Anime Expo 2018: Soar Through The Skies In Netflix’s Dragon Pilot

by Gary Catig

Earlier, Netflix announced its plans for their original anime programming.  Amongst their new shows was Dragon Pilot, which comes from the mind of Shinji Higuchi. During Anime Expo, the first episode of the anime was shown and based off of the audience reaction, seemed to be a good start for a promising new series.
Hisone Amakasu is an innocent, unassuming young woman working for the Air Self-Defence Force. She doesn’t have many friends because of her brutal honesty and is always longing to be special.  One day she is thrust into a top secret installation for a special assignment. There she learns that dragons have coexisted with man for generations and that they bring great wealth and power to whoever controls them. In order to hide them from the public, they have been disguised as kites in the olden days to jet fighters in the present.
Hisone has been chosen by a dragon to be its new pilot so she must endure a series of painstaking training exercises. Along the way she becomes more acquainted with her rebellious dragon who has never had a human pilot, while enduring the bullying of a rival trainee. The story, art, and voice acting do a good job of portraying her being overwhelmed by the whole ordeal, and also her frustration and uneasiness of becoming a pilot.

Much of what is introduced in this first episode could easily be considered standard story tropes like a socially awkward loner pairing up with an unruly beast who will only work with her, and a combative rival who makes her training a living hell. Because of these tropes, Dragon Pilot could easily have fallen into a formulaic show, but the charming humor and artwork do enough to separate it as something memorable.
One-liners are funny, but not cheesy, and combined with the exaggerated facial expressions can come off endearing. The show takes a lighter tone as witnessed with its humor and the art style. The dragon was purposefully given a cute nonthreatening aesthetic similar to what you can find in Pokémon and can look even more goofy in costume. The cuteness helps emphasize the transition from dragon to fighter plane, since the look is going from adorable to cool. Also, when our duo finally take to the air, it is beautifully animated with lots of energy and it gives the viewer the feeling of soaring through the clouds with them.
Overall, Dragon Pilot is an anime worth checking out when it debuts in a few months on September 21, 2018 on Netflix. It would be interesting to see how Hisone and the dragon’s relationship develops and what kind of adventures and threats the pair will encounter throughout the season.

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