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[R2 DVD art (Japanese)]
AKA: ドラゴンクライシス!
Genre: Action / fantasy / light romance
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll, even internationally to a certain degree.
Content Rating: PG-13 (light fanservice, some mature elements)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Toradora (for that Rie fix), Elemental Gelade (better offering for the human/nonhuman weapon being relationship issue), Strike Witches (for some relatively mindless action that won't make you want to dig your brain out of your skull)
Notes: Based on the light novel series by Kaya Kizaki, with illustrations by Itsuki Akata. It currently runs in Shueisha's Super Dash Bunko imprint.
Rating:
 

Dragon Crisis!

Synopsis

After being dragged out of class and made to take part in a Black Broker deal intervention by his cousin, Ryuji Kisaragi finds himself irreversibly tied to Rose, a young dragon child in the form of a little girl. Through her, he gets involved with the dealings of other draconic beings, as well as the business of the Lost Precious hunter society.

Review

Stig: It's often hard to judge light entertainment, because you have to figure out just how far you're willing to stretch your suspense of disbelief, or even try to decide what you are willing to forgive or not. It's the main reason why I'm grateful for having found my core of what I can consider good -- or even just decent -- light entertainment in shows like Sacred Blacksmith, the Koihime Musou series, or Strike Witches and Ninja Nonsense if you want something a little more up to date era wise.

Tim: I believe in second chances. When I told (more like warned) Stig that Dragon Crisis! was being directed by Hideki Tachibana of H20 - Footprints in the Sand fame, I was more than a little hesitant to watch it. I eventually agreed to watch the show provided we did a synchro session of it with two other people from the forum. I normally like cute, light entertainment, such as Galaxy Angel. I figured that at worst Dragon Crisis! would serve as an excuse to hear Rie Kugimiya voicing a cute little girl, and her acting not unlike a dragon-girl Chi from Chobits.

Pardon our pun, but unfortunately Dragon Crisis! just doesn't fly. One can only hope that the anime is simply a shoddy conversion of the novels, because it's fraught with the kind of stuff that just drive us up the walls.

As manipulative as her type of character is to any viewers, there is nothing particularly wrong with the character of Rose. We're more than willing to assume she's largely the reason why most people watch(ed) this show (her and the actress responsible for giving her a voice). It's typecasting as usual for Rie Kugimiya, who has a tendency to be pigeonholed into roles involving small, adorable, and occasionally cranky girls prone to variable levels of violence. Thankfully, aside from her setting several city blocks on fire in the opening episode, Rose is NOT prone to violence or even any kind of verbal abuse. At least not towards the male lead, the somewhat ironically named Ryuji. ("Ironic" in that people who have seen Toradora! might be prone to a whole lot of double takes before this show is through.)

Rose is also easily recognizable thanks to her super-saiyajin-colored hair, which stands as somewhat of a contrast to the other dragons being color-coded by their hair. She has gems embedded in the dorsal area of her hand, though, which signifies her draconic origin despite her human form, and it doesn't take her a lot of episodes before she gains the ability to sprout wings. Unlike human beings, or, indeed, most biological beings, these dragons emerge from their eggs right into their humanoid preteen form. They don't gain the ability to assume their dragon forms until.... well, an unspecified amount of time.

And you don't have to go far into this show to start realizing that the creators didn't put much thought into explanations, much less making the whole show believable. Ryuji is basically attending school -- the first year of high school even, as he's just 15 -- and yet he's living alone and taking care of himself. And there is also apparently nothing wrong about a 19 year old barging in and taking him out of the middle of class to attend a criminal item exchange that leads them into a car chase and a gunfire situation. It's in this scene Dragon Crisis! introduces us to Ryuji's exceptionally irresponsible cousin Eriko, who wants to be a part of an organization so secretive that you need to prove yourself worthy of entry by locating their website and providing proof of your lost precious hunting abilities. Further examples of this show's insensibilities come in the first episode, where there's a scene involving someone hovering right outside Ryuji's apartment complex in a helicopter, early in the morning, shouting, "Good morning! Is there a dragon here?" in a bullhorn.

Argh... just... are these people SERIOUS?! And that's not even CLOSE to the worst levels of exceptionally bad judgement this show has in store for you.

Dragon Crisis! doesn't even have much in the way of compelling characters to make up for that. Rose aside, Ryuji is just a generally uninteresting male lead getting pushed around by all the girls around him. We'll admit that his relationship with Rose is pretty innocent and cute and, if the show centered more around this, it would've been more enjoyable. Instead, the show is dead set in trying to thrown in some kind of supernatural Indiana Jones action mystery crap, which quite frankly hurts to watch. And of course Ryuji has to have a timid classmate who secretly pines for him, because shows like these are required by law to include them. In this series, her name is Misaki, and she serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. She spends most of her screentime being unintentionally ignored by the hapless, clueless male lead who already has his hands full with the trouble his cousin keep getting him and Rose into. The show later introduces us to Maruga and George, who quickly become the kind of characters we would've liked to see more often. Frustratingly, after her debut episode, Maruga only appears in the final episode, and just briefly at that. As for George...well, we never see him again after his arc is over, not even in the final episodes! Thank you very much for that, Dragon Crisis!

