Dota: Dragon’s Blood review: Netflix anime fails to show what makes Dota 2 special

Dota: Dragon’s Blood review: Netflix anime fails to show what makes Dota 2 special
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Dota: Dragon’s Blood review: Netflix anime fails to show what makes Dota 2 special

Dota: Dragon’s Blood evaluate: Netflix anime fails to show what makes Dota 2 special

Aggressive video games like Magic: The Gathering and League of Legends are completely dripping with lore. Whereas they may not inform a narrative within the conventional sense, they’ve surprisingly sturdy fantasy worlds. Normally, you’ll be able to solely catch this in short snippets by way of taste textual content or character bios. However more and more, recreation studios are trying to construct on these fictional worlds by way of extra conventional storytelling, whether or not it’s comics, brief tales, or TV reveals.

The most recent instance is Dota: Dragon’s Blood on Netflix, which fleshes out the world of Valve’s long-running Dota 2 through an eight-episode anime. The excellent news is that it’s a enjoyable, albeit transient, fantasy romp you’ll be able to get pleasure from even when you haven’t performed the sport. The dangerous information is that it does little or no to clarify what makes the world of Dota attention-grabbing.

This evaluate consists of some spoilers for the early episodes of Dragon’s Blood.


Dragon’s Blood follows the paths of some totally different characters, beginning with Davion, a dragon knight serving to a small city rid itself of some harmful monsters. Early on, after a wierd run-in with an elder dragon, he turns into possessed by a demonic power that often causes him to inconveniently flip right into a flesh-hungry dragon himself. Quickly after that, he groups up with a disgraced princess named Mirana — who rides a large cat — on a quest to treatment himself and likewise forestall a warfare of some form. There are additionally elves in the hunt for magical lotus flowers, a goddess determined to be worshipped, and a handful of different story arcs protecting every thing from warring elven factions to crazed monsters to the transient look of zombies. Oh, and an evil speaking sword.

Actually, there’s quite a bit taking place, however the show strikes at a brisk tempo and by no means settles on a thread for too lengthy. As is frequent in fantasy tales, there are a couple of teams with totally different targets, all seemingly dashing towards one another. However you not often get to see these threads work together in attention-grabbing methods. Simply describing the plot is troublesome: there are individuals attempting to cease a warfare, however among the key components — like these magic flowers that characters threat their lives for — are by no means actually defined. It’s virtually by no means clear why issues which might be deemed essential truly matter.

There are some issues the show does nicely. Most notably, it’s filled with nice motion sequences — the animation was dealt with by Studio Mir, finest recognized for its work on The Legend of Korra — with plenty of cool special powers and dangerous-looking dragons. You don’t have to perceive Dota lore to get pleasure from a well-choreographed battle between a superpowered knight and the dragon he’s been looking for many years. The motion is quick and fluid, and Dragon’s Blood makes nice use of scale and spectacle, with quite a few massive battles and chase sequences. I ought to observe, nonetheless, that issues can get fairly graphic. Like Netflix’s Castlevania adaptation, Dragon’s Blood is stuffed with blood and gore, with plenty of decapitations and even one sequence the place a dragon is butchered.

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Basically, the show is eye sweet, shortly leaping from one action-heavy sequence to the subsequent. It seems to be unimaginable, however because it’s solely eight episodes, this quick tempo means it by no means has the time to absolutely develop its characters or world. Even worse, Dragon’s Blood by no means does something to make Dota stand out from the various different fantasy tales on the market. I really like historical dragons and stealthy elf warriors as a lot as anybody, however they’re not precisely new territory. What’s it that makes Dota 2’s universe attention-grabbing? As somebody who watched the show however hasn’t performed the sport, I couldn’t let you know. I do know it’s a franchise that has an extremely devoted fan base, some who’ve performed for 1000’s of hours. However the show reduces it to a bunch of nice motion sequences protecting a generic fantasy story.

Possibly issues will change in a second season now that the principle forged has been launched and the magical MacGuffins have been revealed. However after eight episodes, I can’t say I’m any extra thinking about enjoying a couple of rounds of Dota 2 than I used to be earlier than. Dragon’s Blood is sensible in that it doesn’t assume the viewer has a lot data of the franchise. Sadly, it by no means impressed me to dig deeper, both.

Dota: Dragon’s Blood airs on Netflix beginning on March twenty fifth.

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