Kuutei Dragons

April 19, 2020

Dragons. Majestic mythical monsters that we human have painted in legends as fearful or with high reverence and awe throughout the ages. But don’t expect Kuutei Dragons to be a story about hunting dragons or anything about the said creatures. Instead, the story focuses on a relatively small independent dragon hunting crew who travels the skies in search of hunting down those dragons as part of their profession and passion. I suppose people make better drama materials than dragons.

Episode 1
We see the crew of Quin Zaza taking down a dragon in mid-air. It’s a tough fight only because Mika refuses to use the stun lances so as not to ruin the dragon’s meat. After killing the dragon, they land in town to sell its meat, oil and other essentials. Even though their business is good, the town mayor refuses to let them stay in town, claiming they are some unlicensed dragon hunting vessel. As they have no port and home to return to, Quin Zaza camps wherever they park. We see some of the activities of the crew like the engineers fixing the ship and Mika creating a delicious dragon meat hamburger that has some wanting a piece of it. But rest time is cut short when the mayor then makes an emergency request. A dragon is spotted flying above their town and wants them to take it out before anything untoward happens. Quin Zaza’s commander, Gibbs negotiates to provide lodging and meals for his crew in exchange for this service. Naturally they agree. Quin Zaza takes to the skies again as they encounter this much bigger dragon. Mika can tell from its actions that it is trying to call for its comrades. They have to take it out before more dragons arrive. Mika then acts on his own and attacks the dragon, causing it to get mad and attack the ship and cling on to it with its entire strength. Mika then realizes the same smell this dragon has. This is the mother of the dragon they killed earlier on and it is calling for its child. Of course, Quin Zaza is covered with its scent and you bet mama dragon is really mad. The dragon attacks the ship and its crew. Mika as usual doesn’t want to use the stun lances and tries to fight it the old fashion way. He gets caught and is almost eaten. He is forced to use the stun lance to kill it and prevent any casualties. In the aftermath, Quin Zaza crew members have a feast back in town. The best they’ve ever had in a long time. The cook cooks a dragon meat for Mika to taste. How does it taste after getting stun lanced? Horrible. Yuck.

Episode 2
Gibbs teaches Takita how to shoot. Of course when it comes to the real hunt, the veterans handle the guns and she is just in position to reload. The hunt is successful and she helps to extract oil. She learns that a dragon is very valuable and rakes in the money. However a failed hunt means they go into huge losses. Takita dares how much she is compensated for this hunt. We take it from her reaction, not much. Looks like she still has a huge debt to clear after paying the entrance fee to join this ship. Later Takita thought she saw a bird. Could it be a mini dragon?! She tries to tell the guys but they don’t want to be bothered on their break. Hence she tries to catch the dragon alone. To no avail. Suddenly Gibbs collapses. Though he is okay, something bit his hand. Something larger than a dog. Could it be that dragon? And yes, we see that dragon belonging to another ship and has escaped its cage. The owner must be furious to get it back. Takita tells the rest and they can’t blame her for not telling them in the first place. They want to go hunt it down but Jiro suggests instead of separating into groups and risk getting bitten (who knows it might be poisonous), all should stay in one place while a small group hunts it down. So as Mika, Takita and Jiro track it, the rest hole up in the bridge. What a crowded place… Eventually they find it in the oil room as Mika deduces it must be a parasite that lives off dragons as it is attracted to dragons’ scent. They try to catch it and why does this remind me of trying to catch a chicken? Eventually Takita catches it but it opens its mouth wide trying to bite her! Why does this remind me of Resident Evil monster?! Thankfully Mika kills it. What to do with its corpse? Cook it! Since cutlets are out of the question, they fry it into some golden crisp. So how does it taste? Mika trolls everyone by looking like he got poisoned. Yeah, it’s delicious alright. They give the remainder to Gibbs. Looks like he wasn’t poisoned and he was just showing symptoms of coming down with a cold from overworking. Meanwhile that dragon’s owner is furious and still wants it found. That ultra rare dragon is supposed to be a gift to some royal family and is worth 2 billion!

