Puzzle & Dragons X – Preview
Puzzle & Dragons X:
Original Air Dates: Jul 4, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: A strange meteor crashes in the middle of the night off the coast of Vienna City. While the Special Drop Defense Force searches for it, as well as a Dragon Caller known as Lance, one young boy named Ace stumbles upon an egg marked with a star. It’s not long before Ace finds himself caught up in Lance’s quest as a Dragon attacks the city and the Special Drop Defense Force is powerless to hold the creature back.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Puzzles and Dragons is stupidly easy to follow and despite it not having the label, there’s little doubt it’s aimed at a younger audience. There’s a few mysteries to be had here, such as what these dragons are, drop energy, why Ace can produce drop energy, etc. But despite all these little questions Puzzles and Dragons feels predictable. I’m already pretty certain of where the show will be going, despite having never played the game it’s based on. It stems from how Puzzles and Dragons doesn’t feel like it has a whole lot new that’s going on. Ace is a pretty standard main character for example. He’s likable enough, and not obnoxious, but doesn’t really stand out with a unique and memorable personality. In all honesty, he’s pretty ho-hum as main characters go. Otherwise this episode is light on character development, with most simply acting as vehicles for the plot to progress forward. Even Ace’s childhood friend, who at least gets a couple scenes to develop her character, exists mostly to ensure Ace stumbles upon the Star Egg, the major McGuffin that Lance and the Drop Defense Force are looking for.
Linny: Unlike other game based shows, Puzzles is easy to follow thanks to its simplicity. It has a simple story which isn’t surprising given it’s based off a connect 3 type of game. The simple game premise also explains why the characters are just as simple and easy to read and predict. The main protagonist, Ace is clearly hiding some latent talent as all typical shounen heroes do and of course our other protagonist, Lance, who is already famous for his skills, is standoffish and cold, which is yet another popular shounen stereotype.
Tom: Interestingly, Puzzles and Dragons X premiere episode ends abruptly, failing to complete the set up for this thirty-nine episode series going forward. It looks as if the series really wanted a double length episode, but failing to get it merely chopped its opener in two. The animation is pretty standard fare, nothing marvelous to look at nor is it offensive on the eyes; save for the big battle animation that’s played twice: once during the opening credits and later when it occurs chronologically in the story. This animation is superb, truly wonderful stuff. The ensuing battle between a dragon and, at least what looks like the JSDF that normally takes on Godzilla, is rendered phenomenally with lighting effects that make the whole scene stand out.
Linny: I can’t help but feel that this show is aimed at a younger audience in the vein of Pokemon, Digimon, Beyblade,etc. Not only are the characters basic, they also often spew really cliche lines. For example, in one scene, Ace is taunted by his female friend for not wanting to become a dragon tamer and thus, not wanting to be a real man. And in another scene, the same girl gets all giddy and swoons over Lance even after he is outright rude and dismissive of her. There’s also the issue of how elements of the game have been integrated into the show. As this is based off what looks like a connect 3 game, we get to see Lance prepare attacks by connecting combos of these circular orbs while the words “5 combo” flashes on the screen. It’s hard to take a show seriously with scenes like that if you are an older viewer.
Tom: Besides the potential reference to the Godzilla films, Puzzles and Dragons has a few more potential call backs to other anime. Namely, there’s a cat Ace’s childhood friend has named Happy and a woman Ace greets later on is named Mrs. Sidonia. Unless there’s some other significance or meaning to the word Sidonia, it’s really looking like a subtle name drop to Knights of Sidonia, a CGI anime from a couple years back. It’s fun and I kind of hope these call backs keep up to pick out for other anime tucked away in this series.
Linny: While I can’t ever see myself becoming invested in this show seriously, I think it would make a good show for younger viewers. For older viewers like me, it can prove to be amusing with its subtle references/name drops and the silliness of having attacks with literal combo effects. Seeing how the combat scenes in the episode were well animated makes it feel like the show does want to be more than just a lazy game adaptation but the chances of it completely gripping older audiences remains slim.
Tom: Puzzles and Dragons X is, of course, the adaptation of a 3DS game, and if that wasn’t obvious enough the show makes no effort to hide its game like mechanics. Puzzles and Dragons X is fun, and has a real pokemon vibe going, but it’s also obviously aimed at a younger audience. Personally the most fun I have is noticing the potential call backs to other anime, Godzilla, or the show’s inclusion of game mechanics. I don’t know that I’d say the characters, story or animation really come together well enough for me to recommend it, at the same time however it’s not a bad series by any means and if you can tap into your inner child (or you are a child) there’s a solid foundation for an ongoing series here.
Puzzle & Dragons X is available for streaming via Funimation.com.