[Manga Mondays] Dragon Half
Title: Dragon Half
Author: Ryusuke Mita (story & art)
Genres: Fantasy, Parody, Shounen, Romance
Published: 1989 – 1995 (tankoubon); 2018 (omnibus)
Volumes: 7 (original); 3 (omnibus)
Japanese Publisher: Dragon Magazine (original run) & Fujimi Shobo (tankoubon)
English Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Available to Purchase?: Yes (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indigo )
Dragon Half is one of my all-time favourite anime, so I was psyched to learn last year that the manga was being re-released in omnibus format.
The manga opens with a teenage girl named Mink living in the Village of the Red Lightning with her parents and her friends. However Mink is no ordinary teenager – she is in fact half-dragon (hence, Dragon Half. Ba-dum-tisss), thanks to her mother being the infamous imperial Red Dragon and her father being human. Mink falls in love with the famous dragonslayer/pop idol Dick Saucer and wants to journey to find the magical People Potion which will turn her into a full human. Only then can she be with Mr. Saucer. To get the potion Mink must travel to the Demon King’s Island where she must reconstruct an artifact called the Gourd of the Saints, and use it to seal away the great demon Azetodeth.
Along the way Mink must deal with the jealous Princess Vina, who also lusts after Dick Saucer and is determined make him her man. Vina is half-human half-slime herself so she too is trying to find the People Potion in order to be human. Can anyone say copycat much?
If you’ve only ever seen the Dragon Half anime like me, then you’re missing a bunch of the overall story as the anime (originally slated to be 4 episodes but was reduced to 2) only covers select sections from the first 2 volumes of the manga. The OAV also only includes the main cast, namely Mink and her parents and friends, Princess Vina and her father (King Siva), and a couple of the king’s henchmen. In addition to suffering from a reduced cast, the anime also ends with a martial arts tournament in a kind of superficial ending. I wish there had been enough interest to make the other 2 episodes, but alas it wasn’t to be.
Dragon Half is notable for being something of a parody of other fantasy titles from the same time period (early 90s). Furthermore, Dragon Half has a tendency to poke fun at certain cliches and tropes within anime by turning them on their head. For example, King Siva and his henchmen are all ridiculously stupid given that they’re some of the biggest villians in the story. Really though Dragon Half is just wickedly cute and funny, and going into these omnibus volumes I hope the manga is as funny as the anime is.
If you’re looking for a reason to try this title, it should be noted that the omnibus books have extra content not included in the original volumes such as extra galleries and interviews with the author. I think the oneshot sequel, Dragon Half Z, is included at the end of the third omnibus volume as well.
My Score: 9/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: YES! Dragon Half is witty, funny, and charming, and most importantly it’s very entertaining. I look forward to reading the manga in full and seeing everything the anime wasn’t able to cover. And if you haven’t ever seen the anime I suggest that you do because it’s super funny! (Anyone else love the ending theme “My Omelette”??)
Author’s Note: The rating for Dragon Half is, according to the back of the omnibus volumes, “Teen”. However after looking through image galleries online I think I will recommend that you don’t read this manga at work, or anyplace where showing lots of skin could be considered inappropriate. ^^;;