Read Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny Reviews Online.
Alert condition one! Fan-service overload! Hello, Westmead Hospital? I think I need to come in for a blood transfusion. Heh heh, just kidding. However when Michael said one of the DVDs on my review list contained fan service, he wasn’t kidding. Call me a prude if you want, but losing count on how many panty-shots I saw in each episode did not bode well in my view; and if it wasn’t panty shots, it was school uniforms being shredded as a by-product of the fighting — by the way I gave up counting after 50. Case in point: a scene where four people were discussing strategy on a windswept pier had the solitary female’s skirt blowing up repeatedly showing her panties — and that was what I’d call fairly tame in the context of what else I saw. Now that’s out of the way, Dragon Destiny is apparently the second series in the Ikki Tousen franchise and, having not seen the first series, I was hopelessly lost on the story as there is no explanation of characters or background storyline. I did get the basic understanding fairly early on that each main character had embodied within them a spirit of an ancient fighter, which manifested itself often through enhanced combat capabilities. Some had better skills than others; and some had “leader” spirits that others sought to protect and guard. The conflict between fighters more often than not related to the different schools each character attended as one high school tries to take over others and establish a superior foothold across the city.
That’s about all I could get out of it so far, then again there’s still another eight episodes in this series to go through and, according to Wikipedia, another couple of series to follow. Characters appeared to have varying degrees of depth and development – probably arising from the previous series. Some were well-developed (excuse the pun) and others were superficial. We have the character staples such as the bubbly air-head, the psychotic leader, the nerd, the warrior, the loud brash fighter, the well-meaning boy who has to put up with all sorts of crap, etc. To be candid, the story and characters didn’t catch my enthusiasm; but that was mainly due to the fact I came into this series cold without the background knowledge that I would have gained if I had watched the first series. If you are intent on coming into this series without seeing Season 1 first, don’t…
Visually, the first obvious details were the, um, stacking of the female cast. Big-breasted babes galore! Between that and plenty of panty-shots or uniforms being shredded, there isn’t much to be said. Action sequences are, more often than not, a dramatic still shot panned across usually resulting in someone’s clothes getting ripped or said person falls back showing panties. Some of the fight sequences are quite full-on and one, in particular, was not overly pleasant – even if it was within the context of the story (whatever that might be). Mitigating circumstances include a very nice and vivid colour palette, and no obvious issues technically with the overall presentation. Then we have the OVA shorts, set in an onsen and, as one would expect from such a situation, nudity by the truck-load. Finally we have the closing credits — erect nipples all over the show with uniforms so tight they looked as if they had been shrink-wrapped onto the characters or body-paint a la the current Air New Zealand safety briefing presentation – now that is something worth seeing, but I digress. I’ll be upfront here and say that the artwork and character designs are generally attractive, that is to say they are pleasant to look at. But after the 50th panty shot, I seemed to tune out of the whole thing.
I listened to the original Japanese audio track, and we have it presented in a solid 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo for both Japanese and English dialogue. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest with the focus being on the visuals and I didn’t get much out of it. The voices were as one expected: the bubbly air-head sounded vapid and away with the fairies; the brash fighter was loud and obnoxious; the psychotic opposing leader was menacing; you get the idea. What music there was fitting to the situation if bland and uninspiring — fighting music was fast and frantic, sneaky music oozed conspiracy, and so forth.
Extras on the disc included two OVA shorts which were eye-opening and probably for all the wrong reasons. We also had other Madman trailers, clean opening and closing, promotional videos, and an image gallery.
Did I enjoy what I saw? Well, sort of… As I said earlier, I didn’t get much out of the story. The visuals were pleasant enough if you are into lots of fan-service comprising panty-shots, sexual overtones, uniforms being ripped, offset by fight scenes that were not over-the-top violent but some were enough to make me uncomfortable. In short, the over-the-top fan-service had, dare I say, a role in mitigating what could have otherwise been a violent show with loads of fighting. This one will stay on the shelf (and would have stayed on the shelf in the store) unless I want to see again a load of action underpinned by lots of sexual overtones. I will just chalk this genre up to experience — not all that often. Bottom-end of three stars for a story that appears to be quite incomprehensible unless you’ve seen the first series, but doesn’t really matter if you’re looking for big-breasted babes fighting each other and the associated so-called benefits that can be imagined if not actually needed to be mentioned.