Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1 is a unique show in quite a few ways. First off, it’s a hybrid live-action and anime (as in actual anime) series, which is a very rare creature in media indeed. It also has a great story that pulls from some of the best isekai stories and crossover fanfics. Said story is a bit of a slow burn, but that just gives it time to worldbuild and build up the drama. Combine that story with some lovable characters and how they interact with each other, and you’ve got an incredibly good show that seriously does not get enough publicity.

Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1: Details

Dragons of Wonderhatch key visual.
Basically: what if Enchanted was set in Japan instead?

Dragons of Wonderhatch is a hybrid live-action and anime fantasy adventure series. This is just the first season of that series. Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045) is the animation studio behind this series.

Kentaro Hagiwara and Takashi Otsuka both co-directed Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1; the former was responsible for the live-action sequences and the latter was responsible for the anime sequences. This series also features the work of Posuka Demizu (The Promised Neverland), who is the character designer and concept artist for this series. The Promised Neverland fans (myself included) will definitely recognize her art style here.

Voice Cast/Casting

Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1 features the voices and live-action roles of Mackenyu as Aktha, Sena Nakajima as Nagi, Emma/Yoshito Emmanuelle as Mame, Daiken Okudaira as Thaime, Rena Tanaka as Hana, Masaki Miura as Taichi, Riko Narumi as Ayana Nijisaki, Sumire as Saira, and Go Morita as Supes.

When and Where to Watch

Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1 made its streaming debut on December 20, 2023. At least, for the first four episodes. The final two episodes (Ep. 5 and Ep. 6) of season 1 will premiere sometime in January 2024. Despite how the series is labeled as a Hulu show, you can also watch it on Disney+.

Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1: Synopsis

It’s both an anime and a J-drama all in one.

Normally, this would be the point where I give you all a spoiler-filled plot summary of Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1. However, this is the spoiler-free version of my usual reviews. Thus, you will all get the official synopsis for this show from Hulu instead. You can read that below:

Born in our “real world” with sound-color synesthesia – a unique ability that allows her to see colors when she hears certain sounds – Nagi has spent her entire life feeling like she doesn’t belong. Dreaming of one day being able to fly, Nagi will soon come face to face with Thaim, another misfit from a different world. Born in Upananta, Thaim has long been treated like an outcast for his inability to hear the voices of the dragons that inhabit his land.

With the floating islands of Upananta slowly beginning to fall from the sky, the two misfits will set off on an epic adventure spanning both live-action and animated worlds in “Dragons of Wonderhatch.”

Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1: The Good

Dragons of Wonderhatch concept art 2 by Posuka Demizu.
When this is the concept art for this show, you know it’s going to be good.

Without a doubt, the story of Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1 is the best part of it. Without going into spoiler territory: this is one of the best isekai stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. At the moment, it’s basically a reverse isekai story where characters from a fantasy realm experiencing a hot-blooded shonen manga story get isekaied into modern-day Japan. Surprisingly, it goes about as well as you’d expect. I won’t go into details, but well, a bunch of oddly garbed people with no ID or anything quickly turn into hobos. It’s a surprisingly and depressingly realistic view of how a reverse isekai story would go.

And yet, while Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1 clearly a deconstruction of reverse isekai stories, it’s also a reconstruction of those same stories. Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, the fantasy world characters are in, at least some of them still wish to be heroes. They still aspire to be good people, and wish to do the best they can in this world of reality. It’s a rather heartwarming “Take That!” against the hopelessness and banality of modern life. Honestly, this is why I love this show.

Oh, and don’t forget about the Japan-side characters. They are all fascinating people, but none more so than Nagi and Mame. The two of them are clearly the outcasts of Japanese society. The former has some pretty strong sound-to-color synesthesia, and the latter is a hāfu Japanese (Black Japanese, from the looks of him). In the very conformist Japanese society, those traits make Nagi and Mame nails to be pound down. Thus, all this fantasy happening to them is a chance for them to escape that situation, and become a band of merry outcasts with the fantasy world characters. Thaime, in particular. All this makes the story even more heartwarming.

Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1: The Bad

Dragons of Wonderhatch concept art 1 by Posuka Demizu.
Certainly nothing bad about the concept art.

Honestly, my main criticism of Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1 has nothing to do with the show. It has to do with the casting details as given by Hulu. For some reason, even though Mame is a main character, his actor isn’t listed in the official cast. I had to hunt down his actor details via Google. I don’t know why, but it looks like they left Emma/Yoshito Emmanuelle out of the credits. Is this a mistake? Is this intentional? Honestly, I have no clue, but it looks a bit suspicious here when everyone else is in the credits. Even characters with far less of a role than Mame, who is practically a deuteroagonist to Nagi.

There’s also the slow-burn plot of Dragons of Wonderhatch Season 1. Personally, I’m a huge fan of this kind of story where the plot takes its time to build up. It makes the plot twists and character interactions all the more satisfying to watch. However, I can understand that this may turn off some viewers who want a fast-paced story. If you want an action-packed story where everything happens all at once, then this is not the show for you. As for me, I will be eagerly awaiting season 2…if Disney chooses to greenlight it, of course. Which honestly, I dearly hope they do.