Episode 3
You think hunting dragons is tough? It is the chores on board Quin Zaza that are harder! So Takita has to do the laundry since Vanabelle is having a bad hangover. Takita learns that Jiro’s father was also a dragon hunter and that’s where he inherited some of his good senses and sight. As the crew is preparing for stormy weather, they thought there is fire on the ship. Well, turns out Mika is trying to smoke his meat. Too much smoke… Jiro tells of the glittering dragon legend. At least that was what his father told him. His ship was in danger during the storm but a glittering dragon popped up and saved them. The ship has entered the storm clouds. Jiro and Mika keep watch so as to avoid taking dangerous paths. But unfortunately the clouds were trolling them and they were hiding the mother of all storm clouds. Their only choice and chance is to slip through it if they are going to have a better chance of getting out this storm in one piece. When the storm gets electrifying and too strong, Jiro is almost blown off but luckily Mika catches him. It is then the glittering dragon pops up and flies alongside them. Jiro so happy he cried? Legend must be true. So as to prove that they’re not hallucinating, everybody also sees this glittering dragon and can’t help stare in awe. Mika wants to catch it but of course the bridge captain, Crocco will not allow it since everybody is already at their limit trying to weather through this storm. Jiro believes this glittering dragon is guiding them out of this storm and wants to follow it. In the end, Quin Zaza exits the storm safely. The glittering dragon is gone. While everyone is relieved, only Mika is unhappy because he really wanted to catch it! Jiro would prefer the legend staying as a legend but Mika isn’t because legends don’t fill your stomach! Well, he has a point. The day gets ‘worse’ for Mika since dinner is served and has no meat. Or just very small pieces. That’s what you get when you don’t have dragon hunts.

Episode 4
Takita finds a very good (and sexy) sketch of a sleeping Vanabelle. If she doesn’t want the guys to see it, why did she show it to them? Of course now they want to know who drew this sketch. Since it is found in the room of Jiro, Hiro and Gaga, they try to narrow down the suspects. They let Jiro and Hiro draw sketches but they’re obviously bad. So the perpetrator is Gaga. But when they confront him, he denies. They suspect him even more since he continues to panic. This ruckus wakes up Gibbs. So Gaga comes clean and reveals he is good at drawing. There are other sketches of other crew members. With everyone laughing over this, Gibbs still isn’t pleased so he has all of them scrub the deck. Later Vanabelle talks to Takita and asks the latter about the reason why she joined this crew. But for Vanabelle, she doesn’t have any particular reason and is questioning her own existence on this ship. Also, it is because she doesn’t belong anywhere on land, hence she took it to the skies. Soon after, a round dragon (goldfish) is spotted. Of course they’re going to hunt it. After harpooning it, it seems the dragon faces them and starts giving off a strange sound wave that attacks their mind. The crew have to hide inside to avoid their eardrums from being ruptured or getting a massive headache. However Mika will not lose. He still wants to take it down despite knowing the risk. Even when Vanabelle tells him off if he enjoys killing dragons so much, Mika remains stubborn and jumps on the dragon despite its continuous sound wave attack. The headache is killing him as he weakens while trying to take it out. Vanabelle who seems not effected by the sound wave anyhow, assists to help kill it. Dragon looking at her with those eyes? After thinking about that talk with Takita, I guess no love lost. She kills it. That night, Vanabelle catches Mika trying to snitch some dragon meat. So she joins him and suggests cooking it with leftover cabbages and potatoes. The result turns out to be another delicious dragon meat. Gibbs and the guys come by and too bad the sharing means it’s all gone. Vanabelle asks Mika’s reason to be here. It’s because he loves dragons. Hunting, dissecting and eating them is a dragon hunter’s way of life. Of course he loves eating them because it’s tasty. There may be other tasty things out there but dragons are the tastiest! Next morning, a mad Takita screams at Mika for not waking her up to eat that dragon meat. Gaga sketches a lovely picture of this ‘fight’.

