Follow TV Tropes

Following

Manga / Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gbxc9dl.png
Dai no Daibōken, meaning Dai's Great Adventure. A Shōnen manga (and later anime) series, spin off the wildly popular Dragon Quest RPG series, with a scenario by Riku Sanjo and art by Koji Inada (both of whom later went on to create Beet the Vandel Buster) that originally ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1989 to 1996.
Advertisement:

The titular hero, Dai, is a young kid who's been raised by monsters on Dermline Island after he was washed ashore as an infant, the only survivor of a shipwreck, and who dreams of being an adventure hero. Since the Dark Lord had been defeated many years before, the monsters have been freed from his influence and are actually quite peaceful — but suddenly, one day, the Dark Lord comes back to life, and the monsters start raging again.

Just then, a "hero trainer" named Avan lands on the island with his wizard trainee, Popp, and sets up a magical barrier, which frees the monsters from Evil's influence. He then proceeds to train Dai to be the next Great Hero, but before they can complete the training the Dark Lord himself shows up, Avan sacrifices himself and fails... but Dai flies into an Unstoppable Rage, awakening his dormant power, siginified by a glowing symbol that appears on his forehead, known as the Dragon Crest. This symbol (which Dai can't fully control) bestows Dai with an incredible power, which allows him to use even the most powerful spells and sword techniques that he's otherwise incapable of. Thanks to this power, he manages to chase the Dark Lord away.

Advertisement:

After the battle, he and Popp decide to fight the Dark Lord, to rid the world of evil once again. Thus they start a journey that would take him throughout the entire world. In the process, they meet new allies along the way, such as Maam, a young girl who was also Avan's pupil in the past. Together, they'll have to face the Dark Lord's army, including its 6 legions of monsters, each one led by a powerful general.

An anime adaptation aired for 46 episodes from October 17, 1991 to September 24, 1992, but it was cancelled after having adapted less than one third of the complete story. The series and manga were translated and released for several European countries and Latin America, changing Dai's name to "Fly". Amusingly enough, the series was used in these territories as a "substitute" of sorts to Dragon Ball whenever they run out of dubbed episodes and/or caught up with the Japanese broadcast, and needed to fill the time slot until new episodes came in. In some countries, like Spain, the dub was even done by the same team that took care of Dragon Ball. Due to this, in those territories there is a quite big overlap between fans of both works from that era.

Advertisement:

During Jump Fiesta 2020, it was announced that the manga would receive another anime adaptation, intended to cover the entire manga. It premiered in October 3, 2020. A video game project developed by Square Enix, titled Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai: Infinity Strash, was also announced at the same event. Dai also makes an appearance as a playable character in the Shonen Jump crossover fighting game Jump Force, making it his first appearance in many countries.

Not to be confused with the Konami 3D Fighting Game Lightning Legend: Daigo no Daibouken.


This manga provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert:
    • Early on in the story when Maam meets Dai and Popp for the first time, she helps them defeat a monster and criticizes Popp for his failure to do so by himself. Popp, not happy with her critique and unaware that Maam is a girl, tries to size himself up by poking her upper torso — and only THEN does he finally realize he's confronting a girl, after Maam harshly pushes him away.
    • When Popp, who's depleted of his magic after barely escaping the Field of Death following a Hopeless Boss Fight against Kill-Vearn and Hadlar through help from Crocodine and Dainote , is feeling desperate to search for and rescue Dai, he, upon finding out from Leona and Aimi that Marin has some magic holy water that can restore some magic power, rushes to Marin with a desperate plea for the item. Unfortunately, Popp, in his haste to plead to Marin, neglects to watch what his hands are yanking, resulting in him pulling down Marin's skirt by the time Marin is badgered into agreeing. The next panel showing him with enough magic power restored enough to be airborne via spell-work also shows him with a hand-print on his cheek as a result of his carelessness.
  • Action Girl: Maam, Leona, Aimi, Marin, and Princess Flora.
  • The Ace: Dai, Avan, and Baran. All of them are expert swordsmen with varying degrees of proficiency at spellcasting.
  • Adoptive Name Change: Dino was named "Dai" after washing ashore on Delmurin Island while still a baby.
  • Aesop Amnesia: During the story-line, Maam shows her physical attacking prowess by smashing an Animated Armor with Good Old Fisticuffs, leading Popp to comment that he should be more careful about teasing her. The lesson doesn't stick, as he's back to teasing her — and getting scolded and/or beaten up for his trouble — more than once for the remainder of the series' run.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: After breaking out of her jail cell, Maam escapes the undead monsters in the underground dungeon through one such passageway. She's able to squeeze her way through it, though she remarks that either the hallway is getting narrower and narrower or she might need to go on a diet.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite Flazzard being an Ax-Crazy Jerkass for nearly all of his existence, seeing Myst-Vearn nonchalantly disposing of him while he begs for one more chance causes Popp to shed some sympathy for him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Humans are usually viewed in a positive light, but it's clear that Dai has been and will be rejected by a lot of humans for being half dragon knight and unnaturally strong.
    • This is also the reason Baran snapped and vowed to wipe out all humans.
    • The final arc revealed that Avan was playing dumb since his teen years, both to fool his enemies and to avoid awkward comparisons with his (vastly inferior) allies. This even gets its own sub-story where it's explained with lots of details.
    • Matoriv was appointed as councilor in Papunika after the defeat of the Demon King, but the men there feared Motoriv's powers and bullied him, resulting in him breaking off from the people and living alone inside a cave on a far-off, uninhabited island, where he remained until the heroes encounter him for the first time.
    • Larhart was rejected for his part-demon heritage (his mother was a regular human, while his father was a demon that died shortly after Larhart's birth), and even his mother herself was targeted for having been with a demon. It resulted with her dying from an illness and Larhart himself harboring a dislike for the humans.note 
  • Always a Bigger Fish: When Dai and Popp get lost in a forest en route to Romos Palace, they encounter a beast-type monster, which attacks them on sight and quickly corners them, only to flee at the ensuing roaring sound at that very moment. Cue Crocodine making his Dynamic Entry after slashing a large tree in two with his axe.
  • Anger Born of Worry:
    • Junk's reaction to his son, Popp. After seeing Popp for the first time after Popp ran off, he really lets loose on Popp — violently (for starters, his initial reaction is to grab unto Popp, lift him up, and then slam him on the ground). Steenue and the heroes accompanying Popp end up having to intervene to stop him from inflicting more injuries on Popp than he already has. This also overlaps with Calling Out for Not Calling, as Popp had left for over a year without sending any news home in the meantime.
    • Late in the story, Maam acts this way towards Popp inside Vearn Palace, as the result of her being worried about him (and Brokeena) possibly being dead, only to turn around to see him lazing around alongside Brokeena, alive and quite well — and Popp's words that rub her the wrong way don't help; Maam ends up beating Popp up in reaction.
    Crocodine: Maam... don't you think you overdid it a little?
    Maam: But... I thought they'd really died... and when I saw them just relaxing without saying anything...
    Crocodine: You have a rather violent way of expressing your joy.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Two in a row.
    • During the battle to gain entrance to Vearn's fortress, Shrinking Violet Merle takes a bullet for Popp. Popp freaks out and asks her why, which makes Leona finally lose it and reveal that Merle has been in love with him since ever.
    • Immediately after that, Merle begs Popp to show her real courage and say the name of the woman he loves. After a moment of hesitation, Popp states his love for Maam, who is standing literally a few feet away and was completely unaware of his feelings up to that moment.
  • Art Evolution: Starts off looking like a Dragon Ball doujinshi and eventually evolves into its own distinctive style.
  • At Arm's Length: When Popp smacks Chu for his attempt at getting Popp to separate from Maam for good with 2 gold pieces, Chu decides to pummel Popp in retaliation. Unfortunately for Chu, he's so short that Popp simply stops him in his track by placing his hand on Chu's forehead.note 
  • The Atoner: Hyunckel, Crocodyne and Baran are the most notable examples.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Myst-Vearn's attack on Papnica involves him controlling the Giant Demon Castle, which is 145 meters (about 475 feet) tall.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The main plot starts due to the resurrection of former Big Bad Hadlar by new Big Bad Vearn to lead his armies.
    • Crocodine gets actually killed by Dai; Zaboera manages to resurrect him.
    • Hyunckel seems to die in every other arc, only to be found alive a few chapters later.
    • Avan, who sure could have fooled us. Saved by a Deus ex Machina amulet.
