Dragon's Dogma just landed on Netflix and it's a brand-spanking new anime series. It comes complete with seven episodes, each of which clocks in at about 25-minutes in length. This new series is of course based on Capcom's video game of the very same name, which was actually released back in 2012 (but has since been updated for this current generation, and it should be said, has developed something of a cult following since its release).
So how does the series handle the transition to TV? Well, this new Netflix series has some good ideas in it, certainly, however, unfortunately the story, while undeniably good on paper, is told here in a rather unimpressive way, and the execution also follows a very strict and predictable pattern, and that was annoying instead of entertaining.
The story revolves around a fantasy medieval-era town, which gets attacked by a dragon, and everybody gets killed. The only person to put up any sort of futile resistance was Ethan, and as thanks for his hard work, his heart is literally ripped out of his chest.
Some time later, Ethan wakes up with a huge scar on his chest; he has been resurrected by a mysterious woman, who Ethan decides to call Hannah. Together these two characters venture forth into a fantasy world to find and kill the dragon.
And that's pretty much it: there isn't much more than that in terms of the overall story.
As mentioned, there are seven episodes all told, and each one is dedicated to one of the mortal sins. I like the idea, but in practice, this approach leads to an unusually rigid structure. Aside from someone committing a mortal sin, there will be a big monster just waiting to be slain. To make matters worse, most of the time, these episodes have nothing to do with the story or the two main characters.
As a viewer, I was interested in the dynamic between the two characters, and I wanted the story to explore more of their past. We got given a little of that towards the end, but not until it was too late; I wanted to forge a connection with them sooner.
And as if that wasn't enough uneven storytelling, the overall story arc is explained in a bland monologue by the dragon himself. In my opinion, that could have been handled with much more finesse, and the conclusion of the story should have been delivered with a lot more flair.
In terms of the audio-visual experience, the animation is mostly good, but those big monsters have been realised using less impressive CGI graphics, which didn't impress me at all. This makes them stand out, and not in a good way, against the other anime characters. The sound effects and the music, on the other hand, are of good quality.
Dragon's Dogma on Netflix has its moments, but the main story is not delivered with the sort of swagger that we've come to expect from this sort of crossover. Fortunately, it doesn't take that long to watch the whole series through, so it might be worth a watch - just the once, mind you.