Taylor Mitchell, A&E Editor
Ok so real talk for a second here: I love Avatar: The Last Airbender to the point I am willing to say it is the greatest western animated television show ever produced. That’s saying a lot coming from me. I even like The Legend of Korra, while it’s definitely not as good as the first one it is a perfectly good show that gets destroyed because it gets compared to perfection. Just give the show a break guys its fine for what it is seriously. I am straying from the point here so let me get back on track, I love Avatar. Due to this love when I see people involved with Avatar, especially its extremely talented directing staff, involved in new projects I get excited. Honestly, that is the reason I started watching the new Voltron show, even more than just enjoying the original as a kid. This is also what brought me on board to watch The Dragon Prince.
The Dragon Prince is an animated web television show made by Wonderstorm, a multimedia production studio founded by Avatar head writer and director Aaron Ehasz and the co-director of Uncharted 3 Justin Richmond. Ehasz and Richmond write the show and directing duty is shared by, another Avatar vet, Giancarlo Volpe and Villads Spangsberg. The voice cast includes yet another person from Avatar, Jack DeSena (Sokka’s voice actor) as the protagonist Prince Callum. Needless to say knowing all this I sat down, brought up Netflix on the old chromecast, and prepared myself to be amazed. What I found actually didn’t exactly live up to the hype, but also kind of did at the same time.
Our story starts as young Princes Callum and Ezran’s lives are interrupted when a group of elven assassins are discovered near their castle, with the apparent intent on killing their father. This assassination is a retaliatory strike after their father ordered the death of the King of the Dragons and the apparent destruction of his only egg and heir. During the attack tho the Princes and one of the assassins named Rayla find the egg unharmed and decide to work together to return it to the Dragon Queen and stop all out war.
The story is actually very well done. The protagonists have hang ups about trusting each other due to the history between their two peoples, and a lot of this first season deals with them working past that and coming closer together as a group. The mild intrigue that happens with the villain trying to subtly but not super subtly take over the kingdom is also fun to watch. The character interactions really shine out to me as their is this general matter of fact sarcasm that a lot of the dialogue has that, while it doesn’t put you in stitches every time, I can guarantee it will give you a smile. The character Lord Viren is especially hilarious to me with just how dry his delivery can be. One thing that can be weird is that Callum sometimes just seems like Sokka if Sokka was a mage, but that may just be me projecting that comparison due to DeSena using the same voice. Yet, while I liked these parts of the show its not without a few problems
The most glaring issue is how variable the animation can be in the early episodes. Sometimes it looks down right robotic, and while it gets better as the show goes on its really jarring at first. I think the issue is a trick they used on the animation. The show is 3D animated but they scaled down the frame rate to give the impression of 2D animation. It’s probably a technique they had to learn to use which explains why it gets better as you get further in the season. Another issue is that plagues the early episodes is that It doesn’t seem like everyone is comfortable in their character yet. Due to this, the early voice work can be kinda weak.
I will say that, despite these early issues, I overall enjoyed the season. It has its problems early on, but the writing really helps you through that. When it finally hits its stride about 4 episodes in its great the rest of the way through. It’s a show that needs your patience but is well worth your time.