February 12, 2011
Dragon Drive does have a slow start. The concept is built around the idea of players being given their very own dragon to raise and compete with other players in a game called (take a guess).....Dragon Drive. The player is transported along with their dragon to a virtual world called D Zone to battle other players in a battle royal style match. The main character, Reiji, ends up with a pathetic dragon that looks like a baby and has no attack power. He ends up naming this dragon Chibi and the two become the underdog team to beat in the Dragon Drive world. As the story progresses through and Reiji begins training with Chibi, they get transported to a parallel world called Riku. As Reiji, Chibi, and their friends begin venturing through Riku, they start to learn that Dragon Drive isn't just a game anymore. The fate of the Earth and Riku rests in their hands.
This show reminded me a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! or BeyBlade when I first started watching it. Initially the show gives the impression that it is about a group of people who become so involved in a particular game that it becomes the world as they know it. Although sometimes I think that it would be cool to have everyone compete to be the best at one game, the reality is that there is more to life than just "a" game. What kept me watching this show was the development in the story from the game to life. Having the characters use skills that they acquire while playing Dragon Drive to save two worlds became an intriguing concept for me as a viewer. There wasn't a huge disconnect in the story with this change from fiction to life.
Being a person who has always had an interest in dragons, I also enjoyed the fact that the writers were able to come up with a concept where the dragons were not under shadowed and treated as a background prop. The uniqueness of each dragon encountered was reminiscent of Monster Rancher for me. In that particular show, many of the monsters are from the same family tree with different properties (i.e. elements), causing them to look the same but have different colors. This allowed the creators to make many of the monsters more personable. I found the same occurred within Dragon Drive.
The animation was very well done. The show did not look dated and had a very clean color scheme. The dubbed voices were often annoying beyond belief. I think this in large part had to due with the fact that so many voice actors are recycled, so when you hear their voices you often tend to associate them with characters from other shows who are nothing like the current character that you are watching.
Overall, I recommend this show to those who are fans of shows such as BeyBlade, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Medabots, or Monster Rancher. Many of the elements found in these shows make themselves present in Dragon Drive. Keep in mind that this show also targets a similar demographic to these other shows. My only advice when watching this is be patient; the first 5 episodes can be a little slow, but you will be glad that you took the time to get through them.