Review of the anime series DOTA: Dragon’s Blood

Dota: Dragon’s Blood / “DOTA: Dragon’s Blood”

Genre Anime, fantasy
Directed by Ashley Miller
Cast: Yuri Lowenthal (Davion), Lara Pulver (Princess Mirana), Tony Todd (Slyrak), Troy Baker (Invoker), Alyx Wilton Regan (Celemena), Kari Wahlgren (Luna), JB Blank (Terrorblade)
etc.
Netflix Animation, Studio Mir
Release year 2021
IMDb

Although the plot in MOBA games has never been at the forefront, the same Riot puts quite a lot of effort into the development of the League of Legends game universe, the lore of which is served to players through separate videos, developer diaries and in-game story events. Until recently, Dota 2 fans had to be content with hero biographies, item descriptions, and the Secret Shop Tales webcomic. Well, with the efforts of Netflix and South Korean animation studio Studio Mir (The Legend of Korra, Voltron: The Legendary Defender, The Death of Superman, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge) and Ashley Miller (screenwriter of Thor, X-Men: First Class and the TV series Edge), the situation will change – The first season of Dota: Dragon’s Blood animation has been released on the popular streaming service. We note right away that, despite numerous references to the game, the series is designed not only for the hardcore audience of Dota 2 and will be understandable even to those viewers who have never seen the brainchild of Valve. For the most part, because there are some questions about the manner in which the plot is presented.

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After a brief introduction about the division of the Primordial Mind into two warring entities, Dota: Dragon’s Blood temporarily forgets about the confrontation between higher powers and switches to more mundane matters, telling the story of Davion, a young member of an order of dragon-hunting knights. The plot arc of Davion, frankly, is beaten so much that it will not be the slightest difficulty to predict what is happening even for a viewer unfamiliar with the character – another town suffering from the arbitrariness of a flying lizard, an alien hero with an obligatory faithful squire, an intermediate victory, a booze in a tavern and a “dramatic ” decoupling. Well, is there anyone else who does not know who the knight who killed the dragon turns into? True, it is still interesting to watch his adventures, since the battle scenes at Studio Mir traditionally came out very spectacular and quite bloody. The story comes to life with the appearance on the screen of Princess Mirana, who renounced the right to the throne and devoted herself to serving the goddess of the Moon, Selemina. Mirana was forced to leave the Silverwoods in search of the thief who stole the goddess’s sacred lotuses, unaware that this unfortunate incident would not only be the beginning of a big adventure, but also provoke first a religious war, and then something even worse.

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As soon as the paths of Davion and Mirana cross, events begin to develop so rapidly that it can be difficult for the viewer to keep track of everything. The story with dragons is replaced by the misadventures of elves forced to live on reservations, interspersed with flashbacks to Invoker’s past, and somewhere in the background, Terrorblade brings his sinister plans to life. Dota: Dragon’s Blood is trying its best to lay the foundation for several seasons ahead in eight short episodes and at the same time bring the maximum amount of fanservice to the screen. It turns out with varying degrees of success. Everything is in order with the fanservice, here are teleportation scrolls as a familiar means of transportation, and the Gem of True Vision, and many familiar characters in the frame, but otherwise it sometimes turns out to be a mess in which many storylines begin, but then immediately break off in mid-sentence. For example, Mirana stumbles upon a red obelisk, to which an army of the undead flocks, the heroes take their feet in half with grief and … everything, the series will not return to this topic again, at least this season. Players will probably understand the reference, but the rest of the viewer will simply consider the entire series filler and lament that instead they could have spent more time developing the main characters, the backstory of the elves, or how Selemine overthrew the elven goddess of the moon and took her place, since this episode often recalled in the series, but somehow in passing.

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With good art and great fight choreography, the series is a breeze to watch, although it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Netflix’s fantasy animations have been very similar lately, the parallels with Dragon’s Dogma and Castlevania are self-evident. Not only the characters of the characters are recognizable here, entire scenes wander from series to series with minor changes, and it is not clear what is to blame – the general gaming past of animations or the influence of Netflix. But be that as it may, the film adaptation of Dota: Dragon’s Blood came out very well. Miller’s task was not an easy one, given the specifics of the original source and the need to please both the game’s fans and new audiences, but he coped with it. We really hope that Netflix will renew the series and not become too dragged out with the new season, because the cliffhanger at the end of the eighth episode turned out to be absolutely unbearable, well, who does that?

Pros: Numerous Easter eggs and references to the game; fight choreography; animation by Studio Mir; duet of Davion and Mirana Cons: Some randomness in the presentation of the plot; not all episodes find a logical continuation. Conclusion:

The first season of Dota animation is actually just a prologue, all the most interesting, obviously, lies ahead of us

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