Last week ended on a cliffhanger for the heroes of Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai. This time around the show hits some emotional highs for the characters, while still being pretty predictable. The series from Toei Animation is based on the manga of the same name from the 90s. It is a remake of the original anime adaptation, all of which are spin-offs from the popular video game franchise. Dragon Quest Episode 5 will surely have a bigger emotional impact for viewers with nostalgia for the old series, but it is a solid episode nonetheless.
The episode opens right where the previous left off, with Avan shielding the boys from Hadlar’s blast with his body. Using the last of his magic power, he chooses to cast the ultimate defensive spell on Dai, Popp, Brass, and Gomechan. Frozen in place as steel (but able to move their mouths to speak), the students can only watch as Avan declares them graduates. Avan proceeds to try and stop Hadlar once and for all, after tasking Dai and Popp with the task of taking down the Demon King Vearn. A fight ensues, which is difficult to describe without spoilers. The results enrage Dai, who unlocks the glowing blue power from back in episode two. Hadlar recognizes this power, apparently belonging to “The Dragon Knights.”
Dragon Quest Episode 5 puts young Dai and Popp into a situation with high emotional stakes. It requires Dai to mature quickly. Popp is the best he has been, tears flowing and emphasizing the history he has with Avan. It is a tear-filled episode for the characters, but mileage may vary for how much this sways the audience. Previous fans of the series will likely be tearing up, while newcomers might just empathize. Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai is sometimes a difficult show to review, purely because it is a remake that follows a lot of the 90’s source material. What may not have been as predictable then, is now considered classic shonen fare now and doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. That is fine, but the predictability does hinder the emotional impact the show will have on newcomers.
The action-packed nature of this episode allows for the animation to run wild. Avan’s fight with Hadlar illustrates just how powerful these characters are. Since this show likely has a younger target audience, there is no red blood (Hadlar bleeds green), but spit and rivers of tears fly all over the place. Color is the best part of this series. Toei Animation isn’t afraid to have Dai glow an absolutely brilliant bright blue, or have the island covered in a shimmering sunshine yellow. The brightness of everything reminds one of 2D platformers.
Overall, Dragon Quest Episode 5 is a solid, action-packed installment in the series. Viewers get to see the characters experience higher emotional stakes than ever before. However, due to the age of the source material, this might have more impact on already established franchise fans than new viewers. The show is predictable, but it is executed pretty well.
Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai is streaming now on Crunchyroll and Hulu.
Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, Episode 5 - "The Insignia of Avan"
Dragon Quest Episode 5 is a solid, action-packed installment in the series. Viewers get to see the characters experience higher emotional stakes than ever before. However, due to the age of the source material, this might have more impact on already established franchise fans than new viewers. The show is predictable, but it is executed pretty well.