English Dub Review: Dances With The Dragons “Ballet of the Winged”

Zzzzzzzzzz-huhwha? Oh, is he done talking?

Overview (Spoilers)

Gaiyus wakes up in the hospital. They have no clue how he survived the fight, and say its a miracle. In the meantime, the nurse fails time and again to find a vein and apologizes. As soon as the doctor leaves the room, she says she thinks she may need Gaiyus’ services. He flirts with her a bit, and gives her his card. Seems strange he would hit on a girl when he’s so into his own girlfriend. Anyway, Cardinal Muldine comes for a visit, and things turn sinister from there.

To sum up, Gaiyus’ friend that got them all into this mess was a double agent, leaking information to hardliners to counter Muldine’s diplomacy with the dragons. In order to pull him out into the open, Muldine sent one of his seven body doubles out, and arranged a fake assassination. To make it look real, they hired Gaiyus and Gigina. Both were too dumb to figure out what was going on, but not dumb enough to get themselves killed. This whole thing was also a set up, and will result in the dragon empire paying dearly for their actions as of late. Oh, and the car bomb intended to kill Muldine just got the traitor, so that’s good.

Gigina, however, is not not a big fan of Muldine’s methods, and attempts to put his sword through the cardinal’s face. Strong magic protects the “holy” man, though, and the sword-swinger has to retreat. Gaiyus is released from the hospital, and the two mercenaries get together to compare notes on their other case of interest. There are no gravity mages that meet the description of their assailant, and it seems like the bit of cloth they get from her is actually living tissue that was manipulated with gravity magic. Odd…

A phone call comes for them. The nurse from before claims that she’s a whistleblower, and wants them to protect her from the bad men. Once they get to the location, though, Gaiyus reveals that he’s seen through her ploy. She’s actually the shapeshifter body double for the Cardinal, and she’s leading them into a trap. Two more of Muldine’s henchmen arrive, and the fight is on.

Gigina Makes with the Stabby.
Courtesy: Funimation

Our heroes divide and conquer. Gigina fights the elder hitman, whose sword shapeshifts into a bunch of smaller, snake-like blades. At first, Gigina can’t get close enough for a solid hit. After taking a few hits, however, he realizes that the sword isn’t hitting very hard. He charges through the blades, tanking the hits, and lands a solid blow to the hitman. In the meantime, Gaiyus takes the shapeshifter and the younger hitman’s monster on. Using his magic to make an impromptu shield from the concrete, he takes refuge from their fire breaths. When there’s a lull in the flames, a strange gas filters up to them from below. They both konk out. After the young summoner fails to stab Gaiyus in the back, he ‘ports away to his brother’s side. Everyone is about to tussle one more time, but… who is that figure in the distance?

It’s the serial killer!

Our Take

Oh, holy crap. Two-thirds of this episode was Muldine talking. Just talking without end. The more he talks, the less this plot makes sense. It’s like my college geology professor: soporific, self-amused, and desperate for a way to trap you into a proving you couldn’t follow his obtuse self. This wouldn’t be so bad if the voice acting in this anime was remotely good. All this monologue and it has all the life of a doornail.

Looking at the vocal talent in this show, I find it strange. Other than Garret Storms (Gaiyus), all the experienced actors are pushed off to minor roles in this show. All the people that talk have almost no experience, and it shows. I’ve said it time and again, but they sound like people reading lines, not a person with feelings and emotions. In fact, I feel like I might get more engaged with this show if I muted it.

I hoped that the fight in this episode would have some good animation. Nope. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t exciting. In fact, many of the shots were recycled, multiple times even! Add to that the number of errors in drawing people in the face, Seven Arcs just isn’t trying anymore. Even the oft-recycled shots of Muldine talking weren’t all that good in quality.

That just leaves us to talk about this plotline, and I don’t think I’m really following it anymore. I watch West Wing. I get politics, even if I don’t like them. This show is making no sense. I get that there was a war against dragons, and this treaty with them is unpopular. All these fake assassinations, snitches, and the like is presented in such an obfuscated way, and by such a bad speaker, I can’t keep up.

Score

Summary

I'm losing interest in this show, which saddens me. I love the theme of magic-as-technology, but it's terribly presented with an out-of-date, underfunded anime with lackluster vocal talent. I give it five shapeshifting body doubles out of ten.

5.0/10

Marshall Daley

One part best-friend/philosopher, one part creepy mad scientist. Shaken, and sprinkled with geeky factoids, quirky humor, and a major case of skepticism towards the world and you might just find a cocktail that changes the way you see... Everything!

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