Laughing at a House-Hunting Dragon

How many anime and manga these days have freakishly long titles that tell you exactly what the premise of the show is, and what happens, and what it’s about, or at least try to accomplish some combination of such?

That is one way, already, in which A Dragon Goes House-Hunting is a breath of fresh air: it conveys the information and doesn’t need twenty syllables to do it. Besides that, it is a pleasant, wholesome comedy that is absolutely delightful to watch.

The plot (obviously) follows the titular character, a red dragon named Letty. He is not, by any stretch, the stereotypical dragon, a figure of lethal majesty and terrifying power. No, he is a timid little scaredy-cat by comparison, easily frightened, hardly ever dignified, and he can’t even fly or breathe fire, despite having all the anatomical parts necessary for such. Even the way he walks looks awkward, and his voice (in the original Japanese dub, at least) is soft and weak.

Alongside this excitable, but very weak, dragon is the unflappable Dearia, a most handsome, intelligent elf. He is, as it happens, a real estate agent of the very highest caliber… and the Demon Lord of the monsters. Exactly the sort of person that Letty needs as he strives to find a new home in a world full of dangers, perils, and heroes wanting to slay the red dragon, rumors of whom have him as some sort of mighty, evil destroyer bent on world domination. (as if!)

With merely a dozen episodes to work with, the story follows Letty and Dearia as they travel far and wide, experimenting with various types of fantasy-world residences. They encounter a most colorful cast of characters, including goblins and harpies in the forest, yeti in the arctic, tiiiiny people who live under mushrooms, Davy Jones as he lives inside a whale, the gladiators in a coliseum that is much friendlier than one might expect, the undead residents of a haunted land, and still more. With so much that comes and goes, the main characters become that constant touchstone, the eyes through which we see even as they themselves change.

Letty, especially, begins to mature with the inadvertent acquisition of an egg, which he protects at a critical moment. When the tiny, adorable Pyp hatches from said egg, this newborn ice eagle chick quite naturally insists on Letty as his father. It is a responsibility which drives Letty to grow up a little, to provide for and protect this little creature which trusts and depends on him so much.

But the cast isn’t complete until near the end, with the introduction of a princess who, spoiled as she is, ran away from home and was promptly kidnapped. Letty and Dearia rescue her, quite inadvertently, but they do not abandon her, and she brings a certain liveliness as she interacts with Letty much like bleach and ammonia, or ammonia and baking soda, or Mentos and soda. (I googled chemicals that explode when combined)

Even without the princess, though, the show is, from start to finish, a hysterical satire that doesn’t take itself too seriously. As a satire, it’s able to poke some fun, in a meta sort of way, at our fantasy tropes and preconceptions, like what makes all the chosen heroes actual heroes, and how we build dungeons in our games, and so on. Most of all, it humanizes monsters and heroes alike, as we get to laugh at both. There is a subtle point that there are good and bad apples among both, and misunderstandings abound.

All of this is done, to hilarious effect, with beautiful artwork, animation, character design, and I especially love the music, particularly the opening theme. There aren’t many opening songs that I never skipped past, and this is one of them. It just pushes all the right buttons for me, and I love it!

All in all, this is simply a funny, witty show, with clever insights and endearing characters. It has not much of a plot, but it has all the plot it actually needs. It is, in short, a beautiful work of art, both hilarious and heart-warming.

Rating: 9 stars out of 10.

Grade: A-Minus.

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