Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai Vol. 1 Review – The Adventure Begins
Title: Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai
Author: Riku Sanjo & Koji Inada
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Publisher: Viz Media
Initially released in October of 1989, Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai makes a return to the manga scene, finally getting an officially licensed release in English by Viz Media. The timing of this licensing matches with the current success of the 2021 anime adaptation of being widely successful across the board, introducing Dai to a new generation while bringing a sense of nostalgia for old fans.
With a new release decades later, Dragon Quest Adventures of Dai Vol 1 updates the art from the original manga, making it clear, cleaner, and very sharp, probably due to the new digital tools manga authors use in today’s time. If you are a fan of the Dragon Quest games, Dai is the perfect protagonist to follow, reconnecting you with the world of Dragon Quest but following an active and vocal protagonist.
As the Hero of the story, Dai has the typical shonen protagonist feel from the late 80s until further into the volume, where Dai’s character has space to grow personality-wise and progress in his strength/power. The first volume covers the core beginnings of Dai’s journey, introducing us to key characters who will shape him and his journey throughout the entire series. I must admit that something is refreshing about reading Dai decades after its original release, even with its slow-burn approach.
The slow burn of volume 1 acts as a prep for the rest of the story, giving proper character development to Dai and his life on the island with nothing but monsters. We get to appreciate and understand why Dai is close with the island inhabitants, beyond just the cliche “raised by wolves” trope that Dai has mastered. Any more details on this would soil the experience reading; I implore that everyone reading goes into this story as blind as possible so that the shock value, character moments & situational depth of the story are adequately absorbed.
If you are a returning fan of Dai, and the first official English translation isn’t enough to get you to pick up Dai again, at the end of Volume 1 is a Spell Compendium, a section of the volume that goes into details about spells used within the volume. This bonus content is huge for people who love lore about the Dragon Quest Universe; they may be fans of the series or the video games.
There are many reasons why a JRPG and manga fan would want to read Dragon Quest: Adventures of Dai; pick up volume one, and I’m sure you’ll find something that hooks you.
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