First Impressions – Dragon Crisis

Well, that was a flawed but rather interesting first episode. Lots to like here, starting with a catchy OP sung by none other than Horie Yui, who we’ll be seeing more of later. Speaking of, this somewhat formulaic DEEN entry has a real All-Star cast – though I really think the world may be over Hiro Shimono playing 14 year-old boys by this point. The rest of the soundtrack is excellent, too – very upbeat and energetic (in a good way).

I was immediately struck by the look of this show – I’ve never seen a DEEN series quite like it. Backgrounds were excellent, action sequences fluid, and I enjoyed the character designs. Character Designer Masashi Ishihama is a heavy-hitter, heaving worked on the likes of Gurren Lagann, Tatami Galaxy, Dennou Coil and Kamichu in various roles – and his designs have something of the cute/lush look of those shows. I was getting a definite Gainax vibe from this – Eriko looked like a cross between Haruka from “FLCL” and Yoko from TTGL. Acted a lot like Haruka too – and there was a bit of Naota in male lead Ryuuji. Yes, we get to hear Kugimiya Rie say “Ryuuji!” about a hundred times in a bit of casting that’s just a little too spot-on. But at least she seems to have tucked away the tsundere, this time playing a young red dragon with a rose-colored scale on her hand.

That scale prompts Ryuuji – whom she mysteriously knows from somewhere and adores – to name her “Rose”, which Eriko says shows he has an effeminate mind. During the episode she also compliments his cooking and says he’d make a great mother – not exactly a boost to his masculinity. And Ryuuji is a pretty domestic guy, for sure – cooking, cleaning, shopping – and the mothering of Rose does seem to come naturally to him. His entire family apparently is part of an organization called “Seven Tails”, some sort of international treasure-hunting society. Erika is back in town thinking she’s going to find herself an S-class Precious (Gollum, Gollum) though Rose may be something even more valuable than that. We also have a meek yet busty osananajimi who yearns to develop Ryuuji’s manly side.

Plot-wise, this is kind of a mess – the premiere was really just a bunch of random stuff happening and expensive seiyuu showing their chops. But I’ll give it time to sort that out – this show has a very distinctive look and sound that I’m anxious to get to know better.

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