REVIEW: ‘Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai’ Episode 13 – “The Deciding Moment”

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Dragon Quest Episode 13

Get the tissues ready because Dragon Quest Episode 13 wanted to make sure that the latest battle didn’t end without pulling at some heartstrings. The anime from Toei Animation is a reboot of the 90’s anime of the same name, adapted from the popular Weekly Shonen Jump manga. A spin-off story from the video game franchise follows Dai and his companions as they journey to defeat the Demon King Vearn. Dai is a young boy raised by monsters but discovers he gets to be the hero he always dreamed about.

Popp and Dai have successfully hit Hyunckel with their tag-team Zapple attack. However, as soon as Popp gets too close, Hyunckel strikes back, revealing his armor was strong enough to withstand the blast. Horrified, Dai freezes briefly and is struck down by one of Hyunckel’s deadly Bloody Scrydes. Things seem pretty bleak, but in true dramatic fashion, Maam shows up in the nick of time to reveal what she found in the hidden room in the last episode.

The show has done a good job of creating a dynamic antagonist in Hyunckel, so the information Maam reveals to him really throws his character for a loop. The writing here is smart: Hyunckel doesn’t immediately accept this information and change his tactics. He has shaped his whole life around the murder of his father by Avan, his entire identity is revenge, which is very prominent in Dragon Quest Episode 13. It is strongly contrasted with Maam, who is an idealist and encourages forgiveness. Maam’s outlook is a bit overly simple, but idealism is nice sometimes, especially in a year like 2020. This reviewer found herself not minding the occasionally simplistic morality of Dragon Quest Episode 13.

Even though it is idealistic and has a younger target audience, the show isn’t afraid to get dark. There have been multiple moments of grief for the characters throughout. Viewers have seen the deaths of both Avan and Crocodine. Dragon Quest Episode 13 also goes there. The last five minutes of this episode were surprisingly heartbreaking, and this reviewer wished for any other outcome (as a fan, not as a critic). The voice actors for Maam (Mikako Komatsu) and Hyunckel (Yūki Kaiji) deserve special praise here for their delivery of the characters’ respective grief and shock.

The animation is fantastic. Dai’s unconscious drive for battle is almost saddening. He has been so upbeat, so to see a side of Dai when he is genuinely afraid and hopeless successfully gut punches the audience. It also illustrates just how far Dai will push himself for his friends. His fight with Hyunckel is a blend of CG and 2D animation, and its balance is much stronger than the previous instances in this anime. Dragon Quest Episode 13 utilized the CG well this fight, highlighting slow-motion and camera-pans during sword clashes.

Dragon Quest Episode 13 delivers an emotional climactic showdown between the team and Hyunckel. It successfully creates a dynamic villain and rounds out this arc with well-animated action. While a bit idealist, the show’s heart redeems its more simplistic moments.

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

 


Dragon Quest Episode 13
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Dragon Quest Episode 13 delivers an emotional climactic showdown between the team and Hyunckel. It successfully creates a dynamic villain and rounds out this arc with well-animated action. While a bit idealist, the show’s heart redeems its more simplistic moments.