    • Also Larhart in the last arc, Popp more than once, and Merle... In fact, very few characters stay dead in The Adventure of Dai.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Brokeena and his disciples, Maam and Chu.
  • Battle Aura: Dragon Knights can power up by surrounding themselves with "draconic aura".
  • Bears Are Bad News: When Popp and Maam are washed ashore following a Hopeless Boss Fight against Vearn, with Maam passing out from exhaustion after swimming ashore while carrying Popp, whose magic power is entirely spent, Popp wakes up to find a ferocious-looking grizzly bear. Popp is prepared to fight the bear to the death, and the bear raises its claw... only to roar while waving its arm around without attacking, with Chu showing up soon thereafter. It turns out Chu had defeated the bear off-screen earlier, and then sent out the bear to help search for the heroes. Popp is immensely relieved upon discovering this fact.
    Popp: Crazy mouse... you scared me...
  • Beast Man:
    • Crocodine is an anthropomorphic crocodile.
    • Two of the Dragon Riders, who are Baran's subordinates, also qualify: Galdandy is an anthropomorphic human-adult-sized bird, while Borahorn is a walrus-man.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with regarding Marin. She suffers severe burns in the face when Flazzard grabs her by the face with his fiery hand. After the heroes rescue Leona, she uses her healing spell to restore Marin's face back to its original, beautiful state.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Popp and Maam keep arguing from the moment they meet to the end of the story.
  • Berserk Button: Hurting Dai's friends is a very bad idea. Most notable at the beginning, when he can't activate the Dragon Crest unless he's really angry.
  • Beta Couple:
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Maam is the Archie to Hyunckel's Veronica and Popp's Betty.
    • Popp is the Archie to Maam's Veronica and Merle's Betty.
  • BFS: Most of the melee weapons are realistically proportioned, but Crocodine's Great Axe fits the trope.
  • Big Bad: Demon Lord Vearn. After he is defeated, Kill-Vearn takes his place.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Played for Laughs when Popp and Chu fight each other this way, right before entering Lankarks.note 
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens regularly, several times per arc to be precise. Listing every instance of it would take a LONG time. However, it's worth noting that both Crocodine and Hyunckel like doing this a lot.
  • Bishounen Avan, Hyunckel, Vearn's true appearance.
  • The Blacksmith:
    • Lon Beruk is the Ultimate Blacksmith. Dai's ultimate sword and many a Morph Weapon are all made by him.
    • This is Junk's profession, both before and after settling down in the village of Lankarks, where he runs the only weapon store in town.
    • While this is not Baduck's stock-in-trade, he shows some capacity in this area in the main story: He fixes Dai's armor following the battle against Hyunckel, and, late in the story, creates a Nunchucks for Chu, albeit with a flaw in the design (both handles have spikes, which inflict pain on Chu just for grabbing it).
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The French manga translation by publisher J'ai Lu is notoriously awful. Most of the characters and places have names transliterated directly from the Japanese kana (Poppu, Hadora, Demurin, exception: Fuam for Maam), the translators couldn't decide in the first volumes if Avan was male or female and thus wrote "he (she)" and the masculine and feminine alternatives of adjectives whenever he spoke or was mentioned, and in at least one instance "Yuusha" (grand hero) was considered the name of the hero ("the grand hero Yusha!"). The "Avan Strash" also became the "Avan Slash." Very obnoxious and literal sound effects ("freeze," "hug") were added in small font next to the Japanese sound effects. To add insult to injury, it was printed on low-quality paper (think newspaper quality) that made the ink stick to your fingers. Thankfully, another publisher is remaking the whole translation from scratch, almost ten years later.
  • Blush Sticker: especially Dai and Popp.
  • Bowdlerise: The 2020 anime downplays or removes most of the manga's dirty jokes including even Popp telling Dai about "Puff-Puff" even though the original scene already cuts off as he does so. Flazzard isn't seen repeatedly flipping allies and enemies alike off and neither does Leona get drunk during the party for his defeat. One variation is a scene of Popp exploding half of a dragon's head removing the gore involved by having its entire head explode into tiny shreds instead.
  • Can't Catch Up: Downplayed: While it's true that Dai's friends can't catch up with him, if it weren't for them he would have died every single time he battled one of the six generals.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Several techniques work this way, the most notable being Megante, which consumes all the user's life to turn it into a massive explosion. Hyunckel's Grand Cross is a less dangerous form of it; it doesn't kill him, but it renders him extremely exhausted.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • Popp has one after Avan's battle against Hadlar early in the story.
    • Dai gets one following the heroes' Hopeless Boss Fight against Vearn.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Popp leaves Dai and Maam when they go fight the big bad Crocodine, then shows up in the nick of time to help when they're in trouble.
  • Chekhov's Gift: The Crown of Champions, which Dai receives from the king of Romos at the end of the first Origins Episode, turns out to be made of orichalcum, the legendary metal that Lon Beruk requires in order to create Dai's ultimate sword.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Avan's pendants, the Mirror of Shahal, Gome.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Invoked. As a zombie notifies Maam while she's being taken into her jail cell, an extinct volcano hosts an underground castle the undead branch of the demon army resides within, with an arena right above the peak of said volcano. The volcano erupts, but that's only because Flazzard launches a fire spell at it, with the intention of having Dai, Popp, Maam, and Hyunckel killed from the ensuing magma eruption so as to Make It Look Like an Accident.
  • The Chessmaster: Hadlar and Vearn; so very Lampshaded.
  • Chess Motif: The Shinei Kidan. Bonus points that they were animated to life from actual chess pieces.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: For Dai, Popp, and Maam. As their usual attires indicate, Dai is blue, Popp is green, and Maam is pink. The colors of the souls of the wearers of Avan's pendants also correspond accordingly, except for Maam, in which case her color is red.
  • Chrome Champion: The Shinei Kidan are made out of the legendary metal orihalcon. It turns out it makes them not only Made of Shiny but also Made of Explodium.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Avan pretends to be one to hide his own abilities from foes and friends. Even the goofy glasses he wears all the time were given to him by princess Flora herself to complete the disguise.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: In real life, Popp would be acutely brain damaged and Maam in jail from beating him up all the time. But Hilarity Ensues, and Popp does act like a jerk after all.
  • Comically Small Bribe: At one point when Chu still harbors a crush on Maam, he offers to pay Popp two gold piecesnote  to get Popp to separate himself from Maam for good. Popp shows his "appreciation" by smacking Chu upside his head.
    Popp: Where the Hell did you learn this worthless kind of stuff, you damn mouse?!
  • Coming-of-Age Story: To Popp.
  • Connected All Along: The old mage among the group of fakes, who gives Popp a Jacob Marley Warning against running away from teammates at the sign of bad odds at one point early during the main story, turns out to have been a former co-disciple with Matoriv, who's responsible for training Popp for much of the run of the main story itself, as indicated late in the story, when the old mage and Matoriv meet for the first time since the main story began — and, indeed, since the mage ran away one night while still a disciple along with Matoriv, decades prior to the start of the main story.
  • Cowardly Lion: Even pre-Character Development, Popp was showing signs of being this. By the end of the series he's discarded all of his cowardice and represents the pillar of Courage.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The chess pieces that are brought to life. The 5 Shinei Kidan warriors are formidable opponents that give Dai's team quite a bit of trouble. Hymn the pawn is almost even match with Hyunckel. The remaining 13 pieces, however, would be easily torn apart by Hyunckel with his bare hand, if the King piece didn't play dirty.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: When Popp tries to get his copy of Avan's pendant to glow without success, he keeps it bottled up instead of confiding with someone who might have been able to help him sort through it, resulting in him trying to figure it out by himself to no avail, which nearly sabotages the effort of a plan of uniting all of Avan's disciples for an anti-evil spell, and it takes him being prodded into an Anguished Declaration of Love in public, which finally triggers his pendant to glow, for the plan to finally work. He later admits to Maam during their private conversation that he should have asked for help in the first place when it happened but was too scared to do so.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Avan. After almost killing himself to stop Hadlar he realizes that he is hopelessly outmatched in the upcoming battle against the Demon army and he descends the Anti-Magic cave to find new spells and hone his skills. He comes back near the end, packed with powerful new abilities and items, some of which he invented himself.
    • Played for Laughs with Chu the mouse and the random items he carries with him all the time.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Say what you will about Avan, but if he decides to get serious, even Vearn will not take him lightly.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Towards the end, Hyunckel and Crocodine are captured and bound to crosses to be executed by the Demon Army.
  • Cue the Sun: Dai receives his father's sword this way in the final battle against Vearn.