Episode 5
Crocco thinks they can refuel, restock and rest up once they get to the next town. But Lee points out that won’t do because they have no money! Despite hunting a few dragons, they are small ones and Quin Zaza is a sizeable crew. I guess they have to make with those potatoes again. And no stealing dragon meat for sale, Mika! An ocean ship is spotted with a distress SOS flag flown. Mika, Vanabelle, Soraya and Faye head down to check but it looks abandoned. Nobody is on board. Could it be they have been rescued? But why didn’t take down to SOS flag? Vanabelle sees a fast ship approaching. She has everyone return and Quin Zaza take off as quickly as possible. Their worst fears come true as that ship is air pirates and the ocean ship was just bait. The air pirates are faster as they try to riddle some holes into Quin Zaza. I know Takita is in shock but she just stood there ready to get shot?! Had Mika not acted in time… Vanabelle and Niko try to shoot back but their guns are not to hit small things. The enemy has a machine gun, you know. The air pirates decide to board Quin Zaza on their kite. Mika’s plan is to board them back instead. So those boarding air pirates are so confident they can jump on board without any weapons? Mika then uses this chance to swing down to the air pirates’ ship. Then he just kung fu kick all of them! You mean the air pirates can’t even shoot straight at this distance?! Oh, can’t blame them. At this height and velocity, it’s hard. Eventually the air pirates get scared of Mika and because he is hungry, they bring out all their food and give it to him! Mika is about to enjoy this huge chunk of dragon meat when suddenly the gunner who is supposed to shoot him, the gun jammed and he fires and destroys the meat instead. Mika so mad that he punches the daylights out of him. Damn, Mika looking more like a pirate than those air pirates! I suppose they’re all so dumb because they could have just shot him at the back of the head while he is eating. But I suppose they learn their lesson not to mess with dragon hunters anymore. A good day for Quin Zaza as a dragon is spotted. You bet they’re going to catch this one or else as Lee says, no salary to pay them!

Episode 6
Arriving in the port city of Quon, Gibbs has Takita do her first dragon dissection. After a tough job, she takes a deep rest. Mika thought she is hungry but why did he go share his meat with her? Because Vanabelle said after all that overwhelming incident, newbies like her may take this chance to quit! Mika then takes Takita to the city whereby he brings her to see an old blind man, Ura who is some dragon expert. His main job is making pelts out of dragon skins and his entire tent is covered with those beautiful pelts from dragons as far as many generations ago. Takita is excited to make a pelt from her first dissected dragon. Meanwhile the Quin Zaza ladies are out drinking and they can’t stop talking about work. Yeah, what else is there to talk about? When a few men want to buy them drinks, obviously they decline (not their type either). They take this as an insult so Vanabelle challenges them to a drinking contest whereby the loser must pay everyone’s rounds. Safe to say, it’s Vanabelle’s victory and she didn’t even break into a sweat. Meanwhile the other Quin Zaza guys are hanging out in a bar and some even calling for prostitutes. Of course Jiro being the cherry boy is being shy so Niko tries to convince him this is their only chance. There is another dragon hunting group here, one from the local guild. Because one of them is being rough with a prostitute (she too is disinterested in him), Jiro steps up to tell him off that this brings shame to their profession. Oh really? And before you know it, bar fight!!! At this point, the girl, Katja takes Jiro and run out into town. They hang out for a while as they trade stories of their lives. Jiro hears her sad story how she hasn’t been anywhere. He wants to invite her out to tomorrow’s festival but she remains quiet and part ways. Obviously Jiro is having some issues of the heart as he returns to Quin Zaza (the other guys getting lectured by Gibbs for getting into a fight). Jiro probably wanted to ask Vanabelle a question but can’t bring himself to it. Suddenly the guild’s ship explodes in flames. The dragon that they brought in for dissection, it revived!!! OMFG!!!! You mean it’s not dead?!

Episode 7
Quin Zaza crew help out with the injured. They learn the dragon was poisoned but apparently not enough to effectively kill it. The dragon wreaks havoc but after crashing into the walls of the city, it stays there. Mika can tell that it is not angry but rather scared. When city guards try to kill it with their pea shooter bombs, the dragon uses its wings to form into one big amplifier and turn it into devastating scorching heat ray. Ura mentions that because the dragon is poisoned, it lost its sight and is now scared. Before he could tell some deep stories about the sky, Mika is only interested if they can eat it. What? As the townspeople are panicking and in the midst of evacuation, Katja doesn’t seem all too eager to do that. After all, where else can she go? With the other ships fleeing, Quin Zaza is about to do the same but Jiro suggests using their ship to evacuate some of the people. Lee shoots down his proposal seeing that it is not plausible. The nearest town is still far and how many trips are they going to make? First of all, they didn’t start this problem and has nothing to do with them. But of course Mika says to take it down because it is edible as long as the poison is taken out. With the crew still unsure, Vanabelle vouches for Mika. As they don’t have opportunities to take down big dragons like this, they can profit from doing so and if they fail, nobody will blame them for trying. I guess it’s decided then. They’re going to take the dragon down. So who made Jiro the boss as he gives orders to the rest of the crew to get on the double on their feet? Ah, this is what love makes a man do. Lee has gotten permission of the guild’s captain to share some of the spoils and to also lend some manpower. But some the guild’s crew didn’t like it so they try to finish off the dragon themselves. Riding an autogyro, they drop a few bombs on it. Seriously, they think that would kill the dragon? Naturally the dragon gets mad and now tries to hunt it down. Worse, it chases them deep into town. Jiro has a bad feeling and rushes into town. Then dragon starts falling. Why does it have to be in the direction where Katja lives?

