Dragon Half

Official Blurb:


"Dragon Half reveals Japan's obsession for the burlesque and their remarkable readiness for self-parody. A satirical take on the popular 'sword-and-sorcery' genre of Anime, Dragon Half pokes fun at the rambling rhetoric of mythical monsters and devils, the foppish pride of dragon-slaying knights and the cantankerous conceit of evil sorcerers. With a storyline based on the trials and tribulations befalling the love-child of a dashing Knight and a female dragon (honest!) Dragon Half is a reeling and riotous one-way trip into the sublime and ridiculous. A taste explosion for 'seasoned' Anime palettes, Dragon Half features a deliciously disorientating combination of 'superdeformed' and regular proportioned characters. 'Superdeforming' is a technique favoured by Japanese cartoonists who parody their own popular characters by transforming them into squat, dwarf-like shapes."


"Mink, in her own words 'the product of very strange circumstances', has the unfortunate plight of being half-dragon, half-human. Apart from the reptilian tail exuding from her posterior, the curly horns peeping out of her mane of scarlet hair and her flappy vestigial wings, Mink isjust like any ordinary teenager - Facing the onslaught of puberty and dealing with an overwhelming crush for her favourite pop star, the sexy sauce-pot Dick Saucer. Mink thinks she's hit the jackpot when Dick makes a beeline for her - Turns out he's a dragon-slayer, under contract from the king to annihilate her! Poor old Mink remains faithful to her heart throb to the bitter end, but can she survive the seriously sadistic wooing process? Find out in Dragon Half!"

Creator:          Ryuusuke Mita
Screenplay:       Shinya Sadamitsu
Character Design: Masahiro Koyama
Copyright:        Ryuusuke Mita/Kadokawa Shoten/Victor Entertainment, Inc.

First Release:
Language Format:  Japanese Language, English Subtitles
Running time:     55 mins
Certificate:      PG
Label:            ADV Films
Catalogue no:     VHSDH/001
Price:            £12.99
Release Date:     June 1996

Second Release:
Language Format:  English Language
Running time:     53 mins
Certificate:      12
Label:            ADV Films
Catalogue no:     VHSDH/001D
Release Date:     9th October 2000
Price:            £12.99


A fan favourite since its release in Japan in 1993, Dragon Half is a two part OVA series based on a manga series by Ryusuke Mita (published in Kadowkawa's gaming magazine, Dragon). The series has recently been made available in both the US and UK by AD Vision. It is the story of a very unusual girl, Mink, who is half dragon and half human (hence the title).

Erm, you mean it has a story? Its pretty light on plot (but heavy on comedy), and the basic gist is as follows: Mink and her friends are besotted by the latest idol singer, Dick Saucer (who also happens to be a dragon slayer and all-round hunk). However, her father, Ruth (don't ask), was once a famous Dragon slayer too, and isn't too impressed with his daughters crush - he actually married his supposed victim (who has a handy line in shape-shifting into almost-human form).

The King of the land is not too impressed with Ruth's treachery, and sends the assassin Rosario to 'punish' his erstwhile servant. However, Rosario is something of a show off (he carries a bucket of dry ice so as to make an impressive entrance), and decides to capture Mink as a lure for Ruth. As always he gets a little carried away, using a lethal dose of poison, and takes Minks body back to the kings castle. However, Mink's half-dragon, half-human constitution allows her to survive, and she sets about wrecking the place - at least until the king bribes her with a ticket to the upcoming Dick Saucer concert.

However, the ticket is a fake, and a dejected Mink starts to leave, but bumps into a new arrival - the black sorceress, princess Vina, who also happens to be president of the Dick Saucer fanclub, and is a slime-half (half human, half-slime). A fight ensues, and Mink unexpectedly meets her idol. Anymore would give away the surprises, but lets just say fried chicken, lollipops, laxatives, dragonslayers.....

The animation in Dragon Half is fairly simplistic (watch the feet), but this and the use of vibrant colours suits the story well. The art continually jumps between 'normal' and super-deformed styles, adding to the general silliness. Even the music gets the silly treatment, with 'super-deformed Beethoven' during the closing credits...

Dragon half places very little strain on the grey matter, but is a fun series to watch. Its not the best anime ever produce, and it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but anyone fond of comedy anime should include a copy in their collection.

4 out of 5 [Chris Hartford]

Originally a manga, DRAGON HALF is one of the more bizarre pieces of animation to come out of Japan, and may take some explaining to those unacquainted with it! It's a satire on the popular 'swords and sorcery' genre of fantasy, and contains most of the ingredients of dragon-slaying knights, spell-mumbling wizards, scheming kings, princesses, and fair maidens, but in parodic form. If you have seen shows like VILLGUST, BASTARD, LUNA VARGA, etc you may well wonder what's left unparodied, however DRAGON HALF goes one better by using both 'superdeformed' (dwarf-like parody characters) and normal anime characters.

Anyway, Mink, the heroine, is the offspring of a dragon-hunting knight and a female dragon, and apart from a small tail, horns, and vestigial wings, looks like a normal teenager. She has a crush on pop idol Dick Saucer, who unfortunately for her is also a dragon-slayer! The king, for reasons too bizarre to explain here, wants Mink done away with. As if that wasn't enough, Mink makes an enemy of the King's daughter, who is a black sorceress, and the offspring of the King and a piece of slime that sometimes takes human form. OK?

Rest assured that there is a storyline of sorts. Will poor Mink stay alive and win her heartthrob? There is plenty of comedy, plenty of action and some good jokes.

Some fans rave about DRAGON HALF; it's certainly a lot of fun but more so if you are familiar with the sort of material being parodied, and have an eye for the spiky super-deformed art style. And whatever you do, don't turn off the tape before the end of the episode final credits. [Geoff Cowie]