Dota: Dragon’s Blood – Spoiler-ish

What the ever loving fuck.

I have played a lot of Dota. Like a lot. Not as much as some people, but still over several thousand hours. I also like anime, animated shows, and have low expectations for non-game media based off of games.

As such, I think I might be the exact audience for Netflix’s new show Dota: Dragons Blood. As I sit here having finished it, my only thought is:

What the fuck did I just watch?

No, seriously, if you know, can you please tell me?

I really like Dota 2. I know my Dota 2 lore. I may be one of 12 people who enjoyed the Dota CCG, Artifact, and I’ve read all the comics. And I’m still bewildered.

The best way I can put it is that I had a set of expectations going into this show, and it did not match them. I expected a fairly generic fantasy world, maybe passable characters, and a generic but acceptable plot.

What I got was a fantasy world that feels like it’s based off a world bible that no one but the producers has ever read, surprisingly solid characters, and a plot that waltzes its way, high as a fucking kite, hither and yon, and yon and hither, giving absolutely zero fucks about things like “pacing” and “tonal consistency.” One moment, we’re in a mystical library. Next moment, there are a bunch of elves having a foursome. Then murder. Now war crimes. I think this was all the same episode.

I’m honestly not sure what to think.

I do have one absolutely massive complaint about the show: it wraps up zero of the plot points it introduces, even regarding its main characters. And honestly, that’s kind of a shame, because I would be surprised if the show gets a second season to wrap them all up. Valve historically sucks at continuing projects that don’t go gangbusters, and also the show is weird as fuck.

Edit: Since I wrote this, they’ve confirmed a “Book 2” is being made. I’m still not sure why.

The show has a lot of things I can see potentially turning folks off it. Gratuitous nudity (mostly male). A lot of violence. Swearing that some folks will see as “Well, that’s just how folks talk,” and others will see as “We’re so grimdark and cool.”

I’m not sure how you’re supposed to evaluate television. Would I tell other people to watch the show? I mean, maybe. Maybe if they already like somewhat edgy animation. Did it succeed in making me care about the characters? I mean, yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be upset with how it ended, wrapping up zero plot points, and setting up for a second season that might not ever exist.

While the motivations of the characters themselves and their actions make sense in context, the world they’re taking those actions in often feels a little pants on head crazy. While the animation is really nice at times, the end result feels like reading an independent comic book with a creator who has equal amounts of technical artistic skill and ketamine at their disposal, and has primarily opted to use the ketamine while doing the writing.

If this for some reason has made you want to watch it, it’s on Netflix.

The show can also be found in my haunted dreams, but I don’t think there’s a subscription service for that yet.