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Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken

Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken

Released Year : October 17, 1991 to September 24, 1992

No of Episodes : 46

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Genre : Adventure,Comedy,Demons,Fantasy,Magic,Martial Arts,Shounen

Plot : After the defeat of the demon lord Hadlar all of the monsters were unleashed from his evil will and moved to the island of Delmurin to live in peace. Dai is the only human living on the island. Having been raised by the kindly monster Brass, Dai's dream is to grow up to be a hero. He gets to become one when Hadlar is resurrected and the previous hero, Avan, comes to train Dai to help in the battle. But Hadlar, announcing that he now works for an even more powerful demon lord, comes to kill Avan. To save his students Avan uses a Self-Sacrifice spell to attack, but is unable to defeat Hadlar. When it seems that Dai and Avan's other student Pop are doomed a mark appears on Dai's forehead and he suddenly gains super powers and is able to fend off Hadlar. The two students then go off on a journey to avenge Avan and bring peace back to the world. (Source: ANN)

Our Review : Overall, this anime is a classic, very much worth watching, and if the DVDs of this series come out in Japan I will jump to buy them in a heart beat (even if they suffer the same problems as the VHS release: one op and ed per two episodes, and the preview for the next episode replaced by one done by some unknown narrator who likes to spoil the plot for the next two episodes.) What makes this anime work well is a strong story carried by likable, believable characters who grow and change as the story progresses. This adds extra power to the lines and actions of these characters allowing them to become powerful and touching to the viewer. There are a number of memorable scenes throughout the show created by the sheer strength of will of these characters. These scenes are also aided by the high quality of the musical score. Nearly all of the music comes from the first four Dragon Quest video games (The only games out at the time this show was made), and all are composed by Sugiyama, Kouichi. Outside of the opening song (which makes the anime seem ten years older than it actually is), the music is all very memorable, and in most cases matches the tone of the anime well. The show tends to do a good job of keeping its audience's attention with exciting action scenes that always have the viewer at the edge of their seat, and quieter scenes don't lose the tension of the series while still being lighthearted enough to have a light comedic moment or two.

The main detractors from this anime are ones that plague many other Shonen anime series. While the story is full of action from the beginning, the real storyline doesn't start until a few episodes in, which makes the pacing seem a little slow at first. The show also suffers from too many flashback scenes, likely added to pad out episodes in an attempt to keep the anime from running out of source material, as the manga was still in serialization at the time. This became painfully tragic when the anime was canceled in Japan due to the broadcaster wanting to replace the show with a variety show (Ratings were not that bad, and toy sales must have been good enough since they had created toys for characters that never appeared in the anime.) Because of its cancellation the last half of the last episode diverges from the storyline of the manga dramatically, but still does not tie up the story concretely. It is particularly sad, because the point that the anime ends is where the story really starts to take off in the manga.

In the end, while this is an enjoyable anime, it is fundamentally flawed by its ending. Like many other series, if you want to get the full story you need to pick up the manga. Luckily the manga is very much worth snatching up on its own right, but it is still is regrettable that some of the most touching and exciting moments of the manga lack the color and the voice acting of anime. What exists of the anime is worth watching, and fun on its own. I can only hope, that like Saint Seiya, this anime one day makes a return in OVA form so that the deeper story of the manga can be told.

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