Defense of the Ancients, aptly abbreviated to DotA, has been a popular multiplayer online video game franchise for a long time. DotA was originally designed as a mod for the popular game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, The Frozen Throne. The world of DotA has already been introduced to the people of Earth by the 2016 Travis Fimmel starred live-action adaptation – Warcraft, where the world is torn between a multitude of magical creatures.
DotA: Dragon’s Blood is an anime series set in the world of DotA and follows the story of a young Dragon Knight, Davion. The adaptation of the game is smoothly transitioned into the series and as such proves to be a treat for both the gamers and the anime lovers alike. Let’s delve deeper into the fine points that make this series a must-watch for the Otaku in our DOTA: Dragon’s Blood anime review.
DOTA: Dragon’s Blood Anime Review!
A Captivating World
The series shows a world full of magical and divine beings. The various species like the elves, orcs, humans and of course dragons find themselves at the very heart of the story. To add to the entourage, we see divine beings like the Dark Moon Goddess Selemene, the powerful elven mage Invoker, the ancient Eldwurms and the demon Terrorblade.
But it is not only the magic and boastful titles that draw the attention of the audience. The world is rich in its history, with the different traditions, beliefs, and cultures of the different races and species.
On one hand, the series displays the variety of landscapes, the diversity of the natural flora and fauna, the diversity in the attires of the people—be it the elite, the noble or the ordinary folk. On the other hand, it shows the different emotions of each and individual characters—something that makes the series highly enjoyable in my opinion.
The Brave and Valiant Protagonist
Davion the Dragon Knight is certainly the central character in the series. The series introduces us to this brave and honest youth who is skilled in combat and serves the dark kiss of death to all kinds of dragons and their kin. To make the world a better place, he is ready to lead himself through all odds.
Unknowingly, of course, Davion ends up fusing his blood and consciousness with an ancient dragon, Slyrak the Ember Eldwurm. Initially disgusted by this change of fate, Davion slowly learns the true nature of the world – the magic, the divine, and the darkness—all of it. Davion accepts the gift (or curse?) that he is given and embraces his true nature, the role of a protector.
An Antagonist Shrouded in Mystery
The perfect center for thrill is the villain who remains unseen. The demon Terrorblade serves as the perfect example here. Terrorblade wishes to remake the world in his own image and requires the souls of the Eldwurms to accomplish that.
However, he is a prisoner in the prison dimension ‘Foulfell’, and from there he plots and at times even manipulates others by possessing the bodies of other creatures and by striking deals if it requires a more subtle touch. Interestingly, enough Davion and Terrorblade do meet in a way during the series, but of course, the story is just unfurling.
Test of Faith
Time and again, the viewers can see that in this world, the people have an often unwavering fealty to their set of ideals and beliefs—be it some faction, some religion, or the self. From the very first episode in the series, we see the dragon knights of Dragonhold, the group of people who dedicate their lives to the eradication of dragons and their like.
Of these men, there are two in particular who are key to the plot of the series—Davion, our protagonist and Kaden, the legendary knight and Davion’s teacher. We also get to see the army in the Nightsilver Woods, the followers of Selemene who are tested every now and then, tasked with catching the thief who stole a Lotus of Mene and return it.
In particular, we see Luna, an officer of the Dark Moon Army and of course Mirana, the Moon Princess. We also see the immense faith in Fymryn, a coriel’tauvi from the forest of Coedwei, who believes that one day Mene will return to this world and set things right once again.
The Mundane and The Divine
The series offers a variety of characters—the followers of Selemene and Mene, the Crystal Maiden, the dragon knights, the people of the Helio Imperium—among many others. Through these people, we get to see not only the key characters, but also the ordinary folk going on with their daily chores.
It is a good nod to the detailing and indeed adds to the sense of the reality of the world. Then of course there is the fantastic—the magical beings who reside in this world. Selemene is mostly engrossed with the keeping of her faith and increasing her power. The Eldwurms offer a sense of mystery with a knowledge of the nature of the world.
Then of course there are the Invoker and Terrorblade, who mostly work in shadows and manipulate others to achieve their ends. The most mysterious yet, however, is Mene – the previous Moon Goddess—the viewers are yet to learn the details of her passing.
The series is developed by Studio Mir in association with Ashley Edward Miller, who is also the creator of the series along with being the director. The series boasts awesome artwork by the Seoul artist Il Kwang Kim.
Though simple in its form like most anime, the detailing in the characters and the environment is extraordinary and captivating. The particular intro section of the series is especially superb and certainly worth the attention from the audience.
Great Action Choreography
The series is, in fact, an action-based anime. The martial and magical elements of the story makes for the possibility of superb action sequences—often between two or more characters.
Kwang II Kim has done a masterful work portraying the transitions of the many forms of magic (the elemental forms) as smoothly as he has shown the intricacies of the various martial forms like sword-fighting, archery and even bushman crafts.
A Musical Brilliance
The trailer score had me reeled in for this series, to be honest. The work of Dino Meneghin is a unique beauty altogether. The eerie and mysterious sound in the intro as it slowly transitions to the dynamic themes of the series is a masterful work that does not require any separate mention.
The background scores used in the series are brilliant, and the specific theme music used for the different characters are simply superb.
Yes! Dragons. Those who swoon over fantasy and the mystique, easily gets swayed off their feet by these mighty beasts. To think that their magic and awe has diminished over time is a clear folly.
The series boasts the titanic presence of the Eldwurms, the most ancient of the dragons—with their own elemental and primordial powers. Apart from them, there are of course the usual draconic creatures that roam the material world. A draconic kin is also featured in the series—a somewhat central character!
The One Beyond Space and Time
There is, in fact, a character that can be easily missed right at the beginning of the series—the Narrator. The Narrator, or Oracle as some may call him, is most definitely an entity who lies beyond the barrier of the world.
It is through him that we learn of the history of the universe, the clash between the Radiant and the Dire—the two fragments of the Primordial mind. It is indeed the Narrator who introduces us to the series’ villain—the demon Terrorblade.
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DOTA: Dragon's Blood
And here we arrive at the scoring booth! The series is a beautifully written story set in an equally fantastic world. The artwork, the animation, the music, the choreography and in fact the overall world creation is unique and superb. The series catches the strong interest of the DotA gamers and the anime lovers alike. The mystery, the fight of the common men in face of the unsurmountable power of the magi and the divine makes the series interesting. The sense of the natural order of things is a beautifully mature one—with the occasional turn of events showing that the light does not always necessarily win over the dark. However, the hint of the ever victory of the light teased at the end of the series makes it worth the watch.
- Wonderful artwork and animation
- Masterful musical score
- A plot setup in a fantasy world
- Brilliantly written character arcs
- Superb voice acting
- Some lengthy dialogues that may seem unnecessary
- A somewhat flawed attempt to the occasional comedy
Artwork & Animation