Manga Review: Dragon Drive Volume Five

Dragon Drive Volume 5 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 HC Language Solutions, Inc., with a translation done by Martin Hunt and HC Language Solutions, 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 5
Written by: Ken-ichi Sakura
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 4, 2007

This volume of Dragon Drive introduces three new characters named Koryu, Silver and Hysteric Rose. We meet Koryu at the beginning of the volume, while Silver and Hysteric Rose are introduced near the end of the volume. At the beginning of the story, Reiji is sent on a mission to find a legendary dragon named Shinsaber. While on his journey, he encounters Hikaru Himuro, his rival from Dragon Drive that is on the Ri-On team for the Dragonic Heaven Competition. It is here where he also meets Koryu, a young man who wants to become a full-fledged member of his village’s militia. Later on his journey, Reiji meets Silver and Hysteric Rose. Hysteric Rose is a woman who has captured Shinsaber and is trying to auction him off. Silver is a young woman who once had an affiliation with Hysteric Rose, and is now trying to protect a young dragon. The volume ends with Reiji joining into the auction for Shinsaber, where interested parties must pass several tests.

This volume definitely layers on more of the “otherwordly” elements from Rikyu, and these elements start to take us further and further away from the initial goal of when Reiji and his friends first came to Rikyu. Right now, it feels more like these layers are being added to stretch out the story, rather than being truly necessary additions to the storyline. As a reader, I’m starting to wish that Sakura would wrap up the side stories and get back to the main storyline so the story can wrap up already. This is where I have to give a manga series like Bakegyamon credit; while there are battles and a main objective like there is in Dragon Drive, the author of Bakegyamon kept his story short, simple, and to the point, and he also kept it moving without adding meandering side stories. In some respects, I was a little disappointed in the fifth volume of Dragon Drive. Hopefully, Sakura will work at winding up this weird auction storyline and start getting the characters back onto their main purpose.

When it comes to the art in this volume, I appreciated seeing Sakura scale back a bit on the “busy” panels he usually utilizes in battle sequences. While the effect is being used for some of the battles that take place in this volume, he doesn’t overuse the effect in this volume. There is also a little bit of character development for Silver; however, she disappears once Reiji and Hikaru enter the auction, so this does lessen the impact of her character development. She seemed like she had potential as a character, so hopefully she will show up again in a future volume of the manga.

As I’ve said for the previous volumes, readers who appreciate manga series like Yu-Gi-Oh! will probably find some enjoyment in Dragon Drive.

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

Additional posts about Dragon Drive:

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