Enter the Red Dragon

As someone who played more table top role-playing games than maybe I should have in college I have a distinct soft spot in my heart for that genre of games. I have probably played more White Wolf, GURPS, and D&D than I care to admit. I still will revel in old plot lines I participated with friends like veterans trading war stories. We often mention to each other that a clever one of us would put together some of our better story lines and try to pitch them as a book. George R. R. Martin of current Game of Thrones fame did just what with a long running super hero game he ran that included several noted authors that became the Wild Cards series. There are currently 21 books in the series with more coming out next year with a possible movie on the way. Also the Record of Lodoss War franchise started as a series of replay transcripts that eventually became a larger multimedia franchise. In fact these replay novels are not uncommon in Japan and there is one such series on the horizon that looks amazing. Red Dragon has become one of the properties I am most looking forward to in 2012.

Red Dragon is a planned series of transcripts based on the table top role-playing sessions of Gen Urobuchi, Kinoko Nasu, Izuki Kougyoku, Simadoriru, and Ryohgo Narita as players. Anything that has Kinoko Nasu involved with it is instantly interesting to me. His character being a handsome blond swordsman with a dark edge that has echoes of Gilgamesh would be one of the few things that might compel Narutaki into sampling a Nasu product. Gen Urobuchi on the other hand has a mixed track record with me. I have liked his work on Madoka and Fate/Zero but his older work on Saya no Uta and Phantom of Inferno has left me cold. His character seems like your standard warrior monk but I get the feeling that he might be involved in some political machinations that could spice up his character. Hopefully he will keep his character in the style of his later works which I have enjoyed far more. Ryohgo Narita is a solid name with Baccano! and Durarara!! always being sited as brilliant light novel series. He seems to be playing a Big Daddy but that sort of character fits his eccentric writing style perfectly.

Simadoriru is the biggest wild card to me. I don’t really know much about him. As someone who is more famous as an illustrator I am curious how he plays his character. I am also intrigued when players play against their gender. It can turn out pretty badly but it also can give you some fun characters. The character most people seem to talk about is sort that you unavoidably have to bring up. Izuki Kougyoku’s charater seems to be best summed up as “crotch shot dragon rider”. Her character being a slave and rather sexual in all her promo shots seemed to overshadow any conversation about the rest of the characters. I can’t say I know anything about her writing as I can’t find anything she has written that has been translated into English. I do wonder if she plays her character in a less male fantasy fashion and the promo art is just playing that aspect up unfairly or if that is just the way it is. Women can play female characters just as poorly as men but it happens far less often. Tying it all together is Makoto Sanda as the Game Master. His work on Rental Magica hardly inspires me with confidence but his work with Group SNE and the Record of Lodoss War gives me much more hope.

If Fractale and Brain Powerd has taught us anything it is that just because you bring together immensely talented people it does not mean the end product will be enjoyable. Sometimes a gathering of  super talents just becomes the proverbial overabundance of chefs around the pot. But I naively put my faith in anything that Kinoko Nasu works on for better or for worse. He has not let me down so far. I really want this to work out. With Katsushi Ota as the producer, and being the savvy guy he is, this could be a huge multimedia franchise. If this is any good I would love to see in turned into an anime. I am hoping for the best but planning for the worst when the first chapters come out in late January 2012.

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