There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to dragons. From goofy storylines to magical adventures, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Imagine taking a dragon and transforming them into a personal maid, and you’ll end up with a character from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. It’s a series filled with lovable and silly characters and gives a different vibe to the dragon concept.
The story follows Kobayashi, who offers a dragon named Tooru a place to stay since she appeared homeless. As repayment, Tooru transforms herself into a slightly human maid and caters to Kobayashi’s needs. However, Kobayashi will realize that having a dragon maid is troubling.
Although the series focuses on the nonsensical shenanigans of Kobayashi and Tooru, the series does explore Tooru’s dragon heritage on occasion. The side characters in the anime also have distinct backgrounds and look about them, which should interest most fans of different dragons.
At its core, the Dragon Ball franchise has martial arts, brutal villains, and tragic characters at the forefront. However, at the start, the series followed Goku’s younger years, where the story focused on Goku’s adventures with Bulma and friends wishing to collect the magic dragon balls.
From battling random dragon-like monsters to minuscule villains like Emperor Pilaf, Dragon Ball focused on something different, unlike the action-centric sequels that followed. The dragon balls also had this exciting feeling about them during Dragon Ball as the wishes drove many people to want them.
If fans were disappointed with Dragon Ball Z’s lacking focus on the dragon balls and the human and intriguing monsters that thrived in Goku’s universe, the original Dragon Ball should suffice.
With the success of monster taming series like Pokemon and Digimon, there are anime wishing to copy the formula but provide a unique spin. Enter Dragon Drive, a series where dragons are the main creatures utilized for combat.
The story follows Reiji, who becomes infatuated with a virtual reality game called Dragon Drive. Wishing for a powerful and formidable dragon partner, Reiji receives a cutesy, humble chibi dragon.
Despite being disinterested upon first impression, he later discovers this dragon is the rarest among them all and desires to train him. However, training his newfound partner will be the least of his worries.
While the story does take a nosedive on occasion, the variety of dragons utilized in Dragon Drive may please those looking for new takes on the species. The characters also have this sort of charm about them and are sure to get a chuckle out of you.
It’s not far-fetched to argue that games like Dungeons and Dragons aided in fans’ attraction to dragons and other mythical creatures. An anime that features guilds, magic, and dragons alike would be Fairy Tail.
However, the ecchi aspects of the series may be a turn-off point for fans. Yet the series does feature a plethora of action scenes and some lore about the dragons in its universe.
The story follows a young mage named Lucy Heartfilia, who strives to become a professional wizard. Along the way, she meets Natsu Dragneel, a mage, to find his dragon foster father, Igneel. Not only does Natsu welcome Lucy into his guild, Fairy Tail, but he warns her of the dangers that await her.
For the most part, Fairy Tail centers itself around friendship and the steady growth of companionship between the guild members. Later in the series, fans will witness dragons’ importance to the overarching narrative through flashbacks.
Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis
Nowadays, most anime depict mythical and anthropomorphic creatures in a charming light. However, there are anime like Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis that decide to lean into the terrifying aspects of dragons.
The story revolves around a group of heroes during a battle between gods and demons. This world doesn’t only force our characters to carve a path for themselves, but it’s a universe where they must keep a dragon from being unleashed upon the world.
While the story isn’t complex, it does capture violence, fear, and thrill in a way many people will find suitable for the naturalistic side of dragons. The series’ various characters also have backstories that blend with the harsh environment.
If you’re looking for immersion and want to see a naturalistic take on dragons, Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis is worth watching.
Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan
There’s a chance a creative work falls under the radar due to the fanfare granted by another series. Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan is an anime that fits this description.
The story follows Hirone, a girl who joins an air force patrol squad because she requires a new goal in life. While visiting, she stumbles upon a dragon that wishes for her to become his pilot. Hirone accepts the dragon’s offer and journeys out to find the truth about the dragons while also striving for personal improvement.
While the plot is familiar to Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon franchise, it takes new approaches with its story by immediately revealing its characters and setting magically. Further, the characters develop alongside the themes implemented into its storytelling, whether loneliness or love.
If you’re looking for a friendship-oriented adventure featuring a human and her dragon companion, Dragon Pilot will satisfy you.
Sorcerer Stabber Orphen
We’ve had some anime where dragons become humans, but what about a series where humans become dragons? Sorcerer Stabber Orphen features a heroic figure who embarks on a journey to help a female dragon become human again.
While the plot sounds bland on paper, the anime’s characters are dynamic, and the world around them feels like a believable fantasy. The action in the series is also top-notch and will keep the viewer engaged with the protagonist’s adventure.
Although the anime lacks drama and emotional scenes, fans of medieval culture will find some aspects enjoyable.
Record of Lodoss War
With the rise of Isekai anime, many find themselves desiring an anime with an old-school approach toward fantasy adventures. While its animation hasn’t aged well, Record of Lodoss War features well-rounded characters, a fantastical setting, and of course, dragons.
The story follows a group of mixed-raced champions who must prevent an evil witch from ruining the peaceful political environment brought upon this world’s many kingdoms. At first, it follows the simple good vs. evil storyline, but it evolves into a larger tale involving evil gods, nations, and dragons.
Even minuscule issues like goblins attacking villages and evil sorcerers scheming dark rituals add to the immersion fans will enjoy in this fantasy world. From its distinct cast of characters to its thrilling approach to fantasy adventures, Record of Lodoss War is worth adding to the watchlist.
Imagine blending the core concept of Monster Hunter and the idea of aerial warfare. You’ll end up with Drifting Dragons. It makes use of dragons’ primal attitudes, which is something most anime tend to move away from.
The story follows an airship crew who hunts dragons for food to replenish themselves. They’ll soon discover that empty stomachs aren’t the only issues they’ll face.
In essence, many may find the dragon slaughter thrilling, like similar fantasy-based stories involving castles and princesses. However, some may argue that it serves as an excellent message about the problems with whaling and other abusive activities.
If you have the stomach for it and want a Monster Hunter-like story, then Drifting Dragons will surprise you.
Dragon Half is a comedic fantasy anime. It follows a half-human dragon girl named Mink who wants to earn the affection of a prince. To do so, she wants to find a specific potion that’ll allow her to become a pure human being.
Her love interest is a prominent dragonslayer, so the story is absurd. That level of goofiness, though, adds a lot of charm to Dragon Half’s world and structure. It’s never witty or takes itself seriously because it aims for an audience looking for a fun time.
As for its dated animation, it may not suit those looking for stunning visuals. The art designs for each character help them stand out though. Their personalities and quirks also help to distinguish them from the many characters Mink and her friends meet.
Dragon Half promises viewers will have a fun time with the show.
So, there we have it, our pick for the best anime through the years about dragons!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!