Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai GN 1 – Review

your enjoyment of Dragon Quest: Dai’s Adventure will largely depend on how you feel about the iconic dragon quest JRPG. Do you fondly think of the franchise as a series of fairytale-style adventures that provide a sense of comfort and familiarity through their whimsical, well-worn conventions? Or does the mere mention of his name invoke repetition and endless grind against a trope-laden backdrop he’s traversed a dozen times before?

I say this because Dragon Quest: Dai’s Adventure it’s a dragon quest Sleeve from end to end. It might sound ridiculous because… well, it’s right there in the title, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. A video game franchise with a well-respected legacy that has achieved near-family status in Japan (and growing international fame), it’s hard to find someone with zero opinion on the game. dragon quest franchise these days, and dai actively court this association with every fiber of your being. So, in a sense, this is a simple review: would you like more dragon quest? If so, go ahead, young adventurer. If not, then go away because there are dragons (and their quests) here.

It is important to note that this volume is a legacy version. Dragon Quest: Dai’s Adventure originally ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1989 to 1996. It has been adapted twice into anime form, first by toei animation from 1991 to 1992 and again from 2020 to the present, the latter with an officer simultaneous transmission and probably the iteration most international fans know him for. When the anime launched in 2020, I expected this to mean a release of the original manga in English, and the goddess has blessed us accordingly.

I am legally and morally obliged to discuss akira toriyama when talking about dragon quest. Obviously, the character and monster designs for the video games all come from the esteemed mangaka, and the impact of his charming work on the tone and popularity of the series is incalculable. It is no exaggeration to say that when akira toriyama designed the humble slime all those years ago, distilled the very essence of dragon questCharacter design in its purest form: make it small and make it very good™. Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai cannot be illustrated by akira toriyamabut Kōji Inada it manages to reproduce his style flawlessly, from the rounded, upbeat characters to Toriyama’s sense of comedy. Of course, it would be heresy to make a dragon quest story into something too far removed from Toriyama’s sensibilities, but the art in this volume is nonetheless crafted with love and care to maximize familiarity.

The writing is also quite familiar. dragon quest has evil monster kings so dai’s adventure It has one; dragon quest has Heroes, so the very idea of ​​Hero becomes an institution with the necessary ambitions and training arcs. Even the story beats and visuals are somewhat similar to Toriyama’s other works in Dragon Ball – It’s hard to see Dai training with a sword in the desert among monsters and not think back to Gohan’s time as a youngster doing the same thing. The fact that these two stories were almost parallel in their publication makes them seem like echoes of one another, though of course the eventual results make those similarities fade over time.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything new here; in fact, there are many subtle but significant changes that dai’s adventure enter to bring the formula to life. Simple things like the first hero and party we meet ending up as a collusion is a nice touch. Also, Dai’s status as a child raised by monsters gives him a more bizarre personality compared to many of them. dragon questThe protagonists of , most of whom are simply young blank slates for the player to project (to varying degrees, of course). The development of supporting characters like Avan and Popp promises much, and Dai’s shield hints at future mysteries to unravel. Add in Hadlar’s various generals’ gallery of potential rogues, and there’s plenty of fun to be had in the future.

This volume also has a much smaller scope than you might expect. dragon quest is a series that, among other things, has earned a reputation for its breadth. Visiting different locations, each with their own little stories, and solving local problems before moving on to the next location has become one of the franchise’s defining characteristics (again, to varying degrees between titles). However, dai’s adventure it spends almost the entirety of its first volume on the island of monsters, focusing on Dai’s training. This limits the scope but allows us to spend more time with him and Gomechan, developing a strong bond that can serve as an anchor for the narrative. If you’ve seen the anime, you know that Dai will eventually travel, but it’s always a good decision for a long-running manga to establish an early investment in his characters.

If there are negatives, they mostly come from the association. As I mentioned before, if you’re not in the mood for more dragon quest…well, this won’t convince you otherwise – this is for the true believers who want to see Kasizzle beat slimes. There’s also a little… soft touch throughout. dai’s adventure it’s very much in the classic shonen mold, a smooth, bubbly story for a younger audience that isn’t overly complicated or thought-provoking. This is intentional, and I personally don’t think it’s a negative, but if you’re used to the slight edge that modern shonen works have, you might be disappointed to find something aimed at *gasp* children.

All in all, Dragon Quest: Dai’s AdventureThe first volume of is a solid start to a solid series that gives you exactly what it says on the tin: dragon quest and some adventures in it.