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Newbie dragon hunter or ‘draker’ Takita has recently joined the crew of the airship Queen Zaza to work of her debt. But with the price of dragon oil dropping and drakers being treated with increased suspicion, the ship’s crew are barely skimming above the poverty line. Yet to Takita, it is worth it for a life of adventure, new-found friendship, and delicious dragon meat.

What drew me initially to this series was how similar it is to a steampunk series I’m currently writing, so I thought it would be useful research (that’s a good way of justifying procrastination). Yet even if I wasn’t writing steampunk, I would have been drawn to this series anyway by the gorgeous animation, exciting adventure, and the robust cast of amusing characters.

These characters are one of the main draws of the series, being well-rounded and highly likeable. It is almost a shame that the series only lasts for 12 episodes, meaning there isn’t enough time to flesh out all of them. I can only hope that a second season will give some of them more focus.

Food and cooking are a common theme throughout the series, and it is heartwarming to see how cooking up the dragon meat brings the cast together. Even as a vegetarian, a small part of me wants to try the dragon meat!

As a rookie, Takita helps to ease the audience into the world of draking. It also helps that there are several one-off episodes to ease the viewer in before the series gets to the darker and more dramatic multi-episode story arcs.

The stylish animation looks as if it came straight out of Studio Ghibli. The dragons each have unique designs and terrifying powers which sets them apart from the standard fantasy fare.

Although it is established that the dragons are a threat to humans in this world, the fact that they are hunted, butchered, and used as a commodity will put a bad taste in the mouths of some viewers. The parallels to real life whaling only make it more awkward. Yet even this establishes an interesting moral dynamic, as it is made abundantly clear how much the Queen Zaza is struggling for money and that the crew are only hunting dragons because it is their only means of survival in a harsh world which has all but rejected them.

For any viewers who can stomach it, Drifting Dragons is a great show for any fans of steampunk adventure or exciting fantasy.

My verdict – 5 out of 5.

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