Drifting Dragons

Alt title: Kuutei Dragons

Web (12 eps x 24 min)
3.561 out of 5 from 1,192 votes
Rank #5,074

The draking vessel Quin Zaza soars through the skies, hunting dragons that hide in the clouds. A single big catch means full coffers and all the meat they can eat, while failure means an empty wallet and an even emptier stomach. Join us as we log the crew’s grand adventures, chasing dreams of the sky, dragons, and gourmet cooking!

Source: Kodansha

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I love sci-fi & fantasy, they are some of my favorite genres and one of the reasons is that they often have parallels to real-life issues. When we bring these issues into the sci-fi/fantasy world we can see them and explore them from a different perspective, it allows us to talk about them and visualize what could be, what could happen if we were in a situation like this. You can visualize your choices and explore new ideas. This is actually one of the reasons why I watch so much anime! So in this regard, Drifting Dragons is essentially about whale hunting, the parallels are unmistakably from the looks of the dragons to the way they are hunted, to the tools they use for hunting, to the food they make. I read another review that basically says "that we shouldn't make a big deal about this because the dragons don't really exist and this is a fantasy world, therefore we shouldn't confuse fiction with reality", but I don't agree, this is not that simple. As I mention, shows like this often have comparables with reality and sure enough, just a quick search on Japanese whaling provides me with the following answers: Japan whaling: Why commercial hunts have resumed despite outcry Whaling in Japan By killing whales, is Japan trying to revive a dying industry? And I'm not alone with this kind of thinking: Review: Netflix’s ‘Drifting Dragons’ romanticizes commercial whaling Drifting Dragons: Whaling Ships And The Draker Tactics Of Netflix’s New Anime Netflix's 'Drifting Dragons' anime series dogged by whaling parallels but fans love the spectacular visuals So the story of Drifting Dragons tries to romanticize and even elicit the desire for dragon/whale hunting for no other reason than "they taste great and I want to eat them". In Episode 4 it tried to bring forth the controversy by asking the main protagonist if "Is it really that fun to hunt and kill dragons/whales?" but at the end of the episode no valid argument is given other than repeating "they taste great and I want to eat them". Maybe if they repeat that several times is enough to convince others that is the right answer, like in that episode? What do you think? So in this regard, the show fails at exploring the arguments from all parties and does not try to dig any deeper into the controversy, choosing instead to focus on the desire to eat dragons/whales. At this point, I should disclose that I only watched up to Episode 4. Often I try to force myself to finish the anime before writing a review but in this case, I didn't want to support a cause I don't believe in. I tried to read other reviews about the show and nothing seems to suggest the show will go deeper into this controversy. Episode 4 was enough for me to convince me that they will not touch on the subject like that, and is just a one-sided argument in favor of the taste of dragons/whales. If anyone knows different please let me know in the comments. In the end, the story seems to me just like propaganda for whale hunting. Is it a coincidence that the theme of this show coincides with Japan's resumed commercial whaling? What do you think? But where it fails to elicit the desire in me to hunt, kill, and eat whales; it at least succeeds at bringing attention to this issue. Despite being 3d, the animation of the show is superb, they finally starting to fix the issues with facial expressions, now you can clearly see emotions with more natural movements, they are not perfect yet, but they are a leap forward in the right direction. But no matter how pretty it is, I cannot avert my eyes to the theme it has and what is trying to promote. The music, sound effects, and the dub are ok. At Episode 4 all characters were single-minded, with the main protagonist being obsessed with killing & eating. I'm not sure if they'll be any character development beyond that, but I don't think so as the show is mostly a slice in the everyday lives of whale/dragon hunters. Overall, if you like slice-of-life and you don't mind the theme of this show, it does have good visuals and is entertaining, but average at best. There are better shows out there about hunting and eating, like Golden Kamuy, who is set at a time where that was the norm in order to survive and contains several references to history and an intriguing story.


Hunting in The Clear Blue Every now and then an anime will come along that will just completely pass everyone by, no matter how impressive it is. And I can definitely say that Drifting Dragons may just be one of the most underrated anime of all time. It at least is that for this current year. This anime takes great inspiration from Monster Hunter and Guns of Icarus, bringing a fresh, interesting Fantasy world to the table that just feels adventurous by nature, which is rare to come by in anime. The Worldbuilding is what contributes a lot to the score I'm giving it. This is a world where Drakers earn money by hunting huge, incredible creatures on the skies. They live in the sky on these giant flying machines, day in and day out tracking down strange beasts, that have an incredible variety and abundance. The entire economy is based around trade between cities on islands above the clouds, reminicent of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. In this world, Drakers are like seafarers, living in big blimps. And I don't know about you but it's just an awesome concept in general to me. This anime plays into it greatly by being one of the most beautiful at every turn. They never shy away from focusing on the scale of the world, and the Dragons, and these ships. Everything in this anime is huge and beautiful. Every new Dragon introduced is just a sight to behold. The Animation and Sound help a lot with this. The Animation displayed is some of the best CGI anime I've seen come out of the medium, if not the best ever. They make such great use of so many effects which are best conveyed with CGI, such as the dragon pictured above, having enough detail to look magnificent from a distance like that, and having a natural flow and motion to it. It feels huge, even next to the large airships, and the textures are great. They're just beautiful. No wonder the characters want to cook em all up and stick them on a nice crispy kebab! Some of the character animation is out of the ordinary for CGI, characters looking full of life instead of the usual stiffness, with a lot of free expression. So hard to not look at the camera The soundtrack is magical, adding a lot to the fantasy world setting, always amplifying the terrific atmosphere. The Story is more episodic, following our main team of Drakers as they hunt multiple different dragons, usually a different one every episode, which also will focus on a different character. But the pacing never stops being dynamic. Some episodes will feel more like a slice of life, where a small dragon is wreaking slight havoc onboard the ship, while others will be more epic in scale, like the team fighting Pirate drakers, or hunting a massive dragon in a large storm. Have I mentioned how beautiful this show is? The backgrounds are some of the best I've seen from anime period. All of these different episodes always serve to build up the world and characters more, teaching us through example what a day in the life of a Draker is like in such a fantastical reality.  The Characters are actually no slouch either, though the focus is more on the world and visual spectacle. The main focus of the anime is more of a Cooking theme, with the main character Mika providing a passionate voice to get the viewer just as excited about eating dragon meat as he is. There are entire scenes dedicated to explaining how to prepare certain dishes and just making it look so delicious, you'll find yourself wanting to eat Dragon meat too. Jiro, Takita, and Vanabelle are also focal characters that develop a lot. Jiro is my personal favorite, a very relatable and realistic character that progresses a lot throughout the show. It's like watching him grow up in a few places. In this kind of show, I was surprised to see such a down to earth take on relatable issues, and how full of personality the characters are. It's not always that you get a show like this, that has a real sense of truth to it. How people behave in real life... the sense of comraderie coworkers that work to survive would share, the feel of it is all there. The dialogue is great, it never feels awkward or out of place, like something written by robots either. Everything in this anime is super full of life and beautiful. Now, the main argument against this anime is that the Drakers are like Whalers, which is a bad thing. Let me put this argument to rest. It is fiction. Dragons are not Whales. This world is a fantasy world, and it's all fiction. Dragon's are not even real. There's no need to crusade for the injustices against fictional creatures that are being hunted in an anarchic fantasy world. If you can get past that one aspect, this anime has a lot to offer. 9/10

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