Fear packages sent from the Society to your apartment as they will never, ever go well.
What They Say:
A large package arrives at Ryuji's apartment. Eriko accepted a Lost Precious appraisal request from the society. While Rose excitedly examines the painting and Ryuji expresses his skepticism, the package sucks in Ai, Misaki, Eriko and Rose in a sudden flash of light. Inside they find a ghost town with a murderer immune to dragon's fire! Without Ryuji to help them, the girls run for their lives!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ryuji's life is one that is definitely fraught with problems. Take the start of this episode alone, where he's spending the morning with his dragon, Rose, while Eriko spends her time sleeping in. In the middle of this, the Society delivers a package for Eriko to appraise, something she doesn't like to do but does once in awhile. And as this unfolds, unwrapping it to reveal a rather strikingly beautiful painting, two girls arrive at his door with baskets of baked goods to see him and are shocked when they both realize they're there for the same guy. If Ryuji was smart, he wouldn't have buzzed them in since nothing is going to go right at this point no matter how you slice it.
Considering the nature of the show as of late, having a light and fun episode is certainly necessary here. The show is cute at first as everyone spends time together having tea and snacks, especially with Rose being a bit like a little girl in feeding Ryuji, but it's all prelude to what will come and you just wait for the shoe to drop so it gets there. When they are suddenly transported into the Lost Precious, it's a good bit of fun as the world is creative and has a good sense of style to it, largely aided by the continually solid animation and background design of the series. With only the girls drawn in, they have to deal with a creepy situation right out of the gate in that there's an axe murderer in there that wants to, well, axe them a few times.
Within this Lost Precious painting, the girls are all finding themselves dealing with accusations of being liars by the thing that controls it. This gives us some interesting glimpses into their pasts as we see the way that they're tied to Ryuji. The looming threat is certainly well represented here visually, and having the show take on a much more blue and purple filtered look to it changes it considerably from what we've seen before as the questioning goes on. There's a lot to like with how this unfolds, even if you know how it will end, because it lets them all be questioned in interesting ways and their personalities and interests are made very plain and shown in pure terms. The malice works just as well though when it shifts to dealing with the axe wielding maniac. The dual approach helps to give it a bit more tension than it would otherwise.
Dragon Crisis has a good bit of fun here and while it has its ominous moments, it's definitely a bit more lighthearted overall as it's a single episode story focusing on the girls and their relationship with Ryuji. They're all very distinct in their own ways and have their own interests in him, though of course there's overlap, but seeing them working together and being self-aware of the situation they're in was a welcome change of pace. As is said as they go into the basement of one of the houses, nothing good will happen if they do that, but they know they have to as that's where the answers will be. It's better than the usual devices used to get them to do things, especially running completely scared and just blasting through doors without thinking. At least here, they do think some and they're forced to think more as it unfolds. The only downside is that we do get more Bianca, as she helps Ryuji from the outside of the painting. I haven't warmed to her in the slightest yet and this episode doesn't help.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Sutitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.