Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Dances with the Dragons

Original Run: April 5, 2018 - June 21, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Labo Asai

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Dances with the Dragons. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The war between dragons and humans has raged for centuries. In this long history, dragons were unstoppable monsters. That all changed once humanity unlocked the power of jushiiki – a devastating fusion of science and magic. Those capable of using jushiiki, jushikiists, turned this one-sided slaughter into a battle of mutual destruction.

To prevent the two sides from wiping each other out, dragons and humans finally put an end to their deadly conflict. To ensure such an essential peace stands, the warrior jushikiists have become invaluable law enforcers.

Working in this unprecedented era are the highly skilled jushikiists Gayus Levina Sorel and Gigina Jerde Dolk Melios Ashley Boeuf (voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki and Yoshimasa Hosoya).

Although the war has ended, revenge, ambition, and lingering resentment threaten to undo everything. Gayus, Gigian, and the other jushikiists must fight to protect the innocent from those who wish for destruction.

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Series Positives

Dances with the Dragons was something I apparently watched. Even as I wrote this review, any impact left by this show was rapidly diminishing — and there wasn’t much, to begin with.

Don’t expect this to be a long review and expect this Positives section to be even shorter than that.

This was not a good series.

Dances with the Dragons was more than merely bad. This show was boring. Anger and irritation can at least be a form, albeit a toxic form of engagement. Although this series had its fair share of annoyances, trying to focus on what was happening within this story was a far more taxing battle.

Making matters worse, Dances with the Dragons set itself up for disappointment within its first few minutes.

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When a show has the word “dragon” in the title, I know I expect there to be dragons. Such expectations only got confirmed when the opening fight involved said dragons. But don’t go getting too excited.

After those first few moments, there was never another dragon or dragon fight in this story. Sure, some dragons took human form, but that was no consolation.

This show took its most promising trait and said: No.

What was left was a series that lacked personality, excitement, and a reason to care.

Be that as it may, the problems that plagued Dances with the Dragons is a topic we must save for later. After all, this section is supposed to be a look at what this series did right. Despite there not being much for me to work with, I can think of one thing to say.

This show’s characters, mainly leads Gayus and Gigina, were competent in their roles.

As to not be misinterpreted, I am not saying the characters of Dances with the Dragons were good. At best, they were not awful; which I guess was a positive onto itself.

Instead, I am referring to the fact that everyone was able to do their respective jobs.

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Gayus and Gigina sold themselves as top jushikiists, and they certainly lived up to that claim.

Whenever our two leads fought, there was always a sense that they knew what they were doing. Even when they went up against opponents that were technically stronger, Gayus and Gigina had keen battle senses. They could change up tactics on the fly and exploit weaknesses. There may have been some running-and-gunning, but they managed to be precise when necessary.

Thanks to this, whenever Gayus and Gigina won a fight, it was never a result of the story demanding a victory. Their accomplishments were rightfully earned and deserved.

Please keep in mind, a legitimate win has zero bearing on the fight itself. A dull, lackluster battle can still have a genuine victor. Gayus and Gigina may have known what they were doing, but it was too bad Dances with the Dragons was neither thrilling nor gripping in its execution.

Every single fight in this series was nothing more than a glorified light show.

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I have no delusions when I list a character’s job competence as the only positive for a show. It sounds like I’m stretching to think of something nice to say, and it sounds that way because that is precisely what I’m doing.

I’m running on empty when it comes to what Dances with the Dragons did right. I can’t even rely on my usual go-to points

In terms of animation, this show ranged from unremarkable to cheap-looking CGI. That was a swing and a miss.

Regarding premise, this was a fantasy tale that relied way too much on contemporary lifestyles, pseudo-science, and international politics.

For instance, Gayus ’ girlfriend, Jivunya Lorezzo (voiced by Yoko Hisaka), was an Arlian, and I think for this show, Arlian meant elf. Whatever she was, Jivunya was a girl who had zero magical ability and worked an office job. Her only distinct features were her pointed ears. Thus, BOOM, fantasy.

At no point did Dances with the Dragons become anything except a massive amalgamation of direction-less action and misguided world building.

