This has got to be one of the cutest and most hilarious takes on the usual fantasy tropes that I have yet seen!
And this is definitely a first! Since the Chinese dub of this anime aired before the Japanese dub, incoming in January of 2023, I am technically reviewing it before it even airs in Japan, let alone in America. If it gets an English dub, which would not surprise me, I would get to watch it in three different languages, another first. Heh, somehow that makes me smile, though not nearly as much as the anime itself!
The long, technical title is, A Herbivorous Dragon of 5,000 Years Gets Unfairly Villainized. I’ve seen it referred to more simply as The Notorious Herbivore Dragon (more of the wonderful delights to be found between translations and the Western desire for brevity). For the sake of simplicity, I am going to go with the latter title during this review.
The dragon in question is, indeed, an herbivore, eating fruits, veggies, and grass instead of meat, and he is both a coward and an absolute pushover. But he has lived for five thousand years (by hiding in a cave) so the locals (erroneously) insist that he must be very powerful. Furthermore, he must surely be the strong right hand of the demon lord who seeks to conquer the entire world! Seeking (needlessly) to placate him, and to persuade him (in vain) to protect their village from the minions of the demon lord, they send to him a young girl, an unwanted orphan, as a sacrifice.
Not about to actually eat her, the dragon tricks her and the village, saying he has eaten her soul and he doesn’t want another, so they should give the girl, as his emissary, a good house and whatever she needs! …only for it to turn out that the girl has magic of monstrously-powerful proportions, which she now attributes to the dragon who “ate her soul,” and she intends to use it to defeat the demon lord… dragging the poor, innocent dragon along for the ride!
The girl’s overwhelming power is dwarfed only by her ability to make whatever she sees and whatever the dragon does fit into her own pre-existing view of things. (…must resist urge to insert political joke!) When the dragon tries to tell her he’s a vegan, she lies down like the main dish surrounded by garnish. When a young boy who obviously loves her tried to give her supplies to escape being sacrificed, she thought he was trying to take her place as a rival, rather then trying to save her life. (Said boy, upon learning that the dragon “ate her soul,” vows to slay the dragon and take her soul back!) When the dragon quails before wolves, she takes it to mean his pride is affronted and deals with the wolves herself. And so it goes, right down to telling herself that she’s hallucinating when she sees the dragon eating grass alongside the sheep.
Now, one might think that it would eventually make sense for the dragon to somehow, someway make the truth clear to the girl. However, it doesn’t take long to realize that he is all this girl has ever had. To shatter her illusions about him could well drive her mad and send her, with all her power, on an absolute rampage. Preferring to avoid that, he keeps up the act, pretending to be what she thinks he is, even while trying to explain to others that he isn’t really a bad dragon at all.
Add in a few other characters, like a friendly guard captain, a spirit of hunting, a real dragon general of the demon lord’s army, a dark spirit that tries to turn people evil, various minor characters, and a water demon who tried to be evil but failed at it so much that she’s worshiped as a saint, and you have the recipe for some hilarious hijinks as a girl and her dragon make their way around the countryside, doing good as they go.
It’s funny, endearing, and wholesome. And the episodes are shorter than most anime, which makes it an even quicker binge than most, if you want to sit back and laugh for a few hours. I highly recommend it!
Grade: 9 stars out of 10.