Episode 8
With the dragon crashing down at the bar, Jiro starts thinking how dragon hunters brought this upon themselves. You know, they don’t know how dragons lived and hence this tragedy was brought upon by themselves. While Quin Zaza gets ready to take off, some of the crew head on the ground and try to kill it. With their pea shooters? Better hurry and put it out of another misery. Because there is an oil refinery nearby and the damage will be more than devastating if another heat ray is released. Mika as usual is reckless as he climbs up the dragon’s neck and stabs a stun lance. Despite being thrown off and bleeding all over, he won’t give up. It is their responsibility to hunt this dragon down properly. But I guess the hunt is cut short because here comes the heat ray! Everyone escapes but Jiro becomes a hero, Mika style. Recklessly he climbs up the dragon and manages to shoot one into the dragon’s spine. I think he needs more than that to take it down. But the heat ray is coming. Is this the light one sees at the end of one’s life?! Haha! Oops, sorry. No time for jokes. Jiro thought he is done for when suddenly Quin Zaza rams into it! OMG. How can such a rundown ship not sustain any heavy damage like that?! At point blank range, Gibbs fires his heavy harpoon, effectively killing the dragon. In the aftermath, Jiro is happy to see Katja returning. I don’t think the bar girls were that stupid to stick around when the dragon crashed, right? Jiro is so relieved that she is fine, earning the tease of his comrades as well as Katja herself. Reality sinks in that they can’t sell the dragon as they used the stun lances and this has caused its value to drop. Nearby, the townspeople are arguing with the dragon hunter guild members about this disaster. Both are blaming each other when the guild captain steps in to f*ck his own crew for giving him more problems. Niko tells the real hero is Jiro, otherwise the town would’ve been devastated by the heat ray. Lee suggests donating the dragon to Quon. This leaves some unhappy because they worked hard to kill this dragon. On the contrary, if they try to sell it, nobody is going to buy it. Because trying to profit out of this will look like rebelling. With the city heavily damaged, donating it will be the best option and in exchange to getting their ship fixed and other expenses covered. I suppose that’s a fair deal for everyone. Mika still not happy he can’t eat dragon meat? He thought of heading to Ura’s place for some but Gibbs forces him to help clean up the city. Katja laughs when Jiro looked so serious when apologizing the festival is ruined. But she would love to have seen how cool he was when taking down the dragon.

Episode 9
The dissecting begins. The real problem is how the different have different methods of cooking the dragon meat! This could be the real battlefield instead. So Yoshi cooks the best dragon cutlet meat for everybody and you bet this is the best meal ever after a hard dissecting job. Too bad Mika makes a head start by biting it first. SHARE! As Ura explains how to remove the poison from the dragon, Mika is all too happy about this until he realizes that the trick is that it needs to be soak in rice bran for 3 years. 3 YEARS???!!! Does that justify him getting rough with a blind old man? Mika so disappointed… Once Quin Zaza is fixed up and refuelled, they are to take off as soon as possible at the next light. This puts a damper to many of the crew because they wanted a much needed vacation. Like Capella. There goes her wish of getting a massage. But they have to respect the townspeople as they have got a lot on their hands to rebuild the city too. Meanwhile Jiro sees Katja. As the guild gave them the autogyro, he takes her to the skies and grants her wish of leaving the city even if it’s just temporary. He knows how to fly this thing? Okay. Whatever. Then he pops the question. No, not marriage yet. He wants her to come join him on Quin Zaza. Pretty girl so overwhelmed that she cries and can’t give her answer right now. So before Quin Zaza leaves, Katja trolls Jiro by looking like she wants to kiss him. She just wants to cut his hair because he looks like a girl. Say what?! Anyway he allows her to and I guess this is where she gives her answer. Sorry, can’t come with you. Heart breaking, no? :’(. Quin Zaza flies off and Katja keeps a part of his cut hair. Uhm, I don’t know, but isn’t this a bit creepy? Mika and Takita are shocked by Jiro’s new look. So is this the new him?

