The 3DCG movie Dragon Quest: Your Story, which is based on the story of Dragon Quest V, began screening in Japan on August 2, 2019, and suffice to say, fans went to see the movie in droves. However, the movie soon saw a plunge in ratings, and currently stands at 2.1 stars out of 5 in Japanese audience review site Eiga.com. Something went wrong, and in particular, Dragon Quest V fans are quite angry.
Shall I begin the explanation?
Are you sure? Beyond this is a point of no return.
(WARNING: Spoilers beyond this point.)
The movie begins off fine, and apart from some things like the childhood period being skipped over mostly within the first 10 minutes of the movie, as well as some complaints about the disjointed episodic nature of the plots in the movie, things are mostly fine.
However, things take a sudden turn when Grandmaster Nimzo takes the stage. Essentially, the entire movie does a bait-and-switch, as Nimzo begins to explain that he’s merely a bug built from the character data of Nimzo, and suddenly – in a move that some compared to Danganronpa V3 – the whole film goes meta. Nimzo explains that the Lucas is in fact a human player embodying the role of Lucas in an immersive VR Dragon Quest V experience. (Think Sword Art Online: Alicization). The bug with Nimzo’s appearance tells the player to wake up, and destroys the guise of the game, until the Slime recruited by Lucas suddenly starts to speak, saying that it is an anti-bug program. The player is handed Erdrick’s sword, and they do the finishing blow on Nimzo. The “game world” is saved and the player learns the lesson that even if games aren’t real, the memories together with the characters in the game will forever live within them.
Apart from the obvious sudden bait-and-switch that seems to have left even non-Dragon Quest fans apprehensive, for Dragon Quest V there is the fact that it feels like the director and writer gave up doing a faithful representation of their beloved game for something they thought would be clever. The real Nimzo never shows up, meaning there isn’t actually ever a real demon lord in the movie, and the Zenithian Sword is handled badly and gets its spotlight stolen by Erdrick’s legendary sword.
For all its flaws, there are a couple of things to point out. The movie does allude to this twist in its game-like presentation in some scenes, as well as Lucas’ modern way of speaking. The movie is titled Dragon Quest: Your Story, with no V in the title, and the subtitle alluding to the twist.
Some viewers have also found the twist clever, and also found the movie on a second watch to be much more enjoyable. But from the overall reviews so far, it seems that many people, especially fans of V, took it as a slap to the face and a cop-out in many regards.
Dragon Quest: Your Story is currently being screened in Japan.