Manga Review: Dragon Drive Volume One

Dragon Drive Volume 1 is a manga with the story and art by Ken-ichi Sakura. Viz Media holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Ian Reid and Honyaku Center Inc., with a translation done by Lucy Craft, Corinne and Kohei Takada, and Honyaku Center Inc. This edition of the manga was published in 2007. Dragon Drive is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Dragon Drive Volume 1
Written by: Ken-ichi Sakura
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 3, 2007

The main character of Dragon Drive is a boy named Reiji Ozora, who thinks he’s not good at anything, including his homework. When it came to games, he always ended up getting bored and quitting. One day, Reiji’s childhood friend, Maiko Yukino, takes him to a place where a game called Dragon Drive is being played. In the game, players are given their own dragon, and players battle each other in a virtual world. When Reiji is assigned his dragon, it turns out that it’s a small and weak-looking dragon, and its name and statistics are totally unknown. Reiji ends up naming his dragon Chibi (which is a Japanese word that means “small”). After Reiji and Chibi battle together for the first time, it appears there’s more to Chibi than meets the eye. In this volume, Reiji meets a couple of players who end up becoming his rivals: Daisuke Hagiwara and Ichiro Sumishiba (the number two player in Dragon Drive). At the end of this volume, Reiji also comes face to face with the number one player in Dragon Drive, Hikaru Himuro.

This manga really wasn’t too bad for a story about someone playing a fighting game with a creature. From the way the manga is presented, it’s definitely being aimed at a younger audience; basically, the target audience appears to be older kids, preteens, and young teens. This is definitely a shonen title, and this is especially evident from the art style that is used in this volume. Maiko has the cute girl look, Reiji has the look of the lovable loser, and some of the other stereotypes can be seen in some of the other characters. There’s also a lot of use of “sound effects” in the art. While there are some “busy” panels that appear in the manga during the battle sequences, there’s nowhere nearly as “busy” as some of the panels that I’ve seen in the Pokemon Adventures manga. If you enjoy manga series like Pokemon Adventures and Yu-Gi-Oh!, then you might also get some enjoyment out of Dragon Drive.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Dragon Ball:

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