I just finished binge-watching the new Netflix adaptation of Dragon’s Dogma and here are my thoughts.
As an adaptation of Capcom’s cult classic game of the same name, Dragon’s Dogma offers much of the same thrills in a different medium. Even though you miss out on the game’s open-world setting and its unlimited customization features, the anime provides some more melodrama and emotion to the story.
While the Arisen is now characterized as a tough warrior and family man named Ethan, the plot points stay pretty much the same. Ethan loses his wife and has his heart stolen by the dragon who razed his hometown of Cassardis. He is resurrected and turned into the “Arisen” by a magical pawn who is later named Hannah.
With his newfound life, Ethan then swears to track down and kill the dragon that took his wife from him. Featuring episodes that revolve around the seven cardinal sins, the anime feels very fluid and resembles the typical hero’s journey of finding new companions and fighting hordes of monsters related to each sin.
In terms of the action, Dragon’s Dogma delivers with gripping swordfights and trademark bosses like the Hydra and the Lich.
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Even with its penchant for bloody action and vengeance, the Netflix adaptation’s story falls short in adding anything new to the original narrative arc.
Sure, you have these more personalized mini-plots revolving around secondary protagonists, but it just doesn’t pull through in the end. You are given all these characters and stories throughout the series, but the only people who really matter are Ethan and Hannah — so what’s the point?
By the last episode, we eventually find out that once the dragon is slain, Ethan becomes the next dragon fated to terrorize the world. With his last words, he tells Hannah to “protect those foolish humans from me,” showing that the true nature of the dragon is to kill.
The sudden transformation can be a moral statement about how vengeance cannot solve everything, but the over-arching story comes to an astonishing halt. Despite the Arisen being the main protagonist, we are left with Hannah as the final character to sign off for the first season.
While Hannah is a great character who has heroic qualities, this ending doesn’t really provide the proper setting for a second season. Does Hannah become the Arisen or does she teleport to a new location and revive another Arisen? Though this open-ended finish could set the scene for a new story, it just feels too anti-climactic to even care about.
That said, if you’re into CGI, easy-to-digest dark fantasy with tons of gory action scenes, Dragon’s Dogma might be the anime for you. But if you happen to be a stickler for lore, it’d be best if you steer away from this fiery dragon.