Dinosaur King is one of those anime that everyone knows about but many have not actually seen it. I read the manga but hadn’t seen the show until recently so I was guilty of that as well. It’s a pretty fun show that delivers with the Dinosaur action. It’s about what you would expect as a backup Pokémon show but it gets the job done. The dub even plays up this aspect by having a bunch of Pokémon voice actors play similar characters. Dinosaur King is pretty long so that gives the show time to have a lot of fights and the main characters develop past being archetypes.
The show picks up with three friends looking through a bunch of ruins in their backyard. Their names are Max, Rex, and Sal. They manage to find three pieces of the legendary Dinosaur rock which allows each of them to summon a personal Dinosaur from a card. Max’s Dad quickly realizes that they will have to liberate all of the Dinosaurs from their cards which are in the hands of the future Dinosaur King. If the heroes can snag back all of their the cards (About 50) then they will be all set and ready for action. It won’t be easy though as the villain group of 3 each have their own dinosaurs including a T Rex and a Spinosaurus. Be careful out there kids!
The first arc mainly deals with capturing all of the Dinosaurs. Since they get around 1 an episode it is easy to see how this ight last a whole season. The next one begins with a bang as aliens show up from out of nowhere and kidnap Rex’s parents. Max and the gang have to travel across time and space in order to rescue them while also stopping the pirates from altering the course of history to their own benefit. It’ll be tough since they don’t know where they are even going but at least now they will be able to meet up with a lot of iconic legends from History.
I definitely preferred the first arc and that’s mainly because the villains were better but also because modern day Earth is just a better back drop than the past. If the heroes had gone to the future then of course that would be quite different but the past just isn’t all that interesting. Meeting up with all kinds of famous people does have some novelty, but it doesn’t last long. The only thing that arc 2 has over arc 1 is that I dare say the fights were probably a bit better. I did like all of the armor transformations each side got even if it did mean that we had a lot more recycled animation. The energy sword that we got in Rome was also a blast.
On the other hand, Arc 1 didn’t have Spectre which is already a positive. He’s just not all that funny while the Alpha Gang’s humor isn’t bad. Naturally one thing to keep in mind here is that this series is an action adventure but it’s a very light hearted one filled with a bunch of humor and laughs. That means that how much you enjoy the show will really depend on how funny you find it to be. It’s not like it’s going to be laugh out loud funny or anything but I think the whole thing works out well enough where it’s not annoying or anything like that. The writing is pretty solid.
The writers even got the tiers right as the T Rex beats the Spinosaurus in a fair fight despite the latter being a water type while the T Rex uses fire. In fact, Terry (The T Rex) consistently looks amazing in the show and gets a whole lot of respect. I could definitely appreciate that. Unfortunately the Spinosaurus in general doesn’t look amazing here, but I suppose he at least got to appear quite often which is a solid consolation prize if you ask me.
Max is the main character and he is definitely a fun lead. While he isn’t always the smartest of the bunch he is certainly the most heroic. He is always ready to stop the villains in their tracks at any cost. It helps that Max is the strongest of the 3 and tends to take in the leadership role. He was definitely my favorite character from the trio. There’s nothing really to dislike about the guy as he always does his best to do what’s right and save the world. At most he is rather generic.
Max also has one of the best dinosaurs in Chomp. Chomp is a thunder type Dinosaur who isn’t very quick but makes up for that with a lot of raw power backing up each attack. Chomp won’t go down 1 on 1 very often and always pulls his weight. I dare say that he is the best main dinosaur in the show aside from Terry the hype T Rex. Chomp also gets many different power ups which keep him near the top at all times.
Then we have Rex who serves as the brains of the group. He’s more about making the logical decisions and not running into battle which naturally means that I would like Max a lot more. Rex isn’t a bad character either though, but does tend to make some questionable decisions. Deciding to go back to the future with his parents instead of staying in the present is one that I had a hard time buying into. He grew up in the present ever since he was a baby, I don’t see how he would be able to even have any fun being in the future. It’s great to go with family of course, but he doesn’t actually even know his parents.
I also feel bad for Rex because his dinosaur isn’t all that great. For starters…he’s afraid of the water. That’s a huge weakness since water can be found just about anywhere and the dinosaur doesn’t really get over it until the very end of the series. That’s too little too late. Also, I’ll always take a thunder type Dinosaur over a water one but I guess that’s more up to personal preference.
The third member of the group is Zoe and she can be handy, but does tend to get knocked out of the fights quite often. either she ends up tripping or her dinosaur gets one shotted. She got some pretty bad luck when choosing the dinosaurs because hers is a healer as opposed to being a fighter. Fortunately to try and make up for this Zoe does get quite a few assist dinosaurs which lend their strength in the battles. They actually tend to be some of the strongest dinosaurs in the series so maybe it does end up being a fair trade off.
There’s not much more to say about her dinosaur beyond that. He (or She) just doesn’t tend to be very useful during any of the fights. Even if Zoe has other dinosaurs that she throws in to help out when things get tough, that doesn’t really help the Dino’s case of being a good character. You’ve gotta be able to fight when you’re a huge dinosaur like that. Just body slamming opponents should be rather helpful as well.
Spike is Max’s Dad and he gets a reasonably important role during the series. He serves as one of the many forms of comic relief in this show but pulls it off way better than the other characters. You actually feel bad for him from time to time since the guy really wants his own dinosaur but everyone always tells him no. He never even gets to have his own fight even at the end of the series but improvises by carrying around a whip. It’s rarely useful as you can probably guess, but it gets the job done.