In episodes six and seven we meet Ai, a wolf-girl who offers a temporary reprieve from all the "fun" antics in the series, if only for being one of the only characters other than George and Maruga with her head on straight. And while the setup centered around her arc could have been better, the two episodes we see her in can easily be considered the best in the whole show, predictable -- and eventually preachy -- as it were.

If that's not good enough for you, there's always episode eight, where we go back to cringeworthy comic relief scientist #2, Bianca. She's portrayed in her introduction as a capable member of whichever organisation Eriko wants to be a member of, but spends the next couple of minutes (as well as her later appearances) convincing us just how incompetent she really is. And with her comes the decision to enroll Rose into Ryuji's school, where she's passed off as a 14 year old cousin of his. Then we have a filler episode where the entire female cast (save Bianca) get sucked inside a painting, which is really an artifact... sorry, we mean LOST PRECIOUS... dropped off by someone and stored in Ryuji's apartment. The episode tries playing the "facing your feelings" card, but doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already hear in the earlier episodes.

After that crap we meet another dragon-girl in the last third: Sapphi. Her gimmick is that she can't control her water abilities, more often than not soaking herself. (Because we really needed more comic relief in this series.) She's there to be a friend around Rose's age, but since we find out very quickly that she's in love with Onyx, you soon know she can't be trusted. Also, remember how earlier we talked about the gems embedded into Rose's hand? Well, the series actually does explain later what happens when someone kisses it. You might think that sounds romantic, but put together with the other things that happen during said scene just makes it marginally less boneheaded than the method of which you propose to Devilukean girls if you go by the anime version of To Love-Ru. Again, we can only hope the light novel isn't this bad.

But as bad as the show was up until that point, it just completely falls apart at the end. When we get to that point, naturally, something bad happens to Rose, and Ryuji immediately blames himself. Which would have been fine, if not for the scene where he hands her over to Onyx, one of the least trustworthy and dependable characters we have ever seen in any anime bar none. He's a character who has shown himself willing to resort to lies and deceit to get what he wants, and also have absolutely no concern for anyone but himself and his lust for power. He had already kidnapped Rose once before, explained that the collar she wore in the beginning was a symbol of their "engagement" and proceeded to manipulate her into lying and betraying the people she cared about. He also turned into a huge dragon in the first story/rescue arc and wrecks a huge tower (which for some reason, they managed to explain away in the news, because apparently nobody noticed the gargantuan dragon raising hell in the middle of town.) To add insult to injury, Maruga's aforementioned token role near the end was to literally reiterate our thoughts.

See? This is what we all furiously keyed in during our synchro/MST session of the show. All four of us. And while we all welcomed Maruga knocking some sense into this show, it eventually lead to the dumbest, most contrived ending nonsense we've seen in a long, loooong time. This included, but wasn't limited to, planes doing handbrake turns on the runway, cars jumping on top of said plane, and Rose getting temporary amnesia. Why? Because if they're going to just let her be placed under captivity based on unproven statements from a notoriously untrustworthy villain, they might as well just go the full mile of stupid, right? (Here's a hint: Ice cream snaps her out of it. Instantly, even.) I mean, they're living in a huge city where the inhabitants don't find it the least bit suspicious when it gets partially wrecked every week or so. I wonder if the rent is cheap? Maybe they offer some sweet deals on health care? There's got to be SOMETHING to balance out random appearances by out-of-control golems, tower-sized black dragons, or several city blocks spontaneously bursting into huge walls of flame. (Or even the possible curfew that just has to be in place to have saved the general populace from being immolated by Rose's stray inferno.)

Stig: I've bitched about this kind of thing in my reviews of Akikan and Angel Beats!; shows like these need to stop including elements that have nothing to do with anything simply because they can. And Dragon Crisis! really wants to come across as a deep, inter-species romance drama with some action elements to spice things up. And while the cute preteen romance works to some degree, this show can't present secret organizations or mysterious plot twists to save its life. If you plan to watch this, I really, REALLY hope you like hearing Rie Kugimiya voice cute preteen girls, because that's about the only thing of actual value that I can think of within this show.

Tim: Ditto. I'm glad this series bombed in Japan, because it definitely deserved to.

Episodes four to seven are actually alright, but the entire rest of the show and its penchant for mix-n-match story elements taken completely at random just drags this show kicking and screaming into the abyss with the rest of the one star shows. If you absolutely HAVE to go by averages, just go on and add that second star.Stig Høgset and Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: Light fanservice does not an inappropriate show make, though some of the actions and the portrayal of the shadier sides of this world does raise the bar some. But honestly, apart from the mass amounts of stupid in this show, there's nothing otherwise bad to say about it.



Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Dragon Crisis! © 2011 Kaya Kizaki / Itsuki Akata / Shuiesha / Dragon Crisis! Production Committee