  • Cut Short: The anime ends after Dai's first encounter with Baran, which is less than a third through the Manga's full length, and which also ends on a rather different way. In the Anime Baran is overwhelmed by the strength of Dai's bond with his friends, and he concedes the battle because of it. But in the Manga Baran decides to cut this bond by erasing Dai's memories before retreating to gather his comrades. Needless to say, it would have been more infuriating if they took the Manga route in this case.
  • Damsel in Distress:
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • The most notable examples are Crocodine and Hyunckel.
    • Quite a few of the minor antagonist characters are much better inclined towards the heroes once they've crossed swords.
    • Eventually, also Hadlar. But not without consequences.
    • Chu is able to do this with the aid of the Beast King's Flute. Monsters that are summoned by it serve as his teammates/underlings after Chu defeats them.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Baran.
  • Demoted to Extra: Crocodine sadly loses his status as a main character after Flora asks Leona to join the team as Avan's hypothetical fifth disciple.
    • He does participate in the final battle against the Big Bad... as a spectator.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Soala's death causes Baran's Face–Heel Turn.
  • The Determinator:
    • Everybody on the hero side, main character or not. In fact, taking on almost Blood Knight levels of determination seems to be a prerequisite for Heel Face Turns.
    • The most notable example of this is probably Popp's corpse using a spell to help Dai against Baran.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • Dai's Dragon Crest at first, though a nice plot arc is eventually made out of it.
    • Gome is a literal version of this, being an item of the gods that grants miracles to its owner.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When Dai, Popp, Maam, and Baduck need to go from the island Matoriv is on to the one Flazzard occupies in order to rescue Leona, Matoriv gets them in his own personal boat before sending it flying across the ocean filled with whirlpools using his magic. It does what Matoriv intends, but, as Dai points out while the boat is still flying, the boat can't stop. Cue everyone on the boat panicking as it's closing in on a rocky terrain.note 
    Dai: ...How are we going to stop this thing?
    Matoriv: ...Ah, oops.
    *CRASH*
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Popp's behavior at the beginning of the story, before he starts his character arc.
    • Zahoera is one through and through. He actually relishes in being this.
  • Don't Call Me "Princess": Leona makes this statement to those she considers her equal. For example, she tells Dai this point-blank at the end of her introduction arc. She also tells the same to Maam after they get to know each other.
  • The Dragon: Hadlar is a textbook example. Turns out, so is Myst-Vearn.
  • Dub Name Change: The 1991 anime adaptation got a release in multiple countries throughout Europe and Latin America during the early-to-mid 90s, and while most characters kept the same names as the original Japanese text, a few got their names changed. The most popular example is Dai himself, who was called "Fly", but other examples would be Maam ("Sam"), Avan ("Ivan") or Hyunckel ("Henky").
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Baran gets no recognition for his defeat of Velther and it's implied that his heroics are overshadowed by Avan's defeat of Hadlar. The reason being that while Hadlar is weaker, he was the more immediate threat; he was already conquering parts of the surface. Velther was stopped before he could mount an invasion.
    • Dai gets this treatment when he, Popp, and Leona are in the kingdom of Bengarna. Dai manages to take out most of the invading dragons and a hydra by himself (Popp eliminates some earlier, but exhausts his magic power in doing so), but all he gets from the townsfolk, who would have most likely been killed by the dragons, is looks of fear after they witness his unnaturally strong power. Nabara and Merle, who recognize the Dragon Crest when it was shining on Dai's forehead and are familiar with some legends about it, are the only humans present (besides Popp and Leona) who don't react to Dai with fear.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The 2020 anime opens with what Avan thought was his killing blow on Hadlar while Vearn, Myst-Vearn and Kill-Vearn watch; and then Baran grieving for Soala's death and destroying her entire country as revenge — his Dragon Crest shining just offscreen to foreshadow his identity and relationship with Dai.
  • Empathic Weapon: Dai's sword is implied to be this.
  • Escort Mission: The quest into the Anti-Evil Cave is this for Leona, who hopes to obtain the spell needed to make the Vearn Palace accessible for the heroes. While she has decent spell-casting capacities, the cave gets progressively harder the deeper one goes down, so she needs helpnote  to navigate and survive inside it. It doesn't help that she has a tendency to go off-track a bit at the sight of some unopened treasure chest, at one point encountering a Chest Monster because of this, requiring Maam to knock it out for her. That being said, she manages to convince the others to tough it out when things look a bit uncertain, eventually accomplishing the feat.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Maam reaches this point after Matoriv comments on her strength, as the result of Maam beating him up for fondling her yet again. She then leaves the heroes briefly, in order to train and to become a Bare-Fisted Monk.
    Matoriv: That... that insane strength reminds me a lot of your father, Loka...!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Myst-Vearn may be a card carrying villain adherent to the will of Vearn, but he has nothing but disgust for Zaboera's deceptive and backstabbing ways, even leaving him to die against the ground forces. Boy was he pissed when he heard Zaboera bad mouthing Hadlar.
  • Everyone Can See It: Merle and Popp are rather unsubtle about their crushes. Pretty much everyone knows and gossips behind their back.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Hyunckel to Dai before his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Baran also gives a fairly good idea of what Dai could become if he grew disillusioned with humankind.
  • Expy:
  • Faint in Shock: Flora blacks out near the end of the game upon seeing Avan alive.note 
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Dai ran into a group of people that was scamming free stuff by impersonating them and set them straight; eventually they repay the favor by helping prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Fanservice: If you still don't know after a few volumes that Maam and Leona are "bouncy", you must be blind.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The dreaded Black Cores. On the back-story, one of them was powerful enough to destroy an entire continent. Six of them could destroy the whole world.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans, monsters and dragons all have this to varying degrees. It is also played for quite a lot of drama.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Popp pulls a variation of this by unleashing a fire ray spell into a dragon's mouth.
  • Fille Fatale: Leona is very aware of her charms. Averted with Maam, who doesn't realize she's very attractive.
  • Final First Hug: Baran.
  • First Girl Wins:
    • Played straight with Dai and Leona.
    • Awesomely subverted with Popp, as after the final battle he seems to choose BOTH Maam and Merle!
  • Flight: Not quite common, but some characters can use it via the spell Toberuura.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Soala and Baran fall in love after she nurses him back to health.
  • Foreshadowing: A lot of it as it turns out.
    • Hyunckel pointing out very rightfully that no mere human can wield both magic and a sword at the same time: it has to be a higher being.
    • Flazzard examines Crocodine's wounds and off the bat rightfully states that whoever could cause that much damage wields power beyond the mere law of physics.
    • Flazzard lashes out angrily during an emergency meeting, openly stating his disgust for Hyunckel for being a mere human, while melting the table he just pounded on. The very much human-looking Baran doesn't take offense at the statement, and instead just asks him to not warm the room that much, dropping a hint at his true nature, given that they both know that Flazzard's statement did not include him.
  • Fortune Teller: The profession of choice for Nabara, Merle's grandmother, who uses a Crystal Ball to help her in her line of work.
  • Frankenstein's Monster:
    • Flazzard, one of the six generals.
    • Hadlar's Shinei Kidan are created through the same forbidden spell that created Flazzard.
    • The Dragon Knights themselves were created by the gods by fusing Human, Dragon, and Demon traits to create the ultimate killing machine.
  • Funny Animal: Chu was a mouse monster that caused mischief before Brokeena caught him, trained him, and helped him to reform. He also empathizes the "funny" part of this trope due to also being a Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: After receiving constant injuries and still pushing his body beyond its limits, Hyunckel ends up permanently crippled just before the final battle. And no, he doesn't get better.
  • Generation Xerox: Emphasized by the fact that Maam's father and mother were on Avan's team and that princess Flora is practically just an older Leona.
  • Genius Ditz: Dai and Popp start out as this.
  • Gentle Touch vs. Firm Hand: This appears to be the childcare contrast between Popp's mother, Steenue, and Popp's father, Junk. Steenue provides the "gentle touch", while Junk puts the "firm" in "firm hand".note 
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Everybody gets their share of pep talks; in fact, Popp is brought back from the brink of despair by the lack of the usual Bright Slap reaction from Hyunckel.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Downplayed. When Dai, Popp, Maam, and Baduck find an underground warehouse where there's a gunpowder ball within in order to send a flare to get Leona to locate them but also discover said warehouse buried under a lot of rubble, Dai decides to try out a new technique to clear out the rubble. His technique of choice turns out to be a sword technique that's augmented by a fire spell. It ends up clearing the rubble... and igniting all the gunpowder within the warehouse. Luckily, Aimi, one of sages serving Leona, sees the gunpowder-induced fireworks and locates them via the air balloon, so it still worked out after all.
