Netflix’s Dragon Age: Absolution Anime Looks Underwhelming

Netflix’s Dragon Age: Absolution Anime Looks Underwhelming

A warrior runs through zombies with an axe.

Screenshot: Netflix / Kotaku

I started screaming in Kotaku Slack when my fellow weeb (and writer) Isaiah linked a screenshot of Dragon Age: Absolution. Is my favorite western fantasy RPG going to be adapted into an anime? Sign me up. But then I started watching the trailer and my excitement immediately deflated. Absolution does not look like a show produced for fans of the source material.

Dragon Age: Absolution is a six-episode anime set in the Tevinter Imperium, a nation where mages rule over people without magic. Netflix promised it would feature an all-original cast and stay true to tradition. The show will be hosted by the same studio behind Netflix The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

I wanted to like it so much. But as the camera pans over incredibly generic buildings and characters, I grow disheartened. There’s a striking geometry to the way BioWare has designed cities in games, and Tevinter’s concept art is said to show its architecture as cramped and claustrophobic. If you had told me that I was watching a trailer for DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, then I would have believed you. I haven’t seen anything that tells me it’s a dragon age adaptation.

I bought the Dragon Age: Inquisition art book soon after the game is released, and I wish that AbsolutionThe characters looked like Inquisitor concept art #24. Even masked, I associate the characters of the game with strong silhouettes. I didn’t see a single memorable character in the entire trailer. It was so terrible that I began to wonder if I would be able to tell two mages apart. Voltron: Legendary Defender had similar issues with uninspired character design.

Of course, I don’t blame the staff here. That of the workshop Witcher the anime is definitely better than the dragon age trailer. It’s a tough time for Netflix hosts right now, and shows are definitely being impacted by the budget they get. Netflix recently laid off 70 people from its animation department last month, and animated projects such as Wings of Fire, Sincerely Kindergarten, and anti-racist baby were cut entirely. Even though Absolution done well, we may not see a season two. Just look what happened to Tuca and Bertie.

In the end, it’s only a trailer. Maybe AbsolutionThe story of will be offset by the lukewarmness I feel about the visuals. But anime is a powerful medium because it strives to marry storytelling with visual storytelling. Absolution already feels paralyzed from the start.

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