Dances with the Dragons – Episodes 1-12 Review

12733-200

The worst action anime I’ve ever seen.

Trigger warnings: rape, kidnapping, murder

Summary:

Dances with the Dragons (Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryū to Odoru) follows Gayus and Gigina, two offensive jushikiists who take special jobs from a variety of clients in the city of Eridana.

Review: 12733-200 / 5

Homeskillets, I watched this, rewound and replayed this, but I still have no idea what it’s about. There’s some kind of political unrest between governments and a fair amount of corruption. But honestly, I have no idea what. I don’t even remember what the countries are called, what their ideals are or what the peace treaty is really about. I still have no idea what Jushikiists are or what they do– I’m assuming they’re some form of magic that combats dragons, but I have no idea about the origins of the power. That could be because I’m not the sharpest shovel, but honestly? I’ve seen a lot of shows and none of them were this convoluted, messy and practically unwatchable.

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I don’t mind being thrown into a fantasy world –as we know that’s where my anime origins are from– but there has to at some point be some exposition which explains the world we’re in, how it operates, and why it matters. Doing so allows us to a build a nice bond with our characters and immerse ourselves in a world different than our our own. Dances with the Dragons, does not accomplish that. We never get a run down of what’s what, we only get some information about who’s who. There are lots of different races, but we don’t get a lot of meat to them: they’re hollow depictions which could at best be surmised as racial profiling. The entire series is unbelievable, not because of the fantasy setting, but because of the way the story is told.

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The one back story we really get is at the end of the series regarding Cuello, but doing this in flashback form at this time doesn’t do anything to the show. Sure, it gives me a face to put to the name and it tells us how Gayus and Gigina met but it’s never made useful for the present context in which is appears. The plot doesn’t gain anything from seeing it. We don’t gain substantial clarity. Perhaps if it appeared earlier and provided more information about the world, we could consider it useful. But no. Nada. ZIP.

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I’ll say that I don’t think there’s really any filler in the series. This anime is fool throttle all the time, but when there’s not solid plotline for me to grasp and understand, it’s hard to identify filler anyway. The pacing is strange when we consider we see three dragons in total: the first is killed in episode one, the second about halfway through the series, and the third (the main dragon)’s death we just hear about during the final episode. Y’all, that ain’t a lot of dragons. You could make an argument that the dragons are the governments, and sure, I could buy into that, but even this is poorly executed. I just don’t care about the governments.

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We’re not intimate with the characters enough to really get to know them. Giving a character quirks, such as a fondness for furniture, does not equate to roundness. It tells me little about their motives, goals or faults. Gayus tends to know things or just spontaneously figure stuff out, which is unrealistic. I don’t care about the protagonists. In fact, I care more about the supposed antagonists, who shows more character development than anyone else. Though I don’t know why or when Remedius is captured, the series depicts his captivity as a mix bag: at one time he’s in a cell (comforted by Naricia and the two fall in love) and at another point he’s a hero who saves people by telling them about their weapons. We see citizens struggling to survive, fighting for food, killing each other and overall suffering under tyrannical rule. And then we have this harrowing flashback scene:

Yes, the writer’s decided the show needed a rape scene. It’s being used as a device to cause Remedius’ mental breakdown and to provide context as to why he would want revenge. I’m not furious because I don’t believe rape should be depicted in anime– I think trauma is something that appears throughout the genre, but just as in film, it needs to be handled with care. This scene was done for the shock factor, nothing more. The character development and plot context could just be contributed to Naricia committing suicide and Remedius eating her. This scene was tactless and unnecessary.

 

That’s it for me, Annime-niacs!

Annie

 

 

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