A couple of weekends ago U.S. audiences were treated to a two-part anime on NHK World called The Dragon Dentist. I hope you were able to catch it, but if not I definitely recommend checking this animation out if you are an anime fan. Right now I have not been able to confirm if there will be a chance for U.S. audiences to see it again, but I did find this bit of information. The Dragon Dentist will air again two weeks in a row on NHK TV on April 1st and April 8th, but I’m unaware of whether you’ll be able to check it out on NHK World.
*Spoiler Alert! If you are avoiding spoilers, do not read further. Turn back now. You’ve been warned.*
This is a gorgeous animation about a young soldier named Bell (Xander Mobus) who is killed by a fellow soldier while his country is at war. Bell dies then comes back to life through the dragon’s tooth where he meets the group who takes care of the dragon’s mouth and teeth by killing cavities. I know it sounds kind of scary, right? Who wants to be in a dragon’s mouth near the teeth? What if he chomps you? Rawr! Hehe
Among the dragon dentists, Bell meets Godo (Taylor Henry). Godo is the leader of the dentists and assigns Nonoko (Xanthe Hunh) to train Bell about being a dragon dentist. Bell has to get used to the idea of what happened to him when he died while learning the importance of the dragon dentist’s job and how the dragon’s teeth contain the souls of the deceased.
The Dragon Dentists all know how they will die, but they still continue to do their duty caring for the dragon and accept their fate since everyone will die eventually and the dragon is important for the protection of the lives of others. This fact does not sit well with Bell. He thinks the dragon dentists should fight to avoid their fates.
Another dragon dentist who has been around for a long time named Shibana (Laura Post) disagrees with the rest of the dentists too. Shibana even creates a tooth for herself made out of the dragon’s teeth. Shibana turns into a horrific-looking creature that is no longer human and plans to go into the dragon tooth to bring back a past love she watched die while protecting the dragon.
While the war continues below the dragon, soldiers realize the dragon is helpful for their side because he provides protection or the soldiers want the dragon gone so they can kill their enemies the dragon protects. While the soldiers above the dragon fight to aid their soldiers below, the dragon loses a tooth. The tooth falls to the ground taking Bell and Nonoko with it. On the ground, the tooth crumbles and leaves a smaller type of tooth that Nonoko is determined to take back to the dragon while Bell decides he will not go back to the dragon and watch the dentists accept their fates of death.
As the soldiers on the ground fight to get Nonoko back to the dragon by plane, the enemies led by the soldier who killed Bell hijack the plane. Nonoko gets on the plane and Bell joins her after realizing she is in trouble. As soon as the plane lands onto the dragon, Nonoko takes out the men with her dentist tool since it is only useful when she is on the dragon.
Eventually, the men are able to take the dragon down as many on the ground below die. While the dragon is on the ground a huge cavity explodes from the tooth and kills all the soldiers who are feeling malice and are intent on killing others. Bell also lures the man who killed him out of the temple where the wisdom tooth is located. Bell drops his weapon right before the man shoots him and the giant cavity kills the man.
Life continues on just as the dragon and the dragon dentists continue on.
Geeky Talk’s Reaction
The Dragon Dentist is a gorgeous animation and I am happy I saw it while it was on NHK World. There seems to be computer graphics used here and there. I think it adds a nice layer but it can seem a little stiff in movement, but I like it. It seems the creators of The Dragon Dentist were experimenting with CG and I appreciate being able to witness what came out of it. I have a feeling it’s going to get better as time goes on.
Overall the animation is brightly colored and gorgeous. The action scenes are well done and pretty, though I could have done without the Shibana tongue action with her past love but I suppose the style used for it is pretty common among anime. The characters were all interesting and artistically well done, but Shibana stood out among them. I mean the woman pulled out her own tooth to replace it with a dragon’s tooth and turns into some sort of demon looking creature!
I appreciate the serious themes portrayed with creative storytelling. (Dragon dentists sound ludicrous, right? Well, use your imagination and you will not be disappointed! It’s anime after all.) The concept of the film about the connections between war and death appear throughout. Many people die and the dragon feels it and it is obvious to the dentists by the size of the cavities and the amount of physical personal treasures the souls leave behind because they can’t take the items. Also, the contrasting values between accepting death and fighting death makes for some interesting moral quandaries. I appreciate watching this all play out in The Dragon Dentist.
Stylistically I can certainly tell this came from the people who worked on Evangelion and Shin Godzilla. The Dragon Dentist is directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, produced by Hideaki Anno, and written by Otaro Maijo. The Khara studio did a good job bringing the two-part television anime together. Fans need to check out The Dragon Dentist if they get the chance.
Did you get a chance to see The Dragon Dentist? What do you think about the anime? Are you interested in watching an anime about dragon dentists and teeth that hold souls? I promise The Dragon Dentist is worth the watch if you enjoy quality anime and deep themes. Put your Geeky Talk in the comments below and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!
(I watched the English version on NHK World which is why the voice actors are noted as such.)