To put it simply: This show was terrible.

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Series Negatives

The first thing Dances with Dragons did was give the briefest and densest rundown of the history between humans, dragons, and jushiiki. If you can remember the details of that less-than-a-minute info dump when you start episode two, you, my friend, are a hero.

And if you can explain to me how any of it was important or essential to this story, then you will become a legend in my eyes.

The first few episodes of this series were filled with useless information and characters that had no bearing on anything. Plus, anything that might have been good to know was behind a frustratingly complicated wall of political speak and conspiracy.

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To the best of my understanding, Gayus and Gigina were hired as bodyguards for a powerful politician, Mordin Orjes Gyunei (voiced by Takaya Hashi), who was (I think) trying to broker a better peace between humans and dragons.

Many assassins were after Gyunei, but that wasn’t the only obstacle. There was also a vengeful dragon named Nidvolk (voiced by Yuko Kaida) — again, in human form — who was on a revenge mission against Gayus and Gigina because they killed her mate.

Do you like having all these names to remember? Trust me, I’m only giving you the condensed version.

As this show went on, there were a lot of conflicts for our leads to take care of. Most of those conflicts did not involve the super powerful dragon whose presence basically vanished for the majority of this story.

After dealing with wave upon wave of lameness, Gayus and Gigina discovered that the attempts on Gyunei’s life were actually part of a far more convoluted plan conceived by Gyunei himself to assure his peaceful future became a reality.

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If you’re keeping track, at least two separate dilemmas were going on. On the surface, it seemed as though these two paths had nothing to do with each other. That is where you would be wrong.

Gyunei’s plan was to not only hire Gayus and Gigina but eliminate them too. Why did he want to do this? Because reasons. Adding to this, It was also Gyunei who lured Nidvolk to Gayus and Gigina so that they could destroy each other because of more reasons. I’m actually not sure what outcome Gyunei was hoping for.

Regardless, in the end, Gayus, Gigina, and Nidvolk faced-off in an epically anticlimactic showdown.

Remember how I said Gayus and Gigina deserved each win they achieved? This one against Nidvolk was the most questionable since she had the two hunters wholly outclassed.

Afterward, Gayus and Gigina finally met with Gyunei and the two parties made peace.

By the way, the entire time this was going on, there was a slew of other nonsense happening as well, such as Gayus being a good boyfriend for Jivunya and Gigina‘s random obsession with chairs and cupboards. I am not making the latter up.

This was exhausting.

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Then as everything was wrapping up, this series started pulling all the tricks you would expect a show this full of itself to pull.

The conflict between our leads and Gyunei was left open. Gayus and Gigina were at the same level of development as when they started. There was a montage of all the characters we had seen over the course of this story.

And do you know what? I have to give Dances with the Dragons some credit. This ending felt definitive enough. A sequel was left possible, but not necessary. Given how dull this show was, it left me in a position where I could put it down and never come back to it again.

There was just one problem.

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Everything I mentioned, that entire story with a firm beginning, middle, and end, it all finished by episode five. By the time you get to this finale, you will have seven episodes left to go.

I would say Dances with the Dragons simply re-did everything, but that wouldn’t be true. This series’ part two had all the same problems as the first, except everything was much worse.

The last bit of this show — if you can call the majority of a show’s episodes the “last bit” — was exceedingly mind-numbing. It was almost like a joke. However, I assure you, I wasn’t laughing.

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Final Thoughts

By the time you read this review, I will have forgotten everything about this series. One because it was that forgettable. Two because I will have forced it out of my head.

This show lacked excitement, coherence, and personality. This was a dime a dozen, and even that is giving too much credit.

It was bad enough to have one story that was a chore to get through, but this series had the nerve to throw in a second, longer one.

It would be wrong of me to recommend this series in the hopes of getting entertainment out of its awfulness. This show was that bland.

Dances with the Dragons is one I urge you to skip.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Dances with the Dragons? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

Post Editor: Onions

1 comment

  1. So glad I dropped this one a couple of episodes in (particularly if the dragons disappear given that was the one and only thing that made me interested in it in the first place). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sparing me from ever considering going back and trying to finish this.

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