A special special guest today – Katie, who has been a our mistress of PR at Yuricon for several years now. This is her first review here on Okazu, and I’m thrilled to pieces to have it. Presenting for your reading pleasure, a review of Dragonaut by somebody who knows what they are talking about! Yaaay!
Dragonaut: The Resonance is a new anime by GONZO. The very barebones of the plot is that in the future, a dragon crash-landed on Earth, destroying a shuttle about to launch for a routine Moon-to-Earth flight. Different factions on Earth reacted in different ways, and several years later there are two major players in the game: ISDA and the Gillard army.
ISDA was formed to research and understand the dragons, and the Gillard army, based out of Mars, stockpiled most of the system’s resources. The ISDA is where we meet our protagonist, Jin, and where he meets his love interest, Toa. The fighters of ISDA, or Dragonauts, bond with dragons that have hatched from the original dragon’s eggs. The infighting in this organization, their uneasy treaty with the army, and the teen melodrama of the Dragonauts and their dragons, drive the series.
If you’ve seen Speed Grapher, a previous GONZO anime series, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from Dragonaut. For the first seven or so episodes, you’ll wonder why you’re watching the show, laugh at the unintentional comedy, and marvel at just how unrealistic animators can make boobs. Then, some time in the eighth episode, the ball drops, and it suddenly and inexplicably becomes good. For Dragonaut, it’s more like the very end of the 10th episode, but the analogy is still sound.
As for Yuri, there’re three possibilities, one ambiguous couple and one ambiguous unrequited thing. Warning: Dragonaut is full of every Yuri cliche in the book.
Ambiguous relationship that is described officially as “sisterly”, but involves suggestive posing? Check. One half of the couple dies, and the other one goes psycho? Check. Unrequited, unacknowledged, possibly tragic love that is only revealed as the last breath of a traitor who dies redeeming herself? Check. (Yes, this is a cliche!) The lesbians die while supporting the main, heterosexual relationship? Check.
The ambiguous relationship is Akira and her dragon, Machina. Akira is a butch-ish tomboy with rough manners, and Machina is the exact opposite of her in almost every way. Machina is also, unfortunately, one of the giant boob characters of the anime. For all the cliches, they’re actually rather well-developed for this type of anime. They’re the most sane and balanced of the group, they act as support characters to Toa and Jin, and nobody thinks their relationship is strange. Akira is especially gung-ho about rescuing Jin’s dragon girlfriend–I wonder why? Sadly, though, someone has to die, and it turns out to be Akira. Machina goes crazy and blows everything up.
The unrequited thing is Nanami. For the first third or so of the season, Nanami makes very few appearances, and seems very innocuous. She’s just a cute assistant to Yuuri Kitajima, an ISDA scientist. All of her appearances are related to Yuuri, and she seems very interested in being close to her, and winning her approval. In episode 13 or 14, we find out that Nanami is a Gillard spy. She kidnaps Toa, knocks Yuuri out, and escapes to the Mars base. It’s clear that she’s a bit conflicted about having hurt Yuuri, and after speaking with Toa about her love interest, she decides to double-cross Gillard and set Toa free. Garnet, a Gillard bodyguard, kills her before she can. The Yuri part of this is that she says “Sempai” (sempai=Yuuri) when speaking of the one she loves, and dies with Yuuri’s name on her lips. Speaking of Garnet, she also is the one who kills Akira. This is one giant-boobed character who _seriously_ hates lesbians.
If you can get through the first third of the series, it definitely becomes something worth watching, but there’s no happy ending for any of the Yuri-ish characters.
Art: 7, would have been higher if not for the giant scary boobs
Story: 6, surprisingly good for what it is, with some twists. You’ll see most of them coming, but not from too far off.
Series: 5 Mostly the character design and the obligatory onsen episode. It’s also equal opportunity service, with as much cute naked guy as cute naked girl.
Thank you Katie! Feel free to write for Okazu anytime. ^_^