  • Grand Theft Me: Myst-Vearn's modus operandi.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: This happens to Popp when his self-esteem is at the lowest point while suffering from Heroic BSoD.
  • Guns Are Worthless: All the cannons are completely useless against the Demon army. Maam's gun is useful only because it's powered by magic, and it still gets broken and discarded after a while.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot:
    • Played straight with Dai and Leona, with Dai providing the melee fighting and Leona assisting him through spellwork or item utility.
    • Inverted with Popp and Maam, as Popp is a Squishy Wizard who's focused on spellcasting while Maam is more capable of close-range fighting (more so once she becomes a Bare-Fisted Monk).
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Dai and Laharlt.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • At the start of the main story, Dai dispatches one of Hadlar's scouts in a Single-Stroke Battle, with said scout's body splitting apart vertically right down the center.
    • Flazzard becomes this once his core, which holds his fire and ice halves together, is destroyed.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted. While Dai's friends cannot catch up to Dai's superhuman strength, they all go through harsh trainings to increase their powers and are able to assist Dai tremendously. There are always multiple threats that need to be dealt with and Dai is only able to tackle the strongest one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Way too many instances. Crocodine, Hyunckel; even Baran and Hadlar, among others.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen:
    • Demon Lord Vearn is always hidden by a veil when he speaks to his subordinates, until the final arc.
    • Same for Myst-Vearn, who's actually a dark spirit who inhabits and guards Vearn's true body.
  • The Hermit:
  • Heroic BSoD: Popp hits this late in the story when his various attempts at making his copy of Avan's pendant glow all end in failure, which is exacerbated further when he witnesses Maam and Dai managing to do so with no trouble at all, causing his self-esteem to plummet to the lowest point. It's only after Merle's sacrifice, followed by her Anguished Declaration of Love and then his own, that he finally regains his self-confidence.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Many characters. The list includes Avan, Popp, Baran, Merle, Hadlar and at the very end Dai himself. Most of them get better or weren't actually dead at all.
  • Hero of Another Story: Baran and Avan are both Retired Badass who defeated great evils before the main story began.
    • It's a sore point with Baran. He defeated Velther, the dragon lord who was planning to invade the surface but received no recognition because he was overshadowed by Avan's defeat of Hadlar.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Myst's end by Hyunckel, whom Myst raised to be the ideal host.
    • Played for Laughs regarding the nunchucks Baduck makes for Chu. The spikes on the handle are supposed to inflict pain on the enemies, but they're placed on both handles, meaning that Chu would get hurt just by holding it, which is exactly what happens when Chu tries to grab itnote . Not surprisingly, Chu doesn't use it and it's soon forgotten.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • The heroes' first battle against pre-Heel–Face Turn Hyunckel and Flazzard both end like this, each resulting in a Damsel in Distress that the ones who manage to escape must regroup and toughen up in order to rescue.
    • Dai and Popp's first fight against Hadlar (after his Power-Upgrading Deformation has been completed) and Kill-Vearn also results in this fashion — Dai ends up trapped inside an iceberg while Popp manages to barely escape only with Crocodine's help.
    • Chu and his monster subordinates find themselves in this situation against Fenbren of Shinei Kidan.
    • The first encounter of Dai's group with Demon Lord Vearn turns this way.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Played with. Most people and even demons and beasts turn out to be great folks deep inside (sometimes after their HeelFaceTurns). On the other hand, Baran had such a horrible experience with human beings (save for Soala) that he ended up going on a rampage.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Popp: How pathetic. How can you call yourselves heroes when you only fight weaklings?
    Maam: You're one to talk...
    • When Chu meets Dai and Popp for the first time, he remarks that Dai is rather short, despite Chu himself being one head shorter than Dai.
    • After Noah suffers a humiliating defeat from the Shinei Kidan and is in a depressive funk about it, Maam twists his wrist to get him to stand up before giving him a harsh speech to snap him out of his depressive mood. Leona, having witnessed the scenario with Dai, shares her reaction with Dai, who believes that Leona herself is Not So Different from Maam.
    Leona: (whisper to Dai) It's gonna be pretty rough for whoever she marries...
    Dai: (thinking to himself) Leona should speak for herself first...
    • After the human forces on the ground manage to fight off the demon army led by Zaboera, Flora and Crocodine wonder who should go into Vearn Palace as reinforcements and retrieve the wounded. Cue Chu making the announcement that he'd be the one to select those he considers qualified members to go with him for reinforcement, claiming that "those who are wounded and those with insufficient abilities would only add to the casualty list". One of the human fighters, who happens to the very same one who defeated Chu earlier in the martial arts tournament, reacts by commenting in whisper: "Isn't he the one with the most insufficient abilities...?" note 
  • Iconic Logo: The Dragon Crest, both in and out of universe. In-Universe it's the glowing symbol that appears on the forehead of a Dragon Knight when they activate their powers, and it's prominently depicted in some structures and artworks related to them. Out of universe, not only is it part of the official logo of both the manga and both anime adaptations, it's pretty much the most recognizable piece of iconography in all of Dai No Daibouken as a whole, which helps to differentiate it from the rest of the Dragon Quest franchise.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After leaving Teran, Popp speculates at one point that Merle might have liked him, but dismisses it soon afterwards.
    Popp: You'd think she liked me or something... as if! Ha ha ha ha!
    Matoriv: (thinking to himself) This guy... he's completely clueless unless the girl he likes is involved... he's hopeless...
  • Imagine Spot: A few of those, and they're Played for Laughs.
    • Upon Baduck introducing Aimi as one of the three sages in Papunika to Dai, Popp, and Maam for the first time, Popp is shocked by the news, as he has the image of three old geezers in mind for the sages.
    • When Popp confesses to the heroes he takes back home to Lankarks that he was afraid of going back home because his father wasn't as reasonable as his teammates, Dai immediately thinks of Baran and wonders whether Popp has the same daddy issues as Dai himself does.
    • After seeing Flora defeating a group of Slimes with her whip when she's leading Leona, Maam, and Merle inside the Anti-Evil Cavenote  late in the story, Maam remarks that Flora is "one tough queen". An image of Flora holding a whip and donning the outfit of a Dominatrix comes to mind for Leona as a result, causing her to chastise Maam in return.
    Leona: Wait, Maam! That's not a nice thing to say!
    Maam: Why?
  • Implied Love Interest: Dai and Leona's relationship is portrayed primarily with this trope, given that the main romance subplot of the story is actually Maam, Popp and Hyunckel's Love Triangle.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Everybody, but especially the magic armors of Hyunckel and Larhart.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Popp's early Miles Gloriosus personality is revealed to be due to his own frustration at his cowardice and lack of power. He quickly drops the act, but his lack of self-esteem remains until he manages to overcome it thanks to Merle's sacrifice.
  • Interspecies Romance: Chu harbors a crush towards Maam. It's entirely one-sided on his part, as Maam sees him as a teammate and a friend — nothing more. He moves on eventually.
  • It's All My Fault: Popp holds himself entirely responsible for Dai being trapped inside an iceberg undersea as the result of the Hopeless Boss Fight against Hadlar post-Power-Upgrading Deformation, as Popp chasing Kill-Vearn and Myst-Vearn into the Field of Death would have been the death of him had Dai not shown up there to save him, prior to Hadlar's appearance.
  • Jacob Marley Warning: When Popp is hesitant about saving Dai and Maam, both of whom are in danger while battling Crocodine, the old mage in the group of fake ultimate heroes tells Popp that he, too, used to abandon his friends when the odds looked bad, which eventually led to him being in his current state. Faced with the choices he's presented, Popp runs off to save Dai and Maam.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: There is a fair share of techniques that work this way, including Crocodine and Baran's Finishing Moves.
  • Kid Hero: the main characters, and especially Dai.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Flazzard is on both sides of this. When he has the upper hand, he's the one doing the kicking. When he begs Myst-Vearn for one more chance after Dai defeats him in his armored mode, Myst-Vearn sees no more use for him and snuffs his life out by stomping on and grinding him with his foot.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Baran and his team (except Laharlt, who returns for the final battle arc).
    • Hadlar and his team (except Hym, who's believed to inherit Hadlar's soul).
  • Lady and Knight: Avan and Flora and Leona and Dai have this dynamic. A slightly reluctant warrior who becomes a hero to protect the princess.
