The Dragon Prince Season Three Review: Best Season Yet.

4 and a half stars
I enjoyed the first two seasons of The Dragon Prince. 
While I did find the first season to be flawed in its animation and some of its story telling, I found season two to be a real improvement.
Well, season three continues to improve on its animation and story, becoming the best season so far.
Created by Aaron Ehaz and Justin Richmond, the story now follows Callum (Jack DeSena) and Rayla (Paula Burrows) on their journey to deliver the Dragon Prince Zym to his mother and end the war.
While this is going on, Callum’s younger brother Ezran (Sasha Rojen) struggles as the new king of Katolis, with Viren (Jason Simpson) and the mysterious Aarvos (Erik Todd Dellums) scheming to take power.

Aarvos 3.jpg
Aarvos is just as mysterious and threatening as when he was first introduced in season two.

The first thing I have to praise the third season of The Dragon Prince for is its scale.
The story now feels like an epic, and after the final enthralling last episode, “The Final Battle,” I have no idea where the series is going next.
Just as good as the story are the characters who are more investing than they ever have been.
A perfect example of this is my new favourite character Soren (Jesse Inocalla).
Honestly, I did not care much for Soren prior to this season but he really blew me away here with his character development.
This culminated in a scene is the final episode that left me both feeling shocked and having a lot of respect for him.

Soren.jpg
Soren really surprised me with how heroic he became this season.

Almost as good are Callum and Rayla, with their relationship being a primary focus.
When the possibility of a relationship between the two was first hinted at last season, I was actually unsure if it could work.
However, the depiction of their relationship definitely proved me wrong because the two are perfect for each other.
Along with these characters, others like Viren, Aarvos, and Claudia (Raquel Belmonte) all have standout moments.
I also really enjoyed Amaya’s storyline and I was very happy to see she got more screen time than last season.
And then there is Ezran whose storyline, unfortunately, has a problem.
As well as this, there is also a deus ex machina in “The Final Battle” that I found to be particularly egregious.
I think these two problems could have been easily fixed, but to explain why I will need to get into spoilers so I will leave that for the end of the post.
However, although these problems do stick out, they are not enough to ruin the season, which has plenty of things to make up for it like the story, other characters, and the animation.
Speaking of, the animation this season is amazing.

amazing animation.png
The animation, particularly in “The Final Battle” looks spectacular.

Unlike season one there was no moment where I was taken out of a scene because of poor animation.
As well as this, the season also manages to be incredibly funny with one reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender leaving me laughing harder than I have in a while.
So, all in all, the third season of The Dragon Prince is definite the best so far.
It has a great story, great characters, amazing animation, funny jokes, and I cannot wait to see where it goes.
There have been some concerns that Netflix may cancel it but, hopefully, these fears turn out to be for nothing.

Spoilers:
So, I want to discuss the two big problems I have with season three and state how I think they could have been fixed.
The first issue is Ezran being usurped as king by Viren and then going back to help Callum and Rayla in the span of a few episodes.
This made his subplot of learning to become king feel kind of unnecessary.
The second problem I have is the dues ex machina in “The Final Battle” where Queen Aanya (Zelda Ehaz) shows up out of nowhere with her army to save the day, apparently being convinced by Corvus (Omari Newton) and Opeli (also Paula Burrows) to come and help.
The thing is that Aanya seemed to be pretty against fighting in season two so it really does not make sense for her to come and help now.
In order to fix these two things I would suggest a change in the story.
Instead of Ezran immediately going back to Callum and Rayla when he is dethroned, he instead travels with Corvus and Opeli to meet Aanya and ask for her support.
We could see Ezran learn to negotiate with her and maybe Aanya decides to help him because she sees the good in him, unlike Viren who she could tell was untrustworthy.
This would both make Ezran’s king storyline more important and make Aanya showing up to help make more sense.

The Dragon Prince Season Two Review: Improved Animation and Story Telling.

4 stars
Although I did enjoy the first season of Netflix’s The Dragon Prince, I did find it to be a frustrating experience.
Created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, there was a lot to love about season one but its animation and story telling left much to be desired.
Thankfully, I think season two improves and even fixes many of the series’ prior failings.
The biggest issue of season one, for me and a lot of other people, was the animation, with the frame rate being so abysmal that it took me out of many scenes.
This season, however, the animation has been improved greatly.
There are still a few instances of odd animation but it very rarely took me out of the moment and looks great most of the time.

Animation
The animation for the second season of The Dragon Prince is greatly improved, feeling more fluid this time.

Another element of the show that it improved on is the story.
While there was a lot to love about the story telling in the first season, I found some elements were introduced too abruptly and some story points felt a little odd.
Not for this season though because it all flows naturally.
Admittedly, the first few episodes are a bit of a slow burn but once the season hits episode five the story becomes highly engaging, with fantastic scenes and character moments.
Episode five, “Breaking the Seal,” and episode six, “Heart of a Titan”, are probably the best of the season, allowing me to care for characters I had not previously like Harrow (Luc Roderique) and his wife Sarai (Kazumi Evans).
Speaking of the characters, almost all of them have fantastic arcs.
Callum (Jack DeSena) has one of the best, with him struggling to regain his magic, the one thing that made him feel like he had purpose, which made me sympathize a lot with him.
Then there is Claudia (Racquel Belmont), who goes down a very dark path in the final episode, which has me excited about what will happen with her next season.
We even get some new characters who are just as great as the old ones.
There is the young leader Queen Aanya (Zelda Ehasz), who reminds me a lot of Lyanna Mormont from Game of Thrones, and a funny blind pirate named Villads (Peter Kelamis).
My favourite new character of the season is, without a doubt, the intimidating new villain Aaravos.
He is voiced by Erik Dellums, the voice of Koh in Avatar: The Last Airbender, which makes him even more threatening.
Aaravos is already one of the most interesting characters in The Dragon Prince and I found his storyline with Veren (Jason Simpson) to be the best of the season.

Aaravos
Aaravos looks set to be very important to the series because he is also the one who narrated the beginning of season one. This is good because he is a very interesting character.

What is not the best storyline of the season, however, is definitely Soren’s (Jesse Inocalla).
It is clear the writers were trying to make us sympathize with his character this season but, given his actions, I found it extremely hard to.
Although, they did redeem him somewhat by the end of the season.
Another small negative I have is the way the season ends.
The final episode, “Breathe”, ends pretty suddenly, making it a jarring experience.
It is not a huge issue but I think they should have ended the season on a different scene.
Overall, the season season of The Dragon Prince is a big improvement on the first, animation and story wise.
I can now confidently say that I am invested in this story.

 

The Dragon Prince Season One: Enjoyable but also Frustrating.

3 and a half stars
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.

Moonshadow Elf
In episode three we get our first look at what the moonshadow elves are capable of and its nothing short of amazing.

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.
The writers are clearly great at giving us empowered disabled characters.
First there was Toph in Avatar, now there is Amaya in The Dragon Prince.

Amaya
Amaya is an example of how to do diversity right.

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.

King Harrow
I do not want to potentially spoil anyone about this obvious twist so I will put what I am certain it is at the bottom of the review.

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.