Otaku USA Magazine
Dragon Half Omnibus [Manga Review]
©1998 Ryusuke Mita

Dragon Half OmnibusSpoofs of fantasy anime and JRPG tropes are by no means a recent development. Back in the 1990s, the two-part OVA Dragon Half was frequently praised as one of the silliest anime ever, and the longstanding fan rumor to explain why it only lasted two episodes without a real conclusion was, “The creator was ARRESTED FOR BEING ON DRUGS!” But the truth is that the OVAs were produced to encourage people to read the manga, which has never been available in English until now. It’s been quite a wait: originally serialized in 1988, Ryusuke Mita’s gag comedy manga was partially redrawn for an omnibus edition in 1998, and it’s this omnibus version that American readers are getting in 2018, courtesy of Seven Seas Entertainment.

Mink is a dimwitted half-human/half-dragon teen girl with a tail, horns, wings, and vast strength. She’s got the hots for the tremendously named Dick Saucer, a dimwitted handsome idol singer … and dragon killer. Mink and her friends keep running afoul of the dimwitted king—if you haven’t figured it out, everybody in the manga is stupid—his magic-using daughter Vina, and their adjutant Rosario, among others. If you’ve seen the anime, the 20 chapters contained in this first omnibus cover the same ground as those two episodes and then some.

Dragon Half Omnibus ©1998 Ryusuke Mita

But perhaps 30 years was a bit too long to wait. Modern popular JRPGs are more like Persona than Dragon Quest, after all. Much of the manga now seems outdated or overfamiliar, thanks to years of imitators. What’s more, reading the manga makes it clear that so much of what made the Dragon Half anime great was its voice acting and animated comic timing. It’s still readily available on DVD for anyone interested in comparing the two versions. But the manga still has plenty of laughs, casual murder, and pre-Monster Musume-era “monster girl” fanservice to go around, so it’ll be a pleasure to see the rest of these classic hijinks unfold in future volumes.

publisher: Seven Seas
story and art: Ryusuke Mita
rating: T

This story appears in the August 2018 issue of Otaku USA Magazine. Click here to get a print copy.

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