What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this anime-style action cartoon has both fantasy and sci-fi elements. The dragon riders battle evil forces with their mighty scaled companions. The fantasy violence includes the dragons fighting and bashing about, but it's not graphic. The program is also strongly linked to merchandising and promotes its toy line, video games, and collectible card game.
What's the story?
Action-packed and full of dragon battles, DRAGON BOOSTER tells the story of Artha Penn (voiced by Matt Hill), a 16-year-old boy chosen by an ancient dragon to be the new Dragon Booster, who will bring peace to a world facing a war between humans and dragons. Artha lives in Dragon City, where humans live without fossil fuel, but instead of cars clogging the streets, there are dragons galore -- and they don't always get along with the humans. It's Artha's calling as Dragon Booster to step in and bridge the tension between the two species. This task has its challenges, as the evil Word Paynn (Mark Oliver) will stop at nothing to make sure that humans and dragons destroy themselves. But with the help of his dragon companion Beau, Artha and his peacekeeping team work to bring harmony back to Dragon City.
Is it any good?
While Dragon Booster has all the requirements to keep kids tuned in -- action-packed adventure, cool-looking dragons, and visually pleasing cell-shaded 3D animation -- it falls short, thanks to its hypocrisy. Dragon City serves as a metaphor for our chaotic modern life -- full of consumerism, celebrity, and corruption -- and the show clearly suggests that that life is harming the city's citizens. But considering that one of the main goals of Dragon Booster is to sell its extensive line of related toys, games, and cards, the heavy-handed metaphor leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Overall, Dragon Booster is an entertaining series with a unique story and interesting 3D manga style, but the aggressive marketing campaign surrounding the show detracts from its appeal. Kids probably won't really notice or care, unfortunately, since cartoons have a long history of pairing action with toys. Like it or not, Dragon Booster serves as a good example of how entertainment and merchandising can be irresistible to kids. But it doesn't hurt to educate your kids about their roles as television viewers and consumers.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how this series, while entertaining, is also a marketing vehicle and use it as an opportunity to educate kids on marketing awareness. Does this show primarily seek to entertain or to sell a product? Do kids think the show encourages people to buy Dragon Booster products? If yes, how? Is there anything else viewers can learn from programs like this?