At a time when we are getting a slew of new trailers for the upcoming winter anime season, one stands out. With its unusually epic English voiceover, somber music, and a poor-looking CGI dragon, that trailer is for the anime adaptation of Dragon Goes House-Hunting, coming next April. It's first key visual also looks strikingly similar to those of Attack on Titan's.
The anime is based on the manga series of the same name, which tells the story of a timid dragon disowned and kicked out by his family. The dragon teams up with an elf/real estate agent/demon lord to find his dream home. From this description, you would probably not expect that the series to have the serious tone of its first trailer, and you would be right. The series is a light-hearted comedy series that plays with familiar fantasy tropes using a modern real estate gimmick.
Few clues give away the first trailer’s tricks. First of all, the trailer was released via producer Pony Canyon’s Japanese YouTube channel, but the trailer’s voiceover and title cards are done in Hollywood-esque English, with Japanese subtitles, which is very unusual for Japanese trailers. Second, the trailer clearly contains meta-references to popular Hollywood franchises like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. Lastly, the unattractive CGI dragon is in stark contrast to the bright and cheery 2D art style in the coda of the trailer.
Nonetheless, the bait and switch strategy worked well. For a series without much fanfare or prior marketing, the first trailer has already received over 300,000 views on YouTube in less than a week. The production company quickly gave up its serious pretense, however, and released a second trailer that is much more in line with the anime’s actual tone. The Japanese voiceover is much softer, and the comedy of the series is on full display. The trailer shows the dragon and the elf going to various fantasy locations, such as a trapped dungeon and a haunted house, having fun yet dangerous adventures along the way.
Although the focus on house-hunting could feel a bit too narrow for a full-length series, the manga already has six volumes, so there should be of material to make a full season of anime. Besides, this year’s Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle has already proven that there are enough hilarious ingredients that can be extracted from a premise as simple as trying to get a good night’s sleep. So, be sure to look out for plenty of hilarity to come next year from touring strange locations with a cowardly dragon.