Sunday, November 22, 2009

DVD Review: Dragonaut: The Resonance, Part 1

Sometimes fan-service can be a little over the top, don't you think? I mean, I enjoy breasticles as much as the next guy, but when you have something such as Dragonaut: The Resonance on TV you can't help but feel ashamed. Just about every female in this series has proportions that would make Jessica Rabbit jealous. Cleavage and flappy, squeezable boobs are blended with science fiction for a show that isn't exactly worth going out of your way to see.

Dragonaut takes place a decent ways into the future where mankind ventures into the stars on a regular basis and we even have a colony beneath the surface of the moon. It's a fascinating set up and it works nicely as a backdrop for the show. Unfortunately the series doesn't take the time to explore the world around its characters and pretty much everything is taken for granted. Then again, I suppose you don't really need to know how we came to have a colony on the moon; just that we do. Instead of working on the atmosphere or the background, Dragonaut focuses solely on its characters.

At the center of everything is a kid named Jin Kamishina. When the series begins Jin is taking a flight to the moon with his family, but an accident sends him hurtling back down to Earth when his shuttle explodes as it collides with a falling object from space. He's the lone survivor, and lost everything in the accident. Two years later he's all alone in the world with no friends or family, and everyone who recognizes him treats him like an outcast or a freak. Really though, Jin is just whiny and spends a great portion of this show crying, bitching, and being melodramatic. It's kind of annoying and in all honesty I couldn't stand him as the protagonist early on. Thankfully he becomes less annoying as the series progresses, but that doesn’t come soon enough in my opinion.
One night while Jin is walking around all lonely and stuff, he stumbles upon a girl having her throat gnawed on by a hulking figure in a dark alley. Naturally, you'd go and check this out, right? Yeah, didn't think so. Well, Jin finds himself as an entrée on the menu and runs for his life only to be rescued by a beautiful busty girl named Toa. It turns out that Toa is actually an alien entity known as a Dragon who crashed on Earth a couple years ago (you do the timeline math). She seems to have a connection with Jin somehow, and we soon learn that she has actually resonated with him.

If you're confused by any of that trust me, you're not alone. I scratched my head for the first few episodes of this show and even then it still didn't supply sufficient answers. Basically Dragons are aliens from a thing in space, named Thanatos, which destroyed Pluto. In an effort to prevent Earth from suffering the same fate a human organization known as the ISDA has begun harvesting Dragons for their own use. Paired with a human known as a Dragonaut, the Dragons are servants really and more or less have to obey the humans they have resonated with. Things get a little more complex as the Dragons can change from their human form into massive mechanized monsters capable of great destruction. This transformation process is called Actualizing for what it's worth.

So, to make a long story short, Jin gets involved with the ISDA. They want him because he has resonated with Toa (also known as the Album) and has teamed up with another Dragon named Gio, who was supposed to be resonated with one of their Dragonauts. In all honesty, the show really just meanders about for the greater part of this installment. Dragons fight, Jin complains, and Toa bestows affection upon Jin for seemingly no reason. It's straightforward, shallow, and doesn't feel like it's going anywhere until the end. Oh, and there are boobs.The show looks decent enough and is presented with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. Dragonaut features a vibrant palette, attractive character designs, and a solid transfer. Unfortunately the CGI elements here completely fail in just about every sense. The Dragons just look god awful in their Actualized forms. The sound is good with English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 making the cut, though the Japanese language is by far the better with regards to the dubs. Bonus features included an audio commentary, clean animations, and trailers.

For what it's worth, Dragonaut: The Resonance has some very solid bits. On the character side of things Jin's growth from annoying to tolerable is pretty good, Toa is endearing enough, and the villains in the show are intriguing enough to entertain. The story also gets a little interesting towards the end of this installment, but it's still nothing to write home about. Ultimately this is a series that is very average and does little to make itself stand out. If you enjoyed Witchblade, you may like this one since Makoto Uno did the character designs. That would explain the rampant cleavage and squishy boobs. The show overcompensates for its weak areas with fan-service and that only endears itself to a certain segment of viewers.

Maki Rating:

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