Episode 10
It’s back to dragon hunting business as Quin Zaza flies into the dangerous dragons corridor. It is here where they hope to get lucky to find a pod of migrating dragons and strike it rich. They are navigating through the narrow chasms so that they will catch the updraft that will lift them to the clouds where the pod is. They are lucky to get that and even stumble into the pod. The hunt is on. As they manage to spear onto one, of course the dragon struggles. In that close brawl, the dragon drags Takita off the ship as she falls with it! Oh no! Man, I mean, woman overboard!!! The crew is in shock and immediately go into search mode. Takita wakes up in a cave. Yes, she survived. After treating to that nasty cut on her thigh, she lights a fire but the smoke isn’t enough to create any signal. She has no strength to even break the branch of this lone tree. Then she sees that dragon lying close by and injured. Her spear deeply imbedded into it. She starts to feel bad and is hesitant in finishing it. The dragon’s weak tentacle tries to strangle her so I guess this is cue for her to finish it off. She stabs deep into its throat, effective killing it. Takita reels from the shock but a small dragon pops up. Is this a jellyfish or something? But this dragon cub seems to take a liking for her. As the cub accompanies Takita dissecting the dragon, she feels more and more guilty. Meanwhile Quin Zaza continues to look for Takita. Shouting her name seems futile but it’s better than nothing. So I guess that’s where the autogyro come in handy as Jiro and Mika ride on it to scour the lower areas of the valley. Takita wakes up after dozing off. She panics when the cub is not around but it soon comes back. Wow. They’re like best friends now? But also coming into the picture is a matagi hunter, Ascella. This is supposed to be her hunting ground. She learns Takita fell from the sky and when Takita notes she has a knife, she has Ascella help out in dissecting the dead dragon. We learn a few things like how a dragon can fly because of the shape of its heart. Takita collapses and Ascella realizes she has a fever. Jiro’s search fails. He wants to refuel and return to finding Takita but Gibbs disallows him. As it is getting dark and they don’t have any options to land, he is not risking losing another member even if Jiro has good night vision. Lee suggests raising their course above the cliffs and declare the next 48 hours as search period. But Crocco orders to remain sailing at low speed.

Episode 11
Quin Zaza is riding the roller coaster of emotion about Takita’s absence. They try to be positive but can’t help think negatively that she may be dead. Never say never. Meanwhile Ascella cooks some nice dragon stew but Takita doesn’t want to eat. Feeling guilty? After some teasing, Takita gives in and chows down the entire pot. I hope those tears aren’t because she felt guilty eating the cub’s mom or something. So it tastes so good, huh? Good. Next morning, Ascella brings her out of the ravine to her mini base. The other person there is an old woman. Grandma is going to fix her swollen injured thigh with a needle. Brace for the pain. Ascella distracts her with some dragon stories. When all is done, Takita tries to feed the cub but it won’t eat anything she gives. Thinking it only eats things from the sky, Takita uses her knowledge to extract dragon oil to put in her food. The cub still won’t eat it. I don’t think forcing it will make it any better. Grandma suggests putting eggs and making margarine out of it. Only then the cub eat it. Success! Takita and the cub so ever close. Deep that night, Takita becomes panic to see the cub all weakened and wrinkly. They deduce as sky creatures cannot live on land, it must be returned to the sky. With Takita vowing to do so, Ascella prepares for their trip to Mt Kin. Legend says that because the mountain gives off smoke, the pod will definitely pass there. Meanwhile Quin Zaza also has this same idea that Takita might come here. Making this gamble more ‘credible’ is Faye showing a matagi book about this legend. There’s only 1 way to find out. Takita braves the pain as she brings the cub up the mountain. A few heart stopping scares for Ascella as Takita almost fell off. And she finally fell off for real! But thankfully the cub floats her up! OMFG! The cub that strong?! I guess it’s the power of love. Takita sees the pod closing in on the mountain and it is starting to change shape. Hurry before it goes away. But the cub wants to be with tearful Takita and won’t go no matter how much she tries to shoo it to return to its pod. And then peeking out of the corner is Quin Zaza! OMG. Happy ending? Time to add to those tears.

