Blue Dragon goes onto new arc, which whilst having it’s moments seems to take the tone down a notch with some missing components making the show not quite as interesting.
What They Say
As a young boy, Shu spent a lot of time dreaming of all kinds of outlandish adventures. But when he manages to awaken a legendary shadow named Blue Dragon, his real life dishes up way more excitement and danger than he ever could have imagined. Shu and his new comrades Jiro, Kluke, Zola, and Marumaro are thrust into an epic adventure as they travel across the world to confront the evil King of the Grand Kingdom, Nene, and stop him from dominating the world.
For this review, I listened to the Japanese track. In a standard 2.0 format, the sound comes through clearly and concisely and the problems I had with the first disc have gone completely now. The audio comes out well though without any signs of muffling or distortion – checked the English track as well and again no problems, despite the lack of 5.1. It’s good in consideration the amount of action that this series provides so kudos for the improvements as the plot of the show thickens.
The video is very vibrant and comes through well on the screen considering the amount of colour that is used in the show. There were no problems with the video being broken up or distorted and it flowed through fine, with as mentioned above, the small problems on the previous first disc seem to have gone completely now and you can enjoy the colourful world of Blue Dragon without any problems.
The menu is very basic, with an easy selection box of play, episodes and languages easily selectable. The menu has a very colourful menu with each of the main characters with their summoned creature at their side, alternating with the music. It’s very eye-catching and menu is straight forward enough so no problems, albeit it is pretty much the same as the previous discs. Also, there is NO chapter select, which is a minor annoyance if you have to leave the disc. Basically, it’s the exactly same set up and animation as the previous 2 discs so a slight knock down because of that. Also, something I hadn’t picked up before is that if you skip through the opening song, it goes straight to half way through the episode, something I’m not used to with many releases so this is a minor annoyance.
The only extras were on Disc 4 which were trailers of Blue Dragon Plus, Mar, Bleach: Memories of Nobody, Bleach TV and Naruto. Basically, the EXACT same trailers as before.
Blue Dragon has so far been very hit and miss for me – with the first volumes not really being interesting due to some poor characterisation, whilst the second volumes improved some what with a not obvious conclusion and some interesting character development. This volume hits it somewhere in the middle, as there are some surprisingly good comic moments and tie ins with the plot, and the introduction of a decent new character, but whilst it ends on a good cliffhanger, in the middle there’s a lot of questions to be asked.
With their defeat at the hands of Nene, the gang are travelling to find the pages of the Extra Seven, the possible key to victory. To do this, they head to a famous city named Corin, the location of a master informant named Homeron, who is legendary with his ability to search and find any information you require. However, when they arrive, they discover he’s apparently dead. Other informants try to get the gang’s money in his stead, and whilst it’s amusing when the gang try to get money for other informants, Shu actually shows he’s grown from quite an annoying character to some who is determined and thinks a bit. He’s still very impulsive, but he’s definitely echoing the spirit of Goku now – and when the truth about Homeron is revealed, it’s definitely a bit more surprising than I expected.
The main gist of Homeron’s character is that he is hired to find the woman who stole the pages and what she’s intending to use them for. As most informants have backed out due to the danger this woman possesses, it comes as no surprise that Homeron is quick to find her…or rather she found him. This new woman has definitely got a dangerous aura, especially when later Homeron founds out her name and what she’s capable of. Of course, with this interesting scenario, Blue Dragon has to incorporate comedy as well – normally in the form of Maro, when he gets lost during the job hunting and rests in an inn where the ‘couple’ are not quite what you’d expect and are after Maro’s bounty (until they admit they are also on the run) – it’s funny to an extent but it seems a bit pointless as it doesn’t really flesh out Maro’s character apart from what we know – he’s comic relief and perverted. On the other hand, Kluke begins to flesh out a bit, with some interesting sparks with Jiro of all people, and her dreams which allows her to get the Phoenix’ power regularly so she can be of help to the gang – as well as being helpful during a mission where they have to fly out to save a ship where the vital information about the Extra Seven could be located – Kluke gets some good moments here which brings her back to the frey, whilst the other female Bouquet is the other comic relief/fanservice, and there are some great moments during one episode when Cynthia, the egotistical elite from Logi’s army, overhears the guards say that Bouquet is the most beautiful woman in the world, and not Cynthia. Needless to say, she erupts and when she bumps into the gang during a battle in the chasms, the fact she only attacks Bouquet both in the air AND on the ground is very funny.
The cliffhanger at the end though when the gang manage to get on the ship after some excellent Homeron moments of stealth and convincing is a surprise. They find out the aura girl’s name is Delphinium, and when Grankingdom sink the ship with Homeron on, whilst they survive they are in a tough spot in an unknown forest with mutant animals. It’s a tough spot without the shadow wielders with their ship damaged, and when the heroic rescue comes, it seems predictable…until the finale when Delphinium shows up…and then the twist occurs with the information needs both gained…and lost…much to Shu’s shock. His learning the ways of the world is a harsh reality for the kid, but one that fleshes out his character much better.
However, despite quite a lot of good things going for this volume, sadly there are also a lot of weaknesses. The fact that I’ve hardly mentioned Jiro or Zolo (the two original main characters) shows their lack of presence in favour of Homeron and to a lesser extent Kluke in combination with the lack of Logi, Nene and Conrad means that most of the episodes revolved around repeated animation of Shu summoning Blue Dragon to deal with everything, which was both repetitive and annoying – you almost forget that Grankingdom have conquered most of the world until the big ship battle in the air. Focusing on Maro for one episode was a waste of time because it did nothing for the long run in character or plot development, and whilst the return of some of the Elites was nice and showed how much they’ve improved (mainly thanks to Kluke) with the exception of Cynthia (and that was mainly due to her comic fight with Bouquet) it’s hard pressed to remember what they did – the lack of presence in favour of others does hurt the show and causes a lot of predictability.To be fair, the end was a shocker and points for that, and Homeron was a nice addition to the cast, but it’s almost back to volume 1 in terms of predictability, the main improvements are due to Shu’s character now more fleshed out and Kluke’s evolving with her shadow.
Blue Dragon is very hit and miss for me. On one hand, it’s characterisation is getting better, it definitely has it’s good moments, both comic and serious, and this volume finished in a plot point which at least sets things up ready for the next volume in preparation for the final battle. On the other hand, it’s predictability and use of Blue Dragon himself is almost second nature and you can know ahead of time what’s going to happen, and the lack of screen time for certain characters (including main ones) means that you’re focusing on a few, and almost forget everybody else. Not good considering it’s a small cast in the first place. Overall, it’s O.K, but certainly nothing groundbreaking – recommended for fans of the game primarily and shounen fans secondarily.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Toshiba 37C3030 - 37" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV – Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers – Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM.