This review is spoiler-free.
Set in the fantasy world of Dota, the story follows a Dragon Knight, Davion, who along with other such knights hunts dragons to make the world a safer place. In a battle between the demon Terrorblade, and the Eldwurm Slyrak, the elder dragon merges his soul with Davion. Accompanied by Mirana, Davion starts a journey to stop Terrorblade who wants to kill the dragons and collect their souls for his own use.
Quick disclaimer – I’ll be honest, I have never played or had any interest in the DOTA games. My knowledge and understanding of the lore all stems from this animated series. So, with that in mind, this review will be solely focused on the quality of the TV show and nothing else.
So, with all that said, why did I bother investing my time into a new animated series which is based on a video game that I am not interested in? Well, it was because DOTA: Dragon’s Blood comes from the same animation studio as The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, which we have also recently reviewed. Studio Mir did an incredible job with NOTW, as well as a more historic series in The Legend of Korra, which I really enjoyed also. So I just felt this was an obvious choice in which to invest my time in and I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed!
I genuinely had no idea about what the story was going to be. I knew there was something to do with dragons, from the title, and from my very small knowledge of the games I knew there were humans and elves as well. I think Dota: Dragon’s Blood does a fantastic job in making itself very accessible to a newcomer of the franchise. You are brought up to speed very quickly with the basics of the world and what to expect from it and the characters who live in it, all of which was made very clear from the first episode. The accessibility made it an easy and enjoyable watch, and when you start to add into the mix the great animation, exciting story and complexity of the characters, the show makes that jump from good to great!
In terms of the cast, I love Yuri Lowenthal (Davion) so for me it was always going to be a great performance because Lowenthal just has that ‘bankability’ when it comes to voicing a character. Supporting Lowenthal was Lara Pulver, who again just guarantees you a great performance every time. I can see why they wanted her on board for Nightmare of the Wolf after this performance! The added benefit here was that as this was a series she got even more time to shine. Freya Tingley (Fymryn) was a great addition to the cast as well and when you add the likes of Troy Baker, Kari Wahlgren, JB Blanc and Tony Todd into the mix as well, you just have such a strong ensemble to work with. It was a very impressive cast and the performances from every involved was simply incredible.
When it comes to the animation, we are starting to see more and more of this art style, blending traditional anime elements into a Western style. I know people can get very elitist over this kind of thing (just like Subs V Dubs), but I can happily appreciate both. For Dota: Dragon’s Blood, the animation was strong throughout and when it came to the dragons and the more magical elements of the show – that is when the animation really popped on screen!
Dota: Dragon’s Blood is a visually stunning animated series packed full of exciting action, magic, drama and dragons! Despite the wealth of lore established in the video games, this animated series is incredible accessible for newcomers, resulting in a highly enjoyable viewing experience.