Episode 12
It is with great sadness that Lee announces the end of their 48 hour search. Just then, Mika hears Takita calling out his name. He knows where to find her? Just listen to where the wind blows! And there she is. Vanabelle ties a rope to Mika so he could jump and get her. Greatest acrobat catch ever! Mika upon seeing the cub on Takita’s back, he wants to eat it! Seriously! Takita is brought back up Quin Zaza and everyone is relieved she is alive. Takita wants to return the cub to the pod. Also, a different species of dragons pop up as they all try to hunt and feast on each other. It’s a goldmine for all dragon hunters here so why do they still need to go around the world to hunt for dragons? Well, such phenomenon is unpredictable and nobody knows when it will show up. I guess Quin Zaza got lucky and struck gold this time. After hunting and raking in a dragon, a big mother dragon now pops up. Now, it is a good time for Quin Zaza to get out of here but you know, Takita wants to send the cub back while Mika wants to eat this big mother. Vanabelle assists Takita in taking down this big mother. Gibbs thought he could help by firing a powerful blast but the duo fall off! Can’t risk another missing incident so Niko shoots them a lifeline. Meanwhile, Takita has Jiro fly her up in the autogyro to the pod. She drops in and returns the cub to its big ancestor grandma. She hopes that if they meet again in the future, she will hunt it down. So please don’t get eaten till then. Once the pod is gone, it’s like all the dragons disappear too. Gibbs reprimands the reckless ones but you know this isn’t going to be the last time, right? Mika so sad he failed in taking down the big mother. Couldn’t even take a bite out of it. Everyone celebrates Takita’s return with food and booze. Then it is back to normal dragon hunting business as usual for Quin Zaza.

How To Cook Your Dragon Meat
Hmm… A pretty normal and average ending that screams ‘life goes on as usual for our characters’. I don’t know why but I was having this weird idea that a twist might happen. You know, after Takita releases the cub back to its pod, suddenly it gets eaten and devoured by another dragon!!! HAHAHA!!! Oh sh*t… I don’t think it is that kind of anime but I thought it would be hilarious and shocking if that were to ever happen. Then I will leave the series with really weird feelings that I would probably start to regret in the future and should have wished for a more ordinary one. Thank goodness the boring and typical ‘happy’ ending happened instead.

As already stated in the synopsis, this series turns out to be almost what I expected it to be. The stories and plots are close to non-existent as many of the episodes especially in the first half of the series serve as standalones and also episodic in nature. This is probably to introduce and let us get used to the kind of life the main characters on board Quin Zaza are experiencing. Then in the second half, we have a couple of mini arcs in the form of the port city of Quon and Takita getting lost in the dragons corridor. I won’t say that all the stories are boring as each of them are unique, fascinating and intriguing in their own right. However I can’t help feel that it is still missing that sort of oomph that makes me want to yearn and hope they will make another season. But I want to note that one of the episodes where a rare dragon bird strayed into their ship that was supposed to be a gift for a royalty, I really thought this was going to be the final story for this season. I was thinking the owners have found out what Quin Zaza had done to their precious dragon and would start a war. It would have been interesting to see that story but I guess unfortunately the anime just left it where it was. I’m not sure if it is covered in the ongoing manga but it would’ve been an interesting one.

As we already know beforehand, the dragons aren’t the main characters here. But sometimes I do wish that they are given more focus on. Because of that, we do not know much about the dragons, their habitat and life cycle or anything else about them. As far as the story is concerned, the dragons are turned into convenient plot devices and nothing more. But to be fair, there are only a dozen of episodes here so it is not possible to give the dragons their screen time when they are already struggling with the human characters. It would have been certainly interesting to see more about the lore and setting of this world, the history between the humans and the dragons. Hence I feel it is a shame that we just got the minimum of what these dragons are and they look more like monsters to be hunted down with to add spice to the plot rather than intelligent majestic creatures.

