Review
Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Animated Series
For the animation, Marvel Productions employed Toei Doga, the same Japanese studio it sought for Transformers and G.I. Joe. Sadly, the finished product is noticeably more mediocre than even those series. Animation constantly sputters at less than 4 frames per second, line quality is rarely consistent, and models never seem to remain in scale. In many episodes, it's hard to tell if the dragons, wolves, and nightwalkers are smaller than a door, or bigger than a house, especially if the protagonists are in the same frame.

To its credit, "Day of the Dungeon Master" features a sweet twenty-second sequence where a city collapses and Venger expands to gigantic proportions. The opening to the series also features a few shots with 24-fps motion. I wouldn't complain if the Dungeons & Dragons got a run on Cartoon Network's Toonami and replaced the clumsy opening with such sequences. These are fleeting moments, however; 99.998% of your viewing time will be spent wallowing in the same C-tier Japanese animation that infested many an American TV series in the 1980s. Trust me, you don't want it back.

Striving for a happy ending, I must commend the writing staff. Animation credit hounds will recognize the names of Mark Evanier (Garfield & Friends), Michael Reaves (Gargoyles), Jeffrey Scott (Muppet Babies), Karl Geurs (Transformers) and Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series). As stated, fifteen teleplays are included in Adobe Acrobat format. The storyboard directions can be a pain to read around, but these scripts provide a great look into the series' foundation. With better performances and watchable animation, they might have had something here.

DVD Features: 4:3 aspect ratio; English audio track; Region 1.

DVD Extras: Entering the Realm of Dungeons and Dragons documentary; commentary tracks with Bob Richardson, Hank Saroyan, Mark Evanier, Michael Reaves, Teddy Field III and Judy Price; animated storyboard with interactive comparison for episode 14, "The Girl Who Dreamed Tomorrow"; interactive adventure story, Kelek's Crystal; 50 profiles of characters, creatures and artifacts; live action short fan film Choices by Sean Kennedy; radio-show style presentation of unaired final episode "Requiem"; alternate footage; trivia; galleries; DVD-ROM with scripts, storyboards, and the series' development bible; limited edition includes Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series Handbook game supplement including character profiles, stats, magic items and a new adventure. Read more about Dungeons & Dragons
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