"The skies of fantasy are filled with desire."
Rike wants to become a full-fledged dragon knight, so all he needs is a dragon. On his search he meets up with Karisu (Karin in the English version) from Tatarp village, who, when the demon dragon tribe attacks the village, he finds out is a giant, red dragon. When Lydia (Lilia in the English version.... I think) find the two together, she becomes mad with jealousy and is manipulated to release the ancient, sealed evil dragon triad.
Maybe it's just me, but as far as hentai goes, it's just a little bit ironic that the hentai with the least amount of rape, bondage, tentacles and general unpleasantness is to be found in the fantasy genre. Having occasionally looked into the various titles -- be that through the DVDs themselves, or the trailers featured within, fantasy and comedy seem to be the way to go.
Now, Dragon Rider DOES feature the occasional demons -- thus, subsequently, the inevitable sexual assaults. For its occasional comedic relief, Dragon Rider is mainly a serious show, though heaven knows the script's spotty translation makes it a bit hard to take seriously.
What I like about Dragon Rider would have to be the general fairytale-ish feeling I get from it. Rike Arrow (yes, ARROW) is your typical anime male protagonist. He is young, brash and he's on a quest to become a knight. On his journey, he meets up with Karisu (Karin in the English version), who but a little later is revealed to be a reborn scion of the Dragon God clan (as opposed to the Dragon DEVIL clan.) In a bit of a twist, she's actually no helpless maiden, even though most of her powers have been forgotten, and when her village is inevitably attacked by a band of roving demons, she is the one who slays most of them. Naturally, and equally inevitably, she loses her adoptive mother in the battle, thus deciding to come with Rike and agreeing to be his dragon.
To Dragon Rider's benefit, the art is just lovely. The animation might be a bit spotty at times, but the characters are nicely designed and drawn. Ironically, the DRAMA scenes seem to have gotten the bulk of the animation budget, as opposed to the... well, the erotic scenes. The backgrounds are, at times, quite breathtaking, especially during flights. Sadly, as I mentioned, animation tends to take lazy shortcuts. While at least 50% of the cast does have the ability to fly, none of them seems to need to flap their wings to remain airborne.
What's worse, the dub is pretty BAD. Also, the subs are.... awkward, to put it mildly. Not knowing Japanese, I can't really say whether the translations are accurate, but writing more easily readable sentences would have been a plus. For full effect of confusion, try watching Dragon Rider with the dub on ALONG with the subtitles.
Dragon Rider also have another bit of a failing: namely, the shortened story plot. The good thing about Dragon Rider is that it plays out like an old fairy tale, with the knight and the dragons and the antagonists plotting dastardly plans (with added rape, since this is a hentai with demons in it.) There's traveling, meetings, battles, romances and betrayal, all wrapped around a rather believable fantasy frame. Sadly, it just LASTS too short, and doesn't give itself time to really embellish on the things that NEED embellishing. Karisu's life and past does get sufficient exposure, lending her struggles the credibility it needs. Rike's character does work too, I suppose, though it would have been nice to know exactly what drives his ambitions. The rest of the cast, however, seems to be neatly placed within the constraints of the roles they are dealt, from Rike's adoptive father, to the spoiled princess who actually have a relationship with Rike (but will, obviously enough, lose out in the end.) From the king and his dragon knights to the demons and their leaders. Dragon Rider's runtime is just TOO SHORT, even considering that too much of the grand total of one hour is spent on intro animation, flashbacks and credits. Everyone's parts are rushed through, and even then, they had to allocate time to having sex in between.
Well, I don't want to sound TOO harsh. I honestly enjoyed Dragon Rider. It might be too short for its own good, but what it does, it does pretty well.
An average title with some nice parts and some... not so nice parts. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Explicit sex scenes with whatever possible mosaic effects that might have existed removed. Rather nasty violence. (Two guards get killed in a rather unappetizing way.) Rape. Oh, and some minor language.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Dragon Rider © 1996 Fujisango / France-Shoin / Triple X / Pink Pineapple
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