance DVD Set 1 Impression

Dragonaut volume 1 DVD Set
The promo’s for Dragonaut: The Resonance from FUNimation hint at hooking up to save the world. While this is a cute tagline this series is much deeper than just a hookup anime. The title is also a bit off for me as the term Dragonaut refers to a dragon astronaut (?), which while sounding cool only hints at what is really going on with this series. Let’s get a bit nittier and grittier shall we.

On his first shuttle trip into space, his dad’s the shuttle pilot, his sister and mother by his side, Jin is ecstatic as he’s about to fulfill a childhood dream. As the shuttle increases in altitude it’s struck by something entering the Earth’s atmosphere destroying the shuttle and altering Jin’s life forever. The sole survivor of the incident, Jin moves through life disconnected, until he meets a mysterious (they always are) young girl named Toa. Jin is quickly wrapped into a world where dragons join with humans to protect the planet from a threat lurking just around Pluto, a planet that poses a real threat to earth. Toa is not the only dragon on Earth. The accident which took Jin’s family was a dragon, one from space, coming to earth and since there have been dragons created on earth to help protect the planet. These dragons take on human form and must resonate, join, with a human partner. Together the dragon/human team is quite a fighting pair. The dragons look almost mechanical in their original forms and their partners pilot them as they would a ship, but on a much more intimate scale. As Jin is first hunted then recruited he learns about these connections, forms one with Toa and another dragon Gio who refused his resonance with his ‘assigned’ partner. With the earths fate in the balance Jin has only one thing on his mind, finding and staying with Toa no matter her past or origin.

The explanation above is kinda long, longer than the box description and it’s not even a third of what Dragonaut is about. Yes Jin is central, as is Toa and Gio, but the story is larger then these two. The threat to earth is real and even those forces set to protect earth are at odds with each other, think of them as military contractors, all out for the same duckets. The relationships between dragons and human take center stage from the main trio to the team of Dragonauts and to the original, space born dragons, whose origins are a mystery in this volume. The animation and art style is excellent, just as in Witchblade, with plenty of busty babes (where do these companies exist with such sleek and sexy female workers???). While that bust is front and center it’s not forced in every character as seen with Toa. While the tagline about hooking up and the busty comparisons to Witchblade abound this is not what Dragonaut is about.

The action, design and animation are great and the story evolves quite splendidly. Giant asteroid that threatens earth, mysterious space born dragons, earth created dragons and the best part, the transformation sequences. Yes, each dragon and human go through a very Voltron, Power Rangers type of combining as the dragons transform and their human pilots do some elaborate sequence to board them, it’s so campy but works so well. The only thing missing is all the dragons to combine and form blazing sword … but the lions have the covered. There is a lot of story to be discovered as this is the first collection but enough unravels in this first volume and at a steady pace to keep the viewer tied to the screen.

It’s unique, it’s well told, it’s well designed and it’s just a great anime. While not for kiddies it’s by far not just for those looking for a good hookup either.

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