Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Reverse Thieves Secret Santa 2013 - Dragon Half

Never mind all that "time for giving" nonsense, Christmas is all about laughing at stupid stuff - enter the first of two selections that I managed to watch as part of this year's Reverse Thieves Secret Santa project, and a series that was bizarrely re-licensed in North America just weeks after its selection dropped into my Inbox!  The series in question is Dragon Half, a nice and simple two-part OVA from 1993 to (hopefully) tickle my comedic taste buds.

As much as it's really a story about anything, Dragon Half is the tale of Mink, a half-human, half-dragon girl born of a father who abandoned being a hero to marry the dragon he was supposed to be slaying.  Oddly, given her family circumstances, Mink spends a lot of her time cooing over a dishy TV star-cum-pop idol-cum-dragon slayer who goes by the name of Dick Saucer, and it's this obsession which indirectly sets Mink on a path which pits her against another not entirely human girl named Vina, the king of the land who wants both Mink and her father killed, and ultimately Monsieur Saucer himself.

If there's one thing to be said for Dragon Half, it's that it doesn't hang about - the OVA's plot (or what passes for one) moves along apace from beginning to end, even if it only does so in service of creating more opportunities to cram comedy into its running time rather out of any semblance of deep story-telling.  Both its frenetic pacing and line in daft humour are a clear part of a long lineage of similar shows which scatter the history of anime - it's energetic, arguably a little lazy, but occasionally amusing when it hits the right spot with its self-referential humour.  Oh, and it takes the work of Beethoven, speeds it up considerably, and then throws Mink singing a manic song about cooking for a prospective boyfriend into the mix to serve as its ending theme - perhaps the closest the series ever truly comes to comedy genius.

End credits aside, I will admit that Dragon Half made me chuckle a couple of times, but two times in an hour isn't a particularly good ratio for getting laughs out of me.  While I can certainly understand the fondness that people who watched the show's two episodes back in the 1990s must have for it - a time when such quirky Japanese humour (and equally quirky animation) was harder to come by, and over twenty years before Teekyu could impress us with its terribly animated jokes about DLC cake with senpai - coming to it fresh in 2013 was hardly a revelatory experience.  If the goal of this Secret Santa selection was to make me reminisce about how "they don't make them like this any more", then I suppose it's a success... they don't make OVAs like this any more, but on balance I'd say perhaps that's for the better.  Unless we're comparing to Recorder and Randsell, in which case I'd concede that yes, if only they were making more Dragon Half instead.

Overall though, Dragon Half is certainly one for the "glad I watched it" pile - not a great series but no disaster either, and given its reputation definitely one to commit to the memory banks so I don't have to shift awkwardly in my seat out of a lack of knowledge whenever it crops up in conversation (which is more often than you might think).

No comments: