Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation Review

Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation is now available to stream on Netflix.

Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece franchise has seen widespread success in various forms of media, from manga to multiple TV adaptations (with a third in the works) and video games. Given the immense popularity of the series, it comes as no surprise that there is a demand for more content based on Oda’s work. Monsters: 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation, derived from a story written by Oda prior to the start of One Piece and focusing on a character later integrated into the main series, attempts to capitalize on this demand. Unfortunately, despite its potential, Monsters fails to effectively convey its narrative in the mere 25-minute runtime, resulting in hurried dialogue and underdeveloped plot points.

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The anime lacks meaningful connections to its predecessor and leans heavily on its minimal association with One Piece to justify its existence. Despite the director’s track record with action sequences, Monsters falls short in this aspect, with static character renderings and short-lived action scenes that lack impact. While there are moments of visual interest, the overall presentation feels uninspired and disconnected from Oda’s signature style.

Kojima’s visual contributions to the anime, while enhancing certain character designs, also dilute many of the unique artistic elements that define Oda’s original work. The lack of distinctiveness in the background characters detracts from the overall aesthetic and fails to capture the essence of Oda’s art.

Furthermore, the breakneck pace of the anime undermines the ability for viewers to fully engage with the story and its twists, leading to a disjointed and unsatisfactory viewing experience. The adaptation feels more like a superficial retelling of Oda’s manga rather than a carefully crafted standalone work.