Speaking of dragons, noticed how that in every episode (except the final one) they feature some sort of dragon food? So to be honest, dragons may not get the spotlight they deserved but they get featured as some sort of food? I don’t know if this is insulting or creative but heck, has anybody in real life ever tasted dragon meat before?! So sometimes I think that Kuutei Dragons can also be a play on the word for Kutte Dragons meaning Eating Dragons! Which is clever, by the way. So yeah, they can feature a few seconds of that dragon dish in every episode that will make us curious to wonder how it will ever taste in real life, but that’s never really going to happen in reality. So sad. Dragon meat could’ve been a real deal shocker had it been featured in Shokugeki No Souma. The exaggerated reactions would’ve been priceless, I tell you.

The action bits while hunting the dragons feel just sufficient to keep you entertained. Not the most heart pounding action scenes ever but still feel exhilarating in its own right. It’s just mind blowing that they manage to kill such a huge dragon without spilling a lot of blood. Maybe the kind of weapon they use allowed them to maintain the freshness of the corpse whatever. Mika being the crazy one, prefers to just dive down onto the dragon to kill it with his own hands. I bet the meat tastes better if you kill it yourself with your own blood, sweat and tears. I think. Don’t even get me started how Mika singlehandedly beat the crap out of those air pirates. I was just dumbfounding… I don’t even know how they manage to carry the freshly killed dragon on their ship seeing the dragon is as big as Quin Zaza and it is such an old ship, you bet everything is being overworked way past its limit. I also thought Quin Zaza should have a bit of barriers at the open deck where they hunt dragons. I understand they need the space to move and do whatever to hunt but at the same point I can’t help feel that anybody can just fall off if they’re not careful. This is not a place for drunk people to wander and yet we see the crew sometimes blowing off steam drinking booze (although it is inside the ship).

And as for the characters of this series, I can’t say that I am impressed with it either. They are supposed to be the main focus and drive but I find it hard to connect with them. Even with Mika and Takita as the main characters. Even if both are eccentric, I would say that Mika seems a little more eccentric than Takita because of his penchant to think nothing about eating dragon meat. He only has got dragon food on his mind. Yes, it’s his passion. Don’t laugh at him. But it’s more like a running joke to see him each time to think in such a way that dragon meat is his end goal. Everything he says or does, nothing but dragon meat is the feat he needs to achieve. Then there is Takita who is the newbie on Quin Zaza. They say that with her around, it never feels boring but I don’t see her as so. Sure, she is quite lively and has her slight quirks. But that is only when you compare her to the rest of the dragon hunting crew who are mainly guys. Yeah, there are only 4 ladies total on board Quin Zaza. Guys will be guys and when a woman joins their ranks, of course she is going to look interesting. After all, Takita is kinda cute, right?

Those hoping to see Mika x Takita romance would be sorely disappointed. I didn’t think it would come to this because of the pacing of the series but the series do try and troll us with red herring hints. Like how Mika smelling Takita just to note she is smelly and then later on Takita actually washing her hair with shampoo so as not to attract him because of love but rather to prove that she is no longer smelly. Yeah. That. Jiro x Katja distraction almost came close but I suppose when you think about it, their parting was the best because imagine if love got in the way during a fierce dragon hunting session. That would put everybody in danger.

The rest of the other characters fail to make any sort of impact as they feel mostly like side characters. After all, Quin Zaza has about 20 crew members so it is going to be hard to give each of them the limelight. In fact, you hardly know anything about them! I believe I don’t even know some of their names when the series ended. Sure, they might have mentioned them from time to time but they weren’t just memorable. So there is hardly anything for me to say for the rest of the crew because I hardly know anything about them! We know Gaga is good in drawing. That’s about it. That’s just his most prominent standout ever. What about Vanabelle’s reasons to be on board Quin Zaza? I’m sure all the crew members have their reasons but we want to know why she’s always putting a poker face and that one time she isn’t affected by that dragon’s sound wave attack. Could she have some sort of special ability that we are not aware of? Overall, if you want to talk about the character development here, it is mostly not what you hope it to be.

