Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Is it just me, or is "dragon" some sort of golden word when it comes to marketing? I'm not just talking about card games; there's a movie coming out called How to Train Your Dragon. You know, as if dragons now have some sort of all-encompassing care guide. There are a few other franchises I could poke at, but that movie in particular made me wonder if dragons (as a whole) are nearing the end of their rope.

Does anyone else think that dragons have reached a low point? Sure, they were mostly created to begin with, being largely exaggerated snakes and fish at their cores, but...gah. I cannot even finish that sentence. Dragons have degenerated from something potent yet imaginary to creatures designed to sell stuff. This is especially true for Western dragons; oriental dragons, though pimped, are still held in such high esteem in China that disfiguring the image of a dragon is just plain wrong.

Case in point: Yu-Gi-Oh!. I cannot count the amount of times that dragons have been advertised as the monsters on that show. Two of the God Cards are dragons, the three Legendary Dragons were Western-style dragons, and 5D's effing revolves around 5 dragons (albeit with some creative tweaks). It's a shame that, in a game with SO much potential for awesome creatures, Konami resorts to market whores. They're almost at the point of running out of words to attach 'dragon' to. Better break out a thesaurus!

Bakugan has a similar, albeit better-maintained, problem. It suffers from what I like to call "Tai syndrome": Not only does the main character have a dragon, said dragon is obligated to all the merch and forms the creators can muster. In Bakugan's case, there's the normal Dragonoid, the evolved Dragonoid, something called Maxus Dragonoid...I've lost track. I should feel lucky that Skyress gets some merchandise as opposed to none. Now that they've killed her off, I'm not sure how long this balanced character marketing will last.

Pokémon used to be good at keeping dragons scarce, but I can see the insanity starting. Gen III had, along with the usual "psuedo-legendary" that just so happened to be a dragon, two seemingly random Dragons that evolved from Pokémon with other types and three Dragon-type Legendaries that...didn't look too hot. I personally cannot tell WTF Lati@s are based off of, and Rayquaza would look OK if they had done just a little bit more work on its tail fin (or omitted it entirely). The three D/P/Pt cover monsters do not even look finished, but it doesn't matter. They're dragons. People will snap them up because of THAT alone!

Digimon, Battle Spirits, and M:tG are fine in this regard. Although, yes, I did make mention of "Tai Syndrome," that was more of a writing flaw in Digimon Adventure (please tell me I wasn't the only one who wanted to see the Mega forms of Tentomon, Biyomon, Gomamon, and Palmon get some screentime) than a gimmick, and Matt got most of the same stuff. Battle Spirits...OK, it has dragons, but it also has a bunch of other stuff that makes it worth looking into. The same goes for M:tG.

So, for those wondering, it's not that I hate dragons. I just hate the marketing porn that they have become. Stick a dragon in ANYTHING and it will sell. Forget substance, story, or integrity. Instant money: Just add dragons.

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