REVIEW: ‘Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai’ Episode 2 – “Dai and Princess Leona”

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Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai Episode 2
Still From Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai Episode 2 – “Dai and Princess Leona”

Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai is Toei Animation’s remake of the 1991 anime series, which was adapted from the manga written by Riku Sanjo and illustrated by Koji Inada. All are based on the video game series of the same name. At the end of the pilot, Dai’s secluded life raised on an island of monsters is blown open when he encounters humans for the first time. Now that humanity is aware of the island and Dai, a request comes in for him to assist the royal family.

Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai Episode 2 kicks off right where the previous left off. Dai meets Princess Leona, who is a little surprised such a young boy is being billed to her as a hero. Since the royal family knows that the monsters inhabiting the island are not vicious, the royal family wants Leona to undergo a traditional ritual to help awaken her powers as a sage. This can only be done in the Earth Cave on the island. Dai reluctantly agrees to lead Leona and her attendants to the cave. Things, of course, aren’t going to go as easily as planned, and Leona’s life gets put in danger.

Leona is the first major female character audiences have encountered so far, and she is solid. She isn’t haughty or rude as Dai initially thinks, but believes that it is better for everyone if she is upfront and speaks her mind. This is a rather refreshing mentality, it isn’t that she believes she can be cruel without consequences but doesn’t see the purpose in her hiding her feelings to fit some image.

Dai is forced to grow up a bit as well as this episode. It is slight, but when Leona is poisoned, Dai realizes he shouldn’t have been goofing off when he was supposed to be practicing magic. Now, he can’t help someone when they are in danger like a hero should. Whether this actually leads to more effort in later episodes is yet to be determined.

Regrettably, the plot of this episode is just as predictable as the pilot, including the “twist.” Dai’s untapped hero powers and potential feels a little stale in 2020 compared to when this series was originally created. Once again, it is likely this series is for younger audiences, but it is still difficult to take the moments when stakes are supposedly high seriously when the spells being used are “Squelch,” “Kaswoosh,” and “Gulp.” It seems as though the awkward cuts to CG animation from 2D at specific moments in episodes is going to be a trend. The CG animated action scene was well done, but it was jarring to suddenly cut back and forth from the 2D whenever more than two swings of Dai’s sword were required. It felt like an awkward video game cut scene.

All in all, Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai Episode 2 continues the trend of the premiere. It isn’t bad, but it is just “fine.” It will likely satisfy nostalgia seekers and fans of the franchise, but otherwise, the plot was painfully predictable. The upside is Leona has a relatively refreshing mindset and hopefully will become a regular character.

Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai is streaming now on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai
  • 5/10
    Rating - 5/10
5/10

TL;DR

All in all, the second episode of Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai continues the trend of the premiere. It isn’t bad, but it is just “fine.” It will likely satisfy nostalgia seekers and fans of the franchise, but otherwise, the plot was painfully predictable. The upside is Leona has a relatively refreshing mindset and hopefully will become a regular character.