Drifting Dragons: Pretty Yet Problematic

…not that that’s a question anyone would ever ask, but here’s the answer anyway.

Drifting Dragons has an anime being held back by Netflix (apparently it won’t drop until April), but that doesn’t stop this series from being popular anyway. Outside the anime, it is a manga series by Taku Kuwabara that features Mika, Takita and the crew of the Quin Zaza, an airship which hunts dragons as a resource and, in Mika’s case in particular, a delicacy.

…Basically, that should tell you why the series can be seen as problematic.

Certainly, dragons in the series can vary from bird-sized to skyscraper-sized and it seems in the series there’s still chickens and such (since eggs – presumably of the non-dragon variety – are mentioned), but Mika makes meals of all of them. There’s even recipes at the back of each chapter to replicate what Mika does but obviously not with dragon!

In particular, the larger dragons which produce a lot of the series’s spectacle are more reminiscent of whale hunts, what with the Quin Zaza being equipped with stun lances and such…I guess all I can say to that, not being much of an expert in that department, is the fact that enjoying a series doesn’t necessarily correlate with agreeing with what’s depicted.

Drifting Dragons has a fabulous sense of scale – which is completely necessary to nail how grand the dragons look, the whole steampunk affair and the skyscapes the Quin Zaza crew work in – which makes me wonder how Polygon Pictures is handling it. By the looks of this trailer, showcasing the meat sandwich from the first volume, the backgrounds look alright but the characters…not so much. The series is characterised in the manga by the intricacy and level of effort in the linework – a lot of which was obviously removed not only by the 3D CGI, but also in the animation process in general. (The fact I almost mistook Mika for a woman in one of the anime’s key visuals – if you don’t spot his goatee, the puffy pockets do give off that impression – I guess only proves my point.) Also, even though it’s a story hugely dependent on the thrill of the chase and the brilliance of the visuals, it also has opportunities for character development as it hints, “Each crew member has their own reasons for being here.” Obviously, I don’t know enough about that development since I’ve only read the first volume, but…eventually we’ll get to see it.

I hope so, at least.

I’m just running my mouth (or whatever the text equivalent is) about this series because I remember someone wanted opinions on it (I don’t remember who, specifically), but now that I’m actually getting this out someone else might have read the first volume as well.






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