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Chaos Dragon (Anime) - RedRyu's Review Corner #5
Chaos Dragon (Anime)
When looking at this anime, I saw a lot of potential in this. A lot of ideas that could happen with the ideas and conflict going on. The ideas are in fact quite interesting and kept me hooked in the first episode.
There is a boy named Ibuki who has the power to talk with a Red Dragon, one of many dragon deities in this world called Nil Kamui. He is the descendant of royalty Huanli who has the power to tap into the power of the Red Dragon, put there is a price to pay for this power. He needs this power to stop the conflict between D'natia and Kōran, two countries trying to fight for supremacy in his country.
The problem is that it all goes down hill from there. This anime has wonderful ideas that are botched in execution. Good characters and characters ideas but they are dropped or used in ways that end up turning them to be annoying instead of endearing. This is one of these anime that would have been just ok if it just did it's ideas slightly well, but it just doesn't hold up to what it could have been.
Instead it just turns out boring and uninteresting as the series moves on.
The Plot of the Story
So here is where the main premise of the show is. There is a boy, Ibuki, who has the power to call on the Red Dragon to grant him the power to defeat any foe, in exchange he has to sacrifice one of his friends to do so.This concept should be one that would work to the shows advantage.
The show has a few problems with this, one is development.
To make people want to care more for the characters who die you need to have some sort of attachment to someone in the situation. At times the story does do this well with some of the characters used in this story. When they die we do care and are sad that it happened. Other's just happen and we don't care that much despite how the story tries to center it on these situations. Despite this that isn't a huge issue in the story given it adds into the main character's tension.
Then we hit another problem with the story, the main character's lack of agency. Ibuki would have a wonderful story to go with sort of dilemma. The problem is that most if not all of the story is people trying to use it. It is only at the end that he actually steps up and works to do things on his own. Most of the story is people using him for their own ambitions or making him the center piece of something else. He has a reason to go along on do something in the story, he wants to lose the power since he feels like it is a curse. The story is a lot of his journey is to understand it and or get rid of it.
If the story focused on that, it would have been great with him going on a journey with a group of friend to find a solution to this. The problem is, that is not what happens. We end up with whining more about how bad of a power it is and him not liking how people die around him.
It get old really fast when he doesn't do much outside of this, until the very end when he actually does start to do more on his own does the story start to pick up.
Killing a close friend
The main character has issues which I covered above, he isn't awful and to be frank I would say the cast has a lot of colorful side characters that go on the journey to meet the Red Dragon. I would say most of the side character are interesting, but there are a couple the story dwells on a bit too long and end up not mattering at all by the end of the story or don't have purpose in it.
Personality wise I would say most of it is more interesting in what they do and what powers they have rather than personality in most cases. That isn't a bad thing if you add enough to get people hooked. For example two of my favorite characters are Swallow Cratsvalley who has the power that anything he touches is used to its highest degree. Not a bad thing even more so when a lot of this is his journey to form a pact with the Black Dragon to remove this curse he has. He also has a very likable personality which is unfortunate since I wish the story centered on him rather than Ibuki. The other is Kaguraba Raihou Gramstahl who is the ruler of a city and is more or less a robot that has butterfly wings and cool powers to help the party out a lot. He is also one of the smartest characters and probably the most responsible guy around. He is extremely likable.
Eiha is a close third because I like her loyalty plus the story in which she doesn't value her own life, but she doesn't develop that much on her own. She makes up for this with her actions, many of which I was surprised by with how smart it was even if at times risky.
The rest of the characters are more hit or miss and it depends if you might like them. I did like Lou Zhenhua who is an assassin trying to backstab the party, but her actions and motivations still confuse me. She is doing a lot of shifty stuff, but I'm not entirely sure what her end goal is. I think it has to do with feeding souls or life force to her possessed sword but in the end I'm still not sure what she is trying to do when she makes weird choices during the story.
Past time, most of the cast is forgettable. I just can't remember many main players that much in terms of personality. Actions that happen to them I remember but in terms of investment, not as much.
Some of the characters do work, but again the pacing doesn't allow for them to necessarily do much to make us love them or even get super attached when some of them die. Still I see the attempt here and I can appropriate that, since it seems an idea for good characters were done.
The Opening of Chaos Dragon
Visuals and Music
The music works pretty alright but it's not to the point where it was super stand out want. The animation was pretty alright in terms of the coloring and the motions, but it's not super exceptional, it's mostly average when it is trying to make something happen like a fight scene.
The coloring of this show is honestly what I thought was pretty well handled. The animation sometimes looked pretty good for the flow of movement when it happened with a lot of fast unique fight scenes but it wasn't done that much.
When the show was allowed to express itself and be more fluid with this, it worked. When nothing was happening I didn't appreciate the art or animation as much nor with the music in which I wasn't super invested in.
The Elephant in The Room
This anime is based on an iOS game, but it seems to japan only so I have no idea how well this is faithfully adapted or how much this follows the games. This matters because it is the source material and this is a first for me when I think of an anime that is strictly from this.
I understand there are books as well based on the TRPG known as Red Dragon. I don't now much about it since again this is a Japanese only thing. Is it good or bad? I have no idea either since I'm not from Japan but this needs to be brought up and addressed since I feel there was something of an RPG element to this show.
Characters have items that do huge land warping abilities like shifting the alignment of the area around them. Some have items that protect you from death. These don't make any sense if I were to look at the anime as a standalone and also is barely used in just one episode. This occurs a few times in the anime and it is a bit distracting. If I knew more about the game these might make more sense.
If this was addressed more and brought up with relevance I would have been more ok with it. As it was, it felt more like a little nod to something I had no knowledge of unless I played the games. I just wish it threw me a bone or something to understand these parts better.
I think at best I can call this anime average when it is good, but for a lot of it, this is boring. Which is the biggest problem with the show, the middle is just a lot of nothing happening while the beginning and end is where stuff is a lot more active and happening.
The thing I will say, it is good enough that I would give it a pass and say it is ok to watch. For a rating it is tricky, if I could I would give it a 2.5 stars out of 5 but I can't do that so I will be giving this a 3. One of the biggest reasons is the scale when I weight this show with others. It's not on the level of Kaze no Stigma, that anime was loaded with wasted potential and a lot of stuff that would turn people off to it. This has a more firm story to it and I think people will enjoy parts of it if not the whole thing.
It's average and it did get to me more than it did. I can't say it is that bad though, its good enough to be watchable and enough to where some people if they were very interested I would say go ahead and watch it.
As it is, it's middle of the road. The series is available on crunchy roll so give it a go if you really want to see it. Just know what you are getting yourself into first.