  • Large Ham:
    • Hadlar and Baran, in a more edgy and cynical style.
    • Crocodine is a level above even the others; in an ideal dub he would have to be voiced by BRIAN BLESSED to do him justice.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Happens briefly to Dai during the Baran's arc.
  • Like Father, Like Son:
    • The heroic side has a "daughter" for this trope. Maam, despite never having been a warrior like her father Loka, has strength reminiscent to his own, as Matoriv remarks. Meanwhile, Maam has capacity for some healing spells, which her mother Leyla, who fought alongside Loka as a cleric, could wield. The weapon Maam wields when she joins Dai and Popp for the first time was given to her by Leyla, who wielded it when she joined Avan alongside Loka.
    • The villainous side has Zamsa, who's an Evil Sorcerer like his father, Zaboera.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Popp's dynamic with his father, Junk. Junk is The Blacksmith in the village where Popp was born and raised, with the physical strength and knowledge of weapons required for his line of work. Popp, meanwhile, is a Squishy Wizard whose specialty is spellcasting instead of brute strength or weapon-wielding.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards:
    • Hyunckel and Popp are a textbook version of this trope. Hyunckel starts off as an extremely powerful swordsman who gives both Dai and Popp a hard time, while Popp is a Miles Gloriosus. Later on, Hyunckel is still a powerful ally but Popp has taken so many levels of badass that he's the only one able to face Vearn head on together with Dai.
    • Dai averts this by being a Magic Knight. Maam and Avan also to a lesser extent.
  • Literal Split Personality: A variation. The ritual magic that Hadlar used to create the Shinei Kidan also imprinted them with fragments of own personality. He thinks of it more like a case of Like Father, Like Son.
  • Love Triangle: Maam, Popp and Hyunckel. This is actually the main romance subplot of the story, given that Dai and Leona are more portraited with the Implied Love Interest trope.
    • There's also Popp, Maam and Merle, albeit this one is given way less focus, and it's used more for developing the main Love Triangle, rather than being the focus.
    • And then there's one with Maam, Hyunckel, and Aimi. This, too, is more for developing the main Love Triangle, but that alone allows it some weight by itself, as Aimi being more outspoken about her affection causes Maam to wonder towards whom her own romantic feelings harbor.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Baran, one of the six generals, is Dai's father.
  • Made of Explodium: The Shinei Kidan explode when they die, and there's a good reason to it that's not explicitly stated in the Manga: Since their bodies are made of the extremely rare and powerful Orihalcon, it would be disadvantageous for them if the heroes could scavenge their remnants to forge some new weapons and/or armor with them. Even their severed body parts explode.
  • Magic Knight:
    • Dai learns to be one over the course of the series, mixing magic to his sword attacks.
    • Baran's a natural born one as the Dragon Knight.
    • Avan is proficient at both sword-wielding and spellcasting.
  • Magically Inept Fighter:
    • Hyunckel is a warrior by default, though Grand Cross serves as a last resort for him should he lose access to his weapon.
    • Crocodine is a downplayed example. While he can't cast spells, he can fire Burning Breath, either to paralyze his opponent or to thaw out ice, and cast wind-based spells with his axe, and his ultimate attack has long range.
    • Chu plays this trope entirely straight. He is a Bare-Fisted Monk and, therefore, has no capacity for spellwork at all, nor does he possess any skill that remotely resemble ranged attacks, either.
    • Downplayed with Maam. Having started out as a warrior/healer hybrid, she has access to some healing magic, which gets retained even after she changes her class into a Bare-Fisted Monk. That being said, her spellwork capacity is limited compared to her more magically-capable companions.
    • Lon Beruk is also one. He trains Dai and Hyunckel at one point, both of whom notice that he manages to take both of them on without breaking a sweat while Dai and Hyunckel are both nearly out of breath, and duels Myst-Vearn to a draw for an extended period of time (though, in this case, both acknowledge that neither is going all-out against the other) during the final war. However, he shows no capability in spellcasting or ranged attack of any kind.
    • Baduck, like Hyunckel, is a warrior by default and so can't use spells. Unlike Hyunckel, however, he can't use any ranged attacks at all.
  • Magnetic Hero: Dai, evident by the answer Crocodine gives Baran when he asks why he gives it all to protect Dai: "Before I met him I thought humans were worthless, but he showed me I was wrong. And not only me, Hyunckel was like that too... to us, Dai is our Sun."
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
  • Male Gaze: Embodied in Popp. He once notices Gome hitching a ride in Maam's clothes because her bust looks bigger than normal.
  • Manly Tears: Avan, Hyunckel, Crocodyne... let's just say everyone.
  • Maybe Ever After:
    • There's no definitive resolution to the Merle-Popp-Maam love triangle: Popp turns Merle down and Maam tells him to wait until she gets over Hyunckel. We see them traveling together after the end, but it's not clear if they're just traveling as friends or if Popp is dating one or more of them.
    • Dai and Leona get no resolution either due to Dai's Disney Death Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Really, the only couple that does get resolved is Flora and Avan. He's shown ruling Carl with her, meaning that she probably finally strong-armed him into a relationship.
  • Meaningful Echo: For a villainous version: "The Demon Lord's wishes are the only priority". Myst-Vearn says this earlier in the series during a meeting among the Demon Army generals there when Flazzard complains about being held back while Hyunckel is sent out to face Avan's disciples, which succeeds in getting Flazzard, a Glory Seeker that wants Vearn's approval, to consent. Late in the series, when Zaboera tries to get Myst-Vearn to protect him when the chips are down, Myst-Vearn gets him to remember this line, making it clear that any Undying Loyalty Myst-Vearn harbors is for Vearn, and Vearn alone.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Dai" means "grand", but there is also a variation of his name that means "hero". His original name, Dino, was said to mean "strong dragon" in his mother's language.
    • "Leona" means "female lion", which may explain her 'feline' personality.
    • Maam and Popp are probably named so because they're taking their parents' positions at the Hero's side.
    • Myst-Vearn refers to his mysterious nature and also the fact that he is the secret safe-guard of Vearn's physical body in its prime and he's keeping this truth a mystery.
    • The name "Kill-Vearn" means that he is an assassin for Vearn and that he's an assassin sent by Velther to kill Vearn when his guard is down.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard:
    • Avan sacrifices himself to defect Hadlar after teaching Dai the Avan Slash. Subverted when Avan is revealed to be alive.
    • Baran plays this straight as he finally becomes an ally and accepts his role as a father and mentor.
  • Monster Clown: Kill-Vearn reaches Hisoka levels.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Whenever a given chapter shifts in plot development between the Demon Army and the heroes abruptly, the atmosphere tends to go from ominous (the Demon Army) to lighthearted (the heroes) or vice versa.
    • One example takes place without plot development on the Demon Army's side at all: A chapter late in the story has Popp steadily going deeper into Heroic BSoD as the result of his inability to get his copy of Avan's pendant to glow, which is exacerbated by him observing Maam and Dai accomplishing it without trouble. He starts running to find an open spot to try again, already feeling more and more distressed... and the chapter ends in one lighthearted panel with Chu training his group of monster underlings with an exercise regimen which is made funnier when the Sea Slime in said group is struggling to keep up due to its lack of limbs.
  • Moral Myopia: Galdandy of Baran's Dragon Riders is as ruthless of a monster as you can expect from the villains. Still, despite not caring at all about the people he kills, he gets into an Unstoppable Rage if you kill his dragon. Pointing out how many people the dragon has killed will not help your case.
  • Morph Weapon: All created by Lon Beruk.
    • Hyunckel's sword. The scabbard morphs into an anti-magic armor. The sword can alternate between a solid blade or a Whip Sword.
    • Larhart's spear. Morph into an anti-magic armor. The spear itself extends or retracts at the user's will.
    • Maam's magic armlet that also morphs into an armor.
    • Popp's extending staff.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Both Dai and Hyunckel.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Baran.
    • Also Hyunckel and Vearn.
    • Popp surprisingly. He ends up shirtless a lot either due to clothing damage or because he likes training without a shirt on. He's pretty well built for a cowardly wizard.
  • Not So Different: During the Final Battle, Dai unleashes his full power, something he had been actively surpressing until then for fear of losing his memory or his mind or permanently morphing into something was not human. Shortly after, Vearn does the same thing, transforming into a gigantic monster. He remarks they're both willing to lose themselves in order to achieve victory. Dai reluctantly and silently agrees.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Avan is a strange mixture of this and CloudCuckoolanderism. The proportion of both is up for debate.
