Watching The Dragon Prince was a frustrating experience for me.
I find it disappointing whenever I watch a show that has the potential to be something great but there are just too many things holding it back from achieving that greatness.
This was how I felt when watching The Dragon Prince.
Created by Aaron Ehaz, one of the head writers of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Justin Richmond, the series is set in a fantasy world where elves and humans are at war, after humans were kicked out of elven lands for committing dark magic.
Years later, the humans have killed the Dragon King and supposedly the Dragon Prince, which results in moonshadow elf assassins being sent to kill king of the humans King Harrow (voiced by Luc Roderique) and his son Prince Ezran (Sasha Rojen).
However, one of these elves, Rayla (Paula Burrows), Ezran and his step-brother Callum (Jack De Sena) discover the Dragon Prince is still alive in its egg so set out on a quest to return it and stop the war.
I will get my positives out of the way first.
The strongest parts of The Dragon Prince were by far the world it sets up and its characters.
During the first two episodes the story does seem like the fantasy world it is set in is fairly generic, however, this quickly changes after these episodes.
From episode three onwards, the show develops a complex and interesting world of magic that I really appreciated.
As I said, the characters were another standout.
The three leads are all very likeable, with my favourite of the bunch being Rayla who grew on me rather quickly.
Callum and Ezran are also very likeable and Ezran’s pet glow toad Bait is a fun character as well.
Even better, the side characters manage to stand out too.
My favourites of these side characters were definitley Claudia (Racquel Belmonte) and Amaya.
Claudia, although technically being a villain, was incredibly likeable and funny, and Amaya is a tough but easy to like character who is actually deaf.
Avatar: The Last Airbender are clearly great at giving us empowered disabled characters.
First there was Toph in Avatar, now there is Amaya in The Dragon Prince.
Another thing I loved about The Dragon Prince was how often it brought up more adult themes for an animated show aimed at a younger audience.
It really challenges its viewers and sets up interesting questions.
However, while this is all great, as I stated there were numerous things that held this series back for me.
I will start with the problem everyone is talking about and that is the animation.
The animation style suits this show perfectly, in my opinion, but the problem is they clearly did not have the budget for it.
The frame rate in some of these scenes are abysmal, especially the moments where not much action is happening.
For the most part the action scenes were all animated well but when it came to character interaction I got pulled out of the moment so many times because of how choppy it all looked.
The first two episodes are especially awful when it comes to their animation, but fortunately the animation does get better as the show goes on and there is the rare case of a truly magnificent shot.
Despite The Dragon Prince’s animation problems, it does look like the creators want to fix this issue in future seasons, based off interviews, which is good.
But, I also had problems with the story as well.
The story could get pretty predictable with what was going to happen at times.
For example, there is a very obvious twist that has not been revealed yet but I am 99% sure I have already guessed.
Then there is the problem with the structure of certain narratives.
One episode consists of Callum wondering if he can trust Raylah but this should have been addressed much earlier because we had already seen them work together quite well, making the conflict pointless.
Finally, there were certain plot points in the final episode that rubbed me the wrong way.
One major plot is resolved in a deus ex machina that felt kind of lazy since it was never set-up and a character is revealed to have a certain ability that comes literally out of nowhere.
This all led to The Dragon Prince being a very enjoyable but highly frustrating first season for me.
There were so many amazing things about the show but there were also numerous problems with it.
I will say though that I am looking forward to the next season because I really like the characters and story.
Here’s to hoping they can fix the issues with the show when it gets its second season.
WARNING! Potential Spoilers: I think the obvious twist that was set-up is that King Harrow got turned into his bird. I may be wrong about this but, if I am not, I wish they had revealed it in the first season because it was very easy to guess.