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Anime / Dragon's Dogma

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Remember this. When thou peers into the dark, the dark peers into thee.
An original net anime Dark Fantasy series based on the 2012 video game of the same name by Capcom. Directed by Shinya Sugai and animated by Sublimation, the series was released worldwide on September 17, 2020 on Netflix.

Ethan, one of the residents of the village of Cassardis, has his life suddenly upended from underneath him when a Dragon attacks and destroys the village, killing his wife and unborn child in the process. When he awakens, he finds his heart missing from his chest and a challenge issued to him by the Dragon, telling him to seek it out and claim vengeance. Accompanying Ethan on his quest for vengeance is Hannah; a Pawn summoned to his side and serve the newly minted Arisen.

During their journey, Ethan and his companions encounter several individuals in need of help, as well as monsters that constantly plague the land, each problem representing one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The Dragon's Dogma anime provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Backstory Change: How the Dragon comes to be. Whereas in the game, Grigori was once an Arisen who failed to defeat the Seneschal, here he's a previous Arisen who sought to kill the previous Dragon and ended up becoming one himself for reasons similar to Ethan's, albeit driven more out of dominance than any actual vengeance. Any Arisen who kills the Dragon will become the next Dragon.
  • Adapted Out: The Seneschal isn't featured, much less shown or even hinted at in the anime, unlike in the game where they have a much more prominent role.
  • Anyone Can Die: If anything the episodes with survivors are actually the odd ones out.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Almost veering on a Downer Ending. Ethan kills the dragon that murdered his family, but then becomes the next dragon in its place after Hannah refuses to perform a Mercy Kill on him to prevent his change. Ethan flies off into the unknown after making Hannah swear that she will protect humanity from him.
  • Broad Strokes: While ultimately set in the same world as the game, the anime's story differs significantly and makes little to no mention of the Duke or the Seneschal. Even the Dragon has a different role in the story.
  • Broken Aesop: As Mother's Basement points out, the aesop in "Greed" is that... greed is bad. Kinda obvious, but good enough. In the episode, Ethan suggests that the knights take some coins from the pile of treasure they just liberated as payment, since the guy who hired them won't pay. The series implies that Ethan was being corrupted by the cursed treasure, and one of the knights call him out on his suggestion being dishonorable. Except that, dishonorable though it may be, Ethan's suggestion is perfectly reasonable. The knights had done a job and weren't being paid for it, they were in their full right to take some coins as payment for services rendered. Ethan is still shown to be in the wrong.
  • Dark Fantasy: Way darker than the game it was based off of, with the tragic event of the first episode and its fantasy tones are more deconstucted.
  • Dead Guy Junior: A variation, where Hannah gets her name from Ethan's dead mother; he says that if Olivia had lived to give birth, and they'd had a daughter, he would have named her that.
  • Death of a Child: Louis, Ethan and Olivia's adopted child, is Swallowed Whole by the Dragon right in front of the two.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The anime opens with Ethan walking through Cassardis, clearly in the midst of a disaster, and comes face to face with the Dragon. It seems like it's All Just a Dream at first, but while Ethan's out hunting with Louis...
  • Emergent Human: When Ethan first meets Hannah, she is an emotionless Pawn. As they journey towards the Dragon's keep, however, she slowly becomes more emotive. In the end, she cries for Ethan as he transforms into the next Dragon.
  • Emotionless Girl: Ethan's Pawn Hannah is unemotional at first.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Ethan's quest for revenge takes him to a dark place. In addition to his own rage, his companions also fall prey to their own sins, slowly breaking his spirit.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Holy shit, are they ever! After Ethan embarks on his journey to slay the dragon, each episode exposes him to humanity at its absolute worst: slumlords who use fear to gorge themselves on the people they should be protecting, lovers whose jealousy drives them to unspeakable acts, fearful people who use drugs to shut out the world around them, avarice turning brother against brother, and so on. The Dragon says as much during the final episode.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode of the anime is titled after one of the Seven Deadly Sins, with the focus of the episode centering around its eponymous sin.
  • In Name Only: Generally speaking, the main thing connecting the anime and the game is the Arisen, the monster designs, and having Pawns. Other than that, the series has very little in common with the actual game, both in terms of lore and themes. The Dragon isn't even a servant of the Seneschal, as the Dragon is simply a cursed human. The Seneschal himself doesn't even seem to exist in this series' continuity as well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The guards sent to by the Duke do little more than drink as they believe there's nothing for them to do in Cassardis and get angry at Louis when they overhear him mocking them. That being said, when Louis runs back and tells them that there's a pack of wolves near the village and is attacking Ethan, they gather their gear and get ready to go out. Unfortunately for them, that's when the Dragon shows up to attack Cassardis.
