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Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai Manga Begins With Dai’s Roots

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In series about young heroes with the power to save the world, things usually begin with them setting out on their journey. We might get a brief introduction to their early life before they head on their way. But it’s just that, brief. The first volume of the Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai manga is a little different. Yes, by the end of it we see Dai’s potential and watch him head out to change the world for the better. But before that, it takes time to establish who he is, how he was raised, his innocence, and his homeland. It’s especially welcome, given that Dai’s story could very well be entirely new to the reader.

As you’d expect from the title, the Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai manga is steeped in mythos inspired by the series. All of the enemies are taken directly from the games. The main villain is an ominous Dark Lord. It’s set in a fantasy world, in which the main characters fit the archetypes of “warrior” and “mage.” This also means it includes the concept that the monsters of its world aren’t necessarily “bad.” (After all, we’ve seen children tame and fight alongside them in the Dragon Quest Monsters series.) Things begin with Dai explaining how a Hero once defeated a Dark Lord and saved the world. Another consequence of that was the monsters under the villain’s control were freed, able to go to Dermline Island and live peacefully. The villain’s reach doesn’t extend there, so they’ll never have to worry about losing themselves. There, they live with a young boy named Dai. And the Grampa who told that tale? A Lump Shaman.

Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai Manga Begins With Dai’s RootsBut while Dai is the only human on that island, he isn’t the only human out there. Though the ones showing up at the island aren’t there for good reasons. They’re self-serving and out to exploit the monsters who live there. Which means it is a perfect example to show Dai’s naivety and innocence. For example, the first encounter shows he’s just so excited to meet a group of people he thinks might be actual heroes. We then see his reactions to the truth of the situation. This, in turn, gives us a chance to see how finer qualities. His devotion to his friends and people who raised him. His ability to win over others’ with his earnestness. His early adventures that show his potential before any actual training with another hero. The juxtaposition against people who exploit, lie, and steal is incredibly effective.

It also sets up a foundation to see monsters in a different light ahead of upcoming Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai manga volumes. The monsters on Dermline Island are all peaceful and friendly. They’re able to be themselves. This is because they are out of the reach of, say, the influence of the Dark Lord. But if they leave, they could lose themselves. This means that when we do see Dai and Popp fight different monsters later, readers might have sympathy for them. After all, the monsters we’ve seen throughout this first volume, who were friendly and helpful, could easily fall subject to those same impulses.

The result is a situation in which you really feel like you understand who Dai is and how some elements of the world works before the story really kicks off. This isn’t like some game that begins with us briefly meeting a potential chosen one right before their hometown is burned to the ground. We get to see who they are, how they react, and what people closest to them are like before a journey begins. And it really helps the Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai manga set off on the right foot.

The first Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai manga volume is available via Viz Media. The anime adaptation can be found on Crunchyroll. Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero’s Bonds is available on Android and Apple iOS devices worldwide.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.