  • Oblivious to Love: Maam is completely oblivious to Popp's feelings for her, while Popp doesn't realize that Merle has been in love with him since they first met. Meanwhile, their friends sigh and facepalm.
  • Oedipus Rex: Dai's conflictual relationship with Baran. Played for Laughs for Popp with his brutal blacksmith dad.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe example. After going through his Character Development, Popp never allows himself to forget his Dirty Coward behaviour at the beginning of the story, even long after his friends fully forgive him for it. Which makes him develop an Heroic Self-Deprecation for a while, with a few Cowardly Lion moments. To a lesser degree, Hyunckel also shows some signs of shame of his evil past after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Vearn Palace, which is also The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Ominous Fog: Some strange fog keeps much of the ocean around Papnica too obscured to see around while the leaders of the various nations are holding a world summit. It turns out to have been set up on purpose — Myst-Vearn causes the fog so as to keep the Giant Demon Castle hidden from view before it reaches Papnica in his attempt to wipe out all of the human world leaders at once.
  • One-Winged Angel: Vearn's final form. Heck, he even looks like Bizarro Sephiroth.
  • Only Sane Man: Maam.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Even before his Heel–Face Turn, Hyunckel normally Would Not Hit a Girl unless he has to fight one, so him slapping Maam after Maam talks to him shows how much her words have affected him.
    • Played for Laughs when Leona, who's normally outspoken with a fiery temperament, acts extra-"girly" to the sages and Baduck, which arouses their suspicion and makes them believe that she's plotting something. They're right — she soon gives them the slip by taking the hot-air balloon, with Dai alongside her for the ride, in order to go to Bengarna so they can acquire new equipment for Dai.
  • Origins Episode: Two short stories are presented as such. The first one details how Dai and the group of fakes crossed path for the first time, ending with Dai receiving the Crown of Champions from the king of Romos. The other describes the event where Dai and Leona met and became acquainted for the first time, ensuring that Dai and Leona fell in love with each other.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Given Dai's inability to cast spells despite Brass's best effort to make Dai a spell-caster throughout most of the introduction arcs, Brass is understandably shocked to witness Dai casting high-level spells successfully near the end of said arcsnote  and, after Dai reverts back to normal (and back to his old, magically-inept self), wonders whether what he witnessed from Dai was real.
    Brass: Maybe I was hallucinating after all...
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: The characters are occasionally shown with a Dragon Quest-style statistical interface.
  • Panty Shot: Maam's second set of clothes and her last armor makes her a walking embodiment of this trope. She doesn't seem to care, much to Merle's dismay.
  • Parting Words Regret: Discussed. After Leona questions Popp as the result of him ranting by himself about Maam and Dai tells Leona that Popp likes Maam as Maam is leaving the heroes, Leona urges Popp to tell Maam how he feels, with this trope in mind.note 
    Leona: What are you talking to yourself about?
    Dai: (in whisper) Popp likes Maam, so he's sad right now...
    Popp: D-Don't tell her stuff like that!!
    Leona: If that's true, you'd better say what you need to, since we probably won't get to see her for a while...
    Popp: I... I can't... she... she already has someone she likes...
    Leona: So you're gonna just sit around and let it bother you? That kind of thinking is worthless! If you end up getting killed in battle, then this is the last time you'll get a chance to talk to her! Is it OK with you if she never even knows how you feel?
  • Pet Gets the Keys: After Hyunckel — pre-Heel–Face Turn — has Maam jailed as hostage to lure Dai and Popp back, she manages to break out of it via Gome's help.note  In this case, however, the "keys" in question are Maam's weapons, which, once she gets hold of them, she uses to blast through the jail cell wall.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: While it's not full-fledged nudity, the first "outfit" Leona puts on when she, Popp, and Dai are shopping for equipment at the department store in the kingdom of Bengarna causes this reaction for Popp all the same, as it's just bras and underwear. note 
    Popp: WHAT KIND OF SAGE DRESSES LIKE THAT!!? GET SOMETHING MORE SIMPLE!!
    Leona: But... it's so easy to move in...
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Chu's role outside of battles is mostly for comedy.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: The fight against the REAL Kill-Vearnnote  takes place after the battle against Vearn has been properly concluded.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • The disciples of Avan and their allies are a textbook example.
    • Hadlar and his Shinei Kidan learned to get their own as well, much to Dai and company's surprise.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: In keeping with the generally Rousseau Was Right and Humans Are Good tone of the story, characters tend to give a lot of these. Of note is Popp's speech to Vearn which inspires both Dai to keep fighting and Merle to rally the rest of the world.
  • Psychic Power: Nabara and Merle both possess this. Nabara uses it for her work as a Fortune Teller. Merle, despite not being as good at using a Crystal Ball as Nabara, nevertheless uses it more than once to aid the heroes by alerting them of some impending danger, allowing the heroes to move to fend off said danger.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Shinei Kidan develop this kind of dynamic when confronted with Dai's group.
  • Psycho Supporter: Albinasu towards Hadlar. She seems somewhere between Unrequited Love and Stalker with a Crush.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: It's "sword" instead of "gun" in this case, but the premise is the same: Borahorn (one of Baran's Dragon Riders), in his last attempt to defeat Hyunckel, forces him to drop his sword by holding Popp, whose magic power is entirely spent at this point, hostage, so that he can deliver the killing blow onto Hyunckel. Too bad for him Larhart, his fellow Dragon Rider, will have none of it.
  • Raised by Wolves: Even though he's been raised by monsters, Dai isn't uncivilized at all. On the other hand, he starts off very naive and largely unaware of human social conventions.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • On the heroic side, Matoriv lays one on Popp near the end of their initial training session, especially when Popp starts complaining about the practicality of Ruura in battle.
      Matoriv: Enough of your impertinence!! A mage is supposed to protect his comrades. By acquiring knowledge about countless spells, you can help people in times of crisis. That is the duty of a mage. Don't you get it?! If you had known how to use Ruura, you could have easily saved your friends from that flaming balloon!! If you can't even handle a situation like that, it's only natural you'd be a burden and will probably end up getting killed in your next battle anyway!
    • On the villainous side, Myst-Vearn gives one to Zaboera when the latter badmouths Harlar, though Zaboera dismisses it once Myst-Vearn leaves.
      Myst-Vearn: Scum! You have no right to ridicule Hadlar! I'll acknowledge that you saved Lord Vearn, but I'll never trust a rat that changes sides at every turn for the sake of his own glory, because someday such a man will betray his master in pursuit of his own gain! And when that day comes, I'll kill you without mercy!
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Baran and Hadlar, oh so much.
    • Subverted by Crocodile and Hyunckel, as they come back to life later and pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Maam vs. Popp; Avan vs. Hadlar.
  • Reverse Grip: The weapon-wielder holds the weapon this way before performing the Avan Strash.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The Shinei Kidan amount to this.
  • Right Behind Me: Technically "right under me", but the trope fits otherwise. When Dai and Leona use a hot-air balloon to head to a department store for the purpose of getting new equipment for Dai, Dai worries not bringing Popp along. Leona, on the other hand, doesn't consider Popp reliable and quickly expresses her opinion on the matter. What Dai and Leona don't know, however, is that Popp, having trained to enable himself to fly by magic, has been positioning himself below the airborne hot-air balloon while Leona expresses her criticism of him, and so he hears the whole spiel.
  • Rule of Cool: All the time. The writer even confesses to writing in abilities and spells that are not in the Dragon Quest franchise for the sake of coolness.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Avan when he gets serious.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Popp regularly pulled this, leaving battles at crucial moments for one reason or another. He always came back though. It's exploited at one point where he pretends to abandon Dai so he can secretly go off to fight the Dragon Riders by himself.
    • Derolin, Zurbon, Masopho, and Herohero try to reach Papnica by boat at one point — the key phrase here is "try to", as they abandon all thought of reaching Papnica and get the hell out of dodge at once the moment they spot the Giant Demon Castle making its way there as well.
      Zurbon: S... Sus... Suspend landing!
      Derolin, Masopho, and Herohero: Agreed!!!
      *cue all four of them getting their boat farther way from Papnica as fast as they can*
  • Senseless Sacrifice:
    • Defied: Avan can't defeat Hadlar with his Megante spell, but his death releases Dai's hidden power.
    • Popp tries to cast a Megante to kill Baran, but Baran manages to shake him off right before the explosion. Defied again: the sacrifices doesn't work as intended, but manages to make Dai regain his memories.
  • Shameful Shrinking: This happens to Dai when he realizes that his attempt at clearing the rubble blocking the stairway leading to the gunpowder-filled warehouse ends up igniting the gunpowder as well. It's a good thing that Aimi notices the gunpowder-induced fireworks.