  • Last Request: After the final battle Ethan's final request to Hannah is that she protect humanity. From himself.
  • Lip Lock: An inversion, the series is animated to the English Dub actors instead of the Japanese ones.
  • Medium Blending: The backgrounds are largely in 2D.
  • Monster of the Week: Each episode forces Ethan to contend with a specific monster from Gransys's bestiary: a Cyclops, a Griffon (with a hoard of Goblins), a Hydra, a Lich, a Succubus, and of course, the Dragon.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Ethan takes Louis up in the mountains to hunt, one of the villagers wonders why he doesn't just fish since Cassardis is close to the ocean while another says it's natural he wouldn't, given what happened to him the last time he went into the water. In the game, anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in deep water will find themselves facing down the Brine.
    • In the game the action that the player character did to be worthy of becoming the Arisen is they struck the dragon and embedded a sword in its claw when the Dragon hit them. Ethan more or less does the same thing, but the Dragon chooses Ethan more out of the fact that he actually struck it than having a sword stuck in its claw.
    • Ethan wakes up in a bed after encountering the Dragon and awakening as the Arisen, much like the protagonist themselves after having their heart ripped out from their chest.
    • Hannah's use of both magic and a bow brings to mind the Magick Archer, a hybrid magic/ranged vocation from the game (even though Pawns are typically unable to use hybrid vocations).
    • While fighting the Cyclops, Ethan draws its attention by rapping his sword against his shield. This is based on the "Shield Summons" skill for sword-and-shield users, which is used in-game to Draw Aggro.
    • During Ethan's fight with the Dragon, he finds himself chased down a long hallway while the Dragon follows behind, destroying the structure as it gains on him, just like the early stages of the Dragon fight in the game.
  • Out with a Bang: Naturally, this is the fate of those that fall victim to the succubus. Ethan manages to reverse this on the creature when he sees through her illusion and kills her with his bare hands during the act.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Each episode is named after each sin, which serves as the focus of the episode:
    • Wrath: The series is set into motion by the Dragon killing Ethan's pregnant wife, driving him to pursue revenge.
    • Gluttony: Ethan and Hannah save a girl left to the mercy of a hungry Cyclops. The Cyclops is actually a pet of the nearby town's mayor and his goons, who use it to extort food from the townspeople. After the Cyclops is slain, the town falls to ruin as the citizens revolt and try to take as much food as they can.
    • Envy: Ethan aids a pair of soldiers escorting a woman whose husband feels unloved by her due to his cowardice. His envy eventually drives him to murder her, and when he realizes what he had done, kill himself.
    • Sloth: Ethan arrives at a village where the townsfolk cultivate a moss that is burned and smoked, causing euphoria and stupor. One man's wife is nearly killed when she is eaten by a Hydra while he is high. For a mercy, she survived, but is rendered blind.
    • Greed: Ethan aids the pair of soldiers he met earlier in their fight against a Lich born from a corrupt priest who hoarded wealth. After the Lich is slain, one of the soldiers becomes consumed by his own greed when he casts aside his honor for personal gain, leading to him and his friend killing each other.
    • Lust: A succubus has been killing young men in a town. Ethan nearly falls victim to her.
    • Pride: The Dragon was once an Arisen himself who slew the Dragon of his time to prove himself superior, only to become the next Dragon for his trouble. The same fate befalls Ethan, whose pride drove him to pursue vengeance and, in turn, become a new Dragon...
  • Succubi and Incubi: The focus of the "Lust" episode is a succubus who's been feeding off of men as they stay at an inn.
  • Swallowed Whole: The fate of Louis in the first episode at the hands of the dragon, and then Lennie in the fourth episode by the Hydra. Lennie manages to survive but ends up blinded by the experience. Louis not so much.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Ethan and Olivia had matching wrist bands he'd bought for the two of them at some point, Olivia's band being all he can find of her in the aftermath of the Dragon's attack. He wears it alongside his own for the rest of the series. It's what helps him defeat the succubus in the penultimate episode, when she nearly dupes him by taking Olivia's form - just as they start getting into the act, Ethan realizes he's wearing both bands, and thus whoever's in front of him can't possibly be the real Olivia. By the end of the final episode, once Ethan has killed the Dragon and become the next one, Hannah is wearing them.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: When an Arisen kills the dragon that took their heart, they become the next dragon. This is what happens to Ethan at the end of the season.