Animation keeps bringing the big guns this year. We were pleasantly surprised by films like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Elemental, and we are also getting a fantastic new Hayao Miyazaki film. There are even more projects that, while not big enough to capture the attention of the mainstream, are interesting enough to gather their audience and transport them into new and exciting universes. Animation in the West is finally reaching the level of what anime has done in Asia and the rest of the world. The new season of The Dragon Prince on Netflix makes it its mission to be another great addition to the progress of the medium on this side of the world.
The Dragon Prince is an animated series developed by Netflix, produced by Wonderstorm Pictures, and animated by Bardel Entertainment, which has also worked on other properties like Kung-Fun Panda and even some DC animated projects. However, The Dragon Prince is their magnum opus, and they are all here to give us another chapter in the continuity that is getting closer and closer to its end. The series was created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, who, of course, came from working on The Last Airbender, one of the best-animated series of all time. The two creators continue to bring qualities from that show into The Dragon Prince, and the show is so much better for it.
Netflix announced not long ago that The Dragon Prince would continue until the end of its story, renewing the show for seven seasons. This is an unprecedented move by Netflix, which is well known for canceling shows out of nowhere and then not allowing the stories to reach their final resolution.
Thankfully, The Dragon Prince has been granted several awards, so Netflix knows that the show has an audience that loves it and that the show can also bring the needed prestige that the streaming service is always looking for. Season 5 becomes then the second chapter of the Mystery of Aaravos storyline, which precedes the end of the show.
Considering this, it makes sense that The Dragon Prince, Season 5, feels more like one more step into the final stretch of the series than an actual season with lots of impact.
Yes, many developments are occurring here, especially for our main trio when it comes to their character development. Still, the overall plot feels a bit stuck in one place as the Mystery of Aavaros baffles our heroes until the end. Answers will come, of course, and that will lead us into another set of quests to achieve the goal of saving the world, but that doesn’t really happen here.
This doesn’t mean that The Dragon Prince Season 5 is bad. Not at all, but you can definitely feel we are in a transition period. The board and the pieces are being set up so that the story’s ending can be truly satisfying. And so, while solid, this season doesn’t feel as amazing as some others in the past.
We know that The Dragon Prince can almost reach the heights of The Last Airbender, and knowing the people behind the project, it seems that knowing their endgame is fundamental now that they have a number of episodes before the end.
Yes, The Dragon Prince Season 5 might come and go as something that isn’t as impactful and majestic on its own. But I’m sure that by the end of the last season, we will look back and see that a lot of the groundwork was laid out here. Especially character work, as the relationship between the characters keeps developing and their roles in the story become increasingly important.
The responsibility that will fall upon them by the show’s end will be massive, and this season seems to prepare them for what is to come.
The Dragon Prince maintains its visual flavor this season, but it has been increasingly noticeable that the visuals have been maturing along with our main characters. This offers, more than in any past season, a more mature tone regarding the settings and even the use of color and cinematography.
We are clearly entering a part of the story that is darker, with higher stakes than ever before, and, of course, more dangerous than anything. The season especially pulls off some truly majestic sequences as we dive more into the world’s oceans and what lies inside of them.
Creating compelling narratives and building an intense fantasy world is difficult. Creating an entirely new world that feels real, even within the confines of animation, is even harder. However, The Dragon Prince and its creators seem confident in the world they are creating and the story they are telling inside that world. In a long, continuous story, not every chapter is going to be amazing, but The Dragon Prince has also proven that there is no need for a bad chapter either.
Their consistency is proven in this season; if anything, it will leave you wanting season 6 to come as soon as possible.
The Dragon Prince, Season 5, might not be the show’s best season. That is for sure. Some of the development feels a bit too transitional. However, it makes sense as the end chapter is about to start next season, and it is there that everything that is being set up here will have its payoff.
We might look at Season 5 in a different light in the coming years, but right now, it feels like another stepping stone to the goal. This is fine; the show is still interesting, and the mysteries are compelling, but we cannot wait to finally go into the meat of the situation and see how these creators will end such an epic story.