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Dota: Dragon’s Blood: Is the Netflix Show Any Good?

Set in the Dota universe, Netflix’s Dota: Dragon’s Blood was announced out of nowhere at the beginning of 2021. The show, released on March 25, was eagerly awaited by many. As someone who played Dota 2 for thousands of hours, I’m also in this group. In this article, I will evaluate Dota: Dragon’s Blood both as a Dota player and as an avid anime fan.

When we first look at the series, we see a classic story. Our main character, the dragon hunter Davion, is a pompous hero. Our second main character is Princess Mirana, who was exiled from her homeland for a mistake she made. Throughout the series, we will mostly be with these two characters and events will develop around them. Here I would like to point out that although the name of the series is Dragon’s Blood, when we look at it as a whole, we see that the events mainly develop around Mirana. For now, let’s leave the characters aside and look at the Dota universe.

The Lore

First of all, the producers of the series really do have the details of the Dota universe nailed in this series. Games often lose a piece of their essence when they move into different mediums, such as TV shows or movies. This is not the case with Dragon’s Blood. When we look at the background of the story, the world and the small details, everything is made in accordance with the source material.

However, Dota lore, when compared to other similar fantasy worlds such as Warcraft or Warhammer, remains weak in terms of depth. So keep that in mind. This anime series was actually a good start to cover this weakness. I am delighted that it fits its source and expands it properly.

It also doesn’t matter if you’ve never played Dota before or if you don’t know about its universe. You can watch the show without any prior knowledge.

Dota: Dragon’s Blood: Art & Design

Dragon’s Blood uses a technique that combines 3D and 2D animation, which is quite popular in contemporary animes. Although Studio Mir was behind Legend of Korra, a show I loved very much, they disappointed me in Dragon’s Blood. While the big battle scenes, backgrounds, and designs of the main characters are very good, I found some aspects of the series really repulsive. This mixed style is used to save time and budget, however, when I see 3D animations alongside well-designed 2D characters, it just puts me out. Besides the detailed 2D drawings, 3D animation looks really bad. As for the music, Dragon’s Blood neither disappointed nor surprised me in that regard.

Now I will go into the spoiler territory to further criticize Dragon’s Blood.

Dota: Dragon’s Blood: Story Flow & Character Development

To be honest, I did not like the flow of the story. The main reason for this is that the show only consists of 8 episodes. Although there is a brief summary of the universe in the first episode, I would have liked more world building in general. Likewise, in the short time given to us, the development of characters other than Davion and Mirana was very underwhelming. The main villain in the story is Terrorblade, however, he only appears properly 2 times. Maybe he’ll have a bigger role in later seasons. I think it would have been better in the 1st season, if he just remained a hidden villain.

The connection between Selemene and Invoker, the two mysterious and grey characters of the series, became fully understood only in the last episodes. I have never liked this kind of last minute explanation style in any show. Period. It seemed even more absurd that this was done in an 8-part series. I think it would have had a more positive effect on the flow of the series if we learned most of the information much earlier.

Davion and Mirana are two characters that have experienced “some” character development in the series, however at the end of the series, this is not tied anywhere. As I said, this can be attributed to Dragon’s Blood being a short 8-episode series. There was also an elf named Fymryn, though at this point I think the show would have been fine without her. Although she is an important character in terms of connecting different parts of the story, I did not like her.

Dota: Dragon’s Blood: The Biggest Weakness

The end of the 1st season ends with a huge cliffhanger. Considering that even a medium-quality anime series today has 12 episodes in 1 season, it would have been absurd for an 8-episode series to end a story arc. However, a story that is cut in the middle may cause the audience to perceive the series in a bad manner, which may cause the 2nd season to not come out.

Final Words

In my opinion, Dragon’s Blood is not too bad or too good. It has some shortcomings, but those can be fixed in future seasons. When compared to the other popular video game based Netflix show Castlevania, Dragon’s Blood lacked a proper pay off. The art style was also a bit more mediocre. So there is that. However, I don’t think a series need to be perfect to be watchable. As an action-packed series set in a fantastic universe, Dota: Dragon’s Blood, succeeded in its mission and I cannot wait for the 2nd season (for a proper ending).

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