Dr. Z is the main villain of the first arc and while the guy is a genius you still aren’t supposed to take him too seriously. He tends to break down in tears or his back literally breaks so then his minions have to try and help support him. It can be rather tragic for the guy. Then you’ve got the traitors running around and Z doesn’t have anyone that he can really rely on. You would feel more bad for him, but based on the flashbacks that we see the guy isn’t all that nice most of the time so maybe he’s getting what he deserves in that regard.
Ursula is one of the main Team Rocket members and you could basically call her the leader of the group. She always tends to take charge after all and does have the strongest dinosaur as well. Ursula does also happen to be the most likable member of the group. She has more of a heart than the other 2 as she was willing to spare one of the dinosaurs once after it had helped her out while the other 2 still wanted the money. If there is any member that could possibly turn into a hero one day it would certainly be her.
Zander is often busy trying to get someone’s attention in this series so he definitely didn’t have a chance at beating Ursula. I do admit that his song is actually rather catchy despite being a comic relief romance song. There’s nothing much to really like about the guy though. He works decently well for jokes but beyond that he doesn’t have as much character as Ursula and you can see why he’s the second in command. He’s better than Ed though. That guy easily got the smallest role out of the main 3 and never got a subplot to himself. He was really just around to have to have at least one guy who likes to eat and to make the team a trio. Beyond that he didn’t really have any purpose in the story.
Rod and Laura are two kids who are also part of the Alpha Gang but you can think of them as the junior members of the group. Of course the irony is that they are way better at Dino fighting than the main 3 to the point where they actually gave Max a few good fights during their short lived period where they were the Alpha Gang’s main fighters. They get a big character arc as well and given that they are kids it’s not as if they were ever totally evil or anything like that. They were definitely on the wrong side, but at least they end up seeing the light. They weren’t all that bad, maybe just a bit on the annoying side.
Seth is probably the only big villain to actually be very serious the whole time. He is never used for comic relief which actually isn’t something that I can say for just about any of the other villains. He knows how to manipulate basically every character who is a part of the main cast. His acting skills are evidently top notch and nobody is ever able to stay one step ahead of him. His final appearance is a little cheesy, but aside from that it was always a blast to see him appear. He’s easily the best villain in the series and besides Max he is probably the best character as well. Throwing him into the show was certainly a good idea.
Helga is the maid who works for the villains and she is always fun. She likes to boss around the rest of the villains and they always have a look of terror come upon their faces when she appears. The lady certainly demands respect and boy does she get it! The characters know better than to mess with her and that is certainly how it should be. The fact that we later find out how she has actual super powers is pretty key as well. It adds a little legitimacy to the whole plot. It’s just a shame that she still manages to lose quite a bit when Seth shows up.
Spectre is the main villain of the second arc and he’s a big down grade from Dr. Z. He is probably the worst villain in the series actually so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This guy is comic relief and his main dinosaur isn’t even as powerful as the one Seth had from Arc 1, at least I think Seth’s was stronger. Spectre loves singing and trolling which can be good if handled right, but it certainly wasn’t in this case. He brought down Arc 2 quite a bit.
Gavro is the big and strong member of the Spectral Pirates. He’s basically the Ed of the group but of course the big difference is that he is actually pretty strong. It’s one thing you have to respect about the pirates in general. Whether you like these guys or not, at least they are actual threats to the heroes since their dinosaurs are so powerful. Gavro looked his best during his initial appearance. After that he was still strong but they played up his unintelligent side a little more which definitely didn’t help his case.
Then we have Foolscap whose most memorable trait is his whiny voice. It’s a memorable voice so I’ll definitely give him some credit there but beyond that he’s basically also just around for comic relief. Being able to fly would have earned him extra credit but since the other two pirates can do that as well it sort of loses that special value it once had.
Finally we have Sheer who is a step up from the other 2 and is basically a mirror version of Ursula. It would have been a pretty cool plot twist if she had lost her memories permanently and stayed with the ninja squad, but that was never a real possibility. She is a little more serious than the other 2 members though and is an opponent that the heroes don’t really look forward to going up against.
The animation is pretty good. The character designs are solid and so are the backgrounds. Unfortunately the Dinosaurs are in complete CG animation which as you may expect means that they are very stiff and look a little odd next to everyone else. It’s unfortunate but it’s not as if it looks terrible. It’s just a step down from the rest of the show’s visuals and does limit just how good the show can look. The series also uses a massive amount of recycled footage since it incorporates summons for all of the characters, the same card draw animation, the same attacks, the same armor, etc. a good chunk of every fight is the recycled animation.
The soundtrack is pretty decent. There aren’t any hype themes or anything like that but what we do get fits pretty well for the show. Ironically the parody beat that plays whenever Xander takes out his violin is easily the most memorable tune and I dare say that it is the best one as well.
Overall, Dinosaur King is a fun show. It may not try to be all that unique in the long run, but it accomplishes it’s goal of being a quality dinosaur battle anime. It was nice to finally see the T Rex and Spinosaurus have a rematch. I can’t imagine that it was a coincidence either. The characters are fun and the episodes will keep you entertained. The second arc is g quite as good as the first one but it’s not bad either. I did like the power ups that we got as a result of that and bringing in combo attacks was a good idea as well.