  • Ship Tease: Especially Maam-Popp, Dai-Leona and Flora-Avan.
  • Shipper on Deck: Leona pushes for Popp to confess his feeling to Maam, but Popp Cannot Spit It Out.
  • Shoo the Dog - Subversion: Both Popp and Hyunckel pretend to abandon the party when in reality they're running off to face the threat alone.
  • Shounen
  • Shrinking Violet: Merle fits this trope like a glove. The fact that she is Maam's polar opposite and how she is painfully aware of how Popp only has eyes for Maam makes it hurt even more.
  • Shout-Out:
    • It can be difficult believing Hyunckel is not something from Saint Seiya. Seriously, look at his armors and how he equips them. He even looks a bit like Hyoga and was voiced by Phoenix Ikki's former seiyuu Hideyuki Hori in the 1991 anime. Think about what army he is in charge of, and how many times he comes Back from the Dead.
    • Dai and Baran's Kamehame Hadoken. There's even one instance where Dai shoots one, and the recipient of the blast sees the ghostly image of Baran standing behind him in the same pose, a Shout-Out to how Gohan defeated Cell in Dragon Ball Z. Fitting, as Toriyama famously designs characters for the Dragon Quest games.
    • Zaboera's son Zamza's Hyper Demon form has some traits to it reminiscent of Cell, specifically, eating people in order to become stronger, having an ability that allows for quick regeneration, being composed of the traits of numerous types of demons, and even the mouth on his chest somewhat resembles Cell's tail-mouth, being used in the same way.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Dai does this during his decisive battle against Dragon Army Captain Baran, who also happened to be his father and the original Dragon Knight, as he unleashes all his power:
    Baran: ALLOW ME TO DEMONSTRATE THIS BODY'S FULL POTENTIAL! ONCE THIS CREST IS FULLY RELEASED, I'LL BE STRONG ENOUGH TO MAKE EVEN MOUNTAINS CRUMBLE!
    Dai: ... so what's your point? I can fight seriously, too.
    • Zaboera gets this treatment more than once throughout the series, but it's always well-deserved due to him being a Dirty Coward Smug Snake with NO redeemable qualities whatsoever.
      • When he talks to Hyunckel while Hyunckel, still one of the Demon Army generals at the time, has Maam imprisoned, he suggests using his spell-work to make Maam Hyunckel's own Sex Slave. Hyunckel promptly chokes him, slams him to the wall behind him, and tells him that he either leaves at once or becomes among the corpses in his army. Zaboera is forced into agreeing with him to save his own life, but not before trying to fearmonger Hyunckel one last time.
      Zaboera: How dare you! You'll regret this! Crocodine didn't listen to what I said earlier, that's why he lost!
      Hyunckel: No... he lost because of your useless advice!
      • Late in the series, when Vearn summons Myst-Vearn to return to Vearn Palace to fend off Avan's disciples, Zaboera attempts to leech off Myst-Vearn by suggesting he should return with him instead of being left to handle the rest of the human forces and their allies alone, but Myst-Vearn quickly rebuffs him.
      Zaboera: Myst-Vearn! You're not being fair at all! We used to be in the same rank, and fought together as one of the six captains! And you're just gonna abandon one of your comrades?! Huh?!
      Myst-Vearn: Feh... a "comrade"? You're spewing out those meaningless words now. But, Zaboera, if we've been such long-time "comrades"... then you know my answer in a situation like this...
      Zaboera: (feebly, after a moment of Oh, Crap! realization) "The Demon Lord's wishes are the only priority"...
      Myst-Vearn: Exactly! Those words supersede everything!
      Zaboera: Y-You bastard! Y-You were faking it!
      Crocodine: Zaboera... I may not be as smart as you, but I've learned at least one thing in my time... there are certain things that don't change... no matter what!note 
    • The last example of this trope plays out to heartwarming effect. Earlier on during Dai's final confrontation with Vearn late in the story, Vearn makes one more attempt to convince Dai to join his side, by arguing in a long Hannibal Lecture that the same humans who look up to Dai when they're in need of help won't accept him once the dust settles due to his unnaturally strong powers as a Dragon Knight, only for Dai to rebuff him.
    Vearn: Humans are repulsive, Dai. They do not deserve your loyalty and service. You might fight for them... and you might win... but then what...? Put trust in my words when I say... if you defeat me and return to them, they will reject you! That is the true nature of humanity. They will cry and beg and wholeheartedly put their faith in you. However, they will do so only while they are suffering. Once they know peace, they will begin to question your motives and assert their will onto you. They will drive you out of their place as their hero. They might thank you after your victory, but they will not allow anyone who is not a pure human to be the head of their race! That is what the humans are!
    Leona: You're wrong! We will never do something like that!
    Vearn: (to Leona) You are an exception because you harbor feelings of love for Dai. Nothing more than that. One human's personal emotion cannot override the national sentiment. As a public official, you should know better than that. However, I am different! I do not discriminate by race, and I respect all who are strong. (to Dai) Now what will you say, Dai? Will you risk your life for those who would abuse your victory? Or will you work for the one who would accept you unconditionally and can truly appreciate what you are worth? Even though you are a child, I hope you can grasp the full scope of my words. What will you do, Dai?
    Dai: My answer is... "NO"!
    Vearn: You are a child, after all. You are still clinging to the illusion of a hero...
    Dai: No! I know that humans can do awful things sometimes. I am fully aware of that. And I know you're not lying just to convince me. But that's OK! I still... I still like humans! I like all the beings on this planet that have raised me to what I am today! If what you said was really true... that the people on this planet don't want me here... then... I... will defeat you... and then disappear!
  • Sinister Scythe: Kill-Vearn's default weapon of choice.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: With its emphasis on The Power of Friendship and its easy conversion of villains, the series is close to the far end of the idealism side. At the root of the conflict with Vearn and his demon army, who've been living in less than ideal conditions while humans were having it good, from their point of view.
  • So Proud of You: Avan gives this to Dai, Popp, Maam and Hyunckel after he meets them again.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil:
    • On one hand it's subverted: the Big Bad sends the six general after Dai from the beginning.
    • On the other hand, it's played straight in the order in which the generals fight Dai: Crocodine is a lot weaker than Hyunckel, who gets his ass handed to him by Flazzard, who in turn is a joke compared to Baran.
    • Also, from the moment Crocodine failed Hadlar had wanted to send all five of his remaining generals at once. The order was belayed by the Big Bad, who hoped to persuade Dai to come to his side.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The opening of the 2020 anime shows the highlights of the battles against Crocodine, Hyunckel and Flazzard, revealing what moves Dai uses to defeat them. It also hints at Velther and Vearn in a shot of the Dragon Crest that is also used in the eyecatches.
    • For Baran's arc, the opening changes to Dai fighting him, Zamsa's demonic form and then the Giant Demon Castle. Popp is shown charging Medoroa (combined with the ending credits, it lets you know he survives his Heroic Sacrifice attempt), the Orihalcon Royal Guards are teased and Vearn's face briefly appears on screen, though mostly cast in shadow.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Baran and Soala's story is very close to a classic Romeo and Juliet plot, except here Romeo goes horribly wrong and they have a kid with Infant Immortality.
  • Story Arc
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: When the heroes decide to go to a village called Lankarks in search of new weapon for Dai, they discuss ways to get there quickly, before Popp mentions that he can get them there using Ruura. It turns out Popp was raised in that village before he ran off to join Avan, but he didn't tell anyone because he was afraid of going back.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Dai's "Dragon Knight personality" isn't evil, but it sure is terrifying and shows a darker, more violent side of his personality than we are used to.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Dai and Popp. Dai despite being a Magic Knight, favors swordsmanship and most of his spells are either short range offensive attacks or boosts to his fighting ability. Popp when teamed up with Dai, provides the long range explosive firepower, defense and after he becomes a Sage, healing that Dai lacks. Demonstrated beautifully in the fight against Vearn when they display both the Tank/Healer and Meat Shield/Glass Cannon sides of the trope.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: During the first fight against Flazzard, he creates a curse field that reduces the strength of Dai's party to one fifth of its full power, and makes them unable to use magic. Seeing themselves completely outmatched in those circumstances, Maam suggests to retreat for the time being. Dai refuses to go and leave Leona behind, to the point that Maam has no choice but to knock him unconcious herself.
  • Take a Third Option: A Q & A dialogue between Dai and the Dragon Crystal, the guardian entity in the temple located in Teran, regarding the Dragon Knights is addressed this way.
