Games expanding to other types of media is not a new phenomenon, and it is safe to say that we have been observing this trend increasingly more often in recent years. Comic books, novels, TV series, movies and music – games like Mass Effect, Witcher, Gears of War, World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy have been present in these media for a long time. More recently, on March 25th, 2021, Dota has made a rather stealthy entrance into the world of animated streaming television series with Dota: Dragon’s Blood. Here is a bit of general, spoiler-free information if you are on the fence about getting a Netflix subscription to watch it.
The MOBA giant now a series on Netflix
With millions of players enjoying the game worldwide and over $231 million in prize money awarded throughout its many tournaments, there is no denying that Dota 2 is among the most important titles in the gaming industry. As is the case with many multiplayer-only competitive games, there are players that spend hundreds or even thousands of hours playing it and trying to master all of its aspects. The community is huge, and it comes as no surprise that Valve agreed to turn its highly successful sequel into an animated series.
According to a short description on Netflix, Dota: Dragon's Blood is a fantasy animated story about a Dragon Knight on a quest to stop a dangerous demon. The series has been cut into 8 episodes, each lasting about 25 minutes. The first few serve as a nice introduction to the world and its lore, which allows people unfamiliar with the universe to understand what is going on. The viewer is gradually drawn into the story, which is suddenly cut in episode 8. Fortunately, on April 19th, in a Tweet on the official Dota 2 account, it was announced that Season 2 is already in the works, but no specific date was provided.
On the more technical side, the Korean-American series combines anime with Western animation. It features decent voice acting, with Yuri Lowenthal as Davion and Lara Pulver as Princess Mirana – the two protagonists that out of all of the cast are most likely to remain in your memory after watching the series. You will see a lot of lighting effects and colors on the screen, as well as some humor, but the series can turn dark really quickly. There is a substantial amount of brutality in the fights, but there is no oversaturation of blood or gore. It all seems quite balanced.
Summary and reception
Dota Dragon's Blood is a decent anime series, constructed in such a way that it has a chance of drawing the attention of viewers unfamiliar with the video game. Looking through forums and social media discussions, the community seems quite polarized in its opinions. On the one hand, many people are happy that their beloved series has found its way to a bigger screen and are thankful for the opportunity to experience the universe from a different perspective. It can also be assumed that for many younger audiences, Dota: Dragon’s Blood might actually serve as an introduction to anime in general. On the other hand, there are voices that say the series is too general in its presentation of key themes and references to Dota and its lore. Then again, those familiar with Dota 2 will immediately spot cameos and iconic items available in the game. As the audience, we should remember that it is difficult to fit a lot of content in a total of about 3 and a half hours.
Whether Dota: Dragon’s Blood is worthy of getting a Netflix subscription to watch is an individual matter. If you are a fan of the universe, you probably shouldn’t miss it. The series might prove entertaining enough to keep those outside the Dota community hooked as well. With Season 2 already on the horizon, it seems Dota anime has a chance of turning into a successful, long-running series.