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Home > Dragon’s Dogma Netflix Series: A Review

Dragon’s Dogma Netflix Series: A Review

Dragons Dogma

Based On The Hit Capcom Video Game

Dragon’s Dogma is a seven-episode animated series on Netflix that started streaming in September 2020. The series adapts trace elements of the Capcom video game, featuring many of the same designs of the characters, creatures, and environments from the game. Dragon’s Dogma follows Ethan, a former hunter of a humble village with his pregnant wife when a massive dragon raids their village and destroys everything. Made into an arisen after the nightmarish encounter, Ethan meets Hannah, a pawn sent to help him swear vengeance against the beast as he goes on a quest to slay the monster that took his heart.

Telling The Dark Tales Of Sin

Each episode of the animated series is thematically based around the Seven Deadly Sins, biblical concepts that can potentially lead to the ruination of the soul. These sins are both episode names and key bridges of the stories in them. Each sin is represented from the beginning to the end and helps deconstruct the usual tropes of dark fantasy, showing the worst of humanity and Ethan’s dark development as he becomes more centric and obsessed with vengeance.

The first episode kicks off the main plot with Wrath, with the dragon’s attack and Ethan’s declaration for vengeance. Following Wrath is Gluttony, where a starving village lives in fear of a cyclops while the nobles stuff themselves on their food. In order, there’s Envy, which centers around an estranged couple unable to convey their love. Sloth, where young, terrified people subject themselves to drugs. Greed, where noble warriors succumb to the desire to hoard treasures. Lust, where a succubus preys on the temptations of her victims. The series then ends with Pride, when Ethan, by this point, is long gone and seeks to kill the dragon with his own sense of self-righteousness.

The Arisen And His Companions

Dragon’s Dogma has only two major characters, with the episodes focusing on minor characters. Ethan the Arisen and Hannah the Pawn. Both of them go through contrasting character development. Hannah starts as an emotionless, almost robotic companion who is confused by human concepts like compassion and heroism. As the series progresses, she grows more compassionate and heroic, being an anchor for Ethan to maintain his humanity. Ethan goes through the opposite, from noble and heroic to callous and wrathful. Ethan’s growing desire to kill the dragon and witnessing the corrupt nature of the people he met on the journey drive him to the brink. By the end of the series, he becomes the antithesis of a dark fantasy hero.

Dragons Dogma

The many side characters that join Ethan’s journey have very few moments other than being subjected to the sin of the episode. Two of these characters are a pair of valiant knights that appeared in two episodes. At first, they were valiant and honorable warriors, but after tragedy struck when they escorted an estranged couple on the road, they became embittered by the mistreatment of a local lord and the lack of money they had. This bitterness drives one of them to be consumed by greed and turn on his comrade. They were the only recurring minor characters aside from Ethan’s dead wife, and their deaths further showed how dark Ethan grew as his journey continued. 

The Balance Of Staying Close To The Games

Video game adaptations tend to strike a fine line between staying loyal to the source material and making up their own plot and setting. Some of the best adaptations do their best to remain true to the games they’re based on while adding their own mark on the series. Several good examples are Castlevania, Last of Us, and the Super Mario Bros animated film. Even the really old animated shows like the 80s Legend of Zelda series stayed true to what was known back then about the series, minus a few changes.

Dragon’s Dogma is an example of one of these adaptations that does not follow the setting, plot, or themes of the game. It only looks like the game superficially, with the monster designs and background environments being very similar to how they are in the games. Ethan’s appearance is also based on the default look of the Arisen warrior showcased on the cover art and tutorial of Dragon’s Dogma in-game. While this means anyone who’s never played the game can enjoy the lack of context, there is a lot of intrigue and world-building that’s ultimately lost and sacrificed as a result. Even the dragon’s nature and origin were altered into something less interesting.

Final Rating

The bottom line, fans of the game will gain or lose nothing from watching the series. Even when removing the fact that it is unfaithful to the game, the lessons of the episodes feel very backward, and many of the motives and outcomes of the show feel forced, made redundant, and do everything in their power to make everyone bad, dumb, or unnecessarily cruel or insane. With the second game on the horizon and the first game being available on current platforms, this series does little to add or subtract to the enjoyment of the franchise.

Dragon’s Dogma (2023) Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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An enthusiast of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I loved reading about the stories and worlds of video games and movies and writing on a multitude of subjects, from lists to reviews.
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