    Dai: What exactly is a Dragon Knight? Are they human? Or are they monsters?
    Dragon Crystal: ... They are neither... The dragon god, the demon god, and the human god... Dragon Knights are the ultimate lifeform, brought into existence in ancient times by the three gods...
  • Taking the Bullet: Plenty of examples. Crocodile actually used this as his main fighting tactic against Baran to buy time for Dai.
  • The Team: Dai's group contains the following:
  • Team Mom: The aptly named Maam, who even represents Compassion.
  • Team Pet:
    • Gome, which also happens to be a literal miracle bringer created by the Gods.
    • Chu the karateka mouse.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When Dai fights one of Hadlar's scouts at the start of the main story, Dai's last attack is a vertical sword slash. Since the sword doesn't physically connect, said scout remarks with "nothing happened", only to turn around at the sound of waves behind him and notice divergent waves rising from a Razor Wind generated from Dai's sword slash, right before the scout's own body starts splitting in two.
    • Upon discovering that an underground warehouse with gunpowder within it is heavily buried under rubble, Dai excitedly volunteers to clear it away and Popp decides to let him do it. Unfortunately, Dai's move of choice is to cast a fire spell on his sword and launch a sword strike technique subsequently, a decision that proves to have rather Gone Horribly Right.
    • When Leona and Dai set out to reach the kingdom of Bengarna via the hot-air balloon for the purpose of securing new equipment for Dai, with Leona telling the sages and Baduck that she'll return soon, Apollo tries to reassure Baduck and the other sages with these words: "Dai is with her... she should be fine if it's just for a few days." What none of them, Apollo included, could have known at the time, however, is that the next branch of the Demon Army is going after Dai personally, and Leona would get entangled in the battle because she's with him.
    • When Crocodine joins Akim, the tank squadrin captain of Bengarna, against an army of Animated Armor, Akim, who's feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of the intruding enemies, asks Crocodine how he could possibly defend himself against such a large number of enemies. Cue Crocodine decimating several of the Animated Armor that try to attack them in one fell swoop with his axe.
      Crocodine: Did you say something?
      Akim: Are you immortal?
    • Right at the same moment Crocodine joins Akim against the army of Animated Armor, Popp goes after the Giant Demon Castle with the claim "I'll blow your head off!", fires a spell of explosion at its head, and says with confidence "That ought to open up a nice hole!" afterwards... only to reveal that his spell barely blows a tiny chunk off its face.
      Popp: Well... there is a hole... but it's not quite...
    • While Leona goes into the Anti-Evil Cave to acquire the anti-evil spell that the heroes need for access into Vearn Palace, with Flora, Merle, and Maam in tow, Nova asks Dai if he's not worried about the ladies. Dai is confident that Leona can handle it. Cut to Leona screaming in terror at the sight of a Chest Monster before Maam takes it out.
      Maam: Come on, Leona! Stop opening every chest you see! How many times do I have to tell you?
  • 10-Minute Retirement: when Dai freaks out and runs away in his pyjamas after being defeated by Vearn.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Played all over with Leona and Maam. Maam's a fighter and a Tsundere while Leona's a White Magician Girl who's open about who she loves. However, their personalities don't fit the type. Maam when she's in love, is a bit of a Shrinking Violet who Can't Spit It Out (see her crush on Hyunckel). Leona in contrast is much more aggressive about pursuing Dai. Maam serves as the Team Mom while Leona is The Face.
    • Played straighter regarding Maam and Merle. Maam, as mentioned, is a fighter, whereas Merle's isn't. Maam is fine with wearing tight — even exposed — clothing if it helps her move around, while Merle's outfit is far more modest and wholesome, which she seems to prefer. Maam is more outspoken (outside of her romantic feelings, anyway), but Merle is a more reserved Shrinking Violet. Their contrasts only become more visible when they're placed in the Triang Relations involving Popp.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Many characters, but especially Popp, who according to Hyunckel, Kill-Vearn and Vearn themselves, is even scarier than Dai.
    • You know you've become a badass when you use a spell even after dying.
    • This gets even more evident when, during the final battle against Vearn, Popp quickly discovers the weak point on Vearn's absolutely invincible battle stance, create an opening in aforementioned ultimate battle stance allowing Dai to cut one of Vearn's arms off and then neutralizes Vearn's ultimate magic attack while staring at him with a "take that" expression on his face.
  • Triang Relations: Merle loves Popp, Popp loves Maam, Maam loves Hyunckel but so does Eimi, Hyunckel loves Maam but thinks she's too good for him...really, this gets more to Love Dodecahedron levels.
  • True Companions: the disciples of Avan — Dai, Popp, Maam and Hyunckel — plus Crocodine and Leona.
  • Tsundere: Maam; Leona has many traits too.
  • Uniformity Exception: Late in the story, Chu issues ID badges for his monster underlings to wear, as they're otherwise indistinguishable from the other monsters of their species, so as to avoid Friendly Fire. note 
  • Unstoppable Rage: Dai and Baran when their crests are present.
  • Use Your Head: Chu can dent/damage standard armor by headbutting it. He also proves how sturdy his head is when a sword-wielding Animated Armor strikes him on the head using its sword, resulting with the sword breaking from the impact.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Vearn Palace, which is also an Ominous Floating Castle.
  • Villains Want Mercy:
  • Warp Whistle:
    • Hadlar uses an artifact named Chimera's Wings to retreat after his humiliating defeat during his first fight with Dai.
    • Flazzard also uses one to escape from setting the eruption he kickstarted that destroyed Hyunckel's fortress.
    • The spell Ruura also works this way, being a teleportation spell that requires a clear image of the location where the user intends to go; therefore, it's only possible to transport to locations he/she has already visited.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • Avan isn't abnormally strong, nor does he have a lot of magic power. He can use with incredible efficiency the strength and magic power he does have, and he is feared by the freaking Demon Lord Vearn for his WITS.
    • Hyunckel starts as one of the strongest characters, mainly for his exceptional swordsmanship skill, but quickly becomes relatively average when compared to other characters. Dai is the hero, Popp can use magic, and Maam is infinitely stronger physically than he is. Then he starts using his own life as a weapon and takes a few levels in badass.
  • We Can Rule Together: Vearn holds out this hope for Dai.
    • After learning that Crocodine has failed to eliminate Dai, Hadlar wants to send out all of the remaining five generals against Dai at once, only to be overruled by Vearn, who orders Hyunckel — and only him — to face Dai.
    • Vearn has hope for Baran to convert Dai to the Demon army. He's not happy when that prospect ends up not happening.
    • Vearn himself tries to personally convert Dai to his side during their final confrontation via a Hannibal Lecture. Unfortunately for him, Dai doesn't buy it.
  • We Sell Everything:
    • The department store in the kingdom of Bengarna has many stores within that sell different wares, including items, weapons, and armors.
    • Junk's weapon shop in Lankarks specializes in selling weapons.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Lots of minor characters, especially non-humans, are subject to this trope.
  • Whip Sword: Hyunckel's weapon.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Throughout the introduction arcs, Brass berates Dai for his lack of progress in spellcasting, having wished for Dai to be a great mage, while Dai himself wants to be a sword-wielding hero instead. They still love each other all the same, though.
  • The Worf Effect: Happened to Crocodine with the appearance of Baran.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Baran, after he and Dai both collapse exhausted after battling.
    • Hadlar eventually becomes this too, along with his Shinei Kidan.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb:
    • By utilizing the opposing elements of Fire and Ice together, Flazzard can make a barrier that negates the abilities of his enemies while he retains all of his advantages. It also counts on a fundamental level as he's composed of Fire on one side and Ice on the other, leading to him having the advantages of the strongest of both elements by natural composition alone.
    • Medoroa, the most powerful spell Matoriv can cast (which he teaches to Popp during the story), works in the same premise, by utilizing the opposing elements of fire and ice together, fusing them into a spell that can annihilate everything in its path. Matoriv also comments to Popp that, had Flazzard been able to cast this spell due to his nature as a fire-and-ice Oxymoronic Being, the heroes would have stood NO chance of winning against him — the only reason he can't do so is due to his relatively low power level as a recently created entity.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: And ridiculous oversize curls, Avan. Also notice Maam's pink hair and Leona's orange/beige hair.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Matoriv coughs up blood periodically, and he's well aware that his time alive is ending soon. He's still alive at the end of the series, though.

Alternative Title(s): Dai No Daibouken, Dragon Quest The Adventure Of Dai

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report