The other mind boggling thing is that Quin Zaza may not be a very big ship but it is still quite a big ship to maintain. My gripe is that the engine room is only manned by 3 people! Just 3 damn freaking engineers! We have a young boy (Hiro), a very old man and a feisty lady who I think is the leader of this division. No wonder they always complain and get stressed out whenever Quin Zaza goes into overdrive mode and they have to really work hard to make sure the engines do not bust during such crucial times. Oh yeah. Quin Zaza is a very lucky ship. I guess having 3 engineers isn’t as bad as just having 1 cook (Yoshi) who cooks for the 20 or so odd crew members. Oh well, with the limited rations in the kitchen, I’m sure the crew should be thankful he can make them a decent meal. If only Mika could stop snitching dragon meat from the kitchen like as though he is trying to sneak in for a midnight snack, that will be great…

One of the unique things one will notice when starting to watch this series is how the animation and visuals are all using CGI. Reminds me of Kouya Kotobuki No Hikoutai. Some may loathe it because it’s not your true Japanese 2D hand drawn animation. But if done right, it can look quite stunning. This is the case for this series as the CGI effects may not be perfect but it does a great job in providing good visuals. Though, the animation movements of the characters can be a little stiff at times but this is negligible. The background and sceneries look quite good. After all, Polygon Pictures who animated this show is no stranger in using CGI as they have done so in Ajin and Sidonia No Kishi.

As for the dragon designs, they do not look like your typical dragons of the western lore. At least for the ones that appeared here so far. So sometimes their designs may come off as weird and perhaps a little scary. Like as though they came out from some B-grade horror flick. With different dragon species, it feels like as though they are being featured as the ‘monster of the week’ or something. It would be boring to see them hunt the same dragons, right? Maybe we just conveniently call them dragons since they soar through the sky. More than often, the dragon designs look more like sea creatures ranging from manta rays to jellyfish and squids. For the character designs, don’t really have any issue except for one: I don’t know if it is Quin Zaza’s uniform because it makes Takita’s butt looks big! Damn, she’s thicc!!! I think the others too look a bit big on their butt if you squint your eyes further but it is only very obvious on Takita. Sometimes I can’t help stare and wonder if this is an animation error or something. Seriously. Maybe that is why the guys find this newbie quite interesting… Just saying…

For the voice acting, a few recognizable seiyuus lending their talents to this series including Kana Hanazawa as Vanabelle, Junichi Suwabe as Gibbs (he reminds me a lot like Black Clover’s Yami), Takahiro Sakurai as Niko and Ayane Sakura as Katja. I was surprised to learn Rie Kugimiya was behind Capella’s voice. No matter how much I go back and listen to this character’s lines, I can never bring myself to really think that it was her behind it. It was like as though she was deliberately trying hard to sound very different than the stereotypical tsundere roles she often voiced in the past as well as those young boys’ role too. Still can’t believe it was her. Sora Amamiya as Takita, at this rate I think I am going to pigeonhole her voice because I seem to start recognizing her voicing such ditzy characters. From Aqua in KonoSuba to Dancou in Hangyakusei Million Arthur, you get the idea. The other casts include Tomoaki Maeno as Mika (Schubert in ClassicaLoid), Souma Saitou as Jiro (Tazuna in Hand Shakers), Tomokazu Seki as Crocco (Gilgamesh in Fate series), Hiroo Sasaki as Lee (Vidaux in RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida), and Maaya Sakamoto as Ascella (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji).

Gunjou by Yoh Kamiyama as the opening theme sounds rather okay. While it isn’t the most calming song ever, somehow I find that listening this song gives off this calming feel despite being of a rock genre. In a way, it suits the kind of pace as seen in this series. Zettai Reido by Akai Kouen sounds okay but at times it sounds weird. Apart from the screeching electric guitar, sometimes this song brings memories of Kujira No Kora Wa Sajou Ni Utau despite both sound very different. But nothing beats the weirdest part of the ending credits animation whereby we see Takita doing some weird hip dancing. Then the rest of the crew got into her pace and try to do the same. I don’t know. That kind of dance, I thought only old people dance like that. Weird.

Overall, this series is enjoyable and intriguing but could have been a lot better had they fleshed out properly the characters as well as the lore of this world, especially the dragons. Otherwise it feels like a semi-pseudo-documentary of a group of dragon hunters hunting down dragons. It doesn’t offer anything much in that sense. Yeah, in a way you could say that we wished that this series had a bit more of dragon meat for us. Just like how they tell us how the economics worked in this show, even though you’ve got the biggest catch ever, it still means nothing if you cannot sell its essential parts. A subtle foreshadowing of the fate of this series? Maybe if they could just share with us those delicious dragon recipes, maybe we’ll change our minds in wanting another season. Just maybe. Better hunting luck next time.

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