A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated series is full of fisticuff battles and kung fu-style sparring (as is the nature of martial arts shows), but the violence doesn't go beyond that. The show's two main characters are taught positive values like honor and accepting responsibility, and there are consequences for those who stray from the path. That said, the protagonists are a brother and sister who end up on opposite sides and often have to fight each other.
What's the story?
The animated series LEGEND OF THE DRAGON centers on the sibling rivalry between twin siblings Ang and Ling, highly accomplished martial arts students who train under wise Master Chin. In the series' first episode, Master Chin informs the siblings -- who were born in the Year of the Dragon -- that one of them will be chosen as the new Golden Dragon, guardian of the temple of the dragon and protector of the Legend of the Dragon. Feisty, headstrong and confident, Ling is convinced that she'll be the chosen one, only to end up absolutely crushed when the honor is given to her brother. Laid-back Ang isn't too sure he's ready for such great responsibility, but Master Chin helps him rise to the challenge. Ling's anger and jealousy push her toward the dark side, and she joins forces with the nefarious Zodiac Master, who (of course) is determined to seize the power of the Golden Dragon and use it for his own evil cause. So begins a classic battle between two opposing sides -- good and evil, light and dark, Yin and Yang -- as Ang struggles to maintain the universal balance through his Golden Dragon powers, while Ling threatens to corrupt it just to regain her pride.
Is it any good?
The series' plot is nothing new -- almost every martial arts movie or series revolves around the conflict between good and evil, and viewers can almost always predict how it'll turn out. That said, the script is actually decent, and most of the characters seem human and real, rather than leaning too much toward stereotypes or archetypes -- with the notable exception of the Zodiac Master, who's a typical, snakelike, super-evil baddie.
The fight scenes are engaging, even though the animation, like the plot, isn't exceptional. (The only real twist to the show is that both Ang and Ling are likable to some extent, so it's easy for viewers to be torn when the siblings are duking it out.) The series' many dramatic moments are occasionally balanced by a jester-like character who becomes Ang's sidekick and provides the comic relief -- which will probably amuse tweens, but otherwise seems like an unnecessary element.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the conflict between siblings Ang and Ling. Why do you think Ling is so angry about not being chosen as the next Golden Dragon? How does Ang handle the news that he's to be the next Golden Dragon? How does he handle this great new responsibility? Another discussion topic could be Master Chin's teachings. What values and lessons does Master Chin try to instill in Ang and Ling? How does Ang put what he learns into practice? How does Ling go against what she's been taught? Do you see any similarities between Ang and Ling's relationship and your relationship with your own sibling(s)? Any differences?
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