Dragon Prince is an original animated series from Netflix that premiered in September for 2018 and Season Two released just this past weekend. I will admit that this show has been in my queue for a while and I’ve finally gotten around to watching it. . .and I don’t know what I was waiting for. This show is good!
WARNING – Possible Season 1 spoilers
The Company We Keep
To me, one of the best cartoons in pop culture has been Avatar: The Last Airbender. It had plenty of stupid and over the top moments, yet it was never afraid to tell its story. People got hurt, both emotionally and physically. The character interactions were incredible and each of the characters had major growth throughout the series. While I will stop JUST short of saying Dragon Prince is as good as Avatar – its damn close!
Juggling the Characters
One of the impressive things about this cartoon is how it can work with so many different characters and use each and every one of them well, even if they only surface every so often. In a lot of ways this entire second season is about character growth. Each of them must confront some part of themselves. They must either face it and overcome it or conquer it once and for all.
In season 1 they established that the Fey (elves and other magical creatures) are connected to magic and have a spark of it inside them. Humans do not have this ability. For humans to possess magic they must tap into dark magic and the darkness it brings. This sets up the journey of several of the characters, from Callum to Claudia to Viren – who is now trying to take over the kingdom to destroy the magical world, Zadia.
The Best of the Best
While all of the journeys are enticing to follow, there are a couple that truly stand out. The first would be Claudia and Soren, the children of Viren. They each are given a secret mission in their hunt for the missing children. Caludia is borderline psychotic at times while Soren seems to be an empty-headed moron who is quite full of himself. There are glimpses however, of more to their characters. Soren’s secret assignment does not sit well with him and especially near the end, Claudia shows some real depth and heart.
Then they go right back to the way they were. I am having a hard time figuring these two out. Will they fall to darkness and become like what their father is transforming into or is there something more within them that will keep them on the good side. Season 2 plays a lot with this and does a good job with it.
Another character that does not surface much but holds a powerful presence when she does is General Amaya. She is the General of the kingdom’s armies, yet she is deaf and uses sign language. This is a very unique touch to a series and is handled extremely well. Amaya is a total badass that can match anyone – anytime. She has a great fight with what I will call a volcanic elf with a lightsaber.
Viren may be evil, but in season 2 we get a great deal of his back story when he was younger and how he fell to his present state of mind. He also has an experience throughout season 2 with a magic mirror that REALLY influences him and those around him.
And Don’t Forget….
As I said all the characters have very well-done story arcs, even Zym, the baby dragon. In the end there is one character you really cannot forget about – Bait, the pudgy glow toad. After two seasons what purpose does he serve? None. Is there a reason for him, story-wise? No. Is he needed? Oh hell yes!
Like I said after two seasons he serves no crucial purpose, but his wandering in and out of scenes is often hilarious. It is his dead-pan expressions and blunt interactions that make him perhaps the most adorable part of the show. He will make you laugh and roll your eyes, but at the same time in season 2 he actually has a very adorably sad scene that kinda breaks your heart.
Pros and Cons of Animation
The animation is interesting. . . I use such a vague word for a reason. Parts of it are incredible. The coloring is rich, and the movement is very well done even in fights – you believe Amaya to be the badass fighter she is because of the way she is animated.
The thing I don’t like at times is when they do close ups of people, the tracing outlines of faces and bodies all of a sudden have big, thick, black outlines that I find a bit jarring. The shot zooms out again and its back to normal thin, barely visible outlines. This could be because of the animation being a mix of both traditional hand drawn and computer generated images that are mixed together, but I’m not sure.
Is It Worth Your Time?
This really is one of the best cartoons not only on Netflix but in general right now. Adults should have no problem sitting through this, unlike some other popular kids cartoons. It is very similar to Avatar in tone and quality. Where they left most of the characters at the end of Season 2 promises an epic season 3.