As with some other video game movies, I deeply enjoyed Dragon Quest: Your Story, because I’m not a fan of the game series.
Dragon Quest: Your Story Synopsis
Based on Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Your Story tells the saga of Luca Gotha, a young “hero” supposedly destined to defeat the evil forces attempting to reopen the portal to the demon world. While still an infant, Luca’s mother, Mada, was kidnapped by Ladja, the demonic bishop leading the wicked forces, following which his father was killed too. After enduring slavery under Ladja for 10 years, Luca finally escapes. His long and arduous journey then begins with him seeking the famed Zenithian sword, and recruiting a lifelong partner along the way.
In 1988, I played a grand total of … 4 hours (?) of Dragon Quest I on the NES.
I was terribly bored by it, finding most part of the gameplay little more than battling cutesy slimes. Since then, I’ve never played another Dragon Quest game. Jump forth to today, I regularly see box arts of the various titles on Pinterest, and last year I had a whale of a time binging on the Yūsha Yoshihiko parodies. But DQ remains one of those JRPG game series I do not keep a lookout for. Before watching Yūsha Yoshihiko, I never even read up the stories.
Yeah. For these reasons, I wasn’t that excited about a Dragon Quest 3D movie on Netflix. Frankly, I only watched last night because all cinemas in Singapore are closed till end-April. I wouldn’t be able to catch anything new movies for a few weeks.
Well, surprise! Unlike my only experience with the game series, I utterly loved the movie, to the extent I kept rewinding to re-watch certain segments. The 3D animation was gorgeously rendered, a delightful mix of Japanese and American styles. The (Japanese) dialogue was also craftily written; in many parts, as hilarious as the Yoshihiko series.
Not having played DQ 5, I have no idea whether the soundtrack from the game was incorporated. Regardless, what’s in Your Story was wonderfully atmospheric. An elegant companion to the lovely rustic and medieval sceneries found through the show.
If anything, my only complaint about the movie was the rather abrupt “leveling” of Luca’s skills during the finale. Something which I soon forgot about, thanks to the twist that followed.
The TWIST. Which deeply resonates with me. Because I DO think of my favourite games that way. Always.
Now, I’m not unaware that my opinions about Your Story are somewhat unique. Right after watching, I searched online for reviews and was dismayed to read that many critics, and fans of the games, strongly dislike this 3D adaptation. For some fans, the lack of the “Toriyama Akira touch” in the art style was unforgivable. To some critics, the end-twist was lame, an appalling abandonment of the original flavour of DQ 5.
I respect these opinions. All I can say is, I might have also disliked Your Story had I been a fan of the game series.
Like the Resident Evil movie adaptations, I was numbed to some “flaws” simply because I wasn’t on the lookout or even aware of what to compare. In that sense, I believe most casual viewers who have not played the games would also find this Anime movie on Netflix a pleasing watch. Some who are gamers might even be moved by the ending, as I was.
The twist does get a shade maudlin, but I feel it sums up a true gaming experience well. All else aside, Your Story is a quirky and emotional retelling of a classic JRPG story. It is a feast for the eyes. During many parts, it is a soothing delight for the ears too.
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